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Whynter ARC-122DS Elite Review

If you live in a consistently hot climate, this is our favorite dual-hose portable AC
Whynter ARC-122DS Elite
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $460 List | $569.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Very quiet, decently portable, solid cooling performance
Cons:  Expensive, bulky window insert
Manufacturer:   Whynter
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Jul 30, 2021
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 9
  • Cooling Power - 40% 6
  • Portability - 25% 6
  • Noise - 20% 8
  • Energy Cost - 15% 5

Our Verdict

The Whynter ARC-122DS Elite is one of our all-time favorites when it comes to portable air conditioners. If you live in an area that regularly experiences high temperatures, this dual-hose unit is more than capable of keeping you cool in situations where single-hose models would flounder. Not only does this model have excellent cooling abilities, but it also does so without hardly making a sound. In regards to its cooling performance, its energy consumption isn't egregious, but noticeable. If you need an A/C unit that can really crank out cold air, the Elite is the portable A/C for you.

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Price $460 List$380 List
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Pros Very quiet, decently portable, solid cooling performanceGreat value, highly portable, performed well in our energy-efficiency test, solid cooling performanceVery quiet, exceptional cooling powerEnergy efficient, easily portableEasy to move, decent energy efficiency
Cons Expensive, bulky window insertRuns on the louder sideHigh energy consumption, expensiveUnderwhelming cooling abilitiesPoor cooling abilities, noisy
Bottom Line If you live in a consistently hot climate, this is our favorite dual-hose portable ACYou'll save cash and receive exceptional performance, though it does run a touch louder than othersThis is a solid performer for large rooms and one of the quietest models we testedThe lower cooling abilities do not quite make up for the energy-efficient capabilitiesThis is an expensive machine that is easy to move around but ultimately offers poor cooling abilities
Rating Categories Whynter ARC-122DS E... SereneLife SLPAC10 Whynter ARC-14SH Airo Comfort Midea 3-in-1
Cooling Power (40%)
6.0
6.0
8.0
3.0
5.0
Portability (25%)
6.0
9.0
5.0
8.0
8.0
Noise (20%)
8.0
4.0
8.0
7.0
4.0
Energy Cost (15%)
5.0
7.0
2.0
10.0
6.0
Specs Whynter ARC-122DS E... SereneLife SLPAC10 Whynter ARC-14SH Airo Comfort Midea 3-in-1
Remote Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Timer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Interface location Front Top Front Top Top
Modes Cool, dry, fan Cool, dry, fan Cool, dry, fan, heat Cool, dry, fan Heat, auto, cool, dry, fan
Number of Fan Speeds 3 3 3 3 4
Cord Wrap No Yes No Yes Yes
Measured Weight 60.4 lbs 54.7 lbs 77.2 lbs 51.5 lbs 56.2 lbs
Window Kit Length (without modification) Min: 20"
Max: 46"
Min: 37"
Max: 50 1/8"
Min: 20"
Max: 46"
Min: 26.5"
Max: 48"
Min: 26.5"
Max: 48"
Measured kWh on High (Average) 1.06 kWh 0.91 kWh 1.12 kWh 0.71 kWh 0.85 kWh
Measured dBa on High at 4' 57 dBa 62 dBa 56.5 dBa 58 dBa 60.5 dBa
Room Rating 400 sq ft 350 sq ft 500 sq ft 350 sq ft 200 sq ft
BTUs 12,000 10,000 14,000 10,000 10,000
Single or Dual hose Dual Single Dual Single Single
Projected Summer Cost $131.61 $116.22 $159.06 $88.17 $122.60
Measured Temperature Drop After 60 Minutes 10°F 11ºF 11.99°F 6ºF 8ºF

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Whynter Elite puts out some cold air.
The Whynter Elite puts out some cold air.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Cooling Power


At 40%, cooling power is responsible for the largest portion of the overall score for each portable air conditioner. Our set of cooling assessments has the biggest impact on the overall score of the ARC-122DS Elite.

The ARC-122DS Elite from Whynter.
The ARC-122DS Elite from Whynter.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

We tested out the cooling capabilities of each portable AC by heating up a 161 square foot room with space heaters in the middle of the afternoon on a hot summer's day, then turned them off and gave the room a chance for the temperature to stabilize. We then turned on each portable A/C and ran it for an hour, scoring their performance based on the temperature drop achieved, measured with a laboratory-grade digital thermometer, held out of the direct path of the A/C. The ARC-122DS Elite did fairly well, meriting an average score for its efforts.


This 12,000 BTU portable air conditioner is rated for rooms up to 400 square feet; it dropped the temperature of the room by 10°F after 60 minutes, with a drop of 6.75°F after 20 minutes. This was with an outside temperature in the mid to high 80s.

The handles are only so-so.
The handles are only so-so.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Portability


Following our cooling tests, our next set of tests assessed how portable these portable air conditioners are. We looked at how much effort it took to roll around each portable A/C, how difficult they are to carry, and how long it took to install or remove the exhaust duct and window insert. These tests account for 25% of the overall score for the ARC-122DS Elite, which delivered an above-average showing. This compares well with the rest of the group.


This is one of the easier models to push around and it offers only a slight amount of rolling resistance. This makes it very easy to maneuver, with only the occasional slight pull to one side while you are pushing it as the casters swivel around. Unfortunately, this air conditioning unit is one of the heaviest units of the entire group.


We weren't huge fans of the handle design, finding it to be both difficult to hold on to and exceptionally uncomfortable. However, it is fairly easy to install the window insert. It does require the use of a screwdriver, but it allows you a ton of adjustability, able to adjust the size from 20" to 46" at any point you want.

Noise


Next, we moved on to evaluating how loud each of the appliances are. This metric is responsible for 20% of the total score for each portable A/C, based on how each product did in two different tests. We measured the sound output of each unit with an SPL meter from four feet away and had a panel of testers rate the tone of the noise produced, looking to identify any particularly vexing sounds that might not be picked up by our SPL measurement. This portable air conditioner is actually one of the quietest and least acoustically intrusive products we've tested.


This air conditioner measured in at 55.9 dBa on the SPL; one of the lowest measurements out of the group.


Our panel of judges also didn't identify any noises that are noticeable aggravating, making this air conditioner a great option if you are a light sleeper.

The ARC-122DS Elite has an average cost to run.
The ARC-122DS Elite has an average cost to run.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Energy Cost


For our final testing metric, we estimated the cost of running each of these units for a summer and scored their performance based on how much additional cost they would add to your power bill. This accounts for the remaining 15% of the total score. We did this by making a few assumptions on the cost of electricity and how much usage the A/C will get, but the relative ranking should be the same, even if your usage is wildly different. The Elite is about average when it comes to energy consumption.


For our projected cost, we assumed that you would run the A/C for 12 hours a day, every single day of summer (90 days). We also assumed that two of those hours would be on high, right when you got home to quickly cool the house, then the remaining 10 would be on low to keep it cold. We measured the power draw of each unit on both modes with a wattmeter, then used $0.135 per kilowatt-hour to compute the total cost for a summer. For the Elite, this led to a projected 1000.8 kilowatt-hours used and an additional $131.61 added to your electric bill.


Value


This air conditioning unit isn't a fantastic value, as you can get comparable performance with a slightly less expensive unit, but it is totally worth it to pay a little bit extra for the ARC-122DS Elite, especially if you deal with triple-digit temperatures on a regular basis.

Conclusion


The Whynter ARC-122DS Elite is one of our favorite portable air conditioners that we have tested to date, easily meriting an award. It is very quiet, decently easy to move, and its dual-hose construction makes it one of the products best equipped to handle the hottest summer days.

David Wise and Austin Palmer