Top 5 Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioners in 2020

Dual hose portable air conditioners offer better cooling power and energy efficiency.

This Best Dual Hose portable AC reviews and guide is comprehensive research you can use to choose a model or decide if a portable unit is right for you.

We start with a list, then short overviews with bullet points followed by full reviews. Then there is a Buying Guide with portable air conditioner FAQs and more.

Whynter dominates the list for a simple reason – It make far more models than other brands. They’re also quite good.

Important Note on Cooling Capacity: Some of these units are rated for up to 500 square feet. However, this isn’t accurate. We discuss the issue in the Buying Guide below.

Here’s a more accurate capacity:

  • 12000 BTU = 300-400 square feet
  • 14000 BTU = 350-450 square feet

Overviews – The Best Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioners

Here are quick, bullet-point overviews designed to give you the key features and strengths of each to assist with your buying decision.

In the full reviews, you’ll see how we’ve categorized each – Best Overall, Most Reliable, Best 12000 BTU model, etc.

      Image                    Product

Whynter ARC-143MX

  • AC, Fan, Dry Modes
  • No Drain Needed for AC
  • Carbon Filter for Odors
  • Storage Bag Incl.

Best Overall

Whynter ARC-14S

  • AC, Dry, Fan Modes
  • Consumer Reports Best List
  • Remote Control
  • Carbon Filter Option

Most Reliable

Avallon APAC120S

  • 12000 BTUs
  • Drain-free Evaporation
  • 24-hour Timer
  • Full-function Remote

Best Drain-free

Whynter ARC-14SH

  • AC, Heat, Dry, Fan-only
  • Consumer Reports Best List
  • Carbon & Washable Filters
  • Excellent Dehumidifying

Best with Heat

Whynter Elite ARC-122DS

  • Top 12000 BTU Unit
  • Carbon Filter for Odors
  • Storage Bag Incl.
  • AC, Dry, Fan-only

Best 12000 BTU

Best Dual Hose Portable AC Reviews

Here is a more detailed look at the top dual-hose portable air conditioners on the market.

Best Overall

#1 Whynter ARC-143MX 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner

The quality portable air conditioner uses evaporative technology to exhaust most of the condensation produced.

The unit has an internal condensate tank, but you’ll rarely have to empty it unless using the unit in extremely humid conditions.

Well-respected review site Consumer Reports placed this unit and another on its list of the best portable air conditioners.

BTUs: 14,000

Modes: 3 Modes. Air Conditioning, Fan/Filter that keeps air cycling through it to filter the air. It also provides white noise for sleeping or studying. Dehumidify/Dry Mode dries the air without cooling it. This mode is used most on cool, damp days when the air feels “clammy.”

Features: Here’s what you get with this Whynter portable AC.

  • Auto-drain, evaporative technology to reduce the need for emptying it.
  • Digital and Remote Control– the remote can control all the functions.
  • 24-hour programmable Timer.
  • Carbon filter for odors; Washable pre-filter for large debris. Antimicrobial filter.
  • Hoses are 60”, longer than most.

Pros: Very low maintenance since it evaporates most of the moisture. Carbon filter reduces odors. Good performance features. Long exhaust hoses provide versatility in where the unit is placed. This is an attractive appliance. A storage bag is included for use when you put the AC away for the season.

Cons: Cost is higher than average, but you get what you pay for with quality portable air conditioners.

Bottom Line: Consider this unit is you’re willing to pay a little more to get what many consider the best portable AC on the market. Or try an Amazon Renewed product with a good guarantee.

If you’d like this unit for less, it is available as a certified Renewed unit. Amazon says, “Amazon Renewed products are inspected and tested to work and look like new. A Renewed supplier who is Amazon-qualified performs a full diagnostic test, replaces any defective parts, and thoroughly cleans the product. The products will have minimal to no signs of wear and is eligible for a replacement or refund within 90 days of receipt if it does not work as expected.

Most Reliable

#2 Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner

As noted, Whynter makes more dual hose models than other brand – but they’re highly rated too.

This one was picked as the Most Reliable because it was released several years ago, has sold tens of thousands of units and has a proven track record of dependability.

Good Housekeeping and Consumer Reports also give this Whynter portable air conditioner top reviews.

The Product page gives you options for choosing the type of filter you prefer and other choices.

BTUs: 14,000

Modes: 3 – AC, Fan-only and Dry/Dehumidify for cool, damp days.

Features: Convenience and performance features include –

  • 24-hour programmable timer for saving energy and enjoying cooled space when you want it.
  • Thermostatic control for accurate cooling.
  • Evaporative cooling, so you’ll rarely if ever have to drain/empty it.
  • Remote with all functions on it.
  • Activated carbon filter for reducing odors.
  • Hoses extendable to 60 inches.

Pros: This unit could be labeled “Best Features” too. It has them all plus proven reliability based on the experience of thousands of users.

Cons: As one of the very best portable ACs available, cost is higher than average.

Bottom Line: Consider this unit if you want a portable air conditioner thousands of users have reviewed as reliable and worth the money.

Best Drain-free

#3 Avallon APAC120S Portable Air Conditioner

Drain-free portable air conditioners evaporate the moisture out the exhaust hose, so you don’t have to drain a tank or risk the unit shutting down when a tank gets full. This Avallon portable AC uses technology called Invisimist that uses the hot AC coil for evaporating moisture.

BTUs: 12,000 BTUs, so a good choice for space up to about 350 square feet if the space is hot and humid or 400 square feet in more moderate conditions.

Modes: 4 – AC, Dry/Dehumidify and Fan-only, which is a nice mode for moving the air and creating white noise for sleeping and studying.

It also has Auto Mode. Choose Auto and the temperature you want, and the unit will select the right settings to make your room as cool and comfortable as you want it.

Features: This unit has the same basic features as others in the list – though not all are evaporating models.

  • Self-evaporating technology eliminates draining.
  • 24-hour Timer for excellent climate control and convenience.
  • Digital display and controls on the panel.
  • Remote.
  • 3-speed Fan.
  • Caster wheels for rolling from room to room.

Pros: No-drain performance is very convenient. It removes about 3.4 pints of moisture in humid conditions.

Cons: The product information suggests it will cool “up to 425 square feet depending on heat load.” Our recommendation is using this in 300-400 square feet of space.

Bottom Line: If you want to be able to run your portable air conditioner continuously without having to empty a tank or run a hose to a drain, this unit is ideal. And the price is competitive.

Best with Heat

#4 Whynter ARC-14SH 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner and Heater

This Whynter portable AC is a good choice for a room far from the central HVAC unit – one that doesn’t get enough cool in summer or heat in winter.

It is the same model as the Most Reliable unit above, but with heat too.

It’s also an evaporative AC, so most condensation will be exhausted out the hose unless the conditions are very humid. Then, you might need to empty the tank periodically.

BTUs: 14,000, suitable for rooms 350-450 square feet. If the room is very cold or very damp, then this unit will cool and dehumidify up to 400 square feet.

Modes: 3 – AC, Dry/Dehumidify and Fan-only.

Features: In addition to a heater, it includes –

  • Evaporative cooling, so you’ll rarely if ever have to drain/empty it.
  • Remote with all functions on it.
  • 24-hour programmable timer for saving energy and enjoying cooled space when you want it.
  • Thermostatic control for accurate heating and cooling.
  • Activated carbon filter for reducing odors.
  • Hoses extendable to 60 inches.

Pros: Heat! Plus it removes more moisture than others on the list – up to 4.2 pints per hour or 12 gallons per day if used continuously. It’s listed on Best Portable AC reviews from prestigious publications.

Cons: Some users that are unhappy with this unit say it doesn’t provide enough heat. That is because it is designed for supplemental heating – supporting a central furnace or heat pump or chilly days in a warm climate like south Florida and hot parts of Arizona.

Bottom Line: Consider this unit if you need both cooling and supplemental heating for the space.

Best 12000 BTU

#5 Whynter Elite ARC-122DS 12,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner

This unit made the list because it has an activated carbon filter that is ideal for controlling odors from cooking, pets, etc. It’s not an air purifier per se, but can help.

BTUs: 14,000, suitable for rooms 350-450 square feet. If the room is very cold or very damp, then this unit will cool and dehumidify up to 400 square feet.

Modes: 3 – AC, Dry/Dehumidify and Fan-only.

Features: In addition to a heater, it includes –

  • Evaporative cooling, so you’ll rarely if ever have to drain/empty it.
  • Remote with all functions on it.
  • 24-hour programmable timer for saving energy and enjoying cooled space when you want it.
  • Thermostatic control for accurate heating and cooling.
  • Activated carbon filter for reducing odors.
  • Hoses extendable to 60 inches.

Pros: Heat! Plus it removes more moisture than others on the list – up to 4.2 pints per hour or 12 gallons per day if used continuously. It’s listed on Best Portable AC reviews from prestigious publications.

Cons: Some users that are unhappy with this unit say it doesn’t provide enough heat. That is because it is designed for supplemental heating – supporting a central furnace or heat pump or chilly days in a warm climate like south Florida and hot parts of Arizona.

Bottom Line: Consider this unit if you need both cooling and supplemental heating for the space.

​​​Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner Buying Guide

This guide discusses a few key issues related to dual hose portable air conditioners.

Dual Hose vs. Single Hose Portable ACs

What is the difference between a single hose and dual hose portable AC?

There are two key advantages of dual hose models. They are related.

  • Dual hose portable air conditioners have more cooling capacity for their size.
  • Dual hose models are more efficient.

#1: Dual Hose Portable ACs Have More Cooling Capacity

Take two 14,000 BTU portable air conditioners, one a single hose model and the other dual hose.

The single hose model will have an effective cooling capacity of about 7,500 BTUs.

The dual hose model will produce net cooling of 8,500 to 9,500 BTUs.

What? Why are they rated for 14,000 BTUs if neither comes close to that capacity?

Because the manufacturers use outdated ratings that consider only the unit’s capacity to remove heat – not what happens in the process.

This takes a little explaining.

ASHRAE vs SACC Rating Systems & What They Mean

For decades, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has been the testing agency for all types of air conditioners.

ASHRAE measures one thing – how many BTUs of heat can the unit capture and remove from the space per hour.

There’s a problem. Since portable air conditioners expel air, they create negative pressure in the room.

The result is that when air goes out the window, air from outside the room is sucked in. Very warm air and humidity leaves and is replace by air that is slightly cooler and less humid.

This infiltration reduces the net effect of the air conditioner.

Window air conditioners, central ACs, heat pumps and ductless units do not have this problem.

SACC Ratings

The US Department of Energy (DOE) recognized this problem and developed a new rating called Seasonally Adjusted Cooling Capacity (SACC) ratings. It considers infiltration and the fact that an AC is more efficient in warm weather than it is in really hot weather.

Dual Hose Models are better, but not as efficient as window air conditioners. In short:

  • Single hose models have SACC ratings about 55% to 58% of the ASHRAE rating.
  • Dual hose models have SACC ratings 63% to 70% of ASHRAE ratings.

These diagrams show the difference in how Single Hose and Dual Hose models work.

Dual hose portable ac1
Dual hose portable ac2

Manufacturers should provide both AHSRAE & SACC ratings, but only a few do.

#2: As a result of greater cooling capacity, a dual hose model will use less energy to bring a room’s temperature down to where you want it.

Why isn’t a dual hose model as efficient as a window AC?

Looking at the diagram, you see the main reason. It is because the intake hose is cycling a steady supply of warm outside air into the room, through the AC and out. The air isn’t released into the room, but it does have a warming effect that diminishes the cooling power of the AC. A window AC, for example, brings that warm air into the back of the unit, which is outside the house. That’s a significant difference and one reason that window air conditioners have better cooling ability than portable air conditioners.

While dual hose performance is better than the result of infiltration caused by a single-hose model, it still introduces heat into the room.

Sizing a Portable AC

The following chart shows the capacity your portable air conditioner should be. We’ve adjusted the capacity to reflect SACC ratings rather than ASHRAE ratings.

ASHRAE BTUs

Square Feet

6,000

100-200

8,000

150-250

9,000

200-300

10,000

250-350

12,000

300-400

14,000

350-450

But there are room conditions to consider too.

We recommend that you need 1,000 extra BTUs of capacity for any of these conditions that make a room hotter than usual.

  1. It faces west and gets direct sun in the afternoon/evening
  2. It is on an upper floor
  3. Three or more people are often in the room
  4. It adjoins an enclosed, non-cooled space like a garage or attic
  5. The ceiling is more than 9 feet high
  6. The room is a kitchen, and the stove or range is on

Example #1: A 200 square foot bedroom is on the second floor (+1000 BTUs), faces west (+1000) and has an attic above it (+1000). The chart suggests a 6,000 BTU AC. But with the conditions, you’ll be better off with a 9,000 or 10,000 BTU AC. It’s always better to go up a level with portable air conditioners. That’s not true with a central air conditioner, but it’s OK with these units.

Example #2: The room is a 350 square foot living room. It faces west (+1000), is next to the garage (+1000), has a 10-foot ceiling (+1000) and is often occupied by 3-4 people (+1000) when the AC is on. The chart suggests a 14,000 BTU unit for 350 square feet. But to ensure effective cooling, you should get a unit with 18,000 to 20,000 BTUs of cooling. There are no portable air conditioners that size, so you’ll need to consider a window air conditioner.

Portable Air Conditioner FAQs

We’ve answered a few key questions. Here are a couple more.

Q: What is Evaporative Technology aka Drain Free?

A: As you know, air conditioners remove moisture from the air. They have coils through which refrigerant cycles. The evaporator coil gets really cold – cold enough to condense moisture out of the air. If you’ve seen a window AC operate, water is often dripping out the back of it.

In a portable air conditioner, that moisture can either drain into a tank or hose, or, with evaporative units, it can be exhausted. Most drain free portable ACs allow that moisture to drip onto the condenser coil, which is quite hot because hot refrigerant is running through it getting rid of the heat it collected. The coil is warm enough to evaporate most or all the moisture that drips onto it.

Q: Can an evaporative AC work as a dehumidifier?

A: Most of them do have a Dehumidify/Dry mode, explained in the next answer. If the unit is advertised as “drain free,” then it might not even have a tank. Some can get rid of all the moisture through the method described above. A few will require a drain hose or tank in very humid conditions. Check out the product information to determine if it can dehumidify without a drain tank or hose.

Q: What is Dry Mode aka Dehumidifier Mode?

Most models feature this mode, something new in the last five years.

In AC mode, the unit both cools and removes moisture.

Dry mode works exactly like AC mode with one difference. Instead of the heat being expelled out the window hose, it is returned to the room. The net effect is that the room doesn’t cool off.

What is the purpose of Dry mode? There are days, often in fall and spring in most climates or during a cool winter stretch in warm climates, when the air can be damp but not hot. That’s an ideal time to use Dry mode – to dry out the air, so it doesn’t feel chilly and clammy.

Additional Resources

We’ve produced a large number of up-to-date Portable Air Conditioner Guides on PickHVAC.

These include our introductory Best Portable AC Reviews and Guide. It’s a good place to start if you are beginning your research.

At the bottom of that page – and below on this page – there are additional resources including:

Brand Reviews of the Leading Brands with lists of the best portable air conditioner picks from each – LG, Whynter, Haier, DeLonghi, HisenseFrigidaire, Honeywell and Della.

Reviews and guides by AC Feature:Best SmallQuietestBest Cheap Portable AC, Best AC Don't Need A Window etc.

Size Range reviews and guides: Best 14,000 BTU and other sizes.

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