Best Self-Evaporating Portable Air Conditioners – Complete 2021 Round-up

| Last Updated: September 12, 2021

There are numerous benefits to owning one of the best self-evaporating portable air conditioners besides hardly emptying the water tank. However, you’ll need to know what aspects to look out for and how to compare prices with value.

This article will guide you through the different selection processes and show you some of the top products available on the market.

Comparison of the Best Self-Evaporating Portable Air Conditioners

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Final Rating: 8.5
  • Cooling Capacity: 350 sq.ft.
  • Yearly Cost to Run: $93/year
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  • Final Rating: 7.9
  • Cooling Capacity: 350 sq.ft.
  • Yearly Cost to Run: $122/year
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  • Final Rating: 7.6
  • Cooling Capacity: 350 sq.ft.
  • Yearly Cost to Run: $142/year
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  • Final Rating: 7.4
  • Cooling Capacity: 450 sq.ft.
  • Yearly Cost to Run: $137/year
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  • Final Rating: 7.4
  • Cooling Capacity: 300 sq.ft.
  • Yearly Cost to Run: $88/year
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Aspects to Consider Before Buying a Self-Evaporating Portable Air Conditioner

Self-evaporating portable air conditioners are excellent for maintaining room temperatures while reducing the need for drainage. There are several factors you should consider before blindly purchasing one.

Size

The air conditioner’s size directly relates to its performance and power. A factor often ignored by customers is the room’s size, as you’ll need to make sure that the device’s British Thermal Units (BTU) are capable of effectively cooling or heating the room. 

For instance, an 8,000 BTU air conditioner will work in a space of up to 200 sq. ft. On the top end, you can grab a 14,000 BTU unit for up to 500 sq. ft.

Placement

When the self-evaporating portable air conditioner cools a room, it needs to exhaust the hot air out of the house. Some devices have a window, depending on the model. 

You’ll need to evaluate which window you’ll use and see if the kit will work in your home. Additionally, make sure the air conditioner can cover the entire room from that position.

Shinco 12,000 BTU

Maintenance

The components will wear down over time, and you’ll need to make sure to clean them regularly while removing any filters that may be present. The exhaust hose may also need some maintenance or replacement over time. 

Check how much maintenance will be needed for the unit you’re looking at and how much it will cost you in the long run. You may also want to assess how much the replacement costs are per part.

Efficiency

Maintenance cost isn’t the only expense you’ll suffer. Air conditioners are notorious for being some of the largest culprits of high monthly utility costs.

Fortunately, some manufacturers consider energy-efficiency for this exact reason. Look at the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) to ensure low monthly running costs.

Noise

One of the worst things you can do is buy a noisy portable air conditioner for your bedroom. You’ll struggle to sleep, or it may even keep your children up at night, leading to an unpleasant morning the following day.

There are plenty of powerful products on the market that have silent performance. The noise levels are measured in decibels (dB), so compare this category among the air conditioners you are eyeing.

Review of the Best Self Evaporating Portable Air Conditioners 

It’s time to look at our selection of the best self-evaporative portable air conditioners available. Please keep in mind that we have selected these products based on specific criteria, and you’ll need to evaluate whether they’ll fulfill your needs.

Best Overall

Black+Decker BPACT08WT

BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control, 5,000 BTU DOE (8,000 BTU ASHRAE), Cools Up to 150 Square Feet, White

Product Ratings

8.5

Affordability:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Portability:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Noise:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Performance:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ease of Setup:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Cost Efficiency:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

How We Determined These Scores

We may earn commission from purchases made from our links, at no additional cost to you

Quick Product Specs:

BTU DOE: 5,000

Cooling Capacity: 350 sq.ft.

Size & Weight: 12x17x26″ ; 53 lbs

Avg. Yrly Cost: $93/yr

Decibel Levels: 49 dB

With cool, fan, and dehumidifying modes in one package, this portable AC is truly a jack of all trades. Thanks to the standard wheels, simple instructions, and the included hoses, just whisk this unit into place, attach the hoses, and you’re done.

The final accouterment to this dependable air conditioner is the ease of cleaning. Simply slide out the filter twice a month, rinse it with water, and replace. Not only is it simple, but it’s also environmentally friendly.

Bottom Line

If you’re searching for an air conditioning unit with maximum performance and portability, this is the best option for you. And with a one-year warranty and whisper quiet performance, you won’t have to worry about it driving you nuts or going kaput soon after your purchase.

Pros

Quietest operation in the segment

One-year limited warranty

Comes with a remote control

Cooling power down to 65 degrees

Superior efficiency

Cons

Comes with only a single hose

Rigid hose requires the unit to sit away from the window, which can add a cluttered feel

Runner-up

Nepo NPP-A112C

NEPO NPP-A112C Portable Air Condition, 1, White

Product Ratings

7.9

Affordability:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Portability:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Noise:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Performance:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ease of Setup:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Cost Efficiency:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

How We Determined These Scores

We may earn commission from purchases made from our links, at no additional cost to you

Quick Product Specs:

BTU DOE: 6,500

Cooling Capacity: 350 sq.ft.

Size & Weight: 13×13.5×28″ ; 54 lbs

Avg. Yrly Cost: $122/yr

Decibel Levels: 52 dB

An excellent advantage of this unit is the remote control that provides added convenience no matter where you are in the room. Wheels give you the option of putting this by the window or closer to where you’re sitting, making it the better option compared to window units.

Bottom Line

Although the brand isn’t as well-known as some other options on the market, the sleek design and excellent portability make this unit a force in the world of self-evaporating air conditioners

Pros

Superb portability thanks to wheels, handles, and a moderate weight

Superior performance for a unit of its size

Compact design to slide into place without obstructing personal mobility

Remote control to find the right temperature from the other side of the room

Fast-cooling unit

Cons

Poor efficiency compared to other models

Sound is a bit on the louder side

Black+Decker BPACT14WT

BLACK+DECKER BPACT14WT Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control, 7,700 BTU DOE (14,000 BTU ASHRAE), Cools Up to 350 Square Feet, White

Product Ratings

7.6

Affordability:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Portability:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Noise:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Performance:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Ease of Setup:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Cost Efficiency:

Rating: 1 out of 5.

How We Determined These Scores

We may earn commission from purchases made from our links, at no additional cost to you

Quick Product Specs:

BTU DOE: 7,500

Cooling Capacity: 350 sq.ft.

Size & Weight: 14x17x28″ ; 36 lbs

Avg. Yrly Cost: $142/yr

Decibel Levels: 54 dB

Measuring in at an impressive 7,500 BTUs, this unit packs a punch, even if it does cost you a bit more in the long run.

The included window kit also makes installation easy. Just pop everything together, attach it to the window, and you’re off and running. Coming in at a sizable 68.3 pounds, this isn’t one of the more portable air conditioning units, but it’s still a solid choice.

Bottom Line

Ideal for supplemental air conditioning in warm rooms of your home, apartments, and campers, this air conditioner provides a much-needed burst of cold air. And with an added sleep mode, you don’t have to worry about the constant whir of the unit while you’re getting a good night’s rest.

Pros

Easily cools rooms up to 15 x 23′

Top-mounted LED display lets you see the temperature from afar

Includes a window kit for easy installation

Sleep mode lowers the decibels so you can stay cool while getting some rest

Dehumidifies while cooling

Cons

Low efficiency leads to greater energy costs and higher energy consumption

Loudest of all models on this list

Haier HPC12XCR

Haier Portable Electronic Air Conditioner with Remote 12,000 BTU, HPC12XCR

Product Ratings

7.4

Affordability:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Portability:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Noise:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Performance:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ease of Setup:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Cost Efficiency:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

How We Determined These Scores

We may earn commission from purchases made from our links, at no additional cost to you

Quick Product Specs:

BTU DOE: 6,600

Cooling Capacity: 450 sq.ft.

Size & Weight: 14x17x28″ ; 56 lbs

Avg. Yrly Cost: $137/yr

Decibel Levels: 51 dB

Combining whisper-quiet operation with maximum cooling power, this portable air conditioner checks two big-ticket items off your priority list. Though it sucks down more power than equivalent units, you’ll feel that extra cold air is worth the few extra bucks a month.

Bottom Line

Haier may not hold the prestige of some bigger brands, but with cooling power of up to 450 feet, it certainly should garner consideration with the big boys of the air conditioning world. Just make sure to drain the water every eight hours or so, and you should find that this unit is a lean, mean cooling machine.

Pros

Cools a larger area than its competitors without extra energy usage

Super quiet operation

Three fan speeds to get the perfect gust of frigid air

Comes with a 24-hour on-off timer so you don’t accidentally leave it on

Easy to install

Cons

Short exhaust hose (5 feet)

Leaks water if not emptied regularly

Emerson Quiet Kool EAPC8RSD1

Emerson Quiet Smart Portable Air Conditioner with Remote, Wi-Fi, and Voice Control for Rooms up to 300-Sq. Ft.

Product Ratings

7.4

Affordability:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Portability:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Noise:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Performance:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ease of Setup:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Cost Efficiency:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

How We Determined These Scores

We may earn commission from purchases made from our links, at no additional cost to you

Quick Product Specs:

BTU DOE: 5,000

Cooling Capacity: 300 sq.ft.

Size & Weight: 13x17x27″ ; 53 lbs

Avg. Yrly Cost: $88/yr

Decibel Levels: 50 dB

If you’re part of the smart home enthusiast crowd, this air conditioner is perhaps the best choice for you. Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, all you need to do is hook it up to Wi-Fi, say the word, and this unit’s temperature goes up and down at your command. It’s also compatible with an app that allows you to change the temperature from anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection.

Plus, the unit comes with the Emerson 1-2-5 warranty. That means you’re covered for 1 year of labor, 2 years of parts, and 5 years on the compressor.

Bottom Line

For technophiles that love a blast of the Arctic, this product supplies the best of both worlds. It’s also quiet and energy-efficient, adding to its list of excellent features. If there was a drawback, it’s simply that the unit only cools 300 square feet. But for small areas and apartments, it’s a great choice.

Pros

Has Wi-Fi accessibility to set the temperature remotely

Lowest annual operating costs in the segment

Whisper-quiet operation

Automatic shut-off after 24 hours of continual operation

A phenomenal warranty

Cons

Not compatible with iPhone or other Apple products

Window adapter kit doesn’t cover larger window sizes

Why Does Water Collect Inside Portable ACs?

Air conditioners provide cool air by first drawing in warm air. This air has moisture within it, which is cooled until it turns into liquid form.

The water collects in a pan or bucket within portable air conditioners, usually at the bottom. In standard models, you either need to empty the tray every few hours, or the device drains it through a pipe to the outside.

The same applies to dehumidifiers. To remove the excess water from the air, it uses condenser coils to cool the air before returning warm air to the room, lowering the high humidity levels.

How Does a Self-Evaporating Portable Air Conditioner Work?

Photo credit: californiaac.com

A self-evaporating portable air conditioner works in almost exactly the same way as a standard one.

It extracts warm air, cools it inside to remove the heat and moisture, and returns cold air into the room.

However, the condensed water doesn’t collect in a bucket or pass through a drainage hose. Instead, the air conditioner evaporates the liquid through a heating process that passes the warm air through a hose to the outside. 

That’s why most self-evaporative portable air conditioners have window kits so that you can keep the openings closed and the heat outside while the device cools your home.

Why Do I Need a Self-Evaporating Portable Air Conditioner?

The number one reason to obtain a self-evaporating portable air conditioner is so you don’t need to spend your day worrying when you need to empty the bucket again. You can go about your life knowing that the device will deal with it for you.

Of course, the portability means you can move it around your house. With the installation kit, you can place it anywhere in your home where there’s a window.  

Top Brands in the Self-Evaporating Portable Air Conditioner Space

You’ll notice that we selected specific brands for our best self-evaporating portable air conditioner reviews. While some have excellent products, others stand out more due to the name that signifies durability and performance.

Here are some of the top brands in the industry and why they stand out.

Honeywell

Honeywell has received an excellent reputation in the HVAC industry. It doesn’t merely supply dehumidifiers and purifiers but also self-evaporative portable air conditioners. 

Established in 1885, Honeywell had come a long way from humble beginnings when it invented the first furnace regulator. Today, it sells several components for HVACs, and it’s a house-hold name known for reliability and durability.

Honeywell MN10CESWW

Black & Decker

Established in 1920 in Towson, Maryland, Black & Decker is a company that provides many household products. Some of the categories include power tools, lawn and garden, home cleaning, small appliance, batteries, and accessories.

Of course, it also has a hand in HVAC systems, delivering some of the most potent self-evaporating portable air conditioners on the market. It’s also gained a reputation for outstanding customer service and quality components.

LG

Formerly known as Goldstar, which started in 1958, LG Air Conditioning Technologies is a division of LG Electronics that has been an HVAC industry leader for several years. Its VRF Multi V product line has won several awards for ductless and ducted units.

LG has an extensive range of self-evaporative air conditioners for residential and commercial properties. Most customers turn to them for exceptional cooling and heating solutions for the most complex homes.

Pros of a Self-Evaporating Portable Air Conditioner

While we’ve discussed the pros and cons of each recommended self-evaporating portable air conditioner, you should also know the benefits as a whole. 

We won’t be looking at general aspects, such as price and durability, but rather some of the more specific elements that make these devices stand out.

Low Maintenance

You won’t need to spend excess time and money cleaning and maintaining these devices. In most cases, they have filters that you can wash, and the components don’t suffer as much wear and tear as whole-house air conditioners.

No Need to Drain

Thanks to the technology that makes self-evaporating air conditioners unique, the condensed water is air-dried back out through the main exhaust pipe into the air outside. You won’t need to check every few hours to see if a bucket needs emptying.

Photo credit: householdair.com

Easy Transport

Manufacturers design portable air conditioners for easy transport. You can uninstall the unit from the window bracket, move it to a new room via wheels, and reinstall it. You can also take it with you in your vehicle to a new home or on vacation.

Auto-Restart and Shut-off Functions

You may feel comfortable leaving your device on since you don’t need to drain it. However, the air conditioners have auto-restart and shut-off features to protect themselves from damage. Also, you can set these timers to save you electrical costs.

Excellent Cooling Capacity

You’d be surprised how well these self-evaporating portable air conditioners cool large homes. You can buy a 14,000 BTU for a 500 sq. ft. home, or you can buy a smaller unit for your apartment. The one common factor is that you’ll feel the cooling effect even on sweltering days.

Includes Dehumidification

Since the air conditioner removes moisture from the air and pumps it back outside, it includes a dehumidification function. Sure, it can’t compete with actual portable dehumidifiers with larger capacities in PPD, but you’ll still have lower humidity levels.

Shinco 12,000 BTU

Cons of a Self-Evaporating Portable Air Conditioner

Of course, there are also some disadvantages you should consider before buying a self-evaporating air conditioner. Fortunately, the pros outweigh the cons.

Hoses Limit Portability

The downside to having hoses for evaporation is that they slightly limit transport. While it shouldn’t take you long to uninstall and reinstall, it’s still more effort than is needed with standard air conditioner units. 

The other issue is if you take the air conditioner with you on vacation. You have no way of knowing whether the conditions at the destinations are suitable for the unit unless you’ve tested it beforehand.

Constant White Noise

The one liability of owning a powerful self-evaporative portable air conditioner is the constant hum at high settings. Unless the device has something to dampen the sound, that exhaust air will be pretty loud.

Of course, you might get used to it over time and find yourself sleeping through the night. The other option is having it at a low setting when you want to count sheep.

Larger Units Consume More Power

If you have a large space you need to cool, expect to pay more on your electrical bill. All that power requires energy, and some air conditioners are hungry and consume loads of electricity.

Price Points of Self-Evaporating Portable Air Conditioners

Of course, you’ll find different price ranges that speak to performance, durability, and quality. You can’t always judge an air conditioner by the price, but it’s a good measuring stick if you want to compare options.

Here’s a quick look at some price ranges and what you can expect.

$100 – $200

Self-evaporating portable air conditioners that fall in this bracket have the lowest BTU for cooling and limited features. You may find a remote and control panel, but there will be few modes and functions. You may even have to buy the installation kit and hose separately. Expect to use these in small spaces.

$200 – $500

These devices have higher BTUs, more durability, and better performance. You’ll find a few more functions included, and there will be installation kits for window frames. You might even see some of the top brands in this range, and they’re suitable for medium-sized rooms.

$500+

There’s no limit to how high this price can go. You’ll generally find air conditioners over 12,000 BTU that are made for larger spaces with improved reliability. The cream-of-the-crop accessories and functions will also be available, with several hose-size options.

Photo credit: homeownerfaqs.com

Who Should Not Buy a Self-Evaporating Portable Air Conditioner?

Now that we’ve looked at the practical application of self-evaporative portable air conditioners, it’s time to highlight in which situations you shouldn’t use these devices. It’s vital that you’re aware of these factors so that you don’t waste money. 

When Cooling the Entire Home

It should be obvious that a portable air conditioner can’t be used to cool the entire house. When it comes to the self-evaporative variety, this fact is even more evident. It’s more cost-effective to purchase a whole-house air conditioner rather than putting a strain on your small device or budget.

In High Humidity Regions

Since the device is drawing in the warm air, cooling it down, and then evaporating vapor back into the air, the last thing you want to do is return moisture into your room if it suffers from high humidity. Sure, some of these air conditioners have a dehumidification function as well, but they don’t have the same performance as full dehumidifiers.

Homes With Incompatible Windows

While most self-evaporating air conditioners have installation kits, it doesn’t mean that they’re compatible with all windows. Some older houses have designs from a past era when there was no such thing as air conditioners.

In these situations, you may want to look at standard portable air conditioners with the bucket collecting water at the bottom.

Restrictive Spaces

Yes, you can find small BTU units that will cool down your apartment or the room you rent in a communal home. However, your space may not be compatible, and you’ll struggle to move around the place if it gets in the way.

You also need to remember that there needs to be open space for effective air circulation. You won’t feel the effect of the cool air if there’s a blockage in the airflow.

For Mold and Water Damage

The idea that the air conditioner draws in air and partially acts as a dehumidifier may lead you to believe that it can reduce mold or water damage. Unfortunately, only full dehumidifiers were built for this purpose.

Conclusion

Self-evaporating portable air conditioners are ideal if you need cooling and ventilation, and you don’t want to continuously drain the tank. We’ve given you the list of the best options we recommend, and now you have a better idea of what to look for. 

We hope you can now make the right decision and are more enlightened as to how these devices work. Remember to make 100% sure that this HVAC type is exactly what you need before you purchase it.

People Also Ask

You might have some questions that our article has left unanswered, or you’re not in the mood to read through it all. Here are some quick FAQs to help you out.

Where to Put a Self-Evaporative AC?

Due to the design of these units, you must place them in windows for the exhaust hose to pump out the warm evaporated air. Sure, you may find long hoses, but they’ll get in your way if placed inappropriately. You can also set it on a table to help promote air circulation.

How to Tell If an Air Conditioner Is Self-Evaporating

The best way to tell if the air conditioner is self-evaporating is to feel if there’s warm air leaving the exhaust hose. Head outside the window where the hose is installed and place your hand nearby. You should feel the vapor escaping.

Do You Still Have to Empty a Bucket on a Self-Evaporating Portable AC?

No, as the whole point of the device is to take this act out of the equation. It evaporates the water that it collects through the house, leaving no water remaining inside.



My name is Bob Wells and I am a retired HVAC tech from Washington state. I am currently retired and no longer do much with HVAC, however, I feel like I have a lot of knowledge in the subject and I wanted to create a website where I could talk about what I've learned and help upcoming HVAC techs. Find more info about me and HVAC Training 101.