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If you’re shopping for the best windowless air conditioner, you need to think about which type of windowless unit is best for you and offers an installation method that’s compatible with your needs and renovation limitations. Also, think about the BTU and CFM ratings as this will determine square footage compatibility and how effectively a unit can circulate air through the room. Energy efficiency shouldn’t be ignored as this can impact your overall energy consumption and utility bills. Likewise, additional features such as a dehumidifier, supplemental heat, or even programmability can increase the functionality of your air conditioner.
After conducting thorough research through countless consumer reviews, we nominated the Whynter ARC-14S windowless air conditioner as our Top Pick. Keep reading to learn more about our selection criteria and to shop from our recommendations for the best air conditioners to fit your needs.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: The best portable air conditioner that can be installed with a wall vent that comes with supplemental heat and 14,000 BTUs to cool rooms as large as 500 square feet.
If your home already has climate control but some rooms aren’t heated or cooled as efficiently as the rest of the house, a portable air conditioner even for an RV can be an easy workaround. We’re like the Whynter ARC14SH portable air conditioner and think that it’s the best portable air conditioner because it offers 14,000 BTUs of cooling power and 13,000 BTUs for the supplemental hot air function. It’s rated to effectively heat and cool rooms as large as 500 square feet, making it a four-in-one solution. We like that this portable AC also has a dehumidifier that can remove as much as 71 pints of moisture per day. Even if you’re just using this unit for your home, it’ll still make a great RV air conditioner.
You’ll also get three fan speeds. While this model comes with a window installation kit, with a little reconfiguration, you can create a wall vent and connect the exhaust hoses that way. This Whynter model is a dual-hose design so it can work more efficiently to quickly cool the air. We like that this portable AC has a 253 cubic feet per meter (CFM) rating. That’s in the mid-range for performance. There’s also a digital readout thermostat that you can adjust between 61 to 89 degrees Fahrenheit using the control panel or the remote control. And the self-evaporative feature means you don’t have to constantly empty a collection bucket. However, at 56 decibels in the lowest speed settings, this is a noisier pick. Less noisy evaporative coolers can be found in our review of the best evaporative air conditioners.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: A three-in-one portable air conditioner with an 8,000 BTU power output, a dehumidifier, and a self-evaporation mode that makes this an easy-to-use solution for smaller spaces.
If you have a truly small space that you need to keep cool, we think the Black + Decker BPACT08WT is a great solution. This is another portable air conditioner, but again, if you don’t want to install it using a window kit, opting to create a wall vent can do the trick. At 8,000 BTUs, this model has one of the lowest square footage ratings, though it’ll cool more space than the top 5,000 BTU air conditioners. It’s only compatible with rooms up to 150 square feet, making it a better solution for truly compact spaces.
Still, we do like that there’s a dehumidifier mode and that you get three fan speeds and three cooling speeds. As is standard, this model includes a remote control although you can still use the control panel on the device. Other common features like a 24-hour programmable timer, a removable and washable filter, and a sleep mode are also included. We do like that this pick is one of the quieter options with a sound output that ranges from 51 to 53 decibels depending on your speed setting. Quieter units with a white noise mode can be found among the best tower air conditioners too.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: A sturdy windowless air conditioner that’s portable for easier transport between rooms with a 290 CFM rating and 8,000 BTUs to cool smaller rooms.
If you’re concerned about humidity, the Serene Life SLPAC8 is a solid choice. While it doesn’t have the highest evaporation rate, you’ll get 1.2 liters per hour which is the equivalent of 2.5 pints. That translates to a maximum of 60 pints per day. This unit has 8,000 BTUs that are rated for spaces up to 225 square feet. While this is a little small, it’s a great single hose solution for studios or spare bedrooms and comes with caster wheels for increased portability. For more small and manageable air conditioners, there’s the best portable air conditioner.
We do like that this unit has a 290 CFM rating which is on the higher side for powerful air conditioning. You’ll also get three cooling and three fan speeds. Other standard features include a 24-hour programmable timer, a removable and washable air filter, and a digital touch button control panel with an LED display as well as a remote control. A LED display and the included remote control also come in handy in the best air conditioner for sliding windows.
Award: BEST QUIET OPERATION
WHY WE LIKE IT: A portable air conditioner that can cool rooms up to 450 square feet and just 50 decibels at the lowest setting makes this ideal for bedrooms.
If the idea of an air conditioner keeping you up at night makes you reconsider installing one in your bedroom, the Black + Decker BPACT10WT is one of the quietest ones that we found in our research. With a sound output from 50 to 52 decibels depending on the mode you select, this can easily be installed in a bedroom and won’t keep you up at night. You’ll get 10,000 BTUs which is rated for spaces as large as 450 square feet.
As is standard, you’ll get a 24-hour programmable timer, as well as three cooling and three fan speeds. You can also toggle between an auto cool and a sleep mode. While you might not want to install this in your window, this model does come with a window installation kit. A full installation kit is helpful especially when installing the best dual hose portable air conditioner.
Award: BEST ENERGY EFFICIENCY
WHY WE LIKE IT: A portable air conditioner that’s a three-in-one solution and a high energy efficiency rating that effectively cools rooms as large as 250 square feet with 10,000 BTUs of power.
This BLACK+DECKER AC is a solid choice if you’re concerned about energy consumption. You’ll get 10,000 BTUs to effectively cool rooms around 250 square feet. This Honeywell unit also has a 132-184 CFM rating, depending on the setting. While that’s not the highest, this rating is in the median range for efficacy.
This is also a three-in-one solution that includes a dehumidifier feature. It removes roughly 2.5 pints per hour or a maximum of 60 pints per day, which is on the lower side when compared with other portable air conditioners on the market. However, you’ll still get three fan and cooling speeds plus a digital touch control panel, along with a remote. As is standard, the filter is removable and washable. And it’s a relatively quiet pick with a noise output of 52 decibels on the highest setting. This is similar to the levels you might find in some of the best window air conditioners.
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: An affordable portable air conditioner without the need for window access that relies on self-evaporation, with a three-in-one solution and 8,000 BTUs.
If you’re shopping on a budget, the last thing you want to deal with is limited functionality just because you’re being price-conscious. The Shinco windowless air conditioner is an affordable portable air conditioner without the need for window access. While that does require that you create an alternate vent through the wall, it’s a fairly easy fix if you want to maintain your window’s functionality.
With 8,000 BTUs, this unit is rated for spaces up to 200 square feet. This is also a great three-in-one solution that includes cooling, a fan, and a dehumidifier. However, the dehumidifier isn’t as powerful as competitors, with just 60 pints of moisture per 24 hours being removed. We also noted that this model has a higher noise output of 55 decibels at the lowest settings. Other key features include a 24-hour programmable timer, a sleep mode, and an auto-cool function for increased energy efficiency. For more programmability, have a look at the best central air conditioner that features a humidity management system, compatibility with WiFi, and remote management.
Award: BEST FOR SMART HOMES
WHY WE LIKE IT: The best ventless air conditioner with intuitive smart home integration that includes a self-cleaning mode and supplemental heat for a permanent climate control solution.
For people who want a true windowless air conditioner with no exhaust requirements, a ductless mini-split air conditioner can be a smart alternative if you want something permanent. These models, like the Cooper & Hunter Mini-Split, are a great alternative to traditional central air systems that require ductwork, while still being an energy-efficient option. The Pioneer mini split AC system is a smart choice thanks to its higher energy ratings and the fact that it includes heating and cooling solutions. This model has a 19.5 SEER and a 9.5 to 10 heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF). This is one of the best ventless air conditioners we found in our research because you’ll get 12,000 BTUs for heating or cooling spaces between 300 to 450 square feet. Alternatively, check out our leading window air conditioners with heat if you prefer a window unit.
This model includes the installation kit, which is common for split systems. We think this is the best ventless air conditioner and like that it has a self-cleaning mode to keep your air conditioner running in top condition. While this model comes with a wireless remote, there’s also the option to upgrade to include WiFi compatibility so that you can truly manage your home’s climate remotely through smart home integration. Other key features that we like include the follow-me and eco modes. Follow me relies on the included remote to sense temperatures rather than focusing on the air temperature directly around the air conditioner unit. Follow me, self-cleaning, and eco modes can also be found on other picks of the best ductless mini-split air conditioners.
Award: BEST INDOOR/OUTDOOR
WHY WE LIKE IT: The best portable air conditioner without a hose that’s perfect for indoor and outdoor use or for people in drier climates where you can add ice to increase the cooling effect.
The Honeywell CO30XE is one of the best portable air conditioners without a hose that we found in our research. In truth, it’s an evaporative cooler, but it’s great for people in drier climates that not only want to cool the air but add a bit of moisture to it. This Honeywell unit is rated for spaces up to 350 square feet and is safe for indoor and outdoor use. You’ll get a UV-resistant exterior that can be directly exposed to sunlight. The evaporative cooler features a 525 CFM rating.
The only major drawback we found with this ventless portable air conditioner was that it lacks continuous fill support. That means that you must refill the water tank manually. However, this evaporative cooler is just 24.9 pounds, which makes it a portable option. The detachable water tank has a 7.9-gallon capacity and also has an ice compartment so you can increase the cooling power. Choose from three fan speeds, as well as humidity levels. Other key features include remote control and programmability for up to 7.5 hours. For more programmability and functionality, the best through-the-wall air conditioner offers a 24-hour programmable timer with an auto-restart function, a removable and washable antimicrobial air filter, and remote control.
Award: BEST LIGHTWEIGHT SOLUTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: A lightweight option that’s great to move from room to room, that can cool spaces as large as 450 square feet, with low noise output and a self-evaporation mode for easier use.
Portable air conditioners are great solutions for homes that already have climate control, but need a little extra power in specific spaces. The Honeywell MO10CESWK is perfect for rooms up to 450 square feet thanks to the 10,000 BTUs of power. This is another three-in-one solution that includes cooling, a fan, and a dehumidifier mode. One small drawback though is that it only has 192 CFMs, which is a little lower than average for portable air conditioners. Still, we like that there’s auto-evaporation so you don’t have to deal with emptying a collection bucket every few hours. We also like the low sound output that ranges from 50 to 53 decibels depending on your settings.
We also noted that the dehumidifier can only remove up to 61 pints of moisture a day, which is somewhat low. However, this is a great compact choice that measures 13.5 inches long and 14.6 inches wide to fit in tight spaces. Other key features include a 24-hour programmable timer, a removable and washable air filter, a digital LED display that relies on soft-touch controls, and a remote control. The best portable air conditioner and heater will also include a digital readout thermostat that is adjustable using the control panel or included remote control.
Award: BEST EVAPORATION RATE
WHY WE LIKE IT: A portable air conditioner with fan oscillation and three-in-one functionality that can remove up to 91.2 pints of moisture per hour makes this a great pick for people in humid climates.
If you live in a humid climate, you know that just adding cold air doesn’t always bring the most relief. Removing moisture from the air can help to reduce the temperature without relying on quite as much energy consumption. The LP0817WSR is a great solution that can be easily installed while providing effective relief to beat the heat. You’ll get 8,000 BTUs that can cool spaces up to 200 square feet. And the dehumidifier removes up to 91.2 pints per 24 hours, one of the highest evaporation rates we found in our research.
We did find that this model has a lower 8.2 EER which is not as competitive as other portable AC units on the market. However, you do get a 220 CFM rating which, considering the square footage it covers, is pretty decent. You’ll appreciate the easy-to-use control panel that features an LCD temperature display. This model also comes with two cooling fan speeds, a 24-hour programmable timer, and an auto-evaporation mode so you don’t have to constantly empty the collection bucket. You may also want the best outdoor air conditioner that supports continuous flow with a single hose connected to a water source.
Windowless air conditioners are important for anyone who doesn’t like the idea of limiting their window functionality with a traditional window air conditioner unit. To create our guide, we focused on the following key features — air conditioner type, BTUs, CFM, energy efficiency programmability, and additional features.
In our guide, you’ll find that we included windowless AC units that were portable air conditioners, ductless mini-split systems, and even an evaporative cooler. Note though, that evaporative coolers are only effective in certain parts of the country as people in the eastern half of the United States may not find these as useful as someone in the Midwest, Northwest, or Southwest. Also keep in mind that a portable air conditioner can be installed without occupying your window, but you’ll need to make a vent through the wall first since you still need an exit point for the exhaust hose(s).
BTUs and CFMs refer to how effectively an air conditioner can cool air and circulate it through a room. While all true air conditioners (because an evaporative cooler is not technically an air conditioner) will list the BTU rating, not all will include the CFM. Where available, we included the CFM rating to help you make a choice.
Likewise, not all brands list the energy efficiency rating, especially for portable air conditioners and evaporative coolers. However, where available, we included those figures as well. Portable air conditioners aren’t nearly as efficient as central air conditioners and even some traditional window air conditioners. But you’ll find that the most efficient ones have a SEER rating between 10 and 13. And in the case of units that also include supplemental heat, you’ll want to pay attention to the HSPF rating.
Finally, programmability and additional features can impact how intuitive a device is in your home. All of our picks come with a programmable timer that varied from as little as 7.5 hours to as much as 24 hours. But we did include a model that offered WiFi compatibility support for smart home integration, which is perfect for the best WiFi smart air conditioners. You’ll also find that all of our air conditioners also offered a dehumidifier mode with pints per hour or pints per 24 hours evaporation rate. Be sure to learn about the differences between a dehumidifier VS air conditioner if you’re unfamiliar with a dehumidifier. The only pick that included a humidifier mode was our evaporative cooler since it’s designed for drier climates and works to add moisture for increased air quality.
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