Are Portable Air Conditioners Less Efficient Than Window Units?

Window units or portable air conditioners? It’s a question many homeowners face when the weather starts to heat up. Both have their pros and cons, but which is the better option for you?

In this post, we’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of portable air conditioners vs. window units and which is more efficient: window units or portable air conditioners.

The pros and cons of portable air conditioners vs. window units

  • Window units have been around for a long time and are generally considered more efficient than portable air conditioners. They cool a room more quickly and use less energy, which can save you money on your utility bills.
  • However, window units can be bulky and take up a lot of space, which is why many people choose to use portable air conditioners instead.
  • Portable air conditioners are less expensive than window units and can be moved from room to room, making them a more flexible option. However, they are not as energy efficient as window units and may not cool a room as quickly.
  • Some of the newest and more expensive portable air conditioners remove moisture through their vent exhaust, while others use a drip pan that rapidly fills up and must be emptied manually.
  • The major disadvantage of portable air conditioners is that you’ll need floor space for a medium-size appliance. 

Which is more energy-efficient – portable air conditioners or window air conditioners?

Portable air conditioners have become increasingly popular as a more affordable and convenient alternative to window units. However, there is some debate over whether or not they are actually less efficient.

Window AC units are typically more energy-efficient than portable air conditioners, but portable ACs have a number of advantages that can make them a better choice for some people.

Portable air conditioners need more energy than window units to cool the same area.

Portable air conditioners need more BTUs to cool the same area as a window unit, which means they consume more energy.

This is most likely due to the fact that they produce extra heat indoors instead of outside, requiring the system to deal with more overall heat.

For example, a 10,000 BTU window unit can cool 450 square feet, but a 10,000 BTU portable AC device can only cool 300.

Portable air conditioners are less expensive to purchase and install than window units, and they can be moved from room to room as needed.

They also don’t require permanent installation, so they’re a good option for renters or people who want to avoid making changes to their homes.

You can move a portable air conditioner from room to room as needed a bit more easily than a window unit.

One thing you should know is that almost all portable ACs require regular maintenance, such as emptying the water tank and cleaning the filter, to ensure that they’re running at peak efficiency.

Comparison of power consumption between a portable AC and a window AC with a smart plug and app

During testing, I used a smart plug to track how much energy the ACs consumed. On average, my window unit consumed 0.42 kWh during testing.

My portable (1250W) AC used 0.89 kWh on average in the same time frame, which is over twice as much.

Portable units are less efficient due to the fact that much of the heat they remove from the space returns to the room as it escapes via a poorly insulated exhaust hose before it leaves the home. Window air conditioners don’t have this issue because hot air is simply let out outside.

Tips for using your air conditioner efficiently

It’s no secret that keeping your home cool requires a significant investment in terms of both money and energy. Even if you use the most efficient portable or window air conditioner on the market, it still uses a significant amount of electricity to keep your house cool. The total cost will be determined by how often your portable or window air conditioner cycles on and off.

How does AC efficiency change with outdoor temperature?

The more hot air you have to remove from your home, the hotter it is outside. It takes less energy to cool a space down to 72 degrees on a 77-degree day than it does to get chilly on a 95-degree day.

If it is very hot outside, you can save money by turning up the thermostat. You will still feel cooler inside than outside. But your portable air conditioning or window AC unit will not have to work as hard.

You may also assist your air conditioner, in doing its job by ensuring that your home is well-insulated and by shutting blinds and curtains to block out harsh sunshine.

Room size and air conditioner efficiency

To truly make your spaces more comfortable, you’ll need a properly sized air conditioner. For example, one window air conditioner will never be sufficient cooling for an entire house. An undersized air conditioner will continuously run and cost you a lot of money, but it won’t make you any happier or more comfortable.

To ensure that your portable air conditioner is appropriately sized for the space you intend to cool, examine its BTU rating, which measures the cooling power of the device. A unit with 8,000 BTUs should suffice for rooms of 200 square feet or less.

Look for a portable air conditioner with 14,000 BTUs if you want to cool a 600-square-foot large living room.

If you’re trying to cool a kitchen, be sure to bump up the cooling capacity. Because all of that equipment generates a lot of extra heat and your unit will have to work even harder to complete the task.

Air conditioner efficiency and electricity costs

The cost of running your portable air conditioner will differ considerably based on the price of electricity in your region and the wattage of your particular unit.

During the summer months, however, costs tend to increase as demand rises. Getting cool during a hot spell in May may not cost as much as seeking relief in August.

If you’re subject to price fluctuations during peak hours, it may be less expensive to run your portable air conditioner at night than during the day.

Tips for Running an Efficient Air Conditioner

  • There are a few things you can do to ensure that your air conditioner is running as efficiently as possible.
  • First, be sure to keep the filter clean. A dirty filter will impede airflow and make the unit work harder than necessary.
  • Second, if you have a window unit, make sure that it’s properly sealed and insulated. Gap seal any openings around the unit with weatherstripping or caulking.
  • Finally, don’t set the temperature too low. Every degree below 78 degrees Fahrenheit will add about 5-8 percent to your energy bill.

By following these simple tips, you can keep your air conditioner running efficiently all summer long.

Energy-efficient air conditioning options for your home

Non-inverter technologies provide fewer energy savings than inverter technology. The technique works by modulating the compressor motor speed to keep the temperature in check, whereas non-inverter units either on or off the device.

Look for a dual-inverter compressor if noise control is critical, as it eliminates the irritating noise so you can sleep well and cool.

When you are buying an air conditioner, there are some things you should think about. For example, many brands today have smart features. This means you can control the air conditioner from any device that is connected to the internet. This can be convenient and save you money on your energy bill.

The conclusion – which is better and more efficient, a portable air conditioner or a window air conditioner device?

A window AC is typically more energy-efficient than a portable air conditioner. In my own personal experience, I found that window units consume less power (on average) than portable units.

  • If you have a small space that you need to cool, then a portable air conditioner may be the best option for you.
  • However, if you have a larger space, that you need to cool, then a window air conditioner unit may be the better option.
  • When using a portable unit, you will need to keep it on for longer periods of time in order to cool the entire space. This means that you will end up spending more money on energy costs. However, if you use a window air conditioner unit, you can usually cool the space more quickly, which will save you money.