A mini air conditioner, also called a personal fan, can save the day in hot, sticky weather! If you’ve tried to enjoy some time outdoors on a hot summer day or in a muggy house, you know that the heat can instantly spoil the moment. The risk is the same whether you’re working or vacationing in the sun.
Just a slight drop in temperature, a cool down with a breeze, can provide the needed relief and redeem the moments. While we may not be able to adjust the temperature around us, it can help to grab a personal air conditioner to cool down and reset.
We’ve reviewed the top 8 mini air conditioners.
What is a Mini Air Conditioner?
Let’s cover a few important details before we get started.
These are not what you may envision to be a smaller version of your favorite air conditioner unit. While they can be considered mini air-conditioners, they don’t technically cool the air like a traditional AC would. It is popular to call them mini ACs because they do cool you off.
Essentially, these are personal fans. They are available in several different styles including tabletop models, those you clip onto something and others you wear around your neck. Some have more than one way to use them such as a clip plus a base for setting it on a desk or countertop.
Personal ACs: The mini air conditioners reviewed here use fans to move the air at high speeds and create a cooling effect. Components include the motor, fan blades, air intake and ventilation slots to expel the air. They would not be the best fit if you’re looking to bring down the temperature in a whole room or vehicle. They provide a distinct stream of air to benefit only the person directly in front of them. Personal air conditioners offer the benefit of being portable, lightweight, quieter and more discreet. They are beneficial in any climate, humid or dry.
Here are a few situations when you may want to grab one of these mini air conditioners.
- At work
- In vehicles
- Attached to strollers
- Bedside tables or coffee tables
Air conditioner fans come in a variety of styles and sizes. It’s worth noting that all of them include a USB charging cord, allowing them to be charged from a variety of power sources. We picked the highest-rated versions of the most popular styles. Be sure to consider your specific situation and which personal air conditioner will meet your needs.
The buying guide at the end of this page can help you make your decision.
Full Reviews of the Top Rated Personal Air Conditioners
Here is a more detailed description of each personal air conditioner. We have chosen a few of each style to provide with you the best range of options. See the buyer’s guide below the reviews to consider which style best suits your needs.
#1 SLENPET Battery Operated Clip on Fan
The clip on this unit gets a good grip, and most users find it easy to operate. It gives you great versatility to attach the fan just about anywhere. This personal fan has a base too; It doesn’t have to be clipped on.
Style: Clip on, Hanging or Desk-top, Rotation for positioning
Speeds: 4 Speeds
Power: Micro-USB and USB-C charging ports to use other chargers. Up to 40 hours of working time. Battery is not removable or replaceable, but the battery will take hundreds of charges, at least, for long-lasting performance for your money.
Features: Sleep Timer for automatic shut off. Energy saving setting alternates between high and low speeds.
Cons: This fan is a little heavier than other options, weighing in at 1.7 pounds. Some reviewers report that the heavy-duty clip is difficult to clip. For example, if you have arthritis in your hands, then a clip-on mini AC fan might not be the best choice. This unit falls at the higher end of the price range.
Pros: Energy saving setting gives you longer battery life. Non-slip pad under the base so it stays in place when sitting on a flat surface. The Lithium-polymer battery is less likely to overheat.
Bottom Line: If you want a high-powered, long lasting and versatile air conditioner fan, this is a great choice. We recommend it for unique locations such as vehicles, strollers, or tents. One reviewer even uses it to dry pipe leaks in hard-to-reach places.
#2 VersionTECH Mini Portable Fan
Style: Handheld, Clip-on, or desktop
Speed: 3 Speeds
Power: 4-6 hours of working time.
Features: Attachment for a neck lanyard (not included)
Cons: The clip is not as durable as others and may break easily with heavy use. A few reviewers complain that they received a “dud” that stopped working after a short time.
Pros: V Shaped buckle can attach to an umbrella parasol. Foldable for easy portability.
Bottom Line: We don’t recommend this product for consistent use in a stroller or other clip-on scenario. This lightweight air conditioner fan could be a big help If you are often overheated and need a fan that is versatile and will work well in a variety of situations.
#3 OPOLAR Small Handheld Battery Operated Face Fan
Best for Outdoors
We’ve been impressed with many OPOLAR products, and this one is no exception.
Style: Handheld or Clip-on
Speed: 3 Speeds
Power: Extra Battery and battery box included. Up to 16 hours of working time.
Features: The company offers one year against defects.
Cons: Battery only changes while it’s in the fan so you can’t use it and charge the extra battery simultaneously. Some users complain that it is noisy at level 3.
Pros: Small, only 4 inches and 6.7 oz. Extra battery allows longer use without a power source. Click, select the 2 options – buy 2 fans and save!
Bottom Line: This high powered, handheld fan packs a big punch. It isn’t foldable but would still travel easily at only four inches height. Because it comes with a back-up battery, it would be easy to charge ahead of time and take along on hiking trips, sightseeing or other outdoor recreation when you aren’t near a power source.
#4 Aluan handheld Mini Powerful Small Personal Portable Fan
The lanyard makes this discreet fan so easy to take with you to work, the gym, a restaurant, theater, school, etc.
Style: Handheld, lanyard
Speed: 2 Speeds
Power: 1.5 to 3 hour working time
Features: 4 Color options, lanyard included,
Cons: Single button for power and speeds, may easily turn on in a purse or bag if bumped,
Pros: Rectangle shape makes it more discreet. The included lanyard makes it easy for kids to wear. Reviewers report that the company is easy to work with and willing to replace defective products.
Bottom Line: With a shorter working time, this option would not be great for a whole day of sightseeing or working. Stash it in your purse to keep your make-up intact during hot-flash emergencies or cool your kids down on those hot summer days.
#5 Small Desk Fan Ultra-Quiet Design
Best Workstation Mini AC
The metal body increases durability, even if it makes it a wee-bit heavier. And the rotating fan is awesome.
Style: Table or desktop air conditioner
Speed: 2 Speeds
Power: USB Cable
Features: 360-degree rotation for positioning. Metal exterior.
Cons: No other color options. Does not include a wall adapter for the USB cord, but it will plug into one you already have.
Pros: Less than 50db. Stable on a desktop. Tight cover with small holes for child safety
Bottom Line: This small desk fan measures less than six inches. It is quiet and would work well in locations such as a work table, child’s room, kitchen counter or dorm room.
Best Bedside Fan
#6 Aluan Desk Fan Small Table Fan with Strong Airflow
Quiet and sleek, this unit gives you two speeds to choose your comfort level and 360-degree cooling.
Style: desk top
Speed: 2 Speeds
Power Source: USB Cable
Features: 360 degree rotation for positioning. Plastic exterior
Cons: Some reviewers report that it has a short life and didn’t last long before it broke or stopped working.
Pros: Unique, modern look, firm base to be sturdy on a surface, Quiet 40dB
Bottom Line: This product would be best in settings where it can be set up in one consistent location due to its plastic, lightweight structure and low durability. It would look nice at the bedside or in a shared office or work space.
#7 Portable Neck Fan Battery Operated Ultra Quiet Hands
Best for Hands Free Use
Put it around your neck, flip it on, and go have fun – or study, exercise or whatever you want to do – and be cooler doing it!
Style: Wearable Neck Fan
Speed: 6 Speeds
Power: 2 to 5 1/2 hours of working time. Up to 16 hours in energy saving mode.
Features: 360-degree adjustable, 2.5 inch dual fan heads. Energy saving mode has a 5 second stop/start cycle.
Cons: Reviewers note that Long hair and jewelry can get caught in the blades. This style is more expensive than a typical handheld or clip-on version. It is not very discreet.
Pros: Portable and lightweight. Long-lasting and hands free.
Bottom Line: This hands-free fan would be a great addition to your work day uniform or hiking gear. Some people also wear it when they prefer a cooler temperature in the house than the rest of the family. If you don’t mind the looks, it can help keep you cool in virtually any situation.
#8 Portable Neck Fan, Hands Free Bladeless Hanging Sport Fan
Best for Physical Activities
No blades – no hands needed! This is one cool unit in performance and looks.
Style: Wearable Neck Fan
Speed: 3 Speeds
Power: 4-16 hour working time.
Features: 4 colors, stylish headphone designs
Cons: Higher price range than the other version of neck fans. Rigid form prevents the user from adjusting the fit around the neck. Some complain that it dries out their eyes or contacts if the fit isn’t right and it is directed at the eyes. However, most find it comfortable.
Pros: Low risk of long hair getting caught in the blades. Vent holes along the sides and back of the unit allow airflow on both the neck and face. It weighs less than a pound. Reviews report that they can hardly feel it around their neck.
Bottom Line: This is a product you could put on in the morning and keep on all day for hands-free use whenever you need it. Reviewers rave about wearing this at work to keep cool under layers of personal protective equipment or in the southern summer heat. It provides discreet, hands-free cooling.
Mini Air Conditioner Buying Guide
Our goal in this section is to discuss what you should be thinking about as you shop for personal fans / mini air conditioners. Hopefully it will help you select a product that serves you well when the weather warms up.
What is a Mini AC vs a Room Air Conditioner?
Let’s take a quick look at the differences.
Mini Air Conditioners are personal fans: As noted, these units don’t cool the air – they cool you by blowing air onto you. If you’re sweating, the moving air will evaporate the moisture from your skin, and the moisture will take heat with it. You will be cooler. Ben Franklin got liquid to freeze simply through rapid evaporation. True story. So moisture evaporating off you will lower your skin temperature.
Room ACs: Traditional air conditioners use refrigerant (sounds cold, right?) to cool the air and remove humidity. They blow hot air to the outside of the house and drain the moisture away. Air conditioners, like window air conditioners and portable air conditioners, are fixed in their location, often hooked up to a vent or mounted in a window. It’s not possible to make them personal sized.
Evaporative Coolers: Another product that brings down temperature is an “evaporative cooler”. These add moisture to the air and then pull the hot air over it, creating a cooling effect like when moisture evaporates from your skin, taking heat with it and lowering your temperature.
Evaporative coolers can be portable – a few are battery operated. However, they need to be connected to a water supply or frequently refilled, making them high-maintenance and more bulky. If you are in the market for an evaporative cooler unit, check out our Review of the best units available. They’re a great choice as a desktop air conditioner or for a bedside table indoors or a picnic table or lounge chair on the deck.
Pro Tip: Evaporative coolers are great for arid climates – dry climates – where they can really take advantage of how fast moisture evaporates. In humid weather, when the air is already “moist,” they don’t do a good job. A mini AC – personal fan – is a better choice in humid weather.
Why Choose a Personal Air Conditioner?
Air conditioner fans have many benefits and limitations. If you need to keep an entire room cool, a mini air conditioner fan might not be your best choice. They provide an up close and personal breeze. You’re most likely to notice them only if you are in the direct line of the airflow. They’re a great fit to keep you cool while you’re working, strolling, reading, sightseeing or exercising.
Which Mini Air Conditioner is Best For You?
Consider the following factors as you decide which personal air conditioner best suits your unique needs.
Power Source and duration
All of our options are rechargeable using a USB cable. One option even includes an extra battery, making it easier to stay cool for longer without a power source. There is a wide variation in how long an air conditioner fan can last, so be sure to consider how long you need it to operate before connecting to a power source.
If you just want to stay cool in your office cubical, a desktop fan would do the trick. Some options fold easily to fit in a bag. Others are designed to clip on and would be great to bring along on a bicycle or stroller. The most portable design is wearable and rests around your neck for hands-free cooling.
Hand-in-hand with portability comes the size of the product you choose. Your work space may be large enough to accommodate a desktop air conditioner with a larger footprint. You may need a smaller version that you take with you, causing you to look for a smaller, more discreet option.
Mini AC / Personal Fan Pros and Cons
These little units are very handy as long as you have proper expectations for what they can and can’t do.
Since we start with “cons” in each of the reviews above, we’ll continue the practice here.
- Wind only: These units blow air – but the air isn’t cooled by refrigerant.
- 1 person at a time: They’re personal fans – unless you are sitting really close to someone, probably something you don’t want to do if you’re already too warm, only one person at a time will feel the breeze.
- Some are cheap: You get what you pay for in these, as with other products. If you drop less than $10, you might get a season or two out of the personal fan. But that’s still pretty good – a season’s worth of personal AC for less than the price of a pizza.
- A few are loud: Most of these are whisper-quiet for the simple reason that they aren’t super-duper powerful. However, a few of the cheap ones do make more noise than they should. None of the models on the Best Personal Air Conditioners list above are noisy. You won’t have any problem with noise in a library, theater or other “quiet place” when using one of them.
Here’s what you’ll like about these units.
- Portability: Stick it in your backpack or purse, or if you choose a “wearable” model, put it around your neck, and it goes with you everywhere.
- Value: You get good personal cooling power for a pretty affordable price.
- Good battery life: We chose products that give you more than a couple hours of operation, so you can rely on it to keep you cool during the road trip, afternoon at the beach or during a muggy August night.
- Easy recharging: Those with rechargeable batteries make it easy with a USB, micro USB or both. Plug them into any power source from a wall outlet to a plugged-in computer, and your batteries will start charging. And your mini AC / personal fan will be ready to keep you cool when you need it most.
How Much does a Mini AC Cost?
It varies quite a bit. The cheapest are under $10. They consist of a simple fan motor and blades and an on/off switch. They’re OK if you want something inexpensive and easy to use.
As cost goes up, so does quality and features. When you’re willing to pay a little more for a personal fan, you might get options like:
- 2 or 3 speeds
- Longer run times
- 360-degree head
- Metal body that is more durable
- A light (a few models)
- Multiple charging options
- Timer for sleeping – or so you don’t waste the battery when you get up and walk away
The best portable mini air conditioners or mini fans / personal fans still cost less than $45.