Pros and Cons of Portable Air Conditioners

Whether you live in a place where hot days are constant or somewhere that gets a few weeks of summer, a portable aircon device can be the answer to a hot stuffy room or office. There are many reasons why go for an installation-free appliance, one of the main being that they can be easily transferred to the room you are in currently, so you can buy one gadget and use it anywhere in the house. But is your best option?

In this article, you’ll find essential information about portable AC and a popular alternative that can answer your question “how to stay cool at night?”

Essential Information about Portable AC

There is not much difference between the functionality of your usual wall-mounted aircon and its installation-free counterpart as both use refrigerant gas to cool down the temperature of the air that is sucked inside. However, the portable alternative has two options of where it gets the air — either from inside a room and the air is recycled (single-hose configuration) or from the outdoors (dual-hose configuration).


  • Timer. Most models allow you to set the duration of a device’s work.
  • Thermostat. This feature makes it possible to maintain a certain temperature of air in a room.
  • Dehumidifier. All models can reduce the level of humidity in your home.

Strong Points of Portable AC Units

High efficacy. These units are made to cool rather big spaces. They can maintain a low temperature in rooms up to 50 m2 if a specific model is designed for such areas.

Portability. An average portable AC weighs about 60 pounds and measures 17x 31×16. Therefore, it’s not too hard to set it up in another room.

Works well in highly humid conditions. As mentioned above, air conditioners are designed to decrease humidity, so if your climate provides 60% humidity or above for inside your home, an AC can help with that.

Easier to maintain regular cleaning. Although they still require professional checkups to prevent refrigerant leaks, you can wash the filters yourself with just soapy water as they are easily accessible.

Low Points of Portable ACs

These units use refrigerants. Since these units have refrigerants in them, you need to get them serviced by a qualified professional, which is important to prevent leaks. Another problem is that refrigerants produce no odor. Therefore, you can’t detect gas leakage.

They are not energy efficient. These portable ACs consume easily up to 300 watts/hour. By contrast, most models of evaporative coolers consume only around 1/10 of that.

They need to be cleaned quite often. Filters in these units are easy to clean, but you have to be religious about it. The general recommendation is once a fortnight but if your air quality is low, you might need to clean them more often as they collect dust over time.

They can throw off optimal humidity levels. Although having these units is an advantage in an area with high humidity, the same can be a disadvantage in areas with low humidity. If you use these units in a low-humid environment, you may suffer from dehydration due to overly dry air. As a result, you may have skin/eye irritation or respiratory issues.

They produce too much noise. Although their noise level is not more than 64 dB, the constant humming may be quite annoying. Some people may even find it difficult to fall asleep due to the constant noise of these portable AC units.

They require access to a window. You can’t have any windows open while the AC is running but you also need the excess hot air to go somewhere. There are special window inserts to fit the exhaust hose, but they aren’t the nicest to look at.

Looking for a Better Alternative to a Portable AC?

An evaporative cooler is an efficient yet energy-saving alternative. They’re also known by the name swamp cooler. A gadget like that uses a simple mechanism of fan power and water to affect the temperature of air in this gadget’s surroundings. Evaporators can be used at home, in a car (if the size allows it), and even outside in your garden or while you’re camping.

Personal evaporative cooler

Why Choose an Evaporative Cooler

The difference in temperature between water and heat of the room naturally causes a cool wind, but the fan built into this type of cooler helps spread the cool air around. If anything, an evaporative cooler is a microclimate machine that also offers the following benefits:

Help save energy. They’re eco- and budget-friendly, using only a fraction of the energy consumed by the conventional AC units. They need just as much energy as an ordinary fan with controls. 

They’re free of harsh chemicals. If you use clean water to fill in your device, you have nothing to worry about. On the other hand, with an AC you risk gas leaks. 

They help maintain an optimal humidity level. Ideally, the humidity level in your room should be 30% to 50%. With an AC, this level can only be managed if you live in a high humidity level, but with an evaporator, you don’t risk dehydration. Dry skin and thirst aren’t the most pleasant of sensations.

Easier to use and clean. You don’t need any heavy-duty maintenance like with AC. Just rinse the water container after every use.

They are more mobile than an AC. Some models don’t even need a plug socket as they can be connected via a USB adapter to your computer or a power bank.


Long story short, portable AC units have their own pros and cons. They can be more convenient than traditional wall-mounted air conditioners. However, if you are looking for the best portable cooler, an evaporative gadget might be a better option. As far as energy efficiency, portability and ease of use are concerned, there are no better alternatives to swamp coolers. So, you can check them out. 

7 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Portable Air Conditioners”

  1. Thanks for sharing this great article with your readers (us), I’m happy to see such skilled writers taking writing into action and helping others on the internet.

  2. Hello,
    I am satisfied with the information you shared with us. It is very valuable and I would surely take all the benefits from this.
    Thank you

  3. Smiles, exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for this insightful post. Would you be able to share more on how rainfall affect outdoor AC. Thanks once again

  4. Wow, that’s really a very very informative topic you have talked about. I love the article because I am currently using portable ac. So I am trying to gather all knowledge about portable ac. Thank you very much for sharing such a great topic.

  5. I was searching about portable AC. In your article, you write the details which will be beneficial to me. Thanks for sharing this article.


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