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Beat The Heat: Stay Cool With These Portable Air Conditioners

Published 22nd July 2021
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With those stuffy summer days upon us and no end in sight, it’s time to fend off sweltering heatwaves with a practical, portable air conditioner. A brilliant way to stay cool under pressure and prevent sleepless nights, these cooling contraptions can combat muggy atmospheres and increasing temperatures to keep you comfortable no matter where you are. Join us as we take a look at some of the best portable air conditioners to have in your home. 

Our hand-picked selection of  invigorating home air conditioners also range in function, price, and brand to help you discover the right model to transform your stale study into an inviting and productive area. Plus, many of them come complete with additional air purifying and humidifying capabilities, enabling you to make the most of your new appliance all year round - refreshing!

Where’s the best place to use a portable air conditioner?

where to place your air conditioner

One of the most attractive aspects of a portable air conditioner is the manoeuvrability, but where’s the perfect place to position your air conditioner in your home? First and foremost, they’re ideal for placing in home offices! Indeed, portable air conditioners are incredibly popular in home offices, as these spaces are typically smaller than most rooms and are filled with heat-emitting electronics. This means that temperatures can soar, creating an unbearably warm and humid environment - not ideal for productivity!

Investing in a portable air conditioner means you’ll no longer have to work in a stifling and uncomfortable sweatbox all day. As such, portable air conditioners are especially sought-after for home offices that lack windows and natural air flow, as well as other compact single bedrooms and stuffy utility areas. Luckily, they’re usually either lightweight or come with wheels to ensure smooth and easy manoeuvring to your chosen space.

As a result, this type of transportable air conditioning is fantastic for homes that generally don’t require cooling, but have one or two smaller rooms that can overheat in the summer. Plus, unlike built-in units that require professional installation, they can also be borrowed by friends or family members with ease. With a portable air conditioner unit, you can take the cool air with you - regardless of where you choose to spend your time!

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that many portable air conditioners don’t work without an exhaust hose which means they often need to be positioned near a window, so they can be vented outdoors. As they extract hot air, the units need a place to release them outside of the room, so it’s important to ensure this is an option for your chosen room. Alternatively, they can also be vented through a wall or a ceiling if the room you want to cool doesn’t have any windows.

Is a fan better than a portable air conditioner?

man with multiple fans

Fans have always been a popular choice for quickly cooling down as they come in a wide variety of styles (including ceiling, desk, pedestal, and sleek tower fans), and they actually have a range of benefits. Firstly, fans are incredibly energy efficient when compared to air conditioners, as the complex process behind air conditioning involves a coil of coolant that’s constantly undergoing evaporation and condensation - and using up plenty of energy in the process! This makes fans a fantastic choice if you want to save money on your energy bills or if you’re particularly eco-conscious and want to do your bit to reduce your energy expenditure. 

However, when the heat really hits, fans can become redundant by simply blowing warm air from one area of the room to another. Fans are also powered by a motor that produces its own heat, which only adds to the warmth of the room. Plus, they can’t alter the humidity either, leaving you feeling sticky, hot, and sweaty in humid weather - this is where mobile air conditioners can really make a difference!

While they may leave you with a higher energy bill at the end of the month, they’re undoubtedly the better option if you want to quickly cool a large area. These nifty cooling appliances can also help to reduce the moisture in the air and decrease humidity to prevent your home from becoming stiflingly hot. Ideal for using in heatwaves, Indian summers, and uncomfortably warm nights, a portable air conditioner always comes in handy.

If you’re convinced that a portable air conditioner is the cooling gadget for you, then carry on reading as we explore some of the most important features you’ll need to consider before committing to your breezy bargain. From picking an ultra-quiet air conditioner for many a peaceful summer slumber, to opting for a model with a high BTU to cool expansive areas, we make finding the right mobile air conditioner a cinch.

How to choose the right portable air conditioner

buttons on an air conditioner

One of the most important aspects of any portable air conditioner is the cooling range which is rated in British Thermal Units (BTU). If the mobile air conditioner has a high BTU, then it’ll be able to cool a larger room. However, these high BTU devices (around 10,000 BTU) are typically larger, pricer, and are often less eco-friendly as they require more power to cool such expansive areas. 

For home offices that are often much smaller, it’s not worth purchasing a high BTU air conditioner, as a smaller, lower BTU mobile air conditioner can do an effective job for a more affordable price. Alongside power and the size of the room you want to cool, noise is another important factor for many customers - especially if you want to make your bedroom more comfortable!

Many portable air conditioners make between 50-56 decibels of noise, which is equivalent to the hum of your refrigerator or a quiet background conversation. However, if you struggle to nod off at night and need an ultra-quiet environment, it’s worth looking at portable air conditioners with a lower decibel noise level to ensure your bedroom is both cool and relaxing when you’re trying to get some shut-eye.

Nowadays, air conditioners can also come with extra features and functions that enable them to not only cool your home, but to also alter the humidity level and even purify air for a fresher environment. If you’re looking for an air conditioner that can do all three, then we suggest opting for a practical 3-in-1 design that’ll give you better value for money and convenience than snapping up three separate appliances would.

With other fun features to explore, like LED lighting, Wi-Fi, remote control capabilities, and even timers, selecting the right portable air conditioner for your home needn’t be difficult. Taking all the above factors into consideration, we’ve whittled down some popular portable picks from our online range of air conditioners below - enjoy!

OnBuy’s top five portable air conditioners

air conditioner up close

Our extensive and invigorating online range of air conditioners is chock-full with practical and stylish mobile models that won’t look out of place in any modern home. Some portable air conditioners even come with extra perks and convenient functions like a 24-hour timer and a remote control to make dealing with soaring summer temperatures a walk in the park.

However, if you’re searching for a more affordable model, there’s plenty of basic portable air conditioners that will simply keep you blissfully cool! From mini air conditioners to 3-in-1 designs you can use all year round, we delve into the refreshing world of portable air conditioners to help you find the perfect model for cooling your over-heated home.

The small-but-mighty | 3-in-1 USB Air Cooler, Humidifier & Purifier

3-in-1 USB Air Cooler, Humidifier & Purifier

Pros: Compact size and lightweight, LED lighting, 3-in-1 design, USB-powered, energy-saving

Cons: Approximate 6m² cooling range, no oscillation and doesn’t come with a remote control

When it comes to portability, you can’t go wrong with this mini air conditioner! Thanks to its compact size and lightweight construction, this air conditioner weighs just 86g, making it ideal for taking with you on your travels, moving from room to room, or gifting to a student. Despite its adorably small dimensions (W6.5 x L6.5 x H6.7"), this 3-in-1 gadget can be used as an air cooler, humidifier, and purifier, so you can use it all year long. Indeed, once the warmer weather has made its last appearance, you can use this nifty air cooling device as a purifier to keep the air clean and pure, or as an air humidity booster to add moisture into your surrounding atmosphere and prevent dryness.

Plus, it’s USB-powered which allows for quick and easy charging from a range of power outlets and devices, and it comes complete with a USB adapter and user manual for effortless operation. It’s also energy-saving as it uses just 10W of power to circulate air as low as 6-8°C which is considerably lower than larger portable air conditioning models on the market. However, it only has an approximate 6m² cooling range, making it suitable for small home offices and bedroom only. With easily adjustable speed and air flow settings, this air conditioning unit can’t possibly impress any more - until you notice it changes colour, too! Prepare to welcome this practical cooling addition to your desk...

The ultra-affordable air conditioning unit | Groundlevel 3-Speed Portable Air Cooling Unit

Groundlevel 3-Speed Portable Air Cooling Unit

Pros: Brilliant price tag, three speeds, can be used as a fan, louvers direct cool air around the room

Cons: Uses a considerable amount of power (60W), no bells and whistles!

For one of the most affordable price tags featured in this list, you won't want to miss out on this Groundlevel portable air conditioner this summer! With three speeds to explore, you can easily select the perfect setting to suit your cooling requirements using the self-explanatory buttons on the front of the appliance. Thanks to the motorised directional auto swing louvers and substantial 3.5L water tank, cool air is effectively spread out across the room to stop warm spots from occurring. This sweeping movement also helps to aid natural air flow and can prevent your study from becoming stagnant and uninviting. Plus, this nifty air cooling unit can also double as a fan or be used with ice packs to give you immediate relief from uncomfortably hot rooms.

However, the perks of this portable air conditioner seem to end here as it doesn’t come with colour-changing LED lighting, a remote control, or any other convenient or attention-grabbing features. It’s also worth mentioning that although this home air conditioner comes with an attractive price tag, you may have to pay extra to support the bigger energy bill as it consumes a considerable 60W of power. While this is by no means a deal breaker, some users may prefer a more eco-friendly alternative that uses a more modest 10-30W of power. Finished with smooth castor wheels, this smart unit is a great option for basic, portable cooling.

For premium power | Black + Decker BXAC40008GB Portable 3-in-1 Air Conditioner & Dehumidifier

Black + Decker BXAC40008GB Portable 3-in-1 Air Conditioner & Dehumidifier

Pros: 12000 BTU, 45dbA at low speed, 3-in-1 design, remote-controlled, suitable for 30m² areas

Cons: Premium price to match the power, bulky size of the unit, can be unsightly

Suitable for more than just the summer season, this Black + Decker home air conditioner might be a pricier pick, but it comes with three fantastic functions in one sleek appliance. That’s right, this portable air conditioner has the ability to not only cool the air, but to also act as a fan and dehumidifier using the vertical louvers. Like traditional air coolers, dehumidifiers can also be used for comfort and health reasons as they remove water from the air to prevent the room from becoming too humid. This model, for example, can extract an incredible 29L of excess moisture from their air each day! This 3-in-1 design also features a fan that comes with three settings to help keep you cool in milder temperatures before the sweltering summer days demand the heat-busting power of an air conditioner.

This Black + Decker model is also ideal for placing in large bedrooms and entertaining spaces due to the impressive 12,000 BTU rating that makes it perfect for large areas up to 30m². This generous cooling range, paired with the practically silent 45dbA noise level, ensures it won’t prevent you from falling asleep or accidentally wake you up from your slumber. However, this noise level can only be achieved when it’s at the lowest speed, so it may become louder as the cooling increases. Despite this minor downside, this 3-in-1 air conditioner boasts an LED display panel, four castor wheels, and a remote control option to ensure effortless operation for every user.

For continuous cooling | PureMate 5L Portable Air Cooler With Timer & Oscillation

PureMate 5L Portable Air Cooler With Timer & Oscillation

Pros: Large 5L water tank, touch panel and handy remote, three speed settings, timer function

Cons: Considerable 65W power consumption, doesn’t have a 3-in-1 design - no air purifying function

Once filled with a substantial 5L of water, this air cooler can supply waves of cool and refreshing air with ease, instantly making your environment more comfortable and healthier. Plus, this handy home appliance also has a fluoride-free treatment to protect the atmosphere and a generous water tank that allows you to continue using it for hours upon hours of cooling before it requires refilling again. Not to mention, you can choose between the three modes that include normal, natural, and sleep, so you can tailor the air cooling speed to suit your mood, chosen room, and the temperature. 

Another attractive aspect of this home air conditioner is the built-in timer and functions that allow you to choose how long you want to set it for - ranging between 0-12 hours. Like the Groundlevel model, however, this portable air conditioner from PureMate uses a similarly high level of power at 65W. In addition to this, unlike some of the 3-in-1 air conditioning units, this air cooler doesn’t have an air purifying function, so it’s not quite as feature-packed as some of the other models mentioned in this guide. Despite this small disadvantage, this mobile air cooler still benefits from smooth castor wheels for effortless transportation and a lock security system for protection against leaks and electric shocks - perfect if you have pets or small children!

Searching for a smarter alternative?

using phone to control air conditioning

If the convenience and user-friendly functionality of a remote-controlled portable air conditioner has caught your attention, then you’ll love the idea of a smart model. These smart appliances boast Wi-Fi capability that allows you to operate them from both near and far using your mobile phone or any other compatible device.

Ideal if you want your home to be pleasantly cool after an exhausting summer day before you get home, smart portable air conditioners are a must-have item if you’re on a mission to have the best smart home. To discover more ways to transform your home into a contemporary haven, check out our selection of smart home blogs. Packed with smart home tricks and tips as well as common myths, this section contains everything you need to know about setting up the ultimate smart home.

Regardless of whether you choose a smart air conditioner or one of the standard models, a portable air cooling unit is always a clever choice!

Cool as a cucumber

woman relaxing in a cool room

With hotter days on the horizon, now’s the perfect time to grab a portable air conditioner for your palace of peace. If you love the summer but can’t stand the stuffy, sweaty side effects of the sweltering heat, you needn’t suffer in silence! Bag yourself one of these beauties, and make the most of the warmer weather while it lasts. 

Looking for even more ways you can beat the heat this summer? We’ve put together a list of helpful hacks to help you prepare your home for a heatwave. From lightweight linen sheets to cooling pillows, blackout blinds to fabulous fans, we’ve covered everything you need to keep your home a den of zen and stay cool this sunny season. Say goodbye to sleepless nights and stuffy days forever, and get ready to enjoy the best summer on record! 

The information in this buyer’s guide is correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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