Hi there - looking for a portable air conditioner that will keep you from sweating bullets all summer long? I have some great options for you in this detailed review - whether you're looking for something to take on your trip or just to use at home, I've got you covered!
I will show you 10 different portable air conditioners, in all kinds of price ranges. Maybe you can only afford to spend $35? No worries - there's something for you here.
The first section features travel-friendly AC units, and the second section features the ones that can replace central air conditioning units at home. So, hop to the section that interests you most to find the best portable air conditioner for this summer!
There are two types of portable air conditioners. The first type is the one you use at home and which is supposed to replace a central AC unit. They all have wheels and handles, so that you can easily move them from one room to another.
With these units, you will get a window seal to set up the drainage hose. And these are actually really good as air conditioners – depending on how powerful your machine is, they can cool down even some really big rooms.
However, these are not the air cons that you want to get if you’re looking for something travel friendly. Most of them are kind of large and weigh more than 40 lbs. Which is not something you want to take on a vacation.
If you want a travel friendly portable AC, you will see some great options as well. You will find those in the first half of this review. Most of them are pretty small and can fit on your desk. Some of them are even small enough that you can easily throw them in your purse, and they rarely weight more than 4-5lbs.
The travel friendly AC units are not as powerful as the regular portable air conditioners. They work best if you have them blowing cool air right in front of you, since they’re more about cooling you down instead of cooling an entire room down.
However, if you’re looking for something to take on a vacation or a camping trip, these are the perfect option for. Especially because they usually feature a USB so that you can just plug them into your computer.
This is one of the most important features of a portable air conditioners for at home use – how large an area can it actually keep cool. I will list the coverage area of every single air conditioner in this review – you can look for that information in the product info boxes. Of course, this is only for the larger portable air cons. The exact coverage are is rarely specified for the travel-friendly units.
Keep in mind one thing – portable air cons work best in closed off areas. And even if a product promises to work in 1500 square feet, that usually won’t be the case. There’s always going to be a huge difference between the room that the unit is in and the rest of the house. So, you’re better of getting something with a medium coverage area, unless all the rooms in your house are really spacious
You also need to look for BTU's – British Thermal Units. I’m not that great at explaining units of measurement, so Google this if you’re really interested to know what they are and how they work. But, what you do need to know about this is the higher the number of BTUs, the larger the room the air con can keep cool. On average, 5000 BTU is good enough for a room of 150 square feet, and 9000 BTU’s is good enough for a room of 400 square feet.
Anyway, I will make sure to list the BTU’s alongside the coverage area info in those orange boxes below the mini reviews.
These units can get really expensive. Some of the premium options are way up there in prices, and they can actually cost you more than a central air conditioning unit. Now, I’ve done my best to find portable air cons that perform very well and that are reasonably priced. So, you won’t see anything ridiculously expensive in this review.
The travel-friendly units are generally more affordable than the larger ones. Most of them are around the $50 mark, but I will show you a couple more expensive ones, simply because they are very efficient and versatile.
I’ve also decided to do the review in ascending price order. The first units that you see below will be the most affordable ones, and the most expensive ones will be at the very bottom. So, you can have an idea of just how expensive something is solely by its position in the text.
… you will need to buy a specific seal. All of the air conditioners for use at home come with window seals that are only compatible with slide windows. They won’t work with crank windows at all. However, you can buy seals for crank windows – they cost about $15-20, and they are pretty easy to set up.
The Mikikin is the most affordable travel-friendly AC. It’s under $35, which is a pretty good deal for such a unit. It is USB operated and it has a rechargeable battery, so you can actually use this mini AC wirelessly. And that is really cool.
It’s super small and lightweight and you can easily travel with it. And since you can use it wirelessly, you can actually use this to cool down a bit on the beach or in the train. You won’t bother other people with the Mikikin because it is really quiet, and it only cools down the air around you. That’s actually a bit of a downside – this portable AC is not able to cool down an entire room.
But it will cool you down rather efficiently. It takes the warm air from the room and drags it through the filter, so that it only puts out cool air. Naturally, it runs on water. But, you can also add some ice cubes in the water tank, for a stronger cooling effect.
This unit can also work as an air purifier and humidifier. You’re not supposed to move it around while it is working, so that the water in the tank doesn’t spill into the other parts.
It features a large handle on the top, so it is pretty easy to carry around when it is not working. The Mikikin has three fan speeds and the front shutter allows you to adjust the direction of air output. Overall, it’s a pretty good unit for the money.
The Onxe unit is a great travel-friendly option. Thanks to the convenient top handle, it’s very easy to carry around. It is also lightweight and fairly small, so you can actually fit this in your bag.
It can easily cool down the area around you – some 40 square feet. But it won’t do much, in terms of cooling down an entire room. In addition to that, this portable AC can reduce the temperature by some 12 degrees (Celsius), and even more if you put ice cubes in the water tank.
The design of the tank is really great – there’s a funnel inside the unit, so it’s super easy to fill this up and not spill a drop of water. Plus, there’s a water level scale on the back of this air conditioner, which helps you know when to stop adding water in the Onxe.
This cooling unit also works as a humidifier and a fan, as well as a night light. It has an LED light with 7 different color options, which is pretty great. Additionally, the grill on the front of the device allows you to adjust the direction where the air is blowing. But, you can only adjust the grill up or down; you can’t move it to the side.
The Onxe is pretty quiet, and it will not disturb your sleep. However, I’m not sure if it turns off automatically when it runs out of water. You should probably test that out, before you let it work overnight.
The OVPH is a bit different from the other AC units because of its shape. It is rectangular, so it’s kind of tall, but also pretty narrow. And because of its shape, the position of the water tank is pretty unique. It’s at the very bottom, and it is totally separate from the rest of the unit, so it’s really easy to fill it up without spilling anything.
It can work for about 4-6 per fill, which is a decent amount of run time. And you can add ice cubes in the water tank, for a better cooling effect. In addition to being an AC unit, you can also use this as a fan. Just keep in mind that the fan mode is not as efficient as the AC mood in cooling the air.
There are three fan speeds on the OVPH and you can adjust them with a knob below the digital display. Additionally, there is also a water level indicator on the display, which lets you know how much water is left in your air cooler.
One downside to this unit is that it doesn’t have a carry handle. So, it’s not as convenient for travelling as some of the other portable AC’s I’ve showed you. In addition to that, this comes with a DC adapter, and you can’t really plug it into your computer. That’s one advantage of the USB powered units.
The Sunbond AC unit is small, lightweight and it might actually fit into your bag. And, even though this unit is not that large, it actually does a decent job at cooling down a room. Of course, this isn’t really suitable for large rooms, but it’s one of the best things that you can keep on your desk.
This portable air con comes with a USB cable, and you can just plug it into your laptop. It needs only water to work, and it does not use any Freon, which means that it is not harmful for your health.
Additionally, this nifty little unit also works as an air purifier, humidifier and sterilizer. Plus, this also has an aromatherapy spray function, so it also works as an air freshener. The unit has three fan speeds, and it stops producing cold air as soon as it runs out of water. It also turns off when you take off the lid, which is a great safety precaution.
The Sunbond also features an LED light on the side, which functions as a night light. You can adjust the color of the light, and that’s a pretty cool addition. It is a really quiet unit, so it won’t disturb your sleep at all.
Overall, if you are looking for a really portable and affordable air conditioner, this is probably the best one you can get.
This is probably the most interesting air conditioner you can buy. It’s also a pretty versatile product, since it is both a cooler and an air conditioner. This actually makes it a great option for travel – it’s something that will not take up too much space in your car, and it actually works!
The IcyBreeze is a cooler that can hold 30 lbs of ice. It works really well as just a cooler – the ice takes a really long time to melt, especially if you use large frozen cubes. Don’t use the ice you put in your drink, but rather just freeze a big bottle or Tupperware dish of water.
And then it also has a fan in the hose on top. So, when you feel like you want to cool down (and not with an icy drink), you pick up the hose, turn on the fan and enjoy the icy air blowing in your face.
There are three fan speeds on this thing, and obviously the higher the speed you choose, the faster the ice inside the cooler will melt. For longevity, you want to use the IcyBreeze on lower speeds. And for a quick cooldown just load it up with ice and turn it on high.
This portable air conditioner comes only with a 12V car adapter, which is one downside. That’s okay if you want to use this in your car or boat, but not really if you want to use it at home or while you’re travelling. You can purchase a battery pack separately, and I recommend you do that for full functionality of the IcyBreeze.
One thing to note is that there are other IcyBreeze units that have rechargeable batteries (The Flurry Package and The Frost Package), but they are more expensive than this unit, and they do not perform as well.
The JHS unit is a good affordable option. It’s one of the few portable air conditioners under $300, which is a pretty good price point. And it actually works – with 8000 BTU’s, this unit is able to keep an area of 200 square feet cool for hours at a time.
There are three functions you can choose from – air conditioner, fan and dehumidifier. It has two fan speeds and, as a dehumidifier, it has a capacity of 31.7 pints per day. The JHS unit has wheels, so it is pretty easy to movie from room to room.
It has an LED panel and comes with a full function remote control. There’s also a programmable 24-hour timer on this unit, as well as sleep mode, which means that the air con is operating on energy saving mode and running quieter than usual.
One downside of this portable air con is that there’s some fuss when you’re just setting it up. When it first arrives, you’re not supposed to turn it on for at least 24 hours if it was not transported in the upright position. And you should always assume that it wasn’t. Plus, this unit is only compatible with slide windows, so keep that in mind.
As for noise, the JHS is not exactly a quiet air conditioner. At the lower fan speed this operates at 49dBA, and at the higher fan speed it goes up to 54dBA. Mildly annoying, but not too loud.
Honeywell products are usually really good – especially their air humidifiers. And obviously, their air conditioning units. Their products are also on the pricier end of the spectrum, but the quality you get definitely justifies the prices.
You can actually choose between two types of this Honeywell portable air conditions. One has 8000 BTU’s and it works for a 350 sq. ft. room, and the other one has 10000 BTU’s and works for a 450 sq. ft. room. So, get the size that is most appropriate for the area you want to keep cool.
This unit is pretty lightweight for its size – it’s actually one of the lightest portable air cons I’ve managed to find. If you’re looking for something that you could actually fit in the trunk of your car, this is a good option.
It is very easy to set up, and that is always a bonus. Additionally, this air con is really simple to use – it comes with a remote control and it features a digital display. The unit has 2 working speeds, a digital humidistat and a 24-hour energy saving timer.
The built-in humidifier removes up to 44 pints a day, when it is continuously working. One thing I would improve is the noise this portable air conditioner makes – 50-53dB, depending on the fan speed. And that is louder than the cheapest unit in this review.
This portable air con has three operating modes – cooling, dehumidifier and fan. It also has a built-in swing mode, for optimal air circulation. That is actually a pretty convenient feature, and something you won’t find on similar units.
You can choose between three sizes and powers of this unit, so pick one that is best suitable for the space you are trying to cool down. The dimensions and weight listed below are of the 10000 BTU unit; the 8000 BTU unit is smaller and lighter, and the 12000 BTU unit is larger and heavier.
The SereneLife AC features two fan modes – low and high. However, both modes are pretty loud – 52-56dB.
This unit also features a 24-hour timer and a sleep mode, which are rather useful options. But the sleep mode is mostly just the fan running on low speed – if you’re a light sleeper, I seriously doubt you would be able to fall asleep with this working in the room.
You get a remote control for this unit, which allows you to adjust all of the settings from the comfort on your couch. The control panel on the actual AC is digital, and pretty simple to use.
It will be really easy to move this portable air con from room to room, thanks to the built-in wheels and side handles. And this actually can actually cool down a larger room pretty fast, which is the most important thing. Right?
This unit is a really good option for the price. Black + Decker is known for the quality of their products, so you can expect great things from their portable air con.
The first thing that amazed me about this one was the amount of options you have – 6 power options, ranging from 8000 BTU to 14000 BTU. The specifications listed below are for the most powerful air conditioner – the smaller ones are lighter and cheaper than this one.
Additionally, there are two options that also work as a heater in the winter – worth considering if you’re looking for a versatile product. And it’s pretty easy to move it from room to room, thanks to the wheels and integrated carry handles.
This unit has an LED digital display and controls that are very easy to see and use. It also comes with a remote control, so that you never have to get up to adjust the temperature of the room. And it has an energy saving setting, which will do wonders for your electric bill.
One downside to this portable air conditioner is that it is loud. On the high setting, this machine makes a lot of noise – 75 dB to be precise. So, even though it actually has a sleep setting, I doubt you will be able to sleep anywhere near this thing.
The DeLonghi air conditioner is easy to set up, and it has wheels and handles that allow you to effortlessly move it around the house. Just be careful with the hose – the no-drip technology does recycle any condensation inside the unit so that it doesn’t leak, but accidents do happen.
This comes with a window kit, so it is really easy to set up. And it also works with windows that slide open side-to-side.
One issue with this air conditioner is that it’s supposed to work for rooms that are 550 square feet, but it only has 6800 BTU. Realistically, that can keep a 300 sq.ft. room cool throughout the day, but not much larger areas. So, if you genuinely need something that works in 550 square feet, then definitely skip this unit.
This unit has a lighted display with electronic controls, so it is pretty user friendly. It also features a 12-hour timer, as well as an LCD remote control that gives you access to all settings. Those include an adjustable thermostat, 3 fan speeds and mode selection.
The DeLonghi is also pretty quiet – you will still hear it when it’s on, but it makes much less noise than some cheaper units out there. Also, this unit is pretty lightweight considering its size, and that’s another plus for me.
Still can’t decide which AC unit is the best option for you? Pick up any of my top three favorites for a really chill summer!
If you want a travel friendly portable air conditioner, the SunBond is the best one you can buy. It’s the only small AC that can actually cool down a small room, and that counts for something It runs on water, and you can always add some ice cubes to really enhance the cooling effect. This features an LED light, it has several operating modes, three fan speeds and it shuts off automatically when it runs out of water – perfect for staying cool while you’re sleeping. Plus, it is USB operated so you can literally just plug it into your laptop.
Need a portable AC that will substitute central air conditioning? The Black + Decker unit is the best option for you then! Not only is Black + Decker a brand well known for the quality of their products, but this unit is also available in several different sizes and power options. You can even get one that works as a heater and kill two birds with one stone. It has a digital display and it comes with a remote control, for ease of use. The only downside to it is that it’s not really quiet, but it’s a compromise I’m willing to make if I don’t have sweat bullets in July.
If you want a fun and interesting air conditioner, then pick up the IcyBreeze. It’s a really versatile option, and I really love that this is both an air cooler and an actual cooler. Not only will it cool you down, but it will also keep your beer ice cold. It’s pretty portable, and it comes with a car lighter adapter – perfect for use on the boat, in the tent or in an RV. You can buy a regular wall charger, so that you can use this at home – it will keep running as long as there is ice inside it.
Those are the top three portable air conditioners I would recommend. Head over to Amazon to check out their prices!
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!