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6 Best Portable Air Conditioners (2021 Review)

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In this guide we’ll take a look at the best portable air conditioners for the UK market.
I’ve compared performance, speed, efficiency and cost
to give you my top recommendations.

What Is The Best Portable Air Conditioner?

IMAGE RECOMMENDED PRODUCTSPRODUCT FEATURES
  • Best portable air conditioner
  • Real Feel technology
  • Optimum temp & humidity
  • Air conditioner & dehumidifier
  • Programmable target for your perfect temperature!
  • Thermostatic technology
  • Breeze Mode
  • Ready to use out the box!
  • Easy glide wheels
  • Oscillation swing mode
  • Extremely lightweight at 24kg
  • Sleep mode and 24 hour timer for total control
  • Best value for money
  • Choice of size & power!
  • Perfectly compact
  • 3 in 1 fan, cooler & dehumidifier
  • Great compact design
  • 3 fan speeds

More Detailed Portable Air Conditioner Reviews

De'Longhi PACAN98 ECO Real Feel Portable Air Conditioner

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Best portable air conditioner
  • Real Feel technology
  • Optimum temp & humidity
OUR RATING
98
PRICE
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De'Longhi PACAN98 ECO Real Feel Portable Air Conditioner Review

The De’Longhi PACAN98 ECO Real Feel Portable Air Conditioner is the best portable air conditioner for the UK market. It features a thermostat, humidifier and an electronic timer!

As well as providing the most efficient cooling, this portable air conditioner also measures and controls humidity, either adding or removing moisture from the air when necessary. It uses its Real Feel technology to measure the air and determine the optimal balance between temperature and humidity to make you as comfortable as possible. Most air conditioners remove water from the air and after prolonged use, this can lead to a very dry, uncomfortable environment.

For the winter months, the unit works as the perfect dehumidifier, reducing condensation and preventing damp and mould.

The portable air conditioner has three speed settings for the fan. On the highest setting, it is extremely powerful but also very quiet, and on the lowest setting, it is virtually inaudible. This allows you to balance performance with noise. The unit produces a whopping 10,700 BTU maximum cooling.

The unit has an electronic timer that can be used to program when it turns off, perfect for falling asleep during those summer nights.

It also has a thermostat built in so you can set your desired temperature and it will work to achieve it.

All the settings can be controlled via the top control panel or by remote control.

This unit also comes with a window kit for venting, so it is ready to set up and use with no additional components required.

This model is one of the best portable air conditioners for the UK market and is perfect when you need to cool a large room as well as create the perfect level of humidity. If you’re looking for the ultimate in portable air conditioning technology – look no further than the De’Longhi PACAN98 ECO Real Feel Portable Air Conditioner!

Pros

  • Can be used year-round offering great value for money - air conditioning in summer and as a dehumidifier in winter
  • Comes with a remote control so it can be controlled from a distance
  • Controls are basic and easy to use by anyone - simply select the mode, temperature and fan speed
  • Relatively easy to get set up once you’ve moved it to the right spot

Cons

  • Not the most attractive design - large and relatively bulky so not the best option for small rooms
  • Light sleepers or those who like to work quietly may find this unit too noisy
  • Heavy and difficult to move from room to room - weighs 30kgs and is only easy to wheel around on hard floors
  • Plastic hose provided may be too short and unable to reach high windows

Sealey SAC9001 Air Conditioner

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Air conditioner & dehumidifier
  • Programmable target for your perfect temperature!
  • Thermostatic technology
OUR RATING
97
PRICE
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Sealey SAC9001 Air Conditioner Review

The Sealey SAC9001 Air Conditioner/Dehumidifier is another brilliant portable air conditioner. This model is efficient, adjustable and just like the De’Longhi it can be used as a dehumidifier and air conditioner!

This mobile air conditioner provides powerful cooling and is rated at 9000 BTU!

It comes with a 2 speed adjustable fan and the unit can run as a dehumidifier, reducing the effects of damp and condensation.

The portable air conditioner unit has a programmable target so you can set the temperature between 17-30 degrees and it will automatically work to achieve this. The unit can be controlled via the panel or comfortably by remote control.

This thermostatically controlled unit comes with an extendable exhaust hose and window kit, making it ideal for home or office environments. And it’s ready to use straight out of the box!

The unit is also mounted on castors for easy manoeuvrability.

If you’re looking for the perfect thermostatically controlled air conditioner and dehumidifier, that can be used straight out of the box in either your home or office, look no further!

Pros

  • Can be used as both a dehumidifier and an air conditioner so suitable for year-round use
  • Very effective at cooling the room in hot weather
  • Wheels ensure it’s easy to move across hard floors
  • Electronic remote control means you can control the unit from a distance

Cons

  • Relatively heavy at just over 27kgs - difficult to move on carpeted or soft flooring
  • Light sleepers may find this unit too noisy to use overnight
  • Window attachment isn’t helpful unless you have sliding windows
  • Hose is a little short so may not reach high windows

Pifco P40013 Portable Air Conditioner

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Breeze Mode
  • Ready to use out the box!
  • Easy glide wheels
OUR RATING
94
PRICE
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Pifco P40013 Portable Air Conditioner Review

The Pifco P40013 Portable Air Conditioner, 9000 BTU has a range of settings to provide the ultimate comfortable environment whatever the weather.

This portable air conditioner is rated at 9000 BTU and the broad temperature range is 18-32 degrees.

This unit has 2 fan speeds and a breeze mode, as well as a dehumidifier with self-evaporating cooling system. The breeze mode simulates a more natural breeze to make your room comfortably cool rather than providing an icy blast.

This portable air conditioner features a 24-hour timer programmable in increments. All these settings can be controlled via the top panel or included a remote control.

The unit has easy glide rolling wheels making it extremely convenient to move between rooms!

The mobile air conditioner comes with an included window hose kit making it ready to use straight out of the box.

If you’re looking for a great 3 in 1 portable air conditioner that produces efficient air conditioning, dehumidifying and cooling with a natural breeze, this is the one for you!

Pros

  • Cools small to medium size rooms in as little as 10 minutes depending on the temperature
  • Automatic shut off and overheat protection ensures it’s safe to leave running when you’re not in the room
  • Castor wheels and handle allow for easy portability across hard floors
  • Breeze mode offers a more natural cooling
  • Remote control allows you to control the unit from a distance

Cons

  • Could do with a slower speed setting to quieten it down at cooler temperatures when full blast isn’t needed
  • Hard to move on carpets or soft flooring

VonHaus Portable Air Conditioner

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Oscillation swing mode
  • Extremely lightweight at 24kg
  • Sleep mode and 24 hour timer for total control
OUR RATING
91
PRICE
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VonHaus Portable Air Conditioner Review

The VonHaus Portable air conditioner is a solid unit, with powerful cooling and oscillation mode.

This portable air conditioner is rated at 9,000 BTU and has two speed settings. It also features oscillation mode to help circulate air around the room evenly. Oscillation mode provides the perfect even distribution of air, and is not often seen on portable air conditioners.

The unit features a sleep timer and a 1-24 hour timer for the utmost control. This unit is also extremely lightweight, coming in at under 24kg, and good quality rolling wheels make it a breeze to transport around your home or office!

The unit comes with an LED display and remote control for total convenience. This mobile air conditioner comes with a preinstalled flexible exhaust duct making it ready to use with a window kit.

If you’re looking for a great portable air conditioner with oscillation swing mode, sleep mode and 1-24 hour timer allowing you to take total control of the conditions in your home, then look no further than the VonHaus Portable air conditioner!

Pros

  • One of the more lightweight options at 24kgs, easier to move around your home using the rolling wheels
  • Remote control allows you to control the unit and speed from a distance
  • Compact footprint at 35.5 x 36.5cm - a good unit for smaller rooms
  • More minimalist in design than others on the market - relatively unobtrusive

Cons

  • Water tank isn’t removable so emptying it can be difficult - you’ll need to lift the unit up to drain it
  • Fairly noisy so may disturb light sleepers
  • Only compatible with horizontal and vertical sliding windows which many homes don’t have

Jack Stonehouse Portable Air Conditioner

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Best value for money
  • Choice of size & power!
  • Perfectly compact
OUR RATING
90
PRICE
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Jack Stonehouse Portable Air Conditioner Review

The Jack Stonehouse Air Conditioning Portable Cooling Air Conditioner is the best portable air conditioner for the UK if you are after incredible value for money as well as versatility and quality.

These are inexpensive options relative to most portable air conditioners. The model comes in 5000 BTU or 8000 BTU models allowing you to choose the appropriate size for your room to get the best value for money and the optimum level of cooling.

Despite being extremely well priced, this model is top quality and functions extremely well. It has three fan speeds to choose from, a 24-hour timer and is ready to use straight out of the box.

As well as coming with 3 fan modes, the settings are controllable from the modern touch display or remote control for maximum comfort, and tough, durable castors make for effortless movement.

If you’re looking for a top quality compact portable air conditioner that is the best value for money on the UK market, this one is an absolute must have!

Pros

  • Air conditioner, dehumidifier and fan in one which makes it good value for money and suitable for year-round use
  • Suitable for larger rooms and offices up to 12​​m²
  • Water full indicator lets you know when it’s time to empty the tank
  • Colder than others on the market, cooling the room to 16 degrees
  • Small footprint so doesn’t take up too much space

Cons

  • May be too loud for some offices
  • Sleep mode doesn’t reduce the noise and may still be too noisy for light sleepers

Igenix IG9901 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • 3 in 1 fan, cooler & dehumidifier
  • Great compact design
  • 3 fan speeds
OUR RATING
86
PRICE
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Igenix IG9901 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner Review

The Igenix IG9901 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner is another great little compact option featuring three fan speed settings as well as a dehumidifier.

This portable air conditioner with 3 fan settings is rated at 9000 BTU and has three fan speed settings to enable you to find the perfect level of cooling. It also has a fan only mode as well as a dehumidifier mode that can be used independently of the compressor. Its programmable 24-hour timer is adjustable in increments and all the settings and timers can be controlled via the front panel or remote control for maximum comfort.

This mobile air conditioner comes ready to use with a 1.5m exhaust hose that can be used to vent the unit through a window.

If you are in the market for an excellent portable air conditioner with a dehumidifier function and a fan only function that makes this unit useful all year round, this is the one for you!

Pros

  • Controls are clear which makes this unit very easy to use
  • Very versatile - can be used to cool, heat and dehumidify
  • Even large rooms are cooled effectively, with a noticeable temperature change in just a few minutes
  • Rolling castors ensure it’s easy to move on hard floors

Cons

  • Fan is a little noisy so may disturb you if you’re trying to sleep, work or watch TV
  • Sleep function doesn’t reduce the noisy level
  • Setting up the hose can be difficult and it is also a little short at 1.5m

Things to Know Before Buying a Portable Air Conditioner

British homes are rarely built with air conditioning, and often a fan just doesn’t cut it. While fans do produce a pleasant breeze, it’s no comparison to that ice cold feeling of an air conditioning unit on a hot day! 

Portable air conditioning units are far cheaper and easier to install than permanent units. They can be moved between rooms and stored away in the winter, so there’s no bulky wall unit that remains out of use for 9 months of the year! 

There’s a range of portable air conditioners on the market, and knowing what to look for is very important. Check out these tips to ensure you can’t go far wrong. 

Functionality

If you’re spending a lot of money on your portable air conditioner, it’s worth looking for one that’s multifunctional. Most of the models I’ve recommended function as both an air conditioner and dehumidifier, so are actually suitable for year-round use. 

Some air conditioning units have an integrated fan which adds to the versatility. For when you just want a gentle cooling breeze, you may find the fan function is preferable. 

Number of Speeds and Temperature Adjustability

Being able to adjust the settings to suit the size of room and temperature you need is important, and all the units I’ve recommended have good adjustability. Most have up to 3 speed settings, as well as various temperature settings.  You may find some can heat the room as well as cool it. 

Size and Weight

The size and weight of your portable air con is important if you’re going to be using it in different rooms of the house. Unfortunately, a lot of units are extremely heavy, which can make moving them around difficult. While many come with castor wheels, these tend to only be effective on hard floors, and you may still struggle to move your air conditioning unit in carpeted bedrooms or living rooms. 

The actual size of the unit is also a consideration. They need to be located near the window, with the hose extending outside. This means you’ll need a large enough spot next to the window

Timer Function

A timer function is another very useful feature. Those with a 24 hour timer are the most convenient, and you should be able to set it to turn off after a certain amount of time. Using the timer, you should be able to sleep at night without worrying about your electricity bill! 

Noise Level

Portable air conditioning units can be noisy, so if you’re after something very quiet you may need to look a little harder to find a model designed for quiet operation

If there’s no noise level indicated on the unit, I recommend reading customer reviews before you make a purchase. 

Ease of Use and Installation

Most air conditioning units come with a remote control, so they can be adjusted from the comfort of your sofa or mattress! While some remote controls offer control over just the basic functionality, others allow you to adjust all the features. 

Ease of installation is also important. Some air conditioning units can be a little fiddly to set up, but those with a window attachment included tend to be the easiest. 

Portable Air Conditioner FAQs

How does a portable air conditioner work?

Portable air conditioners contain a gas similar to the gas in a fridge. This gas can move from low to high pressure and change between a gas and a liquid at high speeds. This gas is moved around the interior of your air conditioner.

The gas works through the air conditioner doing different jobs in each section. Firstly, it collects the heat from the room. The gas that has collected heat is then passed through condenser coils to cool the gas and turn it into a liquid which removes heat from the gas. Then it passes over evaporator coils dropping the temperature rapidly and turning the liquid back into a gas ready to start the process again.

While this process is happening, the air conditioner is removing the heat and moisture. The water will go to its internal tank while the heat is pumped out of the hose.

What is the BTU rating of a portable air conditioner?

BTU – British thermal unit is a measurement of energy and power. Knowing your air conditioner’s BTU is useful because this can be used to calculate the size of air conditioner you need for your room.

Calculating the size air conditioner is easy once you understand this. Firstly, work out the square footage of your room. Then simply times it by 20 to work out your required BTU to effectively cool your room.

As an example, I will do the inverse. Our top reviewed portable air conditioner the De’Longhi PAC AN98 ECO Real Feel Portable Air Conditioner has a rating of 10,700 BTU. If we divide this by 20 we know that this air conditioner can cool up to a 535 square foot room.

With portable air conditioners is it important to get the size right. If your air conditioners don’t have a high enough BTU rating it will not be able to adequately cool your room. Inversely if you BTU rating is too high the air conditioner will reach cooler temperatures faster and turn itself off. This sounds great but, if this happens the air conditioner won’t have had time to remove moisture from the air so the room will remain very humid.

How to vent a portable air conditioner without a window?

Many air conditioners come with window venting kits so you can vent the unit through a window. These kits allow you to open the window enough to pass the ventilation tube through and then seal the rest of the window to prevent warm air from coming in.

If you do not have a window available for your air conditioner you will have to vent it differently. The best way to do this is by installing a wall vent in the same way as you would vent a tumble dryer.

You should buy a well vent kit suitable for venting an air conditioner. You will then need to cut a hole through a suitable outside wall. The venting kit will have a vent cover to fix to the outside wall and a hose attachment on the inside. You simply slide the extraction tube of you air conditioner over this to allow it to vent outside.

It is a good idea to fit a wall vent even if you have a window available. This is because by venting it straight outside rather than through a window you make the air conditioner more efficient. When you open a window to vent the air conditioner, hot air will come in through the window. Even if you use a venting kit some heat may still come in. So, by eliminating the need to open a window you increase the performance of your air conditioner.

How to empty water from a portable air conditioner?

Portable air conditioners remove moisture from the air. As the air conditioner is cooling this moisture ends up as water that is stored in a tank inside the portable air conditioner. When this tank is full the unit will no longer be able to cool properly so it is important to empty this tank.

Most portable air conditioners have a draining tap on the bottom or the back of the unit. This can be turned to release the water from the tank. Either take the unit outside and allow it to drain or drain it over a container.

Another option is to attach a hose to this tap. This is a useful solution if you have already installed the vent for the unit and want it to be easy to empty. Installing the hose will allow the unit to automatically drain the tank, however, bear in mind it relies on gravity to move the water to the bottom of the hose, so the bottom has to be lower than the top. You could also create another small hole in the wall next to your venting hole to put the hose through so that your air conditioner runs without any maintenance.

Sources

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