2023 Ultimate Guide: Choosing the Best Portable Air Conditioner for Your Needs

Phill Crawley

Smarter Air & Electrical

i 3 Contents

Ultimate Guide Buying the Best Portable Air Conditioner

A portable air conditioner can be an excellent solution for Queenslanders that rent a home or apartment that does not have any air conditioning or if you want to cool a single room without the expensive installation costs. There is a wide variety of portable air conditioners available in Australia. Still, before deciding which portable air conditioner to buy, you should consider both the pros and cons of this unit. In this article, we’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of portable air conditioners and help you decide which model suits you.

What are the Advantages Of Portable Air Cons?

There are several advantages to using a portable air conditioner to keep your family cool in summer and warm in winter. One of the main benefits is the versatility and convenience they offer. Because they are portable and easy to move around, they can be easily moved from one room to another (or from one rental property to the next), making them an excellent choice to cool one room. They are also relatively simple to install because they do not require any permanent changes to your home and can be set up in minutes. In comparison, a split-system air conditioner or ducted air conditioning system are labour-intensive & requires a skilled technician to install them; portable air conditioners are very cost-effective solutions.

Portable AC units are an excellent option for renters who live in apartments or properties where installing permanent air conditioning systems is not allowed by the landlord plus, you don’t have to worry about patching holes in walls like you would with a split system. Portable air conditioners provide cool air and function as effective dehumidifiers, removing moisture from the air and keeping you comfortable inside, expelling the hot air outside the home.

What are the Disadvantages Of Portable Air Cons?

These units normally have lower cooling capacity than non-portable models, meaning they may need more cooling power to cool down large or multiple rooms sufficiently. As all of the noisy components, such as the compressor motor, are located inside the portable AC, they are louder than other heating & cooling solutions with these components in the outdoor unit.

Noise levels of these styles of units have improved over the years thanks to acoustic insulation manufacturers are now using to wrap the components. The cost of running a portable aircon can be higher than that of a non-portable model because most models are fixed-speed compressor models; however, some brands, such as TECO, have recently released models that feature an inverter-type compressor, such as the TECO 4.2kW.

Are you interested in buying a portable air conditioner? Find out what to look for!

There are several factors to consider when purchasing a new portable air conditioner to ensure you get the best unit.

 

How to find the right size portable air conditioner?

When purchasing a new system, one of the most important factors is the unit’s size and cooling capacity. Selecting a unit that’s the right size for the room you want to cool is critical, as an undersized unit will need help to cool the space, whereas an oversized unit will waste power. A simple rule for sizing the system that works in most cases is to multiply the square metres of the room by 160W/m2 to determine the required cooling capacity. For example, if your lounge room is 4m x 5m, then that is a total floor space of 20sqm, multiply this by 160W, and you now know that you need at least 3,200W of cooling capacity or 3.2kW.

Below is a general guide to help you select the best-size portable ac for your room:

  • 2kW – 12.5m2
  • 2.5kW – 15.5m2
  • 3.3kW – 20.5m2
  • 4kW – 25m2
  • 4.7kW – 29m2

There are a variety of factors that contribute to what size system will suit. Because of these systems’ portable nature, it is best to lean towards the larger unit sizes to ensure it is rated to fit the largest room in which it could be used. It is essential to ensure areas to be air conditioned are adequately insulated to reduce running costs and keep your room cool.

Energy Efficiency Rating (EER):

Another essential factor to consider when making a purchase is the unit’s energy efficiency rating (EER). The EER measures how efficiently the unit uses energy when in cooling mode, with a higher rating indicating a more energy-efficient unit. Choosing an energy-efficient unit can help you save money on your power bills over time.

Cost/Price Range:

Of course, price is an important factor for most people, prices range from $499 and go up to $1199 for premium models with advanced features. These units can vary in price significantly, so it’s critical to set a budget and look for a unit that fits within it. Remember that more expensive units may have more features such as air purification or be more energy-efficient, providing some health benefits or saving you money in the long run.

Noise Level:

Finally, it would be best to consider the noise level of the unit you’re considering, you want to ensure you are purchasing a quite portable air conditioner. Portable air conditioners can be rather loud (especially the cheaper models), so pay attention to the rated noise level of the unit; if the unit is located in your bedroom, quiet operation may be the deciding factor when you shop for portable air con. Look for units with a low decibel rating (or sound power level), as these will run more quietly and allow you to sleep better.

Drainage options:

When choosing a portable air conditioner, it’s essential to consider the drainage options available. Two standard options are a drain hose and a drain pan. We recommend opting for a model with a drain hose, as this eliminates the need for constant emptying of the condensate.

Some models with a drain hose also come with a pump, which provides added convenience. The pump enables you to route the drain hose from the top of the unit to an external window, making the draining process easier. On the other hand, models without a pump have a hose connection at the unit’s base. In this case, it’s essential to ensure the drain hose has enough fall from the unit to the drainage point, which may require you to place the air conditioner on a stand.

Portable Air Con Frequently Asked Questions

Is Portable AC worth it?

Portable ACs are attractive for many people because of their convenience and portability. Portable ACs are ideal for renters, those living in small apartments, or those who cannot install a standard wall-mounted air conditioner. They are also cheaper than traditional air conditioning systems, making them an affordable option for many households.

Portable ACs can effectively cool a single room or small area, allowing you to stay comfortable without costing you a small fortune on installation. As with all types of air conditioners, a bonus is that they will also help you dehumidify your home; reduced humidity levels can help make your home feel more comfortable. So if you’re looking for an effective way to cool off while saving money, portable ACs may be worth considering.

What Hot Air Discharge Accessories are supplied with a portable air conditioner?

Portable air conditioners can’t work without the accessories that let hot or warm air out. They make it easier for hot air to get out of the room. Most of the time, these accessories come with a flexible exhaust duct and a window or door vent kit that make them easy to install and use. Just connect the duct to the back of the air conditioner and run it through an open window or wall. The window venting kit helps make sure that the opening is properly sealed, which helps with the cooling performance.

If you have a non-standard door or window that you need to vent the hot air out of you may need to create your own solution to ensure a good seal, when purchasing portable aircons we recommend you take a photo of the door or window so you can ask the sales rep about the best model for your home.

Typical Portable Air Conditioner Installation

Is A Portable Air Conditioner the same as a portable dehumidifier?

No, a portable air conditioner is not the same as a portable dehumidifier. A portable air conditioner cools and dehumidifies the air in a room or area, while a portable dehumidifier only removes moisture from the air whilst trying not to reduce the temperature of the home or room. Portable air conditioners are generally more efficient when compared to dehumidifiers that essentially cool the air to remove humidity and then heat it back up so it doesn’t change the temperature of the room.

Portable dehumidifiers come in various sizes but are most often used to reduce humidity levels in areas like basements, garages, and storage units. Portable dehums are usually more expensive than an air conditioner but lack the ability to cool the space. In addition, they require more energy to run than an air conditioner which may increase your energy bills over time.

Can you just plug in a portable air conditioner?

Yes, you can simply plug a portable air conditioner into a standard Australian power point, there is no need to hire an electrician unless of course you do not have a power point on the wall close to where you would like to place the air conditioner.

What is the difference between a portable air con and evaporative cooler?

Reverse cycle portable air cons help you beat the heat, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The portable air con cools the air through the use of a compressor, refrigerant gas and heat exchanger coils.

Evaporative coolers operate by drawing in hot dry air and passing it over moistened pads, which cools the air via evaporation. This is a cost-effective cooling solution in dry areas, but it delivers poor cooling performance in tropical areas with humid air like sunny Brisbane.

online guide TO BUYING A Portable air conditioner

When exploring the market for portable air conditioners, you’ll likely come across brands such as Midea, Dimplex, Delonghi, Rinnai, and TECO. These brands are known for their wide range of portable AC units, each offering different cooling capacities to suit various needs. In contrast, some of the industry’s big names like Panasonic, Mitsubishi, and Daikin primarily focus on ducted air conditioning and split systems, rather than mobile cooling solutions. Wondering what sets each of these brands apart? Our comprehensive air conditioner buying guide below will assist you in selecting the ideal portable air conditioner for your home.

Midea portable air conditioners

Midea is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of air conditioners, Midea ranks in the Fortune 500 top companies globally!

The 2023 portable cooling solutions offer features such as an ON/OFF timer, Auto restart, dry mode (for dehumidifying), follow me, sleep mode, & R290 refrigerant which is a non-toxic gas with zero ozone-depleting potential & low global warming potential making it safe yet environmentally friendly.

All products come with a two-year warranty & a good range of exhaust duct accessories. The downside to Midea portable range is that all models are fixed-speed compressors meaning they are going to be a little less efficient.

Product Range

Cooling Only Portable Air Conditioners:

  • 2.5kW (Midea MPPD25C) – noise rating of 62 dba
  • 3.0kW (Midea MPPD30C) – noise rating of 62 dba
  • 3.3kW (Midea MPPD33C) – noise rating of 62 dba
  • 3.5kW (Midea MPPD35C) – noise rating of 62 dba

Heating & Cooling Portable Air Conditioners:

  • 3.3kW (Midea MPPD33H) – noise rating of 54 dba

Dimplex portable air conditioners

Dimplex is a leading brand in mobile air conditioners, evaporative air, fans & air purifiers! They have a long-standing reputation in Australia for quality, and innovation. With almost 70 years of experience, Dimplex offers a huge range of energy-efficient and cost-effective heating and cooling solutions that are perfect for Australian households. Their commitment to investing in research and development ensures that they remain at the forefront of the industry, providing reliable and cutting-edge heating products to customers.

All Dimplex portable AC’s have a built-in dehumidifier however all models are fixed speed (eg not an inverter that can increase and decrease capacity to save energy) and the are cooling only, meaning that they can only run in cool mode, no heating.

All models come with a window kit & remote control in the box as standard. The Dimplex 2kw portable air conditioner (DCP7W) looks to be the most popular for customers who are trying to cool a single bedroom as it is the quietest model in the range & it also removes up to 1.93L of humidity from the air per hour!

The whole Dimplex range comes with a 2 year domestic manufacturers warranty.

Product Range

Cooling Only Portable Air Conditioners:

DeLonghi Portable Air Conditioners

DeLonghi offers a range of smaller cooling only smart portable air conditioners suitable for cooling a bedroom, the largest capacity being the 2.9kW model. Some models also have aa built-in dehumidifier that can remove excess humidity from the room, making your space more comfortable. With wheels and handles, these portable air conditioners can be easily moved from one room to another.

While the De longhi portable air conditioner models aren’t inverter models and aren’t reverse cycle some models such as the Care4Me model has a bunch of great features like voice control, LED display, timer function, app control & geofencing which means you can set the air conditioner to turn ON before you arrive home automatically turn it OFF when you leave to ensure you don’t waste energy cooling your home when your away.

Every model comes complete with a 2 year warranty on the product and 5 years on the compressor. The kit includes a 1.2m exhaust hose & come with a window kit to make installation easy!

You shop portable air conditioners direct from the Delonghi online store.

Product Range

Pinguino Smart Portable Air Conditioners (Cooling Only):

Pinguino Care4Me Smart Portable Air Conditioners: This is DeLonghi’s premium smart air conditioner which offers benefits such as geofencing which will turn your air conditioner ON when you arrive home & OFF when you leave. The Care3Me model also allows you to control your AC with your voice through Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant.

Rinnai Portable Air Conditioners

Rinnai offer three models of portable air cons 2.6kW, 3.5kW & 4.1kW, each coming with a 2 year manufacturers warranty, castor wheels to allow you to move the AC from room to room and a window ventilation kit included in the box.

The range offers benefits such as sleep mode, water alarm, inbuilt timer, remote control & washable filters.

One feature we like is the condensate recycle feature which uses the moisture removed from the air in the home to cool down the compressor which may eliminate the need for draining the system however if you are located in a high humidity location like Brisbane we would recommend you connect up the supplied drainage hose.

Unfortunately all models are cooling only and have a fixed speed compressor, sorry no inverter models here!

Product Range

Rinnai Portable Air Conditioners (Cooling Only):

Rinnai Cooling Portable Air Conditioner Brochure

TECO Portable Air Conditioners

TECO Portable Inverter Air Conditioner

Australian households choose TECO portable air conditioners as their preferred cooling solution. TECO leads the market in heavy industrial motors, has established itself as an unwavering advocate of quality and dependability. TECO Air Conditioner & Home Appliances products division are dedicated to providing excellent products that guarantee comfort. Whether it is small room cooling units or ducted systems for whole-house temperature control, TECO delivers it all. The global brand’s robust reputation and dependable comfort are both yours to enjoy.

One of the standout features of TECO portable air conditioners is the two 4.2kW models that feature DC inverter technology, which is a smarter, more efficient, and energy-saving way to cool your space. All TECO portable air conditioners come with built-in wi-fi connectivity plus, a 24 Hour timer that you can set and forget which makes it a great choice for those who want to cool their room before going to bed. All models come complete with a 1.5-meter exhaust air hose, and a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Product Range

TECO Portable Air Conditioners (Cooling Only):

TECO Portable Air Conditioners (Reverse Cycle – Heating & Cooling):

TECO Portable Air Conditioners (DC Inverter):

TECO Portable Air Conditioner Brochure

Choosing the right portable air conditioner to keep you cool in summer and warm in winter

The best portable air conditioner on the market is one that meets your needs and fits your budget. It should be energy efficient, quiet, and have reliable cooling power. Consider the size of the area you will be cooling, as well as features such as adjustable fan speed, auto-restart and timer options.

Portable AC units with built-in dehumidifiers are becoming increasingly popular since they can help reduce humidity levels in a room or space. Look for models that offer easy installation and are backed by a good warranty. Also look for those offering smart thermostat technology so you can control the temperature from your phone when your away from home. Ultimately, there is no one size fits all when it comes to portable air conditioners so it pays to do some research before making a purchase.

If we had to pick one model as the winner here it would be the TECO 4.2kW reverse cycle inverter model TPO42HVWAH as it is one of the only inverter models we found! This product also has castor wheels, built-in WiFi control, 24 hour timer & the backing of a global brand! The only downside is it is one of the larger models which means it will only be suitable for larger bedrooms and small living areas or media rooms.

The full range of TECO products is available from Smarter Air & Electrical, so feel free to chat with our team if you are interested in learning more!

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