Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion. Even with the new regulations, most portable air conditioners will use more energy and provide a worse cooling experience than window air conditioners. We also graded the air conditioners on the general usability factors that determine what it’s like to live with one in your home. Our primary concern in choosing a portable AC was finding a unit with adequate cooling performance, followed by low noise, decent efficiency, and other quality-of-life factors we measured once we saw our finalists in person. Photo: Rozette Rago, The controls on the Black+Decker are touch-sensitive but it’s hard to tell if you’ve activated them. If this rule is finally solidified, the new efficiency standards will take effect in 2021. Consult your local authorized Haier appliances dealer for its prices. SACC is expected to replace the less comprehensive Btu rating as the standard measurement for AC power output, but most air conditioners are still described in terms of Btu, so we considered both stats. Like the LG, it has smart-home capabilities. Actual retail prices may vary by dealer. In 2016, the Department of Energy approved a rule that would require all portable ACs to use at least 20 percent less energy than the least efficient models that are currently available. In our limited in-person experience, for a similar performance capability on cooling—essentially, the capacity to do one large room—a portable is usually far more affordable and easier to install. Carrying any portable AC up and down stairs is a challenge; the LG’s added heft amplifies that problem. We had limited our search to models with an energy-efficiency ratio of at least 9, and a seasonally adjusted cooling capacity of 7,200, and the Black+Decker just made the cut on both metrics, with an EER of 9.86 and a SACC of 7,500. This guide builds on earlier work done by Wirecutter senior appliance editor Liam McCabe, who has been writing about air conditioners for Wirecutter since 2013, and staff writer Tyler Wells Lynch, who has also covered space heaters, fans, stoves, and clothes dryers since joining Wirecutter in 2016. And though other units like the Frigidaire and the LG were slightly better at dispersing their cooling and dehumidifying evenly throughout the room, the Honeywell was still pretty good. This fan affects the way that the already-quiet LG sounds in the room, as the volume falls and swells in waves, giving it a gentle, breath-like timbre that easily fades into the white noise of the background. The LG’s unique compressor design also means that it operates more quietly than other models. Should you find any errors, please help us by reporting it, Discuss: Haier HPND14XCT - air conditioner. The biggest difference is the absence of the audible “Clunk! There’s also a smaller difference in the sound the machine makes with the compressor off, versus on, than we measured in other units. But still, it gets the job done and is a fine choice if you need a portable AC at something closer to a window AC price. It was also the only model we tested that didn’t require any tools to set up—not for the window panel or the filters. CNET may get a commission from these offers. We confirmed that they did by taking measurements from two Lascar Temperature & Humidity Data Loggers—we placed one 5 feet away, directly in front of the unit, and the other 15 feet away on a diagonal. Clean the filter at least once a month. In fact, it might be the only portable AC in history that owner reviews have praised for its good looks. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. It’s not particularly loud overall—57 dB with the compressor on and the fan on low (about the same as the LG), although it can jump to 65 dB with the fan on high sometimes. In our tests, the Black+Decker’s condenser started at 64 dB with the fan running low—about 8 dB louder than the LG or Frigidaire—and reached about 6 dB louder than the LG or Honeywell at its top volume. With each AC set to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, on the highest fan/compressor setting, we measured the temperature and humidity in the room every 15 minutes for two hours to see how well each unit dispersed the coolness and dehumidification process across the space. Part of what makes the Frigidaire’s design so remarkable are the thoughtful details that went into it. There is one exception however, and that’s if you plan on setting up your portable AC in a room with a furnace or hot water heater or anything else that uses combustion. These small but meaningful design choices help make the Frigidaire easier to live with—which is not something you’d say about a lot of portable ACs. Or perhaps you don’t want to block off a whole window for the entire summer and you don’t mind paying a higher price for the luxury. Pro tip: Don’t do that. We used independent ratings to screen candidates for cooling performance. These products were very far behind window AC efficiency and using way more energy than they needed to.”. The Frigidaire also boasts some of the same nice features as other portable ACs we tested, such as smart-home capabilities via Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or the Frigidaire smartphone app. The Haier 13,500 BTU dual-hose portable air conditioner is designed for a room up to 600 square feet. While this was the most affordable option we tested, plenty of more expensive models didn’t even reach our threshold for power and efficiency. Like the other models we tested, you can set it to dehumidify (without cooling) or just run it in a fan-only mode. More of an R5 unit, really, if we’re being technical, but that reference isn’t as accessible. This isn’t terrible but it’s also not as easy to deal with as with the Frigidaire or LG models we tested. The LG has only a single drain port on the back for the moisture it extracts from the air, while other models we tested (with the exception of the Black+Decker) had a separate drain for the dedicated dehumidifier mode that was more accessible. At 66 pounds, it’s also lighter than other models we tested, although the design means that the weight sits at the bottom of it in a way that makes it easier to roll than to lift. Limiting our search to the highest-rated models narrowed our field tremendously. We strive to provide correct information, but are not responsible for inaccuracies. We previously dismissed another three dozen dual- and single-hose models from CCH Products, EdgeStar, Friedrich, Haier, Emerson, Frigidaire, and Sunpentown, and others due to shaky reviews, concerns over specs like noise and efficiency, and price and availability issues. Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. Gift Guide. But as Lauren Urbanek, senior energy policy advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council, put it: “We’re happy that there’s a standard to begin with. Photo: Rozette Rago, The Black+Decker was the second lightest model we tested, at 68.3 pounds. This unfortunately means that you may need to lift the unit up and tip it over in order to pour the water out—which could be difficult if you let it fill up to its 20-gallon capacity. It actually works, too: in our tests, the LG showed the most consistency in temperature measured from 5 and 15 feet. We would have begrudgingly accepted this as the standard but after seeing the far-superior window kit on the Frigidaire, we think that LG could have probably come up with a better system for such an otherwise exceptional machine. We didn’t retest our former also-great pick, the Haier HPND14XCT, because it often suffers from stock issues and didn’t reach the SACC power threshold we were looking for this time around.