Last updated: August 5, 2021

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Mini air conditioners are an ideal interim solution for summer temperatures when you don't have a conventional air conditioning system. You can choose between many different types. These include, for example, the evaporative air conditioner, which requires no special installation and provides quick relief. For even more efficient cooling, we recommend using units that work with coolant and conduct excess heat out through an exhaust hose. Here, too, you will find a large selection of compact models.

With our large mini air conditioner test 2021 we want to help you find the best mini air conditioner for you. We have compared evaporative units, monobloc air conditioners and single split models with each other and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages. This should make your purchase decision as easy as possible.




Summary

  • A compact mini air conditioner comes in different versions. Evaporative units are the most mobile and inexpensive solutions.
  • The highest cooling capacity in the comparison is provided by a single split air conditioner. These are retrofittable units that require installation by a specialist company.
  • The third variant, the monobloc air conditioners, are a compromise: they can be used almost as flexibly as the small evaporative units. They have a much stronger cooling capacity, but they do not work as efficiently as the single split units.

The Best Mini Air Conditioner: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for Mini air conditioners

In the following, we will show you which aspects will help you find the right Mini air conditioner for you.

The criteria that help you compare mini air conditioners with each other include:

In the following paragraphs we will explain what the individual criteria are.

Cooling capacity

The central feature of a mini air conditioner is its cooling effect. There are differences in the cooling capacity between the various modes of operation.

The models that work with the aid of refrigerant can achieve a reduction in room temperature. Among the compact devices, these include the monobloc air conditioners as well as the single split systems.

Environmentally friendly refrigerants include, for example, R290 and R717.

Mini air conditioners that work with evaporative cooling have a different mode of operation. Here, an internal water tank is used, which produces spot cooling. However, this is only noticeable in the immediate vicinity and is not able to lower the room temperature.

Thus, depending on the area of use, you can decide which of the cooling capacities is required to meet your needs.

Mobility

A big advantage of most mini air conditioners is their portability. This is especially true for the models that work with evaporative cooling. These often have a height of 15 to 30 cm and do not require a continuous power supply due to a built-in rechargeable battery.

The smallest models are only 15 x 15 cm and can easily fit on your desk.

This makes it easy to take this compact air conditioner with you wherever you go and it doesn't take up much space.

In contrast, other models such as the monobloc air conditioner are also flexible, but transport is less practical. The units are larger and require both a power connection and a way to lay the exhaust hose.

The least flexible variant compared to the product types listed is the single-split air conditioner. This must be permanently installed, but is still one of the small models on the market.

Power consumption

The small systems that work with evaporative cooling only operate a fan. Accordingly, this does not require much energy.

Larger models such as the monobloc air conditioner and the single split air conditioner consume more electricity overall. However, this must be considered in relation to their cooling capacity, which is much better than that of the evaporative units.

A monobloc air conditioner needs an exhaust hose that runs out through a tilted window, for example. For good cooling results, the free space around the exhaust hose must be sealed so that the warm air stays outside.

The Single Split air conditioner, on the other hand, can work more efficiently. Due to the professional installation of the system, there is better insulation of the room. No warm air can enter the room and the air conditioner can cool the room air more sustainably.

Installation and maintenance

A mini air conditioner with evaporative function only needs a filled water tank and is then immediately ready for use. To avoid unpleasant odours in the long term, the filter must be changed regularly.

A Single Split air conditioner requires a refrigerant line. This must be installed by a certified refrigeration technician.

With a monobloc air conditioner, the installation is somewhat more time-consuming, as an exhaust hose must be laid outside. However, it is sufficient for this if it is laid out of the window or under a door. It is important to note that the transition point from indoors to outdoors must be sealed as thoroughly as possible.

The installation of a single split system must be carried out by a specialist tradesman. In return, you have a long-term air-conditioning solution and you don't have to worry about a lack of insulation.

Noise level

The evaporative models have a small fan in their housing. Most models have different speed settings. This can produce an average noise level of 50 to 60 decibels. Some units specifically offer low-noise modes.

For comparison: 64 decibels is roughly equivalent to the hum of a refrigerator.

Monobloc air conditioners usually develop a volume of up to 64 decibels. Depending on the supplier, there are also quieter models that include a sleep mode and still promise continuous cooling.

The advantage of single split units here is that the fan is installed on the outside of the house wall. This means that the noise is carried outside and the room air is still cooled inside.

Design

The design varies greatly depending on the supplier. Particularly with the small evaporation models, there is a great deal of design freedom due to different shapes and colours.

Often, design aspects with benefits are integrated, such as mood lights or handles for carrying the device.

Monobloc air conditioners are also available in many different designs. With both types, the basic design remains the same due to the identical mode of operation.

There are fewer variations of single split units on the market. However, they also take up less space in the room due to their simple installation on the wall. As already mentioned above, they lose this advantage in terms of mobility.

Decision: What types of mini air conditioners are there and which is the right one for you?

If you want to buy a mini air conditioner, you can choose between three different types:

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Evaporative air conditioner Inexpensive, energy-saving, mobile Spot cooling, room temperature does not drop, humidity rises
Monobloc air conditioner Lowers the room temperature, can be set up flexibly, cheaper than split air conditioners Exhaust air hose, higher electricity consumption, volume in the room
Single split air conditioner Lowers the room temperature, more energy-saving, volume only outside Installation by a specialist tradesman necessary, higher purchase price, no mobility

In the following paragraphs you will find more detailed information about the different mini air conditioners. We also explicitly discuss the individual advantages and disadvantages to provide you with a well-founded basis for decision-making.

Evaporative air conditioner

Evaporative air conditioner

This air conditioner provides a cooling effect through evaporative cooling. The decisive advantage of this model is its mobility. Thanks to its handy dimensions, the unit can be placed in all kinds of places, such as on your desk.

In addition, these mini air conditioners are available from a price of about 25 €. Not only the low purchase price, but also the low energy consumption make the device a real bargain.

Advantages
  • Low purchase price
  • consumes little power
  • space-saving and mobile
Disadvantages
  • Cooling is only selective
  • Room temperature cannot be lowered
  • Humidity increases

On the other hand, the cooling capacity must also be considered. This is rather weak. This is due to the fact that the evaporative cooling only provides spot cooling. The unit is not able to cool the surrounding area or even the entire room.

Another problem that the mode of operation brings with it is the rising humidity during operation. As the name suggests, the unit constantly evaporates the water from the tank and distributes it in the room via the fan. This leads to a sultry room climate and possibly to mould growth in the long run.

Monobloc conditioner

Monobloc air conditioner

The monobloc version is a good intermediate solution. The unit can be set up flexibly in the room for the most part and is able to reduce the room temperature.

In terms of price, the models are also in the midfield compared to the other product types.

Advantages
  • Lowers the room temperature
  • Can be set up flexibly
  • Cheaper than split air conditioners
Disadvantages
  • Exhaust air hose must be laid
  • Higher power consumption
  • Loudness due to fan in room

The necessity of an exhaust air hose can be seen as a disadvantage. You must lay this outside when installing the air conditioner.

Depending on how well you can insulate the transition from indoors to outdoors, the cooling capacity will also increase. If too much warm air can enter the room, the power consumption automatically increases and with it the costs.

The units are therefore located in the room and transport the warm exhaust air outside. The fan in the unit develops a certain volume, which, depending on the model, can be perceived as annoying.

Single split air conditioner

Single split air conditioner

This third variant is an efficient way to cool an entire room sustainably. Professional installation ensures good insulation, which saves energy.

Another advantage is that the fan is installed outside. This means that the noise source is not located in the room and ensures a quieter environment.

Advantages
  • Reduces the room temperature
  • Operates energy-efficiently
  • Noise level due to fan only outside
Disadvantages
  • Installation by specialist tradesman necessary
  • Higher purchase price
  • No mobility due to fixed installation

On the other hand, the costs for this model arise during installation. This must be carried out by a specialist tradesman, as the unit is mounted on the wall of the house. A duct for the exhaust air hose is laid and insulated. This also eliminates the possibility of using the unit in different locations.

In addition to the installation costs, the purchase price is also higher than for the other types. This makes this compact air conditioner the most expensive in the comparison, but also the most sustainable variant.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about mini air conditioners answered in detail

In the following guide, we want to answer the most important questions about mini air conditioners. We have selected the questions for you and provided you with relevant information. After reading the guide, you will know all the essential background information about mini air conditioners.

Who is a mini air conditioner suitable for?

A mini air conditioner is especially recommended for rented flats. The unit, which works with evaporative cooling, does not require extensive installation and is space-saving. However, the cooling capacity is low compared to the other product types and cannot lower the room temperature.

mini Klimaanlage-1

Air conditioners come in different designs. Not all of them have to be mounted on a house wall, like the Single Split air conditioners. (Image source: Mak / unsplash)

Single split systems, on the other hand, which can be retrofitted in individual rooms, require professional installation. If you live in a rented property, an agreement must be made with the landlord. As a homeowner, you can make this decision yourself.

A monobloc system is often a suitable interim solution. It is somewhat larger than the smaller evaporative units, but achieves effective cooling throughout the room. It is important to note here that the exhaust air hose must be placed outside for efficient temperature reduction. This means that the choice of location is flexible in so far as there is a window or door nearby.

In general, before purchasing a mobile air conditioner, it is recommended that all conventional tips be tried first to lower the room temperature. This includes, for example, lowering the roller shutters during the day and only ventilating in the evening when the temperature is lower.

When is which type of mini air conditioner recommended?

This depends on a number of factors. First and foremost, how much budget someone has for a mini air conditioner. In addition, it is relevant what cooling capacity and other additional functions you expect.

An evaporative air conditioner is the right choice for you if you want a little cooling for little money. It is quickly ready for use and also compact to take with you. This means that you can always have the device with you, for example at work or outside. The integrated water tank increases the humidity during operation. This can be a pleasant change in dry air and high temperatures.

The monobloc air conditioners cover your needs best if you want to cool an insulated room. You can set your desired temperature to be reached by cooling. Often, these mini air conditioners also have different modes, such as a quiet cooling level. Another feature of the monobloc units is that they reduce the humidity in the room.

Optimal results can only be achieved with a monobloc air conditioner if there is a good seal to the outside temperatures. You can take a closer look at this in the following video.

The single split units are well suited for you if you are looking for a long-term solution. This air conditioner is also the most expensive variant in this comparison. It can efficiently cool down entire rooms while maintaining the room temperature at your desired level. Interesting additional functions can include air purifying properties and smart control via your mobile phone.

How does a mini air conditioner work?

Depending on the type of product, there are different modes of operation. In the following list, we have listed the different air conditioners and explain their structure:

  • Evaporative air conditioner: This air conditioner achieves a cooling effect through the evaporation of water. This must be filled into an associated water tank before commissioning. The cool water is drawn into a filter behind which there is a fan. A cooling effect is created by the air flow that runs past the wet filter.
  • Monobloc air conditioner: A monobloc unit works with refrigerant. The warm room air is drawn in and cooled with the help of the coolant. This in turn generates heat, which is discharged to the outside via the exhaust air hose. In the process, the water from the room air condenses and is also transported outside. The cooled air is released back into the room and has been dehumidified by the unit.
  • Single split air conditioner: The single split unit is intended for installation in individual rooms. It also works by using refrigerant and functions in principle like the monobloc air conditioners. The single split unit consists of two components, with one part fixed in the room, which draws in the air as well as discharges the cooled air. The counterpart is located on the outside wall, which carries excess warm air to the outside.

How much does a mini air conditioner cost?

The price can vary greatly depending on the type of product. While mini air conditioners based on the evaporation principle are already available from around €25, the price range of monobloc air conditioners starts at around €250.

In a higher price segment are the single split air conditioners with a price level starting at about 500 €. The following table gives you an overview of the purchase costs you can expect:

Type price range
Evaporative air conditioner approx. 25 - 80 €
Monobloc air conditioner approx. 250 - 700 €
Single split air conditioner approx. 500 - 900 €

As with most products, the price also depends on the manufacturer. Especially with evaporative air conditioners, there are many unknown manufacturers who offer very low-priced products. However, attention must also be paid to the quality of the workmanship. In case of doubt, this will affect the longevity of the unit.

What alternatives are there to a mini air conditioner?

A mini air conditioner is often an ideal interim solution. An alternative that quickly provides relief is a fan. However, it must be noted that this only circulates the air and does not measurably cool the air in the room.

We have selected a video for a direct comparison between a vaporisation air conditioner and a fan, which includes all relevant aspects.

To achieve a similar cooling effect as with an evaporative air conditioner, you can use a trick for a short time. For this you need a fan. You can place a wet towel in front of it. As the air stream passes the wet towel, the water will evaporate. This gives almost the same effect as the evaporators.

If you are willing to invest more money, you would be well advised to buy a conventional air conditioner. This serves as a long-term solution for high temperatures and, depending on the installation, can be applied to all rooms as a complete air-conditioning system.

What problems can occur with mini air conditioners?

Especially with evaporative air conditioners, it is important to note that the air filter must be changed regularly. These can be reordered if necessary. The water tank must also always be refilled and cleaned, depending on the intensity of use. If this is not the case, bacteria or mould can form, causing unpleasant odours and affecting the air quality.

mini Klimaanlage-2

With mini air conditioners, there are a few aspects you need to consider. These include, for example, regular cleaning for good air quality. (Image source: ThisIsEngineering / pexels)

Monobloc air conditioners are often a good intermediate solution. But there are important aspects to consider here as well. For one thing, they only work if there is good insulation at the hose transition. Otherwise you cannot expect good cooling performance. In addition, you should also pay attention to the insulation of the exhaust air hose itself, which becomes very warm due to the warm air in it.

There is also a technical problem. With models that have an exhaust hose, negative pressure can occur. Warm air is sucked in from the outside and the unit works less efficiently. This can be remedied by attaching a second hose, which you can also do yourself.

Image source: sutichak/ 123rf.com

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