When you’re smack in the middle of one of UK’s cold winters, it can be a bit hard to imagine ever needing an air conditioner. But just wait till the height of spring and summer when temperatures rival those of an average cooking oven. There’s nothing more uncomfortable and irritating like a hot, dry and stuffy house.
This is when almost every room becomes uninhabitable, and you can’t focus on any task you set out to do. See, if it’s cold, at least you can wrap yourself in a warm coat and blanket. But how on earth do you escape degree upon degree of pure, unadulterated sweltering heat?
Of course, you could always get a fan and try to beat the heat; but at this rate, it’ll be like trying to down an elephant with a toothpick. UK’s summers are becoming quite hot that you will need about three fans per room. Alternatively, you could turn up the AC, but the electricity bills are more likely to give you a stroke long before the heat does.
If you want to have the best of both worlds, then what you really need is the best portable air conditioner in the market. Portable air conditioners work better and faster than fans while still keeping the electric bills to a bare minimum.
Best Portable Air Conditioner – Our Top Picks
- Cooling Capacity
- Extraction Level
- Our Review
- Our Rating
- Cooling, Dehumidifer
- 44.9 x 39.5 x 75.0 cm
- 9800 BTU
- Up to 80 m3
- 34 L/day
We have gone through a myriad of models and talked to all sorts of homeowners in an effort to pinpoint the best portable air conditioners in the UK. Here’s what we found out as well as some information that will help you get the best unit for your home.
Portable Air Conditioner Reviews
1. OUR TOP PICK: AEG ChillFlex Pro Portable Air Conditioner
If you want a summer cooling solution that is cheaper to buy and operate than a central AC but better than a fan, the AEG AXP26U338CW ChillFlex Pro is a great choice.
It is a compact portable air conditioner, manufactured by a respectable German brand, that comes with three integrated functions.
It can cool a room down to 16 degrees Celsius, it can dehumidify your humid and mould-friendly indoor air and it can also operate as a fan.
Like other portable ACs, you’ll need to vent it outside a sliding window or door to get the hot air out of the room. But it’s an easy process that takes less than 10 minutes.
The ChillFlex Pro comes with three fan speed settings, an on/off timer and an auto mode that maintains the room at a constant temperature.
It also has caster wheels to make it easier to move it from room to room. Read our full review of AEG ChillFlex Pro.
2. GOOD ALTERNATIVE: De’Longhi PAC N82 ECO Real Feel Portable Air Conditioner
The Pinguino PAC N82 is among the smaller models in the Pinguino portable AC range. But despite being an entry level air conditioner, it’s actually more robust, energy efficient and powerful than most other portable units in its class.
Users can enjoy a maximum cooling capacity of 9400 BTU which is more than suitable for rooms up to 80 cubic meters.
The PAC N82 is packed with the latest in cooling technology and plenty of other environmentally friendly features. These include air to air and real feel systems that use data from the environment to set the desired temperature.
And like all portable Delonghi air conditioners in the pinguino range, the N82 also comes with a built in dehumidifier to achieve maximum comfort. If you’re looking for all-inclusive air conditioning without the hassle of installation, the N82 might be just right up your alley.
Read our full review of Delonghi PAC N82.
3. BEST SMALL PORTABLE AIR CONDITIONER: TROTEC PAC 2000 E Local Air Conditioner
The Trotec Pac 2000 is a 7000-BTU portable AC designed for small to midsize rooms. It comes with 3 functions: cool, dry (dehumidify) and fan. Using the included remote control you can change the fan speed, set a timer for automatic switch on/off and activate the night mode.
It’s a manual drainage AC so you have to drain it regularly. A warning light will come on when the water levels inside the AC is too high.
It has a nice homely design and operates quietly enough that it won’t distract you or wake the baby. It’s probably the best compact home air conditioner on the UK market now.
Read our full review of Trotec Pac 2000.
4. BEST LARGE PORTABLE AIR CONDITIONER: De’Longhi PAC N87 Pinguino Air-to-Air Silent Air Conditioner
The De’Longhi PAC N87 Pinguino Air Conditioner is without question a great unit with all the features that typically come with a high end model. It’s 9800 BTU cooling capacity makes it ideal for small and medium rooms (up to 30 sq metres or 322 sq feet).
However, it’s the low noise levels that really make this conditioner stand out. Sure, not all AC can be used in sensitive places, but the N87 is so silent that it can be used on full setting in a nursery, library, hospital or your office without being noticed.
Combine that with the stylish design and Italian heritage and you have something that you can proudly display in your home. And if you need a truly portable unit, the handles and castors will make your heavy lifting a lot easier.
What’s more, the unit also incorporates a dehumidifier to help mitigate the overly humid UK climate. I don’t know about you, but what more could you ask for in an air conditioner? Read our full review of De’Longhi PAC N87 Pinguino.
5. BEST FAN FOR HOME: Dyson AM07 Cooling Tower Fan
The Dyson AM07 is not a portable air conditioner in the usual sense, nor it is your normal fan with spinning blades and a loud whirring noise to keep you awake at night. Instead, it uses bladeless technology first invented by Toshiba in 1981. Instead of having visible blades, they are hidden inside the cylindrical base.
These blades pull in air from the bottom and channel it upwards where it comes out of slits in the ring. As the air comes out, it sucks in more air from the surroundings, creating a powerful air stream that cools the room down in no time. Dyson calls this Air Multiplier technology.
The Dyson AM07 is not just powerful it’s quiet too, making it a great choice for nurseries, bedrooms and offices.
There are 10 airflow settings to choose from, a sleep timer and two arrow buttons that let you direct airflow towards a particular direction.
The Dyson AM07 is way more expensive than a normal fan but it provides better and faster cooling, less noise and maximum safety for kids since there are no exposed blades.
It looks pretty cool as well. Read our full review.
The Inventor Cool portable AC is an easy and energy efficient way to cool a single room. Instead of using the central AC which uses a lot of energy or resorting to a fan which doesn’t cool effectively, this portable AC lets you cool and dehumidify any room in your home.
It comes with everything you need to set it up, including a complete window kit. There is also a remote control with settings for fan-only, temperature and dehumidification.
Read our full review of Inventor Cool
- Easy to use and Eco-friendly
- Fairly quiet.
- Has caster wheels for moving from room to room.
- Involves a bit of work during setup but it’s nothing you can’t handle.
Coming to you with both powerful heating and cooling functions, the Igenix IG9902 Portable Air Conditioner is the ultimate unit for all year round climate control. In addition to having a 9000 BTU cooling capacity, the IG9902 model has 3 in 1 multifunctional capabilities for heating, cooling and dehumidifying the air as well. The unit is able to hit cooling temperatures between 18 to 32 degrees and extract as much as 20 litres of water from the air every day. However, it only works efficiently in small and midsized rooms.
Read our full review of Igenix Portable Air Conditioner.
- Decent dehumidification capabilities
- Comes with broad range of temperature variations
- Multifunctional features for all year round application
- The IG9902 Portable Air Conditioner is a bit heavy and not as portable as Igenix says
If you are tired of the heat and want to beat your allergies at the same time, then this is an excellent place to start. Complete with a smooth and roll off the tongue name, the EXP09HN1WI portable air conditioner strikes you as a well built white unit. The unit is designed to work best in modest sized rooms, so most homes in the UK should be just fine. Electrolux included both a heating and cooling function for all year round use as well as a dehumidifier that really improves the quality of breathable air. However, people with allergies will be especially glad to hear about the built-in air purifier that traps all allergens and contaminants. Just one problem though, the manufacturer could have included a collection tank and reduced the rear piping that reduces the unit’s portability significantly.
Read our full review of Electrolux Portable Air Conditioner.
- Great for controlling allergens
- Extremely user friendly design
- Multifunctional unit for all year round use
- You will have to try your hand in plumbing to get the most out of the unit
Standing proud and tall like a computer CPU, this portable air conditioner from Amcor comes with a very straightforward and user-friendly design. But don’t be fooled by its simplicity; the unit boasts of a 4 in 1 function that includes your typical conditioner, heater, fan and dehumidifying system. All these features make it more than ideal for all year round use. With an exceptionally powerful 12000 BTU cooling capacity and a low power consumption rating, Amcor has really given customers more value for their money. The unit also boasts of a well-designed control panel with setting for function, time, intensity, among others.
Read our full review of Amcor Portable Air Conditioning Unit.
- One of the most versatile air conditioners in the UK
- Super low power consumption
- Space-saving construction and design
- For all its power, the Amcor 12000 BTU tends to run a tad noisy
EcoAir’s new ECO8p portable air conditioner is among the most popular units for budget conscious customers worldwide. If you are looking to save money on both the purchase as well as daily operating costs, then your search ends here and now. The ECO8P offers one of the lowest efficient energy ratings in the UK because it only comes with a cooling function. It’s this specialization and an 8000 BTU cooling capacity that makes EcoAir’s new unit energy efficient and affordable. However, we’re all glad that the manufacturer chose to include a dehumidifier with a modest moisture suction rate of 0.75 litres per hour.
Read our full review of EcoAir Portable Air Conditioning Unit.
- Industry leading energy saving capabilities
- User friendly controls with LED display
- Memory function for convenient operation
- In addition to having no collection tank, the ECO8P is quite heavy at 23 Kg
The Gree portable air conditioner is among one of the best portable units in the UK. Not only does it have all the features you need to make it through the day and night, but the manufacturer tried as hard as possible to improve the user-friendliness. And if you’re looking for something that will barely make an impact on your power bills, what’s better than an A rated energy efficient unit? Get the mini air conditioner today and enjoy powerful, space saving and diversified cooling.
Read our full review of Gree Mini Portable Air Conditioner.
- Top tier quality construction from a well know brand
- A-rated for energy efficiency
- Extremely compact and user-friendly
- Will have to be vented outside
Got an eye for style? Then you’ll love the Honeywell CS12AE Evaporative Air Cooler which is without a doubt one of the most stylish and versatile units in the UK. With an unmistakeable sleek beige and silver exterior, the unit works even better than it looks. Its powerful airflow of 460M/Hr makes it ideal for smaller and medium sized rooms, hotels and offices. However, anything larger than 130sq feet will not be as effective. At lower settings, the CS12AE can keep a room cool for up to 8 hours and just a little under that in UK’s current heat wave.
Read our full review of Honeywell Evaporative Air Cooler.
- Relatively low power consumption
- Sleek, stylish and beautiful exterior
- Excels in small and medium rooms
- Some customers have claimed that the casters on the CS12AE are a tad flimsy, so watch out
The manufacturer incorporated all the features you would expect in a high-end portable AC and gave the Artica more than enough power to get the job done. And while you will definitely have to figure out how to vent your unit while cooling and drain absorbed water after dehumidification, it really doesn’t affect the mobility of the device. And if you absolutely have to move the conditioner around, the space saving design and easy roll castor wheels make the process a breeze (pun intended). But if you’re still not convinced, then the Class A energy efficiency rating should sort things right out. After all, who doesn’t enjoy saving money in form of power bills?
Read our full review of EcoAir ARTICA.
- Extremely energy efficient thanks to Class A rating
- 3 in 1 functions for cooling, cleaning, and dehumidifying air
- Great cooling capacity
- At 24.5 Kg, the Artica is quite a hefty unit, but it’s much lighter than its predecessors
Portable Air Conditioner Buying Guide
With UKs annual heat wave peaking at an all-time high, the need for decent air conditioning has never been higher. Fortunately, homeowners and workers now have a full range of affordable, portable air conditioners to choose from.
However, the huge number of different air cons also means that users are now finding it more difficult to get the right unit. If you are considering getting a portable air conditioner, here are some crucial factors that you need to consider.
a. Size And Cooling Capacity
One of the most important factors to consider when buying a portable air conditioner is the size. If your air conditioner is too small, then there’s no way that it’s going to keep up with the cooling demands of your rooms.
On the other hand, if your air conditioner is too large, then it will cool the area fast and shut down long before it clears excess moisture in the air. When sizing up a portable AC, you need to look at the BTU rating on the unit.
BTU (British Thermal Units) measure the heat amounts that an air conditioner can clear from the air within a certain period. Most portable units have cooling capacities that range from 5000 o 12000 BTU.
As a rule of thumb, portable air conditioners need 20 BTU for every square foot to be effective. Small spaces of about 300 sq feet will require an AC with between 7000 and 1000 BTU while 300+sq feet will be well suited by 12000 to 14000 BTU.
However, larger, commercial spaces will definitely need the most powerful portable air conditioners on the market for maximum efficiency.
Here is a simple “rule of thumb” table:
|7,000 BTU||9,000 BTU||12,000 BTU||
|Shaded room N/E facing||
|Sunny room S/W facing||
b. Energy Efficiency
Portable air conditioners are designed to work all year round; as such, it pays to buy a unit that is energy efficient. Energy efficiency ratings (EERs) are the numbers that measure the exact amount of energy a unit requires to deliver a certain amount of cooling. The higher the EER, the less energy a unit requires.
Of course, this will translate to a higher cost margin when purchasing, but it will save you a lot of money in electric bills in the long run.
Portable air cons with the Energy Star label are especially viable since they not only help you reduce the electricity bills, but also protect the environment as well. That’s because these units meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by US Environmental Protection Agency, meaning they use significantly less energy than non-certified models.
Always weigh out the higher cost of energy efficient air conditioners against the potential mountain of savings you will make to find out if the unit is ideal for you.
c. Ventilation And Exhaust
As part of the cooling process, portable air conditioners vent hot air while others require hoses to get rid of excess vapour in the air. Typically, most units vent hot air through an exhaust hose that can then be vented out of a window, sliding door, ceiling or even through the wall. You can, however, find also portable air conditioners without hose, e.g. evaporative coolers.
Similarly, portable air conditioners with a dehumidification function will require a hose to dump the water; either through a drainage, window or a hole in the wall.
If you are really going for maximum savings, then buckets and collection tanks will do just fine. However, those going for convenience over savings will want to look into self-evaporative units or condensate pumps. This is why it helps to buy a unit that includes window kits and other necessary hose and exhaust parts.
d. Special Features
In an effort to enhance your cooling experience and create the desired level of functionality and comfort, most portable air conditioners come jam packed with additional features. Some features to look out for include:
- Timers – Again, today’s appliances are all about the convenience. Instead of waiting till you get home or to the office to begin cooling, timers make it possible to pre-cool a room before you get there. On and off timers help program your unit to create the most conducive temperatures before you get there. Similarly, the off timer is useful at night since they switch your conditioner off instead of letting it run all night.
- Remote Control – We’re not saying that you are lazy, but remote controls are becoming an integral part of any appliance. Remote controls allow you to operate your portable air conditioner from the comfort and convenience of your couch, desk or bed.
- Window Kits – These kits are very helpful in allowing you to vent the waste products efficiently. Typically, window kits come with filler panels to close gaps in open windows.
- Multifunctional Features – These include reverse cycle modes for cooling and heating, dehumidification, fans, purifiers, among other functions. This also includes automatic functions where the unit decides which function to use depending on the temperature.
Portable Air Conditioner FAQs
1. Should I use my unit with a power cord?
Typically, manufacturers do not recommend using an extension cord with portable air conditioners. In fact, user manuals specifically advise against it and claim it could void your warranty.
Portable air cons are very power hungry, and an extension cord may be unable to cope with the demand. Instead of risking overheating your unit, it’s better and safer to plug in directly to the socket.
2. How do I cut down the noise from my portable AC?
Since they have compressor systems and motorised fans to cool the air, portable air cons tend to produce subtle noise levels. While most people consider it background noise, others are very concerned about the noise levels.
If you feel that the noise levels might disrupt your work or sleep, it’s advisable to get portable ACs with special features that cut down the noise. This includes a low decibel rating, programmable timer, sleep modes among others.
3. Are there other ways to drain my portable AC?
Since some air cons also act as dehumidifiers, you’ll need a method to direct the water away from the unit. While most air cons have a collection tank that can be emptied manually, there are simpler ways to do this.
One way is by getting yourself a self-evaporate conditioner where no drainage is required. Another way is by use of a condensate pump that pumps out excess water through a hose to your desired drainage point.
With all this information at your disposal, finding the right portable air conditioner for your home, business or office should be much easier now. Remember, you get more value for your money if you buy a unit that can be used all year round as opposed to one that only cools.
Today’s portable ACs are becoming more innovative and packed with a host of intriguing features. It’s all about identifying what you need most and which unit will help your entire family in the long run.