Portable Air Conditioners: Ratings of Sources
ConsumerReports.org tests more than 15 portable air conditioners, including small and large models, for its current report on room air conditioners. Portable air conditioners are rated on the comfort level they produce, indoor noise levels at high and low fan speeds and how well (or if) they operate under brownout conditions (when voltages are low -- a common occurrence during summer months, especially in urban areas) and start up afterwards. An overall rating is also assigned, and that can be used to compare portable air conditioners of similar cooling capacities.
Liam McCabe at TheSweethome.com spent about 20 hours testing several portable air conditioners after narrowing down the choices through his research. He makes the Haier HPN12XCM his top choice, and names the LG LP1215GXR as his runner up. Like other experts, Liam McCabe says that a portable AC is only best for those who situation or room won't allow for a window unit.
Amazon carries hundreds of different models of portable air conditioners. Many get at least some feedback, while others get hundreds of user reviews, all left by Amazon.com shoppers. While those with ample feedback struggle to get better than so-so reviews, a few get scores of 4 stars or higher and more than 100 reviews.
There is a good selection of portable air conditioners available at HomeDepot.com. Most get only a handful of user reviews, others get dozens and some get hundreds. Most get so-so feedback, but a few garner ratings of 4 stars or greater following a meaningful number of reviews. However, some feedback posted here originates elsewhere, mainly manufacturer web sites, and is duplicated elsewhere on the web.
This retail website carries a variety of air conditioners, including nearly 50 portable units from brands like Soleus, NewAir, and Honeywell. Only a handful of models receive a significant number of reviews.
Walmart.com sells lots of portable air conditioners as well, but we saw less feedback here than at other sites. Once again only a few models receive scores of 4-stars or more and enough reviews for that rating to be meaningful.
LivingDirect.com, a retail website that sells appliances for the home and kitchen, carries just around 10 models of portable air conditioners. Of these, LivingDirect.com's two house brands, EdgeStar and KoldFront, get the most feedback -- and relatively good feedback compared to most other brands of portable air conditioners. However, those brands have not been evaluated by expert reviewers.
Of the about 80 portable air conditioners available at Sylvane.com, half a dozen have at least 10 owner reviews. Of these, the Toytomi TAD-140LW 14,000 BTU is named Best in Class, though the basis for that designation is not well explained. That said, it's also one of the better scoring portable ACs at the site, with feedback that, while not extensive, is substantial enough to be meaningful. Elsewhere on this site, a buying guide has a lot of good information for selecting and installing a portable air conditioner.
BestBuy.com is another site where you can find reviews of portable air conditioners. It carries nearly 100 models overall. As is the norm, some portable ACs get dozens of reviews, while some get little or no feedback. Review scores and totals reflect unique reviews left by BestBuy.com users; reviews from manufacturer web sites are also available in some cases, but tallied separately.