Top 6 Smallest Portable Air Conditioner Review 2020

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Buying one of the smallest portable air conditioner models makes sense for rooms like a small bedroom, office, den. A mini portable air conditioner is a good choice for cooling 100 to 250 square feet. Coverage varies by model.

The smallest portable air conditioners are those up to 9,000 BTUs, with 8,000 BTU ACs are the most popular.

With that introduction, here are the best small portable air conditioners available. The overviews are followed by full reviews of the best small portable ACs.

Smallest Portable Air Conditioners – Top Rated

      Image                    Product

Midea MPF08CR81-E 8000

  • WiFi/Alexa/Smart Home
  • Loaded with Features
  • More WiFi Sizes Available
  • AC & Dehumidify Modes

Editor's Pick

Danby 6000 BTU

  • Excellent Coverage (250s.f.)
  • AC + Dehumidify-only Modes
  • Good Features Incl. Remote
  • Most Condensation Evaporates

Honeywell HL09CESWK 9000

  • 80 Pints/day Dehumidifying!
  • Great for Humid Climates
  • Dual Air Purifying Filters
  • Evaporation – No Drain Bucket!

Shinco SPF2 8,000 BTU

  • Best-in-Class Features
  • AC/Dehumidify/Fan Modes
  • Powerful Cooling to 300 s.f.
  • Evaporating – No Bucket!

Black & Decker BPACT08WT

  • 8,000 BTU
  • Evaporative – No Bucket!
  • Safest for Environment
  • Cool/Dehumidify/Fan Modes
  • Loaded with Features

SereneLife 10,000 BTU

  • True Heat Pump Heating
  • Heat/Cool/Dry/Fan Modes
  • Great for All Climates
  • Available in 12K BTUs Too

Top Rated Smallest Portable Air Conditioner Reviews

We’ve listed key points in the overviews above. Here are the full Smallest Portable Air Conditioner Reviews of the top-rated models.

Features, pros & cons, and the bottom line is given for you to consider whether each portable AC is the right choice for you.

BTUs is the amount of heat the unit removes from your living space every hour. The higher the number, the more efficiently the AC uses air conditioning to cool the space.

Note: We list the ASHRAE rating for BTUs first. The SACC rating from the US DOE is usually about half the BTUs, and we list it second where available. ASHRAE vs. SACC ratings are explained below. 

Overall Best Portable Air Conditioner 

#1 MIDEA MPF08CR81-E 8000 BTU WiFi

This unit combines very good ratings, excellent features plus the convenience of WiFi and Alexa voice control or Google Assistant.

Did you know? Worldwide, Midea sells more air conditioners than any other brand.

  • BTUs: 8,000 / 4,000
  • Room Size: Up to 200 square feet using the 8,000 BTU rating.
  • Modes: AC, Dehumidify (dries the air without cooling it), Fan-only, Auto (set the temperature you want, and the unit decides the right mode to achieve it) and Sleep (saves energy while still keeping the area comfortable).
  • Features: It is loaded. Wireless Bluetooth, WiFi & App, Alexa and Google Assistant, 24-hour Timer, 3-speed Fan, LED Display, Remote with all functions, Casters for easy moving and Louver oscillation.
  • Pros: Quality build, great performance features, compact size and WiFi/Voice/Bluetooth convenience.
  • Cons: Some users complain that the AC is a little louder than they expected it would be in cooling mode. We rate it about average for noise – maybe a little louder than average. Any portable or window AC is going to rattle a bit when the compressor kicks on or shuts off.

Bottom Line: If you want quality and a full set of performance and convenience features, the Midea MAP08S1BWT should make you happy. Keep in mind, it’s best performance is in space up to about 150 square feet. If you have more room to cool, consider one of the larger Midea models in this Series (see Additional Info).

Additional Info: You have size and WiFi/Voice options! This unit is available in 10K, 12K and 14K sizes, some with WiFi. Select the link, and choose the right size and features for your purposes.

Best Small Portable Air Conditioner

#2 Danby Portable Air Conditioner 6000 BTU White

Danby is one of the top-rated small appliance makers in the world. The brand is known for quality, good features and dependable performance year after year.

Did you Know? This is the smallest portable air conditioner in our list, and the highest-rated 6,000 BTU model made.

  • BTUs: 6,000 / 3,000
  • Room Size: Up to 250 square feet using the 6,000 rating from ASHRAE.
  • Modes: AC, Fan and Dehumidifier (AKA Dry Mode since it removes moisture without cooling the room). Dry Mode is ideal for humid weather when the air temperature is OK, but you want to get rid of the “clammy” feel in the air. It’s used a lot in fall and spring in cool climates and winter in warm, humid climates.
  • Features: Pretty good features for a mini portable air conditioner. 2-speed fan, Electronic controls with LED Display and full-function Remote. 24-hour programmable Timer. Caster wheels.
  • Pros: Features and performance. The 3 modes give you good indoor climate control in 3 seasons. Most of the moisture removed from the air is evaporated out the drain hose attached to the window, so no bucket is needed.
  • Cons: Danby rates it for 250 square feet. It might cool that amount of space if the air wasn’t very warm to begin with. In hot weather, this unit will do a great job for 100 to 125 square feet – a small bedroom or office, for example. The good news is that there are larger models in the series. See Additional Info below.

Bottom Line: If the area you need cooled isn’t very big, this is an ideal unit. Danby customer service is better than you’ll get from most brands.

Additional Info: If you don’t think 6K BTUs will be enough cooling, then Danby makes this series in 10K, 12K and 14K models too. Select the link, and choose your size. Some sizes are available in Black also.

Best 9,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

#3 Honeywell 9000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner HL09CESWK

Honeywell is a proven brand for quality and indoor climate control. This unit has a lot of verified ratings, and they’re quite good. That’s why it is on our list.

While not a hard rule, 9,000 BTUs is the upper limit for the smallest portable air conditioners. Medium portable ACs start at 10,000.

Did you know? We’ve completed a Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner Review and Buying Guide packed with information about your Honeywell portable AC options. Handy tables for model comparison are included, and we compare Honeywell to LG, Whynter, DeLonghi and other top portable AC brands.

  • BTUs: 9,000 / 5,000
  • Room Size: 300-400 square feet using the 9,000 BTU rating. In very hot and/or humid weather, this unit will comfortably serve up to 250 square feet.
  • Modes: Air Conditioning (AC), Fan-only to move the air and provide “white noise” when desired, and Dehumidify (aka Dry) Mode for days you want drier air in the house but don’t need/want cooling.
  • Features: Very good set of features. Dual air-purifying Filters that are washable, 3-speed Fan, Digital Display, full-feature Remote, 24-hour Timer and digital Thermostat for accuracy.

Pros: 

The auto-Evaporation mode means you never have to empty a bucket. There is a threaded drain, and if you’re using the unit in Dehumidifier Mode and it is very humid, you might want to attach a hose and run it to a floor drain. Rarely needed, though. Also, a good set of features and controls.

80 pints of dehumidification per day is among the best.

Cons: The hose is just 4 feet. Most are 5-6 feet, so this unit will need to be positioned quite close to the window with little flexibility. Another minor issue is that to use the remote, it must be directed at the unit (typical of most), and it doesn’t have great range. If you turn down the temperature setting on the remote, but you are out of range, the AC won’t adjust.

Bottom Line: If you have 300 square feet, give or take, and you don’t think a 6K or 8K BTU unit will do it, this is a good choice. We recommend it for small-to-average bedrooms and home offices in warm climates.

Best Features Small Portable Air Conditioner

#4 Shinco SPF2 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioners with Built-in Dehumidifier Function

Not familiar with Shinco? Many consumers aren’t, but this is a large manufacturer of consumer appliances and electronics. Shinco is based in China and operates 12 manufacturing plants and employs 8,000 people.

This unit stood out with good reviews and a very strong set of features. Plus, it is available in 10K and 12K models. Select the Price Check link below, and choose the size you need.

  • BTUs: 8,000 / 4,500
  • Room Size: 200-300 square feet
  • Modes: 3 Modes – AC, Dehumidify/Dry and Fan-only. These give you good options for indoor climate comfort based on the weather.
  • Features: Self-evaporating, so no drain bucket is required. The moisture is exhausted out the hose attached to the window. LED Display, 24-hour Timer, Quiet Mode, 2 fan speeds, 4 Casters and full-function Remote.
  • Pros: 60-pint per day dehumidification, excellent quality and features that improve indoor comfort and add convenience. The filter also does a good job removing pollutants from the air.
  • Cons: In very humid weather, you might have to empty the reservoir more often than you might expect. Some complain about noise. Portable ACs are a little louder than window units because the whole appliance is indoors. The Shinco portable air conditioner noise level is quite average.

Bottom Line: We recommend this unit for warm climates that aren’t especially humid. In the deep South and Southeast, you might be happier with the Honeywell 9000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner HL09CESWK that is listed above. 

Additional Info: Another option in very humid climates is to choose the 10K or 12K BTU Shinco models. Select the link below, and scroll down to the comparison chart showing the three Shinco models.

Best Value Small Portable Air Conditioner

#5 Black & Decker BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner, 8,000 BTU, White

Black & Decker makes a wide range of tools and appliances. This B & D portable air conditioner sells very well, and the ratings are better than most.

We selected this as the Best Value of the smallest portable air conditioners because of the very competitive price. Plus, despite the lower cost, there is no drop-off in performance or quality. That’s a great value!

  • BTUs: 8,000 / 5,000
  • Room Size: Up to 150 square feet using the DOE rating. If the weather isn’t extremely warm, then it might be adequate for 250 square feet.
  • Modes: 3 Modes – Air Conditioning, Dehumidification for drier air without making it cooler (ideal for cool, damp weather) and Fan-only mode for moving the air.
  • Features: This is an evaporative portable air conditioner, so there is no bucket to empty. All the condensation removed from the air is exhausted through the hose attached to the window kit. 4-way Airflow, slide-out Filter is easy to clean, full-feature Remote, digital LED Display panel on the AC and a 24-hour programable Timer. The fan has multiple speeds for airflow control.
  • Pros: The self-evaporative performance is ideal for humid climates. Good features and decent dehumidification of about 64 pints (8 gallons) per day. Excellent value – great bang for the buck.
  • Cons: The hose is a little short at 4’ 11”. Some find that attaching the window kit and hose are a little more difficult than with other portable units they’ve had.

If your space is especially humid, you should attach a hose to the threaded drain and run the unit to a floor drain. Otherwise, you’ll have to empty the small reservoir that catches any condensate that isn’t evaporated out the hose. This is common for most single-hose portable ACs.

Bottom Line: Bargain hunters like this unit because of the lower cost without giving up quality or performance.

Additional Info: Another option in very humid climates is to choose the 10K or 12K BTU Shinco models. Select the link below, and scroll down to the comparison chart showing the three Shinco models.

Best Small Portable AC with Heat

#6 SereneLife 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner + 9,000 BTU Heater

We thought it important to include one model with true heat pump technology. To do it, we had to bump up to a 10,000 BTU portable AC. None of the 6K to 8K BTU mini portable air conditioner models offer heat pump heating.

This is the highest rated portable air conditioner with heat.

A heat pump portable air conditioner is designed to provide supplemental heating. In cool climates, it won’t replace a central furnace or heat pump.

Did you Know? Heating with a heat pump portable AC is achieved the same way cooling is. Except the process goes in reverse. Heat is gathered from outside air entering the hose. Refrigerant carries the heat to the other side of the AC where it is dispersed into inside air.

  • BTUs: 10,000 AC / 9,000 Heat
  • Room Size: About 350 square feet.
  • Modes: 4 Modes – Air Conditioning, Heating, Dehumidifying (Drying – for humid days when you don’t need AC or heat), Fan-only for moving the air.
  • Features: Digital Display, full-function Remote, Timer, 3-speed Fan, Fan Oscillation option, Casters and 24-hour Timer.
  • Pros: Heat. Using a heat pump to heat costs less than using a space heater. The heat pump uses about 20% of the electricity a 1,500-watt space heater does. Also, customer ratings for this model are the highest for any unit on our list.
  • Cons: The cost is quite a lot higher than for some of the other units. If you’ll rarely use the heat, you are better off buying an AC-only portable air conditioner and small space heater for those occasions you need a little heat.

Bottom Line: This unit makes sense in two situations. First, you live in a warm climate and don’t have central heat (or rarely use it). This unit might supply enough heat on those rare cold days.

Secondly, if you live in a cool/cold climate, and one room in your home is consistently chilly, this unit will boost the temperature to a comfortable level.

Additional Info: SereneLife also makes a 12,000 BTU unit with supplemental heat pump heating. There are 8K, 10K and 12K models without heat. Choose the link below, and select the models to see their cost and ratings.

Choose the Right Size Portable AC

Portable models aren’t made in as wide a range as window air conditioners. However, it is still important to select a unit that isn’t too small or too big – but just right for the amount of space you have.

Too Small – Insufficient cooling, uncomfortable in humid conditions, it will work too hard and fail before it should.

Too Large – Overcooling the space and wasting money, the temperature will be reached before much humidity is removed, so the room will be “clammy.”

This Chart shows our recommendations for size.

Square Feet

ASHRAE BTUs

100-200

6,000

150-250

8,000

200-300

9,000

250-350

10,000

300-400

12,000

350-450

14,000

A portable air conditioner doesn’t cool as effectively as a window unit. That’s one of the key differences between the two, and we discuss it further in our Portable Air Conditioner Review and Buying Guide.

Pro Tips on Size Selection

The chart above gives the basic. However, these tips will help you customize your choice.

1. If your ceilings are higher than 8 foot, then go up a size.

2. If the room faces south or west and gets a lot of afternoon sun, go up a size.

3. If the room often has 3+ people in it, go up a size.

4. If the AC is for the kitchen, go up a size since cooking heats up a room.

Here are a few examples:

Room 1: 175 square foot bedroom used by 2 people. 8 foot ceilings. Room is on a southwest corner. Go up one size due to the room’s location in the home. So, instead of a 6,000 BTU unit, an 8,000 BTU portable air conditioner would be more effective.

Room 2: 250 square foot kitchen with dining area. Facing south and often has 4-5 people in it for dinner.

Instead of an 8,000 BTU portable air conditioner, a unit with 12K or 14K capacity would be better.

Room 3: 150 square foot office facing north that rarely has more than 2 people in it. A 6,000 BTU portable air conditioner would likely do the job.

Evaporative Portable Air Conditioners

Many portable ACs do not need a drain bucket that must be emptied periodically.

Instead, the humidity that is pulled from the air in your home is vented out of the house through the exhaust hose. This is a big step up in convenience!

Look for a model advertised as “evaporative,” “self-evaporating,” “bucketless” or similar.

All portable air conditioners have drains and small reservoirs for excess condensate. If you take the cap off the drain, a little bit of water might drain out.

Pro Tip: If you live in a very humid climate, then the small reservoir might occasionally become full. When it does, the unit will shut off until you empty it. This means tipping it into a bucket or onto a towel. 

For prolonged use, thread an RV/Marine hose onto the drain, and run the hose to a floor drain.

Again, this isn’t an issue for most users, but if you run into a problem with excess humidity, this is how to solve it.

Portable Air Conditioners vs. Window ACs

Have you considered both options? Each has its pros and cons, so we’ll do some comparison here. It might help you decide on a purchase you’ll be happy with in the years ahead.

Portable air conditioners are a relatively new product, while window ACs have been around for 50+ years. They offer convenience, but have a few drawbacks.

Here are portable air conditioner pros and cons compared to window ACs.

Portable AC Pros

The ability to move the unit from one room to another is the biggest “plus” for portable units. They are much easier to move and set up than a window AC.

The window kit generally takes up less window space than a window unit, so they don’t block the view and natural daylight as much.

They’re better looking from the outside of the house too. All you see is a window kit with an exhaust hole. That’s more attractive than a window AC coil hanging out the window. In fact, some homeowner associations ban the use of window ACs, especially on the front of the house, because they’re ugly.

Portable AC Cons

The biggest con is that they simply don’t cool as efficiently or as effectively as a window unit. This is especially true of single-hose units, and most portable air conditioners have just one hose. All mini portable air conditioner models (under 10,000 BTU) are single-hose ACs.

Here is what happens. The unit pulls in warm, humid air from inside your home. Heat and moisture are removed and exhausted out the exhaust hose, also called a drain hose because moisture goes out it too. This makes your home cooler and drier. So far, so good.

But there’s bad news too.

Venting indoor air causes negative air pressure, which sucks in outdoor air through cracks around doors, around window frames and wherever your home isn’t airtight. It’s like a two steps forward (or three), and one step back process.

This is why the US Department of Energy came up with an alternate rating system for portable ACs. It is explained in the last section of this guide.

Another issue worth mentioning is that portable ACs are available only to about 14000 BTUs. Window air conditioners are available up to 24,000 BTUs for most. Some are even larger.

ASHRAE vs. US DOE BTU Ratings

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has tested the effectiveness/efficiency of air conditioners for decades.

It measures how much heat the unit can remove in an hour. The rating is in BTUs – or British thermal units per hour.

However, we’ve discussed the problem portable ACs have with efficiency. Even dual-hose models are less efficient than window ACs because they do bring warm outside air into your home.

So, the US Department of Energy (DOE) in conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) developed the Seasonally Adjusted Cooling Capacity (SACC) ratings that factor air filtration and heat transfer through exhaust hoses.

In short, the FTC believed that using ASHRAE ratings alone was misleading to consumers. We agree. There is no way a 14,000 BTU portable air conditioner, using ASHRAE rating, will cool a room as effectively as a 14,000 BTU window air conditioner.

Now, most portable air conditioner brands show both ratings. The ASHRAE rating is typically 80% to 100% higher than the new SACC rating.

We recommend that you use portable air conditioner SACC/DOE ratings for the number of BTUs it can move per hour. This will give you a more accurate idea of how a portable AC compares to a window air conditioner in cooling power.

Additional Resources

This Buying Guide is just one of many we’ve created for portable air conditioners. These might be of use too.

Portable AC Brand Reviews:

LG, Whynter, DeLonghi, Haier

Hisense, Honeywell, Della, Frigidaire

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