Whynter ARC-12S Review

The Whynter ARC-12S is a portable air conditioner that ranks among the best on the market. It is the most energy-efficient model we reviewed, with a category-best EER of 11.1.

Our Verdict

The Whynter ARC-12S is a great portable air conditioner because of its many convenient features, suite of third-party certifications and energy efficiency.

For

  • The Whynter ARC-12S is the most energy-efficient model we reviewed, with an 11.1 energy efficiency ratio.

Against

  • This air conditioning unit lacks a sleep mode to keep you comfortable at night.
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The Whynter ARC-12S has a simple design that doesn't stand out as an eyesore in a room.

The Whynter ARC-12S has a simple design that doesn't stand out as an eyesore in a room.
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You attach the exhaust hose to the back of the Whynter ARC-12S so it can vent hot air out a window.

You attach the exhaust hose to the back of the Whynter ARC-12S so it can vent hot air out a window.
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The control panel is uncomplicated, so it’s easy to get this Whynter machine up and running.

The control panel is uncomplicated, so it’s easy to get this Whynter machine up and running.
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This illustrates what the machine looks like when it is set up with the exhaust hose and window kit.

This illustrates what the machine looks like when it is set up with the exhaust hose and window kit.
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It only takes a few minutes to set up this Whynter portable air conditioner’s window kit.

It only takes a few minutes to set up this Whynter portable air conditioner’s window kit.
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You attach the vent hose to the window kit and the Whynter air conditioner with adjustable rings that lock everything in place.

You attach the vent hose to the window kit and the Whynter air conditioner with adjustable rings that lock everything in place.
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The Whynter website includes a knowledgebase to answer questions you may have.

The Whynter website includes a knowledgebase to answer questions you may have.
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Whynter’s troubleshooting page lists problems you may encounter and explains the possible causes and solutions.

Whynter’s troubleshooting page lists problems you may encounter and explains the possible causes and solutions.
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You can reach Whynter over the phone or through the online email form.

You can reach Whynter over the phone or through the online email form.
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You can find a copy of the user manual online, so you don't have to hang on to the physical copy that comes with the ARC-12S.

You can find a copy of the user manual online, so you don't have to hang on to the physical copy that comes with the ARC-12S.

The Whynter ARC-12S is a portable air conditioner that ranks among the best on the market. It is the most energy-efficient model we reviewed, with a category-best EER of 11.1. When you factor in that the Whynter ARC-12S costs around $170 less than our top pick, the Frigidaire Gallery FGPC1244T1, it's certainly the best value we've seen from a portable air conditioner. Overall, this is an efficient air conditioner that cools a room quickly.

We estimate this unit’s annual operating cost at around $93, depending on how often you use it. It carries the UL Listed mark, meaning it has been independently tested and meets consumer safety standards.

The ARC-12S is an ideal air conditioner for rooms up to 550 square feet and is capable of moving 188 cubic feet of air per minute, the third-lowest airflow in our comparison. This is sufficient for most rooms, though it might take longer to cool your room than stronger, 14,000-Btu units like the NewAir AC-14100E.

This portable air conditioning unit is rather quiet, producing 52.5 decibels, about as loud as a conversation between two or three people. It also includes a dehumidify mode that pulls excess moisture out of the air at 3.8 pints an hour, and a fan-only mode that circulates air without cooling it. You can cycle through the modes with the included remote control.

The unit’s programmable timer allows you to set specific times for the machine to turn on or off throughout the day, which is incredibly helpful for when you’ll be out of the house. Unlike our top pick, the Frigidaire Gallery, the unit lacks a sleep mode, which gradually raises the temperature at night to keep you comfortable while conserving energy.

This portable air conditioner weighs 62 pounds, which is slightly heavier than the average unit we reviewed. However, it includes casters that make it easy to wheel from room to room, as long as your carpet isn’t too thick. While it isn’t as small as some of the other portable air conditioners we reviewed, it is compact enough that you can store it in a closet during cool seasons. As with all portable air conditioners, this cooler comes with a vent hose and window kit to move hot air exhaust out of the house. The window kit can fit in window sills up to 46 inches wide, while the vent hose can extend up to 5 feet long.

The Whynter ARC-12S has a three-year compressor warranty, which matches the average among the units we reviewed. However, it's not quite as long as the five-year warranties on Frigidaire, Haier and Friedrich units. The ARC-12S has one-year warranty coverage on other parts, which matches the parts warranties of other manufacturers. At the time of writing this review, the Whynter costs $365, making it more affordable than the average of $427.

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