When looking for an air conditioner, there are two main options to consider: a portable AC unit versus a window AC unit. With a portable unit, you receive the freedom to move it from one room to another to accommodate changing needs. Window AC units, on the other hand, must be mounted close to a window.
Despite the difference, window units are much more popular than their portable AC counterparts. So, are portable AC units worth it? Are they better than window-mounted AC?
A refrigerant is a unique type of freezing technology that helps converts hot air into cool air. It works in a cycle and constantly changes from liquid to vapor at different stages of the air-cooling process. Refrigerants don’t remain cool at all times. After absorbing hot air inside your house and pushing it outdoors, they are then cooled by an AC’s cooling tubes to continue the cycle.
A compressor pressurizes the warm air absorbed inside your house so that it rises in temperature. The refrigerant then pushes the hot air outdoors with ease. Naturally, hot air flows toward cooler bodies, hence that’s why a compressor is required.
An evaporator coil is a funnel through which hot air enters the AC unit. As mentioned before, air travels from hotter areas to cooler ones. The evaporator coil is armed with cold tubes which help absorb warm air from your house.
Condenser coils are the opposite of evaporator coils. They receive hot air from the compressor and push it outside your home. This is necessary because not all hot air inside your house is cooled and sent back into circulation.
The important parts of a portable AC unit are housed inside strong plastic and metal cages. The unit also features wheels for easy maneuvering around your house. The best portable AC units use a vertical design, so that they stand on wheels.
Most portable AC units are heavy, which is ironic, considering their name. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t find conveniently lightweight AC units. There are lots of units in the market that weigh 70 pounds or less. They also come with caster wheels for easier movement.
Besides portability, performance is an important feature. Most units are designed to cool 6,000 to 16,000 BTUs. For clarity, a BTU refers to the quantity of heat a unit can remove inside a room. A 10,000 BTU AC effectively cools rooms of size 150 to 300 square feet. A 14,000 BTU AC will cool air in a larger room.
However, the more powerful the AC, the more noisy it usually gets. Poor quality units can produce up to 80 decibels of noise. A modern unit produces 55-75 decibels, which can be loud, depending on your tolerance to noise.
Price is also an important consideration. Many brands overprice their units even when the ACs perform poorly in cooling air. Find reliable portable AC units reviews online, and compare what the manufacturer says versus what customers say about the same product. Reviews can help you make a more informed decision.
When you purchase a modern unit, it cools the air inside your house, removes moisture and filters the air from any dust particles. Some portable AC units also come with fans that help redistribute cool air inside your house effectively when you don’t want to use the cooling features.
Window AC units are great, but you can’t move them around your house. Portable AC units let you move them from one room to another depending on where you want air to be cooled. Most units are vertically-shaped and fitted with casters at the bottom, which eases transportation.
Most Suitable for Small Rooms
Portable AC units are affordable and effectively cool air in small and medium-sized rooms. So, why pay more for window units that don't provide more value for your money?
LED Display and Configurations
Compact portable AC units can be configured to cool air to precise degrees, dehumidify the air to certain levels or at specific speeds in one place. Better yet, you can make your work easier by setting all configurations using a remote-control device.
Reliable for cooling air in small rooms
Easy to use with programmable features
Multi-functional to include air dehumidifying
Not effective in large rooms
The JHS 8000 BTU Air Conditioner is designed to cool and dehumidify air in small and medium-sized rooms. To be precise, the portable AC can effectively cool air in rooms up to 170 square feet. The AC also comes with an adjustable thermostat.
If you're looking for a portable AC that can also act as a dehumidifier, the JHS 8000 BTU is a good unit. It removes up to 30 pints of humid air every day, which is good enough to prevent the growth of mold inside your home.
The Black + Decker AC is built to fit inside small living spaces, dorm rooms or small offices. It's slightly bigger than the JHS 8000 BTU and cools the air in rooms of 150-250 square feet in size. The AC comes with a digital display, programmable controls, and other smart features.
Like the JHS 8000, this unit also features a dehumidifier that removes about 40 pints of moisture from your house every day. What’s more, this unit has an air filter that helps remove debris and other pollutants from the air inside your home.
The Colzer 14000 BTU is a new unit in the market, designed with elegance and high-end performance in mind. It’s larger than its peers but offers more features. It’s also top-rated on portable AC units review sites. Armed with 14,000 BTUs, this unit cools the air in rooms up to 5000 square feet in size.
The unit features an LED panel that you can control manually or operate using a remote control. You can set temperatures to a specific level and the unit will respond efficiently. Colzer is also a quiet unit, maintaining a noise level of 56 decibels.
A washable dust filter ensures your family breathes cleaner air after every air-cooling cycle. The AC also features an adjustable fan and a dehumidifier. The dehumidifier is incredibly powerful and eliminates up to 20 gallons of moisture per day.
The Ivation is surprisingly affordable for a unit that cools airs in medium-sized rooms of between 300 and 400 square feet. The unit costs $300, which is on par with most units that cool air in smaller rooms. The Ivation is programmed to cool and dehumidify air in five levels. A multi-mode feature cools and dehumidifies air at the same time.
The dry-mode turns an air dehumidifying wheel, and the Auto & Sleep mode decreases the unit's air cooling rate to help you sleep in peace. The last mode is the cooling feature. The Ivation is remote-controllable, and features an LED display to help configure settings appropriately.
The Costway doesn’t brag about cooling air in large rooms. It doesn’t need to anyway, because its customers are full of praise of how effective the air conditioner is in cooling and dehumidifying small and large rooms. Still, Costway recommends the unit be used in rooms up to 200 square feet.
The unit is fitted with four cooling modes. The multi-purpose mode cools and dehumidifies rooms inside your home instantly. The dehumidifying or cooling modes let you choose one function, while the sleep mode reduces its performance at night.
Portable AC units are the smaller cousins of window AC units. They cost between $200 and $400 and cool air in rooms up to 500 square feet in size. Most portable units also dehumidify the air. Some have fans and air filters that remove dust and other small particles from your house.
If you’re looking for an AC unit that you could use in different rooms, get a portable unit. The best portable AC units are impressively effective. They are easy to configure and have a reputation for being durable.