people's choice

The 12 Best Portable Air Conditioners on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

Be this cool. Photo: SuperStock/Getty Images/SuperStock RM

Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy (like pillows), but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve written about intense sweating before, as we melted through the subway commute in this New York City heat wave, we thought, What better to look into than air conditioners? We broke it down, and here’s what the Amazon reviewers had to say about the best portable air conditioners. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)


Cools up to 350 square feet

4.1 stars, 41 reviews

“Great and very compact. Probably the best portable AC you will find for less than $400. Would definitely recommend. Only drawback is that it is a bit noisy, but like I said, at this price range all the other portable AC’s are even louder and don’t even cool.”

Cools up to 450 square feet

4.1 stars, 56 reviews

“Very happy with this purchase. I just hooked it up for my second summer (super easy!), and I love the dehumidifier feature. In these early summer days, this is all I need to cool off the bedroom by about eight degrees, and it is more energy efficient than the full cool cycle. It is a touch noisy, but I quickly got used to the hum, and it was white noise that drowned out the other noises of the city. I would highly recommend. If my vintage apartment could handle another unit, I’d get one for the main living/dining area, too. One thing I would recommend is, make sure you leave enough room in front and behind this unit to maximize it’s life and efficiency. It needs space for air to circulate in order to work.”

Cools up to 550 square feet, under $400

4.2 stars, 91 reviews

“My western-facing bedroom with enormous picture windows is an oven from May to November. This air conditioner is a godsend. I’m not even running it on high, but on medium speed. I’ve also got a Vornado fan going, to evenly distribute the cool air. At last, I can breathe again. I also own a Global brand portable AC, but the EdgeStar is superior in every way. Quieter — a pleasant white noise, whereas the Global is so loud that it took me a while to be able to sleep. I wish the Global unit was an EdgeStar, too.”

Cools up to 550 square feet, over $400

4.0 stars, 285 reviews

“Bought this unit over three years ago, and it’s still blowing cold air reliably. It is easy to set up in the summer and easy to disconnect for winter storage. I use this unit to cool my living room and dining room, and it works very well, especially when I close the doors to all the bedrooms and bathrooms; it helps keep all the cool air where I want it. The exhaust fan is a little loud, so I have to notch up the volume on the TV to properly ‘Netflix and chill.’”

Cools up to 700 square feet

4.4 stars, 26 reviews

“Just the thing for cooling down a small space. We use it in the bedroom for a sleeper who wants it a little cooler than the rest of the house. Takes very little extra energy and does the trick.”

Window Mounted

Cools up to 150 square feet

4.2 stars, 293 reviews

“I like this air conditioner very much. The temperature adjustment works great. I use the unit in the Cool Mode with the fan on low, and it consistently keeps the room at the desired temperature day or night, regardless of the weather. This unit is quieter than my previous one, too, especially when the compressor kicks on.”

Cools up to 350 square feet

4.2 stars, 141 reviews

“This thing has an extremely quiet compressor. I don’t know what you get for those $600 ones, but I couldn’t imagine getting much better than this. My old unit had a shake-and-shimmy when the compressor turned on and off, wasn’t real noticeable, but you could hear it. This one, in Eco Mode, shuts the fan and everything right off. And when the fan comes on and off, it transitions real slow. All in all, for around $200 bucks, I couldn’t be happier.”

Cools up to 450 square feet

4.1 stars, 101 reviews

“I’m very surprised at how well it keeps the entire apartment a comfortable temperature. The living room where we keep this unit is pretty spacious, and I only expected it to keep that area (and maybe the hallway that leads to the two bedrooms and bathroom) a cool temperature, but it keeps the whole place a comfortable temperature. Obviously, the dining room in the back of the apartment and the kitchen aren’t as cool as the living room, but it’s not uncomfortably hot either (we also keep two CPUs in the dining room as well, and it still remains comfortable). I wanted to wait until there was a really hot day to write a review and see how well the AC stood up against it, and it’s honestly really great. Get this AC unit!”

Cools up to 550 square feet


4.0 stars, 57 reviews

“Had the same model for years and years in my kennel — it is still working, but not quite as well as it used to, so replaced it with this. Cools very well and is quiet, with great settings. This model has a light that tells you when the filter needs to be cleaned so that the coils stay nice and clean and working well. Love it!”

Through the Wall

Cools up to 350 square feet

4.4 stars, 35 reviews

“I bought the complete package: unit, sleeve, and support. A professional carpenter who had experience in this type of installation did the install for me, and I am sure glad I did that. Unit is great, love it — but the instructions really suck. We don’t have termites here, but we do have carpenter ants, which can be just as destructive. There is no way they will get in, since he sealed it 100 percent. Previously, I had a window 8,000 BTU Unit. No comparison as to how it cools to that one. Also — no bugs!”

Cools up to 550 square feet