The best small portable air conditioners of 2022 (2022)

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Written by Ashley Sweren on

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The best small portable air conditioners of 2022 (1)

Do you have a stuffy space you need to cool? A small portable air conditioner cools effectively without drastically increasing your energy bill.

In this piece, we’ve done the hard work for you by finding and reviewing the smallest portable air conditioners. Check out our picks and choose the one that best meets your needs.

Best small portable air conditioners

Smallest

The best small portable air conditioners of 2022 (2)

Arctos Portable Air Conditioner Fan

  • Tiny
  • Battery-powered

For apartments

The best small portable air conditioners of 2022 (3)

BLACK + DECKER portable air conditioner

  • Easy to move
  • Flexible features

For dorms

The best small portable air conditioners of 2022 (4)

AOLOS evaporative cooler

  • Compact
  • Re-freezable ice cartridges

For the office

The best small portable air conditioners of 2022 (5)

(Video) Top 5 BEST Portable Air Conditioners of [2022]

Evapolar evaCHILL

  • Discrete
  • USB plug

For cars

The best small portable air conditioners of 2022 (6)

Xool dashboard fan

  • Circulates air
  • Easy installation

Best design

The best small portable air conditioners of 2022 (7)

Frigidaire FGPC1044U1

  • Filters air
  • Energy-efficient

Portable air conditioner vs. air cooler

Some of the units we highlight in this piece are portable air conditioners while others are air coolers.

Air conditioners use a refrigerant or chemical coolant to cool the air. Air coolers use water and ice to do the same.

Air conditioners require ventilation to run. They collect hot air and move it outdoors. Air coolers circulate the air in the room.

Air conditioners are generally more powerful and can cool a larger space. Air coolers use less power. They can even run on batteries.

Choosing the best small portable air conditioner

Weigh the following factors when picking the best small portable air conditioner for your space:

📏 SizeCheck the dimensions to ensure the AC fits your space. And consider the weight if you’ll be moving it frequently.
💨 OutputTraditional air conditioners measure their output in BTUs. Check out our piece on AC size to learn how many BTUs you need. Other coolers will likely indicate how much square footage they’re intended to cool.
🔌 Power sourceSome portable ACs and coolers plug into a standard electrical outlet. Others run on batteries. Some may take a charge. Consider how you’re planning to use your unit and choose accordingly.
🪟 VentilationTraditional air conditioners require window ventilation. Chillers do not. If you aren’t permitted to block your window (or just prefer not to), a chiller is for you.
💰 CostPrices vary widely. One of the units we’ve reviewed below costs about $20, while another is around $600. Budget is an important consideration when choosing a small portable AC unit.

Small portable air conditioner reviews

Smallest portable air conditioner on the market

The Arctos Portable Air Conditioner Fan is the smallest portable air conditioner we’ve reviewed. It’s diminutive at about 6.5 inches wide and 9 inches high.

This system isn’t technically an AC – it’s an air chiller. That means you must fill it with ice and water before each use.

We like that this chiller runs quietly and has a calming, pleasant LED light. It’s battery-powered, so you can put it anywhere independent of outlet placement.

Buy online

The best small portable air conditioners of 2022 (8)

Size

6.5” x 5.51” x 9.05”

(Video) Top 3 Portable Air Conditioners in 2022 👌

Weight

N/A

Price

$62.99

Best small portable air conditioner for apartments

The BLACK + DECKER portable air conditioner is one of our favorites. It comes in 7,500-, 8,500-, 10,000-, 12,000-, 12,500-, and 14,000-BTU models, so you can choose the one that best fills your space. Some models provide heating in addition to cooling. The 14,000-BTU model is one of the highest BTU portable air conditioners.

We love that this small portable air conditioner comes on wheels, allowing you to easily move it from room to room. It also comes with an easy-to-install window venting kit.

This BLACK + DECKER system works to dehumidify your space. You can use it as a fan if you don’t need full AC cooling.

The BLACK + DECKER portable AC features a remote control that acts as a thermostat. It has three fan speeds, sleep mode, and a 24-hour timer.

Buy on Amazon

The best small portable air conditioners of 2022 (9)

Size

12.6” x 12.6” x 26.4”

Weight

49.3 lbs.

Price

$348

Best air conditioner for dorms

Most college dormitories won’t allow you to install a window air conditioner or a portable AC that requires ventilation. We think this AOLOS evaporative cooler is a better bet.

First, it’s just over $100, perfect for a student’s budget. It’s about 14 lbs., so you’ll have no problem carrying it upstairs. It’s slim and compact, fitting in the smallest dorm room.

The ice cartridges used in this system need to be re-frozen frequently. So, only purchase this unit if you have a mini-fridge or access to a communal fridge.

Without ice, the AOLOS cooler works as a fan, circulating air in your room. It comes with a remote control for convenience. And it’s mounted on wheels, so you can easily wheel it down the hall to share some cool air with friends!

Buy on Amazon

The best small portable air conditioners of 2022 (10)

Size

11.61” x 9.65” x 22.48”

(Video) The 10 Best Portable Air Conditioners In 2022

Weight

13.52 lbs

Price

$109.99

Best small portable air conditioner for your office

The Evapolar evaCHILL is a small portable air cooler that fits on your desk. It’s perfect for an office environment because it’s quiet and discrete.

While many small air coolers like this require ice to function, the evaCHILL only needs water. If you don’t have access to a freezer at your workplace, this system is ideal.

This Evapolar chiller plugs into a USB. No awkward cords cluttering your workspace – you can plug this into your laptop.

The evaCHILL won’t cool a large space. But it’s effective for cooling you while you’re sitting at your desk. And it looks cute doing it!

Buy on Amazon

The best small portable air conditioners of 2022 (11)

Size

7” x 7” x 7”

Weight

1.2 lbs.

Cost

$99

Best portable air conditioning for cars

We don’t recommend using a portable air conditioner in your car. Traditional models are too big and require more power than your car can provide. Coolers need water and ice, which can easily spill in your car.

If you need to supplement your car’s existing AC, we suggest the Xool dashboard fan. It mounts to your dash and plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter. (If your car doesn’t have a cigarette lighter, you can use this adapter.)

The Xool dashboard fan doesn’t provide cooling. It’s just a fan that will help circulate air in your car.

The company also makes a backseat model that clips onto the front headrests. This is ideal for cars that only have AC vents up front. Especially if you have kids or pets who frequently ride with you.

If you’re looking specifically for an RV air conditioner, check out our reviews of the best air conditioners for RVs.

Buy on Amazon

(Video) 5 Best Portable Air Conditioners You Can Buy In 2022

The best small portable air conditioners of 2022 (12)

Size

7.5” x 4.7” x 3.9”

Weight

1.35 lbs.

Cost

$23.99

Best looking small portable air conditioner

The Frigidaire FGPC1044U1 is a compact AC that packs a powerful punch. Its streamlined design is modern and attractive.

We appreciate the 360° airflow that reaches all corners of your room. In addition to its sleek control panel, you can adjust this AC’s settings via the Frigidaire app on your phone from anywhere.

The Frigidaire FGPC1044U1 is ENERGY STAR certified for efficiency. It has filtration capabilities to improve air quality as well.

Though this AC is considered small and portable, it’s heavy. It weighs 80 lbs., so you may need to enlist the help of a friend to move it into place in your home.

Buy on Amazon

The best small portable air conditioners of 2022 (13)

Size

16.63” x 12.63” x 36.18”

Weight

80.03 lbs.

Cost

$599

Portable v. window AC

Not sure if you need a portable or window AC? There are benefits and drawbacks to both. Choosing the right one depends on your space and cooling needs.

Both types of AC work well for renters and dorm dwellers since you can take them with you when you move out. They’re a relatively inexpensive investment that can make a big improvement in your space.

If you think a window air conditioner better meets your needs, check out our reviews of small window ACs.

The final word on small portable AC units

There are many options when purchasing an air conditioner. Do your homework and choose the best unit for your personal needs.

Window AC

ProsCons
Doesn’t take up valuable floor spaceBlocks the view from your window
Comparably inexpensiveHeavy to lift into place
U-shaped and over-the-sill models run quietlyCan be challenging to install and remove

Portable AC

ProsCons
Little to no installation requiredTakes up floor space
Can easily move to other rooms or spacesGenerally more expensive than alternatives
Air cooler models don’t require venting; some don’t need electricity eitherAir cooler models need ice cartridges re-frozen daily

If you’re considering a whole-home system, reach out to our HVAC experts by clicking below.

Connect me with an AC pro.

(Video) The Best Tent Air Conditioners For Camping of 2022

FAQs

Which small portable air conditioner is best? ›

While you'll find the slightly larger Whynter ARC-14S elsewhere on this list, the Whynter Elite ARC-122DS earns its place as the best overall portable air conditioner by providing most of the same capabilities at a lower price point.

What is the smallest most efficient air conditioner? ›

All in all, Zero Breeze Mark 2 is the revolutionary smallest air conditioner on the market. With the 2,300 BTU, it's the only one that really comes close to the BTU capacity of what a small 10×10 room would need (2,000 BTU, on average).

What is the most reliable portable air conditioner brand? ›

The Midea air conditioner performed the best, maintaining the 68-degree set point for 85.4% of its runtime. The Haier model came in second with 75.5% and the LG model in third with 74.2%.

What is the best portable air conditioner without hose? ›

Shop The Best Portable Air Conditioners Without A Hose

The Best Evaporative Cooler For Smaller Rooms: Honeywell CL201AEW Indoor Evaporative Air Cooler. The Best Unit For Large Rooms: VAGKRI Evaporative Cooler. The Best Indoor & Outdoor Unit: HESSAIRE MC37M Oscillating Evaporative Cooler.

How big of a room can a portable AC unit cool? ›

As stated, cooling capacity can be affected by many things, but in general, an 8,000 BTU unit will cool a room up to 350 square feet, one with 10,000 BTUs will cover up to 450 square feet, and an air conditioning (AC) unit with 14,000 BTUs will accommodate 700 square feet.

Is it worth buying a portable air conditioner? ›

Portable air conditioners can be remarkably convenient for many homeowners and renters, and they are an affordable way to bring a little cool air into your living space. They can also be a lifesaver if your regular air conditioner is broken — you can get them up and running quickly while you wait for repairs.

Do all portable air conditioners have to be vented out a window? ›

Do all portable air conditioners have to be vented out a window? No. With a ventless portable AC system, you don't need to vent anything out the window—but it will be harder to circulate the hot air from the room without one, so you'll need to come up with another solution (like a fan).

How many BTU do I need for a 12x12 room? ›

Obviously, the problem arises when you have a tiny 12×12 room, for example. According to the US Department of Energy directive, an air conditioner's most appropriate size would be 2,880 BTU unit.

Can a mini AC cool a room? ›

Portable air conditioners can certainly cool larger rooms and even sometimes multiple areas of a home or other building. However, not every AC unit is capable of this, and you'll need to do some research to find out which ones are.

Is there a portable AC that really works? ›

Best smart, high-end portable air conditioner: Midea

With 10,000 BTUs of cooling power, it can cool a room up to 200 square feet with a temperature range between 62 degrees Fahrenheit and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Midea. It also comes with a 24-hour adjustable timer.

What is the most efficient air conditioner? ›

Best Overall: Lennox XC25

Rated most efficient by EnergyStar for 2022, this air conditioner has an outstanding SEER rating of 26 thanks to its advanced technology.

How long do portable air conditioners last? ›

Portable air conditioners last from 5 to 10 years. Portable AC units can be moved from room to room and can generate anywhere from 8,000 BTU to 15,000 BTU of cooling output. Portable AC units have the lowest lifespan of all AC types because: They get moved around a lot.

How many BTU do you need to cool a room? ›

As a general rule, an air conditioner needs 20 Btu for each square foot of living space. But other considerations, such as the ceiling height and the size of your windows and doorways, might call for more cooling power. To measure your room, multiply the length by the width.

Are portable air conditioners as good as window units? ›

Window and portable air conditioners are both designed to cool a room, but their performance is not equal. A window AC cools a room the best and is more energy-efficient and affordable. A portable air AC is easier to install and is useful when your window is too small for a traditional unit.

Are any portable air conditioners Energy Star rated? ›

Are there ENERGY STAR certified portable room air conditioners? At this time, portable room air conditioners are not ENERGY STAR certified products. The Department of Energy has released federal standards to to regulate the energy consumption of portable air conditioners.

Can I use a portable air conditioner in a room without a hose? ›

The short answer to this is that you can safely run a portable air conditioner without a vent hose, but you should only do it in dehumidifier mode, and it will actually heat up your room.

Are dual hose portable air conditioners better? ›

In general, dual-hose portable air conditioners are much more effective at cooling larger spaces than the single-hose variants. For starters, dual-hose versions operate more quickly as it has a more efficient air exchange process.

Do portable air conditioners need drainage? ›

In general, portable air conditioners should be drained after every 8 hours. The frequency varies depending upon the model you own. Few air conditioners work efficiently without draining for a month.

Is 7000 BTU enough for a bedroom? ›

As a general rule we advise you to buy an Air Conditioner with a minimum 7000BTUs as this is the minimum required to call a small room (18sq/m) on a hot day. Medium rooms (24sq/m) need around 10,000BTUs and larger rooms and office spaces (36sq/m) require around 15000BTUs.

How big of a room will a 10000 BTU portable air conditioner cool? ›

10,000 BTUs will cover 300 sq. ft. (2,400 cubic feet)

What size room will a 8000 BTU air conditioner cool? ›

At 8,000 BTU, it has the cooling capacity for up to about 350 square feet.

Are mini portable air conditioners worth it? ›

Think of portable air conditioners as the cooling choice of last resort. They're better than a fan but far less effective than a window AC. That's what Consumer Reports' experts consistently see in our tests of portable air conditioners.

Is it cheaper to run a portable air conditioner or central air? ›

You'll find that both window and ductless AC units all have higher CEER and EER ratings, making them the cheaper choice for daily operation. The simple truth — Portable AC units will use more energy to hit your ideal cooling temperature.

Is the Arctos portable AC any good? ›

The Arctos Portable AC is a great solution to the hot and humid summers that are just around the corner. It is a great way to cool down your personal space. This device can easily be used in different rooms with the need for an additional power source. It's also safe and reliable as it uses a fan to cool the room.

What happens if I don't vent my portable air conditioner? ›

What happens if you don't vent a portable air conditioner. If you don't use the exhaust hose, then your portable AC will not cool your room. It will blow all the heat right back into your room.

Do portable AC units produce carbon monoxide? ›

The short answer is no, air conditioners are unable to produce carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide can only be emitted from fuel-burning devices. AC units run on electricity, so there's no possible way for them to produce carbon monoxide.

Can you vent a portable air conditioner into a cold air return? ›

Venting a portable air conditioner through a cold air return vent is a bad idea. This is because it will make your home's central cooling system to work much harder. As your portable AC dumps heat into the return vent, that heat goes back into your home's central AC system.

Is 5000 BTU enough for a bedroom? ›

According to the EPA's rule of thumb role, 5000 BTU room size should be 250 sq ft. If you have a 150 sq ft room to cool, 5000 BTU will be more than enough. However, EPA in their rule of thumb specifically recommends that we should calculate: “20 BTU of cooling output per 1 sq ft.”

What size room will 12000 BTU cool? ›

In our experience, a 12,000 BTU portable can work well in a bedroom up to about 200 square feet, and a 14,000 BTU unit will make some difference up to 400 square feet if you can tolerate the noise.

Can a portable air conditioner be too big for a room? ›

If an air conditioner is too big for a given space, it will cool that space down with lightning speed. Some people choose an oversized air conditioner on purpose, thinking that this is a good thing -- but they're wrong. When an air conditioner cools a room too quickly, it will cycle on and off more frequently.

What is the two fan trick? ›

To cool a room with two fans, position one fan out, toward the doorway. Directly across from the first fan, position a second fan pointing upward toward the ceiling. The fans' positions will help air circulate around the room and then push the air out through the doorway.

Does putting water in front of a fan work? ›

Stick a bowl of ice water in front of your fan to help circulate the cooler air. This DIY hack works surprisingly well and takes less than 10 minutes to make.

What is the best way to cool a room without AC? ›

  1. Cover Windows. Leaving your windows uncovered during the sunniest hours of the day lets in a considerable amount of heat. ...
  2. Optimize the Use of Fans. ...
  3. Turn on Exhaust Fans. ...
  4. Turn Off Lights. ...
  5. Skip Heat-Producing Appliances. ...
  6. Open Windows at Night. ...
  7. Heat-Proof Your Bed. ...
  8. Get Low and Sleep Low.
1 Jun 2022

Does chill breeze really work? ›

ALERT! Does Chill Breeze Air Cooler Work? - YouTube

What is the highest BTU for a portable air conditioner? ›

Cooling capacity is portable AC units range from 8,000 BTU to 14,000 BTU. In short, the size of the biggest BTU portable air conditioner that is readily available is 14,000 BTU.

Which brand AC is best in 2022? ›

Features compared
Air conditionerEnergy efficiencyProduct link
Panasonic 1.5 Ton 5 Star Wi-Fi Split AC5-starBuy On
Carrier 1.5 Ton Flexicool Inverter Split AC5-starBuy On
Godrej 2 Ton Inverter Split AC3-starBuy On
Blue Star 1.2 Ton 3 Star Inverter Split AC3-starBuy On
6 more rows
26 Sept 2022

Which is No 1 AC in world? ›

Japan Brand, Daikin

Discover this unique environment which made Daikin's air conditioning technology the world's top class.

Which AC brand lasts the longest? ›

Some brands such as Amana, Trane, Coleman, and Goodman have guarantees that stretch over 12-years or to a lifetime on their high-end products. Without registering, you can expect your AC warranty to last for a lesser time period of around 5 years.

Where is the best place to put a portable air conditioner? ›

Ideally, the portable air conditioner should be placed near an electrical outlet and an outside window for venting and draining. The exhaust hose can vary in length, and we advise you to keep it as short and straight as possible.

Is it safe to leave portable air conditioner on all night? ›

Running your air conditioner all day is generally safe, as in, it probably won't cause a fire or other disaster in your home.

Do portable air conditioners use more power? ›

Portable air conditioners consume slightly less electricity than electric heaters, which are notoriously power hungry. So, yes, portable AC units use a lot of electricity. As a result, it's important to ensure you use an energy efficient model.

Do all portable air conditioners have to be vented out a window? ›

Do all portable air conditioners have to be vented out a window? No. With a ventless portable AC system, you don't need to vent anything out the window—but it will be harder to circulate the hot air from the room without one, so you'll need to come up with another solution (like a fan).

Can I use a portable air conditioner in a room without a window? ›

Yes. For window AC insulation, most portable ACs require a window to vent out warm air, there are other options to consider when your room is windowless. You can vent out the warm exhaust air through the wall, the ceiling, the door, or the dryer vents, depending on your most convenient option.

Is there a portable AC that really works? ›

Best smart, high-end portable air conditioner: Midea

With 10,000 BTUs of cooling power, it can cool a room up to 200 square feet with a temperature range between 62 degrees Fahrenheit and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Midea. It also comes with a 24-hour adjustable timer.

Do mini air conditioners work? ›

Think of portable air conditioners as the cooling choice of last resort. They're better than a fan but far less effective than a window AC. That's what Consumer Reports' experts consistently see in our tests of portable air conditioners.

Is it worth buying a portable air conditioner? ›

Portable air conditioners can be remarkably convenient for many homeowners and renters, and they are an affordable way to bring a little cool air into your living space. They can also be a lifesaver if your regular air conditioner is broken — you can get them up and running quickly while you wait for repairs.

Do portable air conditioners use a lot of electricity? ›

How Much Electricity Does A Portable Air Conditioner Use? Mid-sized portable air conditioners use an average of 2900 watts per hour. Particularly large units can exceed the electricity usage of even central air conditioners, expending about 4100 watts per hour.

What happens if I don't vent my portable air conditioner? ›

If you take off the vent hose, though, the AC will just run your room air through a cycle between cool-and-dry and hot-and-humid. Since most units consume about 1,000 watts of electricity, this would actually heat up your room far more than it would cool off.

How can I cool my room down without AC? ›

  1. Cover Windows. Leaving your windows uncovered during the sunniest hours of the day lets in a considerable amount of heat. ...
  2. Optimize the Use of Fans. ...
  3. Turn on Exhaust Fans. ...
  4. Turn Off Lights. ...
  5. Skip Heat-Producing Appliances. ...
  6. Open Windows at Night. ...
  7. Heat-Proof Your Bed. ...
  8. Get Low and Sleep Low.
1 Jun 2022

Does a portable AC need a drain hose? ›

If you want your portable air conditioner to continuously run, then you'll need to set up a drain hose. The drain hose empties water from the condensate tank automatically. One side of the drain hose attaches to the condensate tank and the other side goes to a drain.

How big of a room can a portable AC unit cool? ›

As stated, cooling capacity can be affected by many things, but in general, an 8,000 BTU unit will cool a room up to 350 square feet, one with 10,000 BTUs will cover up to 450 square feet, and an air conditioning (AC) unit with 14,000 BTUs will accommodate 700 square feet.

Does the Arctos portable AC really work? ›

The portable air cooler works perfectly well as many Arctos Portable AC Reviews attest. It works through the science of evaporation, and it does not need any other special technology or gadget to cool down the environment. The official website reviews confirm that Arctos Portable AC is compact and light in weight.

How many BTU do you need to cool a room? ›

As a general rule, an air conditioner needs 20 Btu for each square foot of living space. But other considerations, such as the ceiling height and the size of your windows and doorways, might call for more cooling power. To measure your room, multiply the length by the width.

Are dual hose portable air conditioners better? ›

In general, dual-hose portable air conditioners are much more effective at cooling larger spaces than the single-hose variants. For starters, dual-hose versions operate more quickly as it has a more efficient air exchange process.

How long do portable air conditioners last? ›

Portable air conditioners last from 5 to 10 years. Portable AC units can be moved from room to room and can generate anywhere from 8,000 BTU to 15,000 BTU of cooling output. Portable AC units have the lowest lifespan of all AC types because: They get moved around a lot.

Do portable air conditioners use more electricity than window air conditioners? ›

What's more, a window air conditioner actually uses energy more efficiently than a portable unit does. That means you get even more cooling power per BTU. When you are looking at window units, pay attention to the BTU rating. The higher that number is, the bigger the room the unit can cool.

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