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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 that you spend sweating inside because you don’t have enough AC at your home. While the heat of the summer can be nice when you’re outside, having a home that is hot and stifling will just 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 really do serve an important 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

If you don’t own an air conditioning unit, a portable unit can be a smart choice. 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 certain 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 huge benefit since cooling your entire house to keep just one room cool is not very efficient. It’s better to just 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 is a more energy-efficient design that is able to cool a room almost 40% faster than a single-hose unit. If you want to cool a big area, this is the best choice.

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 that is produced by the unit or you will have to empty the tank yourself periodically.

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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, sometimes they are intended to really be used as a portable AC unit and moved from room to room. If you do want the unit to move around, be aware of the AC unit’s size and weight to make sure it is some that you can pick up or move easily 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 make sure it fits in that spot. Take the time to measure the area and match it to the product’s specifications to ensure it will fit. You may need to rearrange the room to get it to fit, so make sure you are fine with the new set up.

  • Room Size
    While the size of the AC unit is important, it is just as vital to measure the size of the room you want to cool. 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, you need to make sure that the unit you are buying is capable of cooling the size room you want to put it in.

    An AC unit’s power is measured by BTUs. Typically, the higher the BTUs, the larger the room that the unit 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 place to use it to lessen how much you are using your central air. Check with Energy Star’s directory of portable air conditioners to see how different models perform as far as energy efficiency. If it is important that you save on energy costs, make sure to 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 maintained properly will use more energy.
  • Ventilation
    Since a portable air conditioner vents out a lot of hot air, you will need to keep it close to a window. Usually, a portable air conditioner will come equipped with a window venting kit as well as instructions that will tell you how to set up the AC unit so it will vent correctly. Typically, these units are pretty easy to set up making them easy to move between rooms when needed.
  • Installation
    Typically, a portable air conditioner isn’t difficult to install or they really 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 clean 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 set up. And remember that it is always helpful to read reviews for the product first to see how difficult the installation might be.

    For those that plan 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 you will be using the unit in. 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 keep in mind when buying the unit. Does it have intuitive controls? How easy is it to set up the AC unit to your cooling preferences? Is it easy to clean and maintain? Usually, these units come with a replaceable filter, but that is also another thing you will have to keep up with so that the machine continues to run effectively. Basically, 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.

The Best Portable AC Unit for an Apartment – Reviews

1) Whynter Elite ARC-122DS Air Conditioner

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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 if you have any warm spots in your office or house. Easy to set up and carry, this portable AC unit gives you great cooling relief in any area that has too much humidity or where a traditional AC unit will not work.

Simply set up this unit in pretty much any indoor area 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 a 24-hour period. The unit uses a washable pre-filter and an activated carbon air filter during operation.

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 cooling rate that is faster than a unit that has 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 comes equipped with a remote control allowing you to easily change the dehumidifier, speed, temperature settings from a distance. Equipped with rolling caster wheels, you can easily 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

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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 cool 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 that make it easier to move from room to room.

Perfect for rooms between 100 and 150 sq. feet, the Black & Decker BPACT08WT will keep your room cool and comfortable all summer long. 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 making sure it is working 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 that you can rinse before using it again.

The included 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 also providing noiseless and simple 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) Della 048-GM-48383 Air Conditioner

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Featuring a compact size and quiet operation, the Della 048-GM-48383 has three operation modes including fan only, cooling and dehumidifying. Equipped with four wheels, it is an easy to maneuver machine in case you need to use it in several rooms. The included LED control panels allow you to set the operation mode, fan speed, timer, sleep mode, and oscillation to your preferences.

The Della AC unit also works as a dehumidifier reducing humidity levels in your home and preventing mildew, mold, and allergens from existing. This helps you to breathe easier and helps you feel more comfortable in your office or home by lessening irritations to your respiratory system and skin. The 24-hour timer helps you save money and energy by turning the unit off and on automatically, so it will turn off after you leave for work and back on again right before you get home.

The energy-saving sleep mode will adjust the temperature automatically overnight so that it isn’t cooling as much as your sleep. This unit is also pretty quiet featuring a decibels range between 49 and 42 thanks to its dual-motor technology. And, it comes with a reusable filter that you can wash helping you to save money while helping the machine work more efficiently.

Providing up to 12,000 BTUs, the Della AC unit works in rooms up to 550 sq. feet making it the perfect choice for workshops, garages, dorms, condos, apartments, offices, and bedrooms. Draining will be necessary when the unit is on heating or dehumidifying mode, but not when it is cooling. Using self-evaporation technology that is automatic, this unit does not have a bucket to empty. There is also a simple three-step process to vent the machine through the window using the included exhaust hose.


  • The unit cools rooms down quickly and cools a large room
  • It will fit any sliding window and comes with wheels and a remote
  • You don’t have to worry about emptying water out of it


  • It is a little noisy
  • There aren’t many options for mounting the exhaust hose

4) MIDEA MPF08CR81-E Air Conditioner

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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 allows 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 to save both 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 includes a proximity sensor that will adjust the temperature based on the distance it is 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 having to worry about expensive filter replacements. There is also a filter alert function that 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 features easy installation and works with both sliding and hung windows. It also comes with all the necessary installation accessories that you need to get it up and running.


  • 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

5) hOmeLabs HME020235N

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Energy-efficient and portable, the hOmeLabs Air Conditioning unit is perfect for a room measuring 450 to 600 sq. feet. Using a horizontal window, this quiet AC unit comes 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 have to lift.

Equipped with wheels, the hOmeLabs AC unit can move from room to room as needed as long as there is window accessibility. All you need to do is attach the hose along with the window slide adapter before plugging it in and you will be cool in no time. It also comes with 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 it’s time to wash the air filter, which should be done every two weeks or so. It also comes with a full-feature 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

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 that have 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 a 24-hour period. It includes a washable pre-filter and an activated carbon air filter during operation as well as an exhaust and intake hose that cools off a room faster than a single hose unit.

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