Last updated: August 13, 2021

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With the arrival of the hot weather, perhaps you have realised that your fan does not cool enough, or if you do not want to spend on installing an air conditioner, and less on the electricity bill that will arrive at the end of the month, then perhaps you can start to consider, a portable air conditioner.

Our aim, in this little investigation, is to let you know some of the most important features and details that you should take into account, so that you can choose the portable air conditioner that suits you best.




First the most important

  • Portable air conditioners are perfect or recommended when you are looking for a device that can provide you with cold air and you do not want to incur expenses or make special or complicated installations, as you only need to find a hot air outlet.
  • They are also ideal for small homes or when you want to rent a house or rooms and do not want to invest in fixed or central air conditioners.
  • They are also a good option when the climates are not so hot but rather warm and do not justify the purchase of a central air conditioner or any other type of air conditioner and much less the energy expenditure that these make.

The Best Portable Air Conditioning: Our Picks

Buying guide

Portable air conditioners are perfect or recommended when you are looking for an appliance that can provide you with cool air and you don't want to incur expenses or make special or complicated installations, (Source: Alexander Kharchenko: 76769952/ 123rf.com)

What are portable air conditioners and what are their advantages?

Portable air conditioners are one of the many variants that exist within the family of air conditioning systems, with the particularity that they are intended to be moved from one place or room to another without any additional uninstallation or installation.

They are generally equipped with wheels, which facilitates their mobilisation, and at least one tube which must be placed through a minimal installation in a window, so that the hot air removed from the room is expelled to the outside through it.

Having explained how they work, we will now mention some of the advantages and disadvantages of these in the following table, as it is always important to know both:

Advantages
  • The device is transportable to other rooms or rooms because it is portable
  • It does not require installation basically, or at least not so complex, as it is only placed near a window to remove the air extraction tube
  • It cools small areas without generating such a high energy expenditure
  • Perfect for areas where installing a fixed air conditioner is impossible or too complicated
  • Newer models can include heat pump (to be used as heating) or dehumidification systems
Disadvantages
  • They take up considerable space as you have to reserve a space to place them on the floor
  • Although the newer models are more compact, they have to be placed near a window because of the pipes, which is not always comfortable
  • They are not as efficient, as the pipe that expels the hot air generally lacks insulation and therefore part of the heat circulates back into the room
  • Although the new models try to improve the noise they produce, they still tend to be somewhat noisy as they have all their components in a single device which is of course the one that stays inside the house

What is the difference between a traditional air conditioner and a portable air conditioner?

Unlike non-portable air conditioners, this one does not have two units, but only one, i.e. it does not have an outdoor unit and all its components are inside the device.

What this device basically does is to take air from inside the room, cool it and inject it back into the same room while the heat extracted from the air passes through the exhaust pipe and is released outside.

Portable air conditioners with single or dual duct - what should you pay attention to?

There are basically two types of portable air conditioners: single-duct or "single-duct" air conditioners and dual-duct air conditioners. In addition, some suppliers also make a distinction between heat pump and non-heat pump portable air conditioners, but we believe this is more of a built-in function.

Although there are no major differences between these, there are a couple that will be good to be aware of and know beforehand.

Single duct Double duct
They are the most common and basic ones offered by the market and therefore cheaper More recent and sophisticated model and much more expensive, but with much more efficiency
They have a single duct that is responsible for taking air from the room, cooling it, putting it back into circulation and removing the hot residue It has an additional duct responsible for absorbing the outside air to cool it and another duct to expel the residual air outside

How much do portable air conditioners cost?

Value-for-money portable air conditioners range from MXN 8,000 to MXN 15,000. Prices will depend on the features built in, the power it generates or the range of the air conditioner. In the end, it will always depend on what you are willing to look for and the needs you want to cover.

Unlike non-portable air conditioners, this one does not consist of two units, but only one. (Source: destinacigdem: 107307987/ 123rf.com)

Buying Criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate different models of portable air conditioners

As with any appliance, there will be some functions and features that you should know before making your purchase, as these will determine the quality, efficiency and functionality of the appliance you are going to buy. Therefore, we will mention and briefly explain some important factors to consider when buying a good air conditioner for your home or office.

BTU

This is perhaps the most important characteristic or aspect when buying a portable air conditioner, as this is the measure with which the power of the BTU/H air conditioner is measured; the higher this value, the greater the power, and there must always be a balance between the room to be cooled and the power of the appliance.

Currently you can find two types of BTU/h, being the BTU/H (ASHRAE-128 Standard) the oldest and most traditional, however, from the year 2017 a new measurement of BTU/H (DOE 2017) was released. Do not be confused if you are faced with an appliance that reflects its respective power in both measurements.

The new BTU/H scale (DOE 2017) has tried to be more accurate to reflect the actual power and performance of the equipment, although most of the equipment is still under the standard numbering. We could say that practical and approximately DOE numbering is down to half of what ASHRAE reflects.

In this article, we are guided by ASHRAE, as it is more common to find this numbering on the internet, but some of the suggested models have the new numbering on their data sheet. We make the following recommendations in terms of BTU/H (ASHRAE) needed according to the desired area to be conditioned:

Up to 12m²: 6,000 BTU/H
From 12m² to 18m²: 10,000 BTU/H
From 18m² to 30m²: 14,000 BTU/H

For larger spaces, we recommend purchasing a fixed air conditioner in any of its variants, as portable air conditioners are more effective in smaller spaces.

For some products, even though the product sheet claims to cover larger spaces, you should bear in mind that most of the time, portable ACs fall short of their actual range, so you should take this into consideration and subtract a little space from their range. The guide we have provided is for reference only.

EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio)

As we explained in our general guide to air conditioners, this is a measure of the energy efficiency of the appliance, which will be more efficient the higher the EER in relation to lower energy consumption. In that guide we recommend that the appliance should be around 12EER.

In some appliances we find this coefficient also designated by letters, generally from A to G, with A being clearly more efficient. If this is the nomenclature used, we suggest a category A or B appliance, which can translate into an energy consumption of less than 55% of the average.

You can find portable air conditioners mainly in appliance or home and office shops. (Source: Herrndorff: 48085156/ 123rf.com)

Built-in heating and dehumidifier function

Some more sophisticated models may include a heat pump, which basically means that your portable air conditioner also has the function of heating the air, like a heater.

In a practical sense of the word, the heat pump works just like the air conditioner, simply by reversing the air cycle, so that it is the warm air that stays in the room, and the cool air that is expelled to the outside.

On the other hand, they can also include a dehumidifier function, whereby excess humidity is absorbed from the room, creating a healthier and cooler environment.

Portable air conditioners are good value for money and range from $8,000.00 MXN to $15,000.00 MXN. (Source: wstockstudio: 70888643/ 123rf.com)

Timer and remote control

It is always useful if your portable appliance has a timer function, as you can program it to run for a certain time and turn off automatically, which not only saves energy, but is also extremely convenient.

The remote control also adds to the convenience as you can operate it from anywhere without having to get up and go to the appliance.

In addition to these features that you should consider, we also recommend that you look for a portable AA with wheels or with little weight, because, although they are portable, some models do not include wheels and can become very heavy, making it difficult to move the device to another room.

(Featured image source: alexlmx/ 123rf.com)

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