5 Best Air Coolers - Unbiased Reviews
We Tested the Best
Portable Air Coolers/Conditioners of 2020
Looking for the best portable air conditioner on the market today?
Smart! Traditional (static) air conditioners are outdated. They are expensive, noisy, dangerous to clean and cost a fortune in electricity. AND you can’t move them around the house.
All experts agree, a portable air conditioner is the way to go in 2020. And with the national weather services reporting that it is going to be a SUPER HOT SUMMER – you might want to hurry up before they’re sold out everywhere…
If you don’t have central air and need to cool a room ASAP, the first question you have to address is whether you want to buy a portable AC unit or a window air conditioner. A portable air conditioner is the best route if you can’t install a window air conditioner in your space because of design limitations or building restrictions. It’s also a better pick if you’d like a mobile air conditioning unit that can be moved from room to room or stored away at the end of the season.
Our team spent 2 months testing over 31 different portable AC’s in 2020. Scroll down to see the 5 winners.
This is what we tested for:
- Maximum Cooling Power
- Build Quality
- Value For Money
- Installation Costs (if any)
- Maintenance Costs (if any)
- Energy Consumption
- Multifunctional Suitability For Any Home, Office or Car
- Battery Duration and Longevity
- And all the extra’s like air filter and humidifier functions
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Are portable air conditioners as good as window units?
If you have the ability to window-mount, you’re likely going to have more success cooling a room. You may be able to find comparable portable AC units to those that have to be wall or window mounted, but you’re likely going to pay more for them. While portable air conditioners are meant to be easier to move about (they’re on wheels after all), they do tend to be louder and can be larger than their counterparts. And because of the exhaust hose necessary for venting, they’re not as portable as one may imagine.
Portable AC units take up floor space, so it’s important to make sure you have the extra square footage for one. You want to place the unit away from walls so the airflow isn’t restricted, but that will likely mean a longer hose and more space taken up. Which is another drawback, as they require an exhaust tube to be removed and re-installed each time it is moved to another space. For proper efficiency, you need to make sure the exhaust hose is as straight as possible as kinks can limit the effectiveness.
Do portable ACs have to be vented out a window?
Yes. A portable AC does not work without an exhaust hose. They have to be vented to the outside because they are extracting the hot air that you want released outside of the room. You can choose to vent through a window (most common), wall, ceiling, or even door in theory.
Since there are no portable ACs without an exhaust hose, you may want to consider an evaporative cooler if you want a portable unit with no venting to the outside. They require a large amount of water to cool the space and are ideal in dry climates where humidity levels are low and the air is hot.
How to find the right portable AC unit for you?
While useful features and aesthetics are nice, most importantly, you’ll have to find a portable air conditioner with the correct British thermal units (BTUs) or Seasonally Adjusted Cooling Capacity (SACC) rating for capacity. Too strong and you’ll waste unnecessary power, too weak and you’ll likewise use too much energy continuously running the machine on full power and still feeling too warm.
- BTUs: This is how conditioner capacity is measured. It equates to a particular room size for cooling.
- SAAC: More recently, the Department of Energy (DOE) introduced this new rating which is measured in BTU per hour and is a weighted average based on a variety of test conditions. You may have to size up if your room is atypical, such as having high ceilings or being in a particularly sunny place.