Looking for a portable air cooler/condiioner.

Area I would like to cool is less than 200 sq.ft.-do they all vent out a window-what should I look for, and what as a reliable brand name?
  17 answers
  • You can get a window unit or a self contained tower unit....LG makes some great stuff...in fact, they still make alot that gets branded under other well known names.

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on May 28, 2012
    Dee W. I had an Amana unit on a 20x20 patio for over 15 years and it did a great job and never had a problem. I upgraded my air conditioner so I no longer needed the window unit or it would still be running today. It was installed in the wall-not the window. There are also portables that you can move from room to room and they vent out a window.

  • I have owned everything from GE, Amana, LG. They all work pretty much the same. Not real difference in quality overall. You need to look into the filter system. Some have replacement filters you simply throw away and replace. Others have small frames that you pull out and wash under the sink faucet. Still others use a filter that needs to be hung in the unit by removing the front grill to access it. The one that you wash under the sink I find is the best, you will clean it more and its much faster then the rest to do. The biggest thing you need to understand its not the unit that matters, it is how clean you keep the filters. The better the filter the longer the life of the unit. When you purchase your unit. Make sure that its not turned on its side or upside down. If you see that happen, request another unit. The compressor inside is mounted on springs and if its bumped upside down this can disrupt the compressor and shorten its life span. This is true for every cooling system made, including refrigerators.

  • Jeff C Jeff C on May 29, 2012
    When I researched, all I could find were ones that vented out a window. Apparently, that's how an AC works. It pumps hot, condense air outside of the window and gives you the cool air, so it NEEDS a place to vent the hot air outside of whatever room you're in. If you have the cash, I would seriously look into one of those Mitsubishi room heaters/air conditioners. I've heard from countless people how well they've worked out for them. They are pretty small as well.

  • The Mitsubishi units Jeff is talking about are Mini-Split units. These use a outside unit, condenser and a small fan/coil unit, evaporator that is piped much like a bigger whole house unit with pipes and drains and electrical. These are not plug into the wall and go type of systems. They are rated quite high and do work really well. Most are heat pump units so they also provide heat as well as cooling for year round use. You can purchase a through the wall unit that will do the work nicely for much less if its not going to be used all the time. They also make special window units where the bulk of the system hangs outside of the window and only the controls and output section of the unit is seen from the inside. These units are more expensive, but end up being much quieter then those where you see that take up pretty much the whole window opening. Those units are purchased through specialty stores that sell these types of products. You will not find them at the big box stores or most appliance stores.

  • Shop it pretty hard though as those units can easily run you $3k or more...what's your budget?

  • Charles R Charles R on May 30, 2012
    Try heatandcool.com for a mini-split heat pump. They have units starting at $675 going up to $2100 for a 36,000 btuh unit. Great resource for HVAC.

  • Dee W Dee W on May 30, 2012
    Thanks for all the info-but what I am wondering about is an air cooler that can be moved from room to room-like the portable heater I use in the winter in whatever room I am in so I don't run the furnace. I am getting older and not interested in central air but a fan just doesn't cut it any more. I've seen what I am looking for at ...com ranging from $150-$600 and just wondered what to look for so I could make a wise choice. You guys are all great but think smaller!!!

  • Dee W Dee W on May 30, 2012
    Woodbridge-thanks for your input about the in-wall unit. I had considered one but with an older home(167 yrs.) there is not a good air flow pattern thru the house and I felt like only the room it was in would get cooled down. that being said..is why I am now looking at a portable unit.

  • Dee W Dee W on May 30, 2012
    Sorry-more questions. They are listed with a vent hose which I assume goes out the window, but what is a drain hose connection? Will it need a pan or something for water? BTUs-effect the size of room it is cooling, or how fast?

  • The truly portable units with the hose does go out the window. There normally is a small expandable plate of sorts that the hose connects to then you put this plate in the window and close it down on to it. Effectively sealing off the hose to the outside. The condensate works much like a dehumidifier. There is a collection bucket located under the unit that you remove and dump in the sink or tub. Some use the water for plants. Size is based upon BTU's or British Thermal Units. The higher the BTU's the more power it has to cool down an area. For every 1,200 BTU you have it is considered one ton of cooling. An average home of 2100 square feet uses around three tons or 3600 BTU's of cooling. The larger the unit the better it will be. In the case of being over sized that will not happen with these types of units. Personally I would purchase a large window unit and place it as centrally within the home as you can. Then use your portable unit in the room that you spend most of your time where the extra comfort would be needed. The reason for this suggestion is humidity removal. If you can dry out the house enough with a window unit, although only in one room. The humidity of the rest of the house will move towards this unit. The overall comfort of the home will be much better. Lower humidity allows your natural body cooling system to work better. Although you will not really drop the temps to much in the other rooms with just the window unit, you will make them more comfortable over all. Once that is going on, using the portable unit will cool the room your in much faster and provide you with more comfort overall.

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on May 30, 2012
    Dee W, I purchased a portable air conditioner so it would run with a small generator when the power went out during hurricanes. We had 4 in one year. The brand is Soleus & it worked very well. I used it in one 20x20 room.

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on May 31, 2012
    Dee W, I want to add that Woodbridge is the intelligent one. I can only tell you what I have that worked and he explained how it worked.

  • Janie B Janie B on Jun 01, 2012
    We just bought one, didn't find any that didn't vent out the window. There are, however ones that have double hoses going through window which are to be the best. But they are harder to find. Ours works well, but I think it is too loud for my liking. Research what is available in your area. And see what has the highest ratings. Always helpful.

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Jun 01, 2012
    Janie M, the portable I have is not loud and has one hose that goes out the window. Just for my edification why would someone need a double hose out the window?

  • Janie B Janie B on Jun 02, 2012
    The double hose is supposed to be more efficient, so they say. Brings the air in and out the window....? Didn't get it either. Anyway, what kind of air conditioner do you have, Sherrie S.?

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Jun 02, 2012
    The portable is a Soleus 12000 BTU/H. I don't know anything about BTU's but Woodbridge certainly does. All I know is it worked in a 20x20 room.