Best Portable Air Conditioner For Small Apartment Review For 2020

The Best Portable Air Conditioner for small apartment is perfect for lowering temperatures in apartments, bedrooms, office cubicles, and personal spaces.

An incredibly compact design also makes these apartment air conditioner models the ideal cooling solution for areas with limited floor space.

These devices work as three appliances in one – air conditioner, fan, and room dehumidifier, all in one compact unit. Some models also feature the 4th mode – heater mode.

There is no better cooling solution than a portable conditioner, with no permanent installation, when the weather starts to heat up and the installation of a central conditioning system is out of the question.

Cool out the home with these top-rated portable air conditioners!

Essential Features of Air Conditioner

The air conditioning unit that stands out with performance and efficiency has the following features:

  • Power (in BTU per hour) – more powerful units can cover a larger room
  • Single Hose vs Dual Hose Conditioners – dual hose portable AC units work better than single-hose units. Why? Because they have this second vent that exhausts the warm and humid air out of the room.
  • Airflow direction – you would want to have an ability to direct the airflow where you need it – vertically or horizontally.
  • Well designed controls – large and uncrowded buttons, clear labeling, digital temperature readouts — much easier to use.
  • The timer gives you much freedom – the conditioner can be turned off when you’re out or set to turn on just before you expect to get home.
  • Energy-efficient design allows you to save energy and makes using the conditioner cheaper in the long run.
  • Dehumidifying mode will dehumidify the air in your room on humid but cold days in spring and fall.
  • Fresh-air intake or exhaust setting provides ventilation without cooling.

Black Honeywell MN10CESBB Portable AC

Portable vs Window Conditioner vs Evaporative Air Cooler vs Oscillating Fan

If you will decide to check out the best selling portable AC list on Amazon please keep in mind one thing.

Amazon’s list, in fact, contains not only portable AC units but also Window Conditioners, Air Coolers, and other devices. Always carefully read the product name and description!

You will see these types of items on the Amazon list.

Window Conditioners

Models like Frigidaire FFRA051WAE – they are not portable at all because you have to install them in your window.

FRIGIDAIRE 5,000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner with Mechanical Controls, WhiteFRIGIDAIRE 5,000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner with Mechanical Controls, WhiteCheck Price

You can choose between less powerful mini AC units and more powerful full-size models for larger rooms.

The cheaper units like the one above have mechanical controls built in the unit and no remote. The more feature-rich models have full-size remote controllers, wifi connectivity, voice control, and many other features.

Through-the-Wall Air Conditioners

The through-the-wall air conditioners are similar to the window ACs with few differences. The most noticeable difference is that window AC vents through the back and sides, but wall AC only thru the back.

Select AC models can be mounted both through the window and the wall.

Emerson Quiet Kool 230V 10,000 Smart Through-The-Wall 10,600 BTU Supplemental Heating, EATE10RSD2T Air Conditioner, 10000, WiFi, WhiteEmerson Quiet Kool 230V 10,000 Smart Through-The-Wall 10,600 BTU Supplemental Heating, EATE10RSD2T Air Conditioner, 10000, WiFi, WhiteCheck Price

Split-System Air Conditioners

Split-System Air Conditioner consists of a compressor (‘the box’) that is placed outside your house, one or more blower units, and a bunch of hoses and wires connecting the units.

The split system models are more expensive and more difficult to install but they provide more benefits. One unit can provide cooling (and also heating!) to multiple rooms.

PIONEER Air Conditioner Pioneer Mini Split Minisplit Heatpump 9000 BTU-110/120 VPIONEER Air Conditioner Pioneer Mini Split Minisplit Heatpump 9000 BTU-110/120 VCheck Price

Portable Conditioners

Gadgets we are discussing in this review.

Evaporative Coolers

Machines like KuulAire KA50 and SPT SF-609 Portable Evaporative Air Cooler with Ionizer – they use water to cool the air.

Tower Fans and Cooling Tower Fans

Likes of Lasko 4916 Desktop Wind Tower Oscillating Fan – they are just a type of a bit more advanced fan.

How Powerful AC Do I Need?

Here is a table with room sizes and corresponding apartment air conditioner power ratings in BTUs.

Room Size sq ftRoom Size cu ft @ 8ft CeilingsAC Power BTU

Dual Hose vs Single Hose Portable Air Conditioners

Part of a generation where we cannot live without the comforts of a conditioner, technology has brought us portable AC.

As the name suggests, one could easily carry it around with them wherever they wish to. Most of them require a window or open space where the system releases its exhaust.

Differing by size, brand, configurations, conditioners are mainly divided into two types depending on how the AC is vented:

  • Dual hose conditioners
  • Single hose conditioners

Coming in handy in small or large places, these conditioning units are used about everywhere from garages to commercial areas. They carry the ability to cool any place efficiently in a short time. Cost-effective products, owning one of these ACs come in handy.

Two hose conditioner could be modified into a single vent conditioner anytime. They are said to be bulkier in comparison, but more useful, due to the presence of two hoses instead of one. Although the one vent AC is comparatively cheaper.

In single vent machines, one pipe is vented to the outside of the conditioner. The unit contains a compressor/condenser that is cooled with air. This air is taken from inside the room itself. The other type of conditioner also has a hose, which is also known as the exhaust hose. This vents out the air after it has cooled the condenser.

On the other hand, AC units with two hoses contain a condenser which is cooled by drawing air from outside, through just one of the tubes. The second tube expels exhaust outside. These types of machines have two hoses vented to the outside of it.

One hose ACs consume lesser energy and are lighter. Hence, they are easier to move around from place to place. However, 2 vent conditioners do not produce a negative pressure within the room and could thus cool a space faster than 1 hose systems.

For users who have a small place to cool, the single vent machine could be their pick. That would allow them to maneuver the conditioner from time to time too. If you have ample space to cool, you should probably opt for the dual vent AC unit. Despite being heavier and consuming more energy, it will work more efficiently for the larger spaces.

I have explored different ways of venting the portable AC in my article.

Dual Hose AC Units

One of the types of ACs is the two vents portable conditioning unit. As the name suggests, these appliances have two venting hoses. They are generally bigger and noisier, compared to the single tube AC units.


Double vent portable conditioners include some features, some of which are as follows:

  • There are up to five types of operational modes: automatic, fan, dehumidifier, energy-conserving and heat. The dehumidifier option dehumidifies the air in the room without cooling. The fan mode circulates air in the room and allows up to four fan speeds to choose from.
  • Has an auto-drain function: It removes all moisture from the air and recycles it into clean air. Excessive condensation is prevented so that there are no accumulations inside the system.
  • High power supply
  • Maximum power consumption
  • Digital control of the thermostat
  • Washable air filters: To wash the filters, the user has to remove them from the unit and rinse or vacuum the dust.
  • Adjustable louvers
  • High cooling power
  • There is a 24 hour on/off timer too: This timer is programmable.


  • They can cool an area faster than the 1 hose conditioners
  • Dual vent coolers are more efficient
  • Negative pressure is not created inside the room, as it has two separate hoses: one for intake and one for exhaust
  • Also, they can cool areas larger than the 1 hose AC

Single Hose AC Units

The other type of mobile conditioning unit is the AC with one hose design. Probably invented before the double vent portable conditioner, this machine has much straightforward construction. Although it functions quite differently from the double hose portable ACs.


Single tube ACs offer many features, a few of which are:

  • Self-evaporating system: To remove exhaust from the system, air condenses into water inside the appliance. As this machine has a self-evaporating, auto-drain system, maintenance is more straightforward.
  • Digital control of the thermostat
  • The option of programmable timers or continuous operation
  • High cooling power
  • Up to 4 types of operational modes: fan, dehumidifier, automatic, cool. The fan mode has up to four different speeds.
  • Makes use of ozone-depleting refrigerant
  • Clever auto-restart: The 1 hose AC unit is smart and remembers the settings done by the user. In case of a power outage, this appliance will restart at the previous function when power resumes.
  • Energy Efficiency: This means that less energy is consumed compared to other portable conditioners.
  • Control panel which is easy to operate
  • Washable air filters: These filters are quick and easy to wash, getting rid of any accumulated dirt.

The EdgeStar AP8000W I have reviewed belongs to this type.


  • These machines require lesser electricity to run, compared to dual hose ones. This is due to double hose units containing two internal fans
  • They are lighter and hence, more comfortable to carry from place to place
  • One vent conditioner may be a little more efficient comparatively. This is explained by the weakened efficiency of two hose appliances resulting from using warm air to cool its compressor
  • They cost less than the dual hose systems

Other Air Quality Improvement Devices

We have also reviewed the Whirlpool AP51030K air purifier and several models of air humidifiers.

Frequently Asked Questions

I need an air conditioner for the apartment with no windows. Which is the best option?

Here you can get several ideas about how to vent the AC without the window.

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