Last Updated on April 14, 2021
Our editors independently research the best products online to produce this list. We may receive commission on purchases made from the links below but this will never affect our product choices.
- Igenix IG9901 WIFI 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner (Editor’s Choice)
- De’Longhi PAC EX100 Pinguino Silent Air Conditioner (Luxury Choice)
- Inventor Cool Portable Air Conditioner (Best Value)
There are so many fabulous things to do in summer – barbeques, beach days, summer treks and hikes, balmy evening dinners by candlelight, and lounging by swimming pools to name a few. But like all good things that come to an end, the downside of summer is the constant sweat, humidity, and scorching heat of the sun. Hot and stuffy rooms are no fun for anyone. Homemakers across the UK, independent professionals, and service persons will all tell you the downsides of trying to get work done in the heat.
Using a portable air conditioner is probably the most natural solution to all these issues with heat. With a portable air conditioner, you can wheel the machine for a comfortable temperature wherever you go. Portable air conditioners are great investments instead of installing permanent ones in every room. Not only do you save a lot of electricity bills, but also conserve energy while you’re doing it. Plug and play portable air conditioners can simply be connected to the nearest power outlet for instant cooling.
This review consists of the best portable air conditioners for the British heat. The product reviews are arranged in increasing price points with comparisons made for quality, cooling, and efficiency.
Tips for Buying Portable Air Conditioners
- Portable air conditioners (PACs) in Britain are rated in British Thermal Units (BTUs). A higher BTU is indicative of a larger area that can be cooled, while the converse is also true. For this reason, it is a good idea to understand space constraints before purchasing a portable air conditioner. A 9000 BTU machine can efficiently cool a room that is 45 cu. m.
- Due to ventilation and dissipation, you should select a model that will take less space since it will need to be kept near a door or a window to allow air to move freely.
- While buying a PAC, select one with the least amount of noise. Near soundless portable air conditioners will help you concentrate on your work better.
Best Portable Air Conditioner Reviews – Top 10 Picks
The TROTEC PAC 2000 E Portable Air Conditioner is pegged at 7000 BTU and is ideal for small rooms. Compact and trendy, this machine looks sleek and blends well with the surroundings. The lowest temperature it can cool up to is 16 degrees. Lightweight at 24 kg, the TROTEC PAC 2000 E Portable Air Conditioner can easily be manoeuvred to different places in the house.
This variant is also a dehumidifier and can be used comfortably as either a cooler or dehumidifier. The TROTEC PAC 2000 E Portable Air Conditioner also has a dehumidifying capacity of 0.75 litres per hour. Additionally, it comes with remote control for ease of access and use.
- 7200 BTU
- Cools up to 16 degrees
The Inventor Cool Portable Air Conditioner is a basic portable air conditioner with 8000 BTU strength that is strong enough to cool a small room size. This variant has three fan speeds that can be adjusted according to preference. It also has three modes that it can be turned to – cool, dehumidify and fan. All this and more is controlled by a button panel with four buttons on the top of the machine. You can also change the settings via a remote control that allows you freedom of movement.
The Inventor Cool Portable Air Conditioner comes with a hose and window kit for you to set it according to your preferred position. Unlike other machines that have an auto option, the vanes on this one have to be focused manually so you can direct the air. The white plastic case of the Inventor Cool Portable Air Conditioner is nondescript and can easily blend into your surroundings. For other great home items see our guide on water softeners.
- 8000 BTU
- Cooling, dehumidifying, and fan modes
- Three fan speeds
The incredibly stylish Igenix IG9901 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner is a beautiful addition to the home or office. It can be used as a portable air conditioner, dehumidifier, or fan depending upon your requirement. With this machine, you need to invest just once and use the fan and dehumidifier as and when required throughout the year. The water accumulated during the cooling process self-evaporates thanks to an advanced technological improvement in the automation.
At 9000 BTU, the Igenix IG9901 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner can cool a medium-sized room adequately. It comes with remote control, a sleep mode to save energy bills and a 24-hour timer. Additionally, it has three fan modes and can be adjusted according to convenience.
- Air conditioner, fan, and dehumidifier
- Sleep mode and a 24-hour timer
- Three fan modes
The German-designed Klarstein Pure Blizzard Portable Air Conditioner is at a BTU rating of 7000 and so is ideal for small rooms and compact office spaces. It has an energy rating of A+, and so is one of the more ecological models on this list. It has low noise levels and is suitable for night time use or while working. The black body of the machine is sleek and looks very stylish.
This variant comes with a switchable dehumidifier option and adjustable oscillation controls for the vents. The Klarstein Pure Blizzard Portable Air Conditioner comes with a timer, a remote control, castors, and an easy to use control panel.
- 7000 BTU
- A+ energy rating
- Remote control
The multifunctional Pifco P41008 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioning Unit is a dehumidifier, air conditioner, and fan built together. It is designed to fit a standard sized window and at 7000 BTU can cool down a small to medium sized room very well. This variant comes with good quality castors that do not bend or break easily. Slightly overweight at 23 kg, this portable air conditioner can easily be wheeled from one room to the next.
The compressor can be slightly louder than the other ones on this list, but for the price, this is an excellent portable air conditioning unit. The Pifco P41008 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioning Unit comes with remote control and a window mount and a 1.5 m exhaust pipe. This variant also comes with a 24-hour timer to help you set the time and save electricity costs in the long term. For some kitchen items see our guide on hot water dispensers.
- Dehumidifier, air conditioner and fan
- Fitted good quality castors
- Remote control
The Igenix IG9901 WIFI 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner is Wifi enabled, can be controlled by a smartphone app, and by Amazon’s Alexa Voice Command. This super trendy, futuristic-looking design is meant for tech-savvy people who like integrated home systems for comfort and use. It also has an extremely easy to use remote control and touch panel.
The Igenix IG9901 WIFI 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner has a 9000 BTU and is excellent for medium to large sized rooms. With a 24-hour timer, you can easily save electricity costs in the long term. The 3-in-1 modes present in this machine are the air conditioner, dehumidifier, and fan. The dehumidifier can efficiently help remove up to 27 litres of water per day.
- Wifi enabled – Amazon Alexa and an App
- Easy to use touch panel and remote control
- Cooler, fan, and dehumidifier
The Amcor Portable Air Conditioning Unit is a 12000 BTU model and is very popular with the British masses. This variant also doubles as a dehumidifier and can work at 50 litres a day, if needed. It can cool a medium to large room quite efficiently and is known to be a workhorse of good quality. Ideal for bedrooms and night time, the sound levels are lower than 54 decibels.
The Amcor Portable Air Conditioning Unit has multiple fan speeds and can easily be adjusted to preference with the help of a control panel on the machine as well as a remote control. Additionally, it consumes minimal power and is very cost-effective in the long term.
- 12000 BTU
- Low sound levels at 54 decibels
The Air Conditioning Centre Portable Air Conditioning Unit KYR-25CO/X1C has a powerful compressor manufactured by Toshiba. Slightly heavy at 27 kg, this portable air conditioning unit comes with its own sturdy non-wobbly castors, and so is easy to move around freely between rooms. It comes with a removable filter that can be cleansed according to requirement and an inbuilt condensation pump for constant cold air.
The Air Conditioning Centre Portable Air Conditioning Unit KYR-25CO/X1C has adjustable speed settings that you can also use to control the noise levels since slowing the machine a bit can help reduce the noise levels drastically. This variant comes with a remote control so that you can adjust the temperature from the comfort of your chair. This machine also comes with a ducted exhaust hose and window mounting option for ultimate comfort. For other home items see our guide on recliner chairs.
- Remote control included
- Adjustable fan speed
- Inbuilt condensation pump
The Inventor Chilly Portable Air Conditioner is a 9000 BTU machine that offers excellent instant cooling turning the temperatures chilly in a short span. It weighs 25 kg and is known to be a lightweight, easy-to-wheel model. The refrigerant used in this machine is the R290 that is several times more eco-friendly than other refrigerant gases. The omnidirectional castors help in smooth movement around the room, but if you want to move this variant up and down the stairs, you may face a few issues.
Usually, the installation of the Inventor Chilly Portable Air Conditioner takes approximately fifteen to twenty minutes, and once done, it is effortless to operate. This variant is capable of removing almost 1 litre of moisture per day thanks to its dehumidifier properties. This model is also one of the quieter ones on this list with 51 to 53 decibels.
- Lightweight at 25 kg
- 9000 BTU
- Low noise levels
This machine from De’Longhi uses ‘Real Feel Technology’ to help the room reach optimal cooling effects through a combination of cooling and dehumidifying. Theis cutting edge technological advancement helps users reach perfect conditions to continue their daily work in a short period as compared to many others on this list. The De’Longhi PAC EX100 Pinguino Silent Air Conditioner is rated at A++ for energy conservation.
Since this machine works continuously in the background, it doesn’t come with a timer function and has to be manually switched off. The stylish design is coupled with integrated remote control. Additionally, this variant also features an integral bio-silver air filter that actively removes pollutants allergens from the air to make the air clean.
- Energy rating A++
- Integral bio-silver air filter
- Real Feel Technology for temperate optimisation
Buying Guide for Portable Air Conditioners
Portable air conditioners are absolutely essential for hot summer days. The weather in the UK can be extremely unpredictable, and with the warm months upon us, portable air conditioners are a boon. Living spaces, hallways, bedrooms, and children’s rooms can be kept cool at all times. The decision regarding type and style of the portable air conditioner ultimately comes down to the volume of the room, the people using it, and the features that the machine can offer.
How do Air Conditioners Work?
Air conditioners work by pulling hot air from one area and expelling it as cold air into another. Most people believe that air conditioners expel cold air. While this is untrue, the principle is mostly the same. The only difference is that cold air is not made. Hot air is cooled via conditioning.
Like most refrigeration units that work on coolants, portable air conditioners work on the principle of air ventilation. They compress, condense, and release the converted air back out into the room. This process is the reason why air conditioners require piped outlets. These pipes help expel excess air out of the room.
The hot air that is sucked in by the air conditioner is cooled, and the heat dispelled. The conditioner helps reduce the temperature of the area with the constant insertion of cooled air. The heat that remains in the machine is either released into the air via pipes or is condensed. This heat conversion depends entirely upon the unit that you have purchased.
Air conditioners are known to have a nearly instant effect once the unit is turned on. Most smart air conditioning devices today can assess the ambient temperature of the room and make adjustments accordingly.
The temperature sensor allows the unit to calculate how much hot air needs to be extracted and gauge the amount of fresh air required to reduce the overall ambient of the room. You can also set this manually by selecting your preferred temperature.
What to Consider Before Purchasing a Portable Air Conditioner?
Air conditioners differ by performance. What this means is that each air conditioner is different from the other in terms of its output performance level. This difference is as follows:
Air Coolers: Extremely lightweight, these portable conditioners are inexpensive and cool the room by a few degrees compared to the powerful air conditioners that change the entire ambient of the room. Air coolers are considered cheap air conditioners, but they don’t always condition the air.
- Single Hose Air Conditioners: These portable air conditioners are lightweight, energy savers, and are easily installed in almost all windows. They have a separate hose that passes through the window. These units perform well in small to medium-sized rooms, and should not be used for large areas.
- Double Hose Air Conditioners: These ones are more expensive than single hoses are less energy efficient than the singles, and also need two tubes to pass through the window. The performance of these air conditioners is suitable even for medium-sized rooms, and are excellent for small studios and parlours.
- Split Units: The Split Units are the most expensive option in air conditioners. They are also the quietest variants available in the market. While not very energy-efficient, these are the best chillers available. The compressor unit is housed outside the house, and it requires two hoses.
What are the Factors to Consider in Portable Air Conditioners?
Portable air conditioners are lightweight, can be moved around quickly, and feature plug and play options. They are usually smaller in size than the fixed variants and are available in cheaper, inexpensive models too.
- The COP: The Coefficient Of Performance measures the efficiency of the air conditioner. Higher the COP, better is the air conditioner.
- Volume/ Area of the Room: The volume or surface area of the room you want the air conditioner to cool matters considerably while making a selection. Do not choose a portable air conditioner meant for small rooms, and install it in a large area.
- Sound Levels measured in dB: The decibel rating (dB) is usually 55 dB. However, the expensive air conditioners reduce the level of noise to almost nil.
- Energy Efficiency Rating/ Reading: The portable units are measured between A to G, with A being the most energy-efficient. Some units are also measured from A+++ to D where A+++ is the most energy-efficient.
The above features are uniform in all portable air conditioners. There are many additional features that people are also interested in.
- Programmer: Programmers help control the cycle, time, and other air conditioner settings.
- Fan Mode: Fan modes are excellent for additional circulation and ensuring that the room remains dry. Sometimes the conditioned air can make the room feel stuffy. Fan mode helps combat the stuffiness and heaviness.
- Remote Control: As the name suggests, remote control can help you change the settings of the portable air conditioner without having to manually press each of the buttons. Some mobile variants also come with hand-held remote controls that can be worked from a distance.
- Dehumidifier Mode: Instead of buying a separate dehumidifier, you can opt for a portable variant that offers this mode without paying for a completely new machine. Dehumidifiers are excellent to keep the damp and mould away from the room.
- Air Ioniser: Many air conditioners also come equipped with ionisers to increase the quality of the air being conditioned, and improve the wellbeing of the people in the room.
- Reverse Cycle: Reverse cycles help turn the portable air conditioner into a heater. Like the dehumidifier, you do not need to buy a heater for the winter months. The reverse cycle helps heat the room in cold seasons.
What are the Various Types of Portable Air Conditioners available?
Portable air conditioning systems can be broadly classified into three main types – monoblock, split systems, and evaporating variants.
Monoblock Portable Air Conditioners
- Monoblock Single Hose Conditioners: They are the fastest and easiest ones to install. The unit is easy to use and can be moved around quickly. The entire machine is a single unit that is mostly mounted on a set of wheels. The wheels are usually three to four inches off the floor and increase the height of the unit. This unit can be pulled or pushed from one room to another and is relatively lightweight. It is an efficient auxiliary air system but requires some exterior drainage. The pipe system is singular. The hose is usually flexible and can be extended out of a window or a permanent hole in the wall. The basic monoblock conditioners offer power ratings that vary between 2200 – 3500W and are efficient for small rooms. The slightly jazzy expensive models may offer dehumidifiers and ventilation-only modes that can serve the purpose of low-quality heaters and dehumidifiers without cooling the air. The costly units also offer remote controls with additional programs like clocks, timers, target temperatures, and so on. The only drawback with this unit is the noise. While making a purchase, check the sound levels on the machine. If you have sound sensitive elders in the house or are a light sleeper, then you should opt for a portable air conditioner that offers low dB levels. This unit is known to have sound levels upward of 60 dB.
- Monoblock Dual Hose Conditioners: The dual hose conditioners are similar to single-hose ones. The only significant difference is the presence of two hoses. One hose collects outdoor or external air, and the other releases hot air back outside. The dual hose action is excellent for freshening up the room. It is also useful for people with allergies, and those that do not like stale cold air. The fresh ambient air allows the air pressure in the room to stay neutral. The monoblock units are slightly more expensive than the single hose ones and are more efficient in the long term. The air quality in both is similar, and they come with nearly-identical features.
Split Portable Air Conditioners
Split Portable units work just like monoblock units, except that the compression and condensing unit is attached outside the house or property. The portable split conditioner comes with a separate unit that has to be installed before you can use the ventilation and cooling system. The ventilation unit needs to be kept inside the room and can be connected to the condensing unit via a flexible pipe or hose.
Split models, while portable, are not easily moved around the house. Since they rely on an external compression unit for correct functioning, they are less portable than monoblock units. Most senior citizens prefer this unit since it produces the least amount of noise. The portable ventilation unit is a lot lighter than the monoblock units. The energy rating is also between 2000 to 3500W.
Just like the high-end monoblock variants, the split ones also offer dehumidifiers and ventilation-only models but also come with more programmable features. These are even more expensive than the earlier ones since they come with one movable and one permanent fixture.
Evaporating Portable Air Conditioners
The self-evaporating portable air conditioners are actually coolers. They function by the principle of condensation. While they are not air conditioners, they do fall under the same category. These self-evaporating portable air conditioners are incredibly lightweight, come with a set of wheels, are extremely affordable, and fit in nearly all tight spaces. For people with space and budget constraints, this variant is a boon.
However, this type of cooler only works in small areas and cannot cool medium or large-sized rooms. They also need to be filled with water regularly. Since they need water frequently, you would also need to descale this machine often to ensure it runs smoothly.
These machines lack the efficiency and cooling of monoblocks and split units, and can be used for temporary relief against the heat. However, for a more permanent solution, it is best to opt for either of the two above versions.
Size Considerations for Air Conditioners
The size of the room matters when buying a portable air conditioner. If the room you originally purchased the air conditioner for is small, it will not perform optimally in a large room. When considering single-hose units, you need to be extra careful, since they suck the hot air available in the room for the entire duration that they are turned on. What this means is that if the room is small, yet has a door or window left ajar, the unit will continue working, but you may not see much of a difference.
The size of the machine matters depending on the room, and any cracks and open doors and windows you may have. Since air conditioners are measured in BTU (British Thermal Units), it would be best to scale up from the start.
Portable Air Condioner Noise Levels:
As mentioned earlier, noise or sound levels are crucial when considering portable air conditioners. Since these units can move from one room to another, it stands to reason that several people may use the machine. Chief amongst these are small children and elderly citizens. While making a final choice, always opt for a unit that is low on the noise scale, measured in decibels (dB). Monoblock units are the loudest, with splits being the quietest.
Depending on your budget, make an informed decision regarding the noise level of the unit. Some monoblock units are below 50 dB, but more often than not, they are easily above 60 dB. Washing machines are usually pegged at 55 dB. 50 dB to 56 dB is considered average for portable air conditioners, but if you want, you could opt for a better quality one at 38 dB – 44 dB.
Activated Carbon Filters
Some air conditioners have inbuilt carbon filters to automatically produce clean and healthy air for your family. The cooled air is purified with the help of activated carbon filters. These filters are excellent for fighting germs and bacteria and help keep the immune system high. They are also highly effective at removing odours from the air since they are electrostatic filters.
Activated carbon filters are excellent for homes with people suffering from asthma or other respiratory issues. People who are allergic to dust and strong smells can also use this feature for added relief. The activated carbon filter is an add-on to most portable air conditioners and comes at a price. If you want one fitted, you could check if the model you select already has one, or ask the manufacturer to add one for you. Most companies do have activated carbon filters in one of their portable air conditioner models.
How to Care for the Portable Air Conditioner?
Most people only see the benefit that a product can give them without considering how to care for it. As with any appliance or machinery, aftercare of the product is as important as the thought that goes into the purchase. Maintaining the portable air conditioner helps increase its shelf life, and allows you to benefit from it for a longer duration. The unit will keep functioning at optimum levels if it is cleaned and maintained regularly.
If you opt for monoblock systems, you would have only one method to care for, which would include the hose, water tank, and the filters. However, with split units, you would have to care for two units (internal and external), and would regularly have to clean the external filters. This cleaning exercise needs to be done at least once every month to ensure there is no build-up of dust and other residues.
You would need to clean all water filtration tanks and descale them at least once a year. You should use a good quality descale solution for this. Most portable air conditioners are quick to clean and reinstall, and will not take up too much of your time. You would also not have to spend any money on the cleaning. Regular tap water and a little mild soap help keep the entire unit clean and fresh.
In autumn, plug your portable air conditioner in, and run it on ventilation mode to help get it started again. Doing this helps dry out all hoses and pipes before you store it for the winter. Leaving the filters wet, water tanks full, and pipes wet can create mould and damp during the cold season and could spoil your machine.
Final Tips Before Purchasing Portable Air Conditioners
- Place your air conditioner near a window: Regardless of the type of unit you select, reducing the hot air expulsion time helps the machine perform efficiently.
- Target Temperature: Do not reduce the target temperature less than 8 degrees than the external temperature. Reducing it more than that can pose a health risk as it may cause thermal shock to your body. Always be mindful of this when using air conditioners for children.
- Clean the Filters: Cleaning the filters regularly helps ensure you have clean filtered air circulating throughout your room and home. Clean filters help reduce allergies and decrease breathing issues.