Best Portable Air Conditioners From Consumer Reports' Tests
They don't cool as well as window ACs, but they can help keep you comfortable
It’s not often that we compile a “best of” list from a product category that, overall, delivers mediocre performance in Consumer Reports’ tests. But that’s the case with portable air conditioners, which—even in optimal conditions—are an imperfect way to cool a room.
Still, they might be your only choice if your home lacks central air conditioning or you live in a building that either prohibits window ACs or has window configurations that make them difficult to install.
“You may have sliding windows, which are common in the West, or just need spot-cooling in a home office, or you don’t want to block off an entire window,” says Thomas Kelly, senior marketing director at GE Appliances.
And despite their drawbacks, portable air conditioners account for 18 percent of the room air conditioner market, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.