Portable Air Conditioners Not All They’re Cut Out To Be

Portable air conditioners might not be all that they’re cut out to be. An investigation conducted by Consumer Reports reveals that even the largest portable air conditioners lack the capability to properly cool a room to below 80 degrees. Ouch!

What Did They Do?

The folks at Consumer Reports set up an experimental room to test the cooling power of a few top-brand portable air conditioners, including the uber-luxurious Honeywell MM14CCS, which by the way retails for a whopping $550. They then programmed the outdoor temperature to 90 degrees, the indoor temperature to 70 degrees and the air conditioners to 75 degrees. Last but not least, they exited the room and waited an hour and 40 minutes. Guess what happened.

Barely any of the portable units managed to hit the 80-degree threshold. Furthermore, zero of them made Consumer Reports’ Recommended Air Conditioners list.

Why Do These Air Conditioners Not Work?

According to a report by CBS News, portable AC units rely on air from inside a home “to cool the condenser and force the hot air out through” the vent. Doing this creates negative pressure, which in turn causes an opposite effect: the unit ends up drawing more warm air into the room. Window air conditioners, on the other hand, use refrigerant, which by the way is the same substance used by both centralized AC systems and conventional refrigerators.

Not only are window ACs more efficient, but they’re also significantly cheaper. A quality window unit can be had for around $129.99, whereas a portable equivalent (and the notion of equivalency itself is quite the trash) would cost at least $350 to $450.

What’s The Moral Of The Story?

The moral of the story appears to be that portable air conditioners suck. As a result, Consumer Reports strongly recommends that consumers purchase a window air conditioner instead. They offer considerably better performance. If you absolutely must get a portable air conditioner for whatever reason, then you should, according to Consumer Reports, purchase a 12,000-BTU Honeywell MN10CES[WW] from Walmart, Home Depot, Kmart, Amazon or whatnot:

“While only fair at cooling, it was a champ in our tests simulating brownout conditions, as were four other models.”

Ultimately, though, you would be better off investing in one of the following window air conditioners instead:

  • GE AEM05l2, $120, best for small rooms
  • LG LW8014ER, $240, best for medium rooms
  • LG LW1214ER, $350, best for large rooms

The good news is that summer is almost over! The bad news, of course, is that it’ll be right back sooner than later!

Image via [Google Images]