5 of the best portable air-con units
On hot summer nights, air con can provide some sweet respite. But you might not want to go to the expense and bulk of a permanent unit that will take up space during the cooler months. Instead, consider the very best portable air conditioning units that you can move from room to room and stow away for winter.
Things to look out for when buying an AC unit include: BTU (British Thermal Units – the higher the rating, the more powerful); energy efficiency from A-G (with being very efficient and G very inefficient), and how noisy it is (look for a unit that runs below 40 decibels, or dB, because anything above could disturb your sleep – certainly avoid going above 55 dB).
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1. De’Longhi Pinguino PACN82 Eco Portable Air Conditioning Unit
De’Longhi have an admirable range of portable air conditioners, but the Pinguino PACN82 Eco, £522.90 from Amazon, might be the pick of them. Despite its heft – 30kg – it’s portable, runs on a natural high efficiency gas, which has no greenhouse emissions, and is A-rated for energy efficiency and has a BTU of 9,400, covering 80-metres cubed. It runs at 52 decibels on maximum power, but has three speeds, so you can select the minimum noise level so your sleep won’t be disturbed if you’re using it in the bedroom. This portable air-conditioning unit also has an electronic timer, thermostat and remote control.
2. Honeywell 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner
The Honeywell 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner, £468.95 from Amazon, packs a powerful punch at 12,000 BTU, which is enough for large rooms up to 120m³. It’s highly portable with wheels so you can roll it to where you need it most, and also dehumidifies. It also has smart wi-fi connectivity (compatible with iOS and Android), a remote control, 24-hour energy-saving timer, energy-efficiency rating of A, three speed options (running at 65 dB on the max setting), and comes with a full set window kit.
3. AEG PX71-265WT Air Conditioning Unit
Many portable air conditioning units are rather unsightly, but if you do want an AC that looks as good as it functions – without paying Dyson prices – then take a look at the AEG PX71-265WT, £549 from ao.com It’s handsome in comparison to most of its competitors and doesn’t stint on the cooling either. It’s only 9,000 BTU, so best utilised in small to medium rooms, and can be controlled with an app, which is ideal if you want to start chilling the room while you’re sweating on the commute home. Energy rating A.
Do I need an air conditioning unit or a fan?
Fans and air conditioning units both offer respite from the heat, but they function very differently. Fans blow air over your skin, cooling you down, but not down the room. Air conditioners pull hot air into the unit, cooling it down with a constant process of evaporation and condensation. While air conditioners are more effective at cooling the entire room, not just you, they use a lot more energy than fans – up to 100 times more – which means bigger energy bills. So a fan, which is also cheaper to buy because the technology is much simpler, will also have less impact on the environment. However, by speeding up the rate at which moisture evaporates from your skin, fans can make you more dehydrated, so it’s best not to use them when the mercury tips over 35ºC because it can actually exacerbate conditions like heat exhaustion.
4. Amcor SF8000E Portable Air Conditioner
Cheap portable air conditioning units tend to be noisier and weaker than their more expensive counterparts, but they can pay dividends in small rooms, where you don’t need as much power or reach. The Amcor SF8000E, £219.97 from appliancesdirect.com, is affordable, has a slim profile, offers a cooling, fan and dehumidifying function, and delivers 7,000 BTU for rooms up to 18 sqm. It also has a remote control and 24 hour start/stop timer.
5. Inventor Chilly Portable Air Conditioning Unit
The Inventor Chilly, £249.49 from Amazon, has good eco credentials – it uses the R290 refrigerant which is set to be the industry standard from 2020. It comes bundled with everything you need – exhaust hose and other accessories – has a remote control and manages 9,000 BTU despite its compact frame. Roll this into the small-to-medium room of your choice and say goodbye to those uncomfortably hot days.