Home & Garden

The Best Portable Air Conditioners for 2021 (Cost Friendly)

Summer is fast approaching, and people are gearing up to go on epic hiking trips, host great barbecues, take mini road trips – the works.

However, the scorching summer heat can be a major buzzkill. And no one wants to spend their summer sweating and fanning their faces for dear life.

If you don't have a central air conditioning system or are planning to be on the go, a portable AC unit will do just the trick. Before we delve into the best ones in the market, here is something to look out for as you sift through the list.

  • BTU (British Thermal Units)- BTU are the units that measure how powerful an A/C is. Every room size has its optimum BTU, so be sure to get a quote from a technician before going for the A/C with the highest BTU.

With that out of the way, here are the best portable air conditioners for summer 2021.

1. Frigidaire Portable Air Conditioner ($369 on Wayfair)

This model with 10000 BTU is perfect for anyone looking for a portable A/C that does the job without any additional luxury features. Covering up to 400 square feet, it features a programmable timer that allows users to customize it to fit their schedule. You can preset it to turn on 30 minutes before you get home or make it turn on and off at intervals of your choice.

With three fan speeds, you get good flexibility and can comfortably switch them up from anywhere in the room with a remote. It also rids the air of excess moisture, thus reducing the chances of wood decay or molding.

Its design has a washable filter, ensuring you breathe clean air throughout. The final advantage of this portable A/C is that it's so quiet you could place it in a child's bedroom.


  • Long hose (6 feet)
  • Suits large spaces
  • Consumes little power
  • Easy to install


  • None that we could find

2. BLACK+DECKER BPACT14HWT Portable Air Conditioner ($479.99 on Amazon)

This 68.3-pound beauty makes it on the list because it doubles up as a heater during winter- you get two for the price of one. It's perfect for rooms ranging from 250-300 square feet because it has 7700 BTU.

The unit uses water evaporation and an eco-friendly coolant to keep air cool, instead of pricey coolants which are bad for the environment. Its installation process is as easy as attaching the hose near a window and plugging it into your nearest outlet.

Portability is very convenient as it's set on four castor legs and has side handles, together with a compact, sleek design that can fit into any space, even college dorm rooms and RVs.

The remote allows you to easily moderate the A/C's four functions- cooling, heating, fanning, and dehumidifying. You can set it to auto mode at night.

Using it is a breeze because of the top-mounted LED display and air filter that pops out easily for cleaning.


  • Easily portable
  • Two-in-one design
  • Easy to install


  • Louder than most portable A/Cs

3. Whynter Elite ARC-122DS 12,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner (On sale for $446.99 on Amazon)

The unit is one of the most efficient portable air conditioners we found with a compact design. It provides 12000 BTUs and comes with a unique dual hose system. This means it has an intake and exhaust hose which allow it to cool rooms faster than single-hose units. You can also operate it as a single hose unit. This setup lets it cover 400 square feet.

It has a 24hr programmable timer to help you set when you want it to turn on and off, even when you're not around. And it has a classic remote to help adjust the temperature and dehumidifier settings.

The dehumidifier has a capacity of 76 pints per day, while the filters come as a pair- a washable filter and a carbon air filter. It also has a protective cover with sections for storing the hose, window kit, and manual, so they don't accumulate dust in storage.


  • Compact design
  • Easy installation
  • Highly efficient
  • Very quiet at high speeds


  • Only fits windows that are a maximum of 46”

4. Evapolar EvaLIGHT PLUS ($129 on Amazon)

But what if you just want something small and inexpensive to help you cool off as you lounge on the patio or as you type away in your home office?

With summer fast approaching, be comfortable working from home with a portable A/C unit.

You can get your very own “personal air conditioner” that can lower temperatures by 4-17 degrees using 10-15 watts of power, making it a mean energy-saving machine.

It uses multiple in-built filters to purify the stale air it draws in and rid it of dust and impurities that make it harder to breathe. The water in the built-in tank evaporates to humidify the air, which keeps the air around you cool and moist.


  • Energy saving
  • Doesn't use Freon (a cooling liquid that's an environmental pollutant)
  • Noise-free
  • Super portable


  • The tank needs refilling every 6 hours or so

5. Honeywell 790 CFM Indoor Portable Evaporative Air Cooler ($279.99 on Home Depot)

We included this Honeywell model for anyone looking for a ventless cooler. It has evaporative air coolers, meaning you only need to add water/ice into its 7.9-gallon tank and plug it in near a window. The window will help create a cross-breeze which makes the air feel fresher.

It works well in rooms up to 320 square feet and areas with a humidity of 60% or less, making it perfect for residents of the Southwestern US.

The power consumption is super low (288 watts or less), and it comes with four fan speeds that you can control using a remote and an adjustable timer.

It has a carbon filter to keep air clean and a low water alarm to ensure it stays functional.


  • Mega-energy saver
  • It requires no vent


  • It's a little loud
  • Not efficient for highly humid areas

Portable Air Conditioners for Every Home

The five portable air conditioners on the list each have something unique to offer to their users. They also have comfortable prices when compared to other portable air conditioners on the market. With summer being right around the corner, you'll want to grab an A/C that works for your space right now before they start selling out.

Wishing you a cool and chill summer filled with nothing but good vibes.

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