The Best Portable AC Unit for an Apartment – Consumer Reviews

When you think about the summer, you think of fun BBQs, going to the beach, or hanging out at the pool. You usually don’t think about all those hot days you sweat inside because you don’t have enough AC at home. While the heat of the summer can be excellent when you’re outside, having a hot and stifling home will leave you feeling miserable.

Living in a home that is too hot can also cause health conditions. People can die due to extreme heat, so AC units serve an essential purpose. If you don’t own an AC unit, buying a portable air conditioner can be a good option since it saves you energy and money when you use it; plus, they are simple to install and can be moved from room to room. Here are a few tips and reviews to help you find the best portable AC unit for an apartment.

Reasons to Buy a Portable AC Unit

A portable unit can be a smart choice if you don’t own an air conditioning unit. Not only will they help you save money and energy, but they also have a lot of benefits.

Many homes these days are equipped with central air conditioning, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have specific areas that are still warm. Using a portable unit will keep you comfortable and help you save energy costs if you don’t have to cool your entire home. If you only use one or two rooms in your home, this can be a massive benefit since cooling your whole house to keep just one room cool is inefficient. It’s better to cool one specific area.

Types of Portable Air Conditioners

There are two categories of portable air conditioners that are based on their configuration:

  • Single-hose AC units – This type of unit uses the same hose for both exhaust and intake of air. With a single-hose unit, you can still cool the area you are using it in, but it will need to work harder, making it less efficient than a dual-hose air conditioner. However, they are less expensive, and they work just fine in a small room like a studio apartment or bedroom.
  • Dual-hose AC units – Using two separate hoses, the dual-hose AC unit needs one hose for intake and one for exhaust. This more energy-efficient design can cool a room almost 40% faster than a single-hose unit. This is the best choice if you want to cool a big area.

Any portable AC unit will come with a window venting kit that helps to ensure that your cold air will stay in while the exhaust keeps all the heat outside. Remember to look for an AC unit that uses self-evaporating technology, allowing you to get rid of condensation produced by the unit, or you will have to empty the tank yourself periodically.

See Also:

Considerations When Buying a Portable AC Unit for an Apartment

  • Unit Size
    While a portable air conditioner is often purchased for use in just one room, they are sometimes intended to be used as a portable AC unit and moved from room to room. If you want the unit to move around, be aware of the AC unit’s size and weight to ensure it is something you can pick up or move quickly on wheels. If you plan to take it in a vehicle, make sure it will fit in your car or truck. Even when you plan to keep it in just one place, you want to ensure it fits in that spot. Take the time to measure the area and match it to the product’s specifications to ensure it will work. You may need to rearrange the room to get it to fit, so make sure you are fine with the new setup.
  • Room Size
    While the size of the AC unit is essential, measuring the size of the room you want to cool is just as vital. A portable air conditioner typically won’t cool an entire apartment or house since they are intended to cool a specific room like a living room or bedroom. So, it would be best if you made sure that the unit you are buying can cool the size room you want to put it in. BTUs measure an AC unit’s power. Typically, the higher the BTUs, the larger the unit’s space can cool. It’s not uncommon for a manufacturer to specify the room size an air conditioner will cool to help you determine if it will work for your needs.
  • Energy Use
    You may see your energy use rise depending on how you use your portable air conditioning unit unless you use it to lessen how much you use your central air. Check with Energy Star’s directory of portable air conditioners to see how different models perform regarding energy efficiency. If you must save on energy costs, find a portable AC unit with a programmable thermostat that will switch off the unit automatically after your room reaches a specific temperature. Also, keep the unit well maintained and clean to keep it working efficiently since an AC unit that has not been appropriately maintained will use more energy.
  • Ventilation
    Since a portable air conditioner vents out a lot of hot air, you must keep it close to a window. Usually, a portable air conditioner will come equipped with a window venting kit and instructions that will tell you how to set up the AC unit so it will vent correctly. Typically, these units are easy to set up, making them easy to move between rooms when needed.
  • Installation
    Typically, a portable air conditioner isn’t tricky to install or wouldn’t be considered a portable unit. Your main issue will be setting the window kits up for proper ventilation. Hopefully, your unit will have clear instructions and a step-by-step guide on how to set up the window ventilation, but anyone with basic DIY experience shouldn’t have a problem with this easy and fast setup. And remember that it is always helpful to read reviews for the product first to see how complex the installation might be. For those planning to use the unit in several rooms, it can be helpful to buy additional vent kits so that it is already installed in the other rooms where you will be using the unit. This will make moving the unit easier since all you will need to do is set the hose up and not have to worry about installing the vent in the window correctly again.
  • Ease of Use
    Typically, a portable air conditioner is pretty easy to use, but there are always a few considerations to consider when buying the unit. Does it have intuitive controls? How easy is setting up the AC unit according to your cooling preferences? Is it easy to clean and maintain? Usually, these units come with a replaceable filter, but that is another thing you must keep up with so that the machine continues to run effectively. You need to figure out how much you are willing to deal with when it comes to using the portable AC unit and find the unit that fits your needs the best.

Top 4 Best Portable AC Unit for an Apartment – Reviews

1) Whynter Elite ARC-122DS Air Conditioner

Best good housekeeping dehumidifier reviews
Check the price of this product

Featuring a compact design, the Whynter Elite ARC-122DS uses a dual-hose system that gives you more efficient cooling and better use of space. This is the perfect solution for any warm spots in your office or house. Easy to set up and carry, this portable AC unit gives you excellent cooling relief in any area with too much humidity or where a traditional AC unit will not work.

Simply set up this unit indoors, including server rooms, data closets, garages, classrooms, bedrooms, and workshops. Providing 12,000 BTUs, this portable and compact unit also comes with a dehumidifier mode that lets you remove 76 pints of moisture within 24 hours. During operation, the unit uses a washable pre-filter and an activated carbon air filter.

The Whynter ARC-122DS also comes with an exhaust and intake hose that gives you more cooling power, consistent air pressure, and air intake that provides a faster cooling rate than a unit with a single hose. Plus, it helps to save energy and money by only running it when it is needed. You also get a programmable timer, so you can let it cycle automatically, set the unit to start before you get home, or it can turn the machine off after you have left.

The unit has a remote control that allows you to easily change the dehumidifier, speed, and temperature settings from a distance. Equipped with rolling caster wheels, you can quickly move this unit from room to room, and the adaptable design of the Whynter ARC-122DS is the perfect choice for any room up to 400 sq. feet.


  • Installation is very easy, and it comes with dual hoses that don’t require modifications to the window
  • The included thermostat is pretty accurate
  • It comes with an easy to clean and take out filter


  • It is a little noisy
  • The instructions aren’t very good

2) Black&Decker BPACT08WT Air Conditioner

Portable air conditioners for large and small rooms
Check the price of this product

The versatile Black & Decker BPACT08WT portable air conditioner will cool, dehumidify, and circulate air to help you survive those hot summers. Providing immediate and uninterrupted excellent comfort, this portable ac unit is super quiet and includes LED control that is easy to use. You also get side handles for carrying and rolling casters, making moving from room to room easier.

Perfect for rooms between 100 and 150 sq. feet, the Black & Decker BPACT08WT will keep your room cool and comfortable all summer. While it won’t work in a crank window, it will work in a sliding or double-hung window. And to lessen vibration and noise, you should place it firmly on the floor in an area that will support it.

This is also an easy-to-install unit that only needs you to connect the duct before ensuring it works correctly. The design of the Black & Decker BPACT08WT features vertical motion engineering that creates a powerful and steady flow of air that keeps the temperature consistent in any room. And the reusable filter easily slides out, so you can rinse it before using it again.

The LED digital display includes a sleep mode and a 24-hour on-and-off timer. The Black & Decker also features a bucketless design that combines a fan, cooling, and a dehumidification mode while providing noiseless and straightforward operation.


  • This is a very easy to install unit
  • It easily rolls on canisters for storage when you no longer need it
  • The filter is easy to slide in and out for cleaning


  • It is pretty loud when the compressor kicks in

3) MIDEA MPF08CR81-E Air Conditioner

Portable Ac with remote control for easy use
Check the price of this product

With easy portability and control, the Midea MPF08CR81-E has a rating of 8,000 BTUs and is perfect for rooms up to 100 sq. feet. The easy-to-read LED display allows you to set your preferred settings, while the remote control will enable you to do it from a distance. And the reusable filter is washable, helping to save you money while keeping the machine working efficiently.

This unit includes several modes that help to make your life easier. The sleep mode will adjust the temperature automatically throughout the night to help keep you cool and align with the natural sleep cycle of your body. You also get an environmentally friendly timer that will shut off the machine automatically at night, helping you save money and energy.

The easy-to-use control panel allows you to adjust the settings on the temperature, fan speed, timer, sleep mode, oscillation, and operation mode. The included remote control comes with a backlight and allows you to adjust the operation modes and temperature. The remote also has a proximity sensor that will change the temperature based on the distance from the unit, giving you a more comfortable cooling experience.

Since the Midea MPF08CR81-E comes with a replaceable filter, you can have better air quality without worrying about expensive filter replacements. A filter alert function also tells you when you need to replace the filter.

Equipped with five operational modes and three fan speeds, this machine will allow you to find your preferred combination of settings so you always stay comfortable. This machine also has easy installation and works with sliding and hung windows. It also comes with all the necessary installation accessories to get it up and to run.


  • The unit cools down a room really well
  • The filter is easy to wash and put back in the unit
  • It has a simple set up and the foam is super sticky


  • The included exhaust hose is too short
  • It isn’t clear if you need a drain hose

4) hOmeLabs HME020235N

ACs for clean and cool air
Check the price of this product

Energy-efficient and portable, the hOmeLabs Air Conditioning unit is perfect for a room measuring 450 to 600 sq. feet. This quiet AC unit uses a horizontal window with an automatic vertical swing function allowing it to distribute airflow evenly throughout a room. It is super easy to install, and there isn’t a heavy AC unit to lift.

Equipped with wheels, the hOmeLabs AC unit can move from room to room as long as there is window accessibility. All you need to do is attach the hose and the window slide adapter before plugging it in, and you will be cool in no time. It also has a built-in dehumidifier that lets out hot air through an exhaust hose as your room cools.

This AC unit includes a replaceable air filter that you can easily wash, keeping your air clean and the machine running efficiently. With the filter indicator light, you will know when to pass the air filter, which should be done every two weeks. It also has a full-featured remote control that allows you to set fan speed, preferred temperatures, activate the eco-friendly sleep feature, and change cooling modes.


  • The unit works really well to keep a room cold
  • The wheels make it easy to move around if you want to use it in another room
  • The setup is pretty easy and quick


  • You have to buy window foam to add to what you are given to keep the room insulated
  • The vent shouldn’t be on the top but in the front to push the cold air into the room

Final Verdict

The winner of the best portable air conditioner is the Whynter Elite ARC-122DS. This compact unit uses a dual-hose system that gives you more efficient cooling and better use of space. Not only is it easy to set up and carry, but this portable AC unit also gives you a lot of cooling relief in areas with too much humidity or where a regular air conditioning unit won’t work.

Giving you 12,000 BTUs, this portable and compact AC unit also features a dehumidifier mode that lets you remove 76 pints of moisture from the air over 24 hours. It includes a washable pre-filter, an activated carbon air filter during operation, and an exhaust and intake hose that cools off a room faster than a single hose unit.

You can easily change the dehumidifier, speed, and temperature settings with a programmable timer and remote control. Equipped with rolling caster wheels, you can quickly move the unit from room to room, making it the perfect choice for a room up to 400 sq. feet. The winner of the best portable AC unit for an apartment is the Whynter Elite ARC-122DS, hands down.