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Portable Air Conditioner Buying Guide

Portable Air Conditioner Buying Guide: How to Shop For Portable AC Unit

What is a Portable Air Conditioner?

Portable Air Conditioner (PAC) is an easy-to-install appliance floor unit for areas that need cooling and dehumidification.  Quick installation, without damaging window sills permanently, and casters that allow convenient portability, make the portable air conditioner ideal for use in different locations and rooms.  Portable Air Conditioners can also be used to support any central HVAC (Heating Ventilating Air Conditioning) systems. 


Portable Air Conditioners do not require any permanent installation and instead have a standard window venting kit for the exhaust hose.  Portable Air Conditioners release hot air and excess moisture in the cooling process and vent it through the exhaust hose, which extends 3 to 5 feet long.  The exhaust hose is then vented out of a window, door, drop ceiling, or through a wall, using a customizable window venting kit.  All window venting kits are adjustable to easily slide to the appropriate size, but must be individually configured for non-standard windows.

Determine Size and Efficiency: BTU’s (British Thermal Units)

Portable Air Conditioners efficiency can be determined by the level of BTU’s offered, which is rated per hour.  Choosing the right BTU for your room size, while integrating all other outside factors, like ceiling height, type of room insulation, and type of climate, sun exposure, and location, will give the most energy-efficient cooling system.

To choose the right portable air conditioner:

1. Measure the room size (Length x width)

2. Match the room size with the BTU

3. Check electrical requirements


Room size (length x width)


150 sq ft


200 sq ft


300 sq ft


400 sq ft


450 sq ft


500 sq ft

*All calculations are a rough approximation based on standard rooms, insulations, climate, and location.* 

Window Unit BTU vs. Portable Air Conditioner BTU

Window unit air conditioners listed BTU’s are slightly different in comparison to Portable Air Conditioner listed BTU’s because of different industry standards for listed Portable Air Conditioner’s BTU’s, cooling methods, and exhaust configurations. It is recommended to follow the BTU list for Portable Air Conditioners to have the most efficiently cooled space.

Single Hose vs. Dual Hose

Single Hose Portable Air Conditioners draw in indoor air from the room and output hot humid air through the exhaust hose, which is from cooling the compressor.  The Single Hose uses indoor air, which can create a negative air pressure in the room, due to the percentage of air taken from the air drawn into the Portable Air Conditioner. 

Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioners draw in fresh outdoor air and output the hot exhaust air through a separate hose.  Dual Hose allows an intake hose to be used to circulate fresh air so that there is no negative pressure in the room, greater unit performance efficiency, and maximized output cooling from discharging the hot humid air through the separate exhaust hose. 

For Collected Water

As the air is cooled, moisture is removed from the air automatically and can be collected and removed in various methods. 




Internal bucket that needs to be emptied when full


Moisture is evaporated internally and released through the exhaust hose

Gravity Drain

Permanent drain for water to be discharged by means of gravity


Water is pumped through a hose for continuous draining and pumped vertically in an upwards direction