Our Best Portable Air Conditioners for 2018

Looking for the best portable air conditioners in Australia? Here’s our opinion of 5 of the best portable A/C units on the market.

1

Levante C5.5kW Cooling Only Portable Air Conditioner

Levante C5.5kW Cooling Only Portable Air Conditioner

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The Levante C5.5kW Cooling Only Portable Air Con (LEV18) is a powerful portable air conditioning unit that will create the perfect cool atmosphere in your living room, bedroom or office. This powerful portable air con unit comes complete with large wheels and a handle at the back of the unit to make it easy to move from one room to another, giving you ultimate flexibility.

The unit comes with three air conditioning functions (Fan, Dry and Cool) and three fan speeds (Low, Medium and High). The auto-swing air circulation feature, which swings from left to right, will ensure that the unit provides maximum coverage throughout your rooms. The LEV18 also has an automatic ON/OFF timer for ultimate convenience and a pre-set energy saving mode to give you optimal performance.

The fully featured control panel includes temperature, function and speed controls as well as operational status indicators. Other great features of the LEV18 include a 24-hour ON/OFF timer, a self-diagnosis function, a full window kit for easy installation and a full function remote control.

The Levante C5.5kW portable air conditioning unit offers a quiet, efficient, flexible cooling solution for your home or office.

2

Omega Altise 4.6kW Slimline Portable Air Conditioner

Omega Altise 4.6kW Slimline Portable Air Conditioner

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Omega Altise 4.6kW Slimline Portable Air Conditioner offers a fantastic, portable cooling solution, especially during those hot, humid Aussie summer days. This powerful, slimline air con unit is also easy to move around giving you maximum flexibility too.

The directional air louvres on the Omega Altise ensure evenly distributed air-flow while the 3 variable speed settings and 3 operating modes mean that you have full control over your room climate. Equipped with 16,000 BTUs and featuring a maximum output capacity of 4.6kW the Altise is the perfect portable air con unit for both medium and large sized rooms; it can be used in your living room, bedroom or office or even all 3!

Additional features on this unit include a convenient 24-hour timer so you can program it to your preferred schedule, 4 operating modes (cooling, fan, dehumidify and auto) for ultimate convenience and a remote control to make it easy to tweak the settings without getting up.

The Omega Altise 4.6kW Slimline Portable Air Conditioner is a convenient, flexible, portable air conditioning solution that is packed with features and comes with a 3-year replacement warranty.

3

Olimpia C3.5kW Cooling Only Portable Air Con

Olimpia C3.5kW Cooling Only Portable Air Con

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Olimpia C3.5kW PIU12 Portable Air Conditioning Unit is a mid-market cooling solution that will ensure your rooms remain cool and comfortable, both day and night, during the hot and humid Australian summers.

This feature rich unit has a comprehensive range of features that include a dehumidification function so the room is kept at the perfect temperature whether you’re relaxing, sleeping, socialising or working. The PIU12 even has a fully automatic mode, which will regulate the air con unit’s power to keep the room at the optimum climate in terms of ventilation, dehumidification, and temperature.

The portable design of the Olimpia PIU12 means that it offers excellent flexibility too and can be moved from room to room while the quiet and highly efficient operation means it is great for both day and night use. The unit comes complete with a remote control which can be used to adjust the temperature, ventilation rate and the on/off timer via the LCD display.

In short, the Olimpia C3.5kW Cooling Only Portable Air Con unit offers an impressive range of features and flexibility for a mid-market air conditioner and will keep your rooms cool and comfortable. The Olimpia PIU12 Portable Air Conditioner is perfect for both small and medium sized rooms with its 12,000 BTUs and maximum output capacity of 3.5KW.

4

Convair 2.6kW Portable Air Conditioner

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The Convair 2.6kW Portable Air Conditioner is an affordable, entry-level air conditioning unit for medium to small rooms that will help you beat the heat during those hot summer days.

With its 9000 BTUs and 2.6kW cooling capacity, it is a great cooling solution that comes complete with a 24-hour timer for convenient scheduling, 2-speed settings, directional louvers and a remote control too. This highly affordable air conditioner offers great flexibility too with its portable design and will keep your room at a nice, comfortable temperature all day thanks to its built-in dehumidifier. The carbon filters will ensure it cleans the air in the room and the ‘water full’ alarm feature will let you know if it needs to be emptied.

The Convair 2.6kW Portable Air Conditioner comes with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty, a plastic window kit and is finished in white. This entry-level, air conditioning unit has an impressive range of features and is very affordable.

5

Goldair 10K BTU 2.9kW Portable Air Conditioner

Goldair 10K BTU 2.9kW Portable Air Conditioner

The Goldair 10K BTU 2.9kW Portable Air Conditioner is a flexible, compact and affordable portable air conditioner that will keep you comfortably cool all summer long.

With the Goldair you can set your desired temperature and the unit will automatically cool the room to your exact preference, day and night. In ‘Intelligent Sleep Mode’ the unit automatically increases the room temperature by 1-degree Celsius per hour every two hours then sets the fan to low, which ensures you get the perfect night’s sleep. Another great little option with the Goldair Portable Air Conditioner is that you can attach a hose to the back of the unit so that any excess water the unit collects is continuously drained, saving you from having to manually empty it. Note: the hose is sold separately.

In summary, the Goldair 10K BTU 2.9kW Portable Air Conditioner with its 2.9kW cooling power, three cooling modes (air con, dehumidify or 2-speed fan), automatic ‘smart function’ cooling, 24-hour timer, low noise operation, remote control, intelligent self-evaporative water system, window exhaust connection kit and 4 wheels for easy portability offers great value as a cooling solution for small rooms.

 

Portable Air Conditioner Buying Guide

Portable Air Conditioning units have become quite popular in recent years because they offer the convenience of self-installation, can be reasonably cost-effective and can also, within reason, be moved between rooms.

They differ from their fixed, split-system counterparts because all the components are housed in a single unit, whereas a fixed air conditioning system is made up of an indoor control unit and an external compressor.

While portable air conditioning units can help with cooling a room they aren’t as efficient as a fixed (or split-system) solution and they can also be quite noisy too because the compressor is housed inside the unit.

 

How do they work?

Portable air conditioners are usually supplied as a single main unit that comes with a ventilation and drainage kit.

They are best installed near an open window and work basically the same way as fixed air conditioner – they suck in warm air, cool and dehumidify it and then blow it back into the room.

When used with the inclusive ventilation kit, which is normally installed to an open window, the unit will also expel some of the warm air in the room outside. This helps to keep the room temperature down.

Unlike fixed air conditioning systems, which are normally installed throughout an entire building, portable conditioners face a continual battle because the expulsion of warm air through the open window causes a net air pressure reduction in your room, and that means that more warm air is drawn into the room from the rest of the building.

On the positive side, and unlike a fan, a portable air conditioner offers the advantage of dehumidifying the air in the room as well as cooling it and dehumidified air generally feels cooler and more comfortable.

Because air conditioners dehumidify the air they also come with a drainage kit although many models use the water collected to help cool the air, which also helps with energy efficiency and reduces the need to drain water or empty the bottle or tank (if you haven’t setup your unit the drain the excess water directly outside).

In summary, while portable units simply aren’t as efficient as their fixed (or split system) counterparts they can be a convenient solution and are comparatively less expensive than fixed air conditioning systems.

 

Energy Efficiency Ratings

As of early 2018, there is no energy efficiency standard for portable air conditioners in Australia.

This is because there are technical challenges to being able to measure their efficiency and performance against a standard benchmark like the physical location in Australia where the unit operates.

Regulators have been discussing the feasibility of a zoned energy rating system for air conditioners due to Australia’s variable geographic climate but this is still being progressed.

As a result, portable air conditioners are currently not subject to Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) and so don’t carry star rating labels.

 

Which unit is right for me?

There are many factors to consider when buying air conditioning and for an accurate assessment of your needs you should consult with an air conditioning engineer but as a rough guide you’ll need, at least;

  • 2.8kW for a 20 sqm room
  • 4.2kW for a 30 sqm room
  • 5.6kW for a 40 sqm room

Other factors to consider will include the ceiling height, whether the room is insulated and what climate you are living in.

Obviously, the more powerful the unit, the cooler your room will be.

 

Features to consider

 

Power supply

Portable air con units are comparatively power hungry and so should only be installed directly into a main power socket. Many manufacturers advise, via the manual, that using the unit with an extension cable can pose a fire risk and could void the warranty.

This is worth considering before you purchase your unit. Do you have a power socket close to a window as the power cord supplied with your unit is likely to be quite short?

Operating options

Most units will come with a selection of operating modes including cool, dry (dehumidifier), heat (reverse-cycle), and fan only. Higher end units sometimes also have a “smart” model, which automatically switches between modes to achieve and maintain a desired room temperature.

Remote control

Having a remote control for your portable air-con unit is not only useful if you need to adjust the temperature of the room without getting up! (We’re all a little lazy sometimes, right?!)

They also often include control over additional features like auto-modes, setting up timers and checking the current room temperature at-a-glance via the LCD display.

Built-in Timer

Having a timer on your unit can help with energy efficiency in addition to offering the convenience of not having to control the unit manually.

They enable you to program your air conditioner to turn on/off at desired times like after you leave for work or before you’re due home, which means the room is nice and cool when you need it to be without the unit using power and energy unnecessarily.

Sleep timers are intended to be used in a similar way and can be set to switch the unit off or on after a set period of time. They also usually have an automatic temperature adjustment feature, which will keep the room at set temperature without the unit having to work too hard so that you can get a comfortable night’s sleep.

Noise

Portable air conditioning units can be quite noisy especially when they an operating at full power.

Airflow Control

Most units come with the ability to adjust the louvres and/or choose the direction of the airflow. Higher end units also often have a feature called ‘swing’ mode where oscillating louvres distribute the cool air more widely around the room.

Window Kits

Some units come with a window kit, which is made up of filler panels that hold the exhaust hose and ensure that you can close the gaps in an open window and direct the expelled hot air outside while giving the effect of the window not being open.

Water Drainage

Most units will come with a drainage hose for any excess water the unit has extracted from the humid air in your room. Some models also include a drainage tank too.

Tip: You could simply use a plastic bottle if your unit doesn’t come supplied with a water tank as the excess water from the unit is usually comparatively minimal.

Portability

Most modern portable air conditioning units come fitted with wheels so they can be moved around easily however you may want to ensure that the clearance from the floor is sufficient especially if your rooms are carpeted. Larger wheels can also make moving the unit around easier.

 

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