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Best Portable Air Conditioner for Home 2014 Review

Updated on July 22, 2014
Sunpentown SF-609 Evaporative Air Cooler with Ionizer
Sunpentown SF-609 Evaporative Air Cooler with Ionizer

When it comes to colder temperatures, warming up seems easier than trying to cool down when the temperature is too hot. When you’re cold, you can always layer your clothing as needed. However, when it’s too warm, you can only get so naked. That alone might be cause for embarrassment since stripping down to cool off is often frowned upon in our society.

If you live in a very warm climate, a home with a mediocre cooling system, or not one at all, then you can benefit from purchasing a portable air conditioner. Many times, installing a window air conditioning unit is not an option, especially if you are renting. The thing I like the most about portable air conditioners is that they can work just as well as window units, but be taken into whatever room is occupied instead of only functioning where it is installed.

These units usually work with a single exhaust hose that takes air from the inside of the room, and puts it into the condenser coils to spew back out into the room at a colder temp. If you find some that have an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 5 or 6, you can bet on getting one that runs the best, with the best results. If you find one that has a two hose system, in my opinion, they are better at cooling because of the way they bring air from the outside of the unit, to the coils, then to an exhaust, and back into the room. The extra step of the exhaust seems to make these units work even better.

Keep in mind that portable AC units are often a bit noisy to run. You can find some that are generally more quiet at low and mid levels, but when you need to crank up the settings to super cool your room, almost all of them make more noise than any of us would like. Some also have drain tanks to collect the moisture that inevitably gets created while they are running. Find one with a large tank so you are required to empty it less.

You need a unit with the right amount of BTU’s to cool the size of rooms you want to cool. 8,000 will cool 150 square feet. 10,000 = 250 sq. feet. 12,000 = 350 sq. feet, and 14,000 BTU will cool 450 sq. feet.

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Honeywell MN12CES 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote ControlWhynter 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner with HeaterKoldfront PAC1401W Ultracool 14,000 BTU Portable Air ConditionerWhynter 12,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air ConditionerSunpentown SF-609 Evaporative Air Cooler with Ionizer
Honeywell MN12CES 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control
Honeywell MN12CES 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control
Whynter 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner with Heater
Whynter 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner with Heater
Koldfront PAC1401W Ultracool 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
Koldfront PAC1401W Ultracool 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
Whynter 12,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner
Whynter 12,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner
Sunpentown SF-609 Evaporative Air Cooler with Ionizer
Sunpentown SF-609 Evaporative Air Cooler with Ionizer
5 stars for SPT Evaporative Air Conditioner

Best Portable Air Conditioners for Home Use

SPT Evaporative Air Conditioner

For an affordable option, this Sunpentown SF-609 Evaporative Air Cooler makes a good choice. You must be aware right off the bat that this machine is an air cooler, not an air conditioner and will generally not put out as frigid of air as actual AC units. This device runs by pulling air through a water saturated wick that helps eat up some of the heat in the room, and then an air stream comes out of the front of the unit that is cooler as well. At only 20 pounds, this machine is light enough to carry, though it features casters on the bottom for easier rolling. The directional slats oscillate to better spread the cool air into the room. If you find that you don’t need cooling, but just air circulation, you can use the fans alone on this machine. It can also be used as a humidifier as well. It features an ionic air purifier and all settings are easily changed either on the machine, or the handy remote control that comes with your purchase. There are three fan speeds to choose from and it comes with a nylon and photocatalytic filter.I have found that highly humid areas get some good dehumidification, but not so much cooling. Dryer areas get better air cooling since the system isn’t as overloaded with moisture.

Best Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner

Take a look at the Whynter Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner. This puts out 12,000 BTU’s of cooling power for rooms 400 square feet or so, and it features the double hose system that I mentioned seems to cool better. I love that it has CFC free R0410A refrigerant which is healthier overall, and it’s components are lead free as well. This large machine is a bit heavy at 95 pounds but it also has wheels to let you roll it from room to room more easily. There are three modes to choose from - air conditioner, fan, or dehumidifier. It will dehumidify up to 96 pts per day. It has a digital remote control and is very user friendly. Using the timer is very convenient for us since we don’t need it to turn on until late afternoon usually because of the position of the sun. If I’m away, or napping, I know that it can turn itself on. It also houses an auto restart system if there is a power outage. The hose can extend up to 49” to give you that much more room to use it in. If you choose to use it, there is a window kit included. I love how fast it cools things up; we can turn it on and in 20 minutes be more cool than needed! Setup was very easy and the size isn’t too large for my tastes. It seems to be about the size of an upright radio.

Portable Air Conditioner Home Use

Another well rated machine is this Koldfront Ultracool Portable Air Conditioner. Putting out 14,000 BTU, you can easily cool down rooms up to 500 square feet. This one is well worth the money, especially if you need to dehumidify. It has a remote control, and casters for easier transporting. You get 3 fan speeds, a 24 hour programmable timer, and a digital thermostat control with a range of 62 F to 88 F. It comes with a pre-filter that can be washed, as well as a replaceable carbon filter that reduces odors and pollution. If you need to use it more as a humidifier, you will love the upper drain port that can be attached to a permanent drain line. This way, you don’t need to empty any buckets. It will get rid of up to 27 pints of moisture in a day. The controls are easy to use and feature options for cooling mode, fan speed, thermostat settings, sleep timer, louver swing and dehumidifier only mode. I like that the buttons light up so you can see what you’re doing in the dark if needed. This unit is a bit heavy at 83 pounds, and seems a bit bigger than others I’ve used, but it functions very well and we’ve been happy with it in my house.

Top Rated Whynter Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner 2013

I really like the versatility of the Whynter Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner with Heater. This doesn’t cost too much more than top of the line air conditioners, but this comes with a heater as well. This one is also around 100 pounds but isn’t too hard to roll from room to room. It has CFC free and lead free components, and a great drain technology that reduces moisture collection. It uses and recycles moisture used in the cooling process so you aren’t left with emptying any buckets. Even though it has this feature, you will still get a bit of water drippage. I simply worked around this by placing a cookie sheet under it, and I check it about once a week. Your modes of operation include AC/Heating, fan, or dehumidifying. It will cool 61 F to 89 F, and heat 61 F to 77 F. The 24 hour programmable timer is always a nice feature and the remote control is convenient as well. For those needing to reduce moisture, it will get rid of 101 pints per day. The noise is unfortunately quite loud on this one. We have it in a room off to the side of the room we spend the most time in. This has helped cut down on the noise. Otherwise, I suggest you run it intermittently, or live with the sound.

Best Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner

You might also be interested in the Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner. This is a 12,000 BTU unit that will cool rooms up to 450 square feet, though I’ve found my rooms that are just over that, will still get adequately cooled. I love that it has a no bucket design so I can live without that extra chore. This sleek black and silver design will look great in any home, but particularly those with modern styles. You get castor wheels and a window kit as well. Dehumidification will remove up to 79.2 pints per day and you have three fans speeds to choose from. It too, has a 24 hour timer and a remote control with easy touch controls on the actual unit. The lights on the unit are enough to see by in the dark, but not bright enough to disturb my sleep. This unit is a bit quieter than a few of the others we’ve mentioned here. It’s 79 pounds so it’s a bit lighter as well.

Best Portable Air Conditioners 2013

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© 2013 Bob Miller

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