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 with outdoor highs of 35°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.

We 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 the portable air conditioning unit, the more warm air it will recycle within an hour. Some brands offer 1.5 ton ACs in their mobile line, as well. Learn more about how they work, and our experts' recommendations on how to choose a portable AC for your home, by scrolling below.

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. Check out our curated list below for our top picks, and make sure you’re a Prime member to avail free, same- or next-day delivery.

1. Best Overall: Black+Decker Portable Air Conditioner 


  • Dehumidification included
  • Sleep mode and timer available
  • Uses eco-friendly R32 refrigerant
  • Quiet


  • No auto-swing

Operating at a quiet 54 decibels, this Black+Decker one-ton portable AC is as hassle-free as it looks. It’s built with the ability to cool up to 700 square feet, with 14,000 BTUs per hour. There are three functionalities to choose from - air conditioning, dehumidifier and fan. The portable air conditioner comes with a top-mounted control panel with LED display, which you can use to control the appliance (a remote control is also included). Helpful features like a 24-hour timer, a sleep mode, a slide-out washable filter and auto water evaporation make using this device a no-fuss operation. Reviewers do note that there seems to be no auto-swing option, though the machine's dynamic air flow ensures cooling in all directions.

Bonus: Buy with 0% installments and pay Dh212.25 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers one-year extended warranty by Salama Care for Dh171, and two-year extended warranty for Dh242.

2. Best for Small Rooms: Midea Portable Air Conditioner


  • Dehumidification included
  • Adjustable temperature
  • Wide, 102-degree rotation
  • Optimised air duct system


  • Can be noisy, per reviews

A close alternative to the Black+Decker machine is the Midea one-ton portable air conditioner. With an innovative hose-in-hose design that's far more efficient than traditional cooling systems, along with an optimsed air duct system, it cools the room quickly. Its 12,000 BTU capacity makes it ideal for spaces up to 12 square metres. Apart from the remote control, you can operate the appliance with your smartphone app or Alexa voice commands, and choose from options for cooling, ventilation and dehumidification. The rotating outlet on this device can tilt up to 102 degrees, for a wide range of cooling. Reviews attest to the cooling, saying that it can drop temperatures quickly, but point out that the unit can be noisy. It's far more suited for a small space, like the kitchen or the office, instead of a big bedroom.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh149.92 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: The manufacturer provides CoolCare, a free warranty that includes free parts and labour for a five years. Amazon offers one-year extended warranty by Salama Care for Dh114, and two-year extended warranty for Dh162.

3. Best Premium: DeLonghi Portable Air Conditioner 


  • Sleek design
  • Three-in-one unit
  • Powerful but quiet
  • Smart sensing remote


  • Expensive
  • Hose is short

Like our top pick, DeLonghi’s portable air conditioner cools large living spaces or bedrooms of up to 700 square feet, with its 14,000 BTU power. The three-in-one unit can serve as a fan, dehumidifier or air conditioner, and reviewers say it’s as quiet as a whisper when it’s operating. The appliance itself looks sleek and contemporary, so it doesn’t look out of place in any modern living space. It even includes targeted cooling technology - its sensing remote monitors temperature, humidity and your position in the room and ensures the cool air reaches you, no matter whee you are. Reviewers caution that its hose is quite short, so it may be wise to measure and ensure it’ll suit your environment before buying.

Bonus: Buy with 0% installments and pay Dh587.53 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers one-year extended warranty by Salama Care for Dh426, and two-year extended warranty for Dh605.

4. Best Budget: Evapolar Evachill Portable Air Conditioner


  • Compact, pleasing design
  • Cools, humidifies and purifies air
  • Good temperature range
  • No installation needed


  • Short distance covered

This personal air cooler by Evapolar is compact, looks great, and comes highly recommended by over 2,000 reviewers on Amazon. The device cools and humidifies the air by using evaporative technology, and it’s also able to catch large dust particles, filtering the air and purifying it as it cools. With a temperature range of 5°C to 14°C, it works effectively when you place it on a table or desk. But do note that it’s covers a distance of only up to 1.5m, so it’s not ideal for cooling entire rooms. There’s no installation needed - it can be powered via a powerbank, laptop or car power outlet, through its USB cable. So, if you need just a little cooling boost where you are, this is the perfect little companion to get.

Warranty: Amazon offers one-year extended warranty by Salama Care for Dh29, and two-year extended warranty for Dh41.

5. Best for Energy Savings: Crownline Portable Air Conditioner


  • Offers water cooling technology to save energy
  • Dehumidification
  • Activated carbon filter for removing odours
  • Comes with a remote controller and an installation kit


  • Can be noisy

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 – you have the option to save energy by adding water to the tank. The machine will then function like an air cooler, a kind of cooling unit that evaporates water to lower the temperature. 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. Like the Super General AC, this unit offers a 24-hour timer that you can adjust with the remote controller. It's slightly less noisy than the former, operating at 53 decibels.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh96.17 for 12 months with select banks.

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

How do portable air conditioners work?

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

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 remove 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?

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.” These brands are so popular on Amazon, they're often out of stock - we've picked suitable alternatives, based on similar specifications.

Basha says a mobile air conditioning unit works best as a seasonal solution for warmer months 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 bestselling portable air conditioners below to keep cool this coming summer, no matter where you are at home.

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.