Best Portable Air Conditioner for an Apartment/Small Room/Bedroom

During the hot summer months, we leave our windows open in the hopes that a nonexistent breeze will find its way into our homes. The problem is that other things – bugs, pollutants, noise, and Jehova’s Witnesses – are the only things that’ll grace us with their unwanted presence.

So what can we do about it? If your home is not equipped with a centralized air conditioning system, then you’re on your own, pal. Just kidding – there are several things you can do to reduce battle heat exhaustion within the “comfort” of your home. One such thing is by getting a portable air conditioner.

Portable Air Conditioner – Pros and Cons

Right now, you’re probably wondering to yourself why you would ever need a portable air conditioner. After all, aren’t window-mounted units cheaper and easier to maintain? Indeed, window-mounted units are much more affordable than their portable counterparts, but there’s a lot more than just cost that you should consider.

Portable Air Conditioner | Bestseller

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Portable AC Pros

Unlike window-mounted units or centralized air conditioner systems, a portable air conditioner does not require any permanent installation. The cost of installing a centralized air conditioner, on top of the cooling system itself, can be quite expensive. Even a mountable unit, when installing it through walls and not in a window, can set you back a hundred bucks.

Portable air conditioners are practically usable straight out of the box. Simply place the water basin inside of the unit, plug it in, press the ON button on the remote, and you’re good to go.

Cost Efficient
A centralized cooling system for your home is not only expensive to purchase and install, but operating it can set you back financially. The thing about air conditioners, portable or window-mounted, is that they remove the heat out of a single room rather than your entire home. You no longer have to spend a ton on electricity to cool your entire home when you have a portable air conditioner that cools the room you’re currently chilling in.

This really goes without saying, but it’s something you should consider if you’re on the fence. A wall- or window-mounted unit forces you to stay in one room to enjoy the refreshing coolness that it gives off whereas a portable unit can be taken anywhere you are in your home.

Another beautiful thing about portable air conditioners that sets them apart from other cooling systems is their ability to dehumidify the air. This is an essential process in maintaining a cool feel to a room since moisture, even when the heat is removed from the air, can promote mugginess and sweating.

Perhaps one thing you may be unaware of is the increased safety associated with using a portable air conditioner compared to wall- or window-mount units. How many times have you feared for your life when passing under an apartment building with air conditioners placed on rocky window brackets? Probably never unless you live in New York, but if your AC unit falls on a passerby’s head, then you’ll be held accountable.

Portable AC Cons

Condensation Problems
Now onto the cons. The most annoying thing about portable ACs is that you need to constantly monitor the unit to ensure that the drip pan doesn’t overflow. If you have hardwood floors, an overflowing drip pan will cause damage to your flooring and require hired help to fix.

The only way to solve the problem of needing constant monitoring is by getting a modern, pricier model that comes with an auto-drain hose and internal pump. The hose connects from the unit and runs outdoors via a window.

Cooling Capacity
Generally speaking, portable ACs have are not equipped to cool down large rooms. Of course, this depends entirely on the model and how powerful its motor is. Always check the BTU (British Thermal Units) of any air conditioner before purchasing one. This is the indicator of how large of a room the unit can cool efficiently.

Floor Space
Most air conditioners are not small or lightweight enough to place on tables and other high surfaces. They also stand tall to let cold air drop and cover more space. Due to their sheer size, they take up quite a bit of floor space which might be an issue for smaller rooms.

Should You Get a Portable Air Conditioner?

Some homeowner associations forbid the use of window-mounted air conditioners due to the safety risk it poses (dropping on the head of a passerby). For these people, you could either spend a fortune on a centralized cooling solution for your home or get a relatively inexpensive portable air conditioner. Despite their several drawbacks, there’s no denying that they work extremely well in single rooms, just like window models. Plus, they’re a lot cheaper to run and maintain than centralized systems.

Portable Air Conditioner for the Bedroom Buying Guide

If you’ve already decided that a portable air conditioner is the ideal cooling device for your home, then it’s time to do some research. There are tons of brands who produce portable AC models seemingly every year and finding the right unit among the sea of old and modern models can be confusing.

But don’t you worry none, dear reader, as we’ve already put in the time to find out what it takes for a portable air conditioner to cool a bedroom or other similarly sized room effectively and efficiently. In this section, we’ll provide you with a list of different portable AC features and specs that will enhance its performance and convenience in cooling down a bedroom.

Room Size Capacity

The first thing to consider when shopping for a portable air conditioner is the size of your bedroom. The size of the average bedroom is about 80 to 85 square feet in size. The most appropriate air conditioner that’ll work effectively and efficiently in a room of that size is a 10,000-BTU unit. However, if you plan on taking the portable AC to different areas of your home, you may want to get a bigger model with at least 14,000 BTU.

Single vs. Dual Hose

Although portable air conditioners are a plug-and-go type of appliance, they do have one or two hoses running from the back of the unit. The number of hoses the device has plays a tremendously important role in the unit’s maintenance.

Single-hose models have one hose where warm air suctioned from the portable AC is shot out of. This, unfortunately, means that the ACs motor will be more exposed to warm air and have a greater risk of overheating.

Dual-hose models solve this problem by having one hose for removing warm air and another hose that draws in air from outside. The air from the second hose is filtered and cooled before being shot into a room while simultaneously cooling the motor down in the process.

Deciding on which of the two to get should depend on the size of your room and how long the unit will continuously run. Single-hose models are built for smaller rooms such as bedrooms, whereas dual-hose units are better-suited at cooling down living rooms and kitchens.


Although many use their portable ACs like single-room units, there may be people out there who’d like to take full advantage of the device’s portability. For those people, we’d recommend that you take a look at the portable AC’s size and weight.

Lighter models are ideal if you need to move the unit up and down stairs. You may also want to check whether it comes with caster wheels to help it glide across smooth surfaces. If you want to transport the unit via truck or car, make sure that it’s compact enough to sit comfortably on the bed of a truck or in the backseat.


Portable air conditioners can come with a wide range of different filter types. The most popular types of filters are HEPA, activated carbon, and antimicrobial filters.

True HEPA Filters are used to trap microscopic pollutants and allergens. If you suffer from allergic reactions to things like dust, pet dander, or pollen, a True HEPA Filter’s ability to trap 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns would be ideal.

An activated carbon filter is used to trap odors. Foul smells like cigarette and cigar smoke, kitchen failures, and bathroom stank will get trapped in the filter, allowing the AC to shoot out clean, breathable air.

Antimicrobial filters are made to eliminate mold spores and airborne viruses from a room. If you or a loved one is suffering from a cold, to prevent it from spreading to others, install an antimicrobial filter in your portable AC.

The great thing about many portable air conditioners is that the user has the option to change the type of filter installed depending on his or her needs. This is possible in window units but a pain to do.

Auto Start and Stop

Some portable air conditioners feature a programmable thermostat that lets you decide on the exact temperature you want your bedroom to be. After achieving the desired coolness, the portable air conditioner will automatically turn off, but it will also kick back to life when the room heats past a certain point. In other portable AC models, the user has the option to program the unit to turn on and off at specific times of the day or after running for a certain number of hours.

All of these things add to the convenience of a portable air conditioner which, after all, is what it’s all about.

Noise Production

As the air conditioner’s motor is kicked to life, it’s going to produce a constant droning sound, regardless of whether it’s a centralized cooling system, a portable unit, or a window-mounted one.

Since the portable AC is going to be placed in your bedroom, a quitter humming sound is preferred over those that yodel all night long. Luckily, most portable ACs generate sounds within a 50- to the 60-decibel range – about the same level as normal conversation tones. Others can go lower but are usually designed for use in smaller rooms which may be the adequate size for your bedroom.

Auto-Drain vs. Drip Basin

And auto-drain feature helps improve the overall experience of owning and using a portable AC. A hose connects to the drain port in which condensed water particles drip out. You can leave the unit running all week long without having to worry about droplets damaging your hardwood floors (assuming the hose is installed properly).

Drip basins are the less expensive water management option, though it does mean you need to check on the basin every so often to ensure it doesn’t overflow. The size of the basin typically depends on the size of the portable AC, so for smaller units in bedrooms, you may need to dump the water out of the basin daily.


We’ll admit that a portable AC’s dehumidifying feature does not perform as well as stand-alone dehumidifiers, but it can help solve the problem of muggy indoor air and excessive sweating. By removing airborne moisture, your bedroom will be left with cool, dry air to help you snooze throughout the night. The dehumidifying feature should be programmable to ensure that you’re not drying out your bedroom beyond the recommended relative humidity minimum (25%).

Remote Control

Last but not least, especially when considering the convenience factor of using a portable AC, is the remote control. You want to control the unit from the comfort of your bed without having to extend an arm to push buttons. The remote control should allow you to program most, if not all, of the adjustable features – temperature, dehumidifier, timer, etc.

Final Remarks

Admittedly, a portable air conditioner may not be for everyone, but for those who don’t have a centralized cooling system and are restricted by tight homeowner association rules, it may be the only option available to you. That being said, they’re not bad at all; in fact, they can be better than most window-mounted ACs in terms of cooling power and room capacity.

When shopping for a portable air conditioner for your bedroom or other similarly sized room, there are a few things you need to take into account. First of all, check out the BTU rating since it is a clear indication of how large or small a room the unit can cool effectively.

Next, see whether you and your room would benefit more from a single- or a dual-hose setup. For most bedrooms (80 to 100 square feet in size), a single-hose model would be more cost-efficient.

Other features such as its overall portability, included and swappable filter types, programmable thermostat, drain hose, and dehumidifying feature all add to the experience of owning a portable AC. These are nice to have but ultimately not a definitive requirement for a portable air conditioner for the bedroom.

Portable Air Conditioner | Bestseller

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Last update on 2021-04-22 / Most affiliate links and/or Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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