Window AC vs. Portable Air Conditioner: Which AC Type Is Better?

Which AC is better: Window or portable? What are the differences between a portable AC with wheels and a window model? It’s easy for me to decide because I love the versatility of a portable, stand-up air conditioner. But that’s me. This topic is discussed in-depth and we give both sides of it so that you are informed.

As temperatures rise, so does our need for air conditioners to cool our offices and homes. We can help you decide which air conditioner is right for you. When buying an AC, there are many factors to consider. Choosing between a portable or window AC unit is one of the most important decisions you will make.

The main factor to consider is whether you want a portable or window air conditioner. This will help you narrow down your options and simplify the entire process. It is important to match the AC to the desired area. It’s not worth spending money on an AC that won’t do the job. An air conditioner that is too large for your needs is a waste.

This article will discuss the pros and cons between the window and portable ACs, as well as all other important points to consider. What should you budget for an air conditioner? What are the minimum BTUs you will need to cool your home? How do you install a portable or window air conditioner?

How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

Understanding the basics of air conditioners will make it easier to choose the right one. Heat exchange is the basis of all air conditioners. The unit absorbs heat from the air. This is done by compressing the gas into a liquid and then allowing it to decompress.

Heat is required to convert liquids into gas. The heated, compressed gas is then passed through a radiator. The surrounding heat is absorbed and the radiator fins are then made cold. The fan blows air over the radiator and distributes the cool air throughout the room.

The compressor is then driven by an electric motor to pressurize gas. Heat is created during compression. The heat generated during compression must be dissipated. A heat exchange, often a cooper probe is used to redirect the heat away from the cooling fins. The AC’s efficiency is affected by this heat exchange. This can make a difference when deciding between a portable AC conditioner and a window unit.

Window vs Portable Air Conditioner

Advantages & Disadvantages

When deciding whether to purchase a portable or window air conditioner, there are many factors to take into consideration. These are the main points we will be examining about the benefits and disadvantages of a portable air conditioner vs a window unit.

  • Cost of a window air conditioner and a portable conditioner
  • Electricity and efficiency
  • Installation
  • Noise
  • The practicality of a portable air conditioner vs a window

Window Air Conditioners

Air conditioners for windows are usually quite large. The majority of the air conditioner can be mounted on the wall, outside the window, or on a windowsill. The fan that cools the room is the only one on the inside. You will find installation kits that can be adjusted to fit most windows sizes. For some models, you can also purchase through wall kits. These are harder to install because you will have to cut through the exterior wall of your house. Window air conditioners can be installed permanently or semi-permanently. The unit is designed to be installed in a single room. It cannot be moved. A window conditioner is usually installed for its lifetime. It can be removed easily and taken with you when you move.

Friedrich CP10G10B

EntryGard protection against intrusion.

Window air conditioners are typically less expensive than portable units and they tend to be more energy-efficient. Later in this article, I will discuss energy efficiency. Window air conditioners have a clear advantage in terms of cost-effectiveness. However, it does not necessarily mean that window conditioners are the best choice.

The bulk of an air conditioner is placed outside of a room. This can improve the room’s aesthetics. It’s more appealing and less cluttered. A large air conditioner hanging outside your home can affect its exterior appearance. This is why some homeowners associations prohibit the installation of window conditioners.

Although air conditioners can be quite loud, there are quieter options. This is especially important when you consider a portable AC conditioner. The AC is located inside the room. A window conditioner should be quieter because it uses a compressor outside of the room. You shouldn’t hear them indoors, at least. Vibrations can also cause windows to produce additional noise, which can be annoying. A window conditioner can sometimes make noise that is not desirable. This additional noise can be negated by using a through-wall installation, but it is more difficult.

— Portable Air Conditioners

A portable air conditioner has the obvious advantage of being portable. It can be moved around depending on its location. Portable air conditioners are heavy and large machines that can be rolled around easily.

It is easy to set up portable air conditioners. Many air conditioners have an exhaust pipe to remove the hot air from your room. The kit can be used to fit most window sizes. The kit is easy to install and seals the window around it. Portable air conditioners may have two pipes. One pipe is used to remove hot air, and the other to draw in air from the outside. Kits can also be purchased for ceiling vent pipes and doors.

Whynter Elite ARC-122DS

This is ideal for rooms measuring 400 square feet.

The real benefit of buying a portable AC conditioner is its mobility and ease of use. There are also some drawbacks. Portable air conditioners are generally more costly and less efficient than portable ones. This can increase your operating costs. The reason is that portable air conditioners are not required to have an Energy Efficiency Rate (EER). A portable conditioner also uses heat exchange within the room it is being used. Although the exhaust heat pipe is used for hot air removal, there is still a minimal heat exchange in the room that can affect efficiency. However, this effect is very slight and may vary from AC to AC. Portable air conditioners that don’t have an exit pipe will be less efficient.

Many portable ACs are silent. Although there is no silent AC, some portable air conditioners can be quiet enough to not disturb you. Louder units can cause disruption and are concentrated in the room.

Although portable air conditioners come in a variety of sizes, they can be very bulky. It can cause clutter by being too large and occupying the whole room.

How to Choose the Best Air Conditioner for Your Needs

We have just discussed the pros and cons of portable vs window air conditioners. This will give you an overview of the differences between them. There are many things to consider, regardless of whether you choose a portable or window air conditioner. You will see the advantages and drawbacks of each type as you consider your specific needs.

— Air Conditioner Prices

It is difficult to estimate the cost of an air conditioner. It’s important to consider the size and brand of the air conditioner. This being said, everyone has a budget. Whether you want a 5,000 BTU or 10,000 BTU air conditioner, your budget will dictate what you can afford. The energy efficiency of your air conditioner will also impact your long-term expenses. A $100 savings on a cheaper air conditioner may end up costing you more over time in electricity.

We must start somewhere, however. To give you an idea about the differences in prices between portable and window air conditioners, I made a simple Amazon comparison. The prices for a portable 10,000 BTU air conditioner (Amazon) start at $300 and go up to $450. For a decent portable air conditioner with 10,000 BTU, I would recommend spending around 350 dollars. Window air conditioners of similar quality are about $60-100 cheaper. Window air conditioners are considerably cheaper when it comes down to the purchase price.

— Energy Efficiency

When considering an air conditioner, I consider energy efficiency seriously. These air conditioners will consume more electricity than other electric appliances in your house and have an obvious impact on your electricity bill. However, these appliances are more efficient for the environment.

Because there are no federal EER regulations for portable air conditioners, it is difficult to find out how efficient they are. Window air conditioners must be rated for energy efficiency. This means you can search for an Energy Star rating.

Nevertheless, manufacturers provide EER information for air conditioners. This applies to both portable and window air conditioners. This information may not be available. You should ask why. Positive EER ratings are a selling point. Manufacturers should proudly display this fact.

Calculating the required wattage per BTU-Hour to calculate the Energy Efficiency Ratio for air conditioners will give you the Energy Efficiency Ratio. The BTU rating is then divided by the rated power of the air conditioner. An AC with 10,000 BTUs will use 1,000 watts (10,000 / 1000) to generate electricity. It will have an EER rating of 10. This rating can be considered a good rating. An EER rating below 8 is not allowed on any air conditioner sold in the US, including portable air conditioners. An EER rating of 8 or higher means less electricity consumption. An AC with an EER rating of 8 will cost 25% more electricity than an AC with a 10. This could save you a lot of money in just one season.

Air Conditioner Buying Guide

What size air conditioner do I need? How many BTUs?

BTU ratings are used to size air conditioners. British Thermal Units (BTUs) are used for heat transfer measurement. They represent the energy required to heat 1 pound of water at sea level by 1 degree Fahrenheit. Air conditioners are cooling and heating. However, the principle is still valid in reverse.

Your air conditioner’s BTUs per hour will impact its price and efficiency. It will also affect the cooling efficiency of the air conditioner. Although a smaller (lower BTU) AC conditioner will cost less and use less power, it won’t cool the room as effectively as one that is larger.

You must account for the following when calculating your TTU requirement.

  • The area to be cooled is measured in square feet.
  • Insulation level
  • The room heats up
  • Sunlight enters the room


BTU calculation charts usually indicate the required BTUs per square foot. This would mean that a ceiling height of 8′ is used. A higher ceiling will result in a larger volume and therefore more BTUs. If your ceiling is greater than 8′, you will need to adjust your BTU requirements by a percentage. This is an easy calculation. Divide the ceiling’s actual height by 8 (average height). Add the answer to the above question to get the area recommended. If your ceiling height is 10′, then multiply 10 x 8 = 1.25. To find the recommended BTUs, multiply the square meters of the room by 1.25.

The area of a room is calculated by multiplying its width by its length. The area of a room measured 18′ X20′ is 360 sq. Ft. Ft. Ft. This room would need at least 13,000 BTU under normal conditions.

Additional Heat for the Room

The typical air conditioner BTU specifications assume that the room is occupied only by two people. A room such as a kitchen that generates heat will also need cooling.

You will need 600 BTU for each person if you have more than two people in your room. A TV and a few lights are the normal electrical appliances. You should factor in the possibility of using multiple computers (like an office), or other electrical machinery. To determine the additional BTU required, multiply the wattage of your electrical equipment by 3.4. 100 x 3.4 = 340 extra BTUs for a 100W light.

A kitchen air conditioner will usually require an additional 4,000 BTUs to cool it. An additional 10% will be required for rooms with many windows that receive direct sunlight. Poor insulation can be corrected by adding 15 to 25 %, depending on the insulation level in the ceilings and walls.

The Typical BTU of Room Air Conditioners

Below is a list of air conditioner sizes that can be used in rooms with up to two people. This assumes a ceiling height of 8′. Variations can be made according to the criteria above.