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Which Whynter portable air conditioner is best?

Portable air conditioners are great temperature-control options for many homes. They’re even useful if you already have centralized heating and cooling, as portable air conditioners can help maintain your home with less energy use. Whynter portable air conditioners are designed to cool the largest rooms, so they’re best used in large homes, especially lofts.

At the top of the list, the Whynter ARC-14SH Portable Air Conditioner can cover up to 700 square feet and has a pleasing black-and-white design that meshes with most homes’ aesthetics.

What to know before you buy a Whynter portable air conditioner

Benefits of a portable air conditioner

There are three main benefits to using a portable air conditioner outside of the cooling it provides.

  • Portability: The biggest benefit is the ability to move it from room to room as needed. This isn’t always easy, but it can be a big help in some situations.
  • Savings: Another key benefit is the energy savings from using a portable air conditioner in conjunction with centralized heating and cooling. Just set your thermostat a little higher and watch while the portable air conditioner cools your room further while using less energy.
  • Following the rules: A smaller — but no less important — benefit is compatibility with rules in some apartment buildings, condos and co-ops that prohibit the use of window air conditioners.

Power and coverage

The power an air conditioner has is given in British thermal units, and it has the biggest impact on how big of a room can be cooled. Whynter portable air conditioners have Btu of 10,000-14,000; the smallest can cover rooms of up to 215 square feet and some of the largest can cool up to 600 square feet.

Certain circumstances reduce or improve an air conditioner’s efficiency, though. For example, a shaded room needs less or more power to cool efficiently, while a sunny room needs more. You also need an additional 600 Btu per person to cool a room if there are more than two people in it.

What to look for in a quality Whynter portable air conditioner

Energy Star

The best Whynter portable air conditioners are Energy Star compliant. This means they’ve met certain energy efficiency standards. Most portable air conditioners are energy efficient, but Energy Star units are just that much better.

Dual-hose system

The best Whynter portable air conditioners have a dual-hose rather than a single-hose system. In a dual-hose system, warm air is pumped out from one hose while fresh air is pulled in from the other.

Water removal system

Hands-off water removal systems are the best Whynter offers. One method lets the unit exhaust the condensation it creates automatically, while another requires a hose be connected from the tank to a drain in your home.

How much you can expect to spend on a Whynter portable air conditioner

Low-cost Whynter portable air conditioners typically cost $400-$450. The average one costs $500-$600 and the most expensive cost around $700.

Whynter portable air conditioner FAQ

Do I need special power outlets to use a Whynter portable air conditioner?

A. It’s possible. Most have three-pronged plugs that can connect to the average power outlet without worry. The strongest ones — typically those with 14,000-plus Btu — may require special wiring to be installed. Carefully check the product description before purchasing, or read your prospective model’s user manual on Whynter’s website.

Can one Whynter portable air conditioner cool several rooms?

A. Technically yes, but it won’t be efficient. Portable air conditioners are designed to cool only the room they’re in — just like non-portable ones. Nearby rooms may receive a minor improvement — especially if you have fans moving air around your home — but it won’t be anything substantial.

The exception is when cooling homes with open floor plans, such as lofts. However, make sure your prospective air conditioner has the power to cool such a large, empty space.

What’s the best Whynter portable air conditioner to buy?

Top Whynter portable air conditioner 

Whynter ARC-14SH Portable Air Conditioner

Whynter ARC-14SH Portable Air Conditioner

What you need to know: This is among Whynter’s most powerful models.

What you’ll love: It has 14,000 Btu of power that can cool a room of up to 500 square feet. It uses a dual-hose system and has four modes — air conditioner, fan, dehumidifier and heat. All moisture removed from the air is automatically purged in most environments when in air conditioner and dehumidifier modes.

What you should consider: A few consumers found setting up their windows a challenge. Others had rare issues of the unit failing after a year or two. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair

Top Whynter portable air conditioner for the money

Whynter ARC-125 Portable Air Conditioner

Whynter ARC-12S Portable Air Conditioner

What you need to know: It’s among Whynter’s less powerful air conditioners, but it still packs a punch.

What you’ll love: It has 12,000 Btu that can cool a room of up to 400 square feet. It can run as a fan or a dehumidifier in addition to cooling and generates a maximum of 52.5 decibels, a little quieter than the average refrigerator. A remote control is included.

What you should consider: A few reviewers found it more effective as a dehumidifier than a cooling unit. Others had issues with leaks, especially when moving it.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Home Depot and Staples

Worth checking out

Whynter Elite ARC-122DS Portable Air Conditioner

Whynter Elite ARC-122DS Portable Air Conditioner

What you need to know: It carefully balances advanced features with less power to arrive at a midpoint in cost.

What you’ll love: It has 12,000 Btu that can cool a room of up to 400 square feet. It uses an ecologically friendly refrigerant and can automatically exhaust all moisture in most environments. The thermostat uses a digital readout and can be set between 61 to 89 degrees.

What you should consider: It needs to be shipped to California at the owner’s cost for any service it might need.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Home Depot and Wayfair


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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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