With the temperatures beginning to rise as we move toward summer, you might want to look for new options to keep cool early on before they’re in high demand. That’s where portable air conditioners come in. The best ones are quiet, convenient, effectively cooling, and affordable, which is especially useful for those who don’t want to invest too much into central air conditioning.
There are plenty of portable air conditioners to choose from, but you really need to look for the best ones that live up to their claims and avoid the ones that simply don’t. To start you off, we’ve compiled a few of the best (and quietest) portable air conditioners for you, to give an idea of what you want to look for.
What to Look for in a Portable Air Conditioner
Portable air conditioners have one advantage compared to wall-mounted units, and that perk is right there in the general description of the product category. However, if you’ve never shopped for a portable air conditioner before, you might want to arm yourself with a little bit of knowledge, so here it goes:
- One of the main factors that influence people in choosing one portable air conditioner over another is the level of noise output. That being said, some units are quieter than others, and you want to use the air conditioner in your bedroom at night or in your office while you’re working, loud fans will be a nuisance. To determine the level of noise generated by a certain unit, here are some facts that you should know. Sound levels are measured in decibels (dB, for short). Most regular air conditioning units will generate a noise output of 50 to 75 dB. A good thing about portable air conditioners is that you can reposition the vents and hose to fiddle with proximity of the sound generated. It’s always important to consider dB levels when buying an air conditioning unit.
- When scouting the market for a portable air conditioning unit, you will notice that some models have a single hose, while others have two. Here is what you should know about them. Single-hose units are typically designed for smaller spaces but they will take a toll on the air pressure inside the room. Being in a small room with closed doors and windows while a single-hose unit is functional might cause a vacuum-like effect. Technically, the air conditioner will pull in air and push out hot air. The effect is not that desirable, especially if you have other electronics running into the room (which means that you have more heat sources). Dual-hose air conditioners are better in this sense, because they have a hose that’s designed specifically for sucking air from the outside.This eliminates the aforementioned effect and work way better for larger rooms. However, these units also occupy more space, so the term “portable” becomes a little more relative.
- There are a bunch of extra features that a portable air conditioner may or may not have. While these are not mandatory for the proper functioning of the unit, they are added for the comfort of the user, expanding the way in which one can out the product to good use. Some portable air conditioners allow you to adjust the fan speed. Others also have integrated heat settings so they can be used as heaters throughout the colder seasons. Some models have timers so the units can automatically turn on and off at specific time intervals. Others have remote control that will allow you to fiddle with the settings of the unit even from a distance.
- It’s also important to note that modern portable air conditioners come with a dehumidifier mode, a feature which is princess in spaces where you have to deal with disturbingly high humidity levels. These products generally have a hose that will extract moisture for the air and eliminate it, but you can also find models with auto-evaporation features.
The Role of BTUs
BTU is short for British Thermal Unit, and it’s a product specification that you will have to look into before buying any type of air conditioner. We didn’t mention it earlier because we need to go into further depth on the matter, meaning that BTUs deserve a section of their own.
Here is where things start to get a little more complicated and techy. BTUs are a reflection of the thermal energy that a unit has to generate in order to raise pure liquid temperature to the ideal water density point level. Translation? That’s why your electricity bill goes up when you use your air conditioners. Every BTU that an air conditioner is equipped with requires about 1,000 watts of energy every second.
The number of BTUs that your portable air conditioner should have will depend on the size of the area you’re trying to cover. For example, spaces that are smaller than 200 square feet will need about 4,000 BTUs, those that are around 500 square feet require about 10,000 BTUs. Larger areas (about 1,000 square feet) will need air conditioners with about 20,000 BTUs. If you do the math, you will realize that every 100 square feet of space requires around 2,000 BTUs.
The best way to know how many BTUs you need in your air conditioner is to actually start measuring rooms around the house (or at least those where you want to place the air conditioning unit). With that being said, you will need to avoid buying a portable air conditioner that has way too many BTUs because all you’re going to achieve is ending up with a higher electricity bill for nothing.
Benefits of Portable Air Conditioners
There are plenty of benefits to choosing a portable air conditioner, especially when you compare them with permanent wall-mounted units. Some of the most popular reasons why people choose to buy these products include:
- They can be installed even in buildings where installing air conditioners isn’t normally allowed. As strange as it may seem for those of us who have wall-mounted units and never had to deal with such problems, there are apartment buildings that will not allow homeowners to install AC units, so the portable air conditioner is a viable solution.
- The fact that they are portable is one of the greatest advantages that these units offer over regular air conditioners. As you may know, it is generally advised not to stay in the same room as the air conditioner while it’s running for health reasons, and having a wall-mounted AC can be frustrating in that sense. There is also the matter of having the unit installed in one room and wanting cooler air in another. With portable units, you won’t have to worry about that, as you can simply pick them up and move them around so you won’t have to deal with this problem.
- If you have small rooms, a wall-mounted air conditioner can be a bit of an overkill, and this where portable units come in. If you buy a small portable air conditioner, you can cover a smaller space and get just the right amount of cool air without having to spice up that electricity bill too much. And it’s more than just that: since there are smaller ACs you can buy, you won’t have to worry about not having enough room space to place them, so this perk offers a double win.
- Those of you that have an RV and like to travel in the summer can surely use a portable air conditioner. You can simply pack the unit in your RV and enjoy cool air even if you’re not at home.
Some units also have dehumidifying functions, and these are important if you live in an area where constant elevated humidity is a problem. In fact, living in high humidity levels is bad to both your health and the integrity of your home, as it can favor the apparition of mold and create an environment favorable for bacteria to thrive. Even more, there are certain portable air conditioning units that have a dehumidifier only mode, which means that you can use the product to lower air moisture without having to turn on the cooling feature simultaneously.
Do You Need a Portable Air Conditioner?
One of the ways to make sure that you’re spending your money wisely is to consider whether or not you actually need the product that you want to buy. If you’re not sure whether it’s worth investing in a portable air conditioner, consider the following:
- Window AC units can prevent natural light from coming inside, so if you don’t want to block the window, portable ACs are the way to go.
- If you have a small room that requires air conditioning, a portable unit is a much better choice compared to a regular one. It can produce the right amount of cool air to cover the room.
- You travel during the summer in an RV and could use air conditioning while doing so.
- You want an air conditioning unit but regular ones consume too much electricity and you want to spend too much money.
- You have often found yourself in a situation where you felt too hot in several rooms inside the house and you needed a solution for cooling them as you move from one room to another. A portable AC unit also helps if you have a standard air conditioner that can’t handle cooling the air in multiple rooms of the house at once. Simply put, a portable unit can offer spot air cooling in a specific area of the house.
- You want an air conditioner that doesn’t put you through the hassle of having to install it. It usually takes a professional to help you with the installation process, and that will cost you extra.
- Portable air conditioners are ready to use out of the box.
- Your apartment building doesn’t allow mounting an air conditioning unit for whatever reason.
The 5 Best Quietest Portable Air Conditioners
If your current air conditioner is super loud, or you’re in the market for a new one anyway, these are the top five best and quietest portable air conditioners you can get!
As far as portable air conditioners go, the Whynter ARC-122DS Elite is a definite list-topper. It’s priced a bit high compared to others on this list but is well worth the investment if you live in an area where it’s hot and humid for a good portion of the year.
The ARC-122DS Elite is incredibly quiet; when in use, it’ll reach no higher than 52 decibels (dB). Despite its quiet operation, it works quite effectively in cooling down an enclosed area of up to 400 square feet. With three modes to choose from; air conditioner, fan, and dehumidifier, as well as full control over the air conditioner’s thermostat, you can benefit from the best customizable cooling for any sort of occasion.
Other features on the ARC-122DS Elite include a 24-hour programmable timer, CFC-free Green R-410A refrigerant, and an auto-drain function for draining out any residual condensate. This is a double-hose unit, meaning it can cool your room faster than single-hose ACs.
Setup is simple, as it should be for any portable air conditioner in order to easily shift it between rooms.
This air conditioner is more energy-efficient than other Whynter models, meaning you can save some money on energy bills in the summer.
This unit can cool up to a 400 square feet space (ambient temperature and humidity may influence optimum performance)View Deal
- Easy to move
- Energy efficient appliance
The DeLonghi PACN135EC portable air-conditioner is another 3-in-1 option that may cost more, but has plenty of positive feedback to justify its value. No matter what the season, this handy appliance will keep the air in your room nice and comfortable.
The three function settings – cooling, fanning, and dehumidifying – are easily adjustable using the remote control so there’s no hassle. By keeping the one room you’re in cooled down, you can save energy used by a central thermostat and cut some costs on your energy bills.
This air conditioner prioritizes powerful yet quiet operation. It can easily cool down a 550 square foot area, while producing no aggravating noises that disrupt sleep.
An easy-to-read lighted electronic display on both the AC and the remote allow you to read all the settings and change the thermostat temperature, fan speed, and cooling mode. To save energy, you can have a timer on for up to 12 hours of operation.
Thanks to the wheels and handles on the 3-in-1 portable air conditioner, you can enjoy moving this unit comfortably and setting it up with ease in a matter of minutes.
No-drip technology automatically recycles condensation within the unit, helping to prevent any type of leaksView Deal
- Easy operation, movement and setup
- Cools larger areas
- Pricey unit
Whynter has another model on our list of favourites for a reason- they simply just produce great quiet portable air conditioners. The ARC-08WB air conditioner has been made with a focus on being both cost and energy efficient, which is a huge plus for anyone looking for portable air conditioners on a budget. For any buyer that lives in a more moderate climate where searing hot days are uncommon, this is your best-valued pick.
In comparison to pricier models like the incredibly quiet ARC-122DS Elite, the 08WB is somewhat noisy. It takes a bit longer to cool the area as well due to the single-hose draining system.
This air conditioner is nonetheless an incredibly efficient appliance given its features. A self-evaporative system, for example, allows condensate to be exhausted out easily even under average atmosphere conditions.
The ARC-08WB, like the Elite, has 3 functional modes that can all cover a decent area, though the 08WB is limited to 250 square feet instead of 400.
Self-evaporative system - exhausts most or all condensate under average ambient conditionsView Deal
- Very energy efficient
- Excellent value
- 3 functional modes
- Not as powerful or as quiet as pricier models
- Single-hose model can face potential issues in severe heat
This relatively inexpensive portable air conditioner from Black + Decker has everything you need to keep your smaller rooms cooled down to comfortable conditions.
Made ideally for rooms with a 10 X 12-foot area, the BPACT08WT air conditioner is equipped to be lightweight at about 50 pounds and easy to move around with castor wheels and handles. That being said, the 16” by 11” by 26” dimensions may require a bit of moving around if you have a more cluttered living space.
This lightweight AC won’t take up too much energy either while it makes very little noise as well.
Setting this AC up in your room is designed to be as hassle-free and simple as possible, and it does just that. The only thing that requires regular maintenance is the filter which is both sturdy and made to slide in and out easily.
Like the rest, it comes standard with 3 modes for cooling, fanning, and dehumidifying so you can keep it in your room for any purpose all year round.
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Very quiet
- More suited for cooling smaller rooms
This stylish and powerful portable air conditioner comes from the reliable Honeywell brand, and is your best bet if you want a unit that moves around as seamlessly and effortlessly as this one does. This AC is sleek, compact, and best of all, quiet.
It may be on the heavier side at about 65 pounds, but it feels light as you push it on its wheels, especially across smooth hardwood or linoleum floors. The handles are ergonomically designed to keep your hands comfortable, so picking it up and/or bringing it up or down the stairs is no real issue. On top of that, it has a very easy installation kit
In order to better the air conditioner’s performance and longevity, it comes with a dual filter system that keeps hair, dust, and dirt out. The filters slide out and clean easily; just run it under the tap to wash the dirt off.
This AC includes 3 fan speeds, electronic controls, an energy-saving 24-hour timer, sleep mode, and a remote control. If you live in an area that isn’t excessively humid, worry not as an auto-evaporation feature means you don’t have to empty out the AC’s bucket every now and then.
Automatic vertical wind motion helps distribute powerful cool air evenly for fast & consistent coolingView Deal
- Very easy mobility
- Equipped to last long
- Easy installation
- Mixed reviews about cooling effectiveness
When buying any new appliance, it’s always crucial to do the research beforehand. You want a product that actually does the job as advertised, so be sure to check out reviews and previous customers’ opinions on these products mentioned in the list above. We hope this list helped you narrow down your choices for the best quiet, portable air conditioners for your home or office.