Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Portable Air Conditioner

Cool down those warm rooms in your home that just aren’t chilled enough by your HVAC alone.

While a portable air conditioner is not intended to replace central air, it does have numerous advantages over a window unit and is great for supplementing traditional HVAC systems. Easy to move from room to room, a portable air conditioner is relatively affordable, helps reduce humidity, and is easier to install than a window model. If you want to bring the temperature down in a guest bedroom, basement, shop, or any other space that needs help in warmer months, here’s how to decide which portable AC unit is right for you.

Fit for a Large Room

This model also works as a heater! Black + Decker


Like personal heaters and gas stoves, portable air conditioners are rated in British Thermal Units (BTUs). A small laundry room or study may need a unit with only 8,000 to 10,000 BTUs. Bedrooms, dens, and other spaces of 400 square feet or more will need a 12,000 to 14,000 BTU model. None of these machines are meant to condition a whole house. Instead, they are best used to treat individual rooms.

Works with iOS and Android

Even at its highest setting, this one only runs at 55dB. Rollibot


Even though you typically mount portable AC units on wheels, they still must be located near a window to exhaust hot air. Make sure the unit you choose will fit the windows in your house. The adapter panel typically expands to accommodate a limited range of widths. Larger windows, or those with horizontal sliding glass, may require panels with greater range to fill the opening.

Dual Filters

This unit is small but powerful and can cool a room down to 65 degrees. Black + Decker


The best portable air conditioners have multiple modes. They can be set for AC only, fan only, or for dehumidifying. Some dual-function machines can even serve as a space heater. An onboard timer is handy for setting the AC to a fixed schedule. Keep in mind that these machines can be loud. Some people find the white noise soothing. But light sleepers should carefully compare decibel (dB) ratings. The quiet end for portable air conditioners starts at about 45 dB with the noisier machines closer to 60 dB.