Summer is here and portable AC units are becoming a must. These devices are perfect for medium to large-sized rooms, as they lower temperatures almost as efficiently as traditional AC machines. Portable units for air conditioning can function anywhere in the house, from your bedroom to your office. What’s also great about them is that they cost much less than traditional AC systems. Being technologically advanced, they do their job without a problem and are complex gadgets. There are many portable AC units available on the market nowadays. They come in all sizes and shapes. Below are the top ones explained.
How Were the Rankings Made?
The air conditioning units on this list have been researched, analyzed, and tested. After deliberating for hours on which one is best, here’s how we ranked the Top Portable AC Units for 2021:
Arctic Air Pure Chill
Arctic Air Pure Chill is one of the most stylish and well put together portable air conditioners to buy in 2021. Its unappealing yet highly effective design makes it rather easy to be one of the leading air coolers to buy this hot and humid summer season. Just like a few of the other top portable AC units reviewed below, this device turns the temperature into an Arctic breeze and has a system for humidification that uses water curtains too. It absorbs the hot and dry air to turn it into cool and more humid one. If you want to no longer breathe in air that contains allergens or bacteria, then this AC unit should definitely be your choice.
Blast Auxiliary Portable AC
This portable AC unit is affordable, powerful, and compact. Its reviewers say it’s just what they need. It doesn’t use a cord and has a design that makes it more practical. Besides, it also works as a humidifier. The manufacturer markets it as the ideal solution for cooling smaller rooms. Similar to other AC units presented here, it gets charged via USB. This means you can charge it when on the go. The Blast Auxiliary Portable AC runs both when powered and on battery, to make the temperature in your surroundings seem like freezing. Its main features are a filter, a humidifier, and others. In fact, it can be said its features are surprising for a device in its category.
This portable AC unit can pe placed anywhere in your home or office. You can even take it with you in your car. It features 7-color LED lights that can be adjusted according to the atmosphere you need to create. Thus, it can be used as both an air conditioner and a night light in your bedroom. This device works at 3 pre-set speeds. It’s incredibly easy to use and among the most effective when it comes to cooling the air and changing the temperature in any room fast. Similar to other devices on this list, it works as an air conditioner, humidifier, and purifier, cooling the air, moisturizing, and cleaning it.
ChillBox Portable AC
This is the only so-called nano air conditioner on the list presented here. This indicates that, even with a small and very compact design, it still cools the air effectively. It seems ChillBox Portable AC works almost instantly to make the air in your surroundings more breathable and cleaner. It’s also claimed to filter viruses and bacteria. This is something not all the air conditioning units out there are said to do. All in all, ChillBox Portable AC is described at an AC device that can help you beat summer heat, even though it’s lightweight, portable, and cordless. What’s also impressive about it is that it’s very quiet. It has been given the title “nano air conditioner” because it weighs only 1.5 pounds.
Ice Box Air Cooler
This air conditioning unit takes in the hot or dry air through one of its sides. After, it expels this air through the other side, but not without turning it into a cooling and refreshing breeze first. You can rest in your living room, dorm, or office, beating the summer heat without any problem. It has features that other AC systems don’t have, such as an LCD screen that’s crystal clear. This means it can be set at any temperature you want it to work at. Besides, it can be put in sleep mode, meaning it allows you to lower the temperature and put it in extra-quiet. Besides, it has 5 different levels of coolness and 7 light moods, which indicates it’s the most customizable portable AC devices on this list. Even if it costs $10 more than other portable AC units, it still costs $60 if ordering in bulk.
Glacier Air Cooler
This air-cooling device uses an external batter that recharges, so you can take it to the beach or wherever you might be going. This is the only AC machine that works as both an air cooler and a latern. It’s also a latern because it features a lamp. Glacier Air Cooler is also very compact. You can add water or ice to it to make the air even cooler, wherever you need the temperature to be lower. Having a stylish design, more stylish and retro than any other AC unit on this list.
Sleep Connection Cool Mist Humidifier
Sleep Connection Cool Mist Humidifier combines the capabilities of an air conditioner and a humidifier in the same device with a very beautiful design. It can help you sleep better, remain healthy, and breathe better. As its manufacturer says, when this AC unit runs, your surroundings become much cooler. You just need to add water to its tank, then activate it with only one touch and let it run for as long as you need it. Sleep Connection Cool Mist Humidifier features built-in lights for setting the ambiance and the mood. At $15 per each unit, this AC device is the most affordable on this list.
A portable air conditioner advertised to cool and purify the air in your room, the UV Cooler is a portable unit of its kind. It uses an USB cable to get recharged. When it comes to the way it cools the air, this is by generating a cold airflow with the help of ice and water that you need to put in its tank. Bacteria and water will no longer be present in your surroundings in the form of water vapors. This device’s UC light and cooling technology is going to take care of this not to happen. Lightweight and compact, you can take this portable AC unit wherever you might be going. Therefore, you have an on-the-go instrument for your everyday sanitation and cooling the room in which you happen to be in.
Another on-the-go instrument for cooling the air, the T10 Cooler is a system or indoor use. You can use wherever you want. It works just like all the other AC units presented here, only that the technology it uses is “hydro chill”. Hot air gets to pass through its curtain of cool water and exits on the other side, more humidified. Whereas most AC units available on the market make noise, the T10 runs in silence. However, this is not to say other similar gadgets presented here don’t do the exact same thing. This one has 7-color LED lights and is 100% customizable. Not different from other AC units presented above and under, T10 doesn’t need to get refilled with water for 6-8 hours.
CoolFeel Max, this portable AC system is being sold only on PopularHiTech. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and promises to deliver you all the cooling you need in the most compact design. In fact, this AC machine is the only one that can be fitted around the neck. Thus, you don’t need to keep it at home. You can take it with you everywhere you’re going. It will dry the temperature in your surroundings because it will always be with you. Practically, this unit sprays cool air and refreshes your upper area, more precisely, the head and neck. It is for people who like working out. Others prefer to take it with them when relaxing some place outside or at home. This small-framed unit has an easy-to-use design and gets to be worn around your neck. This is what makes it different from other air conditioners presented here.
Ways of Ranking
All portable AC units promise the same things. Their manufacturers say they lower temperatures, even if their design is portable and they’re very small. However, not all AC units of this kind live up to their promises. Many just spread the water around and not cool the air at all. Others are not at all durable. To help you make a difference between the best AC systems and the worst, below is a list of the metrics used in the present evaluation:
There are portable AC systems that simply don’t work well. Others make the air just too cold. The cooling capacity was one of the metrics used in this evaluation. You want a device that can cool your home, so have a look at the best units in this presentation to see from which ones you can pick something.
Most people who get portable ACs are doing it not only because they want to cool their homes, but also because they want to humidify the air in their surroundings. A good portable AC works as both an AC system and a humidifier, so as 2-in-1. Humidification was very important when making the present evaluation.
It was not the main ranking criteria, but in these rankings, style, esthetics and design were definitely considered. Some of the aforementioned portable air conditioners invested in high-quality design features, making them perfect to match your home decor. Others seem dull.
Easy to Use
Most portable ACs are easy to operate, irrespective of your tech abilities. You just put water or ice in most, connect them to a plug outlet and that’s it.
A portable air conditioner’s main purpose is to refresh the space. However, many of the above-mentioned mobile AC units also moisturize and filter the air, or even eliminate radiation. These extra characteristics were taken into account in the present rankings.
Some mobile AC units are not functioning very well. You should have no problem if you are dissatisfied with a unit, to return it. Some portable AC units, however, have unexpectedly tight policy returns. If a business doesn’t offer guarantees, its rankings will most likely fell. All well-known manufacturers support their mobile AC units, which makes it simple to seek a refund if they are dissatisfied.
According to the temperature and time of the day, you can choose from many different coolness levels. There are people who want to cool their surroundings for the entire night, whereas others prefer a gentler approach and are looking only to fan their room. Customization was one of the determining factors in these rankings.
Misting, Water Curtain, and Ice Tray
The majority of portable AC units have ice trays, misting features, and water curtains for the vapor they’re creating to be cooler. They absorb the dry and hot air to expel it on the opposite side in the form of cleaner and cooler air. There are misting gadgets and water curtains, and ice trays that simply work better than others.
Value for Money
There are people who don’t want to spend more than $15 on an AC device that’s portable, while others have $200 or more for the same type of device. This piece presents portable ACs for all different prices. This means you can pick your unit according to how much money you have. You can be sure that you will get value for your money by choosing one of the devices on this list.
All the AC units on this list have been tested in-house, but this doesn’t mean customer reviews haven’t been taken into consideration as well. People who have them tested their capabilities in all sorts of conditions of temperature, humidity, and so on. While the testing employed in-house concludes enough, customer reviews are important as well.
There are portable AC units that come with a user manual and all the information you need on them. Some companies don’t reveal any information at all, not even the basic one. For example, they don’t mention the size of their water tank or how much their battery can last. Transparency was thoroughly considered in these rankings.
Where Should Portable AC Units Be Used?
There are many settings in which you could use a portable AC system. Some people have these devices in their living rooms, others in their living rooms and other smaller spaces. There are others who run them outside to cool their tent when camping, or perhaps their backyard. Many of these gadgets don’t have to be directly connected to a source of energy because they have their own battery. Battery operated units can be run anywhere. In short, here are the places where you can use portable AC devices:
- The bedroom
- The living room or a studio
- The office
- A dorm
If you have a power outlet, you can spend your time in cooled temperatures anywhere you want.
Top 11 Benefits of Using Portable AC Units
The Top Ranking Portable AC units have the following benefits:
If you don’t want to spend hundreds and sometimes even more every month to cool your surroundings with a traditional AC system, then choose to save money with portable units of this kind. They can help your room remain chill for long and don’t consume too much energy, especially the ones mentioned on this list. Most of the devices presented here run on battery and get charged via USB, using as much energy as a tablet or a smartphone would.
There are portable AC units with thermostats. Others don’t have thermostats. Most of them are allowing you to set the temperatures to give out. Even when setting their temperature, you can decide how cool your room should be, just as with traditional air conditioners.
In case you don’t like a dry atmosphere and want your skin not to crack during the summer, go for a portable AC unit. These devices humidify the air, not the other way around. This means moisturized and cooler air when the temperature outside is hot.
Most portable AC units feature additional filters that remove toxins, bacteria, and other harmful elements from the air. Some of them have UV lights, whereas others feature filters and other physical systems. Breathing in contaminated air is not at all a good thing. The best portable AC system clean the air too.
Portable AC systems such as the ones presented here don’t have to have any HVAC system installed. This means no more pipes and tubes next to your window. What you have to do is adding water to their tank and plug them in. They will run afterwards, without any problem.
Ease of Use
Anyone, no matter how tech-savvy they are or not, can use portable AC units and put them to work. If you fill these devices’ water tank or add some ice cubes to it, then you can have your cool air either when on the go or when spending your time in an indoor space.
Not Needing to Plug Them In
Most AC units available on the market use batteries and get charged via USB. This means you can have them running when near your laptop or when you don’t have any power source around.
Moving Them Around Is Easy
Compact and lightweight, portable AC units can be carried around your home without any issue. Don’t cool your entire home. Just use your portable AC system in every room in which you are spending your time. Larger portable AC units come with wheels for even more portability.
Good portable AC systems cost under $100. Most of them, in fact, have the price of about $90. Traditional ACs cost $5,000 – $10,000. If you want the cooling in your home to be effective and not spend that much money on it, then go for a portable air conditioning unit.
Many HVAC devices make a lot of noise and can keep you up the entire night with their sounds. They activate and deactivate, making noise, and so on. But portable AC units are very quiet. In fact, most of them come with many sound settings to choose from. They also have the feature of regulating their fan’s speed. It doesn’t matter where you are running them, they will surely not make any noise.
Portable AC systems can surprise you with how effective they are at cooling your room or home office. While they don’t have the same effects as HVAC systems, they lower the temperatures at lower costs.
How Do Portable AC Systems Work?
There are many different systems in which AC units work. The ones on this list are built with basic technology. They pass the air through their water curtains to generate cold vapors. Compact, they should be used in smaller spaces, such as the ones mentioned above. Some other portable AC systems feature more advanced technologies. These can cool the air in larger spaces. For example, they work at 12,000 BTUs, taking the air from outside through one or two hoses. When buying more advanced air conditioning systems, you get a refrigerant system that cools the air and also a compressor because the refrigerated air needs to be compressed. The units will also feature a fan for moving the air. This is also how traditional AC systems work. They take air from outside, cool it via refrigeration, compress it, then circulate it. Opt for an advanced AC unit if you have larger spaces to cool. But keep in mind such machines are noisy, not to mention others use a lot of energy. Another thing that’s not good about them is that they dehumidify the air. There are many different ways in which portable AC systems work, too. These pieces of technology also humidify the air, which is a great advantage. What’s different about them too is that they don’t refrigerate or compress the air. Here are the main steps in which they work:
Step 1: The hot and dry air from outside is drawn in through one side.
Step 2: The unit passes the air taken in through its water curtain. This water curtain stays connected to a chamber for hydration or an ice tray. The water curtain stays cool and moist at all times.
Step 3: When the water curtain passes the air through it, then the water inside of it begins to evaporate. Evaporation doesn’t take place without any heat. Through the evaporation process, the heat gets removed. This way, the temperature becomes cooler, whereas the air turns out to be cleaner.
Step 4: In this last step, the fan blows and moisturizes the air. Lower temperatures are spread in your surroundings without any problem.
And that’s about it! Many portable AC units also feature an UV light, have filters for bacteria, and many other very advanced features. Most of them, though, are following only the steps mentioned here to function.
Portable AC FAQs
Here are the FAQs for portable ACs, with their answers:
How are portable air conditioners different than regular air conditioners?
The differences between regular and portable AC units are obvious. For example, portable ACs can be taken anywhere you might be going. They also use the latest technology when it comes to cooling your surroundings. They don’t work by employing a refrigerant or a compressor, but they use water curtains and function based on the evaporation process. They also have ice trays to cool temperatures more.
What are portable air conditioners?
The best portable air conditioners can lower the temperature and can be carried anywhere you might be going. This is opposed to the other devices that don’t have the portability feature.
Do portable air conditioners cover a lot of space?
All the AC units on this list should be used in small spaces, such as bedrooms, living rooms, offices, and so on. They’re not at all designed for cooling the entire house.
What size should I pick for my AC unit?
Since 7,500 BTU can cover about 200 sq ft of space, 10,000 BTU covers 100 ft more. You can also decide on a 14,000 BTU unit if you want to cover 500 sq ft. Most of the time, the portable air coolers on this list are under 7,500 BTU, so they’re ideal for small spaces.
Should I give my portable AC outside access?
You don’t need to connect your portable AC system to an outside window. The ones listed above are working by using a water curtain or an ice tray. They don’t connect with the outside in any way.
Are portable AC units safe?
The most advanced AC units on the list here don’t work by using refrigerants or compressors. They don’t use freon either. This means they don’t generate any toxins, nor vapors. In other words, they keep the air in your room clean, which indicates they’re safe when creating vapors to spread them.
Which portable AC unit should I choose?
You can choose any of the portable AC units from the above list, according to the size of your room and the space you need cooled.
Will the portable AC unit increase my electric bill?
When your portable AC unit operates, it should consume less electricity than a HVAC system that operates for your entire house. But you need to keep in mind that the more portable air conditioning systems you’re using, the more electricity is going to be consumed.
Are portable AC units leaking?
As mentioned, the AC systems on this list are using ice trays and water curtains to cool the air. They don’t use the same technologies as other systems, meaning they can’t leak.
Why do portable air conditioners feature UV lights?
Some of the portable AC units available on the market don’t have a filtration system and use UV light. The American College of Allergists says 50% of all diseases are becoming worse because the indoor air is polluted. You can use a portable AC system to get rid of viruses, pollen, and other chemicals in your surroundings. UV lights are helpful at removing harmful compounds from the air.
How long does a portable AC unit last?
5+ years. This is how much portable air conditioning units last. Most of them run without having to be maintained. They get recharged on USB. There’s no need to replace their battery if the unit doesn’t get old.
What is SEER?
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. When the SEER number is higher, the air conditioning unit is more efficient. Average AC units are at 13-16 SEER, whereas better ones are at 20 and above.
How can I keep my home cool without using AC?
All the portable AC gadgets here are perfect for cooling your surrounding without employing a traditional AC system. The temperatures in your home can become lower without you having to use such a system.
How do central AC systems work?
Central AC systems lower temperatures by using compressors and pump refrigerants. They gather moisture and heat from the indoors to remove it. The hot air gets pumped over the system’s coil and goes outside.
How is my AC unit cooling the air?
HVAC systems of our days lower the air temperatures and at the same time, remove the moisture. This is why the air feels dry after the air conditioner removes the hotness of a torrid summer day. There are people who get dry skin when exposed to dry air for too long. The AC units on this list moisturize the air and not remove it.
ENERGY STAR, what is it?
Developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency or EPA, the ENERGY STAR rating tells people and businesses what efficient electronics to buy. Verify the ENERGY STAR label before buying your portable AC unit.
Are portable AC systems expensive?
The prices for portable AC units on this list are between $15 and $120. Most of the systems here cost $90 or so. For this money, you should find many portable AC systems to cool your home.
Over the past few years, portable AC technology has advanced quite a lot. Nowadays, you can get such a system to cool your home at $100 or less. These compact gadgets cool the air very effectively. They lower your home’s temperatures and involve less hassle than HVAC systems. Besides, they cost and consume less. Buy the best portable AC system of 2021, but not without checking the list above first.
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