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Honeywell HL09CESWK Review

If you value portability in your portable A/C above all, then the Honeywell HL09CESWK is a great choice
The HL09CEWWK by Honeywell
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $380 List | $370 at Amazon
Pros:  Exceptionally portable, fairly quiet, relatively energy-efficient
Cons:  So-so cooling performance in our test
Manufacturer:   Honeywell
By Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Jenna Ammerman  ⋅  Aug 15, 2019
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 8
  • Cooling Power - 40% 5
  • Portability - 25% 8
  • Noise - 20% 6
  • Energy Cost - 15% 7

Our Verdict

Earning the Top Pick for Portability award, the Honeywell HL09CESWK is a great option if you plan on moving your A/C up or down stairs or between rooms on a regular basis. It doesn't quite have the cooling power of the top models but it should more than suffice during the summer heatwaves if you don't live in the hottest regions. This air conditioner is also one of the quieter models of the group and scored well above average in our energy efficiency tests.


Compare to Similar Products

 
The HL09CEWWK by Honeywell
Awards Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award   
Price $380 List
$369.99 at Amazon
$365 List
$363.16 at Amazon
$460 List
$416.84 at Amazon
$504 List
$465.33 at Amazon
$700 List
$574.61 at Amazon
Star Rating
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Pros Exceptionally portable, fairly quiet, relatively energy-efficientIncredibly efficient, great value, decently moveableVery quiet, decently portable, solid cooling powerVery quiet, decent cooling powerQuiet
Cons So-so cooling performance in our testLoudExpensive, bulky window insertHigh energy consumption, expensiveExpensive, costly to run
Bottom Line If you value portability in your portable A/C above all, then the Honeywell HL09CESWK is a great choiceIf you are shopping on a budget, the ARC-08WB give you the most cooling power dollar for dollarIf you live in the hottest climates, this is our favorite dual-hose portable AC and is a great choiceThe ARC-14SH by Whynter is a solid performer but is bit pricey both to run and buyThis is a solid air conditioner but it is a bit too expensive to recommend
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Rating Categories Honeywell HL09CESWK Whynter ARC-08WB Whynter ARC-122DS... Whynter ARC-14SH Frigidaire...
Cooling Power (40%)
10
0
5
10
0
5
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
5
Portability (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
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6
10
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5
10
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6
Noise (20%)
10
0
6
10
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3
10
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8
10
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8
10
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7
Energy Cost (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
5
10
0
2
10
0
3
Specs Honeywell HL09CESWK Whynter ARC-08WB Whynter ARC-122DS... Whynter ARC-14SH Frigidaire...
Remote Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes, there is also an App
Timer Yes Yes Yes Yes App Only
Interface location Top Top Front Front Front
Modes Cool
Dry
Fan
Cool
Dry
Fan
Auto
Cool
Dry
Fan
Cool
Dry
Fan
Heat
Cool
Dry
Fan
Eco
Number of Fan Speeds 3 3 3 3 4
Cord Wrap Yes A small plastic loop No No Yes
Measured Weight 65.4 lbs 48.3 lbs 60.4 lbs 77.2 lbs 77.9 lbs
Window Kit Length (without modification) Min: 33.1"
Max: 49.6"
Min: 26.6"
Max: 48"
Min: 20"
Max: 46"
Min: 20"
Max: 46"
Min: 22.1"
Max: 44.1"
Measured kWh on High (Average) 0.82 kWh 0.56 kWh 1.06 kWh 1.12 kWh 1.06 kWh
Measured dBa on High at 4' 57.2 dBa 60.3 dBa 57 dBa 56.5 dBa 56.9 dBa
Room Rating 400 sq ft 250 sq ft 400 sq ft 500 sq ft 550 sq ft
BTUs 9,000 8,000 12,000 14,000 12,000
Single or Dual hose Single Single Dual Dual Single
Projected Summer Cost $111.72 $81.90 $131.61 $159.06 $155.28
Measured Temperature Drop After 60 Minutes 9.74ºF 10°F 10°F 11.99°F 9.93°F

Our Analysis and Test Results

Overall, the Honeywell HL09CESWK earned one of the highest scores of the entire group, putting it in contention to claim an Editors' Choice award. Despite that, we felt that this model's relatively lackluster cooling performance precluded it from being the best of the best for most people. However, we still felt that this portable air conditioner merited recognition, especially given that it is by far one of the easiest of these products to move around your home.

The HL09CESWK is about as portable as these products get.
The HL09CESWK is about as portable as these products get.

Performance Comparison


To decide which air conditioner is truly worthy of earning accolades, we compared close to 55 different products, then bought all the most promising models currently on the market to test out for ourselves. We put each of these products through a series of head-to-head tests, grouped into four weighted rating metrics, with the Honeywell HL09CESWK's results in each discussed in the sections below.

This Honeywell A/C only did about average in our cooling test.
This Honeywell A/C only did about average in our cooling test.

Cooling Power


First and foremost, we evaluated and ranked the relative cooling power of each portable A/C, which accounts for 40% of their final score. In this test, used a heater to get a small office — about 160 sq. ft. — up to a stable 80°F on a day that the outside temperature was about the same. We then ran each air conditioning unit for an hour, measuring the temperature drop after one hour to determine scores. The HL09CESWK delivered a so-so set of results, putting it right in the middle of the group.


The HL09CESWK is rated for a 300-400 sq. ft. room so it should have had no problems at all with our small office.


However, this A/C unit only managed to drop the temperature by just under 10°F in our test, which isn't too bad but plenty of other A/Cs rated for smaller rooms scored comparably.

It is quite easy to connect the window insert and hose to the HL09CESWK.
It is quite easy to connect the window insert and hose to the HL09CESWK.

Portability


Our next set of evaluations focused on how easy it is to move each of these portable air conditioners around your home, which is responsible for one-fourth of the final score for each unit. Just to be clear, while these appliances are marketed as portable — even — the most portable aren't all that fun to carry and move around, so if you are planning on moving one of these up and down a set of stairs every single day, you may want to reconsider your purchase or simply buy one per floor. That being said, the HL09CESWK is our favorite out of the entire group when it comes to portability, earning top marks.


In this metric, we compared how easily each portable A/C is rolled around, how much work they are to carry, and how much work it took to set up the hose in the window. The HL09CESWK has molded-in handles on the side that are fairly comfortable and don't dig into your hands all that much but they can get a bit slick if your hands are steady. This air conditioning unit is also lighter than average but it still weighs in at about 65 lbs.


This A/C is exceptionally easy to roll around on level ground, even bordering on effortless when pushing it across linoleum or hardwood floors. It tracks in a straight line and doesn't feel heavy at all when you are pushing it around.

The tool-free installation of the window insert makes it very easy to move this product between rooms.
The tool-free installation of the window insert makes it very easy to move this product between rooms.

The HL09CESWK also stands out from the rest of the group when it comes to portability by having one of the easiest to install window kits. The insert can be changed without tools, relying on a plastic pin that you insert in one of the pre-punched holes to lock it in place.

The insert should be able to fit most standard windows.
The insert should be able to fit most standard windows.

It can adapt to openings between 33.1" and 49.6" tall.

This A/C runs on the quieter side.
This A/C runs on the quieter side.

Noise


The results from our noise tests comprise our third metric, which is responsible for 20% of the final score for each portable A/C. We used a sound level meter to measure the noise level of each air conditioner at a distance of about 4' away and had a panel of judges rate and score the noise generated, to take into account any particularly grating or annoying tones produced. The HL09CESWK is on the quieter side for these products, scoring just a bit above average in these two tests.


The sound generated from the HL09CESWK on its most powerful operating mode registered about 57 decibels (dBa) from 48" away and was about the same on its medium and low power modes, only dropping down by about a decibel.


The tones produced aren't particularly annoying, though the compressor can sound a bit whiny right at startup. You can hear the sound of the compressor over the sound of the fan when the Honeywell is running but the sound of both usually fade into the background for most people and you can carry on a conversation relatively easily.

The HL09CESWK scored quite well in our energy consumption test.
The HL09CESWK scored quite well in our energy consumption test.

Energy Cost


Our final set of test for the HL09CESWK focused on how much it actually costs to operate. In this metric — responsible for the remaining 15% of the final score — we projected the cost to run each portable air conditioner for three months and awarded points accordingly. To calculate this, we used an electricity consumption meter to measure the power draw of each appliance on both their low and high operating modes. We then used a usage profile assuming each product was operated for 12 hours a day, with two hours on high and the other 10 on low, and an average cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of 13.5 cents to determine projected cost. The HL09CESWK did quite well, projected to cost less to operate than the majority of the other products in our review.


Based on our usage assumptions, we would expect the HL09CESWK to use about 850 kilowatt-hours and add a little over $111 to your power bill.


Value


The HL09CESWK is a decent value, pairing a top-notch performance with a decent price, all while being one of the more efficient air conditioners to run.

Conclusion


If you are looking for a good all-around A/C that isn't absolutely horrible to move room to room or up and down stairs, then the HL09CESWK is a good option. It's one of the easiest to break down, move, and set up again in a different location, though it still isn't a ton of fun to move up or down stairs — though none of these products really are.


Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Jenna Ammerman