1 / 11

The 10 Best Portable Air Conditioners for Beating Summer Heat

The portable air conditioner is gaining ground on the window air conditioner, and it’s easy to see why. For many people, it’s a better alternative. It’s easier to set up and doesn’t require heavy lifting to install. These free-standing appliances have caster wheels that allow you to move them easily inside the room or relocate them from one room to another. All you have to do is attach a hose from the unit to a lightweight mount that fits in your window. It's a simple way to get cool air in any room.

How We Tested These Air Conditioners

We tested our air conditioners on the same day, in the same space for a set period with consistent moisture and indoor/outdoor temperature. We set the temperature on each air conditioner to 68 degrees, maximum fan speed, and aimed their outlet at a target eight feet away and measured the temperature at four locations on the target.

We investigated other metrics, too. We looked at the outlet temperature of each appliance to check for consistent temperature differential and we tested on a hard surface to ensure that rattles would be obvious. We tested all remotes to be sure they played nicely with the unit.

We tested the top three units in this review. They all performed well and should meet the needs of most users, producing a consistent temperature with a pleasant white noise. Because we know not everyone has the same demands, we recommended additional units based on our research into the market, their unique features, user reviews, and testing of similar options.