What is a Portable AC? Does It Worth The Purchase?

Last Updated on 14 May, 2024 by Sourav Roy

When you’re looking for something to keep you cool during summer, it’s normally a good idea to go for Split or Window ACs. They can offer a higher area coverage and more powerful cooling. However, it might be a better option to get a Portable AC in some cases. What is a Portable AC, you ask?

What is a Portable AC

I’ll be answering that question in this post and telling you details about all its advantages and drawbacks. Let’s get started.


What Is A Portable AC

What Is A Portable AC


The extra portability offered by Portable ACs is primarily what sets them apart from their bigger counterparts. In terms of cooling mechanism, the process is similar to Standard ACs, except that everything is fit into one appliance. Like every other AC, these devices use an evaporator coil, refrigerant gas, condenser coils, a fan and a compressor to cool down the air. The unit’s fan first sucks in hot air inside the room; then it passes through the evaporator coil, where the refrigerant gas removes the heat from the air and cools it. Finally, the cooled air is released back into the room by the fan.

While the refrigerant gets compressed, plenty of heat is also generated. Portable ACs get rid of the heat through an exhaust hose. Another thing about these ACs is that the way they remove moisture from air varies from model to model. There are three primary ways these ACs remove moisture from the air.

  • Gravity Drain Method: This is the method most portable ACs use. In it, the moisture is drained out through a hose.
  • Bucket Collection: This is an outdated method you’d only see in older Portable ACs. All the moisture gathers inside a bucket inside the unit; it needs to be drained manually afterwards.
  • Self-Evaporation Method: Some Portable ACs have an exhaust vent through which they automatically push out excess moisture and warm air. You should be looking out for ACs that use this method; it’s the newest and most efficient way of handling moisture.

Recommended Reading: What is Inverter AC


Single-Hose Portable ACs vs Dual-Hose Portable ACs

Single-Hose Portable ACs vs Dual-Hose Portable ACs

The Indian market primarily consists of one type of Portable ACs; Single-Hose ones. However, Dual-Hose Portable ACs are also starting to make their way into it.

Portable ACs with a single hose use it to both suck in air from outside and push out the warm air. Consequently, these units are less effective as they have to fight against the pressure difference.

On the other hand, Dual-Hose Portable ACs have two hoses; one hose brings in air from outside while the other expels the warm air. They work more efficiently because of that. Good Dual-Hose ACs are a little harder to find, but they’re worth the effort. You can still do well with Single-Hose ones; just make sure that the place is properly insulated and the doors are closed to get the best performance.

Recommended Reading: Split AC vs Window AC – Which one should you buy?


What Are The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Portable ACs Over Regular ACs?

What Are The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Portable ACs Over Regular ACs

Aside from the difference in efficiency, both the pros and cons are the same in the two types of Portable ACs.

Benefits Of Portable ACs

  • Installation takes less time.
  • Most models are equipped with wheels and are lightweight, so they can be moved about easily.
  • Portable ACs are perfect for smaller rooms.
  • They need much less maintenance.
  • Higher-end models offer wifi control.

Drawbacks Of Portable ACs

  • They’re not as powerful as regular ACs and cannot quickly cool down a large room.
  • The noise levels are usually higher than those of full-sized ACs.
  • Finding the right one according to room size can take some effort.

Overall, Portable ACs are good. They’re no replacements for Standard ACs, but they can still serve you really well.


Picking The Right Capacity

Unlike standard ACs, Portable ACs should be chosen according to their BTU numbers, not tonnage capacity. BTU stands for British Thermal Units, and it indicates how much heat the AC can remove in an hour.

Here’s a rough guideline to help you pick the right BTU number for your specific room size.

Room SizeRecommended Capacity
Less than 350 Square Ft.8000 BTU
350-400 Square Ft.9000 BTU
400-450 Square Ft.10,000 BTU
450-560 Square Ft.12,000 BTU
560-700 Square Ft.14,000 BTU

Recommended Reading: How to maximize AC cooling in summers? Experts Reveal


Frequently Asked Questions

Can Portable ACs work without windows?

Portable ACs come with an exhaust hose, which is meant to help them vent. While normally people tend to put the exhaust hose through windows, you can also put it through a wall, roof or door.

Are there any Portable ACs that don't need venting?

Yes. Some Portable ACs can cool the room down simply by getting rid of moisture. Rather than using a vent to do that, they use a water bucket which collects the excess moisture and needs to be drained out manually.

Do I need to fill a Portable AC with water to make it work?

No, you don’t need to do that.

Do Portable ACs with an interior bucket cause issues when they're not drained?

Yes, if the water is not drained out regularly, it can build up and cause the Portable AC to overflow. It’s important to make sure that you drain it out every day. Plus, if you let the water stay in for too long, mould can also grow on the interior surface.

Are Smart AC controllers compatible with Portable ACs?

Yes, you can install Smart AC controllers to Portable ACs that use an IR Remote.

Will I face any problems if I leave my Portable AC turned on while I'm not around?

Sort of. Most Portable ACs can automatically drain the excess water they store, so there’s no real issue. However, leaving one on will still cause you a lot of extra power consumption. It’s better to install a Smart Controller and set up a schedule or use a Geolocation Feature.

Is it possible to make Portable ACs less noisy?

You can reduce the noise slightly by placing the AC on a rug.

Recommended Reading: How to reduce AC power consumption? Tips & Tricks


Final Word

What is a Portable AC? I hope this post was able to answer that question for you. Portable ACs can be a great addition to your home; the right one can keep you perfectly chill and comfortable during even unusually hot days. Just make sure to do your research before making any purchase. Thanks for reading!

Follow me

Leave a Comment