Portable air conditioners have soared in popularity in recent years. Considering the level of convenience they offer over their fixed window air conditioner counterparts, this comes at no surprise. But convenience aside, deciding whether a portable or window air conditioner is the best choice for you can be challenging. It’s important to understand the key differences in how these devices work in order to learn which one will be the best fit for your needs. In this article we’ll compare window vs portable air conditioners.
Window Air Conditioners
Window air conditioners are fixed units installed within the existing window frame of a home. They are generally constructed to fit standard sized window frames, however special additions can be obtained at further cost to make them fit larger frames if required. Once installed, they cannot be moved easily, usually requiring a professional to relocate or remove them.
Choosing to install a window air conditioner means giving up one of the windows in your home. You will also need to consider placement carefully, given how difficult they are to move.
While this sounds inconvenient, window air conditioners are the cheapest to purchase and tend to be more cost-effective to run. Their placement within windows allows for ease of intake of warm air, which is pumped outside along with the exhaust from the unit itself. The warm exterior air is cooled within the unit and expelled into the home.
Another advantage of window air conditioners is that they are able to cool large areas, even entire homes due to their efficiency. They also use less electricity than their portable counterparts.
Portable Air Conditioners
As their name suggests, the biggest and most obvious difference between portable air conditioners and window versions is that portable ones can be moved as needed. They still require placement within a window or door due to their exhaust needing to expel warm air outside the home. But unlike fixed window air conditioners, you can shift them around within your home to cool different areas.
Convenient, yes. But this ability to easily move the unit comes at a cost — the first being financial. Portable air conditioners tend to be more costly than window air conditioners. Another place your wallet will feel the portable version as compared with the window unit is electricity. Portable air conditioners are less efficient than window air conditioners and will cost you more to power.
Another drawback is that they cannot cool areas as large as window units. Many window units are capable of cooling entire homes, whereas even the largest and most expensive portable air conditioners cannot accomplish this feat. Because they can be moved so easily, they are simply not designed to remain in one place and cool an entire house. You can move them, but you will also need to if you wish to keep your entire house cool.
So Which Air Conditioner is Right for Me?
The most significant deciding factor here would be your home. If you live in a large house with plenty of windows, you would be far better placed to consider a window air conditioner. However, if you live in a smaller house, or particularly an apartment with less area that needs cooling and fewer windows, a portable air conditioner may be the best option for you. Budget is another big consideration of course. How much you are able to spend will have an impact on which unit you choose.