Portable Air-conditioner review

2014portableairconSomething a little different in my post this week. Finally a real portable air-conditioner review! After many years of putting up with the summer heat – some days up to 40’C I decided to purchase a portable air con.

First, you’ll notice on the internet that here a very few decent reviews on portable air-conditioners and the ones you read about are not the typical branded units, e.g. LG, Samsung, Mitsubishi and so forth. The explanation is simple, the people who buy portable air-cons are generally not so smart. As a result there are lots of returns of perfectly good units to the store. This is based on what happened in the store and my own experience. Furthermore people who write reviews on portable air conditioners don’t even have one leading to more people thinking they are a bad thing. As a result I decided to do this review to  set things straight.

The reasons why they are returned and people complaining that they don’t work  is that they did not setup properly and expectation. Based on what I saw on the returned one was that the hot exhaust air hose package had not even been opened. The other reason people complain is that it was noisy and finally the most obvious was that the model was the smallest cheapest one which the person returning clearly expected frost bite conditions.  I on the other hand did not expect ice cubes, whisper quiet operation and I could read the instruction manual. I can understand why the major brands would be reluctant to seek these. It was made in Australia probably from imported components which should be interesting, hopefully the unit I bought was not defective! (It wasn’t.)

Why not a ‘split system air conditioner’? expensive for the price not including the installation and mucking about hence would require planning to install. The units I looked at where all rated lower power than the model I bought. It was difficult to justify spending for a split system which was over double the price of the highest powered portable air-con I could  found find! Furthermore there are not enough really hot days to justify a fixed system.

The unit I purchased was a 6Kw model which could theoretically cover the area I wanted which was about 5W x 7L x 2.5H meters. The manufacturer claimed a maximum of 42 square metres or 7m x 6m (no mention about height) so theoretically about the right size. Since there was furniture and so forth, the volume it had to cool was probably a little less. (The review unit is a branded Polocool if you can’t make it out on the picture)

Based so far on the single day (so far) I used it in room (see above), a 35C+ degree 75% humidity I turned it on for about 5 hours and it was suitably cool within 1 hour and the compressor had turned off automatically so only the fan was running a number of times. Average temperate was 23 degrees centigrade and humidity was well down and strangely, I needed a light sweater! In relative terms the noise generated by the air conditioner was more than a pedestal fan running at a high speed but not by much. Based on this experience I think the setting of around 25 degrees would be perfect and I can easily live with the noise level!

Power consumption? Not quite sure yet, I don’t expect too much of a jump.

So to answer to most common questions about them:

Portable air-conditioners are noisy but just as noisy as a fan or two.
Portable air-conditioners do work make sure you follow the instructions.
Portable air-conditioners are just as costly to run as a regular air-conditioner. Make sure you select the correct power for your portable air-conditioner.

So anyone wanting a portable air con should go for it – they work but bear in mind the issues detailed above. (Ironically it is all about power!)