If you’re shopping for the best outdoor air conditioner, you’ll want to start by reviewing the CFM rating and maximum square footage to compare it against the square footage of the area you wish to cool. You’ll also want to think about the water tank capacity, and whether it supports continuous fill. Continuous fill eliminates the need to manually refill your water tank but often comes at a premium. Also think about whether your AC unit offers additional features such as fan oscillation, low water indicators, and additional fan or cooling speeds. Also, think about whether you can improve cooling power by adding ice to your water tank.

After conducting thorough research through countless consumer reviews, we nominated the Luma Comfort EC110S outdoor air conditioner as our Top Pick. Keep reading to learn more about our selection criteria and to review our recommendations for the best air conditioners for every need.

Top 10 Best Outdoor Air Conditioners

 #1  Luma Comfort EC110S Outdoor Air Conditioner

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: A mobile AC unit with a 500 CFM rating that’s 75% more efficient than standard models with fan oscillation makes it the best outdoor portable air conditioner.

Pros
  • 75% more energy efficient
  • 250 sq. ft. with 500 CFM
  • Fan oscillation for increased comfort
Cons
  • Small water tank capacity of 1.76 gallons

Portable air conditioners and evaporative air coolers can be ideal for hot summer days spent on your patio or for people who live in drier climates where a traditional central air conditioner or window air conditioner wouldn’t make sense. The Luma Comfort EC110S is in our opinion the best outdoor portable air conditioner from our research thanks to its relatively slim design and cooling coverage. You’ll get 500 CFMs which is strong enough to cool up to 250 square feet.

We like that this model features fan oscillation for increased comfort. At just 16.2 pounds when empty, this is one of the lighter options we discovered. That makes it ideal for a variety of people to use, including seniors who might struggle with heavier air conditioners. You’ll like that this AC unit promises 75% more energy efficiency than a standard air conditioner. However, with a 1.76-gallon water tank capacity, you may find yourself refilling this pick frequently if you’re running it throughout the day. For your camping needs consider purchasing the best portable ac for camping.

 #2  NewAir AF-310 Outdoor Air Conditioner

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: A slim portable air conditioner that’s best for personal use in smaller spaces like office cubicles thanks to the 312.37 CFM rating and its three cooling and three fan speeds.

Pros
  • Slim design ideal for corners
  • 312.37 CFM
  • 3 cooling and 3 fan speeds
Cons
  • Small 100 sq. ft. coverage

If you’re trying to create cold air in a smaller space, many of the larger evaporative coolers aren’t going to be a good fit for you. But the NewAir AF-310 is a slim, compact portable air conditioner solution that’s best for small spaces like studios, she-sheds, and office cubicles. With 312.37 CFMs and a maximum distance of 100 square feet, this is one of the smallest air conditioners in terms of coverage capacity. This is why we think this is best for cooling your personal space.

But we do like that you get three cooling and three fan speeds with this swamp cooler. You’ll also appreciate that this is a tower design that measures 12.63 inches deep, 11.68 inches wide, and 34.5 inches tall. You’ll also get a sleek control panel and accompanying remote that can toggle between fan and evaporative cooling modes, adjust the speeds and even allow for swing functionality. This helps to change the airflow direction for increased comfort. There’s also a programmable timer mode. Note that some units like the best dual hose portable air conditioner use a carbon filter for improved airflow.

 #3  Hessaire MC18M Evaporative Air Conditioner

Award: BEST QUALITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: A powerful evaporative cooler that can cover up to 500 square feet with a 1,300 CFM rating, and a light 16-pound weight when empty makes this the best air conditioner for outdoor use.

Pros
  • Lightweight 16lbs when empty
  • 500 sq. ft. for indoor/outdoor use
  • 1,300 CFM
Cons
  • Lacks a remote
  • Lacks oscillation functionality

A common complaint with swamp coolers is that they can be cumbersome to move around — especially when they’re full. We like the Hessaire MC18M because we believe it’s the best air conditioner for outdoor use. This indoor and outdoor evaporative cooler can be placed outdoors either under a covered porch or a tent. But it can also withstand direct exposure to sunlight thanks to UV resistance. This pick can cool up to 500 square feet and has a 4.8-gallon water tank.

Note that it’s only 16 pounds when empty, making it one of the most lightweight options we discovered in our research. You’ll also get 1,300 CFM and two cooling and two fan speeds. Even though the water tank features a level indicator and casters for portability, this option doesn’t include other popular options like a programmable timer, or fan oscillation. However, you do get the option for continuous fill if you connect it to a water source via a single hose for added convenience. And with a maximum noise output of 53.4 dB, this is relatively quiet for an air conditioner. You’ll also get automatic overheat protection. Other quiet units are like the best tower air conditioners.

 #4  Lasko 7050 Outdoor Air Conditioner

Award: BEST ON A BUDGET

WHY WE LIKE IT: A portable outdoor air conditioner for high humidity that prioritizes a misting mode with 90-degree pivoting movement to keep you cool on even the hottest days.

Pros
  • 90-degree pivoting movement
  • Includes misters for added comfort
  • Weather, UV, and rust-resistant exterior
Cons
  • Not a true air conditioner

Depending on your needs, a traditional evaporative cooler may not be a priority. For people who live in humid conditions, evaporative coolers aren’t especially effective since they add humidity rather than removing it. But for outdoors, a mister can be a great solution. We think the Lasko 7050 is a great portable air conditioner for high humidity outdoor events. This straightforward appliance features three sprayers that can create a continuous mist to keep you and your guests cool.

You’ll get three speeds and the confidence that it will reduce the air temperature by up to 25 degrees Fahrenheit. The misting cooler offers a 90-degree pivot and automatic louvers for a wider sweep. While it’s weather, UV, and rust-resistant, this isn’t a true outdoor air conditioner but is considered more of a fan with adjustable louvers. Still, this model comes with additional misting nozzles so you can control the flow if you prefer a gentler mode. You can also precisely control the airflow with the best window air conditioner that has four-way air deflection.

 #5  Honeywell CO60PM Outdoor Air Conditioner

Award: BEST AREA COVERAGE

WHY WE LIKE IT: A powerful AC unit with 1,540 CFMs to cover up to 850 square feet thanks to a 15.9-gallon water tank makes this one of the best portable air conditioners.

Pros
  • Can use water or ice
  • 15.9-gallon water tank
  • Weatherproof and water-resistant
Cons
  • Can be very heavy when tank is full

Whether you’re throwing a massive backyard party or trying to cool a large interior workspace, the Honeywell CO60PM is up to the challenge. We think it’s one of the best portable air conditioners for people in drier climates because it offers an impressive 1,540 CFMs that’s rated to cool spaces as large as 850 square feet. With a 15.9-gallon water tank, you’ll have plenty of capacity to stay cool for extended periods.

Note that this swamp cooler also supports continuous flow with a single hose connected to a water source. So, once it’s connected to a water source, you don’t need to worry about constantly refilling the unit. We like that this air cooler is weatherproof and water-resistant thanks to the UV resistant materials. And the triple-sided honeycomb design helps to improve airflow for increased comfort in multiple directions. However, with a weight of 41 pounds when empty, this unit — even with caster wheels — can be heavy to move when the tank is full. A more portable indoor option is the best portable air conditioner for RVs.

 #6  Luma Comfort EC220W Outdoor Air Conditioner

Award: BEST FOR COMMERCIAL USE

WHY WE LIKE IT: A powerful evaporative cooler that can work in a variety of climates with a powerful 1,650 CFM rating and the ability to cool up to 650 square feet makes it ideal for warehouses, workshops, and other industrial uses.

Pros
  • 2-in-1 design for all climates
  • 1650 CFM & 650 sq. ft.
  • 5-gallon water tank
Cons
  • Heavy at 41.9lbs when empty

When you work in a warehouse, factory, or even an auto garage, you know that even if you have a central air conditioner installed, that doesn’t always mean that it’s efficient at keeping all areas of your workspace cool. If this sounds familiar, then the Luma Comfort EC220W AC unit is a great portable air conditioner that offers a powerful 1,650 CFMs that can effectively cool up to 650 square feet.

This larger unit has a five-gallon water tank and features a two-in-one evaporative cooler and tower fan so you can easily shift between cool and fan modes. You’ll get three fan speeds and fan oscillation for increased comfort. The removable water tank can be easily refilled but does not support continuous fill. We liked that this model also comes with an air filter to improve air quality. Note though, that this model weighs 41.9 pounds when it’s empty. You could find some lighter indoor units from the best central air conditioners.

 #7  Honeywell CO25AE Outdoor Air Conditioner

Award: BEST FOR MEDIUM-SIZED SPACES

WHY WE LIKE IT: A relatively lightweight AC unit that can cool up to 300 square feet and can be filled with ice for faster cooling, proving it’s one of the best outdoor air conditioners for patios.

Pros
  • Relatively lightweight (25lb when empty)
  • 500 CFM and 300 sq. ft.
  • Removable washable dust filter
Cons
  • Noisy with 64 dB output

For people who want a portable air conditioner that can pull double duty, this indoor-outdoor solution from Honeywell is a great option. We think it’s one of the best outdoor air conditioners for patios thanks to the 500 CFM rating that can efficiently move air in spaces as large as 300 square feet. The Honeywell CO25AE has a 6.6-gallon water tank but unfortunately doesn’t support continuous fill.

Still, you’ll get a removable washable dust filter, and in addition to water, you can also add ice for faster cooling. Choose from three fan speeds and you can rest easy knowing that this AC unit comes with a remote, a timer, and a low water alarm to remind you when it’s time to refill the water tank. We like that this unit is only 25.8 pounds when empty. While that’s not the lightest option we found, it’s a reasonable size that most people should be able to easily move when the appliance is empty. However, this pick has one of the higher noise outputs we found at 64 decibels. A quieter indoor option for your home is the best air conditioner for sliding windows.

 #8  Portacool PAC2KCYC01 Outdoor Air Conditioner

Award: BEST POWER

WHY WE LIKE IT: The best outdoor air conditioner for humid climates, especially for garages and workshops that lack a central air conditioner thanks to the continuous fill, and a CFM range from 2,400 to 3,000.

Pros
  • Reduces temp up to 30 degrees
  • Supports continuous flow
  • Rust-free and leak-proof polyethylene exterior
Cons
  • Very heavy at 107.8lbs (empty)

Anyone who’s ever worked in a garage or workshop that isn’t climate controlled knows that it can get uncomfortable very quickly once the weather gets warmer. The Portacool PAC2KCYC01 is in our opinion the best outdoor air conditioner for humid climates. This air conditioning unit is designed for spaces as large as 700 square feet. It’s an industrial-quality swamp cooler that can reach up to 3,000 CFMs at maximum speed. At the lowest speed, it has an output of 2,400 CFM.

The 16-gallon water tank is also designed to support continuous fill with a single hose. We like that this model features a rust- and leak-resistant polyethylene exterior. While you only get two fan speeds, this pick does come with a water level sight tube so you can check water levels if you prefer to manually refill your unit. However, due to the heavier weight at 107.8 pounds when empty, this is an option that requires two people to move and reposition it. A more portable indoor unit is the best portable air conditioner and heater.

 #9  Portacool PACCYC06 Outdoor Air Conditioner

Award: BEST COMPACTDESIGN

WHY WE LIKE IT: A simple portable AC unit that covers up to 300 square feet, has a 1,000 CFM rating, along with compact dimensions, handles, and recessed casters that make it easy to reposition.

Pros
  • Supports continuous fill
  • 1,000 CFM
  • Covers 300 sq. ft.
Cons
  • Not ideal for humid climates

A common complaint with evaporative coolers is that they can be annoying to move and reposition. So, while this Portacool PACCYC06 is in the mid-range for weight at 50 pounds when empty, we still think it’s a great portable option because it has relatively compact dimensions, recessed castors, and dual handles for better control.

This pick measures 19 inches wide, 19 inches long, and 35 inches tall. So, it’s ideal for moving into smaller spaces or in corners. You’ll get a 1,000-CFM rating which is ideal for cooling spaces as large as 300 square feet. You’ll appreciate that this pick supports continuous fill thanks to a ¾-inch water hose connection. We also like that the polyethylene exterior means this pick is also rust and leak-resistant. However, as is somewhat common with evaporative coolers, this pick is not ideal for people who live in truly humid climates. But if you live in drier climates where the humidity levels are relatively low, you will need the best evaporative air conditioner.

 #10  SPT SF-48LB Outdoor Air Conditioner

Award: BEST CONTROLS

WHY WE LIKE IT: A sturdy evaporative cooler with a straightforward control panel that only weighs 29.32 pounds when empty, and has 1,062 CFMs — making it a great supplement option for less effective central air conditioners.

Pros
  • Features honeycomb interior for increased efficiency
  • 1,062 CFM with 3-sided air vents
  • Lightweight 29.32lbs (empty)
Cons
  • Brand won’t confirm square footage coverage

If you prefer a swamp cooler that has an easy to use interface, then the SPT SD-48LB is a great option. This easy to use evaporative cooler has a control panel that’s reminiscent of a traditional air conditioner, making it easy for anyone to quickly adapt to it. You’ll get a 1,062-CFM rating which we believe should be ideal for spaces between 300 to 450 square feet. However, the brand doesn’t rate their evaporative coolers for square footage.

We also like that this unit only weighs 29.32 pounds when it’s empty. This puts it in the more lightweight category and makes it ideal for a wider range of people to use including the elderly. Other key features we liked included the 3D honeycomb cooling pad which helps to reduce the air temperature faster. You also get auto swing adjustable louvers and support for continuous water supply with the 12.6-gallon water tank. Other key features include three fan speeds, a timer that can be programmed for up to 7.5 hours, and a sleep mode. And for a self-cleaning, eco, and follow-me mode indoor unit, have a look at the best ductless mini-split air conditioner.

How We Decided

Outdoor air conditioners are often also known as portable air conditioners, evaporative coolers, and swamp coolers. To create our guide, we looked at the following key features — water tank capacity, size, CFM ratings, and additional features. All of the outdoor coolers in our guide are promoted as portable options. But you’ll note that the size varies widely from as small as 16 pounds to well over 100 pounds.

Determining the water tank capacity is essential as it will impact how frequently you’ll need to refill it if you plan on running the air conditioning for long periods. You’ll note that water tank capacity tends to increase as the overall weight of a unit increases. In our guide tank capacities ranged from as low as five gallons to as much as 16 gallons. And we also noted where continuous fill — the ability to connect a hose to a water tank for constant water refill — was supported.

We also considered the CFM and square footage. As a general guide, CFM and square footage correspond with each other. A low CFM is best for smaller spaces while a higher CFM rating is ideal for larger areas. And finally, we considered additional features such as programmability, fan oscillation, or remote controls that can help to make a product more intuitive and easier to use.

Best Outdoor Air Conditioner Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Factors to Consider

  1. Water Tank Capacity
    Often, outdoor air conditioners, also known as air coolers or evaporative air conditioners, are different from mounted or portable air conditioners. These units usually feature a water tank that uses the process of evaporation to create cool air. You’ll want to find a unit with a tank capacity that’s compatible with the square footage that you want to cool. Keep in mind this means you’ll need to refill the tank and consider the potential water fill options. However, you can find units with a continuous fill feature. This means that once the unit is connected to a garden hose it can keep the tank full at all times.
  2. Size
    Outdoor air conditioners are designed to be portable, but depending on their tank capacity, some can be more mobile than others. Remember that when the water tank is full, an outdoor air conditioner can be considerably heavier than when it’s empty.
  3. CFM Rating
    Consider the CFM or the cubic feet per meter rating. This figure determines how efficiently your unit moves air within a room. The higher a CFM rating, the better a unit works at moving air effectively. Larger spaces will need more CFMs to provide sufficient airflow to cool a space.
  4. Additional Features
    While the primary task of any air conditioner is to cool the air, there are additional features that can make a unit more appealing. For example, advanced features like fan oscillation, a humidifier, multiple fan speeds, remote controls, programmable timers, or auto-shutoff options can also be useful.

Outdoor Air Conditioner FAQs

What is the best outdoor air conditioner?

The best outdoor air conditioner has a sufficient water tank capacity so that you’re not constantly needing to refill it, and features a high enough CFM to provide effective airflow. Keep in mind though, that the efficiency of an outdoor air conditioner will depend on the overall humidity level in your region.

Will a portable AC work outside?

Yes, portable air conditioners can work outside with incredibly easy installation processes. But you’ll want to make sure that the exhaust hoses are configured so that you’re not blowing hot exhaust air towards you.

Should you cover your AC unit outside?

Some outdoor air conditioners are designed with UV resistant materials, meaning that they can withstand direct exposure to sun and rain. Others are designed for use in covered outdoor spaces. You’ll need to pay attention to the type of outdoor air conditioner you picked, and be mindful of where you place it. However, all air conditioner units can benefit from being covered as opposed to directly exposed to sunlight or moisture.

How do I cool my outdoor patio?

An easy solution can include setting up an outdoor evaporative air cooler. These devices are relatively simple to use and rely on water, ice, or a combination of the two to effectively cool the surrounding air. Depending on the type of evaporative cooler you select, you may either need to leave it in a shaded space or can have it exposed to direct sunlight.

Dorian Smith-Garcia

Dorian Smith-Garcia is a bridal and beauty expert/influencer and the creative director behind The Anti Bridezilla. She is a diverse writer across beauty, fashion, travel, consumer goods, and tech. She also writes for Inverse, Glowsly, and The Drive along with a variety of other publications. When Dorian's not writing she's collecting stamps in her passport, learning new languages, or spending time with her husband and daughter.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *