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best portable air conditionersAre you looking for a simple and efficient way to cool your home?

Are you thinking of buying a freestanding portable air conditioner to get relief from the heat?

If so, you’ve landed on the right page.

Whether you experience hot weather all year long or only a few months during the summer, the best portable air conditioner can help keep you cool and comfortable without spending a lot of money.

Additionally, the best portable AC units are easy to install and move from room to room if you want to take cooling with you.

In this guide, we’ll show you the top 10 best stand up air conditioners you can buy today.

So, if you’re looking for a freestanding air conditioner for any size room, then this portable AC unit guide has everything you need to make the right choice.

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Best Portable Air Conditioners List

1. Whynter ARC-14S (Best Overall Portable Air Conditioner)

Dual hose unit
14,000 BTUs of power
Covers 500 square feet

If you want an award-winning and stylish portable AC unit that covers a lot of space, then you’ve found it right here.

It tops Good Housekeeping and Consumer Reports lists as the overall best portable air conditioner with the fastest cooling time.

This stand up AC unit is also one of the best looking indoor air conditioners you can buy that handles large rooms up to 500 sq. ft.

With this standing air conditioner, you can cool large living rooms, basements, and multiple connected rooms on a single level floor.

As for the cooling controls, you get a wide range of temperature settings, three cooling speeds, a 24-hour timer, a remote, and a digital display.

Additionally, this portable air conditioner does much more than just cool a large room.

It also includes an Activated Carbon air filter that works to purify the air. This special feature leaves your home smelling fresh and clean in addition to pumping out cold air.

Finally, this floor AC unit is outfitted with a self-evaporative dehumidifier that removes up to 101 pints of moisture per day.

Plus, it automatically exhausts the condensation for you so you don’t have to empty a water bucket.

See Amazon.com Reviews


2. Whynter Elite ARC-122DHP (Best Portable Air Conditioner and Heater)

Dual hose unit
12,000 BTUs of power
Covers 400 square feet

If our previous portable air conditioner review sounded like a good choice, then you’ll find this model even more exciting.

Especially if you’re looking for the best portable air conditioner and heater combo unit.

This is also a Whynter brand model, but this stand up AC unit comes with a few additional upgrades.

For starters, it has four operation modes:

  • Air conditioning
  • Fan only
  • Dehumidifier
  • Heat

Those settings allow you to use this indoor air conditioner all year round to not only cool but also heat up your rooms.

It’s also good for medium to large rooms up to 400 sq. ft., which includes living rooms, basements, big bedrooms, etc.

As for the other top features, it has everything mentioned in the last portable air conditioner review except that it can only extract 76 pints per day of moisture from the air.

However, that’s a small tradeoff for the added heating and cooling advantages that this portable AC unit gives you.

See Amazon.com Reviews


3. Frigidaire Cool Connect (Best Smart Stand Up Air Conditioner)

Single exhaust hose unit
12,000 BTUs of power
Covers 550 square feet

How would you like a portable AC unit that you can control from your smartphone?

Or better yet, how would you turn your portable air cooler on before you even get home or set up personalized cooling schedules for every day of the week?

If that sounds like the kind of convenience you’re after, then this is the best smart portable air conditioner you’ll find today.

It’s compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so you can control it with your voice too.

The 360-degree air cooling design also helps distribute cool air more evenly by sending it upward.

This advanced feature cools a room down much better than other portable ACs that just push the air out horizontally.

As for other useful benefits, this top rated portable air conditioner includes:

  • 3 fan speeds
  • 24-hour on/off timer
  • Auto cool function
  • Energy Saver mode
  • Sleep mode
  • Dry mode (i.e. dehumidifier)

Finally, this portable standing air conditioner is good for larger rooms in your home up to 550 sq. ft. and can extract 3 pints per hour through dehumidification.

See Amazon.com Reviews


4. Haier HPP08XCR (Best Small Freestanding Air Conditioner)

Single exhaust hose unit
8,000 BTUs of power
Covers 250 square feet

If you’re looking for the best portable air conditioner for a small room, this is our top pick.

This floor AC unit is perfect for small bedrooms, dens, and home offices because of the low noise level and energy efficiency.

It also has all of the top features you need in a small portable AC unit:

  • 2 fan speeds (high and low)
  • 3 cooling settings (air conditioning, fan only, and dehumidifier)
  • Precise temperature settings
  • Sleep mode for quiet operation
  • 24-hour timer
  • Easy to use remote control

As for the dehumidifier setting, it can remove up to 3.6 pints per hour and has a self-evaporation design.

That means this freestanding air conditioner can dehumidify a 250 sq. ft. room to make it feel much cooler and get rid of the collected moisture automatically for you.

Many other models at this price level require you to empty a water collection bucket.

If you want a good air conditioner that’s affordable and efficient, this is the top portable air conditioner in its class.

See Amazon.com Reviews


5. LG LP1217GSR (Best Value Portable AC Unit)

Single exhaust hose unit
7,000 BTUs of power
Covers 300 square feet

Although this unit has a lower BTU power output than the previous portable air conditioner review, it’s actually a more powerful appliance.

With this stand up AC unit, you can cool a room up to 300 sq. ft., which makes it a good choice for average size rooms in your home.

That level of air cooling power makes it the best value portable air conditioner for most people’s needs.

A nice feature that this model has is an auto-swing air vent.

That function helps to eliminate hot spots and makes it more energy efficient to cool a room.

Two fan speeds, a 24-hour timer, sleep mode, and remote control also give you a variety of options for controlling the temperature and speed of air flow.

As for dehumidification, these portable ACs include an efficient self-evaporation dehumidifier that removes 2.6 pints per hour.

See Amazon.com Reviews


6. Honeywell MN10CESWW (Best Portable Air Conditioner for Bedroom)

Single exhaust hose unit
10,000 BTUs of power
Covers 350 square feet

If you’re trying to cool a bedroom in your home or apartment this is the best portable AC unit for that purpose.

It’s very quiet and depending on the fan speed setting you choose, the noise level is between 51 to 54 decibels.

So, you can sleep with ease while staying cool all night long.

Another reason it’s one of the best portable air conditioners for bedrooms is that you can choose between three operational modes:

  • Air conditioning
  • Fan only
  • Dehumidifier

With those features, you can find the perfect comfort level for a good night’s rest.

Some nights you may need the full chill of powerful air conditioning, while others may just require a cool breeze from the fan or dehumidifier to lower the humidity level in the room.

This indoor air conditioner also comes with an easy to use remote control so you can make adjustments right from your bed.

And finally, the self-evaporation dehumidifier system removes 2.75 pints per hour of moisture with a bucketless design.

See Amazon.com Reviews


7. hOmeLabs AC Unit (Best Quiet Portable Air Conditioner for Large Rooms)

Single exhaust hose unit
12,000 BTUs of power
Covers 450 square feet

Perhaps you liked our previous review, but you wanted a quiet unit that can be used in a larger room.

If that’s the case, then you’ll want to check out this standing air conditioner.

It’s the best quiet portable air conditioner that’s made for large rooms up to 450 sq. ft., such as a living room, office space, basement, workshop, etc.

With quieter operation also means a more energy efficient AC system.

The automatic vertical swinging air outlet distributes cool air more evenly throughout the room too.

And it includes three cooling modes:

  • Air conditioning
  • Fan only
  • Dehumidifier

The dehumidifier function can remove up to 100 pints per day of moisture, but keep in mind that this unit only self evaporates in AC mode.

When you run the dehumidify mode, you’ll have to attach the included drain hose to get rid of the collected water. That’s because this portable air cooler doesn’t have a built-in reservoir tank.

See Amazon.com Reviews


8. Honeywell HL09CESWK (Best Single Room Standing Air Conditioner)

Single exhaust hose unit
9,000 BTUs of power
Covers 400 square feet

This is another good portable air conditioner if you want something that’s a bit more affordable to cool a larger single room.

This floor AC unit covers up to 400 sq. ft. and includes a vertical wind motion feature to distribute cool air more evenly and faster inside the room.

The added advantage that this model has over the last portable air conditioner review is that it has an auto evaporating dehumidifier which makes manual draining unnecessary.

That’s a good feature to have since this AC unit can remove up to 80 pints per day of moisture.

A few other notable benefits include:

  • 3 fan speeds
  • 24-hour timer
  • Digital controls
  • Remote control
  • Wide range of temperature settings

Something else that makes this one of the top portable air conditioners you can choose is that it comes in three color options:

  • White
  • White and black
  • White and blue

That means you can pick a standing air conditioner that best matches the existing decor in a single room of your home, office, or apartment.

See Amazon.com Reviews


9. RolliCool COOL100H-19 (Best Portable Air Conditioner for Large Rooms)

Single exhaust hose unit
14,000 BTUs of power
Covers 700 square feet

Are you looking for the best portable air conditioner for large rooms that has it all?

Then this floor AC unit will far surpass your needs.

Just check out this long list of benefits you get from this portable AC system:

  • Voice control with Amazon Alexa
  • Wi-Fi control with a mobile app
  • Air conditioning mode
  • Fan only mode
  • Dehumidifier mode
  • Heat mode
  • Sleep mode
  • 3 fan speed settings
  • Digital display
  • Washable air filter

With the mobile app, you can set schedules, switch operational modes, and more.

No doubt, this is the most advanced portable AC unit for large rooms you can choose today.

This indoor air conditioner is energy efficient and quiet, with the maximum noise level at 56 decibels on the highest speed setting.

As for the dehumidifier mode, it can remove up to 63 pints per day of moisture to make large rooms feel comfortable and less muggy.

See Amazon.com Reviews


10. Honeywell HL14CESWB (Best Large Portable AC Unit)

Single exhaust hose unit
14,000 BTUs of power
Covers 700 square feet

If you need one of the most powerful portable ACs available for very large rooms, this is the one to buy.

This stand up air conditioner covers the largest square footage of any other model out there at 700 sq. ft.

It’s good for large basements, open concept living areas, office spaces, and more.

This portable air cooler is also outfitted with a single exhaust hose design, so you can more easily move it between rooms if you ever need to.

With this top rated portable air conditioner, you get stress free and easy self-evaporation with the dehumidifier function that removes up to 111 pints per day—more than any other product on this list.

Automatic vertical air output helps distribute cool air more evenly and fast in large rooms.

Plus, it includes a set of air purifying filters to remove harmful pollutants from the air around you.

Finally, this indoor air conditioner has all of the standard features you’d expect on a unit this powerful:

  • 3 fan speeds,
  • Digital controls and display
  • Remote
  • Incremental temperature settings
  • 24-hour timer

And it comes in three stylish colors: pure white, white and black, or white and blue.

See Amazon.com Reviews


Portable Stand Up Air Conditioner Unit Buying Guide

What is a Portable Air Conditioner?

Portable air conditioners are actually quite amazing little devices.

At their core, portable AC units are self-contained, mobile appliances that allow you to regulate the temperature inside a single room or connected rooms without a wall between them.

Portable air conditioners are positioned on the floor and some models include wheels for easy transport.

In comparison to both wall air conditioners and window AC units, what makes a portable air conditioner unique is just that–the fact that it’s portable.

This means that you don’t have to permanently install the appliance, thus enabling you to easily change the location of the stand up AC unit without having to make any structural changes to your home or carry a heavy piece of equipment around.

Some people use portable air conditioners as their main source of cooling because a central air conditioning system doesn’t exist in their house.

Others, use portable AC units as a way to save money by using their central air conditioner less often and only cooling the room (or rooms) that they frequent most.

Types of Freestanding Portable Air Conditioners

When you’re shopping for a portable air conditioner, you’ll find that come in two configurations:

  • Single exhaust hose
  • Dual hose units

Essentially, every portable AC system has to vent hot air to the outside and cool down the internal components.

Otherwise, that hot air would circulate back into the room and the unit would overheat.

Although there’s not much evidence that either type of portable AC is a better option (single hose vs dual hose), it’s still good for you to know how each model works.

That way, you can make the best decision possible for which portable air conditioner to choose.

Single Exhaust Hose AC Units

This type of portable air conditioner has one exhaust hose coming out of the back of the unit.

After the room air is pulled into the air conditioner, it flows across the internal coils to be chilled before being delivered back into the room.

Some of that air is used to cool down the internal components of the portable air conditioner.

After the air is used for cooling, it’s then pushed to the outdoors through a single exhaust hose.

A top benefit of using a single hose air conditioner is that these units are much easier to set up and move to other rooms of your house.

Dual Hose AC Units

A dual hose air conditioner has two hoses coming out of the back of the unit.

The first hose on a portable air cooler is used to draw outdoor air into the unit to cool down the internal components.

The second hose in a dual hose system is an exhaust hose. Its purpose is to send the air that’s been used to cool down the portable AC unit to the outside.

The top benefit of using a dual hose air conditioner is that these units can cool down a large room much quicker because the design is more efficient.

With two hoses, these types of portable ACs don’t have to work as hard as single exhaust hose units.

Portable Standing Air Conditioners & Dehumidification

When you’re buying a stand up air conditioner, another thing you need to be aware of is dehumidification.

Dehumidification is the process where a portable air conditioner removes moisture from the air, thereby lessening humidity to make you feel cooler.

When dehumidifying, most portable air conditioners tend to collect this water vapor on its coils and depending on the unit you choose, the water can be removed in one of three ways:

  • By dumping out a collection bucket
  • Routing an attached tube to a floor drain
  • Automatic self-evaporation which removes the collected moisture for you

If this process of maintaining your portable air conditioner concerns you, keep this information in mind when selecting a portable AC unit.

The automatic self-evaporation method would probably be the best type for your needs and it’s available on the best portable air conditioners reviewed on this page.

Top Features to Look for in the Best Portable AC Units

Top Portable Air ConditionerNow, before you go off and buy the best portable air conditioner with the highest reviews, we recommend that you consider these top features below.

Choosing a portable AC unit that has one or more of these features will help you get a high-quality air conditioner that serves your cooling needs well into the future.

  • Dehumidifier Mode — Sometimes it’s not the indoor temperature that’s making you feel hot but the humidity that’s in the air. And, picking a portable air conditioner with a dehumidifier mode will remove moisture from the air. Thus, you and the room air will feel cooler without lower energy costs. Some portable ACs are so effective that they can extract up to 100 pints of water out of the air per day.
  • Heat Mode — If you’re investing in a portable floor AC unit for the long-term, why not get one that also includes a heating function? That way, you can use the AC unit all year round. Having a heat mode means that your portable AC can deliver warm heat in the winter and cool air conditioning in the summer.
  • Sleep or Night Mode — These modes automatically adjust your portable air conditioner to a quiet setting so you can enjoy a more peaceful sleep. They also adapt the temperature setting so the room doesn’t get overly hot or freezing cold.
  • Remote Control — Not all portable AC units include a remote control, so if you want to be able to operate the air conditioner from the couch or your bed, look for this feature.
  • Smart Wi-Fi Control — Similar to a remote, not all portable ACs have smart Wi-Fi controls. If you want to operate the air conditioner from your smartphone or other mobile device, then a portable AC unit with smart Wi-Fi capabilities is a must-have feature. This function also lets you set up personalized cooling schedules for various times and days throughout the week.
  • Timer Function — This is a useful setting you want to set your portable air conditioner up to automatically go off after a set number of hours. Many portable air coolers feature a 24-hour countdown clock regardless if it comes with a remote or has smart enabled features.

Benefits of Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners offer many advantages for home cooling.

Here are just a few of the benefits of freestanding air conditioners:

  • Easy to move from room to room. The convenience of being able to move the air conditioner between rooms is enough for many people to choose portable air conditioners over other types of units.
  • Easy to install on your own. They can be set up in a matter of minutes after taking the unit out of the package. And not special tools are required for installation.
  • Much cheaper to use than a central air conditioning unit. These air conditioners use about one-eighth of the electricity required to run a central air conditioning system. That comes out to about $6-15 per month at the bare minimum to cool a room.
  • Doesn’t take up much physical space. Most units are under 24 inches in height and smaller than 18 inches wide.
  • Can often be used in rental homes and apartments without landlord concerns. Because no part of the unit hangs out of the window, portable air conditioners are the best options for people who can’t install any other type of air conditioning unit in their home.

Common Questions About Freestanding Air Conditioners

Best Portable AC Unit

What is BTU and What Does it Mean?

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit and it’s the standard unit of measurement for air conditioners.

Technically speaking, BTU is the amount of thermal energy needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.

In the HVAC industry, BTUs also measure the quantity of heat an air conditioning unit can remove from a room per hour.

When you’re dealing with portable ACs or window ACs, the more BTUs there are, the large a room those units can cool.

Higher BTUs also means a higher price for the product since more energy is required for more powerful cooling.

How Many BTUs Do You Need to Cool a Room?

When you’re comparing portable AC units it’s best to choose a model that meets the demands of the room you’re going to use it in.

To pick the most appropriate portable air conditioner, you’ll want to match the British Thermal Unit (BTU) to the total square footage of the room.

While that may seem like a hard thing to do, it’s actually quite easy.

To get the square footage of a room, all you need to do is measure the width (in feet) and multiply it by the length (in feet).

Multiplying those two numbers gives you the square feet you need to match up to a particular BTU size.

For example, a 20′ x 30′ room = 600 square feet.

With that number in hand, you can find a portable AC unit with the right BTU rating that can handle that amount of space.

To make that process simple for you, here’s an easy to read chart that takes all of the confusion out of it.

Room Area To Be CooledBTU Capacity Needed
up to 250 sq. ft.6,000 BTU
up to 350 sq. ft.8,000 BTU
350 to 400 sq. ft.9,000 BTU
400 to 450 sq. ft.10,000 BTU
450 to 550 sq. ft.12,000 BTU
550 to 700 sq. ft.14,000 BTU

Note: Some portable AC units may cool more or less than the room size listed above. So, check the technical specifications to be sure. This chart is just a general guide.

Are Stand Up Portable AC Units Any Good?

top rated portable air conditionerYes, portable AC units are good appliances for cooling a room.

Portable air conditioners are energy efficient devices that draw hot air out of a room and expel it outdoors.

What makes portable AC units good for people is the fact that these models are easy to move from room to room and don’t require much set up to get running.

These ACs also provide excellent cooling for a low price.

Do All Freestanding Portable Air Conditioners Have to Be Vented Out a Window?

Yes, portable air conditioners must be vented out a window. Your other options are to vent a portable AC unit out a door, through a wall, or ceiling.

It’s necessary to vent portable air conditioners because they extract hot room air.

If you want the AC system to cool the room effectively, you need to let the hot air vent to the outside.

What’s Better Window or Portable AC?

The better option depends on your particular needs.

As for cooling capacity and efficiency, both window and portable ACs deliver similar results.

Most people choose a portable AC unit because it’s easier to install, doesn’t take up as much window space, and can be moved between rooms.

Also, the best portable AC units tend to have more advanced features, including things like smart Wi-Fi control and self-evaporative dehumidification.

Can You Use a Portable Air Conditioner in a Room with No Windows?

Yes, you can use a portable air conditioner in a room without any windows, but you’ll have to get creative with the installation.

All AC systems need to release heat somewhere and a window is the most convenient place to do it.

However, you can also vent a portable air conditioner out an exterior wall, through the ceiling, into another room through a door, or into an existing dryer vent outlet.

Do You Have to Empty Water from a Portable Air Conditioner?

In most cases, you will not have to empty water from a portable air conditioner.

Many standing air conditioner units come with self-evaporative dehumidifiers that wick moisture away as it’s pulled out of the air.

However, not all models include this top feature, so make sure to look for it when choosing a top rated portable air conditioner.

When that feature is not available, you’ll need to drain an internal water tank or connect a drain hose that sends the water to a floor drain or outside.

More Portable Air Conditioner Reviews

Hopefully, you found the best freestanding air conditioner for your home, office, or apartment on this page.

If you’re curious to learn about indoor air conditioning units that don’t require a window for ventilation, then you may want to check out our best portable & ventless air conditioners guide.

On that page, you’ll find additional portable air conditioner reviews for models that don’t need window access.

Just keep in mind that those types of stand up air conditioners cannot make a room as cold as the AC units reviewed on this page.

Enjoy Your New Best Portable Air Conditioner

portable air conditioner reviews summaryWe hope you enjoyed this guide on how to find the best portable air conditioner for your needs and budget.

As you discovered, there are many best portable AC unit models to choose between.

And the top indoor air conditioner for your needs will depend on the features you want it to include.

Enjoy your new stand up AC unit!