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Portable Air Conditioner

Updated on March 31, 2012

portable air conditioners

Have you ever thought about buying a portable air conditioner? Do you have an outdoor workshop or some other building that you spend time in that isn’t part of your home? Or how about a room inside your home that isn’t cooled by your central air conditioning system? Even if you have a central unit, if you have a room with southern exposure and live in a hot, humid climate, your central unit might need extra help to keep certain rooms in your home cool and comfy. You might be thinking that your best option is a window air conditioner, but you could be wrong. For example, most basements don’t have windows, and your workshop might not, either. So what’s the best solution to your cooling problem? It might very well be a portable air conditioner!


What’s a portable air conditioner?

A portable air conditioner is an air conditioning unit that can be moved from room to room or from your house to your workshop. Since they’re stand alone units, portable air conditioners require no installation. All you have to do is plug it up and run the exhaust hose through a window, and you're ready to enjoy cool, refreshing air.

Portable air conditioning units not only cool rooms – they also remove the warm air and humidity from the room and expel it outside via the hose. The unwanted moisture collects in the water pan and needs to be emptied periodically.

Think of portable air conditioners as coolers – not chillers. They’re not as powerful as most window units or as central cooling systems. They will, however, make an area much more comfortable with the combined effects of cooling and removing humidity. As you might already know, dry air can feel much cooler than moist air, even when both are the same temperature. Portable air conditioning units address both problems.

Why a portable air conditioner?


As already mentioned, portable air conditioners can provide much needed cooling in outbuildings or in parts of your home that aren’t connected to your central air system. Even if your entire home is serviced by your central system, a portable air conditioner can also be used to provide extra cooling and dehumidifying in especially hot and humid times of the year. You might have a room with a southwest exposure that just doesn’t get as cool as the rest of the house. Portable air conditioning units could be beneficial here, too.

Portable air conditioners aren’t fixed in a certain location the way window units are. They’re freestanding and can be moved from place to place easily. They also come in different sizes, so if you need a small portable air conditioner for a small area, or whether you need a larger portable air conditioner that's capable of cooling a larger area, you can find the size that fits your needs.

Portable air conditioners can actually be used all year, even when cooling isn’t needed. They can also function as fans and as dehumidifiers.

What size portable air conditioner will I need?

The size portable air conditioner you’ll need depends on the size of the room or rooms you want to cool. First, figure the square footage of the room. Portable air conditioners come in four sizes, based on their BTUs.

For rooms up to 150 square feet, you’ll need a 7,500-BTU portable air conditioner.

For rooms up to 200 square feet in size, purchase a 9,000-BTU portable unit.

If your room is larger than 200 square feet but smaller than 250 square feet, you’ll need a 10,000-BTU portable air conditioner.

A 12,000-BTU portable air conditioner will cool up to 350 square feet.

How much do portable air conditioners cost?

Portable air conditioners generally cost a little more than window air conditioners, but of course they’re much cheaper than buying a larger central unit and running additional ductwork. And if you have two rooms or areas that need cooling at different times during the day, one portable air conditioner will work where two window units would be required.

To view an example of a portable air conditioner, see the photo below the article links.

A guide to portable air conditioners:

Portable air conditioner.
Portable air conditioner.

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    • etaCarinae profile image

      Sara Johnson 2 years ago from United States

      Great selection! You didn't mention portable handheld air conditioners, though - which are great for local (very local, lol) cooling during those hot summer days! http://pinstor.us/2014/04/30/portable-air-conditio...

    • profile image

      ibcm 3 years ago

      Hello Habee,

      Good reading your hub. Do you sell these units? Which is the best and what are the unit cost? Can you supply the units internationally? we have a project for it. you can reach me through : ibcm237@gmail.com . We can discuss further. Regards

    • BelyeaBrothers profile image

      BelyeaBrothers 5 years ago from 2 Thorncliffe Park Dr., Unit No. 24 Toronto, Ontario M4H 1H2

      I enjoyed your article! This would be great to show to my new employees for a quick look at some of the common questions we get asked about air conditioners.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Good point, Dr. Rock. Portable air conditioners might be the only choice some renters have when it comes to cooling their homes or apartments.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks a bunch, cameo!

    • Dr Rockpile profile image

      Dr Rockpile 5 years ago from USA

      Hmm, having an exhaust hose would limit their location possibilities, but it's a nice option for people renting who don't have central air, or aren't allowed window units (I couldn't have a window air conditioner in the front of the house, not sure how common that is for landlords.)

    • gamercameo profile image

      gamercameo 6 years ago

      Good portable air condition knowledge. I'm finding this.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Elf, thanks so much for stopping by!

    • elf_cash profile image

      elf_cash 6 years ago

      A portable air conditioner is sometimes your best option.I like your suggestions. Rated up.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Jenny, portable ac sure can be handy!

    • profile image

      air conditioning unit prices 6 years ago

      I just love these units.

      Jenny

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Abinavis, thank YOU for reading!

    • abinavis profile image

      abinavis 6 years ago from Bat Island

      I love this type of air con. More flexible and easy to use too. I would consider to have one some day, my children would be happy if I give them as a gift. Thanks Habee for all detailed info.

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Great idea, Nifty! Why don't you do it?? lol

    • nifty@50 profile image

      nifty@50 7 years ago

      If anyone ever comes up with portable ac(And I'm not talking about swamp coolers)for you car that plugs into your lighter port, they would be a very wealthy individual!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      A portable air conditioner is a great gift, Gift Expert!

    • Gift Experts profile image

      Gift Experts 7 years ago

      Gave one to our son for his 1st apartment. Love these!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Cool (haha), Portable! I remember when those big air conditioners sounded like freight trains! lol

    • portableac7 profile image

      portableac7 7 years ago

      14,000 BTU split portable air conditioning is ideal for me. It works powerfully and noiseless.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Seen, the window doesn't have to be in the room you want to cool. Most of the portable air conditioners have a loooong drainage tube that will reach to another room!

    • Seen On TV profile image

      Seen On TV 7 years ago

      I was searching for portable A/C units online and haven't found anything not requiring some type of drainage out the window. That's what I'm searching for because I don't have a window in the room I want to cool.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Proxy, don't give up! I'll ask hubby about a small portable air conditioner. Thanks for reading!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Fashion, I'm so glad you found the hub helpful!

    • profile image

      free proxy 7 years ago

      you know I'm kind of hoping they would make an even smaller sized airconditioner like half the size of this portable air.

    • FashionFame profile image

      FashionFame 7 years ago from California

      Thanks Habee for great informative hub. I was planning to buy a portable air conditioner for my mother on this mother's day. All the information I wanted is right here. Thanks! Liked your choice of topic.Im joining your fans club and would like to invite you to join mine and stay connected.

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Hammer!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Right, Viryabo. Thanks for reading!

    • Hammerj profile image

      Hammerj 7 years ago from Cebu City

      Wow nice to have that stuff...Good article...Keep it up.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Bret, thanks for stopping by!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Faye, I hope a portable AC solves your problem. As for a washer - how about an old fashioned washboard? Or a river and a rock? lol

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Herbi! I definitely think I prefer the portable air conditioner to the window air conditioner.

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Quildon, I'm glad the info was helpful!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Cool, Audrey - pun intended! lol

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Kaie! How was your Easter? Ours was great!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      granny, that's an excellent point that I hadn't thought of!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you, Ann, for the kind words!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Nancy! Good to see ya!

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 7 years ago

      I never knew these existed until a couple of years ago. They are so cost effective and as you rightly said, one unit can be used in 2 rooms at separate times, instead of purchasing 2 window units.

      I intend to purchase one soon to use for both my guest room and my study.

      Great article Habee.

    • brethodge profile image

      brethodge 7 years ago from USA

      That's great.. Portable air conditioners are very easy to carry anywhere.. You have mnetioned some of teh most reasonable ones here and good to look at..

    • Faybe Bay profile image

      Faye Constantino 7 years ago from Florida

      Habee, this is wonderful! My son is always complaining his room doesn't get as cool as the rest of the house, so he cranks the A/C and my electric bill really shows it! With this, I could probably leave the central A/C off most of the time, as his room is generally the only "hot spot" in the house! Okay, so my washer just broke, whadya got in the way of portable washers?

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      I've heard these are wonderful and so much cleaner than window units! If I ever live somewhere without central air I would definitely choose one of these! gReat hub!

    • profile image

      quildon 7 years ago

      I never heard of portable air conditioners before. Thanks for educating me. I know of one room where I can definitely use one.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

      I have one of these in my office as we hit about 105-110 in the summertime and I would barbecue if I did not have one while I sit and type all blessed day long! They are awesome and then we have another portable unit in a downstairs bedroom because our AC is only on the main floor and loft - it really helps!

    • Kaie Arwen profile image

      Kaie Arwen 7 years ago

      I like this idea! I have central air, but prefer my window units........... hugely because they're cost effective and not cooling the areas of my house that aren't really "lived" in. I believe I would like one of these........... thanks for the info...... and have a wonderful Easter!

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 7 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      My sister has one. They live on the bottom floor and didn't want a window air conditioner.If you live in the city and want to feel safer this is the way to go. Thanks for the hub.

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 7 years ago from Virginia

      This is too cool, habee. No pun intended! Today I "suffered" from too much heat! Had I had one of these I could have saved myself from a big headache! I will definitely look into this further, although your hub tells me everything I need to know! Thanks!

    • nancy_30 profile image

      nancy_30 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you for sharing this. I didn't even know they made portable air conditioners. Where have I been? I've gotta get one of these, they sound great.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      I have hot flashes, and they suck!

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 7 years ago from Georgia

      Now this is cool. I get hot really fast and this would proably cut back on using the central air. I can see myself traveling with this as well!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for dropping in, Eth!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      So you're an old pro, Woodamarc?! Thanks!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Yes, Sheila, the portable air conditioners double as dehumidifiers. Thanks for reading!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      These sound a great idea and affordable

    • woodamarc profile image

      Marc Woodard 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Takes me back to my Journeyman HVAC days when I worked on 1-1800 ton units. Used portables in factories for hot spots and vented heat through drop ceilings. From there heat exhaust fans in interstitial spaces vented heat to outdoors.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 7 years ago

      It gets humid in the middle of summer where I live, so I have one of these to lessen the humidity. It's not really for me, it's for the walls and furniture. I get cold easily, so I'm wearing lond sleeves while it's 100 outside.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      I used to have one, too, Chris!

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      I got one, and I love it !!!!!!