Top Pick for
Overall portable air conditioner
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Top Pick for
Overall portable air conditioner
Top Pick for
Cheap portable air conditioner
Top Pick for
Quiet portable air conditioner
Top Pick for
Portable air conditioner for small rooms
Our editorial team chose the portable air conditioners on this list using real customer reviews. We extensively researched the features that matter when you're comparing portable air conditioners. We then weighted those features, consumer ratings and price to pick the best products for each category.
Offering plenty of practical features and positive reviews from customers at The Good Guys and Appliances Online, the Rinnai RPC41WA is our pick as the best overall portable air conditioner.
Boasting 4.1kW of cooling power, the Rinnai is designed to cool rooms of up to 25 square metres. Suitable for bedrooms and smaller living areas, it comes with a convenient remote control and delay timer. Other features include adjustable temperature control, a dehumidifying mode and carry handles for increased portability.
If you have less than $500 to spend, the Vostok 2.9kW Portable Air Conditioner is certainly worth a look. With an average score of 4.2/5 from 90 customer reviews on Kogan, it has been well received by consumers.
Designed to cool rooms of up to 15 square metres, the Vostok offers 3 modes of operation – cooling, fan and dehumidifier. It includes a built-in 24-hour timer with sleep mode, comes with a handy remote control and offers 10,000BTU of cooling power.
Boasting quiet operation and plenty of positive customer reviews, the De'Longhi PAC CN86 is our pick as the best quiet portable air conditioner.
Featuring a 2.5kW cooling capacity, the Pinguino uses a honeycomb design that maximises airflow and minimises noise. There are 3 fan speeds based on your cooling needs, while the appliance can be operated via a soft-touch control panel or remote control.
This model operates at a noise level of 47dB(A), so is recommended for bedrooms. It also offers a dehumidifier function and can collect up to 30 litres of water a day.
The Rinnai RPC35WA scores an average of 4.5/5 on 20 customer reviews on The Good Guys and has also earned generally positive feedback from Appliances Online customers and on productreview.com.au. The reviews combined with its ease of use and handy features make the RPC35WA our pick as the best portable air conditioner for small rooms.
Offering 3.5kW of cooling power, this model is designed for bedrooms, home offices and even smaller living spaces of up to 24 square metres. It comes with a sleep mode, a delay timer and a handy remote control, while there's also a dehumidifier function to help improve comfort levels on those sticky days.
With generally positive reviews from Harvey Norman customers and on productreview.com.au, this 6kW model from Harvey Norman is our pick if you need an air conditioner for a large room.
Designed to cool rooms of up to 42 square metres, the Polocool offers a 20,000BTU cooling capacity. It comes with a window kit for simple installation and features a 3-speed fan so you can adjust it to your needs. Other features include manual/auto operation and a built-in timer.
With plenty of positive customer reviews and an affordable price tag, the 5.2kW SmarterHome model from Kogan takes the win here as the best reverse-cycle portable air conditioner.
Designed for rooms of up to 35 square metres, this model can heat, cool, dehumidify and provide a fan function. With built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, it can be controlled via the Kogan SmarterHome app. You can also control the air conditioner using the LED display or remote, and the unit comes with wheels to enhance portability.
Our choice as the best reverse-cycle option is also well worth a look if you're looking for a smart portable air conditioner. Thanks to its ability to connect to your home Wi-Fi network, you can download the free Kogan SmarterHome app to your mobile device and use it to control your heating and cooling.
Add in all the features that make it a popular reverse-cycle air conditioner, including multiple control options and an affordable price tag, and there's a lot to like about the overall package.
With 18,000BTU of cooling power and generally positive customer reviews, the Olimpia Splendid AirPro 18 is our choice as the best portable air conditioner for fast cooling.
Offering a 5.2kW cooling capacity, the AirPro 18 offers airflow up to 4 metres high and up to 3 metres wide. It features a touch display that you can use to cycle between auto, fan, night, turbo and dehumidification modes as well as a remote control for easy operation. If you don't like excessive noise when sleeping, the quieter night mode will also come in handy.
Goldair took out this year's portable air conditioner award, with top scores for cleaning and maintenance and value for money.
Portable air conditioners are most suitable for apartments, smaller spaces and those who want to suplement their large air conditioner in the middle of summer. If you want to cool a larger space, check out our guide to large air conditioners.
There are several types of portable models available:
Before deciding on your chosen portable air conditioner, consider the following key features:
Portable air conditioners can be quite loud and disruptive to your sleep, normal activities or conversation, particularly on full power. You may want to test out the noise levels of the unit in the store before purchasing.
Make sure to choose the right air conditioner for your room size. If the air conditioner is underpowered, it will overwork itself trying to cool the room, causing faster burn out. If it's overpowered, it will use more energy than needed to cool the room, racking up your electricity bill in the long term. Generally, look for 125 watts per square metre of area you're cooling.
Consider the energy star rating of your unit before purchase. The more stars, the more efficiently it uses energy, and the cheaper it will be to run. Reverse cycle models display both a blue and a red star rating, for cooling and heating respectively. A more energy-efficient model may be more expensive up front, but can save you money in the long run.
If you're planning on moving your unit from room to room, choose a model that you can comfortably manoeuvre with easy grasp handles, sturdy wheels and decent clearance between the floor and the bottom of the unit.
Manufacturers don't recommend using an extension cord with a portable air conditioner, as it increases the risk of overheating and may void the warranty. Consider where you'll place your unit in relation to the power socket to make sure the cord is long enough.
An easy-to-read, large LED display with a touchpad, comfortably sized buttons, clear labels and a digital temperature reading could make your life easier. Some models may come with a remote control, letting you set automatic modes and on/off times too.
Check whether your model offers a heat (reverse cycle) setting, a dry setting (to dehumidify), automatic settings or a fan-only setting. Smart or energy saver modes could help you to set the optimal temperature even when you're out, to switch modes when a change in room temperature is detected and to turn off or turn down the air conditioning for a comfortable, more quiet sleep.
Generally, portable air conditioners come with manually adjustable louvres (some may have fixed louvres instead). Ideally, look for automatically oscillating louvres for more even air flow circulation, as these allow the cool air to be directed more widely instead of in a fixed direction. Consider your room layout and find a model that directs the air flow where you need it the most.
Most air conditioners utilise air filters that can help remove odours, bacteria and smoke from the air. For those who have asthma or allergies, you may want to purchase a unit with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. To keep your unit working properly, you'll need to clean your air filter from time to time too.
How your unit condenses and collects water will affect how easy it is to maintain your portable air conditioner. You'll want to think about where the best place to put your unit is so that you can manage potential water puddles easily. There are three condensation types:
While a portable air conditioner can be installed without actually renovating your apartment, it can be quite heavy (up to around 40kg) and, unlike a fan, difficult to move from room to room. There is also a tradeoff between noise and cooling speed: a more powerful air conditioner will be louder, larger and thus less portable.
What's more, you'll need an exhaust tube to vent the hot air out of the space you are cooling. The exhaust will have to go through a window, duct or door, which will affect where you place the unit and how your room looks.
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