Top 5 Best Portable Air Conditioners Comparison

Quiet, powerful and portable air conditioners to keep the house cool in the heat.

Top 5 Best Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners are an effective way to maintain a comfortable environment, in your own home. As well as helping you to stay cool during the hotter months, air conditioners also control the level of humidity, leaving a less sticky atmosphere.

A welcome feature in our unpredictable weather, many units also have a heater function. With no installation required and the flexibility to move around the house, these portable units offer a more economical and convenient alternative to static air conditioners.

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FunctionsCooling / Heating / DehumidifyingCooling / DehumidifyingCooling / DehumidifyingCooling / Heating / DehumidifyingCooling / Dehumidifying / Fan
Area Covered22-30 sq. meters20 sq. metersUp to 32 sq. metersN/AUp to 19 sq. meters
BTU12000 (3.52 kW)8000 (2.35 kW)1200090009000 (2.6kW)
Cooling Capacity3.52 kW2.35 kW3.5 kW2.6 kWN/A
Heating Capacity3.52 kWN/AN/A2.1 kWN/A
Temp Range• 16-35°C (cooling)
• 10-27°C (heating)
Fan Speed33333
Timer24 hrs24 hrs24 hrs12 hrs12 hrs
Auto RestartYesYesYesYesN/A
Noise Level Rating49 dB47 dB49-54 dBN/A50 dB
Energy Consumption672.5 kW (over 500 hours) 447.5 kW (over 500 hours) 1.165 kW (cooling)N/AN/A
Energy RatingA / A+A (cooling only)AA+A
Includes• 1500mm Air Vent Hose
• Remote Control
• 1500mm Air Vent Hose
• Remote Control
• 1500mm Air Vent Hose
• Remote Control
• 2 x Air Filter Frames
• Adaptor
• Exhaust Hose
• Active Carbon Filter
• Drainage Tube
• Remote Control
• 1.2m Exhaust Hose
• Remote Control
Weight39 kg24.5 kg26 kg22 kg30 kg
Dimensions40.5 x 39 x 82 cm39.5 x 31.5 x 77 cm40 x 37 x 80 cm38.3 x 30.5 x 75.2 cm

Top Features | Portable Air Conditioners

Multiple Functions

An air conditioner works by cooling down the air in your home, removing moisture and then recirculating it by way of a fan. In some models, these three functions – cool, dehumidify and fan – can be selected and used separately; ideal, for example, if the temperature is desirable, but humidity is high.

There are also several air conditioners on the market that feature a heating function, making them suitable for use all year round.


BTU (British Thermal Unit) is probably the most important consideration when looking to buy the best portable air conditioner for your home.

One BTU is the energy needed to heat 1 pound of water by 1°F, but in the case of air conditioners it actually tells you how many BTUs can be removed by the unit in an hour. In straightforward terms, the higher the BTU, the more efficient the model is at cooling down a room.

Area Covered

The amount of space that can be conditioned depends on the BTU of the unit. While a BTU of between 5000-8000 is adequate for most average-sized rooms, bear in mind that you may wish to use the air conditioner in another part of the house in the future.

As a rough guide, measure the largest room that you are likely to use the air conditioner in and multiply its dimensions (in feet) by 5, eg. a room that measures 15 x 10 x 12ft x 5 = 9000 BTUs.

Cooling Capacity

The higher the cooling capacity of the air conditioner, the faster it will cool the room. This is often referenced in terms of BTUs, with a higher figure translating as a greater cooling capacity. A key factor in a unit’s ability to cool is the size of the area, however, the number of people, presence of electrical equipment, and location (is it west or south-facing?) can also make a room hotter and may require a greater BTU.

Heating Capacity

Air conditioners with a heater function will state heating capacity. This is either given in BTUs (British Thermal Units) or kW (kilowatts); the higher the BTU or kW figure, the greater the ability of the unit to warm up a room. If you want to heat a larger area, you will need to opt for a unit with a higher heating capacity.

Ecoair Apollo Portable Air Conditioner
The Ecoair Apollo

Operation Temperature Range

This is the minimum that an air conditioner can lower the room temperature to and, for those units with a heating function, the maximum that the temperature can be raised.

The majority of air conditioners can achieve a lower temperature of between 16°C and 18°C – if you prefer a much cooler environment, then this extra couple of degrees can make a significant difference.

Probably less of a factor is the top temperature, which tends to range from 30-35°C.

LED Display

An LED display is a clear and easy way to check the temperature of the room and the mode that the air conditioner is operating in.

Fan Speed

The speed at which air is circulated can usually be set to low, medium or high. Some of the best portable air conditioners also feature an auto setting, where the fan is automatically set to the optimum speed for room conditions.

Built-in Timers

Timers allow the air conditioner to be switched on and off automatically. The key thing to look for here is whether the unit has a built-in 24-hour clock, or a simple countdown/delay timer. A programmable 24-hour timer allows a greater level of control, whereas the delay or countdown timer offers less flexibility and has to be reset each time.

Portable Air Conditioner Controls
Typical controls of a portable air conditioner.

Memory Function

Air conditioners with a memory function can be pre-programmed to meet your needs throughout the day.

Auto Restart

If you choose a programmable air conditioner, the last thing you want is to have to reset it after a power cut. The auto restart feature means that the unit will remember all of its previous settings.

Sleep Function

Some air conditioners have modes specifically designed to cater for night-time. There are air conditioners with sleep modes which gradually allow the temperature to increase by a couple of degrees overnight; this helps you get off to a good night’s sleep, but then saves energy once you are sleeping (and would naturally be cooler anyway).

Another sleep feature on some models is a reduced compressor and fan speed, providing a quiet portable air conditioner for the bedroom.

Noise Level Rating

Air conditioners use compressors to get the refrigerant to the right temperature and pressure to cool the air. Unfortunately, compressors can be a bit noisy (think about your fridge), however, there are some quiet portable air conditioners on the market which are rated as low as 44dB – around the level of bird song or a library. So, if you intend to use the air conditioner mainly in a bedroom or study, you may want to check out the noise rating before you buy.


All air conditioners have a pre-filter to remove larger particles – dust, dirt and hair – improving air quality and helping to keep the unit clean.

Many models also offer additional particle filtration: activated carbon filters absorb contaminants and tackle odours; silver ion filters have a sterilising property; and antimicrobial filters capture most microbes. Whatever filters are included, it is worth checking if they are washable and how easy they are to remove and replace.

Energy Consumption

Due to the compressor, air conditioners use a significant amount of energy. Units with an auto function turn the compressor (and fan) on and off to maintain a constant temperature, saving more power. Some air conditioners also have a sleep mode which allows the temperature to rise slightly overnight, once you are asleep – again reducing energy consumption.

Energy Rating

Like all electrical appliances, air conditioners are given an energy rating. A-rated units are the most efficient and will save you money, as well as being better for the environment.

Remote Control

Many portable air conditioners come with a remote, allowing you to control the environment from your chair. Some units even feature Wi-Fi, allowing the unit to be controlled using your smartphone – just download an app and control your air conditioning from anywhere.


Although these air conditioners are portable, they can still be heavy. Ranging from around 20kg to over 30kg, weight is a big consideration.

If you are going to be moving the unit from room to room or even upstairs, it’s a good idea to look for air conditioners with handholds which allow for a comfortable grip; omnidirectional castors will aid manoeuvrability, too.


Most air conditioners are well under a metre in height and some slimline models are less than 30cm deep. These portable units tend to be boxy in shape and so will fit quite easily near to a wall or into a corner – just bear in mind that the hot air will need to be vented out through a window, via a hose.