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Portable Room Air Conditioners

If you do not have the time or space to install a conventional air conditioner, opt for a portable one. Before buying, consider the room size and the capacity of the AC. Read more.
Abhay Burande Jun 18, 2019
Portable air conditioners perform the function of cooling and dehumidifying a room. They are useful for spot cooling of rooms and attics. They can also be used as fans or as space heaters. The main disadvantage is that they are exorbitant. Though they are easier to install than window units, they are not mobile and trouble-free.
The unit has to be kept near a window as hot air has to be exhausted outside. Portable AC units have an exhaust tube and foam insert. The water is drained in a bucket or out of a window using a drainage hose.
These air conditioners are heavy (50 to 90 pounds) and bulky. They take up a 12 to 18-inch footprint and are 30 inches tall. These units have energy efficiency ratings. A high Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) means that the AC unit will cost less to run in the long run.


Some portable air conditioners are 7,500 to 8,000 BTU and can cool 150 to 250 square foot rooms. These are the smallest and most economical of them. Some have separate cooling and dehumidifier functions, and it is possible to select any mode. A timer, air filter, temperature display, and three cooling/fan speeds are the different characteristics.
For areas of more than 200 square feet, a unit of 10,000 BTU is needed. These may have an ion generator. There are two sizes: 9,500 and 11,500 BTU, that have multiple speeds and a remote control. A drip container holds condensation. Some units have self-evaporating technology.
A few have a capacity of 10,000 BTU for a room of 300 square feet, a two-speed fan, washable activated carbon filter to remove odor, a remote control, and an 8-hour timer.


To choose the best portable air conditioner, the rooms required to be conditioned and the cumulative square footage of these have to be considered. This data can be used at the US Department of Energy's air conditioner size calculator to finalize what strength is required.
Further, the style has to be selected. When portability is the prime requirement, a free standing air conditioner is the ideal choice. The different types in these are as follows.
Small Portable Air Conditioners
  • 7,500 BTU Free Standing Air Conditioner
  • 9,000 BTU Free Standing Air Conditioner
  • 9,000 BTU Digital Air Conditioner
  • 10,000 BTU Free Standing Air Conditioner
Medium Portable Air Conditioners
  • 12,000 BTU Free Standing Air Conditioner
  • 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner w/ Built-in Water pump
Large Portable Air Conditioners
  • 13,000 BTU Free standing air conditioner
  • 14,000 BTU Free Standing Air Conditioner Heater w/ion and UV light
  • 14,000 BTU Free Standing Air Conditioner w/ion and UV light
  • 14,000 BTU Air Conditioner
Area Covered and Respective Size Required
  • 100 to 150 square feet―5,000 BTU
  • 150 to 250 square feet―6,000 BTU
  • 250 to 300 square feet―7,000 BTU
  • 300 to 350 square feet―8,000 BTU
  • 350 to 400 square feet―9,000 BTU
  • 400 to 450 square feet―10,000
  • 450 to 550 square feet―12,000 BTU
  • 550 to 700 square feet―14,000 BTU
  • 700 to 1000 square feet―18,000 BTU
  • 1,000 to 1,400 square feet―23,000 BTU
In case the room is heavily shaded, the BTU capacity should be decreased by 10%. If the room is very sunny, the BTU capacity should be increased by 10%. If more than 2 people are present in the room, add 600 BTU for each individual.
If the unit is a kitchen, the capacity should to be increased by 4,000 BTU. Keeping these few tips in mind should help you get the perfect portable AC to get you through summer.