What is the Best Portable Air Conditioner?
There are many companies making portable air conditioners now, under various brand names. This is obviously because they are becoming much more popular and companies want to take advantage of that fact. While new to the market compared to say, window units, they do not really represent new technology, but rather a new way of applying old technology. This should be comforting. Because they work quite well, the public is discovering them as a viable option for room air conditioning. So how does one choose between all the options? Ever bought a car? Well, it’s much like that. Well, ok, it’s a bit easier, but the approach is much the same.
The best portable air conditioner for one room will not be the best for another, so we can’t proclaim “this one is best of all”. But there is a best fit for your need. Here are a few things to think about to help you get the best portable air conditioner for you:
Plan of Attack
1) Do some homework. While portable air conditioners are not that expensive, they cost enough that you don’t want to jump into a decision and make a mistake. Chosen carefully, these units can solve cooling and even heating issues quickly and at reasonable cost.
2) Look for models designed for the application. If you buy one hoping it will do more than it’s designed for, you will be disappointed. And we don’t want that!
3) Remember that higher cost doesn’t necessarily mean better quality. Some of the best models we carry at www.portablehomeair.com are among the least expensive. If you are comparing models and find similar function, features, reliability, and customer satisfaction, go with the one that costs less! I mean, duh!
Certain traits are common to virtually all. All portable air conditioners are simple to install and easy to use and move around. Most brands offer models with and without a heating option. Virtually all brands have models in a range of power ratings, usually from about 8000 to 14000BTU. Our article “What’s a BTU and Why Do I Care?” addresses power and what it means to you. As a general rule, most brands out there function well, but there is no substitute for adequate power, and I usually advise upsizing slightly, especially if the room is near the upper limit of recommended room size.
So what sets some units apart? First, reliability. Without mentioning names, some brands tend to have higher consumer rating because people have few problems with them. Check out consumer ratings as part of your homework.
Second, efficiency. Dual hose units tend to operate a bit more efficiently, but also tend to cost a bit more. Brands vary on how many dual hose units they offer, and how much more they cost. Since we are on the topic, I’ll mention that EdgeStar and Soleus have models which can operate in either single or dual hose setup. Pretty clever!
Third, cost. As mentioned, don’t rely on this as a gauge of quality between brands, but it may be indicative of quality within a brand. For example, if two 12000 BTU units of different brands have significantly different prices, that doesn’t mean the more expensive one is better. I’ll use EdgeStar to exemplify the other side. They offer 2 lines of 14,000BTU portable air conditioner, the Extreme Cool and the Server Cool. The Server Cool is made for commercial applications and is constructed with heavier duty components for that reason. It also costs a few hundred more. So, within the brand, cost does mean something.
Fourth, features. Most units now have auto-drain or evaporative technology so you won’t have to empty a drain pan unless you are in an area of high humidity, and even then it should not be frequent. Most digital units have remote controls if you want that. Many have a heating option. Some have ionizers or other features you may find attractive. The best portable air conditioner for you will have the features you want.
www.portablehomeair.com carries several brands of portable air conditioner, including EdgeStar, Sharp, Soleus, Danby, and others. There are several other brands out there as well, so many choices are available. But you only want one: the best portable air conditioner for you! So avoid units inadequately powered for the intended use, those devoid of convenience features, and those that seem overpriced. If your homework raises doubts about reliability of certain models or brands, avoid them. Once you’ve eliminated all those that definitely aren’t the best for you, you will be down to a manageable list to choose from. At the end of the day, the best portable air conditioner is reasonably priced, powerful enough to do the job, reliable, easy to use, and keeps your room comfortable year round.