The vast majority of high quality portable air conditioning units are quite pricey so you need to make sure that you make the right choice when it comes to selecting a portable air conditioning unit.
You should never buy the first unit that you see on a shelf in a department store without conducting proper research on the particular model.
This buyer’s guide will cover all the essential tips you need to know in order to choose the best portable air conditioning unit for your home or apartment.
Table of Contents
What is BTU?
You have probably noticed that most portable air conditioning models are categorized according to their BTU. The abbreviation BTU stands for “British Thermal Unit” and it is used to measure the amount of thermal energy a machine can produce.
In the context of air conditioning units, the term BTU is used to describe the amount of cold air the unit can produce. In other words, how quickly the air conditioning unit can change warm air into cold air.
When browsing for portable air conditioning units you will notice that the BTU capacity varies from unit to unit. Generally, it is recommended to purchase an air conditioning unit which has a BTU capacity of over 10,000. Air conditioning units with a BTU capacity of less than 10,000 are not very effective in large rooms.
Of course, if you just want to cool down a small room an air conditioning unit with less BTU could do the trick. Either way, when it comes to buying a portable air conditioning unit you should always look for a unit that has a significant BTU capacity (over 10,000 is recommended).
Dual Hose vs. Singular Hose
The next thing that you will notice on the box of a portable air conditioning unit is the type of system the unit uses. There are two main systems: dual hose and single hose. Each system has their own set of pros and cons but dual hose systems are generally much more effective but more expensive.
The main draw back with using a dual hose system is that the air within a room is recycled is not refreshed. In other words, the machine draws in air from the room, cools it, and blows it back into the room.
The quality of the air within the room is always the same – just the temperature changes. However, with a singular hose system the unit draws in air from outside via an exhaust hose, cools the air, and blows it into the room.
So there are a few different pros and cons to each system but generally the dual hose system is more powerful. Additionally, dual hose systems consume more electricity than single hose systems.
Most modern portable air conditioning units have three modes of operation: air conditioning, fan, and dehumidifier. However, you will often find models that just have two modes: air conditioning and fan. You will probably find yourself wondering if a dehumidifier mode is really necessary (portable air conditioning units with all three modes can be quite expensive).
A dehumidifier mode is necessary if you live in a particularly moist climate. For example, if you live in a tropical climate near the equator a dehumidifier will be very helpful. However, for dry hot climates a dehumidifier will not be as helpful.
Regardless, if you do purchase a portable air conditioning unit that does come with a dehumidifier there are several features you need to keep an eye out for. For example, you need to find out if you will have to manually empty the water dish of the dehumidifier. You will also need to know how many pints of water the dehumidifier can absorb in a day.
Additionally, you should make sure that the dehumidifier is not too loud. It is recommended to pick a portable air conditioning unit that has a dehumidifier with an auto water evaporation feature so you don’t have to empty the water dish every day.
Features to Keep an Eye Out For
Portable air conditioning units have many different features that you need to pay attention to. For instance, you should always check to see if a portable air conditioning unit has all-directional air vents.
You probably do not want cold air blowing in one direction all day – you want the unit to disperse the cold air evenly throughout a room. So keep an eye out for portable air conditioning units that rotate their vents automatically.
You will also want to buy a portable air conditioning unit that is very user friendly and allows you to set up a 24 hour programmable cycle. Most units are shipped with a remote control to easily configure the unit’s settings.
If you have your eyes set on a particular unit you should conduct some brief research online on that particular model (you can also read my recommendation of the best portable air conditioners) and try to read as many customer reviews as you can so that you know exactly what you are buying.
You can gather most of the information that you need to know about a portable air conditioning unit just by reading customer reviews. A good place to start is on Amazon. Also, make sure to buy a portable air conditioning unit that can operate at a quiet noise level – loud units can be very irritating.
So now you know the basics to buying a portable air conditioning unit and you can make a smart decision and buy the perfect unit for your home.
Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think.
Below are some videos that can help you better understand how portable air conditioner works and hopefully make your buying decision easier.