While UK weather is tolerable and comfortable for most of the year, the summers are equally unforgiving especially for those who spend most of their time at home. Imagine trying to do your chores or even getting a wink of sleep under hot and humid weather – you’re not bound to get anything done as a result.
Fans are great and all but they just can’t quite keep up with the demands of a busy household, making air conditioners the next viable choice for your cooling needs. These days, air conditioners come in all sorts and sizes, from the usual fixed wall or ceiling units or the new portable ones that you can lug around wherever you need it.
For this guide, we will be focusing on portable air conditioners as these are the most practical ones to have especially for homeowners in the UK. Not only do you get efficient cooling that you can transfer from room to room but you also save a lot on electricity costs thanks to the plug and play functionality on these units, as well as installation and maintenance setbacks in the long run.
There are several factors to look out for when shopping for your very own portable air conditioner, but the most important of these is the cooling capacity of the unit (measured in British Thermal Units or BTU). This tells you how much floor area an air conditioner can cool without underperforming, e.g., a 5,000 BTU unit can cool a room as big as 14 m2. Other factors include noise and size, which will all depend on user preference.
Now that you have the basics down, check out our list of the best air conditioners one can buy in 2021!
Best Air Conditioners of 2021 – Recommendations
Energy Efficiency: Class A
Max. Floor Area: 85 m2
Noise Level: 52 dB
Dimensions: 750mm x 449mm x 395mm
First on our list is the De’Longhi Pinguino PACN90 Eco, one of the most competitive portable air conditioners available for purchase. Known for being a good compressor manufacturer, De’Longhi continues its legacy by outfitting the unit with a powerful yet quiet compressor that can service a room area of up to 85 m2. This particular air conditioner makes use of propane R290 gas as a refrigerant which is environment-friendly and non-toxic, ensuring no harm to you or any living organism nearby even with regular use.
As for control, the De’Longhi Pinguino PACN90 Eco has a digital control panel that provides a clear readout of the actual operating conditions of the unit, including three LED color indicators that each represent a “comfort level” of the room for the user. Orange means uncomfortable or hot/humid conditions, green means acceptable levels, and blue indicates the best comfort conditions. It also has an extra-large soft-touch control panel for easy operation and comes with remote control for added convenience when relaxing or doing tasks. It also comes with a 24-hour timer and a thermostat for added automation and accurate temperature readouts from time to time.
The De’Longhi Pinguino PACN90 Eco claims to output 52 dB of noise at maximum operating settings, which is relatively quieter than most portable air conditioners in its weight class. There is a notable buzz when it is running, however, and we’d suggest to place it in a position that is optimally away from your resting nook for a lower noise level. It can also be used as a dehumidifier which is ideal for rainy days or damp seasons, or in fan mode, which has three speed options if you only need to move air around in cold weather. The unit itself has standard dimensions for a portable air conditioner but weighs 30 kg, which can be quite the task for some owners. It does have a handle and castors to facilitate movement, however.
Energy Efficiency: A
Max. Floor Area: n/a
Noise Level: 67 dB
Dimensions: 345 mm x 355 mm x 703 mm
Cool your room down fast and easy with the Inventor Chilly 9000BTU Portable Air Conditioner. This particular unit is one of the most powerful offerings in the market thanks to the decent 9000 BTU rating and makes use of the natural refrigerant R290 to do so. This not only means an excellent cooling performance but factors in environmental friendliness as well. The refrigerant is not harmful to the ozone layer so you can rest easy at night knowing that you aren’t contributing to global warming in any way. Most new air conditioner models have also switched to R290 to promote environmental preservation. Apart from that, it also bears the Energy Efficiency rating of Class A, netting you better monthly bill savings from the get-go.
Moreover, the Inventor Chilly 9000BTU Portable Air Conditioner has a minimalist design that allows for straightforward operation. For one, the remote control unit has a lit LED screen with big readable characters and labeled buttons that let you set the timer, cycle between modes, and more. Apart from that, the robust movable grilles can be adjusted to change the direction of the airflow, while it also has a self-diagnostic function that lets you know if there is a malfunction. Just like any portable air conditioner, this unit requires an opening that leads to the outside to route the exhaust pipe on. It comes with a 1.5m expandable pipe and has the necessary hardware to hook it up to a double-hung or slider window.
The Inventor Chilly 9000BTU Portable Air Conditioner is designed to be as mobile as possible, with dimensions standard of similar units and a weight of 20 kg. You need not worry as the unit has multidirectional casters so you can drag or push it to your desired spot with minimal effort. Its material build contributes to the lighter weight profile of the air conditioner and protects it from damage at the same time. One thing to note about this model is that it is relatively noisier than most units around. Even in its Sleep mode – touted to be a silent function for better sleep at night – nets 52 dB of noise. In normal operation, it can reach an audible 67 dB. Apart from that, however, the Inventor Chilly 9000BTU Portable Air Conditioner is a well-rounded solution for your creature comforts.
Energy Efficiency: Class A
Max. Floor Area: 26 m2
Noise Level: 53 dB
Dimensions: 320 mm x 320 mm x 703 mm
Meaco is known for making competitive cooling solutions in the UK, and the MeacoCool MC Series 9000 is one of them. This portable air conditioner/dehumidifier combines quality, reliability, and affordability in a single package for your cooling needs. As the name suggests, we’re going with the 9000 BTU variant that can take on rooms up to 26 m2 in size, making it effective in cooling small to moderate-sized rooms with ease. It can bring temperatures down to 16°, giving you a lot of leeway for various weather conditions. Despite all of its amazing performance capabilities, this portable air conditioner is rated with a Class A energy ratings, guaranteeing a 950-watt consumption and monthly savings from the get-go.
You can simply set your desired temperature on the MeacoCool MC Series 9000 let it work its magic automatically. Before you know it, that once stuffy feeling is now replaced with the refreshing cold in a matter of minutes. In fact, it does its job so well that you’d probably opt for a higher temperature setting the next time you use it. The air conditioner conserves energy by bringing the room to the specified temperature then shutting off, only activating again when the temperature rises. As for noise levels, the unit emits up to 53 dB in sleep mode, which can still be audible and can disrupt light sleepers. If you can position the unit slightly farther from your sleeping area, this won’t be a problem.
As per usual, it comes with the needed hardware and accessories that allow you to expel the unit’s hot air efficiently. This includes the flexible hose that can extend up to 1.5 m, along with a specialized window mounting kit that is compatible with most sliding windows. As for ergonomics, the MeacoCool MC Series 9000 comes with the usual footprint and mobility solutions, which include castors and a remote control unit for added convenience. All in all, this air conditioner/humidifier option will give you the enhanced comfort in the UK summers to come with its easy operability and impressive performance.
Energy Efficiency: Class A
Max. Floor Area: 30 m2
Noise Level: 65 dB
Dimensions: 402 mm x 317 mm x 770 mm
Admit it, nothing beats knowing that your air conditioner can do more than, well, plain old air conditioning. The Pifco P40013 Portable 3-In-1 Air Conditioner is a great example of such, providing additional functions like a fan mode or a dehumidifier, which is especially useful in removing moisture on damp or rainy days. As for the fan, there are two speeds to choose from along with the freedom to incorporate temperature control that ranges from 18 to 32° C. You can use the 24-hour timer to set the desired running time of the unit with hourly increments so you can leave it alone and not worry about forgetting to shut it off the next morning.
Maintaining the Pifco P40013 Portable 3-In-1 Air Conditioner is quite easy, as it comes with a host of features that make the process quite straightforward. It has a removable filter that blocks dust from recirculating into the room and can be washed and dried in a jiffy to get it back in operation in no time. Moreover, the humidifier water tanks come with anti-bacterial properties to prevent the reproduction of microbes in the container. It also has a self-evaporating cooling system that doesn’t require frequent draining for added convenience. To protect the appliance from irreversible damage due to overheating and other device troubles, an Auto Shutoff function kicks in and is aided by the Auto Diagnoses to determine the problem.
The Pifco P40013 Portable 3-In-1 Air Conditioner comes supplied with its own window hose venting kit for a fast and easy installation process if you plan on using the air conditioner mode more often. It also has the usual castor deployment and a carry handle to let you lug it around with relative ease – we’re saying relative here as the unit weighs at a considerable 28.6 kg. One drawback we’ve noticed, as with most portable air conditioners, is the noise it creates when operational. It does have a sleep mode, but it shuts the system off instead of lowering performance, which may impact the service lifespan of the appliance.
Energy Efficiency: Class A
Max. Floor Area: 20 m2
Noise Level: 65 dB
Dimensions: 323 mm x 334 mm x 688 mm
Another great multifunctional option for your air conditioning needs is the NETTA 8000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner. From the standard air conditioner function to fan and dehumidifier modes, this unit offers flexible performance for your different weather and temperature needs. It has an 8000 BTU rating and can effectively cool rooms of up to 20 m2 with ease. The Class A energy rating also ensures the appliance’s 890W low power consumption, guaranteeing savings on the monthly bill right from the start.
The NETTA 8000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner offers temperature options from 16° to 30° C to give you enough adjustment options depending on your room’s conditions. The dehumidifier can also remove up to 19 L of water a day, getting rid of that suffocating air quality hanging inside your home.
A touch panel and remote control lets you adjust the operational settings of the NETTA 8000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner. Its 24-hour timer makes it easy to get your room cool and ready by the time you get home or not worry about leaving it on especially during the morning rush. It is one of the lighter units as well, weighing about 23 kg. Paired with castors and a carrying handle, moving it around should require minimal effort. All in all, this multifunction air conditioner provides excellent value for money especially for those who don’t need an overkill unit to begin with.
Energy Efficiency: n/a
Max. Floor Area: 15 m2
Noise Level: 55 dB
Dimensions: 336 mm x 250 mm x 657 mm
If you want to save on extra cash and don’t really feel the need to blast winter-cold air in your living quarters, you might want to try your hand at the Igenix IG9704 Portable 4-in-1 Evaporative Air Cooler. As the name suggests, it has four functions all packed into one comprehensive solution. Though not really an air conditioner in the technical sense, it does the job by evaporating water and moving it through a fan unit to cool the room. More than that, you can also use it to warm the room, dehumidify the air, and even purify it. This makes it a versatile air conditioning solution that can get rid of the suffocating effects of humidity and remove allergens and bacteria lingering in the air.
Since the Igenix IG9704 Portable 4-in-1 Evaporative Air Cooler makes use of water to cool the surrounding air, you will have to keep tabs on refilling its removable 5L reservoir. You won’t have to constantly check on it, however, as the unit has a low water level alarm to notify you when it is time to top the tank up. It also has a 7-hour timer that you can set for overnight use or when you want to turn it on just as you get home from work. The air conditioner also comes with a sleep mode that conserves energy by turning down the cooling performance of the unit when the room cools down to an ideal temperature.
While it doesn’t have the inconvenience of setting up an outdoor exhaust unlike most conventional air conditioners do, the fact that the Igenix IG9704 Portable 4-in-1 Evaporative Air Cooler’s performance is driven by water means that you have to be ready to fill it up once the water tank’s level has gone low. Moreover, it is only effective in rooms that have a floor area of up to 15 m2, which can be a bit underwhelming if you’re planning to cool a larger space, along with the fact that it isn’t the best in terms of cooling especially when set side by side with an actual portable air conditioner. Still, this solution is quite handy for those who want to save money and still get the comfort they need at all times.