Best Portable Air Conditioners Of 2023: Top 5 Devices Most Recommended By Experts

It’s officially spring, and that means the return of blooming flowers, birds chirping in the mornings, and more time outside. It also means, however, that it’s almost time to retire our heaters and break out our air conditioning units. With the heat of summer fast approaching, keep it from joining us inside with the best portable air conditioners.

Most Americans prefer to have the option to retreat indoors to cooler air when spring and summer temperatures soar. In fact, a recent survey found that on average, people think five hours a day outside in the summer is just enough, but 38 percent would opt for even less. With the worst aspects of the season ranging from feeling sweaty (35%), to bugs (32%), and getting sunburnt (31%), 53 percent of all respondents agree that summer is best spent indoors. Of 2,000 respondents, two-thirds agreed that one of the best summer feelings is stepping into an air-conditioned setting.

But it turns out that it’s more than just preference driving us toward cooler settings. Research suggests that it’s actually important for our health. Researchers say taking a break from extreme heat appears to help human cells protect themselves from harm. In more scientific terms, cooling down supports cell autophagy. This is the process by which cells destroy dangerous protein buildups due to stressors including, but not limited to, extreme heat.

If your living space doesn’t come pre-equipped with air conditioning, do yourself a favor and get ready for warmer weather with a portable unit. With options ranging from budget to deluxe, from small spaces to large spaces, everyone can find a way to keep cool this season. Here at StudyFinds, we want to make finding the best portable air conditioner a breeze. That’s why we took to the internet to find expert reviews of dozens of devices. This list includes the top recommendations, but if you have a favorite that we missed, be sure to let us know in the comments!

The List: Best Portable Air Conditioners, According to Experts


1. Whynter ARC-14S

If you’ve got a big space and you want it to cool off quickly, this dual-hose model can get the job done. And with tons of settings to customize your use, the Whynter ARC-14S is one to beat. “A model like the Whynter ARC-14S Portable Air Conditioner uses one hose to draw in outside air and another hose to exhaust hot air from the room,” explains The Spruce. “If you have the extra space and the budget for a dual-hose portable air conditioner, the Whynter ARC-14S is a popular choice. It has 14,000 BTU to cool living rooms, small apartments, or any space up to 500 square feet in size.”

Whynter ARC-14S Portable Air Conditioner
Whynter ARC-14S Portable Air Conditioner

An added bonus of the ARC-14S is the various settings for temperature control. If you’d rather not leave your unit running all night, you can use save some energy (and some money on your electricity bill) by setting a timer. “Whynter’s conditioner, the ARC-14S, has three operational modes — air-conditioning unit, dehumidifier and fan — and a 24-hour timer,” NBC lists.

This model really shines when working to cool off large spaces. If you live in a studio or have a spacious bedroom, this will do the job of cooling every corner of your living areas better than most. As Business Insider puts it, “the Whynter ARC-14S Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner may be big and not as portable as other units, but it did the best job of cooling our 550-square-foot test room.”

2. LG LP1419IVSM 

Our second spot goes to another cooling powerhouse. The LG LP1419IVSM boasts 14,000 BTU and can quickly and easily cool larger spaces. “LG’s portable air conditioner was the most powerful,” says Popular Mechanics, naming the device its first choice. “After we set the temperature and fan speed, this unit was blowing ice cold air before we could even return to our notes. And the automatic movement of the discharge louvers ensured even temperature distribution directed toward the target. It held its temperature very well.”

LG LP1419IVSM Portable Air Conditioner
LG LP1419IVSM Portable Air Conditioner

“It was able to cool down the whole testing chamber remarkably quickly,” USA Today notes. “Its handles, small size, and manageable weight make it easy to move from room to room. It’s also relatively quiet compared to other models we tested. The unit also has WiFi-enabled smart features, like remote control via a smartphone app.”

To boot, this model beats out much of its competition in terms of energy-efficiency. “What sets the LG LP1419IVSM Smart Wi-Fi Portable Air Conditioner apart is its dual-inverter compressor,” explains Business Insider. “Unlike most units that turn on and off to regulate the room temperature, an inverter compressor AC has a variable-speed motor, making it more energy-efficient.”

3. Whynter Elite ARC-122DS

For a more affordable option, the ARC-122DS doesn’t leave much to desire. Between its compact and portable size and its effective cooling power, it would be hard to find much to complain about with this pick. “The Whynter Elite ARC-122DS packs a lot of cooling capacity into a relatively inexpensive package,” says USA Today. “During testing, it cooled an 81°F room down by about 20°F in roughly 20 minutes; then, within 15 minutes it cooled the room within a couple of degrees of its target temperature, 61°F.”

Whynter Elite ARC-122DS Portable Air Conditioner
Whynter Elite ARC-122DS Portable Air Conditioner

This device boasts a dual-hose, which affords extra speed to its cooling process. “One hose pulls in outdoor air and then filters, cools, and dehumidifies it before blowing it into the room. The other hose takes warm air and ejects it to the outdoors,” Popular Mechanics explains. “The design prevents the appliance from significantly lowering the air pressure in the cooled space, which can pull in warm, humid air from building cavities, the attic, the crawlspace, and other undesirable locations.”

In summary, if you need relief from the heat and you need it quick, this portable unit won’t disappoint. “It bring my about 300 square feet master down ten degrees in less than two hours,” claims a reviewer in NY Mag.

4. Black & Decker BPACT14HWT

Most portable air conditioners will serve you well in the warmer months but return to storage to collect dust as soon as it begins cooling off again. Not the Black & Decker BPACT14HWT. This model does double duty as an air conditioner and a heater, meaning you can keep using it to keep your space a comfortable temperature all year round.

Black & Decker BPACT14HWT Portable Air Conditioner
Black & Decker BPACT14HWT Portable Air Conditioner

“Multi-purpose devices are always handy, which is why it’s great to get an air conditioner that can do double-duty as a dehumidifier,” says Forbes. “This portable air conditioner from Black+Decker does one better, though: You can use it year-round, since it works as both an AC and heater—and you get formidable cooling power in the BPACT14HWT.”

As an added bonus, this portable unit won’t run you nearly as much as many of its competitors. “For its price, the Black+Decker BPACT14HWT Portable Air Conditioner does a lot. In addition to being one of the top performers in our cooling tests, this workhorse also has heating capabilities for the colder months,” notes Business Insider. It’s also easy to maneuver, adds USA Today, saying, “in terms of portability, the Black & Decker BPACT14HWT’s small size and relatively low weight make it easy to store away or lug up the stairs.”

5. LG LP0621WSR

In terms of budget air conditioning units, it would be hard to find something that beats the LG LP0621WSR. With 6,000 BTU and enough cooling power to tackle a small to medium-sized room, it’s a great pick for cooling off a bedroom or living room at an affordable price point. “At its price and Btu rating, the LG LP0621WSR Portable Air Conditioner did a great job of cooling in our tests,” claims Business Insider. “It’s designed to cool rooms of about 250 square feet, but it cooled our 550-square-foot testing room by more than 2 degrees in the two-hour testing period. That’s pretty good.”

LG LP0621WSR Portable Air Conditioner
LG LP0621WSR Portable Air Conditioner

Reviewers seem to agree with this favorable ranking. “This LG unit has 486 reviews, nearly half of which give it five stars,” NY Mag notes. “One user says it was good enough to replace their 10,000-BTU window AC. It was able to cool a 1,500-square-foot room ‘with relative ease,’ they say.”

It’s also easy to move around, meaning you can bring the cool air with you from room to room. “The LG LP0621WSR has decent portability and handling, and rolls smoothly even over carpet. Its handle placement and center of gravity help it keep moving without falling over,” says USA Today. “When it comes to performance, we have no complaints: The unit is able to cool down our test chamber quickly and maintain that temperature.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links.


  1. There are a couple of real issues in this article. First and foremost, it references only the old style BTU ratings, which are especially favorable to portable A/C unit. I’ve attached a related article. Secondly, noise can be a real issue with portable A/C units (as well as dehumidifiers), including the newest models. Focusing on noise levels, the type of noise and real world BTU ratings would prove more beneficial to your readers. (I’ll note that I’m a reasonably well accomplished and noted mechanical design engineer). Thanks for reading. – Bob.

  2. It’s great to see the inclusion of various models to suit different needs and preferences. The article also offers helpful insights and tips for choosing the right portable air conditioner, considering factors like cooling capacity, energy efficiency, and noise levels. Thanks for sharing this informative guide and helping readers stay cool and comfortable during hot summer days. Keep up the great work!

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