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Portable Air Conditioners: Expert and User Reviews

By: Carl Laron on May 23, 2018

In this report

Pros and Cons of Portable Air Conditioners Our Sources

Portable Air Conditioners: Ratings of Sources

Editors of Consumer Reports, Not Dated

Consumer Reports tests a dozen portable air conditioners 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 to other portable air conditioners.

Liam McCabe and Tyler Wells Lynch, May 8, 2018

Liam McCabe and Tyler Wells Lynch at Wirecutter spent about 45 hours testing several portable air conditioners after narrowing down the choices through their research. Research leads them to recommend only dual-hose models. The editors note that additional testing is underway, which could. later this summer, affect the site's picks.

Bryan Vu, April 13, 2018

Your Best Digs updates its report to include the best new models for 2018 -- with the result being that models that the site previously selected after 100 hours of testing are still tops. Testing is well detailed and a top pick and runners up are named.

Mary H.J. Farrell, May 3, 2017

For those without a Consumer Reports subscription, this article discusses the site's research and names the model that testing finds to be the top performer. That said, Mary H.J. Farrell joins other experts in saying that you should, "Think of portable air conditioners as the cooling choice of last resort."

Contributors to Amazon, As of May 2018

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 shoppers. While those with ample feedback struggle to get better than so-so reviews, a few get scores of 3.8 stars or higher and more than 100 reviews.

Contributors to Home Depot, As of May 2018

There is a good selection of portable air conditioners available at Home Depot. 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 at other retail sites on the web.

Contributors to Air & Water, As of May 2018

This retail website carries a variety of air conditioners, including more than 50 portable units from brands like Soleus, NewAir, and Honeywell. Only a handful of models receive a significant number of reviews, however.

Contributors to Walmart, As of May 2018

Walmart sells lots of portable air conditioners as well, but we saw less feedback here than at some other sites. Once again only a few models receive scores of 4-stars or more and enough reviews for that rating to be meaningful.

Contributors to LivingDirect.com, As of May 2018

LivingDirect.com, a retail website that sells appliances for the home and kitchen, carries more than 30 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 tested by expert reviewers.

Contributors to Sylvane, As of May 2018

About 80 portable air conditioners available at Sylvane, but most have only a handful of reviews. Best in Class, Strong Performer and Good Value models are named, but the basis for those designations is not well explained. You can also find a buying guide and other information regarding selecting and installing a portable air conditioner.

Contributors to Best Buy, As of May 2018

Best Buy is another site where you can find reviews of portable air conditioners. It carries more than 125 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 Best Buy users; reviews from manufacturer web sites are also available in some cases, but tallied separately.

John Carlsen, April 11, 2018

Top Ten Reviews looks at dozens of portable air conditioners to narrow their choice to 10 to test. However, while their testing methodology is explained, it's also limited to issues such as how easy it is to move from room to room -- as well as taking it out of the shipping carton -- as well as noise levels. Product specifications and EER ratings supplied by the manufacturer are used to assess effectiveness.

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