Portable air conditioners provide a convenient and cost effective  way to stay cool in the summer months without paying costly fees to add in central air conditioning to all those extra spaces –  like sheds, home extensions, or bonus rooms. 

Portable air conditioners are also more versatile than their window-mounted, split, and multi-split cousins. Using just an outlet and a single or dual hose array in the window, you can easily install a portable air conditioning unit with very few tools and without any outside help. You can also move the unit in just a few minutes, which is highly convenient for those with multiple rooms that need air conditioning but want to save money.

This article reviews some of the best windowless portable air conditioners on the market today. We’ve also included a handy buying guide and FAQ section, so you’ll know all you need to know before purchasing one of these units. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll have the information necessary to determine which one of these windowless portable air conditioners would be best for you and your needs.

  • Dual hose design 
  • Quick dehumidification
  • Quiet operation
  • Easily programmable
  • Activated carbon filter
  • Auto drain 
  • Premium casters for mobility
  • 1-year limited warranty

  • Affordable
  • Perfect for small rooms
  • Programmable via LED display
  • Easy-access washable filter
  • Long exhaust hose for increased mobility
  • Two-year warranty.

  • Rapid cooling within 30 minutes
  • Covers areas between 250-400 sq. ft.
  • 9000 BTU
  • Quiet operation
  • Included remote control
  • 24-hour energy saving timer
  • Almost silent sleep mode.
  • 1-year warranty

  • Powerful dehumidification 
  • Quiet operation
  • Dual hose design 
  • Easily programmable
  • Best for larger rooms
  • Self-evaporation
  • Warranty – 1-year Parts, 5-year Compressor & Tubing


The Whynter Elite ARC-122DS is one of the many Whynter units that have earned the company a reputation for some of the best portable AC’s on the market. 

This unit utilizes a dual hose assembly, which uses hoses for intake and exhaust to produce a more reliable cooling process. As a result, this unit cools rooms faster than most other units on our list and still comes with easily programmable settings that aid in ensuring your rooms are cooled before you enter them. 

While the fan is less powerful than we’d like, all other features are reliable, and the auto drain ensures you won’t be having to manually take out the condensate. Coming in at 12,000 British Thermal Units (a measurement of the cooling power of the unit), this is both one of the most reliable and powerful windowless portable air conditioners in its price point.

Pros

  • Dual hose design quickly cools rooms
  • Quick dehumidification
  • Quiet operation
  • Easily programmable
  • Remote control included

Cons

  • Unit is somewhat large
  • Dual hose assembly somewhat difficult to install
  • Low airflow when compared to other units


One of the many reasons why people may seek out a portable air conditioner is the ability to swap rooms relatively quickly. This is perhaps the strongest selling point of this Black & Decker portable air conditioner. At only 52.9 lbs, it is incredibly lightweight and includes a helpful LED display so you can clearly see which setting you are currently using. 

This model works well for smaller rooms, but don’t expect to cool large spaces with this unit. Likewise, while this unit is less expensive, it is also considerably louder than some of our other picks and is best in rooms where noise won’t pose much of a problem. Taking all of the above into consideration, though, this is a formidable unit for those who need to switch rooms more often or for first-time portable AC unit owners who want a more affordable option.

All in all, Black & Decker’s portable air conditioner is lightweight, compact, and best for use in multiple rooms or in locations that require lots of mobility. We’re big fans of this air conditioner, but operating at 75 decibels means this unit isn’t the best for bedrooms or relaxation areas.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Perfect for small rooms
  • Programmable via LED display
  • Easy-access washable filter
  • Lightweight at only 52.9 lbs
  • Long exhaust hose for increased mobility

Cons

  • Loud operation
  • Takes time to cool rooms
  • Ineffective in larger spaces
  • Somewhat weak build quality

Honeywell is a popular brand which is known for producing high-quality appliances. The Honeywell HL09CESWK is an affordable, stylish and powerful choice, which offers 9000 BTU for rapid cooling of spaces between 250-400 sq. ft. At 64 lbs, this unit is larger and has a heftier weight than the previous Black & Decker unit, but it is still easy to transport, thanks to the sturdy wheels on the base. 

Once you have switched it on, this portable air conditioner gets to work swiftly, emitting cooled air into the room within as little as 10 seconds. By the time 30 minutes has passed, the cooling effects of this unit will be clearly felt. Dual-motor technology creates a low whirring sounds, but the overall noise level created by the Honeywell HL09CESWK is impressively low – around 49 to 52 decibels when used at its most powerful setting. Even so, should you wish to reduce the noise levels when running this air conditioner overnight, the convenient fan-only or ‘sleep mode’ allows the Honeywell to run almost completely silently, so you can get a great night’s’ sleep without any interruptions. If you’re keeping an eye on your energy bills, this mode is also perfect for reducing energy consumption. 

Offering a choice of three fan speeds and a 24-hour energy saving timer, this portable air conditioner is simple to use without having to get up from your seat. The included remote control has a beautifully clear digital display, so you can easily change the settings at the push of a button from across the room. 

Overall, this windowless portable air conditioner from Honeywell makes a great choice for simple, fast-acting and convenient cooling during the summer months. The only real downsides to this product are its size and weight, which may be an issue for older or frailer users. Some customers have also complained of a burning smell during use, although this could be caused by a lack of adequate maintenance, rather than an issue with the unit itself.

Pros

  • Rapid cooling within 30 minutes
  • Capable of covering areas between 250-400 sq. ft.
  • 9000 BTU
  • Quiet operation
  • Simple to use remote control
  • 24-hour energy saving timer and sleep mode.

Cons

  • Bulkier and heavier than other models
  • May produce a burning smell during use.

The final dual hose portable AC unit on our list is one that skips aesthetics in favor of a more effective cooling process. Using a self-evaporating system, you won’t need to worry about emptying out any condensation pans. And since this unit can remove up to 6 pints of water an hour from the air, dehumidifying a room is quicker than with any other unit.

Coming in at over 90 pounds, though, this product is heavy, and while the casters are more effective here than on the Honeywell unit, this does put somewhat of a dampener on portability. Still, with quick cooling and fairly quiet operation built in, this Friedrich unit overcomes any perceived flaws and is a must-have for humid environments that need their rooms cooled as fast as possible.

To summarize, excellent dehumidification and powerful cooling strength are the two main focuses of this Friedrich product, which houses lots of features in a simple design. This unit is far heavier than most, though, and somewhat difficult to install and move.

Pros

  • Powerful dehumidification perfect for humid environments
  • Quiet operation
  • Dual hose design quickly cools rooms
  • Easily programmable
  • Best for larger rooms
  • Self-evaporation

Cons

  • Very heavy and bulky
  • Somewhat dated design
  • Little control over operation
  • Dual hose assembly somewhat difficult to install

Comparison Chart

FeatureWhynter Elite ARC-122DSBLACK+DECKER Portable Air Conditioner BPACT10WTHoneywell HL09CESWKFriedrich Dual Hose P12B
Single/Dual-HoseDual HoseSingle HoseSingle HoseDual Hose
BTU12,000 BTU10,000 BTU9000 BTU12,000 BTU
Weight60 lbs52.9 lbs64 lbs93 lbs
Dehumidification3.2 pts/hr2.32 pts/hr3.3 pts/hr6 pts/hr
Dimensions17 x 29.5 x 1616.5 x 11.5 x 2618.9 x 15.7 x 31.315.5 x 19.5 x 33.5
Noise Level< 52 dB< 75 dB< 52 dB< 53 db
Warranty1-year2-year1-year1-year Parts, 5-year Compressor & Tubing

Buyer’s Guide:

Windowless Portable Air Conditioners

Windowless portable air conditioners make a great alternative to window units for a number of reasons. Some homeowner associations do not allow the installation of window units, because of the way they appear when installed. Portable air conditioners are also a much more economical choice for single rooms than window mounted air conditioners, especially if you are only going to be using them for a few months of the year. 

As portable air conditioners are easy to move around your home as needed, you can transport the unit to wherever you are currently spending time. Window units are static, and cannot be simply moved to another space which requires cooling. Instead, you will need to leave the window unit running for much longer to enable the cooling effect to spread throughout your home. Clearly, this is a much less efficient and expensive way of cooling certain rooms.

A portable air conditioner is a self-contained AC system which is designed to cool individual rooms. These units are generally upright in design and come complete with a simple-to-use installation kit which takes minutes to set up. Almost all units come with a wheeled base, so that they can be easily transported from one room to another. 

As all air conditioners take in warm air, before extracting heat and moisture, there is always some heat which needs to be dealt with. Many models have an option to deal with this by increasing the use of refrigerant, but there is also the option of using the supplied exhaust kit to expel warm air out of a window. This kit consists of hoses and a window slider, which is simple to install and move from room to room as needed.

There are many different metrics through which to measure portable air conditioner units. While we’ve mentioned a few of these points before, we think it’s important that you keep the following in mind before committing to one of these four units:

Single Vs. Dual-Hose AC Units

You may have noticed that the single hose units are generally more affordable and lighter than their dual hose brethren. And while accessions to this rule exist, this is because of the more complex tubing required to operate a dual hose system.

How do they differ? The answer has to do with negative air pressure. Single hose units create negative suction thanks to the single source of obtained air. This suction probably won’t be noticeable for you, but if the room you’re trying to cool is adjacent to warmer rooms, this suction might result in a slower cooling process. Dual hose units may be more bulky and cumbersome as a whole, but they resolve the negative air pressure problem and can cool rooms nearly twice as fast. 

Whether or not you need a single or dual hose unit is entirely dependent upon your needs. We generally feel, though, that dual hose setups are better for rooms that need to be cooled quickly or are in humid environments, while single hose units are best for affordability and ease of use. 

Volume & Features

When it comes to portable air conditioning units, the volume is a major consideration. As we’ve noted here, volume for air conditioning units is measured in decibels, which can provide a clear objective measurement to the loudness of the unity. It is important to remember, however, that decibels are exponential, not linear. For example, an air conditioning unit that runs at 50 decibels is half as loud as one that operations at 60 decibels. This is why you need to ensure that you’re comfortable with the decibel level of your unit before purchasing it.

Other features that come with air conditioning units are unnecessary, but can help sweeten their best qualities or minimize their worst. Easily programmable units are also preferable for those who keep a set schedule and don’t want to worry about messing with the unit on a daily basis. Features like self-evaporation as reported on the Friedrich unit are also handy for a hands-off experience.

Dehumidification

Finally, there’s the issue of dehumidification. Removing the humidity from the air of a room is going to result in condensation. For central AC units, this process is generally unseen by the end user, but when it comes to portable units, this process often results in periodic pan emptying. The dehumidification of an air conditioner can be automatic as well, which can simplify your experience. For those who live in more humid environments, you’ll also want to consider the amount of dehumidification you can expect from your unit, which is measured in pints per hour. 

The cooling power of the unit itself (measured in British Thermal Units) is also worth considering for a good dehumidifying portable AC unit. A combination of a high pints per hour metric along with a high BTU is going to mean a unit that isn’t afraid of a little humidity.

Pros:
  • Very easy to install – Windowless portable AC units are incredibly simple to install, with no handyman or DIY experience required. Simply plug into the power and switch on. If you wish to use the exhaust, the hoses easily attach to the rear of the unit and can be placed out of the nearest window. 
  • Can be used wherever needed – Portable windowless AC units are perfect if you only need to cool the room that you are in. Their mobility means that you can simply take the unit with you should you move to another room. 
  • Easy to operate – Windowless portable AC units often have a handful of settings which are easy to navigate. Many models come complete with a remote control, so you can switch settings from the other side of the room. 
  • Highly effective – Unless you had a window mounted unit in every room, the cooled air from a window mounted air conditioner in another room may take some time to reach all the areas of your home. Because a portable air conditioner can be transported to the room you need to cool, this makes them a quicker and more effective option for single room cooling. 
Cons:
  • May be noisy – Some portable air conditioners can be quite noisy when used on their most powerful settings. Many models offer a ‘sleep mode’ or ‘energy saving’ mode which reduces noise levels, but for those who are sensitive to noise, these may not be quiet enough. 
  • Not as economical as window units –  Although portable air conditioners are a great solution to single room cooling, they are not as energy efficient as window mounted units. This is because warm air is discharged into the room alongside the cooled air, so more refrigerant is needed to counteract this. Even if you use the exhaust venting hose out of the window to expel warm air, the fact that the window is open will often mean the air conditioner has to work harder to keep the room cool. 
  • Require regular emptying – Many portable AC units have a tank which collects moisture extracted from the air. These tanks will need to be emptied as soon as they are filled, to allow the air conditioner to work effectively. This may become frustrating if you live in a humid climate. 
  • Not so effective for very large rooms –  Portable windowless air conditioners are highly-effective for most rooms; however, if you wish to cool a very large room, one with a very high ceiling or a large commercial space, a portable air conditioner is unlikely to be powerful enough. 
Windowless Portable AC’s

Pros

  • Simple to install with no experience
  • Can be used wherever needed
  • Easy to operate
  • Quick and effective single room cooling

Cons

  • May be noisy
  • Not as energy efficient as window mounted units
  • Water collection tanks need to be emptied often
  • Not very effective for large rooms.

  • How Often Will I Need to Replace the Filters in my Portable AC Unit?
  • When you receive your windowless portable air conditioner, the user manual from the manufacturer will provide advice regarding how often the filters need to be changed. However, it goes without saying that the more you use it, the more often the filters will need replacing. 

    Some portable air conditioners use washable filters which last much longer. Usually, to clean these filters, all you’ll need to do is slide them out and wash them gently with a mild detergent and warm water and leave them to dry thoroughly before replacing.

  • Is It Safe to Leave a Windowless Portable AC Unit on All Day?
  • Many portable air conditioners will collect the condensed moisture extracted from the air into a tray, usually in the base of the unit. The risk of water overflowing and interfering with the electrical components in the air conditioner if left unattended is incredibly low. 

    All models which feature a water collection tray will automatically shut off once the tray becomes full, so there is no need to worry about leaving your portable windowless air conditioner unsupervised. The same is often true in relation to the filters in the unit; should these filters become overloaded and require cleaning, the air conditioner will switch itself off to avoid any damage. 

    In some cases, plugging your portable air conditioner into an overloaded socket may cause a short circuit to occur. This is because portable AC units require quite a high quantity of power to run; therefore, it is advised that you use your air conditioner with its own dedicated socket to avoid this risk.

  • How Do I Clean my Portable AC Unit?
  • Cleaning your portable windowless AC unit is fairly easy once you know how. Below, we have provided a simple how-to guide to cleaning a portable air conditioner, so that it continues to work at its best. 

    (If your unit has a water collection tray, make sure this has been emptied before you begin.) 

    1. Run the fan mode – Even though any water tray will have been emptied, make sure to run the fan mode for a couple of hours will ensure the interior of the unit is completely dry. Then unplug the air conditioner from the power socket.
    1. Remove and clean/replace the filters – Remove the filters and clean according to the manufacturer instructions. If any of the filters need replacing, now is a good time to do this.
    1. Clean air intake vents – The air intake vents are usually the first place to noticeably accumulate dust and dirt. A vacuum cleaner with a handheld attachment offers a simple way to remove clean the vents, but a damp microfiber cloth will work well too.
    2. Wipe clean outer housing – The outer housing is perhaps the easiest area to keep clean day-to-day. Wipe over the housing with a damp cloth to remove any dust and dirt. Do not use any harsh cleaning products or detergents as these can damage the housing.

Final Thoughts 

As we have seen, as useful as windowless portable AC units are, there’s a lot to consider before purchasing, such as aesthetic design, volume, dehumidification, British Thermal Units, hose assembly, and more. All of these factors are important when shopping for a portable air conditioner to help you feel more comfortable at home during the summer months. 

We hope our in-depth reviews and buyers guide has helped you to decide which is the best windowless portable AC unit for you. But if you’re still unsure, we recommend the Whynter Elite unit as the best overall product for quick cooling, dehumidification, and easy programming. The Friedrich unit provides similar functionality with a stronger focus on dehumidification, but as mentioned above, both units come with the pros and cons associated with dual hose assemblies.

The Honeywell HL09CESWK is a great pick for larger rooms and a stronger focus on aesthetic design, while the Black & Decker unit is the most affordable and possibly the simplest to use for a beginner.

In any case, each of these four portable air conditioning units can make quick work of outside rooms and make even the most uncomfortable of locations just a little bit cooler. We strongly recommend any of these four products to make sure that you never have to fear warm weather again.

Further Reading

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