Best Air Conditioners 2018 – Buyer’s Guide

Last Updated: 02-10-2018

Air conditioners are an easy to install and effective way to lower the temperature of a single room in your home.

They work by removing the heat and expelling it out of the room. This differs from ordinary fans, which only move the hot air around the room. They operate until the temperature in the room reaches the desired degree, and then they often turn themselves off, operating again if the temperature rises again.

Most only require an electrical supply plus external ventilation. This can be via a hose either placed outside a window, or through a vent in the wall.

They are ideal if a central air conditioning system is not a practical solution, or if you will only want to cool one room at a time as opposed to the whole house.

All of the air conditioners we have featured below are portable, so can be moved between the rooms in your home:

The Best Air Conditioners – Our Top Picks

Best Overall: De'Longhi PAC EX100
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De’Longhi PAC EX100 Pinguino Silent Air Conditioner
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  • Output: 10,000 BTU
  • Speed Settings: 3
  • Dimensions: 38.7 x 44 x 80.6 cm
  • Weight: 35kg
  • Energy Rating: A++
  • Noise Level: 53dB
Best Budget: VonHaus Portable Air Conditioner
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VonHaus Portable Air Conditioner
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  • Output: 9000 BTU
  • Speed Settings: 2
  • Dimensions: 89 x 40.5 x 38.5 cm
  • Weight: 24kg
  • Energy Rating: A
  • Noise Level: 65dB
Top Rated: Electrolux ChillFlex EXP09CN1W7
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Electrolux ChillFlex EXP09CN1W7 Air Conditioning Unit
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  • Output: 9000 BTU
  • Speed Settings: 2
  • Dimensions: H70 x W34.5 x D36 cm
  • Weight: 23.2kg
  • Energy Rating: A
  • Noise Level: 64dB

Best Air Conditioners

De’Longhi PAC EX100 Pinguino Silent Air Conditioner

The first domestic air conditioning unit to achieve an A++ energy efficiency rating, this Pinguino model will run effectively without making too much of a dent in your energy bills.

It is also a great improvement in technology compared to its predecessors. The climate light indicator gives the user a constant update on the conditions of the room via the LED display. There are also three light stages – orange for uncomfortable conditions, green for acceptable and blue for optimal.

You can use this unit on dehumidify-mode only, making it versatile for whatever you need. Handles and castors also make it very easy to move around, despite it being on the heavier side.

The included bio-silver filter will remove pollutants and allergens from the air, making it ideal for hayfever sufferers in the summer months.

Low noise emissions are guaranteed even when it is on the maximum setting, so if you want to leave it running overnight, it will not disturb your sleep. The maximum cooling capacity is very high, so it won’t leave you struggling in the heat.

It is the most expensive of our picks by far, but if an air conditioner is vital and you want the best of the bunch, then this is your top pick.

We like

  • Amazing energy rating
  • Low noise
  • Great all-in-one

We disike

  • Price
  • Hose could be longer

Final Verdict

The most innovative and advanced air conditioner in a long time. A must for those who rely on these appliances.

+ Specifications

  • Output: 10,000 BTU
  • Speed Settings: 3
  • Dimensions: 38.7 x 44 x 80.6 cm
  • Weight: 35kg
  • Energy Rating: A++
  • Noise Level: 53dB

+ Downloads

Download De'Longhi PAC EX100 Pinguino Silent Air Conditioner User Manual

Download

Electrolux ChillFlex EXP09CN1W7 Air Conditioning Unit

For a mid-priced model, this Electrolux is surprisingly efficient. It guides the cool air to wherever the remote is situated, so you have full control over the direction.

The energy output is high at 9000 BTU, and it also operates at 1000W, so will have no struggles in removing the hot air. There is also a sleep mode, so you can pause the unit and carry on where you left off later.

With the ability to cool a room with a maximum size of 18m², it will likely be suitable for any room in your house. The exhaust hose length is 1.3m, which is generous too.

Electrolux is a leading name in the electronics industry, and this product shows why.

We like

  • Really good output
  • Reasonable price

We disike

  • Noisy

Final Verdict

A great unit which isn’t too far off the performance of the De’Longhi Pinguino (for a fraction of the price). Our close second choice.

+ Specifications

  • Output: 9000 BTU
  • Speed Settings: 2
  • Dimensions: H70 x W34.5 x D36 cm
  • Weight: 23.2kg
  • Energy Rating: A
  • Noise Level: 64dB

+ Downloads

Download Electrolux ChillFlex EXP09CN1W7 User Manual Here

Download

VonHaus Portable Air Conditioner

With oscillating vents, this VonHaus model will keep your whole room cold no matter its shape.

There are three modes – cool, dehumidify and fan – so you have freedom of choice no matter the conditions. For even more choice, there is a 1-24-hour timer, so you can set the device up to keep your room cool well ahead of time.

The four castors make it transportable between rooms, and it is also on the lighter side so will be relatively effortless to carry up and down stairs.

Operated with a remote control, there is also an LED display screen for full control.

 

We like

  • Curved design
  • Oscillation ability

We disike

  • Only compatible with sliding windows – may not be the best choice for modern homes

Final Verdict

A good mid-market unit which is powerful for the size and price

+ Specifications

  • Output: 9000 BTU
  • Speed Settings: 2
  • Dimensions: 89 x 40.5 x 38.5 cm
  • Weight: 24kg
  • Energy Rating: A
  • Noise Level: 65dB

+ Downloads

Download VonHaus Portable Air Conditioner User Manual Here.

Download

TROTEC PAC 2000 E Local Air Conditioner

This monoblock air conditioner from Trotec is compact and slimline for a product of its type, making it perfect if you want to fit it in any little niches out of eyesight.

It is on the lightweight side, so can be transported between rooms with little effort using the four wheeling castors. There is also a handy little cable tidy and remote-control storage caddy so that you won’t lose any vital pieces on the way.

Not only does it have the ability to cool down a room up to 65m² to 16°C, but it can also be used as a dehumidifier or aerator without using the cooling function.

The hose is 1.5m long, which is good for most rooms and placements.

 

We like

  • Easy to store away
  • Nice design

We disike

  • Little noisy

Final Verdict

Relatively good output but not best if you are easily disturbed in your sleep by any noise.

+ Specifications

  • Output: 7200 BTU
  • Speed Settings: 2
  • Dimensions: 30 x 37.5 x 80.7 cm
  • Weight: 24kg
  • Energy Rating: A
  • Noise Level: 65dB

+ Downloads

Download TROTEC PAC 2000 E Local Air Conditioner User Manual Here.

Download

Inventor Cool 8.000 Btu/h Portable

This portable unit is not only small in size but fully flexible, with a duct which the user can fit to various window styles.

With three modes to choose from (cool, fan only and dehumidify), the appliance can also be adjusted to suit your needs. The former will act as a traditional air conditioner, reducing the temperature of the room and allowing you to choose your desired fan speed. The latter will perform at 0.75L/h.

There is a drain tube to make emptying out any excess moisture easy, which the owner should perform periodically.

We like

  • Affordable to run
  • Quite powerful

We disike

  • Instructions are vague

Final Verdict

A good, affordable unit which is quiet and effective

+ Specifications

  • Output: 8000 BTU
  • Speed Settings: 3
  • Dimensions: W30 × L34.5 × H79 cm
  • Weight: 24kg
  • Noise Level: 54dB

+ Downloads

Download Inventor Cool 8.000 Btu/h Portable User Manual

Download

Challenge 5K Air Conditioning Unit

Recycling warm air into cold air, the Challenge 5K provides enough power for a room size up to 7~10m².

The self-evaporative system will draw excess moisture from the air, helping to keep the ideal temperature. Omni-directional castors make it easy to move between rooms, so you have complete freedom wherever you wish to spend your day.

Controlling the appliance is made easy with an LED display, 1-hour timer function and remote.

It is supplied with a 150cm hose, which should be long enough for most windows and external ventilation options.

We like

  • Good price

We disike

  • Noisy

Final Verdict

More expensive options may have more settings and be quieter, but this is great for a more affordable option.

+ Specifications

  • Output: 5000 BTU
  • Dimensions: H61.5 x W32.9 x D31.8cm
  • Weight: 25kg
  • Energy Rating: A
  • Noise Level: 65dB

+ Downloads

Download Challenge 5K Air Conditioning Unit User Manual Here.

Download

Air Conditioner Buying Guide

Finding the right unit for your needs will take in a lot of factors.

  • How big is the room you will be aerating?
  • Where will you be placing the air conditioner?
  • How long does the hose have to be?
  • Do you want the unit to be able to do anything else as well as remove heat?

Room Size

Some devices are better equipped to deal with larger rooms than others. Don’t just think about the main room the appliance will be in, especially if you are planning to take advantage of the fact it is transportable.

Placement

Most of the air conditioners featured are square in shape, but there are some which are more slimline and therefore taller. Think about where you will be placing the appliance. Do you mind it being visible?

Consider the fact that it will have to be near both a plug socket and external ventilation, such as a window.

Other Functions

Some air conditioners have an added benefit of also being able to act as dehumidifiers or lower the risk of allergens in your home.

You will likely pay the price for these added extras, but they are great to consider if you are mindful of these factors. While they are expensive, it could be cheaper than buying two or three separate devices.

What is BTU?

The output of every fan we have featured is in the form of British Thermal Units, or BTU.

Essentially, this is a unit of measurement for energy. One BTU is the amount of energy used to lower the temperature of the room by one degree (in other words, the amount of heat removed from the room).

Modes

Most air conditioners will have two or more different modes. These are commonly a selection of air conditioning, dehumidifying, fan only or heating.

Think about what is best for your home, as purchasing an air conditioner which can do all of the above could save you having to invest in separate appliances and will be usable all year round.

FAQ’s

Why do all air conditioners need an air tube?

Home air conditioning systems work more effectively than an ordinary fan appliance. This is because, rather than pushing warm air around the room, they expel the air through the hoses.

So, while all of the air conditioners we have featured are portable, they require external ventilation. This can most commonly be through an open window or an air duct.

Which brands make the best air conditioners?

Inventor, De’Longhi, VonHaus, Trotec and EcoAir are the five leading manufacturers of these appliances.

Each brand offers a range of individual models, and it is best to assess what you are looking for in an air conditioner before you look into specific models.