5 Portable Air Conditioners Ranked

Portable air conditioners are good when you need to cool only a single room in your home, or when you live in a studio with a crummy wall unit and no central heating/ac, or when you go camping. They also free up the view out your window. On the downside, they recycle “inside air,” require a drainage tube or a bucket, can be noisy, and make it look like you have a dorm fridge in your living room. Slate reviews five mid-range portable units (between 9,000 and 12,000 BTUs, or enough to cool between 350 and 550 square feet).

Their top pick is a 9,500 BTU model from Sharp. Consumersearch.com picks a Sharp model as well, saying that “almost every review we found for this model comments that it’s quiet, making it a good choice for a bedroom. A nice plus for this model is that condensate doesn’t need to be emptied. Rather, condensation is sent out through the exhaust hose.”

Consumersearch.com also cautions, “Bear in mind that portable air conditioning units require more BTUs than window AC units to cool a room of comparable size.” And we should note that Slate’s review process is thoroughly unscientific, and doesn’t address energy efficiency at all. In general, you should look for the highest EER (energy efficiency rating) you can find. However, consumersearch.com warns that EER measurement isn’t standardized on portable models the way it is on window units, so don’t rely solely on this when comparing models.

And we were kidding about taking one camping.

Resources: consumersearch.com

Are some portable ACs superior to others? [Slate.com]

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