What are the pros and cons of portable air conditioners?
Portable air conditioners have various pros and cons. The pros and cons are apparent when you compare portable air conditioners to other air cooling methods.
The most common alternative methods of cooling the air in indoor spaces include HVAC systems and other smaller window air conditioners. Here are the key benefits and costs of using portable air conditioners.
Pros of Portable Air Conditioners
It is easier to install portable air conditioners than conventional HVAC systems. Installing an HVAC system is a tedious and complicated process. You will have to get a trained HVAC technician to do the assessment, purchase the required materials, and complete the process for you. All these steps are quite costly.
You do not need high technical skills to get a portable air conditioner up and running. If you have basic knowledge of dealing with air conditioners, all you need to do is follow the instructions provided, and you will get your machine up within a few minutes.
Suitable for Zonal Cooling
If you have a large house with multiple rooms, you do not have to warm all the rooms simultaneously. It is a good idea to keep a few rooms full of people warm and ignore the rest. Portable air conditioners are best suited for this function. You can install this type of air conditioner in a room that is mostly occupied by people all the time. This may be the area near the kitchen and dining spaces or merely the living room or bedroom.
Zonal cooling helps you to minimize the cost of cooling the air in your room. If you need to condition the air in any other room, you will have to carry your air conditioner to the relevant room and use it while there. This approach helps to prevent wastage of power in cooling areas that people do not occupy.
Enhance the Look of your House
Modern portable air conditioners feature compact designs with exquisite finishes. Such air conditioners can effectively enhance your house’s look and feel if you place them in a prominent position.
It is easier to choose and use a portable air conditioner with the right aesthetic value for your home than a window air conditioner. Portable air conditioners with aesthetic value for your home typically have colors that match what is found on your walls.
If the design and finish of the portable air freshener are compatible with the interior décor style in your house, then you can use it to enhance the overall look and feel of the rooms where you place it. Window units can hardly provide this value because they are mounted on the window.
Besides, they may be covered by the drapery all the time, limiting the extent to which people will see them.
Convenient than HVAC Systems
It is more convenient to operate a portable air conditioner than an HVAC system. Modern portable air conditioners are Wi-Fi-enabled. You can connect them through an app n your smartphone or typical applications, including Google Assistant and Alexa.
You can then use voice controls to adjust every aspect of their functioning, including the cooling temperature, fan speeds, and dehumidification performance.
Moreover, smart portable air conditioners have programmable timers. The timers let you determine the exact period when the air conditioner runs. This saves you on energy costs because you only run the air conditioner when you need it.
Cons of Using Portable Air Conditioners
Unsuitable for Use in Large Rooms
One of the major problems of using portable air conditioners relates to their capacity to cool the air. Compared to HVAC systems, portable air conditioners are unable to provide the cooling capacity required to maintain air quality across the entire house.
Besides, it is not practical to keep moving your portable air conditioner from one room to another to cool the air around the entire house. Therefore, portable air conditioners are limited in their capacity to cool the air in large areas, including an entire house.
Cleaning and Maintaining Takes Time
You will have to spare some time to clean your portable air conditioner as part of the maintenance procedures. Some portable air conditioners have air filters that are washable and reusable. Although you will not have to do this often, it will still take some of your time.
Other portable air conditioners lack the self-evaporative mechanism. For such air conditioners, you must devise a way of removing the condensate. This may entail the use of a bucket to empty the condensate. Alternatively, one may have to use pipes to drain the condensate outside.
They are not as Easily Portable as one May Imagine
Portable air conditioners have a ventilation system and installation kits. Moving a portable air conditioner from one room to another entails removing the exhaust hoses, dragging them to the other room, and installing them through the window or wall. This is a time-consuming process. Therefore, although these devices are labeled as portable, in practice, people hardly think of moving them around the house because of the procedures that they must go through.
Is portable air conditioner noisy?
Portable air conditioners may either be noisy or otherwise. The design and type of the portable air conditioner determine the level of noise that is produced. These devices produce noise because they have inbuilt fans that run when they are operating.
The function of the fans is to distribute cool air breeze around the room. The fans, and other components inside the air conditioners that rotate when the device is running, produce a buzzing sound.
The level of the buzzing sound determines whether a portable air conditioner is noisy. The noise level can be measured in terms of decibels (abbreviated as dB).
Portable air conditioners that have a dB value of less than 40 are considered ultra-silent. You will hardly hear the portable air conditioner running even when you are in the room in which it is placed.
Portable air conditioners with noise levels of between 40 and 60 are considered silent. You will hear a low buzzing sound if you get into the room in which they are placed.
However, the noise is hardly high enough to distract a typical conversation among people in a living room. But this range of dB level can distract light sleepers if the air conditioner is in the bedroom at night.
Any portable air conditioner that has a dB level of more than 60 is loud. It may be a good idea to steer clear of such air conditioners because of their high noise level.
Modern brands of portable air conditioners have a new functionality called sleep or night mode. When such air conditioners are set on the night mode, they dim their LED lighting and drastically reduce their noise levels.
Therefore, to be on the safe side, go for air conditioners with low dB levels and an additional night mode feature. You will barely get distracted at night or during the day by such an air conditioner, even if you set its fan speed to the highest levels.
Are Portable Air Conditioners Quieter than Window Units?
Portable air conditioners are quieter than window units. However, many people consider portable air conditioners louder than window units. The basis of this assumption is that portable air conditioners, unlike window air conditioners, sit fully inside a room.
Therefore, you are likely to fully hear the noise that a portable air conditioner produces when you are in a room. In the case of window air conditioners, part of the noise produced by the motor of the unit finds its way to the outside through the window opening.
Extensive measurements that have been conducted on the noise level of these two types of air conditioners indicate that window air conditioners are louder than portable air conditioners.
The reasons for this significant difference in the noise level between these two air conditioner types are not clear. It is important to remember that both portable and window air conditioners have similar components and work in the same method.
However, the style of mounting varies significantly. Portable air conditioners are usually placed on the floor indoors. A single or double hose ventilation system is used to connect the device to the outside.
Window air conditioners have special window mounting kits. They are hanging on the window where they remain during their lifetime. The vibration that window air conditioners produce may be more magnified by that of portable air conditioners.
This may be one reason for the significant difference between the noise levels of these two types of air conditioners.
How to Make a Portable Air Conditioner Quieter?
Portable air conditioners produce a lot of noise when they are operating. The noise may be in the form of buzzing, clicking, and hissing. If the noise is too loud, it may cause a considerable distraction to people who are either holding conversations in the house or are sleeping.
Therefore, it is necessary to minimize the noise that portable air conditioners produce. Here are a few tips that you can use to achieve this objective.
- Place the air conditioner on a heavy carpet. The heavy carpet will cushion the air conditioner and absorb the noise that is produced from excessive vibration. You will realize a remarkable reduction in the level of noise that your air conditioner produces if you place it on a heavy carpet.
- Wrap the air conditioner with a blanket. The blanket provides a cushion for the noise that the air conditioner produces. Ensure that the blanket cover does not interfere with the airflow processes of the air conditioner. Avoid covering the air outlets with the blanket.
- Place the air conditioner in a remote place. If possible, keep the device as far away as possible. Strike a balance between placing the device in a remote place and ensuring that the cool air that it produces freely flows around the house where people are sitting or sleeping.
- Conduct regular maintenance. Regular maintenance of your air conditioner helps to keep the device in good shape. When your air conditioner is in good shape, it will not produce associated air conditioners that are faulty.
BTU vs. ASHRAE: Portable AC’s Have New Energy Guide
ASHRAE or ANSI standards is a new framework for indicating the cooling capacity of single-hose and double-hose air conditioners. The new framework was developed and implemented by the Department of Energy. Other bodies that were involved in the development of the new framework include the FTC.
The basis of implementing the ASHRAE standards was to ensure that users enjoyed maximum air quality in the indoor environment with minimal health hazards. Thus, there was a need to ensure that air cooling devices have their proper performance indicators labeled to guide buyers and users.
The new standards framework considers a few important measures. Notably, the Seasonally Adjusted Cooling Capacity of the device is factored into the final air-cooling capacity. This measure represents the average performance score of a device when testing under a broad range of conditions.
Another important addition is the Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio. This factors in the amount of energy that the device uses when it is running normally and what it consumes when it is set on standby mode.
Modern air conditioners have the ANSI or ASHRAE ratings indicated beside the traditional BTU rating. This lets users accurately determine the performance capacity of the air conditioners.
Sizing a Portable Air Conditioner
The size of air conditioners is indicated in terms of BTUs. The higher the number of BTUs, the more influential the air conditioner is in cooling the air. You should select the right air conditioner for your building. Using an air conditioner with insufficient air-cooling capacity will result in high energy costs and poor indoor air quality. Similarly, choosing an air conditioner that has excess capacity will be a waste of resources.
Several factors determine the proper size of an air conditioner that one can use. Primarily, the area of the room in which you intend to place the air conditioner is critical. Larger rooms require air conditioners with higher BTU values than smaller rooms.
Second, the ceiling’s height influences the number of BTUs that you need to sufficiently cool the air in the room. Standard rooms with 8-feet ceilings require fewer BTUs than rooms with ceilings that are higher than 8 feet.
In practice, you will need an air conditioner with a BTU rating of 14,000 to adequately cool a room that measures up to 500 square feet and has a standard 8-feet ceiling height. 13,000 BTUs will be enough for a room that measures 450 square feet and has the standard ceiling height of 8 feet. A small air conditioner with a BTU value of 8,000 will be enough to cool the air in a standard room that measures 200 square feet.
Tips for Using a Portable Air Conditioner
Here are important tips to help you get the best from your portable air conditioner.
- Proper venting. Ensure that your air conditioner is vented to the outside. Venting to another room or an empty area may lead to the air inside your house remaining hot and humid even when the air conditioner is running. This is because the air conditioner’s improper venting causes the warm and humid air to flow back into the room.
- Proper positioning. Ideally, place your air conditioner in the middle of a room. This approach lets the air vents effectively and evenly distribute cool air around the entire room where the air conditioner is placed.
- Switching it on early. To get the best from your air conditioner, switch it on early enough. This gives the device the much-needed time to cool the air in the house to the required temperature. Modern portable air conditioners have programmable timers. You can use the timers to set the device to start working a few hours before you get home.
Portable Air Conditioners Maintenance
Portable air conditioners require minimal maintenance procedures. When properly installed, these devices can remain functional for several years. However, you will have to carry out a few important procedures to keep them in excellent shape.
- Cleaning and replacing the filter. Portable air conditioners come with special filters for keeping the dust away from your home. The filters are usually washable and reusable. You will have to remove the air filters, wash, and reinstall them back to the device twice per month.
- Removing the condensate. If your air conditioner does not have an automatic condensate removal system, you will have to use a bucket or pipe to remove it. The amount and frequency of work involved depending on the dehumidification capacity of your air conditioner.
- Occasional cleaning of your air conditioner helps to keep it in good shape. Remember to concentrate on sensitive areas where dirt can quickly accumulate and cause problems. The most obvious areas are the vents.
Quietest Portable Air Conditioner
1. Honeywell HL09CESWK Portable Air Conditioner
One of the hallmarks of this air conditioner is that it has advanced safety features. You will enjoy using this air conditioner without worrying about its risk of causing accidents.
The thermal overload protection helps keep you safe by automatically switching off the device if the internal temperature rises beyond the normal levels.
Another important feature of this air conditioner is that it has potent dual filters. The filters do an excellent job keeping air particles, hair, and other contaminants off the air you breathe when the air conditioner works.
However, remember that this air conditioner has a single-hose exhaust system. Air conditioners with single-hose exhaust systems create a low-level negative pressure in the room in which the air conditioners are placed.
The only good news is that you will hardly feel the effects of low-level negative air pressure when you sit in a room that this air conditioner is running.
- The air conditioner has thermal overload protection and related safety features
- Its dual filters offer maximum protection against dust, hair, and similar particles
- Easy to use because it has self-evaporative technology
- It has a single-hose exhaust system
2. Quilo Portable Air Conditioner
The QP110WK has several features that make it a great air conditioner for indoor use. First, it has a beautiful and modern design that is coupled with a crisp white finish.
The modern design and finish of this air conditioner can effectively enhance your room’s look and feel.
Another feature of this air conditioner is that it has easy-to-use controls and a matching digital display panel. The digital display panel lets you read and monitor the changes you make on the air conditioner precisely. Thanks to the soft controls, you can quickly adjust the air conditioner’s temperature and fan speed.
This air conditioner has a very effective inbuilt dehumidifier. When the air conditioner is operating on the default mode, the dehumidifier can successfully remove about 80 pints of water in a day.
Although the QP110WK comes with a complete installation key, the actual process may take longer than expected. It may be a good idea to get an experienced technician to get the air conditioner up and running for you.
- Beautiful and modern design that enhances the feel of your room
- The air conditioner has soft-touch controls and a digital display panel
- Adequate humidification capacity (80 pints per day)
- The installation process takes a long time
3. TOSOT 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
The TOSOT portable air conditioner has a massive air-cooling capacity sufficient to cool the air in large rooms. If your bedroom or living room measures an average of 400 square feet, it may be wise to use this air conditioner.
Additionally, the air conditioner has three unique uses. You can use it to primarily remove excess moisture from the air in your house or to provide supplementary heat during cold days. When the air conditioner is in its default mode, you can enjoy its massive air-cooling capacity.
Furthermore, this air conditioner is ultra-silent. A noise level of 49dB is considered too low to cause severe distractions to sleepy persons in a room where the air conditioner is placed.
You will have to be careful with the placement of this air conditioner. Ensure that you keep it away from the path that many people in the house use. The device has a narrow base. Thus, it is prone to falling over if one accidentally knocks it when going about their business.
- Massive cooling capacity sufficient for rooms that measure up to 400 square feet
- The air conditioner has three distinctive functions
- Super silent mode of operation with a 49dB noise level
- The air conditioner has a narrow base and is prone to falling over when knocked
4. Rollibot ROLLICOOL Portable Air Conditioner
The Rollibot ROLLICOOL portable air conditioner is Wi-Fi-enabled. This means you can use either a simple app on your phone or voice control via Alexa or Google Assistant to operate this device. These options offer one a high degree of convenience when running this air conditioner.
Installing this air conditioner should be a big deal if you have the necessary skills to get portable air conditioners up and running. It comes with a complete installation kit that you can use to vent it through the wall or the window.
Once this process is done correctly, your air conditioner will be ready for use. As is the case with all types of portable air conditioners, remember to vent it outside correctly. This simple precaution will enable you to get the most out of your device.
You will have to mind the base of this air conditioner. Its relative narrowness exposes the air conditioner to accidental falls in case a person knocks it. It may be wise to ensure that the air conditioner is placed in a location that people do not frequent about their daily businesses.
- The air conditioner is Wi-Fi-enabled for your convenience
- Easy installation by venting either through the window or the wall
- It has a refrigerant that is friendly to the environment
- The base is relatively narrow
5. Whynter Elite ARC-122DS Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner
You will immediately note the range of powerful and exciting features that the Whynter Elite ARC-122DS portable air conditioner has.
Notably, its wide temperature range of 61 degrees Fahrenheit and 89 degrees Fahrenheit offers you maximum comfort. You can quickly select the temperature that the air conditioner should maintain using the digital thermostat.
The programmable timer is a great addition. It has a span of 24 hours. It is a good idea to switch on the air conditioner a few hours or minutes before one gets to the house.
This programmable timer lets you do this. You can set the air conditioner to start running just a few hours before anyone gets home.
The auto-drain function is a great feature too. Air conditioners that lack this feature are quite cumbersome to use.
You must connect pipes to remove the condensate that accumulates as the air conditioner cools hot and humid air in the house. However, the auto-drain function ensures that all the condensate is disposed of immediately it forms.
- Powerful air-cooling capacity that is sufficient for spaces of 450 square feet
- It has a 24-hour programmable timer and a wide temperature range
- The auto drain function makes things easy by emptying the condensate continuously
- Highly bulky
6. TCL 14P31 Portable Air Conditioner
The large LED display panel found on the side of this air conditioner makes things easy for you. You can monitor the changes that you make and ensure that the air conditioner operates at the precise level according to your needs at any time.
The digital controls complement the LED display panel to ensure that one can tailor the air conditioner’s performance to their preferences.
It is easy to use this air conditioner because of the kind of filter that is included. Washing the filter is an easy process. Your simple slide it out of the device’s compartment, run it through clean water and reinstall it.
The air filter effectively prevents dust and other small and unwanted particles from making their way into the air in the room.
- Easy-to-use digital controls and a LED display panel on the side of the air conditioner
- It has a washable and reusable filter
- The air conditioner has a powerful air-cooling capacity of 14,000 BTUs
- The installation process is slightly complicated, particularly for someone who has little experience
7. hOmelabs Portable Air Conditioner
Although one does not have to keep moving a portable air conditioner around the house, many people like to get a portable device.
The hOmelabs Portable Air Conditioner is quite portable because it has caster wheels, and its design is compact. Moving it around the house is a hassle-free process, thanks to these features.
Additionally, this air conditioner has various features that ensure effective cooling of the air in the house. Its BTU capacity, which is 14,000, can be enough to keep your large living room that measures up to 650 square feet cool enough. Besides, the device can effectively dehumidify the air by removing about 3 pints of excess moisture from the air every hour.
The only significant drawback of using this air conditioner is that it uses a single-hose ventilation method. Air conditioners that use a single-hose exhaust method create a low level of air pressure indoors. The good news is that you will hardly feel the effects of this pressure when you are in the house.
- The caster wheels make the air conditioner quite mobile
- Powerful air-cooling capacity for spaces as large as 600 square feet
- The air conditioner comes with a remote control
- The air conditioner uses a single-hose ventilation method
8. De’Longhi PACN135EC 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner
The De’Longhi PACN285GN has some of the most notable features you would expect to find in a modern portable air conditioner. This device has three distinct functions: cooling, heating, and dehumidifying the air.
When set on the default mode, this air conditioner can remove large amounts of moisture from the air indoors. Also, it has a wide temperature range of between 61 degrees Fahrenheit and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This lets you tailor the device to your needs.
You do not have to worry about leakages when using this air conditioner. It has modern technology that ensures all the condensate forms from the air are immediately removed from the device. This technology saves you from having to use buckets or pipes to drain the condensate.
Modern and highly energy-efficient air conditioners have an EER of at least 11. The De’Longhi PACN285GN has an EER of 12, which means that it effectively utilizes power.
- The device has three distinct functions
- This device has an innovative no-drip feature that ensures immediate removal of condensate
- The air conditioner has a high EER of over 12
- The timer has a relatively narrow span of only 12 hours
9. JHS 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
The JHS Portable Air Conditioner has large louvers on the side that you can adjust vertically. Adjusting the louvers lets you change the speed and direction of flow of the cool air that the air conditioner releases when operating. You can take advantage of the adjustable louvers to carry out zonal cooling if you use the air conditioner in a large area.
You will find it easy to move this air conditioner from place to place if there is a need for doing so. The device has a handle and caster wheels. These let you move the air conditioner quickly by rolling it using the wheels or carrying the device using the handle.
This device is suitable for use during very humid days. It can remove up to 50.7 pints of water every day. More so, the air conditioner automatically removes the condensate, thus saving you the trouble of connecting pipes.
This air conditioner does not have a double-hose ventilation system. Air conditioners with a single-hose ventilation system, like the De’Longhi PACN285GN, create negative air pressure in the house.
- The louvers are adjustable vertically for adequate air circulation
- The air conditioner has a handle and wheels for mobility
- Extraordinary dehumidification capacity of 50.3 pints per day
- The air conditioner uses a single-hose ventilation method
10. SereneLife SLPAC Portable Air Conditioner
If you are looking for an air conditioner with a compact design and effective performance features, the Serene Life SLPAC may be the right device for you. It is compact and has caster wheels that complement its lightweight nature.
You will find it easy to move this air conditioner from one room to another. The only problem is that you will have to disconnect the window kit and carry the pipes to the other room for installing the venting mechanism either through the window or the roof.
The remote control and large digital buttons make things easy for you. The remote control fits into your palm perfectly. You will enjoy using it to control every aspect of the functionality of this air conditioner. The digital controls let you make precise changes to the air conditioner.
This air conditioner instantly cools the air in mid-sized rooms. It has an airflow value of 290 cubic meters per hour. This is enough to create and maintain a cozy environment in living rooms, bedrooms, and mid-sized offices.
- Lightweight for enhanced portability
- It has a remote control and digital touch buttons
- High airflow of about 290 cubic meters per hour
- Relatively low EER of 11