Best Budget Portable Air Conditioners 2020 : Buying Guide & Reviews
Summer’s just around the corner, and temperatures are climbing. Gone are the British rainy days, and here to stay are the wonderful hot US summers. Are you finding it too warm at home, or even on the go? Do you think you could do with a cheap, portable air conditioner to take with you on the go? Not sure where to look for the best AC unit?
Look no further, as we’ve got you covered! This article will take you through our top ten picks for the best cheap ACs. Our models have a wide variety of features; some come with a remote control, some have caster wheels. One of the key things to think of, though, is that ALL movable ACs are efficient modes of air conditioning or dehumidification for any room size (in square feet).
Keep reading our article to find out the typical cost of ACs, what the energy efficiency is like, and the top considerations you’ll want to have in mind before you purchase the perfect air conditioner for your home office, dining area, or even your living room.
A variety of features are evident in all of our products, such as the room size in square feet – so it couldn’t be easier to find one of the best transportable, low-cost AC units for you.
10 Best Budget Portable Air Conditioners in 2020
Here is our list of the top ten best transportable ACs for your home. You’ll be able to find the best AC unit for you, whilst keeping costs low and quality, satisfaction, and efficiency high.
Make sure you have a look at customers’ recommendations in the comments section, to see if any on the Amazon site report a problem that’s hard to sort, or any thing you’d be unhappy putting in your homes. For the most part, the prices are great, the designs are great – these machines will be a brilliant, easy cooling solution to those stuffy work environments in your apartment.
1. Intel AA-MC4 Arctic air
Key Design Features
Best Features: Comes with led mood lights. Can be connected via USB. Comes with a multi-function design. Low operation noise. Easy to carry around.
This small portable air conditioner comes with a unique compact design that has been specifically made for n the-spot cooling. This is the sort of machine that you can place on your desk, in the office or perhaps on the table at home.
The best thing about this unit is the size. It’s small enough to carry around wherever you go, allowing you to enjoy cool, clean air, anywhere!
Maybe you need to cool the kitchen down while cooking meals on a hot summer day or perhaps your workstation is hot and stuffy at the office and you need some relief!
While this machine cannot cool the entire room, it is perfect for a small area instead. So if that’s what you’re looking for this machine is the best budget buy for you! It will save you in both the electricity costs and the initial upfront cost.
The device has 8 LED mood lights and it is very easy to change your preferred running mode. You have options ranging from cooling to humidification and air purification.
While the cooling power isn’t anywhere near the same as a 10000 BTU machine, it is perfect for the desk when you need it!
This air conditioner makes use of water to cool the area around it. At the same time, you can also use the machine to remove water from the area around it by utilizing its dehumidification mode.
The cooling performance is exceptionally good considering its surprisingly small size. Seriously, it packs a lot of power in such a small unit.
Machines with a larger cooling capacity tend to have a very high running noise. The Intel AA-MC4 Arctic air does not! Making it an ideal machine for stuffy board rooms or places similar where noise can be an issue.
This machine comes with a minimal design to enable ease of movement. Its performance is quite impressive. It can cool, purify, and humidify the area around your room.
2. NINGPU Portable Air Conditioner
Best Features: Easy Use. Best Durability.
Our first solution comes from NINGPU, and it’s the cheap Portable Air Conditioner with an ideal 10,000 BTUs over 300 square feet. This cooling machine comes with LED display, a remote control, and 24/hour o/off programmable settings – so you can put this AC in sleep mode whenever you need to.
One of the best features of this AC is the lasting lifespan. The quality of this portable AC machine is high, because of the sheer amount of options contained in these products to make sure you can maintain this portable air conditioner to the best of your abilities.
The easy to use window kit allows you to vent the room by connecting the cooling machine to the exhaust hose, whilst the auto evaporation technology means you don’t require a bucket that you have to constantly empty.
The easy to use display and timer helps you to select features such as the temperature settings, meaning you can maximise this design and cooling capacity the best way possible. One of the best on the market, it’s an essential to keep air flow going in your home or office – maximising the best possible comfort in the easiest way possible.
3. Black & Decker Portable Air Conditioner
Best Features: Powerful yet Quiet. Easy Installation.
Our second solution for cheap portable air conditioners comes from the high-end brand Black & Decker, and is the portable air conditioner with 8,000 BTUs… perfect for getting rid of humidity – guaranteed delivery of many fabulous results.
Perfect for small rooms and any confined space, this high-rating portable AC features steady, fast effective cooling for a room up to 200 square feet. There’s a bunch of options for you to pick from with the simple remote control and LED display – which also features a 24 hour timer to help you control temperature precisely.
This compact cooling device also features 3-in-1 functionality, combining 3 functions for all of your cooling and humidity busting needs… there’s a cool, fan, and dehumidifying mode for optimal dehumidification. What’s more, there’s no bucket or water tank, and it’s auto evaporate. The easy wheels make this beauty a breeze to install and attach to a garden hose and vent via the window. Wheels are always good for portability!
The powerful 8,000 BTUs cooling capacity on these cheap air conditioners will keep your comfort optimal as best as possible, and it’s ultra quiet on account of the sleep mode options – say goodbye to noise and hello to cool air, this is the best solution! Plenty of options for brilliant home use – one of our best models with an ultra high rating and a cheap, cheap price.
4. COSTWAY Portable Air Conditioner
Best Features: Many Temperature Features. Unique, Adaptable Design.
Our third solution comes from COSTWAY, and is one of the coolest, most adaptable models. All things considered, this 10,000 BTUs Portable Dehumidifier with Wall Mount and Window Mount Functions will keep your spaces cool, with many options for adaptability.
Perfect airflow for bedrooms, dining rooms, and virtually any area – there’s so much choice with these items. They also come at a low cost, so you can really cheap out.
One of the key pros of this handy humidity buster is that it can provide so many different modes – such as cooling, dehumidify mode, a sleep mode, and a fan mode! It’s therefore suitable for lots of different spaces in your home or apartment, from work spaces to home offices. This cooling unit features a brilliant customer satisfaction rating on account of its adaptable design amongst other things.
Another of the coolest things about these units is its unique design; with 10,000 BTUs, this portable AC provides a brilliant airflow to cool spaces up to 200 square feet – and there’s also no need to install a drain or connect complicated water tank hoses. Vent these handy machines right out your windows.
The adaptable design means you can mount one of these air conditioner units onto your walls or windows – cool air for days. There’s also a 24 hour timer, an auto evaporation function, and customised fan speed. Your room will never be the same space again – the way these best portable AC devices work, you’ll be a definite fan – it’ll be on your mind!
5. NEXGADGET Portable Air Conditioner
Best Features: Versatility. Power Modes.
Our fourth portable air conditioner is the NEXGADGET portable air conditioners, which a rechargeable battery and 120 degree auto oscillation… fancy!
Perfect for any space and much cheaper than high end brands such as Black & Decker, this cheap air conditioner is brilliant for most room size measurements (square feet), and features a brilliant cooling capacity and fan speed to give you a constant supply of cool air.
Its versatile operation gives you 3 different fan speed options, as well as different cooling levels. The 700 ml capacity water tank gives you a brilliant cool capacity, and you can also add some ice to keep this portable air conditioner even cooler. This air conditioner also acts as a humidifier and an air purifier – it does far more than just simple air conditioning.
In this case, the power of this air conditioner is also highly impressive- as you have a built-in rechargeable battery for full portability, and the auto oscillation feature of this air conditioner is one of the features that gives it such a high rating.
With an efficient design, humidity and temperature are kept low the way you like, in any space you need it in. Maximum performance, easy operation, better control; users agree that this air conditioner is wonderful – just check the reviews and rating!
6. GREATSSLY Portable Air Conditioner/ Air Cooler and Fan
Best Features: Ambient LED Display. Variety of Wind Speeds.
Our midway solution comes from GREATSSLY, and has a variety of functions. It’s the high performance GREATSSLY Air Conditioner Fan, with three degree changeable angles – it’s highly adjustable and easy to use… there’s even an auto evaporation setting for all of your dehumidification functions and needs! No matter which rooms you’re popping this unit in – it’s sure to work efficiently.
These multi-functional portable ACs give you maximum performance and a great level of control. They’re energy saving, so you know that you won’t be making a hefty impact on climate change – as the small air circulators’ operation does NOT include ozone refrigerant.
A must have for summer office working, you won’t need to keep the doors open in hot conditions… you can instead keep working conditions cool on your terms with no problem – there’s rarely any ACs on the market that give you better value than this machine.
There’s also a variety of modes in this model, providing max efficiency by giving not one, not two, but three wind speeds – just pour your water in to the tank, a purifying mist will be created, and there you have it, a comfy, cool atmosphere no matter the place. People will love it, this product is for you!
The 7 color LED display also gives an example of an impressive feature. You can pop on a light of your choice for a calming mood… couple it with some white noise and you’ll fall asleep in no time.
Take it from us, you need this model. Get yours from the range provided by this wonderful brand – five stars from us.
7. OVPPH Portable Air Conditioner and Cooler
Best Features: Easy Mobility and Convenience. Warranty Features.
This next example of an easy air solution comes from OVPPH, and is a Personal Portable Air Cooler, complete with LED display lights and quiet cooling fans. This brand gives you an air conditioner that comes top in many areas, with comfort being just one. Users are more than satisfied, with this machine gaining many a positive review.
This handy product is perfect for so many different people, no matter the place of use. It’s portable and only 1.8 lbs, so it’s seriously lightweight and easy to transport.
There’s even a handle instead of caster wheels to help you carry it in and out of the office, and it’ll easily sit on your desk at a comfortable level. There’s also minimal noise disruption as the controls and modes of performance allow you to have an ultra quiet speed as this machine functions indoors or outside.
The mobility couldn’t be easier! This air conditioner makes the difference and is one of the best across all categories. The company has taken care to provide you with a machine that meets all of your needs and can be transported with easy movement from the bedroom, to the kitchen, to outside and back again.
If you’re unsatisfied with your product, in addition one of the coolest factors is that you can just email the company and they’ll give you a replacement or refund within 24 hours. This 12 month policy has earned a 100% customer satisfaction rating on average. Your house or apartments could benefit from these brilliant coolers… such coolers do the job to keep your air clean and cool.
8. Gree Shiny Air Conditioner
Best Features: Auto Evaporation Features. Stainless Steel Caster Wheels.
Our seventh solution gives you another world class best deal… it’s the Gree Shiny Air Conditioner which comes with 6000 BTUs in 300 square feet areas, but you also have some alternative sizes for any choices you need to make. Access the chart and information at hand on the site, and do your bit to consider what you need from this handy machine.
This efficient air conditioner comes with a 3-in-1 combination of functions; it dehumidifies, it cools, and it provides a fan. In most cases, it’s perfect for any house or apartments and gives you what you need at the greatest convenient.
Its remote control and sleep mode gives you a high level of control, while the digital LED light panel means you shouldn’t encounter a single problem. Users are happy with the dehumidification and cooling functions of these portable air conditioners, so we hope you are too.
The auto evaporation technology also functions to keep your room cool in the home, so you have a greater cooling efficiency and don’t have to empty your tank as often. Use it as often as you like, it’s perfect for any space and comes equipped with a brilliant design and impressive high rating.
This AC is one of the best home products we can offer, and its easy 24 hour timer is another easy feature to aid dehumidification and other fan performance. With its many modes and easy to transport caster wheels, you can easily control the humidity of your room without needing to crack any windows.
9. Evapolar evaCHILL Portable Air Conditioners
Best Features: Small Size, Maximum Mobility and Easy Movement. Quality of Manufacture.
This model is the portable air conditioner fan from Evapolar. It comes in opaque white or urban gray, meaning you even have control over the color of this handy portable air conditioner.
Some of the key features that users report include the following… The 3-in-1 functions of this highly effective portable air conditioner gives you dehumidification, cooling, and purifying all in one go for healthier breathing.
No matter the room size (in square feet), the cooling capacity and performance of this intuitive air conditioner means it can service you for a large amount of square feet in any room.
The number of features available means that heat is kept low in any environment, no matter the size of the rooms – and you can make all the adjustments you like.
The quality of this air conditioner is also adapted to keep moisture low by giving you a leakage-proof system. The easy-to-use control pad allows you to control the terms of your conditioner in all climates. Its small size means that it can be a handy feature of any climate – you can use it for any thing you desire. This is one of the easiest pros. And it’s hard to spot cons!
10. SHSTFD Portable Air Conditioners
Best Features: Price Point. Easy Functioning No Matter the Area.
Our penultimate option is the SHSTFD Portable Air Conditioner, with a 3-in-1 cooling, dehumidification, and fan function. It can service any room no matter the square feet, and has a brilliant cooling capacity.
Users have found that there are so many brilliant features to these heat busting ACs. These air conditioners are cheap, affordable, and brilliant air conditioners.
Keeping air fresh no matter the room size (in square feet), this portable air conditioner comes with an easy sleep mode, 7 LED colors, and a remote control to manage this all yourself.
The remote control will also let you take advantage of the energy saving powers, by allowing you to adjust the fan to output a small energy consumption.
Use this handy design as a fan, or as a cooling device to keep temperature and heat low by adding a little ice. The water will evaporate instantly and efficiently, meaning you won’t need to open a window to control your room’s heat.
The easy operation and performance of this portable air machine provides a handy, risk free purchase… there’s even a handle to provide easy mobility – even take it outside if you choose! So many pros, virtually no cons.
Go to the source if you don’t believe us; the average review boasts plenty of pros, such as affordability and manufacturer reliability.
The combination of convenience and choice on this dehumidifier/ cooler combo means that it’s perfect for most cases in any homes. Purchase from Amazon today!
11. MOVTIP Portable Air Conditioner Fan
Best Features: Energy Saving Solutions. High Quality Design.
Our final choice is headline news – its adaptability to many homes makes it a brilliant market spot, that makes a difference and stands out from other brands. The temp control is great, it’s a breeze to purchase, it’s the Portable Air Conditioner Fan from MOVTIP.
The rechargeable battery of this brilliant air conditioner means that you can take it anywhere you like, no matter the distance – the user manual will show you that you can keep it in kitchens, bedrooms, offices, and the dehumidifier function means you can do all of this with minimal condensation.
Go straight to the source, i.e. Amazon, to see what other people are saying – but honestly, rarely will you find a single reviewer that’s unhappy with this solution. The ultra-quiet, energy saving aspects of these ACs/ fan systems means that they’re perfect for getting the room fahrenheit right down.
Put them in your kitchen or your work space – in any area, they’re easy to move due to their small sizes and light weight designs. At such low prices, you really can’t side against this model.
We’re definite fans of these moisture busters because of the sheer amount of options they give you at low prices. A definite difference from other market brands – you’ll spot it, and the positive ratings, a mile away.
Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Portable AC
As consumers, it’s of the most importance to make sure you do your background research before you approach a purchase on the market. Making sure that you have the best experience with minimal problems or complaints is absolutely key. This is why you need to consider these 5 key tips before you go through the process of selecting an option.
Of course, the reason is simple: you want to be happy with the affordability, functioning, and aesthetics of your pick. If you’re not and you have to make a return, all rights reserved, 9 times out of 10 the manufacturer is on your side and will give you a fair warranty coverage policy. No pressure! Have a look at our instructions for choosing a portable air conditioner:
Whichever cheap AC you opt for, you have to make sure it suits your needs. The cooling performance has to be of the highest rating no matter the environment. Regarding size range, the smaller the air conditioner, the more portable it is… but this can lead to issues when considering the optimum cooling process, as the smaller it is the less powerful it may be. It’s hard to balance finding a low-cost AC that is effective at cooling spaces, whilst being able to take it around your home and elsewhere on the go.
Some air conditioners may come with built-in caster wheels for on the go travel, whereas others are more suited to staying in the home. Any AC should also come with cables and a window kit should you have to connect to outside to get rid of hot air.
Cooling power is measured in BTU, which is the metric used to measure energy. Any air conditioner will work by removing heat in the room as opposed to pumping in cold air; air conditioner models therefore are measured with a BTU rating that indicates how much air volume can be cooled around the home. Any good AC will have a cooling power of 8,000 to 10,000 BTU- which you’ll be able to keep track of on the temperature display.
Running and Maintenance
Any good unit will work efficiently and in a simple manner. It should come with filters, such as a carbon filter, to maintain air quality and keep temp low. This air filter should be easy to install and manage. Each model should also have high customer ratings for usability and ease of design, and any machines worth their salt should also have an LCD remote. Most also come with a sleep mode.
Ease of Use
Your easy-to-use machine should come with buttons and controls that allow you to adjust settings and view temperature display, energy consumption, and other settings. While most air conditioner models come with a remote control, some also come with LED display so it’s easy for you to keep track of your machine’s different features, such as fan speeds. Keep an eye on customer reviews to see which models are the easiest to use.
A cool air conditioning system that is able to turn on and off according to room temperature is going to be a much better friend to your energy costs, and the environment. Some cheaper air conditioners will cut manufacture costs by removing this feature, meaning you have to turn off the portable AC yourself – whilst the cost is cheaper upfront, you’ll have a higher energy consumption and therefore bigger long-term costs in electricity bills.
If you want to find other ways to cut energy bills across your kitchen, check out our energy-efficient range of the best cheap washers and dryers of 2020.
Here, we’ve finished the article by rounding up some of the key questions asked by people when they’re searching for a cheap portable air conditioner to control the air flow in their room. Remember, room size is key.
What would be our top pick?
Our best budget portable air conditioner that makes headline news, the portable air conditioner cheapest and most worth your money, is the Gree Shiny Air Conditioner. It’s perfect for any room of any square feet, and comes with a handful of brilliant features.
When you’re looking for a great model with a window kit, easy sleep mode, and a 24 hour timer – look no further. This model is suited to any room size (square feet), and will keep your air in the room nice and dehumidified.
What are Cheapest Portable Air Conditioner Available?
The cheapest air conditioner available is the SHSTFD Portable Air Conditioner. This cheap portable air conditioner is an example of a great multi-function portable air conditioner that has brilliant performance and operation and keeps heat to a low temperature in most climates and room sizes. The seamless design makes it suited to most rooms, so you’ve no need to open your windows, just buy one of these value solutions.
The wind speed, controls, and trusted brand are all attested to in the reviews… no room to argue with us, this gives you the perfect solution to stuffy working environments on your terms, at the value you need. It opens all the doors.
Do all cheap ACs have to be vented out a window?
In short, yes, every cheap, portable air conditioner will need to be vented in order to clear air as easily and efficiently as possible.
Any room with ceilings, doors, and walls will require you to vent your portable air conditioner out of the window, to keep air fresh and of low heat.
From high end brands like Frigidaire, to cheaper models, all models will work effectively to clear stuffy, humid air when they are vented out of a window. Read the operation manuals and users’ reviews for more advice.
What is the best portable air conditioner for a small room?
The best low-cost air conditioner for a small room, as opposed to a large room with lots of air like a kitchen, will incorporate features such as minimal electricity usage, easy to use designs, LED light systems, limited noise, a remote control, sleep mode and a good speed of the fan.
Our handy list of tips and considerations earlier should hopefully help you to weigh the pros up against the cons to work out a solution of portable air conditioner that’s fab quality and will work for you as a perfect fit.
From the reviews, users suggest that the best example of small room portable air conditioners, in terms of installation, climate, and range of controls, is the AC fan from Evapolar.
- 3-IN-1: Cools, humidifies, and cleans dust particles from the air for healthier breathing. You don't need more to have several devices like air conditioner and humidifier
- FOR PERSONAL USE - Cools the area in front of the device (45 sq. ft. ), approximately the size of a desk, couch or bed
- LEAKAGE-PROOF SYSTEM and Intuitive and easy to understand user control pad
- ENLARGED WATER TANK, increasing the working time up to 9 hours
Are portable air conditioners expensive to run?
Your usage controls the expenses incurred in running ACs in different modes. It will depend on the modes of operation, how long you’ve got the machine running for, and how large your room is.
If you want low-cost ACs that function effectively and offer a range of modes and operation functions such as dehumidification, they shouldn’t be too expensive to run, provided they’re the right fit for the space you’re using them in to cool air. One good factor is, as they’re portable and easily moved, there’s no installation costs.
If you’re shopping for a cheap AC, we recommend you take some time to understand the different factors to look at with air conditioners. In doing so, you’ll find yourself guided to the right air conditioner for you.
Plus we know picking the best machine can be quite a challenge. This is why we have come up with a guide to help you make the best decision when you go shopping for an air conditioner.
How Many BTUs Do You Really Need?
The more BTUs an air conditioner has, the better. However, there is no need to overspend on a more powerful air conditioner, if you don’t need to.
On the flip side of that, if you underspend and get an air conditioner that doesn’t have sufficient BTUs to effectively cool a room, you’ll find that the unit is always turned on. This results in an increased electricity bill and also potentially leaving you hot and sticky.
So how many BTUs do I actually need?
Well, the answer to this depends on the size of the space you’re trying to cool. There’s a quick and easy way to calculate this. You will need to measure the length and width of your room.
Once done you should multiply these numbers together which will give you the square footage of the room. From here you can look at the BTU Chart below.
There is a little bit more to sizing the right air conditioners than just looking at square footage though. The following factors also come into play:
- Ceiling Height: If you have high ceilings there will be more volume of air in the room. The square footage calculations assume you have a standard 8-foot ceiling. So if your ceiling is higher the above table will be slightly off. Factor this in by going one up than what you should normally buy. Alternatively use a BTU calculator.f
- Climate: The climate is a big factor too. If you live in a warmer climate you will need a stronger air conditioner as it will have to work harder.
- Unit Location: If your unit is situated in direct sunlight, it will have to work harder. If your unit is placed on the second or third story of your house, it will be higher up and the rooms will receive more direct sunlight. You should factor in an extra 10% of BTU requirements for these rooms. Room such as the kitchen will be much hotter because of the number of devices already operating and generating heat.
- Insulation: A well-insulated house is amazing for the winter, it keeps the hot air in and the cold air out. During the summer it does the exact same which can be an issue. However, it actually supports air conditioners well. The hot air will be extracted from your home and the insulation will help keep it out and keep the cold air in. If you have a well-insulated home, you can get away with a lower BTU air conditioner unit.
- Windows: If you have a lot of large windows in your home you can expect poorer insulation. Windows aren’t as good as walls when it comes to insulation. So if you have lots of large windows, increase your BTU requirements by up to 10%. This will allow you to buy the cooling solution you need. If you want to keep the energy bills low you can add light-blocking shades or insulated curtains to help. This will help maintain the room temperature.
- Home Shape: If your home is rather compact, you will require less energy to cool it. Open floor plans require much more cooling power to keep them chilled.
This is an important metric to consider when choosing anything when on a budget. The energy consumption of your air conditioner will help you estimate the monthly electricity bill costs. On average, you can expect a portable air conditioner to cost you anywhere between $40 and $100 per year to run. So if you plan on running the machine for 8 hours a day, expect to see your energy bills increase.
There are a few things you can do to save energy consumption like setting your machine to run a timer. Most machines come with a timer function. Some can even connect to the WI FI and be controlled remotely. Imagine you were sitting down and couldn’t be bothered to get up? Well just utilize the remote control operation and adjust the device to your pleasure.
Most machines have a sleep mode too.
Is your ac unit portable? If it is you can take it wherever you need and ultimately keep yourself cool wherever you go.
You can also do simple things like shutting the doors and windows. You could also change the temperature settings or the fan speed settings.
The graph below shows a rough guide to energy consumption per BTU and Wattage.
Ease of installation
You might assume that installing a portable air conditioning unit will be a complex job. However, unlike fixed air conditioners, they are pretty easy to set up!
Some quick pieces of advice are:
- Keep your air condition in a vertical position during the first few hours when you first get it delivered.
- Read the manual straight away, before even attempting to install the machine.
Some air conditioners come with water tanks that help with dehumidification purposes. You want to make sure these tanks are correctly positioned when installing the air conditioner so that you can avoid damaging your floors.
Typical Cost of Portable ACs
Our picks for the easiest air conditioner models tend to vary in price. While it’s not difficult to find a cheap portable air conditioner, the model’s price will vary based on a range of features, even including sizes. For example, portable air conditioning units from popular brands such as Black & Decker may cost a little more than lesser known brands. What’s more, if you’re after a model that features maximum energy efficiency and optimised energy consumption to keep those energy costs down, this is something that might also cost a little extra.
The cooling power, fan speed, dehumidification functions, cooling capacity, and even noise levels of your air conditioner may vary the price. What’s more, some models come with extra features such as LED display or even white noise relaxation features… so these can also tack on an additional price tag. It’s great to check the user reviews to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.
That said, you can find a perfectly good unit on this list for even under $100, while some of the more high-end models with a larger variety of features weigh in at about $300- $400.
Something for everyone on here, you’re sure to be able to find a low-cost air conditioner that satisfies your every need, and keeps those energy bills down 24/7.