Quiet Portable Air Conditioner

A window air conditioner is probably not an option if you don’t have central air. Portable room air conditioners can be quite noisy, so they are never anyone’s first choice.

But, if they are your only option, do know that you don’t have to sacrifice peace and quiet to cool down your home. While you won’t find a portable air conditioner that is completely silent, there are dozens of great units out there that are surprisingly quiet.

And the best quiet portable air conditioners on the market are energy efficient and cost-efficient as well. To help you pick out the best quiet portable air conditioner for your home, here are the top ten units on the market.

Our Top Pick: Whynter Elite ARC-122DS

Features

  • 12,000 BTUs
  • Cools up to 400 sq ft
  • Rated at <52 dB
  • Includes fan and dehumidifier
  • Remote control

NewAir AC-10100E

Features:

  • Cooling Capacity: 10,000 BTUs
  • Noise level: <56 dB
  • Weight: 53 lbs

On top of being very quiet, the NewAir AC-10100E is one of the most compact portable AC units on the market. No matter how your room is decorated, this little fella is sure to blend in well. It is a great choice for rooms under 300 sq ft.

You won’t have to worry about water condensation since the unit is self-evaporating. The portable AC also includes an auto-fan function, remote control, and 12-hour timer.

Considering it’s performance, the NewAir AC-10100E comes at a more than fair price. It’s only drawback is the fact that it uses a single hose ventilation system instead of a dual hose system.

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Auto-fan function
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to move
  • Remote control

Cons

  • The single hose ventilation system could be better

Friedrich PH14B

Features:

  • Cooling Capacity: 13,500 BTUs
  • Noise level: ~51 dB
  • Weight: 78 lbs

If you need an AC unit for a large room, or a room with too much direct sunlight, the Friedrich PH14B is an excellent, quiet solution. It can cool down areas up to 450 sq ft.

Since this is a high-end unit, it is a bit on the pricier side, but it can cool a room significantly faster than the average portable air conditioner—quiet or not. If you are looking for a perfect balance of power and quiet, do know that there are very few units out there that can compare to the Friedrich PH14B.

The unit also functions as a dehumidifier, fan, and a heater. On the downside, the Friedrich PH14B is a bit heavy and bulky, but it is fairly easy to set up.

Pros

  • Great cooling capacity
  • Cools very fast
  • Easy to set up
  • 24-hour timer
  • 3 fan speeds

Cons

  • A bit heavy

Whynter Elite ARC-122DS

Features:

  • Cooling Capacity:12,000 BTUs
  • Noise level: <52 dB
  • Weight: 60 lbs

The Whynter Elite is definitely a list-topper, as far as portable AC units go. This portable air conditioner is on the pricey side, but it’s an excellent purchase if you live in an area where it is hot and humid most times of the year.

When it is in use, the Whynter Elite is incredibly quiet. The noise level never goes over 52 dB (decibels). Even though it is a quieter unit, it is as powerful as they get. It can cool down an area of up to 400 sq ft.

The Whynter Elite is a dehumidifier and a fan as well as an AC. It comes with a programmable thermostat that gives you full control of the unit.

The 24-programmable timer is quite a nice feature. To get rid of any residual condensation, the unit has a super convenient auto-drain function.

Pros

  • Energy efficient
  • Quiet
  • Easy to move
  • Auto-drain function
  • Remote control

Cons

  • Pricey

DeLonghi Pinguino PACN135EC

Features:

  • Cooling Capacity: 6,800 BTUs
  • Noise level: <53 dB
  • Weight: 67.5 lbs

If you are looking for a portable 3-in-1 unit, the DeLonghi Pinguino is another great choice. It’ll maintain a nice and comfy temperature in your room, no matter the season. You can easily adjust it to cool, fan or dehumidify the room.

The unit operates quietly, but efficiently. Rated at 53 dB, it is one of the quietest units on the market. For comparison, the level of noise in the library is generally rated at around 40 dB. A normal conversation is usually rated around 60 dB.

It will cool down a 550 sq ft room in no time. Both the remote and the air conditioner come with an easy-to-read electronic display. You can use the remote to set the cooling mode, fan speed, and thermostat temperature.

There is also a timer that can come in really handy if you want to save energy. The unit moves easily as well, so you should be able to set it up quickly and without much effort.

Pros

  • Saves energy
  • Highly portable
  • Super quiet
  • Easy to set up
  • 3 fan speeds

Cons

  • Pricey

Whynter ARC-08WB

Features:

  • Cooling Capacity: 8,000 BTUs
  • Noise level: <53.6 dB
  • Weight: 64 lbs

Whynter manufactures some of the best portable air conditioners money can buy, so it’s no wonder that two of their models ended up on our list. The Whynter ARC-08WB is designed to be cost-efficient, energy-efficient, eco-friendly, as well as quiet.

If you live in an area with moderate temperatures, where scorching hot days are not that common, this may be the best option for you. Even though it is a budget pick, it is rated at 53.6 dB, so it can compete with some higher-end portable air conditioners on the list.

The unit has a single-hose draining system. It takes a bit longer for it to cool the area. But, considering all of its other perks, the tradeoff should be worth it.

Since the unit is self-evaporating, it requires very little maintenance. You won’t have to bother with emptying out the tray very often, the unit will exhaust the condensed water on its own.

Pros

  • Eco-friendly
  • Self-evaporating
  • Budget-friendly
  • 3 functional modes
  • Remote control

Cons

  • Takes a bit longer to cool the area

BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT

Features:

  • Cooling Capacity: 8,000 BTUs
  • Noise level: <75.6 dB
  • Weight: 53 lbs

While it’s not among the most quiet portable air conditioners on the list, the Black & Decker BPACT08WT is still quieter than most other options on the market. This unit has everything you need to cool down a small room very quickly.

Weighing in at 53 lbs, it’s one of the lightest portable air conditioners out there. On top of that, it comes with convenient handles and four castor wheels. This unit is as portable as they get.

When it’s in silent mode, it makes very little noise and it doesn’t use too much energy. The price point is attractive as well.

The unit offers 3 standard modes: dehumidifying, fanning, as well as cooling. This makes it a great year-round unit. All in all, the Black & Decker BPACT08WT is a great, simple and hassle-free solution for small bedrooms, living rooms, offices and cabins.

Pros

  • Energy efficient
  • Lightweight and easy to move
  • Attractive price point
  • 3 modes
  • Auto-control

Cons

  • Not for larger rooms

Honeywell HL09CESWK Contempo Series

Features:

  • Cooling Capacity: 9,000 BTUs
  • Noise level: <54 dB
  • Weight: 64 lbs

If you are looking for a quiet and reliable portable AC unit, you can’t go wrong with Honeywell. The brand has a reputation for manufacturing quality, powerful air conditioners. This Honeywell Contempo unit is certainly no exception.

Quiet, compast, and sleek, it has everything you need in a portable AC unit. It may not be the lightest air conditioner out there, but it is fairly easy to move around. So you can carry it around comfortably, the unit features ergonomically designed handles.

The installation is hassle-free. The filters are very easy to remove and clean. To protect it from dirt, dust, and hair, the unit comes with a dual filter system.

The AC offers a variety of different features and settings, including sleep mode, 24-timer, and 2 fan speeds. It also includes a remote controller.

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Remote control
  • Dual filter system
  • Easy to clean
  • 24-hour timer

Cons

  • A bit heavier than average

Frigidaire Cool Connect

Features:

  • Cooling Capacity: 12,000 BTUs
  • Noise level: <53 dB
  • Weight: 85 lbs

If you are looking for something a bit more modern, the Frigidaire Cool Connect has a lot to offer. It is the most “high tech” unit on the list. It’s most prominent feature is the Wi-Fi compatibility. All you need to do is download Frigidaire’s app on your phone and you’re ready to go.

The app is intuitive and very easy to use. It is much more convenient than the traditional remote controller. The unit offers a cooling capacity of 12,000 BTU and has a noise rating of just 53 dB, so you can rest assured it is not just another “Smart-labeled” gimmick.

Pros

  • Controlled by Smartphone App
  • Easy to move around
  • Sleek design
  • Energy-efficient
  • 24-hour timer

Cons

  • Heavy

Avallon APAC140C

Features:

  • Cooling Capacity: 14,000 BTUs
  • Noise level: <53.4 dB
  • Weight: 73 lbs

Rated at 14,000 BTUs, the Avallon APAC140C packs a tremendous amount of power for a portable air conditioner. The unit includes a heater as well, so it is an excellent solution for year-round use.

The Avallon is a self-evaporating AC. The unit can run uninterrupted for hours on end, without you having to empty out the water container manually. The portable AC features a dual hose ventilation system that is 40% faster than the average single hose ventilation system.

The unit is really easy to set up and operate, thanks to the advanced user interface. And, considering the unit’s cooling capacity, the Avallon is fairly quiet.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Easy to use
  • Highly efficient dual hose ventilation
  • Includes a heater and dehumidifier

Cons

  • A bit pricey

SereneLife SLPAC10

Features:

  • Cooling Capacity: 10,000 BTUs
  • Noise level: 52 to 56 dB
  • Weight: 55.1 lbs

Weighing in at 55.1 lbs, is a nice, lightweight and portable solution for rooms up to 350 sq ft. Aside from being super quiet and compact, the SereneLife SLPAC10 comes with a variety of cool features.

The unit offers 4 operating modes (fan, dehumidifier, cooling, and heating). It also includes a 24-hour timer. To ensure maximum cooling efficiency, it can extract moisture from the air at a rate of 1.5 L per hour.

Thanks to it’s sleek design, it’s a good fit for any room—no matter the decorative style. The SereneLife SLPAC10 comes with a remote controller that allows you to operate the unit from the comfort of your bed or sofa.

Pros

  • Great efficiency
  • Remote control
  • 4 operating modes
  • Lightweight
  • 24-hour timer

Cons

  • Setting up the hose can be tricky

How to Choose The Best Quiet Portable Air Conditioner

BTU (Cooling Capacity)

If you want to pick out the best portable AC for your home, first you need to know how many BTU’s you’ll need to efficiently cool the room in which you plan to place the unit. One BTU (British Thermal Unit) is the amount of heat needed to increase the temperature of 1 lb of water by 1° F.

BTUs (British Thermal Unit) tell us how powerful an AC unit is. To determine the cooling capacity of a portable unit, you need to check its BTU rating as well as the size of the room you want to cool. Essentially, the larger the room, the more BTUs you need.

But, you want to avoid getting a portable AC with a BTU rating that is too high for the area you want to cool. If your room is small and you get a unit with a very high BTU rating, you will reduce the lifespan of your portable AC without gaining anything in return.

The unit will deliver mediocre results. It will cycle off and on too often because it will cool too fast. And, if it cycles too often, it won’t be able to remove the excess humidity from the air. You’ll end up with an AC that’s overworked as well as a high energy bill.

But, if the BTU rating is not high enough, your AC will struggle to cool the room to the desired temperature. This will also overwork the unit.

Determining the Right BTU Rating For Your Needs

Each room is the same, and, on top of that, the climate in your area can make it difficult to precisely determine your cooling energy requirements. Lucky for us, portable AC manufacturers are well aware of this, so they design their units to cover a wide range of room sizes and requirements.

For every square foot of floor space, you’ll need about 20 BTUs. Multiply the longest width of the room by the longest length to calculate the square footage. To make things simple, you can use this as a rule of thumb:

 

  • Up to 200 sq ft: 8,000 BTUs or fewer
  • 200 to 300 sq ft: 10,000 BTUs
  • 400 – 500 sq ft: 10,000 – 14.000 BTUs
  • Over 500 sq ft: 14,000 BTUs

 

But, there are still some other factors you need to take into account. You will need 10% more BTUs if the ceiling in the room is higher than 8 ft. You’ll need 10% fewer BTUs if your space is heavily shaded.

But, if it’s sunny, you will need 10% more total BTU. For each person that will occupy the space regularly, add 600 BTUs.

Add 4,000 BTUs if you will use the AC in a kitchen or server room. Basically, you’ll need to add more BTUs on top of the standard calculation for every factor that increases the temperature of the room.

Ventilation System

For a portable AC to work properly, it needs to vent air out of the room somehow. When it comes to portable ACs, there are two types of ventilation systems: single-hose and double-hose.

Single-Hose Portable Air Conditioner

Naturally, a single-hose portable AC has just one hose. It draws air, cools most of it, and releases it back into the room. But, it doesn’t return all of it back. The unit siphons off part of that air, and uses it to pull the heat off the evaporator.

Since this air is not cool, the AC vents it outside through an exhaust hose. If you don’t set the hose to pump the hot air outside the room, you’ll defeat its purpose. 

Dual-Hose Portable Air Conditioner

A dual-hose AC unit draws the air from your room, cools it, and then returns all of it back into the room. To pull the heat off the evaporator, a dual-hose portable AC uses 100% outside air. It uses one hose to cool the evaporator and the other to vent the warm air outside.

The major difference between the two types is the fact that a single-hose AC unit creates negative pressure in the room it is placed and a dual-hose AC unit does not. But, dual-hose portable air conditioners generally use more energy since most models have two internal fans.

Venting Options

Before you buy a portable air conditioner, it is key to consider how you will install it. A portable AC unit can vent the air outside through a wall, door, or window—depending on how it is designed.

Most units come with a window kit that allows you to easily set everything up. It includes a few hose adapters, a bracket, and one or two vents. Before you buy a particular unit, you need to make sure the bracket will be a good fit for your window.

You may need to use a special kit if you want to set up the vent to lead through a glass door. It’s also possible to set the AC to vent through a duct or hole in a wall, but this requires a bit more planning and ingenuity.

High-end portable ACs usually feature a programmable thermostat. This allows you to set the unit to start or stop cooling at specific times. For instance, it can automatically turn on at certain times of the day or it can power off when the room is cooled down to a certain temperature.

Extra Features

Ideally, you want to go with an air conditioner that does more than just power on and off. Quiet operation is cool, but don’t settle just for that. Look for a model that offers convenient extra features.

For instance, some portable air conditioners have built-in electrical strips that allow you to plug in other devices. If you want to be able to use the air conditioner to warm up your home, look for a model that comes with a heat pump.

The average portable AC doubles as a humidifier. Every AC unit dehumidifies the room to some extent. But, if you want an AC that will do a great job of dehumidifying the room, look for a unit that has separate settings for the dehumidifier and the air conditioner.

Drainage 

To cool the air, a portable AC needs to remove water from the air. And, that water has to go somewhere. There are a few different ways a portable AC can deal with condensation.

Fully Self-Evaporating Portable AC Units

A self-evaporating unit exhausts all of the water that it collects along with the warm air. If you get a fully self-evaporating air conditioner, you won’t have to drain and dump the water yourself.

This is the most convenient type of AC, without a doubt. But, fully self-evaporating portable air conditioners are not suitable for really humid environments.

Partially Self-Evaporating AC Units

A partially self-evaporating unit exhausts most of the moisture outside on its own. But, there is still some water you will need to get rid of on your own.

How often you will have to empty out the tray will mostly depend on the environmental conditions of your room. There are a few different ways a partially self-evaporating AC unit can exhaust the collected water:

  • Drain hose/Gravity Drain: To ensure that the collected water will drain outside, most portable AC units come with a water drain hose connection. The drain hose can direct the water anywhere you want. You can use it with a bucket, window, or floor drain.
  • Pump: To help drain the water through the drain hose, you can get a condensate pump. Some units come with a condensation pump included, but it is usually sold as a separate accessory.

A condensate pump allows for more versatility. For instance, if you want to cool your basement, you can use a condensate pump to route the hose upwards through the basement window.

  • Internal Container: There are still a few models out there that use internal containers to collect water. It’s not the most advanced solution, true, but it’s a great solution for those who treasure simplicity. If you get an AC unit that uses a tray or bucket, you will have to empty it regularly.

How to Get the Most out of a Portable Air Conditioner:

  • Insulate the room
  • Keep the air conditioner away from direct sunlight
  • Install a ceiling fan in the room
  • Don’t go under 25°C
  • Clean the filters regularly
  • Straighten the exhaust hose

Takeaway

If you want to get a unit that will give you a bang for your buck, you can’t go wrong with the Whynter Elite ARC-122DS. Operating at a very quiet noise level of 52 dB, and packing a variety of extra features, it delivers great value for money. You can rest assured it will cool your room in no time—without making a ruckus.

 

SereneLife SLPAC10 – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RMZV7W4

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