Weather-wise we have had an amazing Spring, shame about everything else. Hopefully, as the lockdown eases the weather will continue to be amazing through summer which will may make the current situation marginally easier.

However, with warm weather comes warm nights and uncomfortable sleeping, and there is nothing worse than a bad nights sleep. For me it has a significant impact on my mental health, not what I need right now.

Personally I use a fan to help with sleep, if you buy one with a large number of speed settings you can normally get it running silently and helps keep you just cool enough to sleep. I use an Ansio 26-speed fan and it has been working well for me this year.

However, one day I may invest in an air conditioner, but they are a minefield of choices. There are a few issues with portable air conditioning units, there are different types of air-con, the more effective type is very expensive, and reviews of all the units tends to be mixed, they are also expensive to run.

The different types of portable air conditioner – evaporative, single hose, dual hose

If you go on Amazon, you will see a significant disparity between the prices some cost as low as £25 while many others cost £300+. The cheaper ones use evaporative cooling, so the fan blows warm air over a  water-soaked filter which increases humidity, produces condensation and only slightly reduces the heat. Increased humidity is often associated with poor sleep as it reduces your bodies ability to evaporate sweat.

The expensive models are more effective but this is a minefield. Nearly all UK air conditioners are single host units which require you to feed the hose outside.

The single hose air conditioner pulls warm air from the room, sends it past coils cooled by refrigerant, and then sends heated air and moisture through the hose and out of the house.

This creates a negative air pressure situation as air is pushed out of the room. The result is that any cracks around doors and windows will allow hot outside air to leak into the room

The other type of portable air conditioning unit is the dual hose unit. This model has an intake and an outtake hose. Through the intake, the air is drawn into the unit where it is cooled and then sent back into the living area. The machine heats up through the process and an intake hose pulls air from outside the home to cool the air conditioner down.

A second hose sends all of the warmed air outside of the home. With this efficient exchange of air, the dual hose system doesn’t have to work nearly as hard as the single hose option.

A decent quality hosed air conditioner costs a lot of money but you can see by the reviews they perform far better than the generally poor quality evaporative options. This Delonghi PAC AN112 is comfortably the best-reviewed air-con on Amazon:

Considerations for a single hose air con?

The single hose unit has some fundamental flaws that cause it to drawback in hot air, so when you use one of these units some considerations need to be taken into account.

As the unit pulls in the warm air from your room, it causes negative pressure, drawing in more warm air from any window cracks or through doors.

So with these units, if you want it to be effective, you need to use a proper window seal, which you can buy quite cheaply online. You will also need to keep the doors closed in your room.

Are they loud?

There is no way to sugar coat this, yes they are very loud. Typically, they run at around 38-48db in the quiet modes for some of the quieter models and up to 65dB at max. 49dB-54dB for general usage is quite common. To put that into perspective, a washing machine normally runs at about 55dB or it is like someone in the room talking or the noise of light traffic while you are on the street.

Buy the right size

You need to be careful of is to buy the proper size air con for your room. Too small and it won’t be able to cool the air down fast enough for it to make much or any difference.

They are typically measured in BTU or British thermal unit, and due to the inefficiency of a single hose system, you are better off sizing up if possible.

There are plenty of air-con calculators online and this is the best place to start for a room of around 5m in length and 5m width you will find the recommendation to be around 9000BTU

Power consumption: How much does it cost to run?

The last thing to worry about is how much do they actually cost to run? Some more bad news I am afraid, they are quite expensive. It’s a bit like an electric radiator but in reverse.

The higher the BTU, the higher the kW/h a 12000BTU air con which can cool a moderately large room will typically use around 1.35Kw per hour.

Based on the tariff rate from my current supplier, Bulb, that works out at around 18p per hour to run.

So, what are some good Portable Air Conditioning Units to buy?

I am not just an Amazon affiliate shill, but due to these being a bit hit or miss on how effective they will be or at least how good they are for the money, anything I buy will be via Amazon on Prime, so I can return it easily.

Filtering out the results down to 4 star and above leaves us some of the following options. I have included a few evaporative options, these will not be as effective, however, I appreciate most people don’t have £300+ just lying around (me included).

Out of the ones listed I would be inclined to go for the electriQ 9000 BTU for small rooms, or the AEG ChillFlex Pro 12k for medium rooms. You would also need the window seal for effective cooling.

The Princess 352101 is well-reviewed for an evaporative cooler and the 5L tank capacity should keep it running for quite a while.

Delonghi PAC AN112 Silent Air Conditioner, Plastic, 950 W

Reviews: 4 / 5 from 425 ratings

Type: Hosed

Cooling Capacity: 11000 Btu/h

Features: 24h electronic timer and thermostat, Remote control

Noise: 47-50dB

Delonghi PAC AN112 Silent Air Conditioner, Plastic, 950 W

Reviews: 4 / 5 from 425 ratings

Type: Hosed

Cooling Capacity: 11000 Btu/h

Features: 24h electronic timer and thermostat, Remote control

Noise: 47-50dB

Honeywell MN10CESWW Portable Air Conditioner

Reviews: 3.7 / 5 from 1931 ratings

Type: Hosed

Cooling Capacity: 10000 Btu/h

Features:12 hour digital timer and thermostat with real feel technology

Noise: 53dB

De'Longhi PAC N82 ECO Real Feel Portable

Reviews: 4.1 / 5 from 234 ratings

Type: Hosed

Cooling Capacity: 9,400 Btu/h

Features: 3 speed fan: to select the maximum power or minimum noise.

Noise: 50-52dB

Pro Breeze 4-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner

Reviews: 4.1 / 5 from 41 ratings

Type: Hosed

Cooling Capacity: 7000 Btu/h

Features: This portable air conditioning unit features 4 multi-purpose operating modes including auto, air cooling, dehumidifying, fan only and energy saving sleep modes. Use the automatic oscillation mode to direct air flow across a wide are or in a precise direction.

Noise: Not stated

Princess Mobile Air Conditioner

Reviews: 4.3 / 5 from 21ratings

Type: Hosed

Cooling Capacity: 7000BTU

Features: This portable air conditioning unit features 4 multi-purpose operating modes including auto, air cooling, dehumidifying, fan only and energy saving sleep modes. Use the automatic oscillation mode to direct air flow across a wide are or in a precise direction.

Noise: 65dB 

Hisome Portable Air Cooler 4 in 1 Small Air Conditioner Cooler and Humidifier

Reviews: 3.9 / 5 from 45 ratings

Type: Evaporative

Cooling Capacity: N/A

Features: This personal air conditioner is a combination of air cooling fan, humidifier, air purifier and aroma diffuser function with 4 separate buttons, you could add clean water for humidifier function, or add aromatherapy oil for aromatherapy function, it is a good choice as an air purifier for home office

Noise: Not declared

[Original post 24 July 2019][Updated 22 May 2020]

Overall Recomendation

Delonghi PAC AN112 Silent Air Conditioner

James Smythe

Overall

Summary

While the Honeywell has the most overall reviews, it has a lower rating, higher noise level and lower cooling capacity than the Delonghi PAC AN112 while being about the same price. At close to £700 this is a massive investment to make but if you suffer with the heat it could well be worth it.

5

Last update on 2020-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API