Choosing The Best Small Portable Air Conditioner


Portable air conditioning unit works well in small houses and apartments where other options, such as window AC’s, might not be an option due to restrictions or personal preferences. Another benefit of investing in the best small portable air conditioner is that it’s highly maneuverable, so you can quickly move it to any room of your choice. Almost all portable air conditioners come with wheels, or casters, to help you move them around without much problem.

Unlike small air conditioners, there’s no need to fit them inside your window frame. You can simply place them on your floor inside the room where you want to cool. However, they still need a window to vent hot air out through an exhaust hose. The process of vent hose installation is fast and easy as compared to the installation of window ACs. Proper window kit installation is necessary to ensure efficient cooling by the top portable air conditioner. There are guides available online that can help you in this process.

Is a Portable AC Right for You?

Almost all AC’s have common design elements, such as different operation mode and cooling mechanics, and they all need some kind of installation. The defining element that separates portable AC’s from other designs is that they can be placed on floor instead of through a window in a wall.

You can use these units around your house with ease and set them to keep you cool when temperatures are the hottest during the day. For instance, you can move your portable air conditioner to kitchen in afternoon. As evening sets in, you can easily move the best small portable air conditioner to your bedroom to control the temperatures.

If you don’t want to invest in a permanent wall-mounted AC, and want maneuverability and efficiency of portable unit, then there’s nothing that can beat a portable unit.

Best Portable Air Conditioners: What We’ve Evaluated, What We Found?

While evaluating portable air conditioners, we considered energy efficiency and cooling capacity more heavily than other elements or features. If an air conditioner cannot cool efficiently, it serves any purpose. So we first considered the cooling capacity of each unit. We also considered its energy efficiency and estimated annual operating cost.

We also paid attention of ease of use, different operating modes. Each unit we reviewed comes with a remote and a programmable time, so you can easily control the unit across your room. The design of the unit is also an important consideration. It’s important that portable unit is light and has caster wheels for easy maneuverability. Its noise should also be less. We also considered the cooling capacity. It’s rated in BTU. The best small portable air conditioner cools the room by pulling out moisture from the air. So it’s important for unit to have a drip tray so that you can empty it once in while. Many units have self-evaporating design.

Besides high cooling efficiency, we also checked the operating modes. You should look for one that offers you multiple modes to keep you comfortable. There should be fan-only mode when you don’t want cool air in your room. Look for dehumidifying mode if you live in a humid environment. If you want to use your portable air conditioner at night, you need to buy one with a sleep mode that gradually raises temperature during the night.

Best Small Portable Air Conditioners: Our Recommendations

We’ve evaluated couple of portable AC’s and are sure that the Whynter REC-12S, the Haier HPN12XCM and the Friedich PO9B are the best on the market. They are energy efficient and have good cooling abilities. They also have multiple operating modes, meaning you can easily customize these unites to your comfort level.

Whynter ARC-12S



It’s USP is its high energy efficiency. So it won’t break your bank if you operate it for cooling purpose. This unit is designed to cool 500-600 feet of area because it can produce up to 12,500 BTU. Although it doesn’t have some design elements, such as sleep mode or self-evaporating system, it’s one of the best small portable air conditioners you can find.

Haier HPN12XCM


This machine can work in rooms up to 600 square feet. It can remove 4.2 pints of water from air during the day and is best for humid environments. In addition, it’s operation is silent, so it won’t disturb you during your sleep. It comes with full five years warranty. It’s our top choice due to its cooling abilities, convenient features and design elements.

Friedrich P09B


This is the best small portable AC for removing all excess moisture from any area, as it can easily pull up to 4.5-6 pints of moisture each hour. It produces 9.500 BTU, so it works best in medium sized rooms up to 400 square feet. Although this unit is not as energy efficient, it comes with convenient features such as remote and an LCD screen. It is best choice for people living in humid environments as they won’t have to invest in a dedicated dehumidifier.