Portable Air Conditioner: Best Portable Air Conditioner 2022

Buy the best portable air conditioner now, before it gets too hot and they all sell out.

Portable Air Conditioner: Best Portable Air Conditioner 2022
Portable Air Conditioner

When the sun comes out, the best portable air conditioners are exactly what you need. We're now in the midst of our third heatwave of the year, and this one looks to be the longest yet, bringing hosepipe bans and scorching temperatures to much of the south. While that may be very pleasant outside if you can ignore all the dead grass and lobster-colored people, it can quickly become a nightmare inside... But not if you read this best portable air conditioner guide beforehand.

The good news is that retailers appear to have recognized that demand for portable air conditioning is increasing and are responding with increased supply and variety. That's good because if you can't find a portable air conditioner, you're forced to settle for less effective alternatives, such as trying to find the best fan - another product category that sells out quickly in good weather - so the air is moving, even if it's still warm.

When it comes to cooling a room and the people in it, nothing beats actual air conditioning. However, if you live in the UK or Northern Europe, the climate isn't warm enough to justify the expense of installing a full domestic air conditioning system. That's why we're focusing on the best portable air conditioning systems rather than permanent installations: they're great at delivering super-cool air when you need it and small enough to store in a cupboard when you don't.'

Before we begin, it's important to define air conditioners: these are appliances that use refrigerants, similar to fridges and in-car air conditioning systems, to rapidly cool warm air. Evaporative coolers attempt to achieve the same effect by blowing warm air over something cold, such as ice packs, but they aren't air conditioners: we've created a portable air conditioner vs evaporative cooler comparison guide to explain the key differences, as well as the pros and cons.

Air conditioners aren't the only appliances and devices that can make your home more comfortable: we've also assembled guides to the best dehumidifiers and air purifiers for your home.

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THE BEST PORTABLE AIR CONDITIONERS 2022

1. PRINCESS SMART AIR CONDITIONER 12000

The best portable air conditioner – comes with handy app control

SPECIFICATIONS

BTU: 12,000
Max room size: 100 m³
Max noise level: 65dB
Dimensions: H 71.5 x W 43.5 x D 35.5cm

REASONS TO BUY

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Exceptional cooling performance
+
Suitable for large rooms
+
Remote controllable
+
App and voice command enabled
+
Decent looker (by air con standards)

REASONS TO AVOID

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Compressor noise may disturb TV viewing

Princess, a Dutch company, is currently on a roll with a slew of excellent air-cooling products that aren't too expensive. Before we get into its latest evaporative cooler, the Smart Air Cooler, let's look at its new 12,000 BTU Smart Air Conditioner.

It should be noted that portable air conditioners are not the most visually appealing of household appliances; in fact, the majority of them are downright ugly. Despite its large dimensions (71.5 x 43.5 x 35.5cm), this one defies convention by being both stylish and somewhat out of place. At least for portable air conditioning.

This powerful 12,000 BTU unit has an air flow of 380m3/hour and is suitable for rooms up to 100 m3. It also has a dehumidifying feature. Given that it's 25 degrees Celsius outside, I quickly removed it from its box (which lifts off to reveal the unit underneath) and wheeled it into the lounge, where I have a wood burner to position it in front of, obviously with the burner's door open.

If you don't have a fireplace, the product comes with a 1.5m concertina hose that can be routed through a hole in the wall or a partially opened door. You can also use the included universal window kit to seal the area around the hose outlet, but this always looks a little Heath Robinson-esque to me.

The Princess' touch screen interface required no explanation because everything is so obvious. I naturally chose its lowest temperature - 16 C, which is standard for all air conditioning systems - and the big boy fired up with a low growl as the compressor kicked in. The oscillating louver began to move seconds later, and the coolest breeze poured out. I stood in front of the icy blast for about 90 seconds before heading outside to warm up again. It's that effective.

Another great feature of this model is that it comes with a remote control, allowing you to operate it from the comfort of your sofa. It can also be used with the HomeWizard Climate app, as well as Siri, Google, and Amazon Alexa. In fact, the app is especially useful because it allows you to cool down a room from the comfort of your car, ensuring that it is at a comfortable temperature by the time you arrive home.

Overall, this is a great portable that is surprisingly quiet, especially when the compressor is turned off (it kicks in intermittently to maintain room temperature). I'd say it's the best model I've tried so far, and it's reasonably priced. However, if you're on a tight budget (and who isn't? ), a smaller, less powerful 9,000BTU model is also available for a very low price. Portable Air Conditioner

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2. AEG CHILLFLEX PRO AXP34U338HW

The second best portable air conditioner for larger rooms

SPECIFICATIONS

BTU: 12000
Max room size: 30m2
Max noise level: 64dB
Dimensions: 710x476x385

REASONS TO BUY

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Very, very powerful
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Designed for spaces up to 30m2

REASONS TO AVOID

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Quite expensive
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Heavy

If you want maximum cooling with the least amount of fuss, the AEG Chillflex Pro is an excellent choice. It comes with a 1.5m exhaust hose, a 63cm drainage hose, and a remote control, and with a capacity of 12,000 BTU/h, it can easily cool large rooms.

It's one of the heavier air conditioners available, but it's on wheels so it's easy to move around, and you'll need to purchase a window kit separately because AEG doesn't include one with the product. To reduce noise at night, there is a programmable timer and a sleep mode function, and the refrigerant is R290, which has a lower environmental impact than the more commonly used R41A.

This is a very powerful air conditioner, and if left on for long enough, it can make even large rooms feel very cold - but the heat hose can get very hot, so make sure it's going out the window to avoid undoing the Chillflex's hard work. The quoted 64dB is about average for air conditioners, and sleep mode reduces it to 52dB.

The Chillflex Pro is large and clever, but the price tag for this top-of-the-line model is also on the high side: if you don't need quite as much cooling for quite as much space, there are more modest models in the range, including the entry-level 26U337CW, which is rated at 9,000 BTU/h and suitable for rooms up to 18m2.

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3. MEACOCOOL MC SERIES 14000

A top air con for houses and large flats

SPECIFICATIONS

BTU: 14,000
Max room size: 35m²
Min noise level: 53dB
Dimensions: H 76.2 x W47 x D35cm

REASONS TO BUY

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Effective cooling performance
+
Remote controllable
+
Not too loud

REASONS TO AVOID

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Fairly chunky

Meaco is a UK-based manufacturer of air cooling, purification, and dehumidification products, so it knows a thing or two about moving air and doing things to it in the process. This new 14,000 BTU model is ideal for rooms ranging from 25 to 35m2. It has three fan speeds and a low temperature setting of 16oC, which is standard for most portable air conditioners and even most cars.

As with every portable air conditioning unit we've seen, it comes with a concertina tube to expel the hot air it generates and, in this case, a special window kit ostensibly designed for sliding windows or doors. It also includes a remote control.

Simply select a preferred temperature (from 16oC upwards), choose your 'Speed,' and the room's temperature and humidity will drop to much more comfortable levels in no time. When the temperature in the room reaches the preset level, the machine will turn off and then back on as soon as the internal temperature rises.

We tested it with the rear exhaust port in front of a fireplace flue rather than a window, and it performed flawlessly. It was like sitting two metres away in a car with the air conditioning on full blast. Indeed, I had to raise the thermostat a few degrees to avoid freezing to death.

Granted, there is some noise - all portable AC makes some noise - so it's not ideal for use while actively sleeping, even in low speed mode, which registers 53dB on the decibel meter. Unless you're a heavy sleeper who can fall asleep in a hurricane, we recommend turning it on an hour or two before going to bed and keeping the door closed for maximum cooling potential. Portable Air Conditioner

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4. AMCOR SF8000E

A portable air conditioner we haven't tried, but which is definitely in stock at least

SPECIFICATIONS

BTU: 7,000
Max room size: 18m²
Min noise level: Up to 65dB
Measurements: H 81 x W34 x D33cm

REASONS TO BUY

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Seems highly effective
+
Definitely available

REASONS TO AVOID

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Resembles a very low budget film robot

I can't speak for the quality of this 7,000BTU portable air conditioner, but it does have one huge advantage: it's in stock right now and Appliances Direct can get it to you tomorrow if you order today (UK only).

It has casters for easy movement and can chill a room up to 18m2. Revoo user reviews are generally positive, with an overall rating of 7.7 from 295 reviewers and few signs of anyone actively hating it.

With a maximum noise level of 48dB and a capacity of 7,000BTU, this slimline air conditioner can quickly cool your bedroom. With a 24-hour timer, you can also pre-cool while you're away.

This machine, which comes with a remote control and a 12-month warranty, isn't the most beautiful thing ever, but you'll love how cool it looks in your bedroom. Anyway, with dimensions of H 68 x W31 x D33cm and wheels on the base, it's easy to tuck away somewhere no one will notice it until the temperatures rise again.

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5. DELONGHI PINGUINO PACEX100 SILENT

A popular portable AC choice for medium to large rooms

SPECIFICATIONS

BTU: 10,000
Max room size: 23m²
Min noise level: 53dB
Dimensions: H 80.5 x W44.5 x D39cm

REASONS TO BUY

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High output
+
A decent looker

REASONS TO AVOID

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Noisier than most

DeLonghi's Pinquino PaceX100(opens in new tab) Silent looks a little less, er, hideous than most portable air conditioners. In fact, the off-white front fascia with black display inlay is quite stylish. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for its side profile, which is deep, bulbous, and a little butty.

This 80cm tall air conditioner has a cooling capacity of 10,000BTU and is suitable for rooms measuring up to 23m2. In addition, it dehumidifies the air, removing up to 32 litres per hour. Its digital interface and remote control provide access to all of the main functions, including temperature, fan speed, and timer. I can also function as a simple fan.

Portable air conditioners are notoriously loud, and this one is no exception. Its maximum chat volume ranges between 53 and 64dB, so you may only be able to tolerate it for short periods of time, especially if you are trying to watch television. Although the air conditioner has received very positive user reviews for its performance and design, it is quite pricey for a portable at £789 That is why it is currently ranked fourth in the Hot Five.

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6. ECOAIR APOLLO

A very decent portable air conditioner for larger rooms

SPECIFICATIONS

BTU: 12,000
Max room size: 22m²
Min noise level: 53dB
Measurements: H 82 x W39 x D40.5cm

REASONS TO BUY

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Commendable cooling
+
Equipped with a heat pump
+
Energy efficient
+
Can also be used as a heater

REASONS TO AVOID

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More expensive than the Meacos

Manufacturers' specifications frequently differ from real-world use, but according to the blurb, this 12,000BTU model is ideal for rooms up to 22m2 - and larger if Amazon's description is correct. It also has an energy-efficient heat pump, which saves you money in the long run while minimizing environmental impact. It, too, can be used as a heater in the winter, like the Meaco 10,000.

The Apollo is one of the most visually appealing units on this page, but at 82cm tall and 39cm wide, it's a big old beast with a big footprint. The top-mounted electronic display is simple, but you can always use the remote control to access its functions - cool, heat, dry, and fan. Almost all of the air conditioners we've looked at or read about emit around 53dB of sound pressure, and this one is no exception.

The Apollo is more expensive than the Meacos, but it is slightly more powerful and includes the money-saving heat pump. Nonetheless, given the intermittent use in any given year, both Meacos represent better value in our opinion, at least up here in Northern Europe. Portable Air Conditioner

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7. JML CHILLMAX AIR

Best cheap air conditioner for personal cooling

SPECIFICATIONS

BTU: N/A
Max room size: Personal use
Min noise level: 15dB
Dimensions: H 17 x W16 x D14cm

REASONS TO BUY

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Under £30!
+
Small desktop size
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Surprisingly effective up close

REASONS TO AVOID

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For personal use only
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Needs to be very close to the user

Granted, this small square desktop unit isn't a proper air conditioner, but it can provide a cool breeze from a few feet away. The Chillmax Air has an evaporator that creates a chilled moist breeze by using water from a small 610ml reservoir. This model includes an antimicrobial sponge filter that can last up to 10 hours per refill.

At roughly 17cm square, the Chillmax is ideal for sitting on a computer desktop or table, where the user is more likely to benefit from its air-cooling technology. It's also a great option for a bedside table because it's very quiet and has a built-in night light. However, don't expect it to make any difference in a room's temperature because it's only intended for personal, close-up use.

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PORTABLE AIR CONDITIONERS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

These handy chill blasters are very effective at cooling the air in a room, and they are usually less expensive than a Dyson fan. All you have to do is calculate the size of the room you want to cool and choose an AC unit with an appropriate output, measured in British Thermal Units (or BTUs). A BTU is a unit for estimating thermal heat, and it's an important acronym to remember when choosing the right air conditioner for your home. For example, a 10,000 BTU air conditioner is suitable for a 41m² room, whereas a 5,000 BTU model is suitable for a 14m² room. As a result, knowing your room's measurements is critical; otherwise, the unit may underperform. Portable Air Conditioner

The heated air pumped out of the rear exhaust port, however, is a caveat with portable units. Energy (in this case heat) can only be transformed or transferred from one form to another, according to the 'law of conservation of energy.' As a result, you'll need to use the supplied concertina hose to vent the heated air generated by the AC. This can be accomplished by either cutting a hole in the wall or a window (the most effective and expensive method) or simply dangling the hose from a partially opened door or window.

Alternatively, if you have a working open flue fireplace, you could place the air conditioner directly in front of it and all the heat will go straight up the chimney; after all, that is what the chimney was designed for. However, make sure you remove as much soot from the fireplace as possible first, or it will be blown all over your furnishings.

Portable AC units are by definition louder than their built-in counterparts, which is not surprising given that the compressors, pumps, and fans are all housed in the same unit. In contrast, integrated systems keep all the loud stuff out of sight, so you rarely hear anything more than a gentle whoosh. If you want to sleep well with a portable air conditioner in the room, turn it on a couple of hours before bedtime and keep the door closed. When you hit the sack, turn it off.

Energy consumption and environmental impact are also factors to consider. While modern air conditioners no longer use ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), they do draw a lot more power from the grid than a simple fan, which means slightly higher utility bills and thus more strain on the environment.

Now that you know a little more about air conditioning, it's time to look through our carefully curated selection of portable units for the UK and European markets.