The Best Portable Air Conditioner of 2019

The Best Portable Air Conditioner of 2019

Hi everybody, and welcome back to another Your
Best Digs review, I'm Daniel and today we're going to talk about the best portable air
conditioner. We don't make sponsored videos and we're not compensated to promote any specific brands: we're just here to help you find the product that meets your needs. For more info on these portable air conditioners, check out our full write-up on Your Best We've been buying and testing air conditioners
for three summers now, and once again we've bought the newest models from the top manufacturers. Year after year two air conditioner brands
keep coming out on top in these tests. Each brand is better for different reasons,
though. We like the LG portables for refined design,
quiet fans and top-ranked performance in most conditions. This new 12,000 BTU model is a fresh update
of the model we've had for three summers, and it's even better than our old favorite. However, if you're in a climate where the
temperatures soar above 95 every week during the summer, the LG's single-hose design just
isn't effective. Instead, you’ll want to choose the Arc-122DS
from Whynter. This one uses a dual-hose design that can
actually cool a room during a heat wave, and it's also a well-built, quiet performer. If you want to find out more about how portable
air conditioners work, keep watching for all the details on the new performance standards. There are links below if you'd like to just
skip ahead and see the winners. Why a portable air conditioner? If you compare a portable air conditioner with a window, wall-mount or central air conditioner system, there are a few advantages and a few big drawbacks. The first advantage is, you can install a
portable just about anywhere. If you've got the wrong kind of window for
a window unit, this is the easiest way to get relief from the heat. Second, you can move a portable AC from one
room to another. It takes some time to seal the window, and
we don't think anyone's going to want to carry one of these up and down a flight of stairs
every day, but it's much easier than moving a window unit. The drawbacks are pretty serious, though. Our favorite two portable ACs will still blow
cold air when the outside temperatures soar, but even at only 75% of the rated size, our
window AC unit quickly cooled the room to a much lower temperature than the portables could. The other down-side is noise. Fan noise is going to be an annoyance when
you're running any air conditioner, but with a portable, all the noisy components like
the compressor are also right there in the room beside you. If you do decide you want the flexibility
of a portable system, which type should you choose? The answer simply comes down to where you
live. At our headquarters in San Diego, it only
gets above 90 degrees a few days out of every year; at our new office in Austin, it's that
hot for 114 days most years. If you're mostly running your AC when temperatures
outside are below 90 degrees, a single-hose portable does a good job. In fact, if you have heat coming from inside
your room, let's say from an oven, the single-hose design is ideal. Single-hose types are also far more common,
which makes this type easier to find and a bit cheaper to buy. A single-hose system has to use air from your
house to cool off its components, though. This gives it a bit of a boost when you first
turn it on, but over time air gets sucked in through doors and windows to replace the air that goes out the window through that hose. So when temperatures outside are above 90,
all of the air that's coming into your house is so hot, the single-hose AC can't keep up
anymore. The dual-hose models, on the other hand, use
their second hose to take in air specifically for carrying away heat. They don't use up air you've already cooled,
and they minimize extra hot air coming in through all your doors and windows. In a moderately-hot climate like So Cal, we
didn't see the full benefit from the dual-hose models most of the year and our top single-hose
models actually performed a little bit better. When the temperature hit 102 degrees in July,
though, the difference was clear. A dual-hose portable still isn't going to
cool your room all the way down to 70 in a heat wave, but it isn't literally heating up your house the way a single-hose model does. So, what's a BTU? Portable air conditioners also come in a bunch
of different sizes, mostly labelled as 10, 10, 12 and 14 thousand BTUs. But, what does that mean? The British thermal unit represents a specific
amount of heat, and air conditioners are sized by how many BTUs they can take out of your
room in an hour as they cool off the air. For most air conditioners, we always recommend
checking the size of your room on a BTU calculator, to see how much heat your AC will need to
move out of the room. If it cools too fast, oversized AC makes things
clammy. Things get tricky with portables, though. In our testing, we found that even a portable
air conditioner that's supposed to be "too big" for a room won't be able to super-cool the space like
a bigger window unit could. Portable air conditioners have always performed
much more poorly in real-world conditions than when they're in a lab moving heat from
one space to another. After years of complaints from consumer groups,
the Department Of Energy regulations on testing changed in 2017. So, what does the new rating show? Most portables perform about 25% worse under
the new test. The new testing shows that having the entire
AC system inside your room and leaking heat out of the vent hoses makes portables much
worse than other AC types. The new labels are sometimes tricky to spot,
but they're required on all new portable ACs and they're all pretty sad. When we first tested a lineup of portable
air conditioners back in 2016, we did extensive research and looked at 20 different air conditioners. We bought the four best models and gave them
a summer-long workout. We're still satisfied with the performance
of our picks from back then, but most of the models we tested have been replaced by new
designs. We tested two different updates to our old
winner, and used this update to test even more models from the "goldilocks" 12,000 BTU
size. We looked at specification sheets, talked
to sales reps and dug into reviews to find top performance, great efficiency, quiet operation,
and good design. We bought two current models that were released
in 2017, and two brand-new designs that were just released for the summer of 2018. How did we test? In 2016, we tested four top-ranked units for
over 100 hours across two summers in San Diego. We took readings of how much the temperature
dropped per minute, and averaged all the numbers to get performance scores. For the update tests, we've set up a bedroom
with some carefully-planned controls. To get all of our conditions as consistent
as possible, we tested when outdoor weather was mild in the spring and added
heat inside the room with our favorite space heaters, bringing the room up past 89 degrees
with the apartment's central heat and then letting things level off to 85 before beginning
each test cycle. In these torture-test conditions, with space
heaters constantly adding heat from inside the room, the single-hose models from LG outperformed everything else. A poor result from the dual-hose system surprised us, so we checked again with a different type of test. For a second round of testing, we set up again
in July with back-to-back days of 100+ degree weather. We didn't have any control over the conditions
for this test, so the weather was slightly hotter on the day we ran the dual-hose model, but it still beat the single-hose type easily. We spent 20 hours logging temperature changes
and four months using these machines to stay cool. It's now clear to us that the dual-hose and
single-hose systems make sense in different conditions. What about noise testing? We tested the compressor starting noise and ongoing fan noise to see which of these machines
is least likely to wake you up in the middle of the night. Fortunately, the top picks in both single
and dual-hose design are also the quietest we've tested. So, what did we find out? The best single-hose design was the LG – LP-GRX1218. This machine really was our favorite of the bunch. The controls are good, there are handy features
like a magnetic remote storage cubby and a spool for the cord, and it's tied for the
quietest model we've tested. This is a new model to replace our old favorite
from 2016, and that one has worked well for us over three summers of testing. The little touches that are all over LG's
air conditioners really add up. The fact that LG includes a sleep mode that
actually turns off the lights is one of those little things that tells you a manufacturer
cares about design. It’s also the best-performing air conditioner
in our space-heater torture test, which makes it an easy pick as well. As good as LG's product design is, though,
a single-hose design like this will start heating up your room on the hottest days instead
of cooling it down. The LG always blows cold air out the front,
but the amount of air that's pulled in through your doors and windows means there's no way
for this machine to really keep your room cool once outside temperatures get past 95. If you live in a part of the country where
it rarely gets above 90, though, this design still works well. LG has been improving this model every few
years and we think the new one is the best-designed of the bunch. The best portable air conditioner for heat
waves is the Whynter – ARC-122DS Elite. Whynter specializes in dual-hose portables,
and this is their most popular model. The Whynter's performance really stands out
once outside temperatures hit 90 degrees. In our first tests with a space heater for
a control, Whynter's dual-hose system couldn't keep up and actually made the room hotter
after twenty minutes than it was at the start. As we turned off the space heaters for the
last part of the test, Whynter's system never really caught up with the single-hose designs,
even after running for an hour with all the space heaters turned off. Because the difference was so dramatic, we
knew this kind of performance couldn't represent what Whynter's best-selling portable AC was
designed to do. For a second round of tests, we used less
controlled (but more realistic) conditions during a July heat wave, and the Whynter easily
beat the single-hose designs. If you're only suffering through 87-degree
summer days, there are no major details to set these apart, other than the LG’s design
being a bit more attractive than the Whynter. Fortunately, this model is basically just
as quiet as the LG, so they're both equally discreet in your bedroom. The other 12,000 BTU models we tested are
all reasonable performers, but the new LG still comes out on top for best overall cooling
performance, lowest noise, and best features. Overall, we're happy with the performance
and flexibility of the new LG – 12,000 BTU model. It's a great design, just like the model it
replaces. For regions where the afternoon weather gets
up into the 90s or 100s, though, this type of AC just doesn't work well. If you're living in a hot spot like Phoenix,
where you already see 90 degrees in March, the Whynter dual-hose design is going to work
far better than the LG single-hose. We hope we've helped you find the portable
air conditioner that's right for you. If this video helped you out or if you have
questions, don't forget to like, comment and subscribe to our channel. Thanks for watching this Your Best Digs review. Stay cool everyone!


  1. Our picks for the best portable air conditioner:
    • Whynter – ARC-122DS Elite:
    • LG – LP1218GXR:
    • Whynter 14,000 BTU:
    • LG – 2015 model (old winner):
    • Frigidaire 12,000 BTU:
    • LG – 2017 model:
    • Honeywell – 10,000 BTU:

  2. This is the 2019 best portable air conditioner


  3. When you think about it,.. the single hose units are really not efficient, due to the single hose needing to use the inside air of the home to remove the heat from the condenser. What percent of cool room air is being sucked out through the unit to remove the condenser heat? Not to mention, you are going to have trouble when you use this type of unit in a closed room. If you close the door, you restrict the air flow across the condenser which will have a drastic effect on the unit. The dual hose unit should be better as long as one hose is for discharge, and the other hose is intake. Something else to think about unrelated to this is clothes dryers. They have also have a single vent. Which means that when your dryer is operating, your sucking out air from your home, discharging to the outside. Also, your bathroom fan has the same effect. Just thought I would give everyone out there something to think about. Have a great day.

  4. Not one single word about drainage. Load of BS. The LG leaked all over my floor and ruined my downstairs neighbor's ceiling. Even with the drain hose pouring out 2 gallons over night, the unit leaked from the bottom and caused damage. Putting the whole unit in a big basin with the hose out the window with towels all over the place turned by room into a tenement house and there was still water everywhere when draining and pouring out the basins. The whole thing went into the trash since it was outside the return period.

  5. Hello, I do not understand how do get my portable air conditioner to cool from a fan. I have a AeonAir I feel the heat and not cool please help me to figure it out.

  6. Tell me why do all these reviews saying "This is the best one!" and when I look on Amazon at the dual hose it has surprisingly poor reviews, with evidence of leakage and corrosion after several months.

  7. Excellent review comparing how single hose and double hose portable air conditioners perform under various temperature conditions. But…I thought most (if not all) double hose portable air conditioners can operate as single hose units by simply removing the intake hose. I wish you would have considered that in your testing. I would love to know how the Whynter ARC-122DS (with it's intake hose removed) would compare to the LG LP-GRX1218 under similar testing conditions. I figure a double hose portable air conditioner would give me the best of both worlds.

  8. Hi Daniel…could you please clarify something about a single-hose unit vs. a dual-hose unit? You said if you live where there is scorching heat, you should get a dual-hose unit. I then went to the Whynter web site (under FAQs) and it says: “If the outside temperature is much higher or more humid than the room, the intake hose can be covered with the included cover and it will function like a single hose unit”.
    I’m confused why you are saying to use both hoses but Whynter said to remove the intake hose and run it like a single-hose unit? P.S. We live near Dallas and it will probably be in the 90-100 degree range and humid for the rest of July and August, so on hot July or August days, we’re trying to make the whole house about 79 degrees but make one room (with the portable unit) about 75 degrees (but without making the whole house 75 using the central unit). Do you think a single-hose unit would work OK or would you still recommend a dual-hose unit? Thanks, Steve

  9. Awesome Work! Thank you so very much for going through all these tests and sparing no expense. This was an amazing video.

  10. Just bought the New LG (White) unit 200sq for a small room. Great price @ $299 looking forward to using it!

    Je suis AU QUÉBEC dans le CANADA…

  12. I need a portable for a living room with no window access….do they make any panels for SLIDING GLASS DOORS (like they make for installing doggie doors!) so you can connect the exhaust hose through a long panel, out the door??

  13. Nice review. I am in Austin as well, but my issue is that the room I want to cool has no windows just a balcony door and challenging to close with hose in door leading to balcony.

  14. I love the helpful video, BUT, I would have really liked to have seen the estimated prices for these portable air conditioners, thank you so much

  15. I don't like window units. There noisy and an eye sore in the window. We have a Delonghi and absolutely love it. 12,000 btu, covers 500 sq ft but I think it actually covers a little more because it cools the living room and into the kitchen, and also some of the hallway going to the bedroom. No problem on very hot and humid days and the single hose does not heat up the room. Just keep the curtains and or blinds shut to keep the solar heat out. I would buy it again.

  16. THAT's what i call a super freak: collecting dozens of portable air conditioners and testing them in WINTER!

  17. Warning if your Whynter – ARC-122DS Elite fails their only option is for you to ship it to them at your expense. There's been reviews on Amazon that say some have failed in as little as 4 months.

  18. Window AC is always more efficient than having the hot air side sitting inside your home. The portable AC's also dump part of your cooled air out unless they have 2 hoses.

  19. Thank u for making this video!! I thought u would have 1 million subscribers for how professional u are… I subscribed.

  20. I noticed a likely significant parameter probably affecting the consistency and reliability of your results; the exhaust tube placement and orientation.
    Manuals from several portable units I've read just today stipulate clearly that the exhaust tube should not be bent more than 45 degrees at any point. At least one manual cautions that bending the tube more than 45 degrees could potentially result in damage to the unit itself (not the tube). I can only assume they are alluding to some sort of increased stress on the compressor. It is also known that the length/extension of the exhaust tube can make a meaningful difference in the efficiency/effectiveness of A/C units.

    You appear to exceend the 45 degree limit at times and the amount of extension you provide for the exhaust tube appears to vary a bit as well. I don't know HOW much the length of the tube impacts performance…but it does impact it according to the literature. At least one cautioned against adding extensions to the exhaust tube. I hypothesize this is due to static pressure changes similar to those one finds in ducted A/C systems. I would hypothesize the geometry of the tube would also impact this parameter (e.g. diameter and whether accordian or "smooth" tube). The diameter changes a bit as one changes the length of these accordian-style tubes, and the granularity of the internal surface also changes depending on extension. For example, maximum diameter and smoothest internal surface is found when the tube isn't extended at all…also less static pressure due to the short length and energy required to push the air out of a long tube (or duct).

    You should probably also note that you verify whether the filters are clean and free of any defects which would affect airflow.

    On the other hand…if these factors turn out to NOT be as significant as the manufacturers seem to suggest, that would be useful information for us as well.

  21. Great video, but it would be helpful to list the 2nd place units in each category (one and two hose). Thanks

  22. Too much herp and derp that ruined the video. Simple performance description on each model is all we need.

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