What Are The Differences Between Portable And Window Air Conditioners?

Spring is beautiful. Trees are blooming, birds are chirping, and we rarely have to wear winter coats. It’s nice outside! Finally, there are days when you don’t have to run your HVAC system. If you have another type of space heater you’re probably not using that either. Soon, however, you’ll need to consider your cooling situation. And the perfect time is now.

This is because those 100 degree temperature days can come out of nowhere. Instead of being caught off guard, let’s take a look at some cooling options. Your HVAC system might be your go-to. However, there are portable and window air conditioners are great solutions as well. Before considering which might be best for you, you first need to understand the differences between the two. You’ll then learn functionality and features of each to decide which is best for you. There are a few points to consider here. They are:
• Defining each of the systems.
• Comparing the features of each system.
• Choosing the right air conditioner.
• Knowing where to buy it.

What is a Portable Air Conditioner?

DeLonghi America PACAN120EW 12000BTU Whisper Cool Portable Air Conditioner
PACAN120EW 12000BTU Portable Air Conditioner

A portable air conditioner is named as such for a reason: it’s portable! Think of a unit which can be moved from room to room or home to home. Portable air conditioners sit close to a window. This allows it to remove warm air from the room through a hose connected to the unit.

Portable air conditioners typically have a removable tray which collects moisture. Over time, this tray needs to be removed and the liquid should be flushed down a drain. Some high-end models, however, evaporate moisture out of the exhaust hose, along with the warm air. The Whynter ARC-122DS Elite is a great example of a higher end portable air conditioner which automatically evaporates moisture. You can learn more about portable air conditioners by clicking here.

What is a Window Air Conditioner?

Koldfront WAC10002WCO 10,000 BTU
Koldfront WAC10002WCO 10,000 BTU

A window air conditioner can also be viewed as a type of portable unit. However, it’s a stationary one. They are literally installed in an open window. The trick to window air conditioners is finding the right size. Having a proper setup means that the unit should fit perfectly. This will allow the cool air to stay in the room, thereby saving energy and money. The hOme 5000 BTU Window-Mounted Air Conditioner is a popular choice due to its ideal fit in bedroom windows. Make sure you measure your window before purchasing.

Installing a window air conditioner is not difficult, provided you follow the instruction manual. Once ready to run, you’ll find that the unit seems like a permanent fixture. They are great, in part, because they don’t take up much space due to being in the window. You can learn more about window air conditioners by clicking here.

Comparing the Two

There are multiple benefits to each unit. Some of the benefits overlap. For example, each type of air conditioner is relatively inexpensive. The average price is a few hundred dollars. In contrast, central air conditioners cost thousands of dollars. Portable air conditioners are slightly more expensive than window air conditioners. However, the price difference is minimal and may not be a major deciding factor with which unit to choose from.

The noise level varies with portable air conditioners. You can generally expect them to be quieter the price goes higher. Window air conditioners, on the other hand, are usually louder. This is due, in part, to the rumbling of the unit up against the window sill. Securing the unit in place will help to minimize the noise it produces.

Window air conditioners commonly come with an Energy Star rating. But that doesn’t mean portable air conditioners can’t be energy efficient. Portable units are commonly assigned an Energy Efficient Ratio (EER) rating. The higher the EER is, the more efficient the portable air conditioner will be. That being said, window air conditioners are generally known to be more energy efficient.

Which You Should Choose

Efficiency, price, versatility—these are the factors you’ll consider before choosing a unit. If you think you’ll be moving the unit from room to room you might want a portable air conditioner. If you are looking to save space in a room you might want a window air conditioner. If you want the easier unit to install you might choose the portable air conditioner. If you are looking for an efficient model you might choose a window air conditioner.

These factors might seem clear-cut to you. Or, you may want a mix of the features. At the end of the day, you’ll need to pick which one is best for your situation.

Where to Buy Them

My favorite place to shop is Amazon. I’m able to easily compare models and types without leaving my home. And you can too. For portable air conditioners, a great starting point for you would be here. If you are interested in window air conditioners, you will want to shop here.

Make sure you read customer reviews. It’s one of my favorite ways to research a new product I’m considering buying. You can also look at the star rating for a quick idea of how good the product is. If you are energy conscious, make sure you look at the BTU number of the unit. As the number goes higher it will be able to produce more energy.


Reading this has made you better prepared to face to face a hot summer. It’s important to note that, even if you have central air, you’ll want to get it checked before a hot an humid day. You may not have used your air conditioner since last year and you’ll want to make sure it’s working properly.

Consider also that both portable and window air conditioners use less energy than a central air conditioner. If you only need to cool one or two rooms in your home, either unit might be a great money-saving solution. If you have any further questions about portable or window air conditioners don’t hesitate to contact me.

You may also like