Delivering the largest temperature drop in our cooling test after an hour, the LG LP1215GXR earned an Editors' Choice Award for its superior chilling power. This portable air conditioner isn't the absolute easiest to move around, is a bit loud, and uses a significant amount of energy, but its cooling power can't be beaten. It's about average in terms of price, though it might add a bit to your electrical bill. Additionally, this unit is a single hose model, so its performance can drop off a bit when the temperature gets really, really hot, but it is a great option for those that want maximum cooling during the warm summer months and where the temperature isn't routinely above 100°F.
LG LP1215GXR Review
Pros: Exceptional cooling power, decently portable
Cons: Loud, high energy consumption
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Our Analysis and Test Results
While the LG LP1215GXR led the group when it came to scores for our cooling test, it finished in the middle of the group when it came to the overall scores. This model finished a few points behind the Frigidaire FGPC1244T1, which uses slightly less energy, but can't cool as well. It also is a bit easier to move and quite a bit lighter, but cost quite a bit more ($150-$200). The LG LP1215GXR cools much better than our top scoring models, the Whynter ARC-08WB and the Whynter ARC-122DS Elite, but both of these models are a little more energy efficient and easier to move.
In the process of figuring out which portable air conditioner is really the best of the best, we started off by looking at most — if not all — the commonly available models out there, then researching existing reviews and their specifications, as provided by the manufacturer. We then picked out the portable air conditioners that appeared to have the most potential and purchased them to test side-by-side and really compare their performance. We divided up our testing process into four weighted rating metrics: Cooling Power, Noise, Energy Cost, and Portability, with the LG LP1215GXR 's award-winning results outlined below.
Constituting 40% of the overall score, our cooling challenge made up the largest portion of the total for each of the portable air conditioners in our review. We scored each product on how much of a temperature drop it could cause in our test room after one hour. The LG LP1215GXR delivered an unmatched performance in this test, meriting a 7 out of 10 for its results.
Before we began each A/C, we waited until it was the hottest time of the day in the middle of summer and our test room was receiving direct sunlight, then ran a trio of space heaters to get our test room as hot as we could. We gave enough time for the temperature to stabilize, then ran each portable air conditioner for 60 minutes and measured the temperature drop. The LG caused the highest drop in the group, cooling the room by 13.81°F at the end of the test. The majority of this drop occurred in the first 20 minutes or so, with the temperature measuring a 10.88°F drop at that point.
After cooling prowess, we moved on to ranking and scoring how easily moved each of these allegedly portable air conditioners actually are. This set of tests constitute 25% of the total score for each product, with the LG LP1215GXR delivering a somewhat lackluster showing, earning it a 5 out of 10.
We started off by weighing each of these products, which set the tone for the LG LP1215GXR's somewhat disappointing performance. This is one of the heftier models of the entire group, weighing in at 64.5 lbs.
This model is also one of the hardest models to carry out of the entire group, both due to its weight and its annoyingly small handles. The handles are right at the top of the unit and only really have enough room for very ends of your fingers. This makes it quite hard to get a good grip and the edge of the handle cuts into your fingers while carrying it, making it a highly unpleasant task to carry this portable air conditioner up or down a flight of stairs.
However, this air conditioner did redeem itself slightly when it comes to rolling it around. This model offered very little rolling resistance and is quite easy to maneuver around the room. It doesn't have the sharpest turning radius, but tracks straight while pushing.
The window insert requires you to use a screwdriver to drive screws into pre-drilled holes, which takes a bit more time and limits the adjustability compared to some of the other models. However, it does have one of the larger size ranges, able to adjust to fit windows between 18" and 50".
Next, we took a break from lugging all of these appliances around and ranked and scored when it came to noise levels. We had a handful of people rate the noise level of each air conditioner side-by-side, as well as measuring the sound output with an SPL meter to determine scores for this metric, which is worth 20% of the total score. The LG LP1215GXR didn't do terribly well, meriting a 4 out of 10 for its higher than average sound output.
This portable air conditioner measured in at 57.1 dBa on the meter, which didn't stand out from the group as being too terribly loud.
However, our panel definitely noticed a few different annoying sounds when evaluating the sound of this air conditioner. It has one of the loudest startup sounds of the group and some of our judges could hear the compressor squeaking when the fan is on the low setting.
For the final 15% of the score, we projected the cost of running these units for an entire summer, then scored each based on our calculations. The LG LP1215GXR is a bit of an energy glut, earning it a 2 out of 10 in this metric.
First, we made some assumptions about how much an average person might use one of these products. We settled on running it for 12 hours a day, each day of the summer — 90 days. Additionally, we also went off the assumption that two of those hours would be on the maximum setting for each A/C to rapidly cool your home when you returned home at the end of the day and the remaining hours would be on a low setting to maintain the cooler temperature. We then measured the power draw of each appliance on both settings, then used an average cost of electricity — $0.135 kilowatt-hours — to figure out the total additional cost to your power bill.
This number is just an estimate and can vary quite a bit based on the cost of electricity in your area and your usage, but you can always count on the LG causing one of the largest increases to your power bill compared to the other models we tested.
This model isn't particularly expensive, but it isn't an amazing value, especially when you consider its tendency to add quite a bit to your utility bill.
While this portable A/C definitely has some drawbacks, it is hard to argue with its unmatched performance in our cooling test and is a great option if you want to cool a room quickly and it isn't crazy hot outside. If that's the case, then a dual-hose might be a better option for you.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer