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Portable Air Conditioner Guide for Beginners

Updated on March 13, 2010

Introduction to Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners are becoming very popular with many individuals who live in areas that don't have central air, but maybe live in an environment where one is still useful.  There are many places where a person may not have central air, but they also don't have the ability to use a window unit.  In this situation there are basically two simple choices: find a quality portable air conditioner or to simply deal with it.  The second choice isn't going to be very appealing for most of us, so that leaves the common sense, but possibly still very intimidating, option of picking out a quality portable air conditioner, something that may be very difficult for a wide number of people, especially considering how many consumers have never even heard of one of these machines until recently.

Portable Air Conditioner Pics

Click thumbnail to view full-size
One classic example of a portable air conditioner with hose.Another example of a portable air conditioner with hose.A more self contained portable air conditioning unit - better with smaller apartments or spaces.One person's ideal AC temperature.Another example of a portable AC unit.
One classic example of a portable air conditioner with hose.
One classic example of a portable air conditioner with hose.
Another example of a portable air conditioner with hose.
Another example of a portable air conditioner with hose.
A more self contained portable air conditioning unit - better with smaller apartments or spaces.
A more self contained portable air conditioning unit - better with smaller apartments or spaces.
One person's ideal AC temperature.
One person's ideal AC temperature.
Another example of a portable AC unit.
Another example of a portable AC unit.

Beginner's Guide to Portable Air Conditioners

Portable Air Conditioners: The FAQ

There are many common questions that individuals have when looking to purchase a portable air conditioner, but unfortunately many of these questions are not answered by the many sites that sell them. So I've put together this guide from talking to experts to try to help answer some of the most common questions that may come up about these appliances.

  1. What's the difference between regular units and portable units?  Portable AC units don't have to be put into a window.  They are either self contained, or have a hose that goes out a window to take care of condensation (the hose models are most effective).
  2. How do I vent hot air? Any good portable AC kit will have a window and venting unit included to pump hot air out of the room, and shoot out cooler air into the room.
  3. Are they sturdy? Portable AC units are tested rigorously to take a beating, and are just as stable as normal window AC units.  Plus there's the added bonus of there being no chance of an accidental accident with the unit falling out of a window.
  4. Do they collect water? They do, but the window venting system is more than enough to handle it.  Some portable air coolers (not the same as air conditioners) are self sustained and don't need to be changed out very often.
  5. What's the effectivenss? This depends on the model, the brand, and the area being cooled, but many of the best portable air conditioning units are more than good enough for the average needs.
  6. Is an air cooler or air conditioner better? These are 2 different things, but they can somewhat easily be told apart by whether or not they have a hose system.  The actual air conditioners have a hose system to be attached with the window.  The air cooler does not.  The majority of the time, the air conditioner will be the better choice.

Are Portable Air Conditioners Reliable?

Portable air conditioners are very similar to window AC models in that reliability depends most on the model of the AC unit, and the reputation of the company who produces them.  As a whole, these are not flimsy appliances.  They often weight 50-85 pounds and are designed to take a beating just like any other appliance in the house or apartment.  Cheaper models tend to work less well than more advanced models, just like with the window units.  So if your main concern with buying a portable AC unit is reliable, as long as you don't cheap out you should be able to find one that suits you.  JUST REMEMBER: Air coolers and air conditioners are not the same thing.  You want the actual air conditioner.

Comments/Reviews/Stories Portable Air Conditioners

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I believe my portable AC has only 1 fan a blower type it throws out the cold air while it sucks in and throws out the hot air and moisture threw the window vent as its supposed to its an LG 11000 BTU AC and Dehumidifer and its super cold better than any window AC I have ever owned!

    • profile image

      T. Hickman 

      8 years ago

      Here's a question Id like to ask everyone with a portable AC. A portable AC has a compacted design with the evaporator and condenser in one unit with two fans, one fan for the evaporator and one fan for the condenser, just like your central air system in your home. Now, if you stop think about it, the hose that is attached to the backside of your portable unit that carries the hot air from the room that your trying to cool reguardless hot or cold, where does that air come from?? I would say that it comes from within the room that your trying to cool, right!! There are two filters on the back of the unit, one for the evap and one for the condenser. Now your central air system in your home works basically like this. Your fan (blower) within your home pulls air through your returns (hot air)and blows it across a heat exchanger where the freon basically removes the heat and chills the air and returns it back to your living area. Now the freon carries the heat that was removed from the air within your home to the condenser that is located outside where it circulates through a heat exchanger while a fan pulls the outside air across the heat exchanger to remove the heat from the freon that was removed within the house and it repeats this cycle until the temperature reaches its setpoint on the thermostat.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The air conditioner is an important appliance for home and office. A portable air conditioner operates the same way as window air conditioner does. They cool your room by cooling the warm air in your home and exhausting the byproducts of heat and moisture out the window

      Portable air conditioners are air conditioners that can be moved from one room to another. Permanent installation is not required with portable air conditioners. They do require a venting outlet, though. Windows and walls are most commonly used as venting outlets.

      Some air conditioner manufacturers claim to sell portable air conditioners that do not require venting. These units simply do not exist. All portable air conditioners need to vent the hot air they remove from the room they are cooling.

      Portable air conditioner is a necessary appliance that your family must own. Its is more needed if you love traveling a lot. For more information about cooling, portable air conditioners and coolers, visit

    • Gift Experts profile image

      Gift Experts 

      8 years ago

      These are super for apartments. Give them to adult kids, folks! Nice gift idea.

    • Jerry G2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerry G2 

      8 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Thanks for the comments, guys. I figure sometimes the best portable air conditioner review is one that remembers to cover all the basics.

    • portableac7 profile image


      8 years ago

      Well, thank's a lot for the useful guides especially for beginner like me.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      A good collection and good advice. Thank you for a great hub.


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