The best portable air conditioners

Feeling uncomfortably warm this summer? Get yourself a portable air conditioner. Designed for a single room or smaller space, portable air conditioners can move around easily without the need to be attached to windows.

These air conditioners work well in a couple different scenarios. First, they are useful in humid areas where you really don’t want to open any windows for fear that you will just make the heat worse, even with a traditional air conditioner. Second, portable units are handy additions in rooms where you can’t open windows and where climate control systems may not quite be up to the tasks, such as classrooms, offices, and data centers. Check out our top picks for portable AC units and coolers to find out more.

Black+Decker AC/Heater ($395)

Black+Decker AC and Heater

Versatile and powerful, this B+D model can cool down an area up to 350 square feet with a vertical flow of cool air. You can also switch it to a heating mode in the winter, with options up to 14,000 BTUs to make sure things stay toasty. There’s also air purification with an included filter and a dehumidifier to help draw water from the air to keep rooms cool and dry — although note that the dehumidification feature does require a non-permanent window vent, so it won’t work in a fully sealed room. There aren’t any smart features with this model, but it does come with a handy remote that shows you the current temperature and allows for programming, fan adjustments, and more.

Buy it now at:

Amazon

LG LP1013WNR Remote AC ($500)

LG LP1013WNR Remote AC

This solid model takes the work out of your hands with a programmable 24-hour schedule and an auto evaporation system, with the ability to cool down a 300 square-foot area. The remote control allows you to control operation and fan speed. If you’re not using a window vent, the unit will dehumidify the air and dump the water into a storage container. In humid areas, this container can fill quickly, so remember to empty it regularly.

Buy it now at:

Amazon

Whynter ARC-101 AC/Dehumidifier ($450)

Whynter Model AC

Whynter’s powerful model can cool a 300-square-foot room and switch between AC, simple fan, and dehumidifier modes as needed (as usual, the dehumidifying mode is designed to be used with a window vent, and can remove up to 70 pints per day). It also does a pretty good job of purification with a pre-filter and carbon filter. The controls allow you to program a daily schedule with specific temperatures for the room. All in all, it can be a great home or business unit, but it is a bit larger and louder than many home AC units.

Buy it now at:

Amazon

Portacool PACJS240A1 Jetstream 240 Evaporative Cooler ($1,500)

Portacool PACJS240A1 240 Evaporative Cooler

This Jetstream model is an evaporate cooler, and it’s important to recognize the difference. An AC unit absorbs and rechannels heat. An evaporative cooler instead sprays a fine mist of cool water vapor into the room to help lower the temperature. This makes coolers particularly well-suited for drier areas. It also saves energy. This particular powerful model uses about the same energy as a toaster, comes with variable and powerful air speeds, and can help cool down spaces up to 1,125 square feet. If you’re looking for a commercial-oriented model for larger spaces and workshops, Portacool has your back.

Buy it now at:

Amazon

Frigidaire Smart AC ($540+)

Frigidaire Smart AC

Frigidaire’s smart unit offers a Wi-Fi connected air conditioner with a smart app for controls and an auto cool function you can set up so the unit turns on when it’s needed. There are three cooling levels and three fan speeds to play with, as well as a sleep and energy saver modes. It can cool up to a 550 square foot room, making this model perfect for most homes. There is a dehumidification function, but since it’s not designed for a window vent it can only remove three pints of water per hour. Also, note that the conical design means this model works best when placed in the center of a space.

Buy it now at:

Amazon

Honeywell CS071AE Cooler/Humidifier ($130)

Honeywell CS071AE Cooler Humidifier

We’re sure you’ve noticed, many of the best portable air conditioners tend to hover around the $500 mark. If that’s too expensive for you, check out this cooler and humidifier that includes a robust dust filter and useful remote control. It’s especially affordable, but it’s also designed for small spaces. Make sure you position it right next to a desk or sofa so that you can feel the effects.

Buy it now at:

Amazon

Hisense AP10CW1G High-Flow AC ($500)

Hisense AP10CW1G High-Flow AC

Compact and minimalist, Hisense’s model is smart and easy to use, ideal for trouble-free cooling that covers up to 300 square feet. It’s also plenty smart, with an app for programming, a separate remote, and compatibility with Amazon Alexa if you feel like giving it voice commands. Note that this model does come with a window kit and is intended to work in proximity to a window that you can open. Consider it for an apartment or smaller work area.

Buy it now at:

Amazon

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