Portable Air Conditioners for the Home and Office

Why settle for a bulky window unit when you can experience cooling in minutes with a portable air conditioner? These affordable wheeled ACs are ideal for cooling bedrooms, small offices, and personal spaces. They plug right into any standard outlet without the need for permanent installation.

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NewAir AC-14100E Portable AC
  • 14,000 BTUs
  • Covers 525 sq. ft.
  • Programmable timer
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NewAir AC-14100E Portable AC

5 Things You Need to Know Before You Buy a Portable Air Conditioner

A portable air conditioner is an inexpensive way to provide spot cooling for small homes, apartments and condominiums, or to provide additional relief when central AC just isn't enough. Easy to set up, these fully mobile air conditioning units don't require permanent installation, so they go wherever you need them, whenever you need them.

To help you choose the right portable AC for you, we've narrowed down the five most important features you should consider before you buy:

BTUs: How much space can it cool?

British Thermal Units (BTUs) are the standard by which the cooling capacities of portable air conditioners are compared. The larger the BTU number, the more cooling the air conditioner can provide. Here is general guide for choosing BTUs based on the size of the room you want to cool:

150 square feet > 7,500 BTU

250 square feet > 9,000 BTU

300 square feet > 10,000 BTU

400 square feet > 12,000 BTU

450 square feet > 13,000 BTU

500 square feet > 14,000 BTU

Don't be tempted to buy a portable AC that's larger than you require - it won't cool your room any faster. Read more about choosing the right size AC.

EER: How energy-efficient is it?

The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) tells you how much energy a portable AC will use relative to the amount of cooling it provides. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency. By law, all ACs must have an EER of 10, but you'll find most exceed that minimum. A higher EER rating means the unit will use less energy, and you'll spend less on your utility bill.

If you can't find the EER in a product listing, you can calculate it for yourself by dividing the BTUs (usually between 5000 and 14000 for portable air conditioning units) by the wattage. Read more about EER here.

Drainage Requirements: How often will you have to empty it?

Many portable air conditioning units now feature auto-evaporative technology, which uses the water pulled from the air during the cooling process to cool the compressor coils. This means you won't have to drain the water tank as often - or at all, in very dry weather. If you don't buy a self-evaporative AC, make sure you consider the tank size, how easy it is to empty, and whether or not continuous drainage through a hose is available.

Control Features: How easy is it to operate?

Does the unit feature digital or manual controls? Can you program timers for automatic operation? Is there a remote control so you can control the unit from across the room? There are many features available to choose from. Make sure your portable AC has everything you want, and is not too complicated for you to operate.

Noise Level: How much noise will it make?

If you want to use your portable AC in the bedroom, or anyplace where noise might be a problem, be sure to look for a unit that runs quietly. Most ACs run at about 45 or 50 decibels, or about the same noise level as lives rustling in the wind.

We have much more information available to help you choose the right portable air conditioner in our convenient buying guide. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call our toll free number and speak to a portable air conditioning expert!

More from our Portable Air Conditioning Learning Library:

5 Common Portable Air Conditioner Mistakes
9 Reasons to Switch to R-410A Refrigerant
The Green Guide to Portable Air Conditioning
Troubleshooting Your Portable Air Conditioner
How to Vent Your Portable AC