The summer is a splendid time of year. A time to spend quality moments with family outside, have picnics in the park, and get a tan while lying out at the beach. While these are all the things that make the summer great, it can also bring on unbearable heat. Heat that makes it hard to concentrate and sometimes, even hard to move. But in sometimes, even a tower fan is not enough. Whether you don’t have an air conditioner installed in your house, your job, or you’re needing to be on the move, don’t sacrifice comfortability. This list will provide you some of the best small portable air conditioners that will help you pick which is best for you.
Table of Contents
- How Do Portable Air Conditioners Work?
- What To Look For When Getting a Portable AC?
- Comparison Table
- Which Should I Get?
- 1) BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner
- 2) Cunmiso Personal Mini Air Conditioner Fan
- 3) MIDEA MAP08R1CWT 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner
- 4) hOmeLabs 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
- 5) Honeywell MO08CESWK Compact Portable Air Conditioner
- 6) Evapolar EvaLIGHT Plus EV-1500
- 7) Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner
- 8) Portable Air Conditioner by Anbber
- 9) Ivation 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
- 10) Zero Breeze Z19-B Portable Air Conditioner for Camping
How Do Portable Air Conditioners Work?
Before we dive into the article, I feel obligated to explain how portable air conditioners actually work, as users can be disappointed with their design and functionality.
Single-hose Portable Air Conditioner
Basically, the machines work by pulling dead air from the room they are located in. The air conditioner then cools the air via its motor for circulation through the space. Additionally, the machine takes the excessive moisture and warm/hot air and siphons it via the hose and out the window.
If you would like to know how do portable air conditioners work, check out the video below (by Electronoobs):
No-hose Portable Air Conditioner
Then there are much smaller air conditioners, like the ones made by EvaPolar that do not use a hose. Actually, there is some contradiction regarding the fact if they should be named portable air conditioners because of how they work (you can say they are basically just fans with a permanent wet cloth over), but for the purpose of this article, let’s say they are air conditioners.
So basically, the machines use an air filter and/or evaporation pad, which are located between two fans. One fan is for intake, the other for output. The first fan siphons the air from inside the room, passes it through the air filter to the output fan, which sends out a cool breeze back to the room. The air filter is being moisturized by water that is located in the water tank.
Which is Better?
There are pros and cons to both designs and it is up to you which suits your needs the most.
I, personally, own both types and usually use the no-hose small one when I’m working on the computer during a hot summer day, simply because that light cool breeze is enough for me.
However, if you have people over and it is hot outside, then it will most definitely not be enough. That is where I use the single-hose air-conditioner. While the machine is much louder, it also cools much larger area than the no-hose air conditioner.
What To Look For When Getting a Portable AC?
Before you decide which machine is the best for you, there are several factors to be considered.
BTU / Square Feet Coverage
Number one factor that you should consider is the BTU, which stands for British Thermal Unit, a unit of heat, which is defined as the amount of heat that is required to raise/increase the temperature of one (1) pound of water by one (1) degree Fahrenheit.
In other words, the BTU number that is stated with the portable air conditioner should tell you how large a room can the model cool. While most models also state this information in square feet, I’d suggest checking this chart to make sure you are not getting ripped off and that the model can actually do what it promises.
Since we are talking about portable air conditioners, size is definitely something worth checking. Single-hose machines can differ a bit, but generally you are looking at about 30 inch in height.
No-hose conditioners / fans are much smaller, but this is also reflected on their cooling power.
The installation of portable ACs should be easy. The single-hose machines should be equipped with a hose and a window-cover plate – make sure both of these accessories are included and that you don’t need to purchase them separately.
Also, the filter (this applies to both, single-hose and no-hose machines) should be easily removed and cleaned up.
Noise level is a factor to be considered as well. The machine should have several cooling settings and it would be great if it had a “sleep” setting, which is usually designed to work with near-silent motor run.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case (especially with cheaper models). So, if you plan using the device at night, I’d suggest reading reviews regarding the noise, since this can be a deal-breaker.
This is actually one of the biggest advantages of the small no-hose conditioners/fans, since they produce very minimal amount of noise.
If you plan to move your portable AC around a lot, then weight should be a factor worth considering. The good news is that single-hose air conditioners usually come with transportation wheels, but it can still present a problem if you want to move it, let’s say, upstairs. These fellas weigh around 50 pounds and up, so transporting them can be a bit challenging.
On the other hand, the no-hose conditioners / fans usually weigh just a few pounds.
Speed Settings / Modes
As I’ve partially mentioned in the section above, number of speed settings and especially modes is something you should check out before purchase. Generally, no-hose ACs have only 2-3 speed settings and that’s it. But when it comes to single-hose ACs, they are usually equipped with more speed settings and modes, like sleep (silent) mode, dehumidifying mode, etc.
So, speed / modes settings is definitely a factor worth considering.
Remote control is usually featured in mid-priced + single-hose ACs. If that is something you desire, make sure your model comes with it.
The very first thing I’d suggest to check is price. It would be a shame if you’d found your winner only to realize it’s beyond your budget.
If you are getting a more expensive model, then make sure what kind of warranty you are getting. If you are purchasing a very expensive model, then it might be worth considering to increase the default warranty to add additional years, if possible.
Which Should I Get?
Now that you know what to look for, check out the list below and decide for yourself!
1) BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner
Black+Decker is a very well known brand of home appliances, so it is no wonder they also manufacture portable air conditioners. The model BPACT08WT is one of the best rated machines on the market for several good reasons.
The model offers two sub-models, one with 5,000 BTU, the other with 8,000. Honestly, if you are going for a portable air conditioner, I’d suggest to go for the highest BTU model. The price is not really that different considering you are getting a more powerful machine.
Dimensions: 16.5 x 11.5 x 26 inches
Weight: 52.9 pounds
- Energy efficient
- Rarely leaks
- Good-looking design
- Easy Installation
- Cools only one room or a very small apartment
- Quite heavy
- Hose could be of better quality
Our rating: 4.7 / 5
2) Cunmiso Personal Mini Air Conditioner Fan
Similar design to EvaPolar, the mini air conditioner by Cunmiso is small, effective, portable and affordable. This little fella will not cool an entire room, but can definitely keep you cool when watching television or working on a computer.
The Cunmiso small air conditioner comes with three speed settings and rechargeable batteries, which means you can actually use it without an adapter. Pretty cool, eh? You just have to have realistic expectations from such a small device.
Dimensions: 8.23 x 7.44 x 7.09 inches
Weight: 2.38 pounds
- Portable and Rechargeable (Cordless)
- Energy Efficient
- Very quiet
- It will do the job well if targeted at a small area
- It will not cool an entire room
- Needs to be filled with water every few hours
Our rating: 4.6 / 5
3) MIDEA MAP08R1CWT 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner
Next on our list is the Midea MAP08R1CWT 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner, which comes in a sleek white and is designed to cool a room of 150 square feet and comes with 3 operation modes.
Dimensions: 13 x 17.1 x 28.3 inches
Weight: 59.9 pounds
- Several models available (more square feet coverages)
- LED display
- App synchronization
- The draining process can be quite painful
- The window slider comes with just 3 bolts, so you better have some additional ones ready
Our rating: 4.5 / 5
4) hOmeLabs 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
This quiet and energy-efficient is one of the smallest portable air conditioners, as well as one of the best. It’s easy to install and does not have a heavy window unit to lift up.
On top of everything else that makes this a great option for a small compact AC, it has a built-in humidifier. Let’s go through the pros and cons for the hOmeLabs 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner.
The dimensions are 17.9 x 15 x 30.7 inches (45.5 x 38.1 x 78 cm) and the weight is 72.3 pounds (32.8 kg).
This option can cool rooms up to 550 to 700 square feet (51.1 – 65 m2) and has an automatic vertical swing function that helps is evenly distribute air throughout the room. The hOmeLabs is 17.9 x 15 x 30.7 inches and has wheels for easy transportation. On top of a built-in dehumidifier, it also has a washable air filter. This certainly is one of the best small portable air conditioners.
As stated before, like most of the best small portable AC units; is quite pricey. If you look through the product details, there also doesn’t seem to be any indication that batteries are included.
Our rating: 4.4 / 5
5) Honeywell MO08CESWK Compact Portable Air Conditioner
The Honeywell MO08CESWK Compact Portable Air Conditioner with Dehumidifier and Fan is for rooms that are up to 350 square feet (32.5 m2).
The neat thing about this option is not only does it come with a remote control, but it is also offered in black and white. Therefore, you can get whichever to match your room that you have it in. This Honeywell is quiet and easy to install, making it a great option as the smallest portable air conditioner. Let’s take a moment to look at all of the positives and negatives for this best small portable air conditioner.
The dimensions are 13.5 x 14.6 x 27.7 inches (34.3 x 37.1 x 70.4 cm) and the weight is 43 pounds (19.5 kg).
Featuring auto-evaporation, this also includes a dehumidifier. The filter is washable and easy to change, which is always a good thing. The controls are simple to use and this has two settings for whichever you prefer. If your home did not come with a larger AC unit and you’re looking to air out a room, this will be a great option for you and your loved ones.
Yes, it has two settings, but most larger AC units have more. Just because you have a small AC unit doesn’t mean you want to sacrifice this kind of option, so keep this in mind before purchasing this machine. There also is nothing that indicates that the remote comes with batteries, so you will have to purchase those on your own.
Our rating: 4.3 / 5
6) Evapolar EvaLIGHT Plus EV-1500
Evapolar just keeps getting better and better and one of their newer additions is the EvaLIGHT PLus EV-1500.
Extremely compactable, the EvaLIGHT PLus EV-1500 is one of the best compact portable AC. The Evapolar uses evaporative technology to cool the area that you are in, so if you are working in a hot office, you don’t have to sweat it! Instead of using a small desk fan that only fans out hot air, bring the Evapolar Personal with you!
Dimensions: 8 x 8 x 10 inches
Weight: 3.08 pounds
This easy to set up machine only needs water to work and can be plugged into the back of a computer. It’s low-energy and extremely portable, which is good for the best small portable AC list. You will feel cool whether you’re at home or at the office and be conscious that you are using a low energy machine.
While the price tag for this machine is reasonable, you do need to keep in mind that it needs water to work. You will have to make sure that you fill it up and you will have to get up from wherever you are comfortably sat in order to replenish the water supply. This portable AC cannot cool large rooms and is better for smaller spaces (I mean, really small).
Our rating: 4.3 / 5
7) Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner
Cooling a room up to 500 square feet (46.5 m2) is the Whynter ARC-14S. As one of the best small portable air conditioners, this option comes with a storage bag.
It is an award-winning machine that is sure to be exactly what you need when you are looking to have a small portable AC unit to help cool down a room in your house. Look no further than this option. Let’s go through the pros and the cons of the Whynter ARC-14S.
The dimensions are 16 x 19 x 35.5 inches (40.6 x 48.3 x 90.2) and the weight is 80 lbs (36.3).
This machine has won the 2019 Best Overall award. It’s stated that the Whynter can “can cool down a room faster than other portable units”. Smallest portable air conditioner? Let’s try award-winning best small portable AC. Seriously, this is great option. It’s sleek and has three operational modes. It has a full thermostat with accurate readings spelled out and is eco-friendly. It also has a washable pre-filter included, so cleaning it is a breeze. Did we mention it comes with a storage bag?
It is a little bigger than the other units on this list, but it is still portable. The Whynter is award-winning and with that kind of notoriety comes a hefty price tag, so if you are trying to not spend a lot, this may hurt your wallet a little. There doesn’t seem to be batteries included for the remote and it has a lot more parts to it than other units. Overall, it’s a little more complicated and you may need to read the instruction manual for this one.
Our rating: 4.2 / 5
8) Portable Air Conditioner by Anbber
I really love the way that this Portable Air Conditioner looks. With it’s futuristic, eco-friendly look that it has going on, it is really an eye-catcher.
This is why it’s one of the best and smallest portable air conditioners. This is probably the cheapest portable AC unit that is on this list. Who wouldn’t love to get their hands on an AC unit that can travel with you and is easy on the wallet? You may think this is too good to be true, so let’s go through what makes this a great option for the best small portable AC and why maybe you should do some research.
The dimensions are 5.2 x 5.2 x 6.7 inches (13.2 x 13.2 x 17 cm) and the weight is 2 lbs (0.9 kg).
By adding ice or water, you can help yourself combat the heat that sometimes is just too much during the summer. This is an extremely small cooling system that is designed to help you feel easy and breezy when the sun outside is beating down. This unit comes with a handle and a USB so you can take it anywhere with you and not have to worry about a bulky machine that is a pain to set up. It is low-energy consumption and quiet.
This is an extremely tiny AC unit, so do not expect it to cool off a whole room. This is more so for personal use, say if you are at a desk at home or at the office. This portable machine is not completely quiet, so don’t expect it not to emulate no sound at all. This machine is meant for what it is, a portable little unit to help cool you off, but it is certainly not replacing a larger window unit any time soon.
Our rating: 4.2 / 5
9) Ivation 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
The Ivation 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner deserves to be on this list due to its multi-mode function and digital LED display screen.
It contains a versatile window installation and five convenient modes. It looks nice with a sleek white and rounded edges and will look great in any room of the house. The compact-single hose AC Unit is there for your needs in the heat and it’s nice to know you don’t need a window or wall unit in order to be cooled down. Let’s go through what makes this a great option for the smallest portable air conditioners and what you should also bear in mind.
The dimensions are 18.3 x 15.6 x 30.1 inches (46.5 x 39.6 x 76.5 cm) and the weight is 63.6 pounds (28.8 kg).
Let’s start this off by saying yes, there are batteries included! So, you don’t have to worry about having to the store to pick them up before needing your AC unit to work. This has a digital LED screen, is eco-friendly, has a sleep-mode, and is incredibly easy to install. You don’t have to fret when it comes to this option, because pretty much all of the hard work is done before you even buy it.
The Ivation 10,000 comes with a warning that it is not suggested you use this unit for rooms larger than 400 square feet (37.2 m2). It is also said to be louder than a window unit, so you may need to bear that in mind. You will also need to drain the water often, so please keep that in mind before you make this purchase. You can drain the water in a drain if you please.
Our rating: 4.0 / 5
10) Zero Breeze Z19-B Portable Air Conditioner for Camping
Let’s talk about real portability. This Zero Breeze Z19-B Portable Air Conditioner may be the smallest portable air conditioner on this list.
The Zero Breeze is advertised specifically for camping, because let’s be honest – while you’re camping because you love the outdoors, it even may become too hot for your outdoor living self. Especially when you are sleeping inside a tent and the heat becomes too unbearable to even rest, you are going to wish that you had this unit. Coming in a very attractive blue color, let’s go through the pros and cons for this portable compact unit.
The dimensions are 8 x 11 x 7.5 in. (46 x 28 x 19 cm) and the weight is 12.8 lbs (5.8 kg).
When you are talking about portability, you cannot get more portable than this. As far as the best compact portable AC goes, I think this one takes the cake. You can take this virtually anywhere – even the outdoors. When you are sitting around enjoying a nice meal after a long hike and you are looking for some rest before setting up a tent, pull out the Zero Breeze. It actually also comes in yellow, if you aren’t a fan of blue. This machine is perfectly designed for the outside and on top of being an AC, it includes a fan, a USB charging station, a Bluetooth music player, and LED lighting.
The Zero Breeze is specifically designed for outdoor use, so it isn’t something that would make any sense to buy for say a small bedroom. This is something to just use outdoors, so I would not think of it as a two-in-one portable AC unit. Also, you should keep in mind that if you are using it outside, that you will need to be in a close area to it in order to feel the benefits from this unit. A tent is the perfect place to use this unit.
Our rating: 4.0 / 5
Hopefully, the list provided to you has helped you decide what kind of small portable air conditioner unit you might like. Whether the purpose is to help cool off a room, to save money on your utility bill, or be taken on the go with you, you can find something that will fit your needs. As you saw, we even found one that can be taken with you camping. These machines help during some of the hottest times of the year. There is no need to be sweating and melting during the summer heat when you have one of the smallest portable air conditioners. Be sure that you know what the purpose of your unit will be and look at the positives and negatives to each one. This way, you are staying cool and happy during the warmer weather!