Summer in the City: The Five Best Portable Air Conditioners

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Bye, Spring. Those five or six days you decided to grace us with your presence sure were nice. Hello, Summer. You are a jerk. People say they like you, but you only serve to make everything hot and uncomfortable.

We’re not going to take this lying down, Summer. Especially at night when we’re trying to sleep. And we’re going to fight you room by room. How? With these portable air conditioners. Let’s dance.


Oh, did I forget to mention that portable air conditioners are kind of expensive? They start at around $250 unless you get an evaporative cooler which work well in drier areas of the country. We’ll take a look at full-bore air conditioners, though.

Best portable air conditioner for the price:

9fca3e40-2db7-4908-9264-f2b51519947a_300LG LP0711WNR

BTUs: 7,000
Room Size: Up to 200 square feet
Dimensions (HxWxD): 29.75″ x 13.9″ x 11.8″
Weight: 48.5 pounds
Extras: Two speeds, remote control

Purchase: Home Depot ($250) | Compare: Google

At $250, this LG unit bests most others by $50. It’s relatively compact, too, although its overall cooling power leaves a bit to be desired. This little guy would work well in a small office or bedroom, though.

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Best bang for the buck:


Frigidaire FRA073PU1

BTUs: 5,000
Room Size: Up to 290 square feet
Dimensions (HxWxD): 32″ x 20″ x 16.75″
Weight: 64 pounds
Extras: Three speeds, remote control

Purchase: Amazon ($280) | Compare: Google

This Frigidaire beats the $300 starting price of most portable air conditioners but promises an extra 40 square feet of cooling power—most others at this price claim to be able to cool rooms up to 250 square feet or smaller in size.

If you’re looking for a similar option in town, Best Buy has the 7,000-BTU version of this unit for $300.

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Best jack-of-all-trades:

1358434_rbDanby DPAC12010H

BTUs: 12,000
Room Size: Up to 500 square feet
Dimensions (HxWxD): 32.75″ x 19.75″ x 16.5″
Weight: 83 pounds
Extras: Three speeds, remote control, dehumidifier, heater

Purchase: Best Buy ($400) | Compare: Google

If you’re going to throw down for a portable air conditioner, spending a little extra can get you a fair amount of decent add-ons. Not only does this Danby unit cool a 500 square-foot room, it also doubles as a dehumidifier and, in the winter, a space heater of sorts.

An 83-pound space heater, yes, but moving it around ought to get your blood flowing pretty nicely on those cold winter days.

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Best way-too-powerful-but-I’m-buying-it-anyway air conditioner:

1694d6e1-d35e-426b-ac8e-d3c84ba22d0f_300LG LP1411SHR

BTUs: 14,000
Room Size: Up to 600 square feet
Dimensions (HxWxD): 33″ x 18.5″ x 13″
Weight: 73 pounds
Extras: Three speeds, remote control, heater

Purchase: Home Depot ($630) | Compare: Google

You know, for a portable air conditioner with 14,000 BTUs of raw cooling power, this LG is surprisingly svelte as far as its dimensions go. It can cool a 600 square-foot room and removes more than three pints of moisture from the air per hour. In the winter, it doubles as a heater, too.

This one would work well in a garage or any other outdoor work area. Or your walk-in closet. It’s up to you.

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Most hide-able portable air conditioner:

whynterWhynter ARC-13S

BTUs: 13,000
Room Size: Up to 420 square feet
Dimensions (HxWxD): 19″ x 20.5″ x 21.7″
Weight: 79 pounds
Extras: Three speeds, remote control, dehumidifier

Purchase: Amazon ($540) | Compare: Google

If showcasing your beautiful new air conditioner isn’t high on your list of things to do, this square-ish Whynter unit can be tucked away in a corner or hidden wherever else you’ve got two square feet of undiscoverable space.

At almost 80 pounds it’s no lightweight, mind you, but the integrated handle and retractable power cord look to make the process of moving the air conditioner from point A to point B a little less arduous.

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