Portable Air Conditioners: Choosing The Best One For Your Space

Portable Air Conditioners: Choosing The Best One For Your Space


The popularity of portable air conditioners in the recent times is quite undeniable. As the market for small homes and houses is blooming, the portable air conditioning unit industry is also flourishing.


Basically, portable air conditioners are great and innovative solutions for cooling small rooms and houses. As for houses with struggling HVAC systems, portable air conditioners have become a real resolution to such concerns.


But, what makes a portable air conditioner a portable air conditioner? How is it different from the traditional air cooling systems?


If you are interested to know more about portable air conditioners, then you’ve come to the right place. Also, if you are planning to buy your portable air conditioner anytime soon, this piece will guide you to the most suitable unit for you and your unique needs.


All About Portable Air Conditioners


As mentioned earlier, the portable air conditioning unit industry is on the rise today. With this apparent situation at hand, it’s basically the obvious reason why the market is currently offering different kinds, types, sizes, and variations of portable air conditioners.


But while the range of selection is becoming wider and more expanded, the features of each portable air conditioner do not largely differ from one another. In fact, there are specific conditions and factors that make a portable air conditioning unit a portable air conditioner.


  1. Portability and Compact Size


The product size and dimension are basically the first and obvious factors that make a portable air conditioning unit as a legitimate portable air conditioner.


Unlike the traditional air conditioning units, portable air conditioners are very small. They can fit into small rooms and studio-type of apartments.  Also, they do not take up the whole space of a window. In fact, they only need a fraction or a portion of the window upon installation.


In addition, the actual product size of the portable air conditioners allows them to act as an alternative on-the-go cooling systems. This means that portable ACUs are not limited to houses and apartments. They can be installed and placed on RVs, trailers, and camping booths.


  1. Quick Installation


In terms of installation, portable air conditioners do not need permanent and strict installation processes. Traditional air conditioning units may require you to call professional services to execute an installation.


But for portable air conditioners, the installation may only take a few minutes of your time. It’s very easy to set up and install. Also, the installation costs are very minimal. In fact, other owners attest to doing it on their own within a few minutes provided that portable air conditioner packages have readily-available manuals.


  1. Dehumidifier Feature


Another feature that makes portable air conditioners distinct is that they also have a dehumidifying function. Aside from absorbing the heat to allow the cooling process to take place in the rooms and spaces, portable air conditioners also dehumidify.


This means that they keep the place or area dry. It is very important for a small space to stay dry, especially if users are largely prone to allergies and the like.


So, portable air conditioners are like two-in-one systems. They cool down the place and they keep it dry creating a more comfortable and clean environment for the owner or user.


Now, the main factors that differentiate one portable air conditioner from the other are the size or capacity of the unit and the ventilation configuration or the hose properties for exhaust. Accordingly, these factors are included in the things you must consider when buying or choosing your portable air conditioners.


Choosing The Most Suitable Portable Air Conditioner For You


Since the range of selection is wide for portable air conditioners, it can be quite challenging to choose the right and appropriate unit for you and your unique needs. Nevertheless, there are factors that you need to consider so that you would end up acquiring the right one for you.


As mentioned, capacity and the ventilation configuration are the largest factors that would directly lead you to the right unit for you. But aside from these, the minimal considerations that you may need to regard may include cost, product size, ease of use, installation process, background noise, and other additional features.


These minor factors can be considered as factors dependent on your preferences. Basically, you’re personal biases and preferences are the keys to making these decisions.


As for the capacity and the ventilation configuration, these factors largely depend on your current situation. So, you will need to shift more of your focus and attention to these matters. It is important for you to note that non-consideration of these factors would lead you to purchasing the wrong unit.


Capacity and Room Sizes


The place where you intend to install the portable air conditioner will tell you the power or capacity that you will need. Similar to the traditional air conditioning units, portable air conditioners use BTUs to measure their power and capacity.


Technically, the higher the BTU or capacity, the more it is capable to cool an area or space. But, you should be careful in analyzing the capacity or power. In essence of BTUs, too high and too low may result in negative and unpleasant conditions.


It is important for you to consider that if the BTU is too high for your room (thinking that it would make your space cooler), it would only repeat the cycle off and on to maintain the temperature you set it on to. As a result, the risks for the unit to degrade its lifespan is very apparent. Also, it would trigger for the humidifier feature to malfunction.


Accordingly, getting a portable air conditioner with a BTU or a capacity that is very low for your space is even worse. It would take time for the cycle to be completed. The system will work its very best to complete the cycle. Hence, more work and energy is consumed leaving you with a hot space and a surprisingly high electricity bill.


For a more comprehensive look on the capacity or power of portable air conditioners, this guide may help you out provided that the space or area is in an ideal condition:

Power or Capacity in BTU

Area in Sq Ft

7500 BTUs

150 sq ft

9000 BTUs

200 sq ft

10000 BTUs

300 sq ft

12000 BTUs

400 sq ft

13000 BTUs

450 sq ft

14000 BTUs

500 sq ft


Following this chart may definitely help you in finding the appropriate portable air conditioner for you and your space.


For small spaces with areas reaching up to 300 square feet like single bedrooms, college dorms, and small office spaces, the most ideal portable air conditioners are the ones that have the capacity from 7500 BTUs up to 10000 BTUs.


As for medium-sized rooms and spaces with areas ranging from 400 square feet up to 700 square feet, portable air conditioners with 11000 BTUs up to 14000 BTUs are the most ideal capacities. These spaces may include small houses and ordinary office spaces.


BTUs higher than 14000 and spaces higher than 700 square feet like apartment houses may need portable air conditioners that are designed for large applications. Portable air conditioning units like these are typically made to orders as the conventional ones normally carry up to 14000 BTUs only.


It is also possible that the more appropriate choices of cooling systems in areas like these are the traditional air conditioning units.


Portable Air Conditioning Units and Brands


Here are some of the most common brands and units classified according to their BTU capacities:


  • Portable Air Conditioners with 8000 BTUs


Arctic King WPPD12CR8N_R

Toshiba RAC-PD0811CRU_R

Smart + SPP-R-8001


Below $250

Below $250

Below $200

Dimension (WxDxH)”

17.9 x 14.4 x 27.6

17.1 x 13 x 28.3

17 x 13 x 28.3

Area Coverage (sq ft)




Hose Exhaust




Noise Level (dBA)





Among the three portable air conditioners with 8000 BTUs, Smart + SPP-R-8001 is apparently the best seller. It is also the most compact and portable considering the overall dimension. As for the noise level, it has the least background noise. Plus, it covers up to 350 sq ft area. It pretty functions decently and effectively.

Smart+ 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote SPP-R-8001


But if you want to go for a much popular choice due to the popularity of the brand, Toshiba is your go-to option. Although, it can only cover up to 300 sq ft of area. But even so, it has the same dimension ratings with the Smart +.



Toshiba 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote RAC-PD0811CRU_R


These portable air conditioners are great for spaces like single rooms, dorms, and studio type spaces.


  • Portable Air Conditioners with 12000 BTUs


Toshiba RACPD1211CRU_R

Danby DPA120E1WDB_R 

Haier HPC12XCR


Below $300

Below $300

Below $300

Dimension (WxDxH)”

28 x 14.7 x 18

17.13 x 13.78 x 28.15

27.5 x 16.88 x 14.25

Area Coverage (sq ft)




Hose Exhaust




Noise Level (dBA)





Among all the three, Danby DPA120E1WDB is the most favorable 12000 BTU portable air conditioning unit. Aside from its inexpensive cost, it has the highest rating for area coverage. Also,it has the most compact size of all.


Danby 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner Dehumidifier Fan DPA120E1WDB


If you prefer a unit that provides a more quiet operation, then you may go for the Haier HPC12XCR. But, you should prepare to shell out a few more tens of dollars. Nevertheless, it’s the second most rated among the three.


Haier 12,000 BTU Portable 3 Speed Air Conditioner HPC12XCR


As for Toshiba RACPD1211CRU-R, it is considered to be the most fully-featuresdas it also has a heating function. However, it’s pretty huge in terms of its dimension. Even so, many are loving this portable air conditioner.

Toshiba 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote RACPD1211CRU_R


These units are seen to be very ideal for spaces like small houses and office spaces.


  • Portable Air Conditioners with 14000 BTUs



Keystone KSTAP14B

Toshiba RAC-PD1411CRU_R


Below $350

Below $350

Below $350

Dimension (WxDxH)”

29.4 x 15.25 x 17.75

32 x 15.63 x 19.25

30.1 x 15.6 x 18.4

Area Coverage (sq ft)




Hose Exhaust




Noise Level (dBA)





If you prefer a silent type of portable air conditioner that has a capacity of 14000 BTU, Haier HPND14XHT is an appropriate choice. It has a noise level of 50 dBA which is great for this capacity or BTU rating.


 Haier 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner w/ Heat HPND14XHT


However, it seems that this unit can only cover up to 500 sq feet of area. But even so, it has the smallest dimension ratings among the three units.


As for Toshiba RAC-PD1411CRU_R, it might be the most popular brand among the three. However, the price is quite expensive. In addition, it can only cover up to 400 sq feet of area.


Toshiba 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner w/ Remote RAC-PD1411CRU_R


Nevertheless, it has additional features such as heating functions, auto-restart, and fully adjustable temperature controls. Hence, this is the most fully-featured among the three.


Among all the three units for this capacity, Keystone KSTAP14B is rated as the best seller. Aside from the affordability, it can also cover up to 500 square feet of space area. There are smart features as well that allow users to configure and control the settings.


Keystone 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote KSTAP14B


So, if you prefer a unit that you can fully-tailor according to your preferences, this is the best choice for you. However, the only drawback for the Keystone unit is that is has a high noise level.


In the end, whatever you choose among the three, the spaces that they can cover may include small houses, master bedrooms, office spaces, and small apartments.


In totality, portable air conditioners are becoming more in demand today. And these units are only some of the best choices in the current market. In fact, there are quite a lot more. These units are just the some of the most popular choices of today.


But, whatever your choice or preference might be, just make sure that you primarily consider the size and area of your space. Once identified, that is the only time that you move on to consider the other factors.


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