As we flip the calendar towards the end of the year, we enter the hot months. Reaching December with no plan to fight the heat is a suicide mission. On the other hand, most of us don't like making holes in our walls to set up an appliance we'll use for three months and look at for the rest of the year. You guessed it! A portable air conditioner is the solution to this problem. Check out the reviews of the best portable air conditioner from the list of iconic brands like Omega, Rinnai, DeLonghi and Honeywell in Australia.
The minute you make the decision and start looking for your next portable aircon you realize you're in trouble: there are too many options! Well, don't worry because the best portable air conditioner is surely a part of this list.
We've done the hard work, walked the extra mile but didn't sweat a drop because this was a super-cool research to make. If you are ready to have the coolest summer with no holes in your wall, you're in the right place.
Here are 6 best portable air conditioner in Australia
For those who pay a lot of attention to image and design; this is the perfect unit for you. It looks elegant, sleek, and modern in a black and white combination that is just smart. The size is ideal for those who want to cool a larger bedroom or any other room of the house between 20 and 35m2. Truth is that this unit looks great wherever you put it.
Some important features include dehumidification, an LED panel, a remote control, and a self-evaporative system. Moreover, this unit features a Sleep mode that electronically controls the temperature in your room avoiding over-cooling or over-heating.
The swing function in it is also very handy for smaller rooms in which you want the cold air to move quickly and evenly. If you like a nice design, and need a dehumidifying unit for a mid-sized space, this is a great candidate.
In the below video, you can see its slightly smaller sibling, the 3.5kW version which provides similar features and the same enclosure.
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Speaking of cooling bedrooms at night, this Omega Altise portable air conditioner is hard to beat. The Sleep mode is superb adjusting the bedroom's temperature gradually and never over-cooling the space. Those mornings in which your neck is stiff and your nose leaking are over with this machine.
Also, the fact that you can adjust the timer to any time of the day allows you to get back home from work to an already-working portable air conditioner or go to bed to a cooled-down bedroom without the need of leaving it on all day.
Because of its power and size it was designed for small spaces up to 20m2. Although it doesn't feature a side-hose it comes complete with all the accessories for a clean installation on most window types (sliding, sash).
Furthermore, the operation of the unit is silent and easy with a very straightforward panel and a minimalist remote control. Those looking for a smaller unit for a bedroom, a studio, or a small living room might have found their perfect choice here.
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Although not your most budget-friendly choice; the DeLonghi Pinguino PACE is a very good option for a portable air conditioner.
The “Silent System” function works perfectly lowering the overall noise down to between 49 and 53dB. This is the same as saying that you will hear birds singing outside in the summer with a gentle purr coming from this artefact in the background rather than a loud artificial noise and some gentle singing in the back. If you have very sensitive ears, this apparatus will come as a gift from above.
We are not only talking about a super silent, stealth, portable aircon, but also a very effective one. It features a dehumidifying system, and a technology named “Real Feel” to let the unit adjust temperature and humidity levels automatically. Finally, it also turns into this expensive fan that you can use at any time.
If you want a super silent, yet very effective operation and can afford it, this might be the unit for you.
For a cool home-made video of the unit's silent mode, check below
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This is a great, very simple unit for those in need of cooling a big room in a small budget. This MIDEA is the quintessential portable air conditioner design that can cool up to 42m2. Although it doesn't feature some of the innovations its competition does, it does work with a dedicated app so you can control temperature wherever you are.
Adding to that, the Midea is capable of following your schedule and features a sleep curve that allows you to fall asleep ensuring you'll be comfortable all night long. Finally, the high-density filters are washable and the lower-noise design works very well keeping noise moderate. When on a budget trying to cool a big room, this is the best bet on the list.
If you want to see two preteens opening up the box guided by their mother and check out how the Midea unit works, you can check this video
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This is the largest unit of the list cooling down rooms of up to 51m2. This single-hose design works in three different modes as a fan, dehumidifier and portable air conditioner.
The design looks very well and operation is kept very silent at 53dB. The auto-evaporation system allows you to forget about dripping trays and hoses, and the air-circulator works great for those warm spring days in which you do not need cooling but need the air to move.
Also, the continuous dripping of the not-included but available hose for the dehumidifier allows users to keep it on for larger periods of time without having to worry about disposing water.
For those trying to cool a big room all year long, this unit might represent the answer to your needs.
You can check a full review of the unit in this home-made video
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This Dimplex portable air conditioner works great cooling rooms up to 35m2. It is a very well-thought unit that presents as a terrific combo for a small family or apartment. The fact that Dimplex located the vent on the side is great to accommodate rooms that are cluttered. For example, you can put the Dimplex in a corner and let the hose reach the nearest window. Whereas when you have the hose on the back, you have a lot of spare room you can't use beneath the unit.
The dehumidifier works with a water receptacle that needs manual emptying which can translate into a mess if you forget. Dehumidifying a room takes more than one receptacle usually, so pay extra attention to it. Moreover, it features a self-evaporative system and when set to the cooling mode it doesn't use a hose or drip tray; water just evaporates.
The soft-touch control panel, and LED remote control make this the perfect unit for a large kitchen or common area in your house. Due to the noise levels it works at, it is not recommended for bedrooms.
Here's a little video, so you can see more of its closer brother, the DC17, which is just the same size.
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Portable air conditioner fundamentals
Before we dive directly into the portable air conditioner candidates, it is good to cover some basics. You might already know about this but it is important that we are all on the same page. Let's go right into it.
How do portable air conditioner work?
Much like the units you would install on a wall, portable air conditioners work with a chemical cooler going full speed through small pipes. Regular air conditioners have two separate units: one goes on the outside and the second goes on the inside. The outside part holds the motor and also releases the hot air removed from the room. The inside part is usually where the user interface is located.
Portable air conditioners work the same way but hold both parts in a simple unit. You have the motor and the user interface as well as one or two hoses to release hot air to the outside. They utilize the same cooling chemical and share the same principles of functioning.
These are the differences:
Noise levels - One of the things that you have to bear in mind is the noise factor. With the motor working inside the room vs the motor hanging out the window the difference is very noticeable. For example, if you want your unit for professional work or your bedroom it might be a deciding factor.
Price - Fixed air conditioning systems have a higher price tag and you need to include the installation fee to it. Moreover, installation fees for portable air conditioners are minimal and usually cost less.
Space - For smaller places, the fact that hanging air conditioning systems are suspended on a wall helps owners save space. On the other hand, you don't need to have a portable air conditioner out all year long and can store it away on the colder months saving space too.
Portability, is it a myth?
The idea of a portable air conditioner is revolutionary, but not entirely true. Portable air conditioners can be taken from one place to another (most of them have wheels) but installing them in another room of the house isn't like plugging a fan to the electric socket. You need to find a space to let the hot air out of the room without letting any in.
Portability is only possible when you have done arrangements in more than one room to install it. Then, simply carry it around and install the hose in that space prepared in each room. You can install the hose in a window, under the door, or wherever you want it.
So, the portability is not a myth, but it does require minimal preparation for every room in which you'll use it.
Portability can be crucial for more than one case-scenario. Let's take a look:
You are not the owner - Most people renting an apartment or a house is not able to decide on the fate of the walls; thus no holes can be even thought about. In this case, a portable air conditioner can be the only option and hence, the best.
Strict strata regulations - Some apartment buildings have very strict regulations and the result is the same as above; you can't install a classic air conditioning system.
Accommodate several rooms in a budget - With the minimal effort that is installing a portable air conditioner you can use the same unit in different rooms in different moments of the day. Budget-wise is much cheaper than installing an air conditioner in every room.
Is it hard to install a portable air conditioner?
Speaking about the installation, this is the question we get the most regarding portable air conditioners: can you go DIY on it or is it something that requires a professional? Well, the answer to that question depends on whether you get along with tools or not. There is not too much to bear in mind, but here are some tips you might need:
Beware of the socket - Air conditioners of all sorts need a lot of power to work. Bear in mind you need a direct, grounded socket close to the place you're installing the vent.
The vent to a window - Most portable air conditioners come with a supplement for the window to stay open with the hose attached but with no hot air coming in.
Obstructions - Keeping obstructions far from your portable air conditioner is paramount. Also, it should be away from the wall and living beings such as plants and flowers.
Noise levels - Check on the noise level of the unit and then decide whether it is the right option if you are to install it inside a bedroom. Sleeping with a snoring companion is one thing; with a loud portable air conditioner is a very different one.
Check out below videos for easy installation steps:
If you want to read a detailed post then click on how to install your portable air conditioner
Let's talk BTUs
You must have seen this number in advertisings and different unit boxes. Have you ever wondered what it means? The acronym stands for British Thermal Unit, and it is what manufacturers use to measure heat and energy. If you want a little background on it; it is the amount of energy needed to heat one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit at sea level.
When this is applied to air conditioning systems, it measures the amount of BTUs per hour that the unit can generate or remove from the air in a given room.
Higher BTU is always better?
I know what you are thinking: I want the highest BTU in the market to cool my house in a heartbeat. Well, although it would indeed help do that, it might also shorten the lifespan of your apparatus. How so? Very simple, your unit will go on and cool the room quickly and then cycle off very quickly as well. Functioning in sudden bursts of intense action divided by small lapses of inactive time might be harmful to the unit, shortening the lifespan.
On the other hand, the same thing applies to units with fewer BTUs than needed but in the opposite way. Units that are not powerful enough to lower the temperature of an entire room are usually working all day long and never reach the desired levels. That can shorten drastically its working life but also bring you a sky-high electrical bill. Finally, and adding to those, the discomfort of hearing the unit working all day and still sweat inside your house will make you irate to say the least.
For a very accurate and complete calculator and charts click here.
Portable air conditioner buying guide
Before we get to the candidates, let's take a look at some of the items that need to be clear in your head before you make the decision.
What is your budget?
The first thing to know is how much you want to spend; or, better said, how much you can spend on a portable air conditioner. Depending on the answer to this question, you can answer several of the following. For example, which are the extras, the technology, and the size. Define your budget first, and your expectations later.
What size is the room to be cooled?
It is important that you follow the rule of square feet to BTU. Having one that is bigger or smaller than your needs can cause severe damage to it. That being said, if you are planning to use it on several rooms in the house, you should always look for one to fit the bill for the largest.
You might have seen that some manufacturers advertise their portable air conditioners saying “dehumidifier” but do you know if you need it? Most people have no clue what a dehumidifier does or why they might benefit from having one. Let's go through the main advantages:
Controlling allergies - If you live in a place where you suffer from allergies in the spring/summer season, then you might benefit from the dehumidifying spec on the portable aircon. Bacteria in the air need humidity to procreate and survive. Taking moisture out of the air reduces their concentration largely. Reducing allergies triggers is reducing allergies.
Help with asthma - Moisture in the air makes it harder to breathe because air is “heavier”. Cooling the air and removing the moisture in it with a single machine can signify a huge leap for any person suffering from asthma.
For a full report on what a dehumidifier can bring to your life click here.
This was not a simple tour through the different models available in the market, but a real rundown of the best portable air conditioner in Australia in 2020. Our pick is the Rinnai RPC41 because it represents the best of a mid-size portable air conditioner for mid-sized rooms with an excellent design and all the features you might need. Very close in the second position was the quiet DeLonghi PACEX120WH which lost to the Rinnai because of the later price tag being more affordable.
As the hot months are coming close, price tags on fans and portable aircons will go up. Take your chance now and buy the best unit; you'll spend the coolest summer… literally speaking! Happy (and cool) shopping experience!