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The 3 Best Portable Air Conditioners of 2024

We bought and tested portable ACs from LG, Black+Decker, Whynter, Frigidaire, and more to find the best-in-class
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Best Portable Air Conditioner Review
Credit: Brian Walker
By Austin Palmer, Adam Stout, and David Wise  ⋅  Jun 3, 2024

The Best Portable Air Conditioners for 2024


Looking for an easy way to escape the heat without spending a ton of money or dealing with a significant install? We researched over 70 of the best portable air conditioners before purchasing the top 9 units to pit against each other in a series of side-by-side tests. We used a lab-grade thermometer and high-quality data loggers to track how well and how quickly each model cooled off in our testing room. In addition to their cooling ability, we measured their power consumption and how much noise they generated. We highlight which product is best for the hottest climates, which is the friendliest to your power bill, and the most portable of them all.

We've tested a wide array of the best appliances for your home, including our favorite window air conditioners. If you're in the market for top-ranked fans, a top-ranked air purifier, or perhaps one of our favorite humidifiers to add moisture to the dry air in your home, we've done the hard work for you by testing and comparing products to determine the best overall model for every application.

Editor's Note: Our portable air conditioner review was updated on June 3, 2024, to include a section on how we tested these products and to ensure that our lineup is current.

Top 9 Portable Air Conditioners

Displaying 6 - 9 of 9
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Awards Top Pick Award    
Price $719 List
$647.49 at Amazon
$570 List
$449.99 at Amazon
$600 List
$505.00 at Amazon
$599 List
Overall Score
75
67
65
58
Star Rating
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Pros Excellent onboard storage, very quiet, good mobile appGood range of airflow direction on vents, grate on the end of the hose to keep animals outDual hose design, good cooling power, long power cord, automatic condensation managementGood directional vent range of motion, features dehumidifier and ionizer capability
Cons Single hose design, short power cord, somewhat involved installationSingle hose design, timer function only available on the remoteHigh energy consumption, heavy and hard to lift, complicated window installationSingle-hose design, less energy efficient, very heavy
Bottom Line This whisper-quiet portable AC scores big with its discreet room cooling capabilities, excellent onboard storage, and advanced convenience featuresThis portable AC demonstrated above-average cooling capability, and it's one of the easiest to set up, but it's a bit of a power hogThis is a powerful and well-rounded portable AC, but it's an unfortunate power hogThis portable AC uses a lot of power and is hard to lug around, but it does feature nice ionizing and dehumidifying modes
Rating Categories LG LP1022FVSM Black+Decker BPACT14WT Whynter ARC-14SH Frigidaire FHPH142AC1
Cooling (35%)
6.8
7.2
7.1
6.8
Energy Consumption (15%)
6.7
5.0
4.9
4.4
Noise (20%)
9.0
6.5
7.0
6.0
Portability / Install (25%) Sort Icon
7.5
7.3
6.4
4.8
Convenience (5%)
8.4
6.4
6.0
7.2
Specs LG LP1022FVSM Black+Decker BPACT14WT Whynter ARC-14SH Frigidaire FHPH142AC1
Manufacturer Recommended Cooling Area Up to 450 sq ft Up to 700 sq ft Up to 500 sq ft Up to 700 sq ft
Single or Dual Hose Single Single Dual Single
Wi-Fi / App Enabled Yes No No No
Modes (fan speeds) - Cold (1-3)
  • Fan (1-3)
  • Dry (1)
- Cold (1-3 + Auto)
  • Fan (1-3)
  • Dehumidify (Low)
- Cold (1-3)
  • Fan (1-3)
  • Dry (1)
- Cold (1-3 + Auto)
  • Fan (1-3)
  • Dry (Low)
  • Auto (Auto)
  • Heat (1-3 + Auto)
Energy Star Certified No No No No
BTU 14000 BTU (ASHRAE)
10000 BTU (DOE)
14000 BTU (ASHRAE)
8400 BTU (DOE)
14000 BTU (ASHRAE)
9500 BTU (DOE)
14000 BTU (ASHRAE)
10000 BTU (DOE)
24-Hour On/Off Timer Yes Yes Yes Yes
Control Type Button Touch Button Button
Remote Control Yes Yes Yes Yes
Washable Dust Filter Yes Yes Yes Yes
Manufacturer Window Width Minimum 23" 26.5" 20" 26.6"
Manufacturer Window Width Maximum 60" 48.4" 46" 52.5"
Measured Window Kit Width 6.5" 6.4" 6.5" 5"
Refrigerant Type R32 R32 R32 R32
Child Lock No No No No
Manufacturer Dehumidify/Moisture removal 6.7 pt/hr Not Specified 71 pt/ day 5.1 pt/hr
Measured Weight 69 lbs 63 lbs 4 oz 74 lbs 4 oz 80 lbs 5 oz
CEER 7.9 6.05 7.9 7.6
Estimated Summer Cost $191.74 $231.83 $223.12 $244.04
Average dBa Reading on High 56 58.9 59.5 58.6
Difference of averaged temps 7.6 8.3 8.1 7.6


Best Overall Portable Air Conditioner


Whynter ARC-1230WN


81
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Cooling 8.8
  • Energy Consumption 6.1
  • Noise 8.0
  • Portability / Install 8.2
  • Convenience 8.9
BTU: 14,000 | Hose Configuration: Dual
REASONS TO BUY
Superior cooling capability
Dual hoses stored on the unit
Inverter technology
Nice mobile app
REASONS TO AVOID
Hard-to-read display
Requires a large window for install

The Whynter ARC-1230WN triumphed throughout our testing, scoring at or near the top of nearly every metric. It demonstrated the most cooling capability of any unit tested by a landslide, and it exceeded all others in convenience features. We were impressed with its ability to connect to a fantastic mobile app in order to unlock tons of additional features like linear fan adjustability (1-100% instead of High, Medium, and Low), vent angle settings, scheduling, and the capability to use your phone's location to trigger events on the AC like turning the power off or on when you're up to several miles from home, coming home, or leaving for the day. The Whynter ARC-1230WN was even one of the easiest units to install thanks to its integrated dual hose design and intuitive window kit. It was the most effortless to roll around, too, not to mention one of the quietest, with a reading of only 58.4 decibels from our SPL meter.

It's tough to spot an Achilles heel on this over-achiever, but we managed a few gripes. While it's aesthetically pleasing and fades away into the control panel, the unit's primary display is difficult to see from moderate distances or off angles under some lighting conditions. More critically, the Whynter ARC-1230WN is only compatible with fairly large windows, leaving some rooms completely unserviceable. Lastly, it's a middle-of-the-pack performer in terms of energy efficiency, which isn't to say it's terribly power-hungry compared to the group's real energy hogs, but this is one of the only areas where the tremendous ARC-1230WN didn't soar over the competition. If energy efficiency and budget-friendliness are high on your list of priorities and you don't mind sacrificing the quick cooling power, you'll save a good chunk of change and enjoy lower energy bills to boot with a unit like the SereneLife SLPAC8. You can expect to save around $150 in energy costs with the SereneLife.

Read more: Whynter ARC-1230WN review

The Whynter ARC-1230WN's auto-swing vent louver helps to evenly distribute cool air throughout the room.
Credit: Brian Walker

Best Portable Air Conditioner On a Budget


SereneLife SLPAC10


67
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Cooling 6.2
  • Energy Consumption 6.3
  • Noise 5.5
  • Portability / Install 8.8
  • Convenience 6.0
BTU: 10,000 | Hose Configuration: Single
REASONS TO BUY
Easy installation
Excellent portability
Auto-swing vent louver
REASONS TO AVOID
Single hose design
On the noisy side

The SereneLife SLPAC10 performed decently across the board, excelling mostly in its portability and easy installation. In other areas, it stayed mostly near the middle of the pack, and that's not a bad thing, considering it costs around half the price of some competing products. The SLPAC10 is a comparative joy to set up compared to many units. Thanks to its window kit panel that slides to expand for an easy fit, most users should be able to have this one up and running in as little as five minutes with nothing but basic hand tools. It's just as easy to take down, and since it weighs in at a relatively light 52 pounds, with good handle placement and depth, carrying it between floors isn't terrible. Nor does it have trouble rolling around smoothly and confidently on everything from hard floors to high-pile carpets. You can also expect this unit to drop the temperature of a mid-sized room by about 6.3 degrees over the course of an hour, which isn't half bad.

However, while the SereneLife SLPAC10 is a very respectable portable AC for the price, it has some shortcomings. First off, it's on the noisier end of the spectrum, producing 61 decibels measured from our SPL meter. Second, it is the only portable AC in the review that falls outside the 14,000 BTU and 8,000 BTU categories at 10,000 BTUs. While it outperforms some 8,000 BTU units in terms of cooling capability, it can't compete with the more powerful 14,000 BTU ACs and comes in below the average for the group as a whole. That said, this unit only differed in drops by a couple of degrees compared to some of our top cooling units which dropped the temperature by around seven to eight degrees. But, if you want a little more cooling capability with slightly more energy efficiency and convenience features, check out the 8,000 BTU Black+Decker BPACT08WT. It managed to drop the temperature of our mid-sized test room by seven degrees and can often be nabbed at a comparable price point.

Read more: SereneLife SLPAC10 Review

The SereneLife SLPAC10 comes with a fantastic window kit that slides into place, making for the most effortless installation of the bunch.
Credit: Brian Walker

Best Quiet Portable Air Conditioner


LG LP1022FVSM


75
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Cooling 6.8
  • Energy Consumption 6.7
  • Noise 9.0
  • Portability / Install 7.5
  • Convenience 8.4
BTU: 14,000 | Hose Configuration: Single
REASONS TO BUY
Excellent onboard storage for accessories
Very quiet operation
Cool mobile app
REASONS TO AVOID
One hose
Short power cord
Buttons require firm press

If your space demands a quiet portable AC that fades into the background while it does its work, you won't beat the whispering LG LP1022FVSM. When we tested the portable ACs in our review back-to-back, this one was noticeably quieter than any other in our subjective listening test, as well as when measured for decibels with an SPL meter, which came out to just 56 decibels. That's partly thanks to its inverter technology, which allows quieter and more efficient compressor operation. Pair its stealth factor and efficiency with its excellent mobile app that lets you unlock all kinds of useful features and info, and you've already got a winner. However, the LP1022FVSM has yet another welcome feature to set it apart. All portable ACs come with a large hose and window kit, but only the LG LP1022FVSM was designed thoughtfully enough to have a place to store both of them onboard the unit. This excellent feature makes it much easier to roll everything into another room for setup without juggling components or making multiple trips. It also makes for a tidy package when putting the AC away for the winter, with an infinitely lower risk of losing pieces.

The LG LP1022FVSM is excellent for its features and refinement, but it's not perfect. It takes some care to push over high-pile carpets and to carry between floors, making a tougher model to lug around. With the weight balance at the rear left on such a large machine, stair climbs are also awkward. Finally, it's one of the most expensive portable ACs in the review by a good amount, and its cooling capability is good but not exceptional, with a temperature drop in our test room of only 7.6 degrees over the course of an hour. If you're not hooked on this LG's quiet operation and onboard storage, check out the excellent Whynter ARC-1230WN. It has absolutely top-notch cooling capability, cooling our test suite by around 12 degrees in 60 minutes, and it includes a fantastic mobile app, enabling users to manage the unit remotely.

Read more: LG LP1022FVSM review

The LG has great features and is one of the quietest units we tested.
Credit: Brian Walker

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
81
Whynter ARC-1230WN
Best Overall Portable Air Conditioner
$633
Editors' Choice Award
75
LG LP1022FVSM
Best Quiet Portable Air Conditioner
$719
Top Pick Award
68
Black+Decker BPACT08WT
$330
67
SereneLife SLPAC10
Best Portable Air Conditioner On a Budget
$350
Best Buy Award
67
Black+Decker BPACT14WT
$570
65
Whynter ARC-14SH
$600
64
Midea MAP08R1CWT
$339
63
SereneLife SLPAC8
$431
58
Frigidaire FHPH142AC1
$599

How We Test Portable Air Conditioners


We first started reviewing air conditioners in 2018, and we've now tested over 20 of the market's best portable air conditioning units. Over the years, we've kept a pulse on how the products in this category were evolving and occasionally updated our review to include new and compelling products. In this year's lineup, we again pit the most promising portable AC units side-by-side to gather real-world, data-driven results to find the best products worth your money. We tracked how much each unit could lower the air temperature in our sweltering test room over the period of an hour. We also assessed how easy these units were to install and move around, measured their noise output with an SPL meter, and tracked their energy consumption with a wattmeter.

We tested every portable air conditioner in this review across five rating metrics:
  • Cooling (35% of overall score weighting)
  • Portability/Installation (25% weighting)
  • Noise (20% weighting)
  • Energy (15% weighting)
  • Convenience (5% weighting)

For more complete details on our testing process, check out our How We Test article.

Why Trust GearLab


The main tester for this review was Austin Palmer along with reviewers David Wise and Adam Stout. Austin has tested hundreds of appliances for GearLab and brings a wealth of knowledge and analytical thinking to this review. Having grown up in the heat of Houston, Texas — Austin knows all too well how important a quality air conditioner can be. For this round of tests, he pulled out all the stops to ensure a consistent and sweltering test environment and designed the testing regimen around rigorous and reliable data collection based on real-world use cases for portable ACs. David has a degree in mechanical engineering and lends his experience with data acquisition, instrumentation, and heat transfer to the design and execution of our testing process. Adam's degree in English Rhetoric and Writing has given him a keen eye for detail and an ability to translate technical data to the page in an easy-to-understand fashion.

portable air conditioner - behold ten of the finest portable air-conditioners available today...
Behold ten of the finest portable air-conditioners available today, ready to duke it out in rigorous head-to-head testing.
Credit: Brian Walker

Analysis and Test Results


To identify and help you choose the right portable AC for your needs, we conducted extensive research and evaluated the top models currently on the market. We then bought the most promising ACs available and compared their performance side-by-side, grading them in five weighted rating metrics: Cooling, Portability and Installation, Noise, Energy, and Convenience.


Value


While the cost of any portable air conditioner is a fraction of the cost of a central air conditioning system, some command a pretty penny. Thankfully, there are a few great budget-friendly options like the SereneLife SLPAC10. As long as you don't need top-tier cooling power and don't mind a bit of noise while it works, the SLPAC10 is a well-rounded machine that should perform well in many spaces. It's also one of the most portable and easiest units to set up and break down. If you want something even more budget-conscious, there's the Midea MAP08R1CWT, another highly portable unit. While it has below-average cooling capability and is even noisier than the SLPAC10, it redeems itself with some of the best energy efficiency in the review, saving you even more money on your electricity bill. That savings will add up significantly over time.

We rolled each unit on various surfaces to test their portability.
Credit: Brian Walker

Cooling


Since cooling is the primary role of a portable air conditioner, the cooling metric weighs heavily in our review. To capture reliable data throughout the cooling tests, we ensured that our test environment was warm on both sides of the window where the window kits were installed, then carefully timed their progress as they dropped the temp of a 14' x 10' room with a 12' ceiling (1680 cu ft.) over the course of an hour. Temperature data was collected from temperature-sensing data loggers placed all around the room.



portable air conditioner
Credit: Austin Palmer

The Whynter ARC-1230WN absolutely dominated this contest, dropping the air temperature from 84.2 to 72.3 degrees Fahrenheit in 60 minutes. That's an 11.9-degree overall temperature difference and 3.6 degrees lower than the runner-up, the Black+Decker BPACT14WT. This unit managed well, with an overall temperature drop of 8.3 degrees. The Whynter ARC-14SH came in a close third with a temperature drop of 8.1 degrees.

portable air conditioner - adjustable vent louvers can be crucial for proper airflow through...
Adjustable vent louvers can be crucial for proper airflow through the room.
Credit: Austin Palmer

Unsurprisingly, the more powerful 14,000 BTU units far surpassed the practical cooling capability of the lower-powered units. However, you don't always need high BTUs, especially for smaller rooms. Of our 8,000 BTU units, the Black+Decker BPACT08WT gave more powerful units a run for their money. This unit dropped the temperature of the room by seven degrees, which is only a 1.3-degree difference from one of our top 14,000 BTU units.

portable air conditioner - the whynter arc-1230wn reigns supreme in our cooling test, dropping...
The Whynter ARC-1230WN reigns supreme in our Cooling test, dropping the stifling room temperature by 11.9° F in 60 minutes.
Credit: Brian Walker

Portability and Installation


Our portability and installation metric grades portable air conditioners on how much effort they take to carry, roll over different flooring, and take in and out of the window during the installation process. While all portable ACs have wheels to roll and are portable to an extent, some are much more mobile than others. The same goes for the installation. Every portable AC needs to exhaust hot air out the back, so they must snug their hoses up to an exterior window. They all come with a window kit to make this seamless. While they are all orders of magnitude easier to install than conventional air conditioning, not every installation is equally breezy.



Lighter units with better handle ergonomics and wheels that could confidently take on everything from hard floors to high-pile carpets scored best in the portability tests. The most impressive were the Midea MAP08R1CWT, SereneLife SLPAC10, and its little sister, the SereneLife SLPAC8, which easily glided across all types of surfaces.

portable air conditioner - the serenelife slpac8 excels in portability thanks to its low weight...
The SereneLife SLPAC8 excels in portability thanks to its low weight and excellent handle placement on the top-center of the unit.
Credit: Brian Walker

On the installation side of the metric, the Whynter ARC-1230WN returned to soak up more accolades with its superior ease of setup. Since the exhaust hose (two, actually; it's a hose inside a hose) is permanently attached to the unit, all you need to do is put in the included foam for the window kit, then slide the window interface into place before snapping in the other side of the hose. The SereneLife SLPAC10 and SereneLife SLPAC8 did really well here as well, with a similar sliding window kit panel. All three of these units can be set up the first time in under five minutes, depending on the window.

portable air conditioner - we attach an exhaust hose into one of the more conventional portable...
We attach an exhaust hose into one of the more conventional portable AC window kits.
Credit: Brian Walker

Noise


After lugging these air conditioners up and down staircases and across rooms, we were ready for a test that required a little less physical exertion. The noise metric consists of two tests: noise levels measured with our SPL meter and having a panel of testers rate the sound produced by each product.


We noticed many portable ACs have a similar volume level as far as the human ear can tell, but a couple of standouts run substantially quieter than the rest. Chief among those is the LG LP1022FVSM at only 56 decibels. This unit is whisper-quiet compared to the average portable AC, and it's the one you want if you aren't a fan of persistent noise in your space. Second place goes to the Whyter ARC-1230WN, which is another really quiet model compared to the rest of the pack at 58.4 decibels.


From there, we observed a pretty even field in terms of sound output until we got to some of the worst performers. Those that hit the 58-decibel range while set to high included the Black+Decker BPACT08WT, Black+Decker BPACT14WT, and Frigidaire FHPH142AC1.

portable air conditioner - none could match the stealth of the lg lp1022fvsm as it faded into...
None could match the stealth of the LG LP1022FVSM as it faded into the background, silently piping in sweet relief from the heat.
Credit: Brian Walker

Energy Consumption


For our last rating metric, we estimated how much it would cost to run each of these models annually and, thus, how efficient they are. We assumed we would run each of these units for 12 hours a day for 90 days for our calculation. To determine each unit's average power consumption, we measured each model's energy draw for 30 minutes with a wattmeter on both low and high modes when the outside temperature was in the mid to high 80s. Of course, the number we arrived at for the annual cost isn't necessarily going to be true for you, as electricity prices can vary wildly across different areas at different times of the day and throughout the year. You may be in the tropics and need to run the AC 365 days a year, in which case your cost will be tremendously higher than ours, but the relative ranking of the AC units should remain the same.


Living in a Hot Climate?
If you are living in an area where you are going to be running the air conditioner during more than just the hottest summer months, you probably want to place a higher priority on this metric and take a closer look at models that performed well in these tests.

Predictably, the lower-power 8,000 BTU units excel here. We gave an additional point here to units with inverter technology because they have a more efficient variable speed compressor that doesn't always run at full speed.


As we mentioned, the top scorers in this test were the 8,000 BTU ACs. The most efficient unit was the SereneLife SLPAC8 followed closely by the Midea MAP08R1CWT, consuming .72 kWh and .76 kWh of electricity over an hour, respectively. To run the SLPAC8 for 12 hours a day for 90 days would cost an average of $125.50 in the USA, and the Midea would be $132.48. If energy efficiency is your primary concern, either of these units should fit the bill.

portable air conditioner - every portable ac was measured with an spl from 4&#039; away to collect a...
Every portable AC was measured with an SPL from 4' away to collect a decibel reading.
Credit: Brian Walker

Contrast the energy consumption of the two ACs above with some of the most power-hungry units, and you start to see how much it adds up over time. If you're sure that an 8,000 BTU unit isn't for you, the most energy-efficient 14,000 BTU unit to consider would be the excellent Whynter ARC-1230WN, which has inverter technology, meaning its compressor doesn't run at full speed all the time. Theoretically, it could perform even better than in our testing, but we clocked it at 1.24 kWh and $216.15, projecting a constant runtime of 12 hours a day for 90 days.

portable air conditioner - we used a watt meter to measure power consumption, with every ac...
We used a watt meter to measure power consumption, with every AC running on high for 60 minutes.
Credit: Brian Walker

Convenience


In our convenience metric we evaluated each portable AC unit on their air direction adjustments, display, remote capabilities, timers, and whether or not the units included a child lock.


Yet again, the Whynter ARC-1230WN comes out on top thanks partly to its highly adjustable vent louvers with automatic-swing functionality that keep the air flowing evenly throughout the space, but primarily for its mobile app that offers tons of advanced functionality, including the ability to turn off and on or run presets based on your distance from home.

Likewise, the LG LP1022FVSM impressed us with its auto-swing vent louver and excellent app that includes tons of features, including energy monitoring, smart diagnosis, and filter management.

portable air conditioner - remote controls are nice and come standard with every portable ac...
Remote controls are nice and come standard with every portable AC, but nothing beats the advanced features of a well-designed mobile app.
Credit: Brian Walker

Conclusion


Hopefully, this best-in-class portable air conditioner review has been helpful and informative. We've touched on everything from the quietest portable air conditioner to the best all-around value to the most capable of cutting through those summer scorchers. If you want a deeper dive into any of these products, we've written individual reviews for every unit mentioned.

Austin Palmer, Adam Stout, and David Wise