Guide to the Portable Air Conditioner

Air Conditioning FAQs

When the summer months come around, the big questions invariably ensue: How can I cool this place down without blowing my budget out the window?

For many, mounted air conditioners (or split system AC) can be quite costly and require a lengthy installation process including further maintenance and checkups. In smaller places, such as apartments and studios, a larger mounted air conditioner can be unnecessary and a burdensome expense. Further, in rentals, one might be in an arrangement which won’t allow for any installation procedures or amendments to be made to the building facade.

Recently, portable AC systems have come into the spotlight as a popular alternative to the chunky and often costly split system air conditioners. The portable AC comes equipped with an internal refrigeration system and an exhaust hose which expels the warm air enabling a quick cooling process and easy maintenance.

But is it the right option for you?

Here we weigh up numerous benefits and criticisms of the portable AC which hopefully will help make the decision making a little easier

The Pros


  • The portable AC can be purchased for a much lower price than the mounted air conditioners. For only a few hundred dollars, minus the headache of installation and maintenance, you can cool down any room in no time.
  • Expect no more complaining or fighting over who gets the air-conditioned room in the house and figuring out how to split the bill fairly. At a lower cost per unit and per wattage, it is possible to run multiple portable AC’s throughout the house during the summer months.


  • Many portable AC’s come with a dual heat function as well, getting all the benefits for the winter monthsas well as the summer months.
  • Often, they will come with a dehumidifier included as a function, cleaning the air making it easier to breathe and removing that sweat.
  • No water dripping that can often happen with mounted systems. This means no running around looking for buckets to catch any dripping and remembering to empty them out before your carpet ruins.


  • There is some inconvenience of having to stay in one room or area of the house which has a mounted AC. Doors can be left open to allow for the cool air to flow into other areas, but this puts more strain on the AC as it seeks to create a temperature equilibrium over a greater area and thus can become more-costly. With a portable AC, the cool air can stay with you. Plan to stay in the study for the day? Simply move the AC from the dining room and you’re good to go. Want to head to bed and dreading the insatiable cycle of placing and removing the blanket? Simply set up the portable AC an hour before bed.
  • When not in use, they can be simply stored away in any convenient place. Out if sight, out of mind.
  • They are incredibly easy to install and does not need the assistance of a technician. Simply turn them on and find a window or door to vent the warm air from the hose.

The Cons


  • Often the portable system, depending on energy output, is only suitable for a smaller space. To cool down a large open space can either be more costly than a more powerful mounted system or simply inadequate to do the job
  • They are not as energy efficient as the mounted systems. Along with the cool air the portable AC expels normal air. This means that there’s not a maximum input to output of warm or normal to cold air.
  • Buying a largey system may curb the low wattage on a smaller system and deliver a higher energy output. However, the bigger you go, the harder it may be to move around.


  • The hose carrying the warm air outside can be aesthetically non-pleasing and take up window space.
  • They can be quite noisy and if they’re in the same room you’re trying to sleep, quite distracting. Unlike a mounted AC which has the noisy vent on the external side of the, the portable has everything in the one machine. If it’s placed in a smaller room, the noise would be that much more evident.
  • If you’re worried about having the window open at all times (and the system is not near a door leading to another room), this might not be the best solution. The portable system generally come with window spacers which fill out the empty space. Still, if having the window open unnerves you, this would be a problem.


  • Some portable systems have a tank installed which collect drained water. Forgotting to empty the tank can be problematic and lead to spilling. In the summer months, depending on the size of the tank, this may mean emptying out the drainage quite regularly.
  • With a portable, there must be an option to vent the air outside, either through a window or door leading to another room.

Final Verdict

To conclude, whilst the portable AC can come at a cheaper price and be more of a convenience, especially for smaller places and due to its mobility, it can be less efficient than a mounted AC and less aesthetic too, whilst losing some of the finer tuned functioning.


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