portable air conditioner
Portable AC units remove warm air and replace it with cool currents just like stationary ACs, except they can be rolled to any part of the house as well. Image Credit: Shutterstock

We all know and love the mobility of a floor fan, but in the outdoor highs of 45°C and above, not even the coolest fans can do much indoors. Enter portable air conditioners; roll these convenient units from room to room to save on bills and the expenses of having a permanent in-the-wall solution. Suited for small spaces, a portable AC offers targeted cooling for different parts of the house at a time, as long as the unit is stationed near a window.

What is the cooling area of a portable AC?

Gulf News asked Tomcy Aloysius, co-founder of Aura Cool Air Condition Trading Co. LLC in Dubai, about a portable unit’s cooling capacity. He said: “Most portable air conditioners are one ton, which is the starting capacity in the UAE market. One ton means that the AC can cool 12,000 British Thermal Units (BTU) in an hour. A one-ton AC is good for an area of 100 to 120 square feet, so it’s a very small room. A studio apartment will need a two to 2.5 ton AC”.

The higher the tonnage of a portable air conditioning unit, the more warm air it will recycle within an hour. Some brands like Super General offer 1.5 ton ACs in their mobile line, as well.

How do portable air conditioners work?

Portable ACs rely on capturing part of the ambient warm air inside a room, cooling it and then pumping it back out to lower the temperature of the area. One caveat is that the unit needs an outlet for all the hot air it removes and makes during the process.

“These units have an exhaust running from the condensing unit to expel the hot air outside the room. The exhaust pipe needs to be outside a window to withdraw the air and throw it,” said Mahaboob Basha, a mechanical engineer with Masterminds Electromechanical Works in Dubai.

So do ensure that the area you want to spot cool has an opening.

Which portable AC is the best for me?

portable ac
Portable units are great for occasional use, if your main AC unit has broken down, for instance. Image Credit: Flickr/Marco Verch

According to Aloysius, your choice of AC brand will depend on the duration of use. He explained: “We usually suggest Midea and Gree portable air conditioners to our customers because their airflow efficiency is better than most, and they’re also pleasing to the eye. But if you’re looking at a long-term investment, then go for Gree, or Super General will do for yearlong usage”.

Basha says a mobile air conditioning unit works best as a seasonal solution for the hotter months, from June to October, in the UAE. Since they’re limited by capacity, they cannot run all year round like central ACs. But it’s important to note that, just as with central and window ACs, the higher the ambient temperature in the room, the faster the compressor or the engine of the unit will get tired - so there are general limitations to consider.

Here, you can find some of the best-selling portable air conditioners below to keep cool this summer, no matter where you are at home. Installing the unit on your own can be risky, especially with the attachment and placement of the exhaust pipe, so call over AC technicians via Amazon Home Services when you shop for a unit. Make sure you’re a Prime member to avail free, next-day delivery.

1. Best Overall: Gree Portable Air Conditioner, C'matic-R12C1


  • Remote control adjusts temperatures using a sensor
  • Dehumidification
  • Fan automatically cleans moisture on the unit
  • Uses eco-friendly R410A refrigerant
  • Quiet


  • Weighs 39kgs
  • No auto-swing

Operating at a quiet 49 decibels, this Gree one-ton portable AC is as sophisticated as it looks. It’s built with the ability to remove up to 1.6 litres of moisture from the air, while it cools the room by 12,000 BTUs per hour using three fan speeds. On turbo mode, you get even faster results. Besides its reliable timer function and child safety lock, its best feature lies within the remote controller – a smart sensor that takes note of the surrounding temperature and tells the unit to adjust accordingly.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh129.08 for 12 months with select banks. Add professional installation for Dh522.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers five years of warranty on the product.

2. Best for Cooling and Heating: Electrolux Portable Air Conditioner


  • Cools and heats
  • Anti-allergy and anti-bacterial filters
  • Self-diagnosis
  • Dehumidification


  • Looks outdated
  • Does not have vertical auto swing

A close second, with rave reviews, is the Electrolux one-ton portable air conditioner. From offering both heating and cooling to de-humidifying the indoor climate, the unit does it all. All the collected moisture evaporates on its own, so you never have to empty out the catcher. What’s more, it comes with an anti-bacterial mesh filter and an anti-allergy pollen filter to pump back out as much fresh air as possible. And you don’t have to wonder about the next maintenance round since it self-diagnoses by checking the filters.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh108.25 for 12 months with select banks.

3. Best for Medium-Sized Rooms: Super General 1.5 Ton Portable Air Conditioner


  • Works as a cooling fan as well
  • Dehumidification
  • Compact size
  • Comprehensive installation kit included
  • Higher tonnage


  • Customer service is not responsive, according to reviews

Super General’s 1.5-ton portable air conditioner is slightly more powerful because it cools 18,000 BTUs in an hour. It has an attractive all-white build so it blends into your décor without trouble, and its cooling capacity can easily take on a medium-sized room. The SG P184T3 model comes with strong copper pipes, an eco-friendly refrigerant and six air blades – the unit also functions as a cooling fan, which can be a refreshing alternative to the AC when you’re working out. While other ACs arrive with the hose included, your Super General air conditioner brings all the installation accessories with it, from a window connector to funnel.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh130.58 for 12 months with select banks.

4. Best Budget: AUX 1 Ton Portable Air Conditioner


  • 4D airflow for even cooling
  • Self-diagnosis function
  • Anti-bacterial filter
  • Lightweight at 20kgs
  • Value for money


  • Can get noisy

Portable air conditioners typically throw out air in two or three ways, but the AUX one-ton AC is a little different. It employs a 4D airflow technology that spreads cooling to even the farthest corners of the room, so there are no random warm spots. The rest of its features offer the same convenience as other brands – the unit clearly communicates the temperature via its sleek digital display, has a timer function and an anti-bacterial filter as well as the ability to troubleshoot itself for errors.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh93.67 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty for parts and services and a five-year warranty for the compressor.

5. Best for Energy Savings: Crownline Portable Air Conditioner


  • Water cooling technology
  • Dehumidification
  • Anti-frost function
  • Easy end-of-season storage
  • Activated carbon filter for removing odours


  • No digital display

Crownline’s one-ton mobile AC claims to cool an area of 425 square feet using commercial-quality components. There’s more to this discounted buy – it saves energy by functioning like an air cooler, a kind of cooling unit that evaporates water to lower the temperature. All you have to do is add water to the included tank, sit back and let the AC save you power. Thanks to its activated carbon filter, the recirculated air will always smell clean and fresh - never stale. It even removes up to 1.4 litres of humidity per hour from the air around you.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh99.92 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh69 and two-year warranty for Dh97.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.