Are Portable Air Conditioners Worth the Cost?

As you flip through the calendar page toward summer and the temperature rises, it’s important to consider how you’ll prevent heat from ruining your vacation. If you’re already using an effective central heating system, you don‘t need to do any work at all — just replace the filters and you‘re good to go.

If you don’t have adequate AC, however, now is definitely the right moment to start making your plan so that you’re not caught off guard by an unexpected heat spike. If you’re considering cooling down, there are several ways to go about it, including using a portable A/C unit. However, are these units really worth it?

I came across the brand Arctic King and found the brand to be really promising in terms of quality and price. But before digging much more deeper into the Arctic King Company and visiting the Arctic King website, let’s get done with the basics first. 

How a Portable Air Conditioning Unit Works

Portable air conditioners work just like central air conditioning units. They use chemicals to absorb heat from inside the building and then expel it outside. The main difference between them and central air conditioning units is that they do not need ductwork to distribute the cool air around the entire structure. Instead, they use a single or dual hose connected to an outlet near each window to direct the flow of cool air. Some models also include a small blower to increase the circulation rate. These types of portable air conditioners can be found at major stores like Lowe’s and Sears.

A common misconception is that portable air conditioners can be moved around at any time without having to move their exhaust vents. However, because they must exhaust air through a window (and therefore cannot be placed anywhere), they will require some sort of window kit if they’re going to be moved around. Window kits are easier to use than portable units, but most people won’t find them as convenient as carrying a portable AC around.

Factors that will determine how effective your air conditioner unit is include:

It’s not a secret that cool air isn’t cheap. An air condition unit uses a lot of energy to make your house cooler, and that’s true whether you’re using an AC unit that runs off gas or one powered by electric current. You’ll pay more if you run your AC unit longer, and you’ll pay more if you use it more frequently.

The Weather

The hotter it is outside, the more heat you’ll have to remove from your home. It doesn’t take as much energy to keep a space cool to 72 degrees on a 95-degrees-outside-air temperature. You can mitigate how expensive it is to run an air condition by turning your thermostat up on the hottest days, and you’ll still be cooler indoors than you’d be outdoors. You can also help make your air conditioners work harder by insulating your home better and by blocking out sunlight.

Room Size

To cool down your whole house, you need one large central unit. A small unit won’t cool down your whole house; it will just keep running all day long. It will also cost you a lot of money.

To ensure that your portable air conditioner is an appropriate size for the area you intend to cool, you must examine its BTU rating, a measurement of its cooling power. For small areas of 200 square feet, an AC with 8,000 BTU should do the trick. For larger spaces of 600 square feet, consider one with 14,000 BTU.

When you’re trying to keep a kitchen warm, you need to consider the wattage of the appliance. All those appliances create lots of extra warmth, which will make your device work even harder to get things done.

The Cost of Electricity

How much you pay to operate your portable air conditioning unit will depend largely upon how expensive power is where you live. During the hottest days of summer, these costs can go through the roof, so having a portable air conditioner handy could save you money. However, if you’re subject to high electric bills during peak times, then running your portable air conditioner might not make sense financially. In addition, if you’re only able to run your portable air conditioning unit at night, then you’ll likely end up paying more than if you had used a fan or an evaporating device instead. So, before deciding whether or not to buy a portable air conditioner, take into consideration what kind of electrical rates you’re liable to face.

The Pros: Benefits of Portable AC

  • Windows can be opened and closed without any effort. They’re made of glass, after all, and they open and close easily. A portable AC allows you to move it around if you need to change the direction of airflow. But if you’ve got a lot of windows, you might find yourself wishing you had an actual wall to block them off. That’s where a big, bulky, ugly box comes in handy.
  • No matter how hard I try, I can’t find my car keys. They’re not in my pocket, they aren’t in my handbag, they’re not in my house. Where could they possibly be? I’ve looked everywhere! I’m so worried about losing them that I haven’t slept properly for days. My life is ruined. I’ll never be able to go anywhere again. What am I going to tell my mum? She’ll kill me. Oh no! I left my phone charger in the car. I’d better run back before she gets home.

The Cons: Limitations of Portable AC

  • A window unit can provide much better cooling efficiency than a portable one. Window units typically require fewer BTUs per hour to keep your home comfortable, so they’re more energy-efficient. They also work best if you live in an area where temperatures rarely drop below freezing.
  • It might get noisy. Portable air conditioners usually have all their working components right inside the same room, so the sound level may be disruptive. If you don’t mind the extra space, you can turn off the fan speed to lower the volume or move the portable air conditioner to a quieter part of the house.

Best Uses for Portable Air Conditioners

So, is an A/C right for you? You’ll need to calculate your own costs based on your specific situation, but there are definitely some scenarios where portable AC makes a lot more sense than central air conditioning.

It’s a great option when:

  • If you have inconvenient windows, whether they’re too small, too high, or don’t open properly, you can more easily fit an air conditioner into them than a full window unit.
  • A portable unit doesn’t block your windows if you’re not using it during the day. It’s especially useful when there’s only one room in which you need sunlight.
  • Your HOA is extremely restrictive. Some condominiums and apartments have very strict guidelines regarding how much you can modify your house’s exterior. This may include prohibiting unattractive windows. In historic neighborhoods where preserving the area’s character is important, these restrictions can make installing an A/C unit difficult. However, if you’re willing to put in the work, a portable AC could be the solution you’ve been searching for.
  • If you don’t have a central A/C, then you may want to consider adding a portable AC unit. Portable units are great for keeping hot spots cool. They’re particularly useful if you live in a smaller space where you can seal off certain parts of the room.
  • A portable air conditioner may be best suited for cooling off in your bedroom at night. Using it for only part of the time, and in a small space, will help keep costs low while allowing you to remain comfortable when you need it most (i.e., when you’re sleeping).
  • Humidity makes things uncomfortable for everyone, so if you’re living in a humid climate, consider using portable air conditioners to keep your space cool. If you’re living in an arid climate where temperatures get really hot, you might want to look into evaporative cooling systems. These systems don’t require any electricity at all.

Portable air conditioner units can be surprisingly useful for many people who live in apartments or homes without central air conditioning systems. They can also help you out when your regular air conditioner breaks down. Be sure to measure your room before buying a portable AC, though, because you don’t want one that’s too big for your apartment.

The Best Portable AC in the Market

My personal favorite is the Arctic King 8000 btu window air conditioner. Here are some points why: 

  • 3 Functions – Air Conditioner, Fan, and Dehumidifier
  • Smartphone Compatibility
  • Quick and Easy Install Kit
  • Easy to use electronic controls
  • Remote Control Included
  • 4 Wheels for Room-to-Room Movement
  • Sleep Function with Automatic Temperature Control for Optimal Overnight Comfort
  • 1 Year Limited Arctic King Warranty

Priced at $337 and offers free shipping too. Click here to get yours now. Get them fast while they are on sale!

By Jacob G. Turner

Jacob G. Turner is the content director of We Home Deco. He mainly focuses on mattress reviews and comfy products. He takes a straightforward, honest approach to his reviews and endeavors to give viewers an objective look at each new product he tries out.

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