Buying a Portable Air Conditioner
If you need to cool a small room, want the flexibility of moving your appliance from room to room and don’t mind a little extra noise, a portable air conditioner might be right for you.
The first thing to look for is the appliance’s Btu rating, which equates to a specific room size it can adequately cool.
When selecting a portable air conditioner, it’s important to choose one that is adequately sized for the room in which you plan to use it. This will help ensure that the cooling unit doesn’t consume too much energy while still being able to cool the space effectively. Sizing is done using BTUs, or British Thermal Units, which are a measure of a cooling unit’s ability to remove heat from a room. A standard rule is that the cooling capacity of a room should be equal to its square footage, which can be determined by multiplying the length of a room by its width. However, because no room is exactly the same (especially due to obtuse rooms and ceilings) a few other factors should be taken into consideration when calculating the BTU needed to effectively cool a particular space.
For example, if the Portable Air Conditioner room is exposed to direct sunlight, you should add 10% to the recommended capacity. Additionally, if the room will be used by multiple people, it is best to increase the capacity by 600 BTU per person.
Many portable air conditioners also come with a remote control to allow you to adjust the settings without getting up from your chair. Alternatively, some models offer timers that allow you to set specific times or duration for the unit to run. Additionally, some units have a dehumidifying feature that collects the collected moisture in a drip tray or drainage hose and is automatically drained from the machine from time to time.
You’ll hear about BTUs a lot when shopping for an air conditioner, and it can seem confusing. It’s the amount of thermal energy required to raise a pound of water by one degree at sea level, and it’s used to measure how much heat an appliance can add or remove from the air in an hour.
When it comes to portable air conditioners, they’re inherently less efficient than their window and wall counterparts because they sit entirely inside the room they’re cooling, and some of the cooled air they emit ends up going back into the room. Because of this, the old ASHRAE rating is being replaced with what’s known as a DOE rating, which better accounts for a portable AC’s true cooling abilities.
Because an air conditioner’s BTUs are based on the total area it cools, you’ll also want to consider other factors such as ceiling height and whether or not the space is shaded. Getting an air conditioner with too many BTUs for your room will cause it to run constantly and waste energy, which can lead to higher electricity bills.
Conversely, an air conditioner with too few BTUs for your room may not reach a comfortable temperature and could overwork itself, leading to early wear and tear. For this reason, we recommend using our handy BTU calculator to determine how many BTUs you need for your room — and remember that a larger space will require more BTUs than a smaller one.
More and more home appliances are becoming smart, including portable air conditioners. Wi-Fi capability enables them to connect to a mobile app that lets you control key features remotely, even when you aren’t at home. Some also feature a 24-hour timer and sleep mode that automatically activates at your preferred times of day or week.
If you want to avoid the hassle of manually turning your AC on and off, look for one that has voice control capabilities. This allows you to use your favorite virtual assistant device (like Amazon Alexa Portable Air Conditioner supplier or Google Assistant) to turn it on or off and change cooling settings from anywhere in the room.
Another smart feature is a dehumidifier that removes water from the air to reduce humidity. Some portable air conditioners can also act as a fan, which circulates the cool air to other parts of the room.
Lastly, look for an energy-efficient model with an Energy Star rating that meets strict efficiency guidelines to help you save on electricity costs and reduce your environmental impact. Some models have a pre-filter to reduce larger microbes, dust and pet hair to keep the air clean. Others have a more thorough air purification system that uses a carbon filter or HEPA to remove odors, allergens, and other harmful particles from the air.
Many portable air conditioners come with features such as a sleep mode that reduces noise and targets a lower temperature at night, a timer that lets you set when the unit should start and stop cooling, or an oscillation fan that mimics the movement of a room fan to help circulate cool air. Some also have a dehumidifier function that can remove up to 101 pints of moisture from the air in a 24-hour period, making them ideal for use in basements or bathrooms. Some have a reverse cycle, which allows them to heat your home in winter as well.
Because portable ACs must be vented to the outside, they have to exhaust a certain amount of waste hot air. This heat is usually expelled through a tubing that connects to an open window, although some units are designed to vent directly out the wall or even a ceiling. Some have a built-in exhaust fan, while others feature a flexible hose that can be adjusted to suit different window widths.
If you choose a dual-hose portable air conditioner, it can cool more quickly than single-hose models because it draws in fresh outdoor air to help with the cooling process. Moreover, it takes less energy to expel indoor air, boosting its efficiency. While most models still have SACC BTU ratings that show their maximum cooling capacity, some have new CEER ratings that take into account SACC, standby power usage and other factors to provide an overall rating of energy efficiency.