Last updated: August 5, 2021

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The mobile air conditioner is the flexible version of conventional cooling units. Say goodbye to the thought of having to worry about permission from the landlord, strenuous installation work or huge amounts of money. Mobile air conditioners provide a pleasant, healthy indoor climate that enables better sleep or more concentrated work through lowered temperatures.

With our big mobile air conditioner test 2021 we want to help you find the ideal mobile cooling unit for you. We want to make the nerve-wracking choice between aluminium air hose systems and products with a water tank easier for you by presenting the most important buying criteria and questions for advice.




Summary

  • Compared to conventional air conditioners, the mobile air conditioner cools from any location you choose. You decide whether you want to buy it with no, one or two exhaust air hoses.
  • The mobile cooling unit ensures a pleasant and healthy indoor climate by permanently lowering the temperature and humidity and preventing unwanted mould.
  • In the office, bedroom or camper van - you can easily use the mobile air conditioner without the permission of the landlord or annoying installation costs. You can calculate the cooling capacity you need for your room in no time at all.

The Best Mobile Air Conditioner: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for mobile air conditioners

In the following sections, we show you criteria that you can consider when buying a mobile air conditioner.

These categories should be a guide for you to compare the different mobile cooling units and find the right one:

Below we explain what the individual criteria include and what you should look for when buying a mobile air conditioner.

Volume

Whether in the bedroom or in the office - the volume of an air conditioner also influences life in the respective cooling room.

In the best case, you will find a suitable unit that you can hardly hear. But what noise level is appropriate? Legally, there is no definition of room volume. These guide values refer to the volume that reaches the neighbours:

During the day, the values in the room of a rented flat should be between 30 and 40 decibels. At night, 30 decibels should not be exceeded.

In the office, according to the Workplace Ordinance, a noise level of 55 decibels should not be exceeded. The guideline values are 35 decibels for small work rooms and 45 decibels in open-plan offices.

Decibel values of 35 to 60 are considered harmless, but they can cause concentration disorders. Above a value of 80 decibels, one speaks of noise that can cause illness, stress and hearing damage.

Most air conditioners are in the range of 50 - 65 decibels, which is comparable to a normal conversation or television at room volume. It is also important that neighbours or colleagues are not disturbed.

With mobile air conditioners, a distinction is made with regard to the volume at which cooling is provided. Depending on the cooling capacity and the unit, there are different settings for the speed level or the timer.

Cooling capacity

The next criterion we describe is the cooling capacity of mobile air conditioners. The cooling load is given in BTU/h: British Thermal Unit (1000 BTU/h correspond to 293.71 watts).

You can easily calculate the cooling capacity you need yourself.

Multiply the room area in square metres by 60 if the room is well insulated and has little solar radiation. If there is a lot of sunlight and little insulation, multiply by 100.

The result is the wattage, which you divide by 293.71 and multiply by 1000. This final sum equals the cooling capacity your room, and thus your mobile air conditioner, requires. We will show you the complicated calculation with a simplified example for the cooling load of a 20 square metre room:

  • 20 sqm x 100 W = 2,000 W (or 2 kilowatts)
  • 2.000 W : 293.71 W = 6.809 W
  • 6.809 W x 1000 = 6,809 BTU/h

In our calculation example, you will need an air conditioner for a cooling load of around 6,800 BTU/h. Other heat sources and factors also influence the required cooling capacity, such as the number of people or technical equipment.

Area of application

Depending on the area of application, you should consider various factors. You must first decide where you want to use the mobile air conditioner - rented flat, caravan, (open-plan) office or gym, for example.

You can use some air conditioners not only for cooling, but also for heating on cold winter days to humidify the dry air.

With the additional ventilation of the rooms, they also help you to prevent mould.

Keep in mind that different rooms have different temperatures:

  • Bedroom: approx. 18 - 20 degrees
  • Living room, office, kitchen: approx. 20 - 22 degrees

In principle, mobile cooling units are suitable for any place where you want to ensure a pleasant room climate that cannot be achieved by simple ventilation.

Room size

The size of the room, like the area of application, is another criterion for your final purchase decision. Among other things, you can use this to determine which mobile air conditioner with which cooling capacity you will ultimately buy.

Adjacent rooms, window area, solar radiation, insulation, technical equipment and number of persons are important factors to consider in addition to the room size.

These aspects determine the cooling capacity you need for the respective room. Models with an exhaust air hose are suitable for large rooms, while a mobile air conditioner without an exhaust air hose can be used especially when camping or in a small office with few windows.

Power consumption

Wheeled ventilation units come in different energy efficiency categories. Make sure it belongs to category A - lowest consumption. The power consumption of the small air conditioners depends on the power, the daily usage time and the type.

The electricity consumption of a mobile air conditioner with a power consumption of 1000 watts generates electricity costs amounting to a maximum of 30 cents per kW/h at an electricity price of 30 cents per hour.

Before buying, you should think about whether you want to buy a mobile air conditioner with or without an exhaust hose.

Our detailed explanation follows in the guide section.

This decision is not insignificant for the purchase, as you have to take into account that the air conditioner with a hose usually consumes more. It has to use more energy to cool down the warm air that enters the room through the open window.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a mobile air conditioner

In the following guide, we explain some aspects of mobile air conditioning that you should consider and that you can take into account in your decision. These are summarised in order to give you a comprehensive overview.

What is special about a mobile air conditioner and what advantages does it offer?

Especially on hot summer days, many people consider getting an air conditioner. For a restful sleep, concentrated work and comfortable living, temperature climate and volume are the main components. We have listed the special features and advantages:

  • Easy handling: Complicated, troublesome installations are not required. You don't have to break through walls or ask the landlord for permission.
  • No disturbance of the peace: Noise, which is caused by conventional air conditioners on the outside wall, does not occur in this case. This saves you trouble with the neighbours.
  • Immediate operational readiness: You can decide yourself at any time when and for how long you want to switch on and use the mobile air conditioner, because you don't have to have it installed first.
  • Mobility: Depending on the variant (with or without hose), you can choose the place where you want to put it. This location can be changed, which is particularly suitable for volume control.
  • Constant room climate: Similar to a fan, mobile air conditioners also provide cooling. However, the cooling unit creates a lasting, pleasant room climate by operating for several hours a day. It can permanently lower the room temperature.
  • Dehumidifier: On humid days with high humidity, mobile air conditioners also act as dehumidifiers. In this way, they help prevent mould and create a healthy climate.

The mobile air conditioner therefore brings a variety of advantages that can positively influence your quality of life.

Klimaanlage mobil-1

A mobile air conditioner ensures concentrated work in the office, especially on hot summer days.
(Image source: Tyler Franca / unsplash)

But first you have to decide on a type of mobile cooling device. In the next section, we will introduce you to these two variants.

What types of mobile air conditioners are there?

In the following, we will introduce you to different types of mobile air conditioners that you can choose between when making your purchase. We will show you the advantages and disadvantages of both types so that you can find the right device for you.

Mobile air conditioner with exhaust hose

Mobile air conditioner with exhaust hose

The mobile air conditioner with exhaust air hose is the first type we introduce to you. This is also available in different versions, each with one or two hoses. With the help of the hoses, the warm exhaust air is discharged to the outside through the window or a door gap. Sealing the opening is important here.

In the two-hose system, one hose is responsible for the exhaust air and the other for the supply air. In this way, warm air from outside is also converted into cooling, which works with less energy input, especially in the evening and morning hours.

You do not need any structural changes for the mobile hose air conditioner and therefore you do not have to ask your landlord whether you are allowed to get one for your flat.

Advantages
  • No structural changes necessary
  • no need to ask your landlord
  • exhaust air goes outside
Disadvantages
  • Not very environmentally friendly with CO2 emissions
  • window or door must always be open a little
  • some heat comes into the room

Because the exhaust air is blown outside, mobile air conditioners with exhaust hoses are not exactly environmentally friendly with their CO2 emissions. In addition, warm air can flow back inside if the seal at the open window or door gap was not optimally planned.

For the version with an exhaust air hose, you have to reckon with higher power consumption, because the unit has to work harder to additionally convert the air from outside and to be able to cool it over a large area. Since the exhaust air is discharged to the outside, you will not hear as much noise from this unit as from the following product type.

Mobile air conditioner without exhaust hose

Mobile air conditioner without exhaust hose

The second type we present to you is the mobile air conditioner without an exhaust hose. Unlike the first variant, this device does not have a hose that conveys the exhaust air from the room to the outside.

This way, you don’t have to leave a window or door gap open to use the cooling unit. This also means that you do not have to cover any openings as precisely as possible and can omit the time-consuming installation of hoses.

Because there are no exhaust hoses, you avoid arguments with your neighbours because you make less noise. For this type of mobile air conditioner, you only need a power socket, which saves you additional installation costs.

Advantages
  • Windows do not need to be open
  • Only requires a power socket
  • Does not disturb neighbours
Disadvantages
  • Louder in operation
  • Uses more electricity than split systems, Not suitable for large rooms

However, you should still take into account the costs that you save thanks to the installation that is not required: A mobile air conditioner without an exhaust air hose consumes more electricity than installed split systems.

If you want to use this variant for your bedroom, note that it is relatively noisy when in operation. It is more suitable for smaller rooms with few windows. It’s great for a caravan or small office, but in larger rooms you might not feel the cooling effect.

We have presented two different types of mobile air conditioners for you to choose from. The pros and cons should help you decide for yourself what information will influence your purchase.

How much does a mobile air conditioner cost?

Before buying, you will most likely ask yourself the important question of how much you will have to pay for a mobile cooling unit. In addition to the purchase cost of a mobile air conditioner, you should also take into account the running costs (approx. 24 cents per hour).

For conventional split air conditioners you would have to dig deeper into your pocket and expect prices of around 1500 - 2000 euros without the costs of installation. At approx. 17 cents per hour, their operating costs are lower than those of mobile ventilation units.

Type price
Mobile air conditioner with exhaust hose approx. 100 - 800 euros
Mobile air conditioner without exhaust hose approx. 100 - 800 euros

The prices differ depending on the manufacturer, energy efficiency class, design and other purchase criteria. Before making your decision, you should therefore be aware of which quality features are particularly important to you. Good quality mobile air conditioners can be found in a price segment of approx. 100 to 400 euros.

Of course, you may see one or the other product that is below or above this price range. Our table and the editors' favourites should only serve as a guideline.

How loud is a mobile air conditioner as a rule?

Tenants in particular ask themselves the question before buying: how loud is a mobile air conditioner that sometimes runs for several hours to cool the rooms. Even in the office, devices that are too loud can be perceived as annoying.

If you move the unit further away from your bed, it is several decibels quieter.

The volume of air conditioners is measured in decibels. Mobile air conditioners have the disadvantage that they are not silent. They usually produce a noise level of about 50 to 65 decibels.

Of course, you have to distinguish between the noise level during operation and the noise level when the unit is idle.

At the lowest level, the noise level is about 62 decibels. The test also shows that even at the highest level, the appliance is quieter than a hairdryer.

Especially at night, make sure your mobile air conditioner has a timer and different speed settings. This way, your sleep will be less disturbed and your bedroom will still stay cool.

Klimaanlage mobil-2

Finally, no more bulky fans - we introduce you to numerous providers of stylish mobile air conditioners.
(Image source: Choi Ben / unsplash)

How do you use a mobile air conditioner?

In order to use a mobile air conditioner efficiently, i.e. to consume as little electricity as possible and to achieve cooling over a large area, you should take a closer look at our following tips:

  • Heat protection: To ensure that your air conditioner works optimally and does not have to do double duty, you should make sure that roller blinds or window shutters do not let any heat into the rooms.
  • Correct room size: Try not to use a mobile air conditioner for an area that is too large. This would increase your electricity costs and the warm temperatures in the room would still not drop.
  • Temperature difference: The temperature difference between the hot outside temperature and the cooling in the room should not be more than 6 degrees. Otherwise you risk catching a cold because the body has difficulty processing the large fluctuations.

Careful use of your mobile air conditioner will ensure a long service life of the unit and a long-lasting, effective cooling result. It's best to clean your cooling unit as thoroughly as possible on a regular basis.

Image source: Iordache/ 123rf.com

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