Portable and personal air conditioners, or portable air coolers, are extremely useful in the summers because of their ease of use and cost-effectiveness. They can be used in places that have space limitations or building restrictions. Furthermore, these personal air coolers are portable, easier to maintain, priced cheaper, and eco-friendly by consuming less power.
Unlike standard central air or window ACs, portable air coolers, as the name suggests, do not require a permanent installation or yearly maintenance. They can easily be moved from one area to the next because they are lightweight compared to the other cooling options.
These personal air coolers can be used anywhere, be it your workplace or your bedroom. Its cost is also much less than conventional ACs, which means that they’re not as heavy on your pockets as the other options.
How do Portable Air Conditioners work?
Modern technology has made it easier for us to use complex air cooling technologies in smaller personal use units. The personal air coolers follow a rather common method; the cold expulsion of air is created when warm air passes through a water curtain. These personal air coolers are built for smaller areas such as bedrooms and offices.
More advanced technologies are available in the standard window or central air conditioners, which render them more effective, although more expensive and not as cost-efficient. Other conventional models have as much as 12,000 BTUs, making them capable of spreading cooler temperatures over a greater area. However, they require venting hoses, which means that they need an outlet to send out the warm air and moisture. While some of these models require a way to expel warm air, others require two hoses to do that. They also tend to be noisy, use relatively more power, and since they withdraw humidity from the room, they tend to make the room drier. Therefore, even though they do not require a conventional set-up, they require a more firm setting than the options presented below.
The portable personal air coolers mentioned below, on the other hand, increase the moisture in the air, making it more pleasant. They simply reduce the room temperature without creating any dryness in the room. Heat extraction is common to both, but while the former uses freon refrigerant or noisy compressors, the latter doesn’t.
The technology which is being used by the units listed below is a basic process. First, the unit intakes hot and dry air from one side of its body. Then, after entering the unit’s body, the warm, dry air is made to pass through a water curtain connected to a hydration chamber (in some cases, ice trays), which is cool and wet. This causes the water in the curtain to evaporate. To evaporate, water needs to withdraw heat from the air; thus, it gives the previously hot and dry air a lot of moisture and coolness. This cool air is then pushed out through the front of the unit using a fan, which helps lower the temperature of your room.
Advantages of Using Portable Personal Air Coolers
Portable personal air coolers, as mentioned, are a boon to modern life. Here are some advantages it has over the other larger standard cooling systems.
Using portable personal air coolers, you can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year. A whole-home HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) takes up a huge sum of money. Not only are portable personal air coolers cheaper, but they can also save energy because it will only incur costs from the room in which it is being used. Since it is small and energy-efficient, portable ACs run on a battery charged using a USB port. As a result, its energy consumption is usually compared to that of a smartphone or tablet.
Unlike other forms of air conditioning, portable personal air coolers use a water-curtain mechanism that allows them to add humidity to the air rather than removing it. Many people face skin and nasal passage problems because of the dryness of the atmosphere around them. Therefore, you can benefit from having a portable AC. All the ACs mentioned in this list increase the humidity of the room while lowering its temperature.
No Installation Required
Because of the handiness of portable ACs, they do not need to be installed like other forms of ACs. Therefore, you save installation costs, and you can quite literally take it anywhere you want because it does not require a separate expulsion of hot air and moisture. You don’t have to install plumbing or risk ruining your window. Just pour water and let the AC cool your room.
Many portable personal air coolers offer the feature of air filtration, meaning that they have additional filters through which they remove allergens, dust, pollen, bacteria, viruses, toxins, and other compounds. The filters can vary from each other. Therefore their efficacy depends on which kind of filter a particular portable air cooler is using. For example, you can have a UV light filtration system or a physical filter instead of the UV light filters. It is the sign of a good unit to filter the air more effectively than others.
Alter the Temperature
While most portable air coolers do have an option of having a thermostat, others do not. Depending on the kind of portable AC you have, it can offer you about 3 to 5 fan speeds for cooling modes which will help you maintain the room temperature. Although they don’t offer you the feature of choosing exactly the temperature you want the air to be, you can still navigate the temperatures through approximation in degrees.
No need to plug in
Most, if not all, of the best portable air coolers, have rechargeable batteries that run them, and these can be charged via a micro-USB. Thus, you don’t need to worry about how long the cord is. It will reach your table or your bedside. You can simply just keep moving it around once fully charged.
While we already know that these devices are cost-effective, with a low maintenance cost, it should also be noted that they cost considerably less to buy. While you get ordinary air conditioners in the range of $5000 +, you get the best portable ACs for around $90. You save thousands of dollars. Not to mention, you also save on the installation and utility costs as mentioned above.
Easy to use
These portable ACs are extremely easy to use. They can be used by anyone at all. You do not need any specialized or technical knowledge whatsoever. You only need to know how to fill the tank and add ice cubes and how to charge it, to know how to make a portable AC work right out of the box.
Easy to Move Around
While conventional ACs require to be fixed into one spot, need a venting outlet, and whatnot, these portable ACs don’t need anything at all. Therefore you can move them around the house with no hassle at all. Even if you own a relatively larger model of these units, they usually come with secure handles that can help you move them around your house.
Although they cannot replicate the temperatures of a whole-home HVAC system, they can still deliver an incredible performance, all at a surprisingly lower cost. They are very efficient at cooling your bedrooms, office, and other smaller areas.
One of the most attractive qualities of portable ACs is that some are very quiet. Some HVAC models tend to create a lot of noise. On the other hand, portable air coolers are extremely quiet and will aid your efforts to concentrate better and even help you sleep and relax more comfortably. Whether you’re facing sleeping problems because of noise or not concentrating at work due to noise, this is a perfect solution.
Best Portable Air Conditioners of 2021
After thorough research on the products available in the market, our team compiled the list of the Best Portable AC systems available for you to buy.
Blast Auxiliary Portable AC
This Blast Auxiliary Portable AC is all that is expected of a portable AC. It is affordable, small, and powerful. It is everything that a portable air cooler should be. In addition, this product has unexpected features for a modest price, such as a humidifier, a filter, etc.
Another great thing about this product is that it can be run cord-free. You can charge the fan in this product using a USB cable from anywhere. Then, after charging, you can use it anywhere you want. This product works wonders to lower the temperature of the room, plus its portability is exceptional. Being cordless is very easy to use and has no complicated instructions for setup; this can also be used with or without being plugged in.
CoolX is also a portable air conditioner used at your home, office, or even car. It has three preset speeds and is extremely easy to use. Moreover, it works effectively and rapidly. It can lower the temperature of a room very quickly, making it one of the most desirable options in this segment. CoolX has many additional functions and usages.
It comes with a seven-color LED which you can adjust at your convenience. Therefore, it can be used as a night light and an air conditioner that maintains a low room temperature for you. It also works as an air purifier and air humidifier in just one unit.
Arctic Air Pure Chill
The most conspicuous feature of Arctic Air Pure Chill is its size. It is very small; in fact, it is the only portable AC unit listed and marketed as a “nano air conditioner.” However, this portable unit can cool the room despite its small size. Moreover, besides lowering the room temperature instantly, it also filters out pollutants, bacteria, and viruses. While other units in this range only vaguely talk about cleaning the air, Arctic Air Pure Chill specifically mentions bacteria and viruses – which is not usually available at this price.
Weighing only about 1.5 lbs can also be used without a cord, making it a truly portable “nano” air conditioning unit. Another thing worth mentioning is that it is easy to set up and use and relatively quieter than the other models.
IceBox Air Cooler
The IceBox Air Cooler has many desirable features that most of its competitors in this range do not have. For example, it has a clear LCD screen which makes it extremely easy to alter the temperature range, and it also has something called the night mood or the sleep mode, which provides cooling with relatively lesser sound. This feature makes IceBox Air Cooler a perfect choice for anyone who has trouble sleeping due to noise.
With its seven mood lights and five different coolness levels, you can alter your experience of the IceBox Air Cooler at your convenience. This unit also works as a humidifier, taking hot, dry air from one side of its body and expelling a cool and refreshing breeze from the other side.
This portable AC is a little more expensive than the other options. It costs about $100 a unit; however, if you’re planning to order in bulk, you can get a unit for as low as $60.
Glacier Air Cooler
The Glacier Air Cooler isn’t just pleasant to the eye, and it is an extremely convenient unit that works well. It is built like a lantern, and surprisingly, works like one too. It is the only portable unit on this list, a lantern, and a portable AC. You can use this unit on camping tips, beaches, or any outdoor places as a lamp. It even has an external rechargeable battery that is sure to be of use in outdoor usage.
With the help of Glacier Air Cooler, you can lower the temperatures of your living room, bathroom, office, garage, or any other room. Moreover, you can add ice to the unit to make its cooling even more efficient. Its retro design coupled with its multifunctionality makes Glacier Air Cooler one of the best portable ACs available in the market today.
As the name suggests, UV Cooler utilizes UV light to eliminate toxins or bacteria floating in the water. First, the water must be sanitized. Otherwise, the bacteria and viruses in the water can be spread throughout the room via water vapors. This makes the UV Cooler a portable air cooler unit worth buying.
This UV Cooler unit also has USB charging as a feature so that you can use it without a cord. It is also small and light enough for you to carry it around. This is what makes a UV Cooler truly portable.
It is a little more expensive than other options by a margin of $10. You can buy one unit of UV Cooler for $100.
Sleep Connection Cool Mist Humidifier
Sleep Connection Cool Mist Humidifier is the cheapest unit on this list by a considerable margin. However, despite its cost, it is one of the most beautiful units on this list. It has built-in mood lights, which can help it look like a piece of home décor. It can be used in any room, be it the bedroom, drawing room, etc.
The Sleep Connection Cool Mist Humidifier has many other desirable features too. Besides being a portable air conditioner, it also works as a humidifier. You only need to add water to the unit, and then with only one touch, you can switch it on. It helps your sleep, improves your health, and also helps you with better breathing. Its cooling is very efficient too.
You can buy a piece of this unit at a menial price of $15. It’s a great choice for someone looking to buy a portable air cooling unit that is small and serves as a piece of home décor.
Tundra Breeze AC
Tundra Breeze is not very stylish. It is the least stylish design on this list. However, its cooling capabilities make up for what it lacks in the area of design. It can provide instant cooling to a room. You can improve its performance by adding ice along with water. Its performance is excellent.
Because of its water-curtain-based cooling system, it also works as a great humidifier. Tundra Breeze rids the air of its dryness and provides a cool breeze with much wetter vapor in its place.
This stylish product that looks like a pair of extremely modern headphones is a very efficient air cooling system available exclusively through PopularHiTech. It is unconventional and very dissimilar to the other products mentioned in this list. Unlike a conventional unit, It is placed around your neck.
It cannot provide cooling to a whole room. However, it can keep you cool wherever you go. It sprays cool, refreshing air relatively noiselessly. It has a very easy-to-use intuitive design with a petite body.
It can be bought for a relatively lower price of $60. The company also offers a 30-day refund if you’re unsatisfied with the mentioned features.
Where can you use a Portable AC Unit?
Depending on the variant you decide to buy, portable ACs can have incredibly effective results in certain places. However, it should be noted that they deliver a good performance in general nonetheless. Therefore, you can use them in several settings: your drawing room, children’s playroom; they can even be used outdoors, in places such as the backyard, a tent, or other spaces.
Since portable ACs don’t need to be plugged in and can be charged, they can be dragged to any place you want. Thus, you don’t need to worry about finding a power socket wherever you go as long as you have charged the battery beforehand. This can be especially useful if you’re going trekking or taking a long road trip. In addition, they will keep the air clean and cool. You can use them in spaces like bedrooms, apartments and condos, dorm rooms, smaller homes, any outdoor places, etc.
FAQs About Portable Air Conditioners
Q: What is a portable air conditioner?
A: A portable air conditioner is a device that helps us lower the temperature of any place, be it a room, or outdoor space, while being portable, meaning that they are easily moved as per convenience. In most cases, when we refer to air conditioners, they are not conventionally thought of to be mobile. However, portable air conditioners change this view because they use more compact technology to provide cooling to any given area.
Q: What is a conventional air conditioner? How is it any different from a portable air conditioner?
A: There are a lot of differences between a conventional air conditioner and a portable air conditioner. They are opposite in some terms: size, mobility, cost, etc. However, the common function is that they can lower the temperature of any place. However, they use different technologies to do this. While the conventional air conditioner requires a refrigerant and a compressor, portable air conditioners use water curtains, ice trays, etc. They also differ in the amount of space they can cover.
Q: How much space does a portable air conditioner cover?
A: A portable air conditioner is preferred in smaller spaces, preferably closed. They can be used in several spaces, such as your bedrooms, dorm rooms, etc. However, due to their small size, they cannot be expected to cover an entire home. Therefore, they are usually used for cooling only one room at a time.
Q: What are the sizes available? And, which one should I buy?
A: There are numerous options for you to choose from in terms of size. You can choose from 7,500 BTU to 14,000 BTU units. However, it depends upon how much area you want to cover. For example, if you need to cover around 200 sq. ft. of space, you can choose a 7,500 BTU portable air conditioner. Similarly, if you want to cover 300 sq. ft. of space, you need to choose a unit of about 10,000 BTU. More space requires more BTUs.
Q: What is a BTU?
A: BTU is an abbreviation for British Thermal Units. It is generally used as a measurement when talking about air conditioners.
Q: Do I need to have a window for my portable air conditioner to work?
A: You don’t need to make any special accommodation for portable air conditioners, be it a window or plug socket. The portable air conditioners listed above do not have any need for any hoses or windows. They simply require a charged battery and water and ice trays. They are straightforward to use.
Q: Is it safe to run a portable air conditioner in my home?
A: Yes, they are extremely safe. They are less harmful than many other cooling products because they do not release harmful fumes, toxins, or vapor. They don’t even use refrigerants, freons, or compressors. Since they use chemical-free water-curtain technology, they pose no harm to you whatsoever.
Q: What is the best portable AC unit?
A: The decision to name the best portable air conditioner is yours. Each unit offers different features, which may be of use to you, or which you may not like at all. It also depends on what is the targeted space you want to cool.
Q: Will having a portable air conditioner increase my electric bill?
A: Portable air conditioners have an extremely low running cost. They barely make a dent on your bill; in fact, some have compared it to having just another smartphone in the house. However, depending on the size of your air conditioner, you may have a little increase in your electric bill. In comparison with HVACs, these charges are almost next to nothing.
Q: Do portable air conditioners leak water?
A: No, they don’t. Conventional air conditioners use different technology, which also saps the air dry of its moisture, which has to be vented out along with some warm air. On the other hand, portable air conditioners use water curtains and ice trays, and instead of drying the air further, they moisturize the air. Therefore, they don’t need to expel any water through any hose.
Q: What is a SEER rating?
A: SEER is an abbreviation of Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. SEER reflects the efficiency of your air conditioner. Therefore, the higher, the better. Usually, SEER numbers range between 13 to 16; however, the best of their class have SEERs above 20.
Q: How long do portable air conditioners usually last?
A: Portable air conditioners are very durable and require little to no maintenance. They can last for more than five years before incurring any major maintenance cost or replacement; however, it’s a good idea to run maintenance checks frequently because they prolong the life of a unit. A portable air conditioner’s most vulnerable part is its battery. The battery tends to weaken with time and usage. Thus it might need to be replaced from time to time to keep the unit performing at an optimal level.
Q: Can I cool my home without an air conditioner?
A: All of the portable air conditioners/coolers mentioned above are great alternatives for anyone who wants to cool a home without an AC. You don’t need an HVAC system to do that.
Q: What is a central air conditioning system? And, how does it work?
A: A central air conditioning system can be a packaged unit or a split-system unit. They’re used to lower the temperature of larger spaces such as a whole home. They use many different parts and chemicals to lower the temperature of any given space. They flow a refrigerant throughout their system using a compressor to achieve cooling. They gather heat and moisture from an inside place, cool the air via indoor coils, and return the cool air inside; however, the residue warm arm and moisture are vented outside through a hose.
Q: How loud are portable air conditioners?
A: They are not loud at all. This is one of the advantages that portable air conditioners have over conventional cooling systems. Some of these portable ACs also have sleeping and working modes, which lower the noise furthermore so that you get better sleep and concentrate on your work without getting disturbed.
Q: Why do air conditioners dry the air?
A: As explained above, air conditioners tend to lower the temperature by removing moisture from it. The dryness in the air leads to many problems, making it harder to keep your skin hydrated. You can get dry, flaky skin if you don’t tend to the dryness soon. However, portable air conditioners tend to give more humidity to air because of their water-curtain technology, preventing any skin issues at all.
Q: What is ENERGY STAR?
A: Started by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ENERGY STAR is a program aimed at creating awareness in the consumer about the energy efficiency of its product. Since we need to conserve energy, many air conditioner brands comply with the best standard set by the EPA and have an ENERGY STAR label on them, signifying their energy efficiency.
Q: How much does an average portable air conditioner cost?
A: Portable air conditioners are extremely affordable. This is one of the reasons why people are buying them now more than ever. Some products are available for a mere $15, but they can go up to $120 a unit. These prices vary according to the features available in each of the units. However, you will find most of the units around $90, which is reasonable to get an assured performance and cooling.
Best Portable Air Conditioners of 2021 Conclusion
Portable air conditioners have become a reliable technology for us to buy now. Their ease of use only tops their cost-efficiency. You can buy a great air conditioner for under $100, which can cool your room and act as a room décor.
In today’s time, the necessity of sanitization has become crystal clear. Due to the strong filtration technologies present in these portable air conditioners, you can now feel safe sitting at home. If you’ve been struggling with space to fit in a window air conditioner or don’t have the headroom for split ac, a portable air conditioner is a perfect choice for you. You do not need to invest in it separately. It offers security at a much lower cost, with almost no maintenance. It has become such a great alternative to the traditional HVAC system.
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