Portable Air Conditioner Buying Guide

Window-type air conditioners have always been the popular type for fixed mounted ACs for the longest time. We all grew up seeing and using them in our own homes. But recently, portable air conditioning units are making a wave because of the mobility and the fact that it does not need any sort of installation.

How A Portable Air Conditioner Works

Portable air conditioners are now the next best thing as far as room cooling goes. They are as effective cooling solution as the usual window-type air conditioners but offer mobility giving consumers the option of just buying one air conditioning unit and moving it where it is needed instead of buying several units for different parts of the houses. But is it really that effective? Have you ever wondered how it works?

There are different types of portable air conditioners depending on the mechanism that the brand used. Basically, they are self-contained appliances that require a window to act as the exhaust system as can be imagined in an ordinary window-type air conditioner.

However, they still do differ in terms of maximum cooling square footage, venting configuration, and other special features like operating modes, remote control features, fan speeds, oscillating louvers, programmable timers, and air filter systems. All these are functions and capabilities that are very similar to any other type of air conditioning unit today. So what makes a portable air conditioner special?

Portable air conditioners today are considered special or the more preferred one because it is the practical choice unless you do not care about money and you can afford numerous air conditioning units for different parts of the house. If not, your best bet is to get hold of a portable air conditioner.

If we are going to talk about specifics, all types of air conditioners be it window type or portable uses the same basic mechanism of the reverse process of steam technology where heat and humidity is removed from the air and then blown into cold coils with cold water in order to produce the cool air. This is the original process.

However, times have changed and air conditioner brand makers have been thoroughly innovative in making further advancements that are going to help their company, the brand, the environment, and of course, the consumers who are going to use it.

How To Wisely Choose a Portable Air Conditioning Unit

Can you imagine not having an air conditioning unit right in the middle of summer? Today, most, if not all houses have their own air conditioners to make hot and sweltering days easier to withstand and comfortable even. If this is your first time to purchase a portable air conditioning unit, there is no need to fret since it is not totally complicated. In fact, it is easy most especially if you already have the basic knowledge of how it works.

To further help you get down to the best portable air conditioning unit that would perfectly match your need and preferences, we are going to discuss one by one all the details and features and which fits who and what is needed by whom. Let us get started:

  1. British Thermal Unit or BTU

If you have not noticed, all air conditioners today indicate the BTU. From that alone, you can already trim down your choices depending on the size of the room you plan to cool. This is because BTU or the British Thermal Unit indicates the cooling capacity of the air conditioning unit.

So technically, the lower the BTU, the smaller area size would be covered. However, you cannot base your decision on BTU alone. You have to remember the importance of this BTU in accordance with all the other features you need. Still, here is a quick table to give you an idea in real figures. Keep in mind though that this is just a recommendation and may still change depending on how humid it is in your environment.

Suggested Area in Square Feet BTU Required
100-200 7,000-8,000
150-250 8,000-10,000
250-350 10,000-12,000
350-550 12,000-13,000
  1. Exhaust and Ventilation

This is another important factor if you are decided on getting a portable air conditioning unit. Remember our explanation above of how the usual air conditioner works? Have you ever noticed the hot air that is vented out of ordinary window-type air conditioners? Well that is about the same hot air that portable air conditioning units will produce, only this time the air is let out through a hose.

Given the fact that this is a portable unit meaning it is mobile and no installation is needed, where do you think will the hot air go? If it is to go inside the room, it will mix with the cool air and therefore, would directly have an effect on the room temperature. This is why it would be preferable to have a window nearby where the hose can directly go. It does not even need to be an opened window, even a window with a screen will do.

For those rooms that just do not have any window like those in building apartments or condominium units, some modern brands today offer separate special drop ceiling panels and window kits in different sizes to perfectly fit the portable air conditioning unit.

  1. Normal Room Temperature

Does the sun go up at your room’s side or does the sun go down on it? If it is sunrise you get on your side of the room, chances are your room will cool faster. But if it is the afternoon sun that you get, then the tendency is for the room to be harder to cool.

Once you have determined your room’s normal temperature, then you can proceed to the next step in choosing the perfect air conditioning unit for you.

What should be remembered here is that even if you only have a 200-square feet room but if its normal room temperature is very high, then you might want to consider going a level up on the BTU. Climate is another thing to consider here as it directly affects your room temperature. Read more about the normal room temperature and what it does to our body here.

  1. Electrical Requirement

Most portable air conditioning units today works on a 110/120 volt electric outlet and modern units now have eliminated the need for special wiring despite the fact that it uses a very large amount of energy. Given this, extra precaution must still be imposed. What you can do here is not put this portable air conditioner on the same circuit with your other large energy-consuming appliances such as the refrigerator.

  1. Quietness

This is of utmost importance for those with children since they need most if not all appliances at the house work at the lowest possible noise. Most air conditioning units today are equipped with internal motorized compressor systems and fans. Through such systems, varied levels of quietness are achieved.

Now if you happen to have chosen a portable air conditioner that you thought was quiet but you are not totally satisfied with its noise level, try setting the timer to make the air conditioning unit start at a time when you are most probably in deep sleep already.

Now, this does come with another problem which is how to comfortably get to sleep if the room is hot. You can try turning it on once you get home so that the room is already cold when it is about time to go to sleep and putting it in timer setting to let you sleep first before turning on once again to keep you comfortable for the rest of the night.

  1. Maintenance

Portable air conditioners must also be maintained regularly just like any other type of air conditioning unit (link). They also come with different types of filters, some needs to be cleaned regularly through thorough washing while some come with disposable filters. This would really depend on your preference whether you want to wash the filters or throw them out and get a new one after several years.

Choosing the best portable air conditioning unit is not at all hard. It only becomes exhausting when one does not know what he/she is looking for. This is why we always suggest never going out without educating yourself first. You are not supposed to go fight without any bullets, right?

So go over this helpful guide over and over again until you have understood each feature and detail. Through that, you might be surprised of how easy you can choose the perfect portable air conditioner for your home.