The best pieces of advice I could give to someone considering buying a portable air conditioner are these: firstly, know the nature of the room or rooms you will be putting the unit into; secondly, do your research on the various types and brands; and lastly, do not skimp on cost. Ignoring any of these may end up with you buying a useless machine that can’t do the job you thought it could do.
To relate my experience of a couple of years ago, I purchased a very cheap portable unit because we had a few small rooms in our house that got quite warm during the day. It was one of those impulse purchases where we saw a small unit in the shopping mall, which seemed very good value. I didn’t really look at the brand and I certainly hadn’t done any homework on the type of system I’d need for the rooms I had in mind.
One was a small kitchen which became very hot and this was going to be the main place we put the unit; another was a bedroom where we sometimes spent time during the day. Both of these rooms had ceiling fans.
When we plugged the unit in and expected it to cool the kitchen we noticed that it actually provided less of a cooling effect than the existing fan. What we hadn’t taken into account was just how hot the kitchen became…which would have required the unit to have a much higher BTU rating than it had (British Thermal Units are a measure of how much heat can be removed.)
If I had done some online research I would have found that a cheap portable air conditioner will not have much cooling effect on rooms that get very hot, as our bedroom also does, from receiving direct sunlight. My cheap purchase quickly turned into a waste of money.