Whynter ARC-14SH Review
Pros: Very quiet, exceptional cooling power
Cons: High energy consumption, expensive
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|Pros||Very quiet, exceptional cooling power||Great value, highly portable, performed well in our energy-efficiency test, solid cooling performance||Very quiet, decently portable, solid cooling performance||Energy efficient, easily portable||Easy to move, decent energy efficiency|
|Cons||High energy consumption, expensive||Runs on the louder side||Expensive, bulky window insert||Underwhelming cooling abilities||Poor cooling abilities, noisy|
|Bottom Line||This is a solid performer for large rooms and one of the quietest models we tested||You'll save cash and receive exceptional performance, though it does run a touch louder than others||If you live in a consistently hot climate, this is our favorite dual-hose portable AC||The lower cooling abilities do not quite make up for the energy-efficient capabilities||This is an expensive machine that is easy to move around but ultimately offers poor cooling abilities|
|Rating Categories||Whynter ARC-14SH||SereneLife SLPAC10||Whynter ARC-122DS E...||Airo Comfort||Midea 3-in-1|
|Cooling Power (40%)|
|Energy Cost (15%)|
|Specs||Whynter ARC-14SH||SereneLife SLPAC10||Whynter ARC-122DS E...||Airo Comfort||Midea 3-in-1|
|Modes||Cool, dry, fan, heat||Cool, dry, fan||Cool, dry, fan||Cool, dry, fan||Heat, auto, cool, dry, fan|
|Number of Fan Speeds||3||3||3||3||4|
|Measured Weight||77.2 lbs||54.7 lbs||60.4 lbs||51.5 lbs||56.2 lbs|
|Window Kit Length (without modification)||Min: 20"
Max: 50 1/8"
|Measured kWh on High (Average)||1.12 kWh||0.91 kWh||1.06 kWh||0.71 kWh||0.85 kWh|
|Measured dBa on High at 4'||56.5 dBa||62 dBa||57 dBa||58 dBa||60.5 dBa|
|Room Rating||500 sq ft||350 sq ft||400 sq ft||350 sq ft||200 sq ft|
|Single or Dual hose||Dual||Single||Dual||Single||Single|
|Projected Summer Cost||$159.06||$116.22||$131.61||$88.17||$122.60|
|Measured Temperature Drop After 60 Minutes||11.99°F||11ºF||10°F||6ºF||8ºF|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Cooling power represents 40% of each portable air conditioner's overall score, making our cooling capabilities test one of the most important ones that we conducted. We essentially heated a room as hot as we could in the middle of summer, then ran each air conditioner for 60 minutes and scored them off of the temperature drop. The ARC-14SH delivered one of the better performances of the group; it dropped the temperature by 11.99°F after 60 minutes — one of the largest drops of the group.
This portable air conditioner dropped the temperature quite quickly, achieving an 8.2°F drop after 20 minutes — expected, as our test room was only 161 square feet and it has one of the highest BTU ratings of the bunch.
Moving on to how easily moved these portable air conditioners are, we graded and scored how much effort it took to roll these around and carry them and how hard it was to install or remove the exhaust hose and its window insert. The Whynter ARC-14SH is about average overall in these tests, which accounts for 25% of the total score.
This A/C is quite easy to roll around, though there is a tiny bit of weirdness with its steering. It only has a small amount of rolling resistance but will pull to one side every so often. This portable A/C is fine to roll around but is absolutely horrendous to carry. It is one of the heaviest units out of the entire group, weighing in at a little more than 77 lbs.
The handles are also on the small side, creating undue pressure on your hands and easily making this one of our least favorite air conditioners to carry up or down a flight of stairs. However, it is one of the easiest models to move when it comes to installing or removing the window insert. You need a screwdriver, but you can tighten the screws down wherever you want, affording you the entire range between 20" and 46".
Responsible for 20% of the total score, we next assessed how much noise each of these appliances generated and if any were particularly irritating. The Whynter ARC-14SH did very well in this metric for its almost silent operation — one of the highest scores of the group. We had a group of users rate the tone of each air conditioner and measure the audio level with an SPL meter to determine the scores. This meter was placed about 4' away and out of the direct line of the vents of the A/C. Both our panel of judges and the SPL meter agreed that this was one of the quietest units we tested, measuring in at 54.8 dBa.
Additionally, all the judges noted that this is one of the least intrusive air conditioners soundwise, making it a great option for lighter sleepers.
For the final 15% of the total score for each product, we scored each one on how much you can expect it to add to your energy bill with moderate use. We defined moderate use as running the A/C for 12 hours each day of the summer (90 days), with two hours on high to quickly cool the room upon your return and 10 hours on low to keep it cool. The ARC-14SH is a bit of an energy hog.
We measured the power draw of each portable A/C on both low and high power modes, then used an average cost of electricity to project the additional added cost. With this amount of usage, the ARC-14SH would add about $160 to your power bill over that time period — quite a bit higher than most of the products we tested.
This portable air conditioner finished just a few points behind some of the top models. The ARC-14SH is one of the most expensive of this trio and costs the most to run, but it did perform better in our cooling tests. This A/C has a relatively high initial cost and a higher cost to run, but does present value in its performance.
The Whynter ARC-14SH is quiet and has solid cooling power, but it's a bit expensive and is exceptionally heavy, weighing over 77 pounds.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer