If you’re looking for a quiet portable air conditioner, you’re in the right place! In this post, we’ll talk about some of the quietest portable ACs on the market and how loud they are.
In our tests, many portable air conditioners aren’t as quiet as manufacturers claim. Soleus Air 14,000 Btu portable air conditioners, for instance, is rated at 45 dBs on the highest fan setting. But our latest tests found that this model generated more than 50 dB on the lowest fan setting. In this buying guide, we’ll tell you exactly what you’re looking for. Please note that the Soleus Air is still a good option to consider.
|Image||Product||Cooling Capacity||Noise Level|
|Honeywell MN10CESWW||10,000 BTU||50 dB|
|DeLonghi Pinguino PACC120E||12,000 BTU||50 dB|
|LG LP0817WSR||8,000 BTU||53 dB|
|Haier HPC12XCR||12,000 BTU||50 dB|
|Haier HPN14XCM||14,000 BTU||50 dB|
|Frigidaire Cool Connect||12,000 BTU||53 dB|
Why Do I Need A Quiet Portable Air Conditioner?
Noise is the most common problem portable air conditioners have but is also one of those that we hardly ever consider when buying. You should know that looking at the decibel (dB) sound rating is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a portable air conditioner. With the World Health Organization (WHO) concluding that millions of people have hearing loss due to noise we need to take every opportunity to reduce the noise levels within our homes.
While you sleep, your brain continues to register and process sounds on a basic level, which is why noise from a room AC can wake you up. If you use a noisy portable air conditioner in your bedroom – that’s the really bad situation for sleep. Even if you aren’t bothered by nighttime sounds, you can move between different sleep stages and experience changes in heart rate and blood pressure when you hear the noise. So it’s very important to invest your money in the quietest portable air conditioner available, especially if you want to use it in your bedroom or kids’ room.
Why are Portable Air Conditioners Noisy?
Portable air conditioners are independent, movable units with exhaust hoses that are easy to install and vent out of a variety of window types. The noise levels of portable air conditioners vary, with some models being as quiet as a fan and others being as noisy, if not noisier, than a window air conditioner at the same BTU rating.
Portable air conditioners are noisy, there’s no way to avoid. But why they are noisier than window ACs? Because most noisy part of an air conditioner is the compressor. For window air conditioner, the compressor is outside the window, while the compressor of a portable air conditioner is sitting in the room you’re trying to cool. The compressor of a portable AC is also bigger than window ACs. As a result, portable ACs are noisier than window ACs at the same BTU rating.
If noise is a major concern for the room that the air conditioner will go in, a quiet portable air conditioner is certainly the best choice. And if you think that a window unit might be the better choice, here’re some quiet window air conditioners for considering.
Understanding the Decibel (dB) Rating
It’s easy to find a quiet portable air conditioner – just look at the decibel rating. The decibel (dB) is the unit used to measure the intensity of a sound. On the decibel scale, the smallest audible sound (near total silence) is 0 dB. A sound 10 times more powerful is 10 dB. A sound 100 times more powerful than near total silence is 20 dB. A sound 1,000 times more powerful than near total silence is 30 dB. So there’s a big difference between a 50 dB portable air conditioner and a 60 dB portable air conditioner.
Here are some examples of noise sources for each decibel level:
- A quiet conversation at home produces approximately 50 dB
- A simple conversation between two people at a restaurant only marks 60 dB
- Running a vacuum cleaner produces 70 to 75 dB.
- Running a lawn mower produces 85 to 90 dB.
- Busy traffic comes it at 70 dB while a subway registers 90 dB and an airplane taking off comes in at 100 dB.
Here is the sound of a portable air conditioner
Here is the sound of a vacuum cleaner
Portable air conditioners typically fall between 50 to 65 decibels and sometimes even more. Noise of an air conditioner depends on age and model type, but the absolute quietest unit on the market should be in the 50 to 55 dB range when you buy – which is less than a simple conversation between two people at a restaurant. Some small portable air conditioners can emit less than 50 dB while some large units can emit up to 70 dB. Measurement of your unit’s sound emission is usually taken from about 3 feet away from the source, so using that measurement you can get a good idea of how noisy the surrounding area will be.
If you’re purchasing a new portable air conditioning unit, the noise level is very important. But is it enough for your needs? Let’s jump ahead to next section.
Finding the Right Portable Air Conditioner Size
After all, would you really spend money on something if it’s not capable of satisfying your needs, even if it doesn’t make a lot of noise? Whether you’re replacing an old portable unit or installing a cooling system in your new home, it’s important to find exactly what size of air conditioning systems your home needs.
Like window ACs, portable air conditioners are rated in British Thermal Units (BTUs) – which is often used as a quantitative specification for the energy-producing or energy-transferring capability of heating and cooling systems such as furnaces, ovens, refrigerators, and air conditioners. Models with higher BTU ratings offer more cooling power and can cover larger rooms. It’s important to buy a portable AC that’s appropriate for your space to make sure you don’t waste energy or waste your money on one that can’t adequately cool your room.
As a rule of thumb, an air conditioner needs 20 Btu for each square foot of living space. But it doesn’t mean that an 8,000 Btu air conditioner is designed for cooling a room of 400 square feet. There’re some other factors may increase or decrease the number of BTUs required – such as the height of your ceiling, where the unit will be placed. And if you want to install an air conditioning system in your RVs or shipping container homes (with poor insulation), it requires models with slightly more BTUs.
In a standard room in the US with 8-foot ceilings, you can use these following estimations to find the right portable air conditioner size:
- 8,000 BTUs will cover 200 sq. ft. (1,600 cubic feet)
- 10,000 BTUs will cover 300 sq. ft. (2,400 cubic feet)
- 12,000 BTUs will cover 400 sq. ft. (3,200 cubic feet)
- 13,000 BTUs will cover 450 sq. ft. (3,600 cubic feet)
- 14,000 BTUs will cover 500 sq. ft. (4,000 cubic feet)
At the same BTU rating, a window air conditioner can cover a larger area than a portable air conditioner can. For example, a 10,000 Btu window unit can cool a room up to 450 square feet or a 6,000 Btu window unit can cool a room up to 250 square feet.
Finding the right size of air conditioners is important. An air conditioner that’s too small will struggle to cool a room. One that’s too big cools so quickly that it doesn’t have time to remove enough moisture, leaving you with a cold, clammy space.
Do You Need an Energy-Efficient Unit?
Before you consider what is the quietest portable air conditioner available, it’s important to know how to choose an energy-efficient unit.
The best portable air conditioners have an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) above 10. Unfortunately, many portable air conditioners do not even have an EER rating However we went through most of the quietest portable air conditioners on the market, and looked up the EER on each, and all portable air conditioners featured in this review all fell in the high end of the EER range. Energy Star certification is another sign of an efficient unit. An Energy Star qualified air conditioner use 15 to 20 percent less energy than units without that certification.
Dual hose portable air conditioning units are better than single hose portable air conditioning units. The dual-hose design utilizes two separate exhaust hoses, one of which will function as air exhaust hose and one that will draw air in from the outside. Single-hose units have only a single hose to vent exhaust heat. This means the units are effectively drawing already cooled, dehumidified indoor air out of the room and pumping it outside, thus reducing the efficiency of the unit. Dual-hose units cool an area more efficient and quick, while requiring less work for your portable air conditioner.
The best portable air conditioners should have two hoses. But if the initial purchase price is a significant factor, then a single-hose unit might make more sense.
Best Quiet Portable Air Conditioners
Now, you’ve got an explanation as to why it’s important to get a quiet portable air conditioner, how to choose the right size and how to get an energy-efficient unit. Here are the best quiet portable air conditioners money can buy based on expert reviews.
1. Best Quiet Overall: Honeywell MN10CESWW 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
The Honeywell MN10CESWW is one of the quietest portable air conditioners on the market with an operation as low as 50 dB. It is a convenient portable AC unit with 3 in 1 technology that delivers optimum cooling, dehumidification and fresh ventilation. This unit is also one of the best-looking portable air conditioners.
The Honeywell MN10CESWW is designed for cooling a room from 350 to 400 square feet with dehumidification capacity up to 68 pints per 24 hours or 2.8 pints per hour. It can remove even more when set to dehumidifier mode. The three-speed fan on this portable AC circulates air at low, medium and high speeds to provide cooling against different levels of heat. Airflow speeds from this unit can reach 174 cubic feet per minute.
The full-function remote control allows you to operate each feature from across the room. Unlike a fixed air conditioner unit, the Honeywell MN10CESWW requires no permanent installation and the smooth-gliding caster wheels provide easy mobility from room to room. What’s more, the auto-evaporation system allows for hours of continuous operation with no water to drain or no bucket to empty. This quiet portable air conditioner comes with everything needed including a flexible exhaust hose and an easy-to-install window venting kit. The window vent can be removed when the unit is not in use.
This unit meets industry standards for health and safety but its energy efficiency ratio (EER) is only 9.8. Meaning that it will cost you more money to operate than others in this review. However, this figure is still higher than the average of 9.7 and estimated annual operating cost for this portable AC is only around $90.
This model comes with an affordable price and generous four-year compressor warranty and a standard one-year appliance warranty. You can purchase this model in white or black, and the louvers fold out from the top of the unit to give it a modern look. It’s also relatively small and easy to install. If you’re looking for a quiet portable air conditioner at a low price, this model is the best option.
2. Runner Up: De’Longhi Pinguino PAC C120E 12000BTU Portable Air Conditioner
The DeLonghi Pinguino PACC120E is designed to powerful cooling capacity with a super quiet operation. At just 50 dB on the lowest fan setting, this unit will keep you cool and comfortable without waking you up at night.
This 12,000-BTU, single-hose portable AC acts as a 3-in-1 home comfort system designed to cool, dehumidify, and circulate the air in rooms measuring up to 400 square feet. The PAC C120E portable AC and dehumidifier features DeLonghi’s patented dripless exhaust technology. During cooling and dehumidification, collected condensation is automatically evaporated through the included exhaust hose. This means that you may never have to empty a water bucket again. In extremely humid conditions, you may have to occasionally empty the internal bucket, but it’s designed to keep manual draining at a minimum.
Video: Test De’Longhi Pinguino PAC C120E
A programmable thermostat lets you set your ideal temperature, and this model works to maintain it. A 24-hour programmable timer can save you money by planning the operation to turn on or off up to 24 hours in advance, ensuring it only runs when needed. This model is also packaged with fully recyclable materials.
This model from DeLonghi is more expensive than many other portable air conditioners at the same BTU rating. However, it’s quiet and comes with a range of great features. If you’re shopping for the bedroom, this unit just may be what you’re looking for. If this model is sold out, grab the DeLonghi America PACAN120EW Whisper Cool.
3. LG LP0817WSR 8,000 BTU 115V Portable Air Conditioner
LG makes some of the most reliable air conditioners that come with many great features. This best-selling 8,000 BTU portable air conditioner isn’t the quietest model among all the unit we reviewed, but it has the best cooling performance. At the lowest fan setting and with the compressor on we measured about 53 dB. Many others generated sounds with decibel levels ranging from 60 to 70 dB.
With a sleek contemporary design, the LG LP0817WSR portable air conditioner blends in with any room decor. It’s designed for cooling a room up to 200 square feet with 1.8 pints per hour dehumidification. The unit offers an intuitive LCD remote control that allows you to adjust the environment of your room with ease and convenience. Its 24-hour on/off timer allows you to preset its activation and deactivation thus allowing it to control the environment of your room even in your absence. You can also use the 2 fan speeds and 2 cooling speeds to keep the room comfortable, and having the option of switching to lower speeds helps save energy. With these above features, this quiet portable air conditioner is best for a small bedroom where you want to keep the air cool and clean when you’re sleeping.
Because of the LG LP0817WSR relatively small, just about 12.8 x 16.9 x 27.4 inches, it fits any narrow space in your house. It’s also lightweight, weighs only 58.4 pounds, you can move it from room to room without any difficulty.
4. Haier HPC12XCR Portable Air Conditioner
Haier makes some of the most affordable 12,000 BTU portable air conditioners that come with solid cooling capabilities, efficiency, and lightweight design. Due to its small size, you can easily move the Haier HPC12XCR from room to room, house to house.
We tested this portable air conditioner and found that its operation as loud as our top pick Honeywell. At just 50 dB on low fan setting, it’s one of the quietest portable air conditioners you can buy. This AC is designed for cooling a room from 350 to 450 square feet as it produces 12,000 Btu. All portable air conditioners cool a room by pulling moisture from the air, but the Haier can remove an impressive 4 pints of water from the air per hour. If you live in a humid environment, this air conditioner can help dehumidify a room.
This Haier has an EER of 9.5 and costs approximately $90.72 a year to operate based on 8 hours of use daily for 3 months out of the year. This portable air conditioner isn’t an Energy Star qualified device. This unit comes with a few convenient operations modes and functions. With three cool settings, three fan settings, a 24-hour on/off timer and dehumidify mode, this single-hose HPC12XCR is equipped to meet your interior climate needs.
The Haier HPC12XC isn’t only the quietest portable air conditioner we reviewed, at just 56 pounds, it’s also one of the lightest units you can buy. So you can move it around the house quickly as needed without too much of a fuss, making it an ideal portable unit.
5. Haier HPN14XCM Portable Air Conditioner
If you’re looking for a quiet portable air conditioner to cool a large room up 700 square feet, the Haier HPN14XCM may be what you’re looking for. It’s a powerful cooling system that can cool a room quickly on hot days and its quiet operation (50 dB on low setting) will keep you cool without keeping you awake at night.
This single hose 14,000 BTU portable air conditioner is one of the largest and heaviest portable air conditioners we evaluated. It weighs 83 pounds, so if you live on the top floor of an apartment building, lifting it up the stairs will be a chore. Like any other unit in this review, it features three cool settings, three fan settings, a 24-hour on/off timer and dehumidify mode. And it also comes with a remote control that includes an LCD screen, which allows you to easily see the air conditioner’s current settings and change them as you need.
The Haier HPN14XCM only produces 50 decibels on its lowest setting, which is about as loud as a calm conversation between two or three people. This decibel rating makes it one of the quietest portable air conditioners we reviewed. This unit is a powerful model, however, its energy efficiency ratio (EER) is only 9.4 – which is lower than other options above but it is still efficient when compared to other portable air conditioners on the market.
This model is the best option for cooling a large room such as living room or family room.
6. Frigidaire 12,000 Btu Cool Connect Smart Portable Air Conditioner
The Frigidaire Cool Connect is the best-looking portable air conditioner we’ve ever seen. This unit is a smart air conditioner that can be controlled using a mobile app and voice commands. It offers support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands that allow you to turn it on and off and set the temperature, but it doesn’t integrate with other smart home devices such as thermostats, fans, and lighting.
This 12,000 Btu portable air conditioner is designed for rooms up to 550 square feet. It has three fan speeds and a built-in three-pint-per-hour dehumidifier. You can use your mobile phone to connect this smart device. At your convenience turn the unit on or off, change temperature, control modes, and adapt fan speeds to best meet your comfort. At 53 dB, this unit is slightly louder than others.
The Frigidaire Cool Connect has a cool-looking white mesh finish and will blend seamlessly into your home interior. The top of the AC holds a grille that discharges cool air upward in a 360-degree pattern. 360 airflow circulates cool air in an upwards, continuous spiral ensuring it reaches every corner of your room faster. Bottom-mounted caster wheels let you easily move from room to room, providing cool air wherever you need it.
You’ll pay twice as much for this smart portable air conditioner, but it’s one of the most energy-efficient models on the market. With an energy efficiency ratio of 11 – which is higher than many others, and annual energy cost as low as $94.76, you’ll save a lot of money in energy costs per year using this machine.