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The best portable air conditioners

For those looking to beat the heat, there are a multitude of air conditioning options available for your residence. While central air is the king of them all, not all of us can afford the luxury of room-to-room cooling, and sometimes, you may need an added cooling boost even if you have central air. Fortunately, there are window air conditioners, or the focus of our list today, portable AC units. Both are solid options, but a portable AC has several advantages.

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 like classrooms and offices where you can’t open windows and where climate control systems may not quite be up to the task.

Based on our extended experience with smart home products, we have chosen the best portable AC units for your needs. Check out all of our picks below.

Black and Decker AC/heater

Black and Decker Portable Air Conditioner

Versatile and powerful, the Black and Decker AC/heater 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 dehumidifying 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.

Evapolar EV-1500

If you’re looking for personal comfort, the Evapolar EV-1500 is the ideal desktop companion. Capable of cooling, humidifying, and air filtering, the cube-shaped hardware can handle a workspace of up to 45 square feet — perfect for a desktop, bedside table, dormitory, or other confined space. Power options include a direct electrical plug-in as well as USB power. If you’re lacking outlets in your cubicle, simply connect the EV-1500 to your laptop or other hardware.

If you’re tired of breathing in that stuffy office air, the Evapolar’s top-notch purification will come in handy. The internal filtering cartridge captures harmful airborne bacteria and other toxins, keeping the air in proximity to you free of pollutants and other invisible troubles. This is a tiny device so do expect to be emptying it frequently, especially during the summer months. All in all, if you need something to cool you down at your desk, look no further than the Evapolar EV-1500.

Honeywell CS071AE

We’re sure you’ve noticed that 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. The Honeywell CS071AE is 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.

Whirlpool WHAP141AW

Whirlpool WHAP141AW

For those spaces in your home that never get the cool treatment come summertime, it’s time for the 14,000 BTU Whirlpool WHAP141AW. Capable of cooling, fanning, and dehumidifying for spaces up to 550 square feet, three distinct cooling modes and fan speeds allow you to optimize the unit based on the room you’re placing it in. A bucketless design means no emptying heavy water chambers when running the WHAP141AW in cooling mode, as all of the air that the unit collects is automatically evaporated. We also love the front-facing Mirage display that showcases temperature settings from nearly any vantage point. A window venting kit and exhaust tail come standard with the unit. While not as budget-friendly or feature-loaded as some of the other ACs on our list, there’s plenty to love about the Whirlpool WHAP141AW, especially for homes with larger floorplans.

LG LP419 Portable Smart AC

LG LP419 Portable AC

For those of us that want the most out of our home appliances, the LG LP419 is one of the most tech-heavy ACs of our roundup. Right off the bat, the 14,000 BTU AC can interface with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Nothing beats walking into the living room and saying “Alexa, turn the air conditioner on.” Then, there are additional smart home controls available through the LG Smart AC app. Once the AC is connected to Wi-Fi, you can use the app to set temperature, timers, and power your AC on/off from the comfort of your home and on the go. This is also one of the quietest ACs of our roundup, operating at a quiet 44 decibels, making it perfect for bedrooms. Cooling (three cooling speeds and auto-cool), fan, and dehumidifier functions are your main modes of control. Best of all, the unit’s onboard dual inverter keeps the AC running smoothly, helping you to lower your monthly utility bill by as much as 40%.

Whynter ARC-101

Whynter Air Conditioner

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 prefilter and carbon filter. The controls allow you to program a daily schedule with specific temperatures for the room. All in all, the Whynter ARC-101 can be a great home or business unit, but it is a bit larger and louder than many home AC units.

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