One of the most pressing issues that homeowners tend to face is making their home energy efficient. This extends to everything from bathroom fixtures to air conditioning. Today, we’ll review some of the most energy-efficient portable air conditioners, and look at how to make sure you get the most bang for your buck with whichever unit you choose to use. Which one will be the best portable air conditioner? Find out in our portable air conditioner buyers guide.
Best Energy Efficient Portable Air Conditioner
1. BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner
The Black+Decker BPACT08WT is a decent unit. It’s rated at 15 amps and works well for the needs of an 8000 BTU unit. The pros of the unit are that it runs very quietly, meaning that it won’t keep you up all night long. The control panel is lit by some unobtrusive LED’s and is among some of the easiest to use on the market.
One great feature is that the unit will automatically resume running after a power outage, meaning that you won’t have to remember to tend to it. It can adequately cool a 10 X 12′ room in a relatively quick manner.
The main con stems from the way it operates in a humid climate. The unit is supposed to have a built-in dehumidifier and isn’t supposed to need to be drained of excess moisture. However, in humid climates, the dehumidifier can become overwhelmed and will build up a good deal of moisture quickly. This should be kept in mind if you live in a particularly humid area.
- Runs quietly.
- Easy to use LED controls.
- Automatically restarts after a power outage.
- Can adequately cool a 10 X 12′ room in no time.
- It can sometimes need to be drained frequently if in humid conditions.
2. Whynter ARC-14SH 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner
The Whynter ARC-14SH is a moderately large unit, cooling up to 500 square feet. At 14,000 BTU’s, it also will take more energy (as expected of a larger unit). One great thing for eco-conscious buyers is the refrigerant is environmentally friendly.
The unit has four different operational modes, including cool, heat, fan, and dehumidify. This unit works particularly well in the winter as a heater, meaning that you can get used from the unit all year long.
One of the main drawbacks to the unit is that it produces a lot of heat while cooling. This is true of any unit it’s size, however, trying to vent that heat into other rooms can mean making parts of the house way too hot. The other main drawback is that it the case that you have some sort of rare issue with the unit. The warranty requires you to pay shipping costs both ways to have the problem fixed.
- Cools up to 500 sq. Ft.
- Eco-friendly refrigerant.
- Includes four operational modes.
- It can be used in the winter to heat the room as well.
- It can put off a lot of heat while cooling.
- Warranty requires you to pay to ship both ways.
3. LG LP1217GSR 115V Portable Air Conditioner
The LG LP1217GSR is a pretty nice unit if you just want something to cool a room down with. It’s able to cool 300 square foot rooms with ease and can cool them very quickly. The unit also looks attractive and can blend in seamlessly with other appliances and furnishings. It’s also pretty easy to move around and can be cleaned with ease. In all, it’s a pretty powerful unit.
Unfortunately, there’s a trade-off for that power. This comes in the form of increased energy usage. Overall, it may be the least energy-efficient unit on this list. It’s also relatively noisy. Granted, if you just want to cool a room and keep it comfortable, it can do the job nicely, and the quick cooling power may balance it’s energy usage out somewhat if you make sure to turn the unit off once the room is cooled.
The unit does have to drain condensation through its exhaust hose, meaning that you need somewhere to drain it that won’t get ruined by moisture. This is pretty normal for portable air conditioners, however.
- Cools rooms up to 300 sq. ft.
- Sleek design
- Cools quickly.
- Easy to move.
- Very noisy.
- Not the most energy-efficient.
3. Honeywell MN10CESWW 10000 BTU Portable Conditioner
The Honeywell MN10CESWW is one of the best on this list and among our top choices. It can cool a 400 square foot room, while only rated at 10,000 BTU. The energy usage is very low as well, with many users reporting that their bills barely went up any at all during use.
It has thermal overload protection, which prevents heat from damaging the unit and causing failures. It includes a convenient remote control too. One great thing is that the unit never has to be drained if it’s operating in low humidity conditions. It will still need removing in humid areas, but no more so than other units on the market.
The downsides are very few. The unit can be noisy, though nowhere near as loud as the LG above. The main issue seems to be that Honeywell’s customer service is frustrating to deal with, and in the case of a unit failing, you may not get an answer back for a week or more.
- Cools up to 400 sq. Ft at only 10,000 BTU.
- Thermal Overload Protection.
- Includes a remote.
- Never has to be drained in low humidity conditions.
- Customer service can be a hassle.
- Somewhat loud.
4. DELLA Air Conditioner
The Della Air Conditioner is a pretty good unit if you need to cool a small room. It cools a room that’s about 300 square feet in size and works well for the small size class. It includes a hand remote for ease of use. The single hose exhaust system is great for smaller rooms and adequately drains condensation from the unit too.
It’s also pretty easy to move, meaning that it doesn’t take a whole team to transport the unit if need be. It automatically restarts after power outages, too, meaning that you won’t have to reset it all over again. In all, it’s pretty energy efficient, especially for small rooms.
The only real issue seems to be that the exhaust hose design doesn’t keep bugs out. Likewise, it also lets some heat escape during the venting process. A little elbow grease and some cheap materials from a hardware store can solve these issues, but it’s a con none the less.
- Designed for small spaces.
- Includes a convenient remote control.
- Single hose construction for ease of use.
- Automatically restarts after power outages.
- May need some modifications to the exhaust hose.
5. Global Air 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
The Global Air portable air conditioner is another unit that’s the right choice for cooling a small room. It can cool up to 400 square feet, and at 10,000 BTU, that’s pretty good. The cost per hour to run the unit continuously is around 8 cents. Granted, it’s not a great idea to run any unit continuously, meaning that the savings you’ll see on your energy bill should be significant.
Like some other units, it includes a handy remote control, which is always a plus. It also cools quickly and doesn’t have to be run very long to cool a room down.
On the downside, it tends to be a little noisy. It’s not the worst offender in terms of noise, but it was worth mentioning. It also must be continuously drained, as it has no water receptacle. This can very well be an issue depending on where you plan on stationing it, or how much freedom you have to make modifications to a room. Regardless, it’s still one of the best small units on the list.
- Cools up to 400 sq. Ft.
- Includes remote control.
- Cools quickly.
- It can be a bit noisy.
- Has to have a constant drainage hose.
Buyers Guide – How To Choose an Energy Star Portable Air Conditioner
There is a lot to keep in mind when choosing a unit. You should make sure that the unit fits the room you want to cool. Using a high powered unit to cool a small room is a complete waste of energy while trying to use a small unit to cool a large room is an exercise in futility.
No matter which unit you choose, you should also consider following some handy tips to maximize the efficiency of any unit you plan on buying.
- If you’re okay with sacrificing some comfort for some savings, always set the thermostat of the unit to 78 degrees during the summer, as this is the ideal thermostat setting.
- Make sure that any appliance or light that isn’t necessary is turned off. All electronics generate heat and can contribute to making the A/C unit run more than necessary.
- Always set the thermostat up by a few degrees when nobody is planned to be in the room.
- Give opening the windows a shot while sleeping. This isn’t ideal for allergy sufferers, but if you have no issues, you can decrease your cooling cost by quite a bit.
- Always perform the necessary maintenance on the unit to make sure that it’s running efficiently. Dirty filters or excess moisture can cause units to use more energy than normal.
- Make sure you have ceiling fans running as circulating the air can cause a drastic difference in inside air temperatures.
- Insulate the exhaust hoses. This seems to help prevent heat from leaking back into the room, and can also help keep the longevity of your unit.
- Keep the inside doors closed. Air can leak out quickly, and keeping the room you want to cool shut off can prevent your A/C from working more than it has to.
In general, most of the units on this list tend to be energy efficient. It does just come down to picking a unit that fits the size of your room. Don’t be fooled by the moniker of a portable unit. While it is true that these units are pretty easy to move around, they are designed for specific room sizes and trying to move a large unit back and forth to cool a large living space during the day and then cool a small bedroom at night will waste more energy. Instead, the plan on the unit is stationary, with the portable aspect only coming into play if you have to move.
Aside from the size of the room, you also need to figure out how many hoses each unit has and where you plan to exhaust them out too. Exhausting via the window is always an option, but you need to be aware that most units don’t include excellent options for mounting a hose through a window. Also, make sure that the unit is right for your climate. Certain units tended to perform worse in humid climates, while others had no issues.
In this article, we took a look at some of the highest EER portable air conditioners. In general, my favorite high-efficiency portable air conditioner for a large space was the Honeywell. If you need the best portable air conditioner for smaller spaces, the Della was our top choice. As mentioned above, you should make your final decision based on the circumstances of where you live and the size of the room that you want to cool.
It’s also a good idea to draft a budget when buying a unit. Sadly, you may have to make some trips to a hardware store to make the unit “fit” in your living space. It’s wise to budget $100 more than the unit costs to facilitate specialty expanders, special extension cords, or other unforeseen expenses.
It’s also a good idea to put some savings back to have enough to buy a replacement. While all of these units would last lifetimes in an ideal world, the reality is that machines do break. Even the highest quality ones. If your unit does break, communicating with the company to make a claim can take days, and sometimes weeks. You can easily buy a replacement while waiting for the company to help you.
Thanks for reading our portable air conditioner buying guide. For more portable air conditioner reviews, click here. Did you agree with our picks? Need more help deciding on a unit? Just leave a comment below!