Best portable air conditioner 2021: keep your cool in the heat

Flick on the AC and chill

Portable air conditioners

Quick, get the best portable air conditioner you can find in: summer is here. In America, air con is pretty much the norm among the more affluent. However, a fully integrated system costs a packet to install and a sizeable chunk of regular outlay to keep it running. Figure in the fact that not every part of the US enjoys the subtropical climate of Florida, Louisiana or California and the Mid West and you can see why some households and small offices are opting for the portable periodic solution.

• Reading in the UK? Try this list of the best portable air conditioners

Well we’ve done all the online trudging for you and selected a quintet of highly-regarded portable air con units from American online behemoths, Amazon and Walmart. Dip in and chill.

Click Here to Order Portable AC Unit From The Official Company Website Now


If you live in the US and are looking for a highly regarded model for medium-to-large size rooms, then you can’t go wrong with the award-winning Whynter Elite ARC-122DS which has received some very favourable reviews from Amazon shoppers. And if you want a trusty brand you’ve definitely heard of then give the LG LP0817 WSR a whirl.


Portable AC units are really effective at cooling the air in a room, in most instances for less than the price of a fancy fan. All you have to do is work out the size of the room you want to cool and select an AC unit with a suitable output, measured in British Thermal Units (or BTUs). A BTU is a unit for estimating thermal heat and it’s an important little acronym when it comes to selecting the right air conditioner for your abode. For instance, an air-con with 10,000 BTUs is good for a room of around 450 sq ft while a 5,000BTU model is suitable for a room of about 150 sq ft. Hence, it’s pretty important to know your room’s measurements or the unit could underperform.

However, there is a caveat with portable units and it’s the heated air that’s pumped out of the rear exhaust port. As the ‘law of conservation of energy’ states, energy (in this case heat) ‘can only be transformed or transferred from one form to another’. Hence, you will need to port the heated air generated by the AC out of the home using the supplied concertina hose that comes with every model. This can be done by either cutting a hole in the wall or a window (the most effective and most costly method) or by using the window kit that most manufacturers provide. As a last resort, simply dangle the hose out of an open window or doorway and sit closer to the unit.

Alternatively, if you’re lucky enough to have a working open flue fireplace (unlikely in the US), you could place the air con unit in front of it and all the heat will go straight up the chimney; after all, it’s what the chimney was designed for. This is by far the most hassle-free and tidiest way to enjoy the benefits of portable air conditioning but, for heaven’s sake, make sure you’ve removed as much soot as possible from the fireplace first or it’ll be blown all over your furnishings.

Portable AC units are much louder than their built-in counterparts and that’s hardly surprising given that the compressors, pumps and fans are all in the same unit. By contrast, integrated systems have all the noisy stuff tucked away out of earshot so you rarely hear anything more than a gently whoosh. If you want a good night’s sleep with a portable air con in the room then you’re advised to turn it on a couple of hours before bedtime and keep the door closed. Then turn if off when hitting the sack — unless, of course, you’re lucky enough to be able to sleep through a hurricane.

Energy use and environmental impact are also worth considering. While modern AC units no longer use ozone-damaging chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), they do sap a lot more power from the grid than a humble fan and that means slightly higher leccy bills and hence more pressure on the environment.

Now you’re no longer an air con newbie, have a scour through our carefully curated list of contenders and take your pick of the chillers.


•Buy the Whynter Elite ARC-122DS from Amazon

If you are scouring the market for a very decent 12,000BTU model to tackle the heat and them damn flies, then make this Good Housekeeping award winner your first port of call. The Whynter Elite is designed for rooms and offices up to 400 square feet and features full thermostatic control (from 61˚F to 89˚F), a 3 speed fan with two-way directional air louvers, an activated carbon filter, a simple-to-use digital control panel with 24-hour timer and a remote control to operate it from the comfort of a sofa.

Aside from the aforementioned award, this Amazon-sold unit has also gleaned a raft of positive user reviews. Yes, there are few disgruntled owners amongst them but the majority (around 63%) are very happy with their purchase, citing its relative quietness when on the lowest speed setting and its ability to cool a room effectively.

Perhaps inevitably, it now sells out on a regular basis but if it is currently out of stock, you can still browse all the other best portable air conditioners at Amazon.

Read More:

Welcome to our community! We're here to discuss our passion for all things related to Portable Air Conditioners.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store