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Best Portable Air Conditioners 2017

Updated on April 6, 2017
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Greenmind is a writer, teacher, and musician who has written extensively about men's fashion.

Why a Portable Air Conditioner?

A portable air conditioner is simply a powerful cooling unit that can bring the chill to a large room, but can be moved from place to place. Window air conditioners are designed to be wedged into one window and stay there, more or less permanently. If you have ever tried to move one of these monsters to a different window, you know that it's difficult and often doesn't fit right. Portable air conditioners, on the other hand, are meant to be moved. They roll easily from room to room, supplying you with cool air where and when you need it. Since we got our portable unit last summer when our central air unit was acting up, we have been really happy with the way it works with our lifestyle. If you have a larger home or apartment and no central air, or your central air unit is on its last legs, then a portable air conditiioner unit might be an answer.

Affordable Portable Air Conditioners

Last summer my family was face with a problem. Our central air conditioner was on its last legs, and it actually quit working for up to a week at a time. This seemed to happen right when the heat and humidity was at its peak, and our house quickly got so hot that it was almost uninhabitable. Nights were the worst. Trying to sleep in 80+ degree heat and 100% humidity is hopeless.

Going without our air conditioner meant no cool air during one of the hottest times of the year. Replacing it would cost thousands of dollars. We talked about putting in window units, but we move from room to room as the day and night go on, and to put enough window units in every room would have also cost thousands, and been a disaster for our energy bill. Then I learned about a new kind of air conditioner that was exactly what we needed – stand-alone, super efficient air conditioner units.

Watch a Portable Air Conditioner in Action!

Portable Air Conditioners Save You Money

These units move where you are, so you don’t have to buy more than one. This is one of the best things about our portable air conditioner units – we can move it wherever we want, which means that we don’t need to go out and buy a new unit if we decide that we now want to settle in a different part of the house. A portable air conditioner is easy to pick up and move – it’s not light like a fan, of course, but you can move it without too much trouble – and all you need is a nearby window to vent it. When the hot months come and our central air unit starts acting up, we can pick up the cool air and move it to a new room if that’s where we’ll be for a while. Since it cools rooms of pretty much any size, we can put it in my den, my wife’s sewing room, or even in the big living room, and we’ll have a lovely cool, dry environment to do our work or just chill.

Excellent in an Emergency

If your central air unit suddenly stops working, you're stuck. If you have a portable air conditioner, you can fight back. Some days in the heat of that summer our central air unit just wouldn’t start at all, leaving us sweating and nervous that we would have no cool air at all during the worst part of a lower Midwestern July. We had a small child at the time, a baby really, and he really didn't deal too well with the heat and humidity. At one point I resorted to taking him out for long drives in an air-conditioned car because I was actually worried about his health!

On other days our treacherous central air conditioning unit would run fine – we just never knew. We called the repairman -- $80 just to come out, with parts and hourly repair added on to that. By the time he would be done, we’d have spent over a thousand bucks, and still have an air conditioner in less than ideal shape. So we waited, and the next day is worked fine. A lower-priced portable unit like this Honeywell 12,000 btu unit would do the trick and keep hundreds in our pockets.

Increases your comfortable living space

Instead of just hoping it would start day by day, we took a little money and invested in an affordable portable air conditioner. I didn’t think it would be a life-changer, but after a few days it was clear that we had stumbled on something really cool and useful. We basically stopped trying to use our shaky old central air conditioner and went almost totally over to the portable model. Our house is cool where and when we want, and we don’t have to worry about the old one dying on us at the worst possible time.

Last summer wasn't so bad, at least in the part of the country where we live. But the one before was terrible. As the planet heats up, we can expect more summers like that in our future. Either humans need to get used to sitting still and sweating, or we figure out a realistic way of heading off a serious calamity. Meanwhile, we have little choice but to find as many ways as possible to keep from overheating.

A New Office, Hobby, or TV Room

It might sound strange, but it's true -- your portable air conditioner makes your home bigger. It means that rooms and spaces that used to be too hot or muggy, or were just not as comfortable as the res tof the house in hot weather, are now back in play as places to hang out, sleep, and just generally live. You may find that you really didn't realize how you had basically retreated to a few of the more livable spaces in your own home due to the temperature, but when you plug that portable air conditioner in, that formerly hot and muggy room becomes a chill, comfy hangout space for the kids to watch TV, or the big kids to play video games, or your own office or hobby room.

Comfort in the Guest Room

Another benefit of owning a portable air conditioner is the flexibility to provide a cool, comfortable room for your guests. Guest rooms are often always too hot or too cold, and one of these units is not only a practical way to make the space welcoming, but also a visible sign that, to them, you care.

Cool Air and Control

Ever since i got my portable air conditioner, I began to realize that I didn't have to suffer in heat if I didn't want to. When the mercury climbed in July and August, and the sticky air started making me miserable, I came to the realization that I had the power all along. All it took was a relatively inexpensive unit to free up my house and my family and take control. Now I don't worry so much about the central air going out, or a guest having to sleep in a too-hot room. One of the more powerful units, like the Whynter 14,000 btu portable, is capable of stepping in when central air just isn't enough to keep everyone happy.

Hope We All Stay Cool!

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