Best portable air conditioner: 5 air conditioner buys for the home

Find the best portable air conditioner from big-named brands such as De'longhi and AEG to keep the home warmer, or cooler, this winter

Best Portable Air Conditioner
Black + Decker 12K 3 in 1 Air Conditioning Unit
(Image credit: Argos)

Air conditioners are not always for cooling a room. Oh no. Many models can also heat and humidify, too, which is great news for us now heading into the winter months. And since those featured in this guide are portable, you can easily move them into a room which suits so you can get the temperatures just perfect. 

To help you hone in on the best option for you, we've done some due diligence to research and rate some of the top portable air con options out there to feature in this guide. The key factors we look out for is ease of use, how it has improved the air quality in our home, maintenance and affordability.  Yep, some do have quite a heavy price tag but they are worth it (honest). Keep scrolling to see our top five.

Prefer an appliance which circulates the air, rather than super cools it? No worries: check out our best fan guide for floor fans, desk fans (and more) to keep you cool.

The best portable air conditioner buys

Best Portable Air Conditioner

(Image credit: Appliances Direct)

1. electriQ EcoSilent 8000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

Best portable air conditioner (over all): it's the quietest in our guide and has Sleep Mode, too

Specifications
Best for: Use in the bedroom
Room size suitability: up to 20 sqm
Cooling power: 8000 BTU/h
Energy efficiency: A
Dimensions: H68.9 x W36.4 x D34.8cm
Reasons to buy
+Slim fit+Mega quiet+Energy efficient
Reasons to avoid
-None that we can think of

This option from electriQ, which is also a fan and dehumidifier, gets our vote for the best portable air conditioner overall and we think it would be fab to be used in the bedroom, too. Yep, this 3-in-1 unit is compact and portable which won't take up too much space as it cools room sizes of up to 20 SQM.

Ready to use straight out the box, you can choose from five settings to give you the best balance between noise levels and powerful airflow. It's even equipped with Sleep Mode which will turn off any annoying lights an automatically reduce the fan speed to its quietest setting. And speaking of modes there's also a Smart Cooling Mode which is an intelligent one-touch option where the fan automatically adjusts the amount of cooling required based on the temperature settings.

All this tech spec doesn't cost the earth, either. It has an A energy rating which means that it will cost less than 12 pence per hour to run.

Black+Decker BXAC40008GB Portable 3-in-1 Air Conditioner

(Image credit: Amazon)

2. Black+Decker BXAC40008GB Portable 3-in-1 Air Conditioner

Best portable air conditioner for large rooms: a premium choice for large rooms

Specifications
Best for: Use in large rooms
Room size suitability: up to 30 sqm
Cooling power: 12,000 BTU / h
Energy efficiency: A
Dimensions: H84.6 x W35.2 x D39.4cm
Reasons to buy
+Powerful+Sleek-looking unit+Easy to install
Reasons to avoid
-May be too noisy for some

Towards the more expensive end of the air con models we've featured, this one gets our vote for use in larger rooms. And a stylish option, too. It's a premium choice which can be used throughout the year because it has three modes to choose from; air conditioning, dehumidifying and cooling.

Focusing on air conditioning, the mode has 12,000 BTU air circulation which is super powerful. It's enough to cool down you room, flat, apartment, garage or office up to 30 square metres. The unit also boasts an LED digital display with a 24 hour on/off timer and Energy saving sleep mode which can all be operated from the handy remote control. If you select a low speed, the noise level will drop to a relatively quiet 35dbA so you can drift off to sleep will little, or no, disturbance.

electriQ Compact 9000 BTU Small and Powerful Portable Air Conditioner

(Image credit: Appliances Direct)

3. electriQ Compact 9000 BTU Small and Powerful Portable Air Conditioner

Best portable air conditioner for compact spaces: it claims to be 30 per cent smaller than your average portable air con model

Specifications
Best for: Small spaces
Room size suitability: up to 20 sqm
Cooling power: 9000 BTU / h
Energy efficiency: A
Dimensions: H51 x W48 x D43cm
Reasons to buy
+Small+Lightweight+Energy efficient
Reasons to avoid
-No sleep mode

If you're tight on space then this option from electriQ is an option worth considering if you want to keep your space cool. Similarly to the electriQ EcoSilent 8000, this unit can also transform into a dehumidifier and a fan which makes it a fab option for use in small rooms, on boats, in caravans or where space is limited.

As an air conditioner, it has an impressive cooling capacity of 9,000 BTU which is plenty to cool a small, 20sqm room. Said to be smaller than an air cabin bag, it's compact size is discrete enough to sit under a desk or in the corner of the room so is a good choice if you don't want the unit to draw any attention.

Challenge 6 Litre Portable Air Cooler

(Image credit: Argos)

4. Challenge 6 Litre Portable Air Cooler

Best portable air conditioner on a budget: it has everything you need to keep your home feeling cooler, purified or humidified whilst saving £££s

Specifications
Best for: those on a budget
Room size suitability: Small rooms
Cooling power: Info not available
Energy efficiency: Info not available
Dimensions: H60 x W27 x D30cm
Reasons to buy
+Easy to set up+Easy to move around+Appealing price tag
Reasons to avoid
-May be too noisy for some-Use of ice (instead of water) required to further cool room

A top choice for smaller rooms, this small air conditioner gets our vote for the best portable air conditioner for those on a budget. Available to buy for around the £100 mark, it has all the features and functions to keep you feeling cool.

Equipped with three speed settings, and an oscillation function, you'll be able to keep your room at a constant temperature albeit as a a cooler, purifier, or a humidifier. And if you're struggling to sleep through stuffy nights, reviewers have claimed that it is quiet when it's switched on so it has helped to keep them feeling cool. Others do say, however, that if you want your room even cooler then use ice cubes instead of water so cold air is blown out.

AirFlex 14000 BTU 4kW Portable Air Conditioner with Heat Pump

(Image credit: Appliances Direct)

5. AirFlex 14000 BTU 4kW Portable Air Conditioner with Heat Pump

Best portable air conditioner with heater: a top choice for all seasons

Specifications
Best for: Cooling and heating
Room size suitability: up to 38sqm
Cooling power: 14,000 BTW / h
Energy efficiency: A/A++
Dimensions: H76.7 x W5.8 x D32.1cm
Reasons to buy
+4-in-1 unit+Very portable+Low energy
Reasons to avoid
-May be too noisy for some-And perhaps a little tricky to set up, too

A fab appliance for all year round use, the AirFlex 14000 will keep you feeling cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It's the only unit in our guide which is a 4-in-1 offering air conditioning, dehumidifying, a fan and heat.

To focus on the air conditioning, it features a unique evaporation booster that provides a refreshing, cooling effect. The unit will cool effectively and efficiently provide air conditioning for rooms up to 38 sqm (400 sqft). And it can get straight to work as soon as it arrives because no permanent installation is required.

It's been awarded an impressive A/A+ energy efficiency rating so it's pretty cheap to run month to month. And (get this) an IPX4 weather resistant TUV certificate so the unit is suitable for outdoor / indoor use in areas exposed to rain or water.


How to set up your portable air conditioner

They're all pretty straight forward to set up and are often ready to use straight out of the packaging. However, for maximum cooling performance your air conditioner must be vented.

Air conditioners extract warm air from your room which must be removed through the provided hose pipe. The hose can be vented through a window, door, ceiling or wall.

What is the best portable air conditioner?

To recap, if you want the best portable air conditioner then we wouldn't hesitate to buy the electriQ EcoSilent 8000 BTU. It gets our vote for the best overall model which we've seen whilst conducting our research, and we think it is most suitable for use in the bedroom because it's so quiet.

The unit is a 3-in-1 which means that it is an air conditioner, fan and dehumidifier which won't take up too much space as it cools room sizes of up to 20 SQM. It's ideal for any time of the year, if you ask us.

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