Are Portable Air Conditioners Any Good? Would They Be Right for Your Apartment?
Apartments have their benefits. Management takes care of repairs, and you never have to worry about mowing the lawn. But one of the major drawbacks is that you can’t make major changes to the structure.
Honeywell MN10CESWW 10
Our favorite for 2020
EdgeStar Ultra Compact 8
A very close runner-up
Compact, portable, and easy to set up!
In other words: If your apartment isn’t equipped with a central AC unit or a window unit, then you’re out of luck when the summer heats up – right? Wrong. A portable AC unit can help keep you cool without requiring permanent installation.
But how do you compare portable AC units? Here are some things to consider:
- BTUs: When comparing portable ACs, one of the first things you want to look at is the number of BTUs. The higher the BTUs, the bigger the area the unit will cool. The number of BTUs you choose will depend on the size of your space. If you have a smaller space, you may not need a high-BTU unit. On the other hand, if you want to cool a larger space, like your living room, you may need a model with a higher BTU rating. The amount of space the unit can cool will be listed in the product description.
- Evaporation: Many modern portable AC units have auto-evaporation systems that don’t require you to use water tanks or worry about dripping and emptying buckets. Ideally, you want a model that uses this type of system for added convenience.
- Quality: Portable AC units are affordable, but they still require an investment. No one wants to spend a few hundred dollars on a unit, and have it stop working in just a few months. Brand reputation is one way to gauge quality, and user reviews are another great way to determine which units will give you years of use.
To help you find the best portable air conditioner for your apartment, we’re going to share some of the top rated and best-selling models on the market.
The Best Apartment AC Reviews for 2020
Honeywell MN10CESWW – The MN10CESWW from Honeywell is one of the best portable AC units on the market, and it’s a great model for people living in apartments.
This 10,000 BTU unit can cool up to 350 square feet of space, which makes it a great choice for use in a living room or larger bedroom.
The auto-evaporation design eliminates dripping, and there’s no need to worry about dumping buckets of water. On top of all this, the unit offers dehumidification up to 70 pints per day.
The digital LCD display makes it easy to see your precise temperature setting, and a full remote control allows you to change the temperature from anywhere in the room.
Honeywell MN12CES – The MN12CES is another apartment-friendly model from Honeywell. This 12,000 BTU unit is great for larger apartments and can cool up to 450 square feet. Like other Honeywell models, this unit does not require permanent installation, and won’t take up your entire window.
A window kit is included for easy installation, and this unit sits on four caster wheels, which means you can move it to different rooms with ease.
The front of the unit offers a digital display of your set temperature, and a full-function remote lets you adjust the temperature, fan speed, mode and timer with the touch of a button.
And this model also has a no-drip, no-bucket auto-evaporation system that makes it even more apartment-friendly.
Whynter 10,000 BTU Portable AC – The Whynter 10,000 BTU portable AC can cool up to 300 square feet of space, and is a great option if you’re on a tight budget.
The self-evaporation system recycles condensate, so you don’t have to deal with dripping or emptying water tanks. And it does have a direct-drain option if you plan on running this unit continuously, so you don’t have to worry about excessive amounts of condensation.
The easy-install venting kit makes it easy to install this unit in an apartment – and no permanent installation is required.
This unit has three cooling modes: fan, cooling, and dehumidifying.
With simple controls and a full remote control, this unit is ideal for anyone who wants a no-fuss, uncomplicated portable AC unit.
EdgeStar Ultra Compact 8,000 BTU AC – EdgeStar’s Ultra Compact unit is the smallest portable air conditioner, and is the perfect choice for smaller apartments. This 8,000 BTU unit can cool up to 225 square feet of space and offers dehumidification of up to 50 pints per day.
The 24-hour programmable timer is convenient, and the three-speed fan offers more control over your cooling.
The 55” max window kit makes installation a breeze, while the caster wheels allow you to transport the unit to different rooms.
Like other apartment-friendly portable ACs, this unit has a self-evaporation system that exhausts condensate, so you don’t have to worry about manual draining.
If you’re cooling a smaller space, this unit is the right choice for you.
Whynter ARC-142BX – If you need to cool a larger space, the Whytner’s ARC-142BX may be the best choice for you. This 14,000 BTU unit can cool up to 500 square feet of space, and it boasts environmentally-friendly features, like RoHS-compliant components that are lead-free, and CFC-free refrigerant.
A self-evaporative system exhausts the majority of condensate, so there’s no need for manual draining. This model also comes with a window kit for easy installation. Windows need to be between 26.5” and 48” in width for this unit to install properly.
Four operation modes are available: air conditioner, auto, fan and dehumidifier. This model also comes with a remote control for easy adjustments wherever you are in the room.
Buyer’s Guide – How Effective Are Portable Air Conditioners?
When people consider buying portable ACs, one of the first questions they ask is: how effective are they? And the answer is simple – very. But as you can imagine (and as you should expect) they can take a while to cool down a room. Starting the unit up before the afternoon heat kicks in and choosing a model that’s right for the size of your space will help ensure that your home stays comfortable all season long.
When buying a portable AC, there are a few things you want to keep in mind:
- Installation: Can you install the exhaust (or venting) system in your window? Nearly all models come with window kits that make this part simple and easy, but you do need to make sure that your window is the right size for the unit. Take a look at the minimum and maximum window sizes to gauge whether the unit will work in your home.
- Temperature Control: All of the units on our list use digital temperature controls, and these types of units are generally preferred over those that use rotary controls. With digital models, you can set a precise temperature, which means you can choose the most efficient and comfortable temperature for you. Most units also come with a remote control that lets you adjust fan speeds and temperatures from across the room, which is another added benefit.
- Price: Of course, price will be a factor when choosing a unit. Resist the temptation to simply buy the cheapest model you can find. Instead, look for the best quality model you can afford. Opting for quality over cost will help ensure you buy a unit that will give you years of use – not a few months of use.