Best portable air conditioners in Australia

Everything you need to know before getting a portable air con to cool your apartment, home or office.
  • De'Longhi Pinguino Silent

    Best Overall

    Low noise level
    Eco-friendly refrigerant
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  • Kogan 2.9kW

    Best Small

    Slim and lightweight
    Smaller cooling capacity
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  • Vostok 4.1kW

    Best Budget

    Affordable
    Noisier
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  • evaLIGHT Air Cooler

    Best Mini

    Great for your desk
    Tiny cooling capacity
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Are portable air conditioners any good?

For those without split system air conditioning at home, you might be considering getting a portable air conditioner instead. These are typically cheaper to purchase, don’t require wall or ceiling installation and still do the job. They can be more convenient for renters or those living in apartments with strict strata regulations who aren’t allowed to install outside window units.

The downside is that portable air conditioners are typically less efficient to run because, unlike exterior window AC units, they generate waste heat indoors so they’ve got extra hot air that needs to be vented outside. Since the generator is kept inside your home, it can also be noisier to run compared to a window unit that has the generator component outside. 

If you’re more concerned about maintaining good air quality in your home, you should check out our picks for the best air purifiers in Australia. And if you’re weighing up what your best options are for maintaining both optimal temperature and air quality levels , here’s our lowdown on the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Purifier Fan Heater.

How much does a portable air conditioner cost?

A portable air conditioner will cost you from at least around $350 to over $1000 for models with larger cooling capacity. There are a range of important factors to keep in mind when choosing the right model for you. 

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Portable air conditioner buying guide

Here’s what to look out for when buying a portable air conditioner in Australia

  • Check the cooling capacity (in kW) is appropriate for the room/area you want to cool.
  • How large is the air conditioner? Check the air con’s dimensions against your room size and confirm it fits through narrow corridors and doorways.
  • Do you need heating too? If so, opt for a reverse cycle model.
  • Need dehumidifying? Check for a dehumidifier rating of at least 1L per hour.
  • Check the AC’s maximum sound (db) levels. A quiet AC should sit under 55db.
  • Look for a model with Class A energy efficiency or at least a 3-star energy rating.
  • Check the refrigerant’s global warming potential (GWP). Opt for one with a lower GWP if you’re concerned about the environment.
  • Look for a model with castor wheels, which will be much easier to move from room to room.

Best portable air conditioners Reviews.org AU | De'Longhi Pinguino Silent

Best portable air conditioner overall

De’Longhi Pinguino Silent Portable Air Conditioner

  • Price: $693
  • Cooling capacity: 3kW
  • Dimensions: 445 x 805 x 390mm
  • Noise: 49db
  • Warranty: 2 years 

 

The De’Longhi Pinguino Silent is a super quiet portable air conditioner that’s powerful enough to keep a large bedroom or living room space cool, works as a standalone or combi-mode dehumidifier and is also eco-friendly.

Unless you’re looking to cool an extra large room that’s over 10.5 metres squared, we reckon the De’Longhi Pinguino PACEX120WH Silent is the best portable air conditioner for most people. Plus, you can get it at Bunnings.

If you’re sensitive to noise, have difficulty sleeping to the humming of a rackety air con or have young kids or pets, it gets a solid tick for its standout quietness. At 49db, the Pinguino Silent is well below the level of normal conversation (around 60db) according to Safe Work Australia and on the lower end of the average sound level of portable air conditioners (56db) in our market selection. 

The other big decider for me is the Pinguino Silent’s use of low-emission refrigerant R290 or propane. With its super low Global Warming Potential (GWP) and zero Ozone Depletion Potential, you’ll be assured that you’re making a choice with low environmental impact.  

Best portable air conditioners Reviews.org AU | Kogan 2.9kW Portable air conditioner

Best small portable air conditioner for bedrooms

Kogan 2.9kW Portable Air Conditioner

  • Price: $599
  • Cooling capacity: 2.9kW 
  • Dimensions: 300 x 756 x 352mm
  • Noise: 56db
  • Warranty: 1 year

Clocking in at only 21.5kg, a third lighter than the average model in our selection, and decently slim and narrow in size, the Kogan 2.9kW is a great choice if you’re tight on space or only looking to cool a small room. It gets another nod for those wanting a clunky-free model that’s easy to move around and isn’t an eyesore.  

The Kogan 2.9kW also dehumidifies, so you can conveniently keep your room cool and dry with one machine and via remote control. To save energy, the model also comes with a handy sleep mode, 24-hour timer and automatic temperature control. 

Best portable air conditioners Reviews.org AU | Rinnai 4.1kW Portable Air Conditioner

Best portable air conditioner for large areas

Rinnai C4.1kW Cooling Only Portable Air Con

 

  • Price: $849
  • Cooling capacity: 4.1kW
  • Dimensions: 480 x 795 x 400mm
  • Noise: 52db
  • Warranty: 2 years

Need to cool a large area at a relatively affordable price? The Rinnai 4.1kW can power an area up to 25 metres squared, which is suitable for most large bedrooms and living spaces. While it’s far from dirt cheap, unless you’re on a tight budget, we’d pick the Rinnai 4.1kW over cheaper alternatives with similar cooling capacity for these added benefits: low noise levels and it dehumidifies too.

The Rinnai 4.1kW comes with castor wheels and carry handles so it’s easy to manoeuvre around the house. It also offers automatic temperature control, sleep mode and timer functions so you can set it to turn off when you leave the house and maintain your desired temperature level so you don’t have to worry about your house getting too cold.

As expected, the biggest downside is that the Rinnai C4.1kW isn’t the slimmest or smallest on the market. But its attractive aesthetic makes up for most of that.  

Best portable air conditioner Reviews.org AU | Polocool PC Series 6kW Portable Air Conditioner

Runner up for large areas

Polocool PC Series 6.0kW Cooling Only Portable Air Conditioner

 

  • Price: $1395
  • Cooling capacity: 6.0kW
  • Dimensions: 365 x 775 x 568mm
  • Noise: 54db
  • Warranty: 2 years

If you’re looking for the absolute largest capacity portable air con you can get, your best bet is the Polocool PC Series 6.0kW. Although it is a whopping $1395, you pay the price for the extra power capable of potentially cooling your whole household. Considering it can cool large areas from 20 up to 42 metres squared, you might consider this machine if you want to keep all areas of an apartment cool or have a large living room or bedroom. 

At 45kg, it’s the heaviest portable air conditioner from our market selection, which is expected for its cooling capacity. At this size, the device does admittedly look a bit chunky, so if you want your portable AC unit to be as unobtrusive as possible, this isn’t the model for you. 

In other aspects, the Polocool PC Series 6.0kW disappoints. It’s definitely not a smart home device, although for its hefty price you’d almost expect that. It doesn’t come with remote control functionality and no energy-saving mode. The saving grace is that it does have auto temperature controls available.

Best portable air conditioners Reviews.org AU | Vostok 4.1kW portable air conditioner

Best budget portable air conditioner

Vostok 4.1kW Portable Air Conditioner

 

  • Price: $329
  • Cooling capacity: 4.1kW
  • Dimensions: 475 x 798 x 417mm
  • Noise: 64db
  • Warranty: 1 year

At $329, the Vostok 4.1kW is one of the most affordable portable air conditioners on the market for its relatively large cooling capacity. It’s able to cool rooms up to 28 metres squared and it’s not extremely heavy either at 32.7kg. 

Another big plus is that unlike most portable air conditioners, the Vostok 4.1kW is a reverse cycle model (as well as having a dehumidifier mode), meaning it can equally cool and heat up your home to suit the season with a range between 16 to 32 degrees Celsius. Talk about killing two birds with one stone assuming you don’t already have a heater, this portable AC can double as one for the colder months without you having to invest in another appliance.

One drawback is that at 64db, the model does err on the louder side. If you or other household members are sensitive to noise, you’ll have to weigh up whether it’s worth bearing for its great price. 

Runner up for budget choice

Onix 12000BTU Portable Air conditioner White – A007G

  • Price: $379
  • Cooling capacity: 3.5kW
  • Noise: 64db
  • Warranty: 1 year

While we’re sorry to say Kmart doesn’t sell air conditioners, you can stop over at Big W for an alternative budget steal. We recommend the Onix 12000BTU Portable Air conditioner White – A007G. 

While it’s not a quiet air con, it does have decent cooling capacity and it isn’t too heavy either. So, if you just want a portable air conditioner pronto to get the job done, this will do the trick.

Best portable air conditioners Reviews.org AU | Kogan Smarter Home 4.1kW Smart Portable Air Conditioner

Best for smart home

Kogan SmarterHome™ 4.1kW Portable Smart Air Conditioner

 

  • Price: $349
  • Cooling capacity: 4.1kW
  • Dimensions: 443 x 830 x 340mm
  • Noise: 62db
  • Warranty: 1 year

If you’re on a tight budget but you want to give a smart home-compatible model a go, your best bet is the Kogan 4.1kW Portable Smart Air Conditioner. 

The biggest plus is that it can be completely controlled remotely via a supported smartphone app or device and is compatible with both Google Assistant and Alexa. What’s more, for an affordable price, as well as decent cooling capacity, you’ll get an AC that isn’t too heavy, dehumidifies and is reverse cycle. 

Best portable air conditioners Reviews.org AU | Kogan Smarter Home 4.1kW Smart Portable Air Conditioner

Best mini for the desk

evaLIGHT USB Personal Air Cooler by Evapolar

  • Price: $199
  • Cooling capacity: 0.01kW
  • Dimensions: 171 x 170 x 174mm
  • Noise: N/A
  • Warranty: 1 year

Want to enjoy the breeze of a portable air con right at your work desk to get you through the summer? The tiny evaLIGHT USB Personal Air Cooler lets you do just that. While its cooling capacity can’t compare to a real-size portable air conditioner, as a mini device you’re only turning on when you need some extra cooling occasionally, it may suit your purposes fine. 

The downside is that $199 is quite a hefty price to pay for such a tiny device. And for one that has pretty low cooling capacity in comparison. If you’ve got extra bucks to burn, get this one for the novelty factor. 

Best quiet portable air conditioner 

De’Longhi C2.5kW Cooling Only Portable Air Con

  • Price:$599
  • Cooling capacity: 2.5kW
  • Dimensions: 475 x 870 x 450 mm
  • Noise: 47db
  • Warranty: 2 years

If you simply want the quietest portable air con on the market, look no further than the DeLonghi C2.5kW Cooling Only Portable Air Con. At 47 decibels, this model will be barely audible in your household, which is perfect for those with sensitive ears. On top of that, it works effectively as a standalone dehumidifier absorbing up to 34L per hour, or 1L per hour in combi-mode. 

For those who care about the environment though, Delonghi’s 2.5kW model pales next to our best overall pick, the Delonghi Pinguino Silent. While this model does have sleep mode and a condensate self-recycling system in place, it runs on refrigerant R410A, not the super low-emission refrigerant R290 or propane. Unless this is a dealbreaker for you though, the DeLonghi is sure to appeal to the average user. 

Best reverse cycle portable air conditioner

Dimplex DC15RCBW 4.4kW Portable 4 in 1 Air Con

  • Price: $974
  • Cooling capacity: 4.4kW
  • Dimensions: 300 x 760 x 550mm
  • Noise: 56db
  • Warranty: 2 years

If you’re looking to kill two birds with one stone, you can get a portable air con that can cool and heat up your home during summer and winter months. While we’ve already mentioned a reverse cycle model above, the Vostok 4.1kW, if you can afford its higher-end price, the Dimplex 4.4kW Portable 4 in 1 Air Con will let you enjoy ambient temperature control throughout the year without sacrificing quietness. 

With its dehumidifier function, the Dimplex DC15RCBW can also keep your home nice and dry, absorbing up to 3.1 litres per hour, which is decently more than your average multi-function portable air conditioner. 

FAQs

How does a portable air conditioner work?

A portable air conditioner sucks in the hot air from a room, cools and dehumidifies it, and then recirculates the cool air back into the room. In Australia, most are single rather than dual-ducted. A single hose vents the heat out through an air duct that can be installed in a window or ceiling/wall exhaust.

Where can I buy a portable air conditioner?

You can purchase a portable air conditioner from most major appliance retailers in store or online including at JB Hi-Fi, Harvery Norman, The Good Guys, Bunnings and Big W. Alternatively, there are online-only retailers such as Amazon Australia, Dick Smith and other third-party online appliance stores from where you can source a portable air conditioner.

How much electricity does a portable air conditioner use?

The amount of electricity a portable air conditioner uses depends on its cooling capacity (measured in BTU or kW power), how many cycles it runs and how often you leave your AC on. How much power your air con needs to run will primarily depend on the size of the room/area you’re cooling and how hot the weather is. 

Tips

How to install a portable air conditioner

  • Make sure you have a window kit and window to vent from.
  • Open your window and fit the sealing plate into the window gap.
  • Screw the sealing plate into position and close the window.
  • Connect your exhaust hose to the air con.
  • Fit the exhaust pipe nozzle to the other end of the hose.
  • Secure the nozzle into the window seal plate.
  • Connect your AC to a power socket.

What to watch out for when installing your portable air con

  • Window. Check the portable unit fits your window size properly. Most windows are slide/sash type, but if you’ve got a hinged window, ensure the model you choose has a compatible window kit.
  • Vent. Check the vent is long enough to reach your window from the portable unit.
  • Cord. Check the cord is long enough to reach the power socket and avoid using an extension cord to minimise overheating or fire hazard risks.
  • Exhaust pipe. Keep the exhaust pipe straight to aid good airflow and as short as possible so your unit can run most efficiently.
  • Space clearance. Check the manufacturer’s minimum space clearance between the unit and the wall/window. As a general rule of thumb, give at least a 30cm gap for good air circulation.
  • Flat, even floor. Ensure the portable AC is placed flat on the floor and never on top of or near to tables, chairs or other furniture.

How to reduce the costs of running a portable air conditioner

  • Set your AC at a consistent and moderate temperature. So your AC doesn’t have to work extra hard, the optimal temperature should be set around 25°C in summer and 18°C during winter. 
  • Keep your home shaded. Shut your curtains and close any open doors or windows to prevent cool air escaping (and extra heat getting in). To minimise additional heat absorption, turn off any lights you don’t need on. 
  • Regularly clean or replace the AC filter. This should be done approximately fortnightly to monthly, as well as generally keeping your unit dust and dirt-free.
  • Only run it when necessary. If it’s not too hot, consider opening the windows to get some breeze or invest in a fan instead.
  • Double-glaze your windows and doors. This will also help to trap heat from getting into your home. 

Our methodology

We searched for the most popular and highest rated portable air conditioners on the market. From this selection, we analysed the products against key criteria including price, cooling capacity, size, noise level, moisture absorption rate, refrigerant type and whether reverse cycle was available. 

There’s not a one-size-fits-all for the best portable air conditioner in Australia so that’s why we’ve chosen our top picks across 7 categories: best overall, small, budget, reverse cycle, mini, quiet and for large areas. 

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