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The best quiet portable air conditioners offer convenience, mobility, efficiency, and good cooling capacity with a low-noise operation for small spaces where installing a window air conditioner isn’t possible and a wall or dual-hose unit, such as the Avallon dual hose portable air conditioner, isn’t practical. If you’re looking for a quiet model, a portable model may be one of the best air conditioners for your needs.
Ventless AC units like these quiet portable models can be placed anywhere and moved around as preferred. Their low-noise operation makes them a great choice for small offices or recording studios, especially where even the best quiet window air conditioner is impractical.
Before you choose a quiet portable air conditioner, though, it’s a good idea to be aware of factors that dictate efficiencies such as EER rating and BTU class, and convenient features like digital controls, remote controls, or programmable timers, such as a 24-hour timer function.
If you’re looking to buy the best quiet portable air conditioner on the market, keep reading our buying guide to learn more about what they offer.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is ideal for small rooms, and has three modes to choose from. Users will also appreciate its low noise output and how easy it is to assemble.
The Shinco 8000BTU air conditioner is a quiet yet compact unit meant to efficiently serve rooms up to 200 Sq ft in size. It comes with a cooling mode for whenever it is hot, a dehumidification mode that allows it to dehumidify up to 19 liters per day, as well as a two-speed fan. When set to its slowest speed, it only has an output of fewer than 55 decibels, so it is not likely to cause any disturbance. Using it is also pretty easy since all its controls are well laid out around its LED display panel. However, it will have to be placed near a window for it to work.
The air conditioner also comes with an easy-to-use remote control that saves users the trouble of walking up to it, and since it comes with an automatic timer, owners can choose to have it operate for several hours at night before eventually shutting down. The air conditioner is very easy to install and comes with caster wheels for swift movement between rooms.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has a very modern design and comes with three different modes of operation.
The Airo comfort portable air conditioner is a quiet, modern-looking machine that is perfect for 200 Sq ft spaces and allows for either vertical or horizontal window installation. The air conditioner features an 8000 BTU rating and can be set to function as a cooler, fan, or dehumidifier depending on user preferences. Its double-layered filters are both removable and easy to wash, and on its top, the air conditioner has controls that can set up its timer, switch through its different modes, increase or decrease the temperature, and alternate between a low, medium, or high fan speed. Unfortunately, it’ll have to be placed next to a window to work.
With a noise output of only 50dB, this air conditioner shouldn’t cause any disruptions, and since it comes with a remote control, users will be able to operate it from their bed or sofa. Those that opt to keep it in their bedroom should try out its sleep mode since it combines quiet operation with enhanced energy efficiency, and since all of the required accessories come with the packaging, the unit is also pretty easy to install.
Award: BEST FOR CONVENIENT PLACEMENT
WHY WE LIKE IT: It can be placed anywhere in the room and has easy-to-wash filters.
The Delonghi PACEM360 WH is a powerful yet compact 11,000 BTU air conditioner meant to service rooms and spaces up to 400 Sq ft in size. Like a good majority of the ACs in its category, this one also has a cooling, dehumidifying, and fan function and comes with a washable dust filter that eliminates dust and other airborne particles from the air. The air conditioning unit comes with castor wheels that allow easy movements from room to room, however, its hose is not insulated, and this has had some users complain that it brings back heat into the room.
The AC unit comes with a remote that allows for convenient functioning, and since it also has a 24-hour timer, users will be able to program its functioning and have it automatically turn off at the desired time. The unit is also pretty quiet, as it is noted to have a sound output of 53 decibels. It comes with a window kit but is still free-standing, so users can opt to place it anywhere in their house or room.
Award: BEST FOR LOW NOISE OPERATION
WHY WE LIKE IT: It can be set to operate very quietly and comes with a child lock to prevent anyone from tampering with its settings.
The Tosot 8000BTU is a powerful air conditioner that is ideal for rooms up to 300 square feet in size. Aside from cooling, the air conditioner can also serve as a fan or a dehumidifier, and since it has a child lock, parents will be able to prevent any unwanted changes to its settings or functioning. The AC unit has castor wheels that make it fully portable and also comes with an adjustable timer that can be programmed to shut it down after a designated period. Unfortunately, even though it is wheel-based, some might find its 65-pound weight hard to move around.
The AC unit can be placed anywhere in the room, and with a super low 49-decibel noise level, the unit is sure to remain pretty quiet throughout the night. The inclusion of a remote control will save owners from the hassle of having to walk up to it to change settings, and since it comes with X-fan technology, its fan can be set to keep spinning slowly to dry the residual water in the machine as well as its exhaust hose.
Award: BEST FOR SMART FEATURES
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is cleverly designed in ways that improve its functioning while also keeping it energy-efficient. It supports voice and app control and has powerful airflow for faster cooling.
The Midea Duo 3-in-1 quiet portable air conditioner is an excellent alternative for anyone who wants to enjoy the convenience of controlling it through voice or a smartphone. It can be easily integrated into a smart home and operated through Alexa, and thanks to its duo hose design, it can intake and exhaust air outdoors, preventing unwanted air from getting into the room through gaps in the doors and windows. It also has an air duct system that blows air further into a room, therefore, cooling happens almost twice as fast as regular ACs. Sadly, it cannot be placed away from a window.
The AC unit has a reasonably high 12,000 BTU rating, making it perfect for rooms that are as large as 450 Sq ft. It also has a very low 42 dB noise output, which is quiet enough not to wake most people from their sleep. Its functioning can be alternated between cooling, dehumidification, and fanning, and thanks to its use of inverter technology, it can cool more using significantly less electricity.
Award: BEST FOR HOME USE
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has an oscillating air vent that ensures the room has good air circulation and also has a remote for convenient operation.
This LG air conditioner has a BTU rating of 6000BTU, making it fit for rooms up to 250 Sq ft in size. It is easy to install, and its functioning can be switched between cool, fan, or dry mode. The AC unit features an oscillating air vent that allows for even air circulation and two different cooling and fan speeds that users can set it to. However, some customers found it to be a bit noisy.
This air conditioner also has a user-friendly control panel, where users will be able to set its timer, adjust its fan speed, and switch between its three modes. It comes with a remote for added convenience, and its caster wheels make it a lot easier to move from room to room. The unit also has an auto-restart feature that turns it back on when power is restored after an outage, and since it also has a check filter alert, owners won’t have to guess when its filters need to be taken out for cleaning.
A quiet portable AC unit, like the Anbber portable air conditioner, is designed to operate at minimum noise levels. Most quiet portable AC units or even tower air conditioners are ventless, meaning they don’t require window or wall-vent installation with hoses to cycle indoor and outdoor air. Any AC unit designed with any major additional functionality, such as the best window air conditioners with heat, will be clearly categorized with that functionality by manufacturers, so finding low-noise models to choose from shouldn’t be difficult.
The advantages of such units are that they allow for self-contained operation and much more freedom of placement and mobility. You can use them to cool windowless spaces or locations where cutting a vent hole into the wall is impossible or impractical.
Small portable air conditioners are models built for quiet operation. They’re an especially good option for small mobile office spaces, recording studios, and seasonal workshops where excessive noise during use is either disruptive or highly undesirable. Their quiet operation also means they’re a good option for cooling small bedrooms that don’t often need air conditioning.
These types of units can vary greatly in terms of cooling capacity, filter type, fan speed, and additional features like auto-timer and sleep mode which the unit in our Black + Decker 10000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner review has. Their energy efficiency can also vary quite a bit from model to model, but most work by cooling indoor air with water, instead of using a refrigerant cycling process like in conventional models. If you’re after the best portable air conditioner, you won’t have to worry about the appliance driving up your energy bills.
Most window and wall air conditioners cool air using a refrigerant and indoor/outdoor airflow process combined with a compressor, condenser, and evaporator coil. Quiet portable air conditioning units are typically ventless like the best ventless portable air conditioner. They feature a water tank that provides moisture which is then cooled on a cooling strip and blown into the room.
Another major difference between quiet portable units and conventional ones is that the ventless cooling of most such models doesn’t dehumidify indoor air, but actually humidifies it, since they cool air by adding moisture to it and sending it back into the room. Some such models include a dehumidifier mode in their extra features, but it’s fairly unusual and usually comes at a less affordable price.
Portable quiet units built for quiet running, such as the popular Electriq 12000 BTU quiet portable air conditioner, are designed to address another difference between portable and conventional models. While portable models, especially ones that are ventless, are generally quieter in terms of decibel levels than conventional models, the fact that they’re free-standing, take up floor space, and are usually closer to people in the room means that they’re actually louder.
Lastly, the quietest portable air conditioners, and portable models in general are less energy-efficient and slower to cool a space than conventional models, though this can vary depending on a specific model’s EER rating and Energy Star Status. Some of the quietest AC units don’t take the form of a traditional one. Some are built like tower fans, like the one in our KopBeau tower fan review.
If you’re wondering how portable air conditioners work, quiet portable air conditioners generally work significantly differently than window AC, wall-installed air conditioners, or top-rated central air conditioning systems, since most function with a ventless “evaporator cooler” design that doesn’t require access to the outside air via a window or exhaust hose.
A ventless air conditioner is usually on caster wheels for mobility and has an open tank at the bottom that contains a refillable water reservoir, connected to a fan and a specialized cooling pad above. The fan draws in warm indoor air while a pump sends water to the cooling pad from the reservoir. Then the fan blows the indoor door air across the cooling pad where it picks up the moisture from the reservoir. This cooled air is then blown back into the room, cooling the room to the ideal temperature while increasing room humidity. Now if the AC is not blowing cold air, something’s clearly wrong with the unit and will require some self-troubleshooting or professional help.
The reasons any portable option would be a good fit for you also apply to any quiet portable AC unit, with the additional qualification that a low sound level is a priority for you.
If you’ve got a windowless space, such as a workshop, temporary office, or basement, that you need to cool and cutting a vent hole for a wall installation is either impossible or impractical, a quiet portable AC unit will do the job well. This is especially true if it doesn’t need to run constantly throughout the year. If you eventually find yourself relocating to a colder climate and you don’t find the need to run your AC at all, but you need some heat, you can always learn how to replace your AC with a heat pump instead.
If you’ve got a small to medium-sized windowless space that only occasionally needs cooling and quiet operation is a priority, quiet portable units are again a good option. Keep in mind that the larger a portable unit is, the less efficient it is. So, a 700-square-foot room that would require an AC unit in the 15,000 BTU class might be worth attempting a wall installation (if it’s windowless) since the energy costs of a portable model in that BTU class would be high unless you used it very minimally. A quiet portable unit could be great for small spaces you only use occasionally like an RV, which the best portable air conditioner for an RV can be a great fit for.
Portable air conditioners are less efficient than window models and thus usually have a shorter lifespan- less than ten years with regular use. This includes quiet running units.
Several factors affect a unit’s lifespan:
Portable units are usually less sturdily built than their window and wall counterparts. If you’re using one in multiple spaces and moving it frequently, rattling parts and increased wear and tear can shorten the overall lifespan. A rechargeable battery makes the portability much more convenient as well, which we discuss in our Nexgadget portable air conditioner review.
Sustained periods of heavy use increase wear and tear on a unit. Moreover, the humidity that great ventless portable A/C units create while cooling rooms can also take a toll on various components. Both of these factors can shorten life spans significantly. Consider investing in a unit with various modes you can set that can stay on top of reducing how much AC you need when you don’t actually need it, such as the convenient air conditioner auto mode on many units.
Now that you’ve decided to purchase a quiet portable air conditioner unit, consider a few additional factors and features that will help you choose the right model for you.
Like in conventional models, portable air conditioners’ cooling capacity or cooling power is measured using British Thermal Units (or BTUs). Since they’re less efficient than stationary models, and high-BTU portable units are more expensive than comparable window or wall units, consider whether a portable unit is a practical use of your budget if your space is larger than 700 square feet. Cutting a venting hole for a wall unit may be the more affordable option, despite the installation process, and you’ll get more effective cooling performance, making it the more efficient option. You can check out our Homelabs 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner review if you have a large space of about 600 sq. ft. to cool.
Like window air conditioners, portable (and quiet portable) ACs measure energy efficiency with ratings created and enforced by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy. These will tell you how models within the same BTU class differ in terms of efficiency:
Portable air conditioners designed for quiet operation tend to be a bit more expensive than comparable models and can be less efficient, so it’s worth thinking about how much quiet operation really matters to you if you’ve got a strict budget. While a baby’s room or bedroom is somewhere you might need an ultra-quiet air conditioner like the best 8000 BTU air conditioner, other spaces, especially larger ones, don’t necessarily need one, especially if they face noisy areas, like streets or schools.