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How to Choose a Portable Air Conditioner?
When the air temperature exceeds 30 degrees in the summer, one is grateful for any way to cool off. In this article, we therefore, focused on choosing a portable air conditioner. We covered topics such as:
- Why buy a portable air conditioner – It is an affordable and simple solution without building interventions. You can move the air conditioner, and it is multifunctional.
- Disadvantages of portable air conditioners – The air conditioner’s performance may need to meet your expectations. Generally, these devices are noisy, take up a lot of space, and can only be used in a room with windows.
- Choosing a portable air conditioner according to purpose – Air conditioners usually manage cooling and dehumidification; some models can also be used for heating.
- Choosing a portable air conditioner according to the size of the room – You can select the air conditioner’s power and airflow according to the space’s volume.
- Important parameters when choosing a portable air conditioner – Power, air flow, or dehumidification efficiency play a vital role. Still, energy efficiency, noise level or the method of condensate removal are also important.
- Accessories and functions – The acquisition of a window adapter is suitable. The basic equipment of the air conditioner includes a display, timer or remote control, but some models also have a Wi-Fi connection or a 6th sense.
- Price – The cheapest models can be found for under £400; the usual price is between £400 – £600.
Why buy a portable air conditioner?
- Real cooling – Unlike fans and other smaller devices, a mobile or portable air conditioner can cool the air in the room by several degrees.
- Affordability – You can get the cheapest portable air conditioners for under £400, while classic air conditioners cost several times that.
- Installation without building interventions – There is no need to make any holes in the wall or other construction modifications; portable air conditioning is a good solution in a rental apartment or historical premises.
- Mobility – You can easily move the air conditioner from room to room or even from an apartment to a cottage.
- Multifunctionality – In addition to cooling, portable air conditioners also manage dehumidification; some also have a heating function.
Cons of portable air conditioners
- Cooling performance and efficiency – No portable model can fully replace a classic wall air conditioner. In most cases, expect a cooling of about five °C.
- Noise – portable air conditioners are quite noisy, often emitting more than 60 dB, which is not ideal for sleeping in the bedroom at night or watching TV.
- Hot air outlet – Hot air is removed through the window, which needs to be properly sealed so that it does not return. It is therefore only possible to use the air conditioner in a room with windows (or other outlet openings).
- Appearance and space requirements – It is a relatively large device, which does not always create a completely aesthetic impression (especially in combination with a window adapter). The air conditioner also needs enough space around it to work efficiently.
Cooling performance and efficiency
Hot air outlet
Air conditioning without outlet
Choosing a portable air conditioner according to purpose
- Cooling – If you are looking for an air conditioner primarily to cool a room, look for the highest possible cooling performance and airflow (after all, this will play a role in all activities). The most powerful models cool with over 4-5 kW power.
- Heating – Some air conditioners can also have a heating function, you can find this information in the product description, or you can recognise them by the energy label (it shows values for cooling and heating). However, this function is not commonly used in our region.
- Dehumidification – If you mainly fight humidity at home, focus primarily on dehumidification performance; the most powerful models manage even more than 2 l per hour. If necessary, consider purchasing a separate dehumidifier.
Choosing a portable air conditioner according to the size of the room
Room volume (m3)
Cooling performance (kW)
Air flow (m3/h)
How to calculate the volume of a room
Important factors when choosing a portable air conditioner
- Cooling and heating power is given in kW; the basic models have around 2.6 kW, the most powerful around 5 kW.
- Airflow – It should correspond to twice, or ideally three times, the volume of the room.
- Dehumidification efficiency – Normally, it is about one l/h; some models manage over two l/h.
- Operating temperature range – The suitable ambient temperature is between 17-35 °C; the lowest achievable temperature is usually around 17 °C, and the highest possible temperature is about 30 °C. However, they may differ for specific models.
- Consumption and energy efficiency – Consumption is quite difficult to calculate; energy efficiency is a better guide. Usually around 2.6 EER/COP, the most efficient models have over 3.5 EER/COP.
- Noise – This is a common problem with most portable air conditioners, “quiet” models include those with a noise level below 60 dB but usually expect a maximum noise level of about 65 dB.
Cooling and heating power
- 1 kW = roughly 3,500 BTU