If you’re on the hunt for the best portable air conditioner for your money, then you’re in the right place. We’ve put in the research to scrutinize the entire portable AC market, with close attention to the key features that make some units stand out above the rest for value and overall operating experience.
Since you’re probably sweating already, we won’t draw this out any further. Below, you’ll find our choice for the absolute best portable air conditioner down under before featuring a half dozen other great units and helpful information to consider when picking out your own.
The Short Answer
The Polocool Whisper PQ10C portable A/C unit is the best overall product for Australians. While there are plenty of great portable air conditioners to choose from, the Polocool Whisper PQ 10C meets all of our criteria to offer consumers the best possible experience.
Polocool Whisper PQ10C
Why it’s number one:
- Very low operating noise
- Slim and subtle design
- Reasonable upfront price
- Fast working and efficient
In a world that is crowded with too many noisy air conditioners, the Polocool Whisper is an absolute saviour thanks to its “whisper” quiet operation. Emitting roughly half of the noise of its counterparts without sacrificing any cooling power, the Polocool Whisper is the ultimate portable AC unit that can be used headache-free in small spaces around your house.
Offered at a reasonable upfront price, the Whisper PQ10C is well worth the investment with continued electricity savings thanks to the unit’s efficiency. Plus, the PQ10C is covered with a 2-year factory warranty, which will help you rest easy, just like the unit’s “sleep mode.”
Of course, the Polocool Whisper is not only quiet but also just as effective as other top appliances. Drawing only 2.6kW, the PQ10C runs up to 9,000 BTUs, which is plenty of power for quickly cooling bedrooms, offices, and other small spaces.
More Great Portable Air Conditioners in Australia
Of course, the Polocool PQ10C is not the “end all be all” for portable AC units. Let’s explore a few more products that may be better suited for your home or budget.
Rinnai “RPC” Portable Air Conditioner
Why the RPC is the runner up:
- Budget-friendly option
- Well known manufacturer
- Up to date technology
- 2-year warranty
Available as a 2.6, 3.5, or 4.1 kW powerhouse, the Rinnai “RPC” portable air conditioner is a great choice for Aussies looking to cool down quickly. Thanks to a nationwide distribution network for their products, Rinnai makes it incredibly easy to find a good, local price on this high-capacity, low-profile product.
Complete with a remote control and several operating settings, Rinnai’s portable air conditioners are intentionally user-friendly and can be easily wheeled from room to room. Each unit also includes a water alarm, timer, and washable filter to complete the package.
A Japanese company, Rinnai has had roots in the Australian market since 1971. With decades of products giving them a strong brand identity down under, Rinnai is easy to trust when investing in your home. At Enviro-Friendly, we are well versed with Rinnai’s various product lines. For some additional home improvement reading, feel free to check out our guide to Rinnai Solar Hot Water systems.
Why choose the Olimpia Splendid Comfort?
- Industry-leading 3-year warranty
- Easy to see front panel display
- Ideal for medium and large rooms
- Great starting price
For mid-size and larger spaces, the Olimpia Splendid Comfort is one of the most economical and convenient portable AC units in the world. Sleek and stylish with a subtle front panel display, you can see the operating temperature from anywhere and change the settings with the included remote control.
Available in 3.6 and 4.1 kW systems, the Comfort can output 13,000 or 14,000 BTUs of cool air. Durably built with an industry-leading 3-year warranty, each unit sits on 4 sturdy wheels and even features an oscillating mode for added comfort.
Best of all, Olimpia is a long-standing industry player that is constantly debuting new lines of high-quality products. While we believe the Comfort provides Olimpia Splendid’s best value for your money right now, there are others that swear by the manufacturer’s AIRPRO or other portable AC devices as the best way to easily cool a room.
Kogan SmarterHome Portable Air Conditioner
Key Features of the Kogan:
- Easy to use App included
- Can be integrated with other smart home devices
- 3 sizes to choose from
- 1-year product warranty
As one of the country’s largest online retailers, most Australians have purchased something from Kogan before, or at least know someone who has. Marketing their own line of portable air conditioners, Kogan’s SmarterHome AC units are on par with some of the top manufacturers on the market today.
Available in 2.6, 3.5, and 4.7 kW sizes, Kogan’s SmartHome portable air conditioners have the power to provide 900, 1200, and 1600 BTUs respectively. This power range is complemented by 3 operating modes, though many users have reported Kogan’s SmarterHome AC units as noisy at times.
More than anything, Kogan’s AC is great for people who want the most control of their device. The Kogan AC can be operated from anywhere via the SmartHome App, Google Home, or Amazon Alexa, and can even be operated the old-fashioned way, directly on the system or via remote control.
Highlights of the Omega Altise:
- Remote control operated
- 2-year warranty (full replacement!)
- AQUA CHILL technology
- 23.5 kg
Combining value with cost and space efficiency, the Omega Altise OAPC10 is a great 2.6kW option for 9,000 BTUs of extended portable air conditioning. The OAPC10 is tall and slim with simple controls and durability features that are sure to expand the life of the unit beyond its 2-year manufacturer warranty.
With a window kit included, you’ll have everything you need to get started cooling off with the help of this AC on wheels. And even though it’s sold at a low price, the OAPC10 still includes a remote, 24-hour timer, and most of the other basic luxury features of a high-quality device.
To help every kind of consumer we’ve chosen the OAPC10, as one of the best, basic portable air conditioners. In reality, the OAPC10 is a great jumping-off point when considering the entire line of Omega Altise portable air conditioners, which has so much to offer. Those looking for more power and features may be interested in higher wattage units as well as the manufacturer’s slimline and reverse cycle models.
De’Longhi Pinguino Air-to-Air
Why Choose the De’Longhi:
- Quiet operation
- Industry-leading technology
- Remote control and app-controlled
- 2.7 kW / 1100 BTUs
Last but certainly not least, the De’Longhi Pinguino Air-to-Air is one of the best-reviewed portable air conditioners around the web. While we are always a bit hesitant to purchase appliances from international powerhouses, the Italian company De’Longhi has proven to be incredibly consistent with their portable air conditioners sold worldwide.
With the Pinguino (and yes, this translates to “Penguin” in English) Air-to-Air, De’Longhi utilizes Cool Surround Technology (CST) that does not exist anywhere else in their premium line of portable air conditioners. The CST automatically tracks humidity around the room and adjusts its output accordingly with “Eco Real Feel Technology,” which conserves electricity when possible.
Although it is certainly not the cheapest portable AC on the market, those looking for ongoing comfort with quiet operation and energy efficiency can trust the De’Longhi Pinguino Air-to-Air to do the job.
Portable Air Conditioners Buying Guide
With so many high-quality portable air conditioners keeping Aussies cool all year long, it can be difficult to discern which will be the best for you, your family, and your living space. Below, we’ll take a look at what to consider when choosing between the best portable air conditioners now and for years to come.
Although some say that the “hum” of an AC unit will help them sleep at night, the truth is that many units are incredibly noisy. In most cases, the standard operating range of a small air conditioner will be between 40 and 60 decibels (dBa), which is about as loud as anywhere between a fridge and a hairdryer.
Obviously here, the ideal portable AC will be at the low end of this noise level spectrum. Units may also emit higher than expected noise levels when powering up or during long operating periods of considerable amounts of time.
So unless you have a large room with intentionally noise-dampening considerations in place, we strongly suggest that you evaluate the expected decibel levels of a portable AC unit before making a purchase. Your future self will thank you if your newly cooled environment can also be free of excess noise.
Tied somewhat hand to hand in with noise, energy efficiency is one of the most important long-term things to consider when evaluating AC units. Portable air conditioners are notoriously inefficient compared to other technologies, so long-running times can quickly lead to huge electricity expenses for ongoing operation.
So from a financial point of view, energy efficiency is critical for long-term costs. While highly efficient units may be more expensive upfront, better technologies may end up saving you more money on electricity bills if they only use half as much power to do the same job.
Most portable AC units use a single hose or double hose (also known as a single duct or double duct) system to circulate air from the outdoors into the cooled space. In general, double ducts are more efficient, as they can displace warm air faster than units with only one outlet house.
Speaking of finances, unfortunately, the absolute best portable air conditioners on the market may be out of the price range for most homeowners down under. In a space that caters a bit more to data centers, manufacturers, and other large buyers, we assembled our top picks above with the average consumer in mind.
As mentioned, the upfront cost is only the first financial consideration when purchasing a portable A/C unit. If you choose to buy the cheapest AC you can get, not only may it not work as well, but an inefficient unit may also cost much more to run every time it’s powered on. For reference, feel free to check out how not replacing old, inefficient AC units can cost you thousands.
For this reason, we typically urge consumers to step out of their price range a bit upfront to save on money down the line. If you purchase an efficient unit with a high price tag, there will be much less guilt involved every time you turn on the AC with better working rates and lower electricity bills.
Finally, in the financial realm, a good manufacturer’s warranty will guarantee that your investment is worth it in case of a system malfunction. As with all electronics, things happen, parts fail, and units must be replaced all over the world.
To save yourself from regretting it later, we always recommend finding a manufacturer with a warranty that will not only get you through this warm season, but for a few years to come. While this can be hard to find, a good warranty is one of the best ways to find a quality product and keep your investment and peace of mind if anything were to go wrong.
Size and Shape
Now before you click that “buy” button on a manufacturer’s website, you’ll want to make sure that you have enough space for your new appliance. Although they are designed to be compact and portable, mobile AC units are often much larger or awkwardly shaped to seamlessly become a part of an existing living space.
Moreover, it is also very important to look at how a prospective air conditioner functions, and where the input and output hoses are located. Keep in mind that you’ll most likely need to put your mobile AC next to a window, door, or somewhere in which the inlet and outlet hoses can reach the outdoors.
Power, Features, and Settings
And last but certainly not least, let’s dive into what to look for in terms of power, features, and daily operation for a mobile air conditioner. Obviously, every one of these products is on the market to do the same thing: cool down your room. So whereas the exact details of the operation aren’t incredibly important, there are a few key things to know when examining your choices.
Air conditioners are often advertised with a BTU rating (or British Thermal Units), which reflects the amount of energy it will use to cool down a room. In general, as BTU capacity increases, AC units will be able to cool down larger rooms or condition the area of smaller areas more quickly. Of course, with a higher power rating, units often come higher noise outputs.
Finally, multiple usage settings are great but not always going to be the driving factor for most AC decisions. High-quality units typically come with a few different operating speeds, a sleep timer, and occasionally a remote control to power the action from anywhere in the room. While these are all great features, like in purchasing a vehicle, economically minded consumers often choose to substitute the bells and whistles for a lower unit starting price.
Portable AC FAQs
While we hope we’ve covered everything there is to know about portable air conditioners in Australia, here are a few quick questions to wrap things up.
Which brand of portable air conditioner is the best?
Although new brands and models emerge every summer, there are a few long-standing portable air conditioning brands that are a surefire way to keep you cool. You can take a look at the list above for more detail, but we highly recommend brands like Rinnai, PoloCool, Kogan, Omega, and other longstanding manufacturers.
What are some cons of portable air conditioners?
One of the biggest drawbacks to portable air conditioners is that most units require a significant amount of power to cool a relatively small space when compared to full home systems and other technologies.
Aside from efficiency levels, portable AC units tend to carry both a high upfront cost and occasionally heavy noise levels when in operation. Beyond this, some portable AC units may also require significant upkeep monitoring the drain tank through prolonged use.
How heavy are portable air conditioners?
Somewhat obviously, the exact weight of a portable AC unit is dependent on the brand, make, and model. Most portable air conditioners weigh about 30 kg, and typical units come with either a heavy-duty handle or a set of wheels to make transportation a bit easier.
In today’s market, there are also both many small handheld devices and large “portable” air conditioners (50+ kg) that are typically left in one place for extended periods of time.
What happens if you don’t drain your portable air conditioner?
In most scenarios, if you do not drain the water tank of a portable air conditioner, its output becomes more humid (which negates the effect of the AC unit) and systems may begin to malfunction.
For most portable ACs, a hose can be connected to direct the water elsewhere. While this has been common for years, there are some newer portable air conditioners on the market that do not require tank filling or draining whatsoever.
Are portable air conditioners loud?
In general, portable air conditioners can be considered noisy, with an average running decibel rate of about 50-60 dBa, or roughly the same loudness as a conversation. Of course, new product developments are constantly looking to change this, as noise is one of the largest disadvantages of portable air conditioners against other home cooling methods.
Are portable air conditioners expensive to run?
Yes and no. Portable air conditioners can be expensive to run as a primary home cooling method when compared to split systems, central air conditioning, and other home cooling methods. Portable ACs typically draw a lot of power, which will be reflected in utility bills when using grid electricity.
Are portable air conditioners worth it?
When it comes to whether or not portable air conditions are worth it, the power is truly in the hands of the user. Portable ACs are designed to cool small spaces infrequently, and generally not be the primary appliance for an entire home.
With this being said, yes, we believe that portable air conditioners are certainly worth it for cooling down bedrooms, workshops, and even communal living spaces during the hottest months of the year. Portable AC units are even more worth it when combined with a home solar energy system.
At the end of the day, there are many different ways to cool down your home and a portable air conditioner is one of the most convenient methods on sale today. Although they can be a bit noisy or expensive to operate, it is very easy to purchase a portable AC unit and begin feeling cool today. Plus, they’re designed for infrequent use, so if you only need to cool a room or two, a portable AC might end up being more efficient and less expensive than central air.
We hope that this guide has helped point you in the right direction for some of the best portable air conditioners on the market today. If you’d like to continue searching, please, check out our guide to other high-efficiency cooling systems.