Air conditioners can be surprisingly noisy devices, but they don't have to be. Check out our reviews of the quietest portable air conditioning units on the market right now.
If you find the heat too stifling when the temperature is at its highest during the summer months, it makes sense to invest in an air conditioning unit.
However, what if your home is not really big enough to justify investing in a full-size system or you don't have the space to accommodate one? Portable air conditioners are an ideal solution.
Besides being movable, they can also be efficient and are therefore a great investment. It should also be noted that they are perhaps not the cheapest appliance to buy for your home, but by far the biggest problem with portable air conditioners is that they are often exceptionally loud and noisy.
You will find that most portable AC units, even when operating on the lowest fan settings, are still generating noise that falls between 60 and 70dB.
If you are not entirely sure what that translates to in actual noise, then imagine trying to have a conversation in a packed and crowded restaurant or close to a portable generator.
Although this may not be a problem during the day when you are only at home half of the day, it becomes more of an issue when you are settling down in your bed at night and can't get to sleep because of the noise coming from the thing.
That leaves you with a decision to make - do you suffer from a disturbed sleep because of the noise coming from the portable air conditioner or because of the stifling heavy air because it's so humid and you don't want to run the air conditioner?
Of course, there is a third choice - you could try to find the quietest portable air conditioner. We know that, in principle, that sounds easy, but that in practice, it is a lot trickier.
There are many options out there and for many people who don't have all the time in the world, trying to find a quiet portable air conditioner may feel akin to trying to find a needle in a haystack.
That's where we come in.
We've put together a guide of what are the quietest portable air conditioning units on the market right now.
Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we may make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
The Top Quiet AC Models Compared
Take a look at how the top quiet portable AC units compare in the table below.
We will then discuss each of our favorite models in more detail.
OUR TOP PICK
Whynter Elite ARC-122DS 12,000BTU Dual-Hose
Type: AC, dehumidifier, air filter
Noise Level: < 52 dBA
Energy Efficiency: 12
Room Size: up to 400 ft2
Warranty: 1 year parts, 3 years compressor
Emerson Quiet Kool EAPC8RD1
Type: AC, dehumidifier, air filter
Noise Level: 52 dBA
Energy Efficiency: 8.9
Room Size: up to 170 ft2
Warranty: 2 years parts, 5 years compressor
De'Longhi PACAN140HPEWC Whisper Cool
Type: AC, dehumidifier, air filter
Noise Level: 53 dBA
Energy Efficiency: 11.7
Room Size: up to 500 ft2
Warranty: 2 years parts, 4 years compressor
Honeywell HL10CESWW Contempo Series
Type: AC, dehumidifier, air filter
Noise Level: 52 dBA
Energy Efficiency: 8.9
Room Size: up to 350 ft2
Warranty: 1 year
Type: AC, dehumidifier, air filter
Noise Level: 53 dBA
Energy Efficiency: 9
Room Size: up to 150 ft2
Warranty: 1 year
Energy Efficiency: This number is the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). It's the ration of power input to cooling capacity. The bigger the number the more energy efficient it is.
Noise Level: Measured in Decibels. 0 dBA is the quietest perceivable sound to the human ear. 50 dBA is described as like a dishwasher in the next room (source).
Ultra Quiet Portable Air Conditioner Reviews
In this section we go into more detail about each model. Find out more about the features and also what we think and why.
1. Whynter Elite ARC-122DS *** The Quietest & Most Energy Efficient ***
From Whynter, comes the ARC-122DS Elite. We would like to point out right away to you that we were very skeptical about a product that calls itself the elite. Skeptical might be the wrong word, but let's just say we were cynical. Whynter calling their product the elite means it has pretty big boots to fill. Did it live up to expectations? We'll let you be the judge of that from our review.
This is one of the newest of the company's dual-hose portable air conditioners and when you compare it to previous models such as the Whynter ARC-12SD and Whynter ARC-14Sh, it has a number of advantages. More on that in a little bit, first let's introduce you to what might be your new best friend, or at the very least your new silent portable air conditioner.
The Whynter ARC-122DS is a portable air conditioner that is incredibly compact in size, measuring at a height of just 29.5-inches. Thanks to its dual-hose system, it is great for efficient cooling and making better use of limited available space.
As noted, it's not the first Whynter portable air conditioner, but is probably the best. For one thing, compared to predecessors, it has a much better EER of 12, compared to the 10.9 and 11.2 of the ARC-12SD and ARC-12S respectively.
Aside from the expected air conditioning, it also benefits from additional modes such as the dehumidifier and fan. We understand that many people hate the idea of a portable air conditioner because they imagine it will involve having to empty it out regularly. With the ARC-122DS Elite though, you don't have to worry about that anymore. It has the Whynter-patented manual and continuous auto-drain technology and the addition of the remote control means that you have very little to worry about with the actual running of this appliance.
Down to the nitty-gritty now as we look at its actual ability to cool a room. According to the manufacturer's recommendation, this great portable air conditioner can cool a room or area of as much as 400 sq. ft and therefore is perfect for apartments, homes, offices and server rooms.
What about the bedroom though? Well, as the title proclaims, this is by far the quietest model we have reviewed, generating sound that measures at less than 52dB. So, unless you are blessed or cursed with incredibly sensitive hearing, we think you could very easily get to sleep, even with this keeping the air in your boudoir clean and cool at night.
The only downside we can really find with this is that if you are unfamiliar with this type of air conditioner, you may find it hard setting it up for the first time. Other than that, and the price, that might be a bit high for those with a modest budget, this is an awesome portable air conditioner.
How does it compare to the rest?
Well, this is the quietest model on here with a maximum noise level less than 52 dBA. It's also the most energy efficiency with an efficiency rating of 12. For these reasons, this is the model we recommend over all others.
Bottom Line: There is very little we can say that’s negative about the Whynter Elite. If you’ve never setup one like this before, it might be a struggle. Aside from that it does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s quiet, efficient and easy to use.
Recommended Article: Don't miss our guide to the top sliding window AC units.
2. Emerson Quiet Kool EAPC8RD1
If the Whynter is a bit pricey or maxes out your budget completely, you may want to consider the next on our list - the Emerson Quiet Kool EAPC8RD1. Generating a noise level of around 52dB this is another near silent portable air conditioning system that has a price tag that belies the quality of its construction and design.
Emerson have created an energy-saving, versatile cooler that is great for smaller rooms and spaces. For anyone looking to cool the air in a vast and spacious room, should look at different models of air conditioners. Whereas, if you are looking to cool the air in a small bedroom or other small space, then check out the Emerson Quiet Kool EAPC8RD1 air con unit.
Don't be put off by its 8,000BTU, because if you have an area that needs to be cooled that is no more than 170 sq. ft, this beauty is ideal. Like the Whynter Elite, it too functions as a fan, dehumidifier and air conditioner. It also benefits from a lazy person's dream - the auto-evaporation system that means you can leave it working away without having to worry about draining it.
The three things that made this portable ac unit stand out and why it was shortlisted are the fact it is actually very affordable, comes with a 24-hour timer that is fully programmable and that it even has a sleep mode
Since you may be stroking your chins inquisitively while reading this at the mention of a sleep mode, we may as well explain what that means. Sleep mode could be likened to an auto-pilot mode really as it means the air conditioner will increase the temperature every hour for a total of four hours by half a degree and then switch itself off. That might not be very useful for everyone, but it just means you don't have to worry about adjusting the temperature during the night while you are asleep and that you can still benefit from warmth when the natural temperature drops.
The times is ideal if you don't want to have to worry about switching it on and off continuously throughout the day. You can set it up so that it comes on and goes back off again, exactly when you want, without fail.
So how does this model compare to the rest?
Well, price-wise it represents amazing value for money. However, it's left wanting in the energy efficiency rating with an EER of 8.9 which is well below the 12 of the costlier Whynter Elite that we previously covered.
Bottom Line: We would say that this is possibly a close second to the Whynter Elite, only because it is around half the price and still offers a relatively low sound output. It's also incredibly slick and easy to setup and comes packed with nice features.
3. De'Longhi PACAN140HPEWC Whisper Cool
Both the Whynter Elite and the Emerson Quiet Kool are better suited, it's fair to say, to smaller rooms and spaces. If you have a slightly larger area that needs to be cooled and don't want to have major installation work to navigate through, then the De'Longhi PACAN140HPEWC Whisper Cool portable air conditioner might be just what you need.
De'Longhi, though known for other kinds of electronic and electrical goods, bring to the table their wealth of experience and time served in the industry. They seem to have applied their same approach to food mixers and coffee machines with this portable air conditioner, not just in functionality but form too. De'Longhi products, we feel, have a smart and cool look about them and that tradition carries on in the Whisper Cool.
While it may not matter too much compared to how efficiently it works etc., it is important from a design point of view that whatever you put into your home feels as if it's in the right place and deserves to be there.
When on its highest setting it does generate sound at a level of 53dB, making it one of the loudest on our list. However, when you consider that it is capable of achieving 14,000BTU, meaning it can cool rooms and spaces with a maximum area of 500 sq. ft, we feel those couple of decibels are a fair trade-off.
Some of the standout features include its multi-functionality. Much like the other air con units on our list, it also has the ability to work as a dehumidifier, meaning it not only cools the air, but removes extra water from the air too. This means that the De'Longhi Whisper Cool portable air conditioner and prevent the growth and spread of mildew and mold. The addition of the fan menas that you can get a nice balance the temperature and the humidity of the room.
Like all the models on our list that have features to suit the laziest of us all, this comes equipped with De'Longhi's very own dripless exhaust tech. This means that rather than having to empty it every time it gets full, the condensation it collects is almost immediately evaporated through the specially included exhaust hose pipe.
It is easy to install and can be placed on both vertical sliding and double hung windows with a width of up to 38-inches. All you need to do is click the bracket that comes with the machine into place. You don't even need to use any tools. You just connect the exhaust pipe and switch it on and it is good to go in minutes.
How does it compare to the rest?
Well, it's the both the most expensive and the most powerful model on our list. It's also one of the most energy efficient at 11.7 EER.
Bottom Line: With all things considered, we know that this won't suit everyone. It is a bit louder than some of the other models on our list, but it's also the most powerful. It may be expensive but it's also very energy efficient too.
Recommended Reading: Don't miss our guide to the smallest AC units on the market right now!
4. Honeywell HL10CESWW Contempo Series
Honeywell are a company that are highly reputable and therefore, their portable air conditioners, like this one, the Honeywell HL10CESWW Contempo Series. This is another air conditioner that generates a sound output of no higher than 52dB. So even though it is only capable of 10,000BTUs, it is quieter than some of the others on our list.
As is the case with all the other air conditioners on our list, this Honeywell model will do more than just simply cool the air in a room or space with a maximum area of 350 sq. ft. It is a three-in-one appliance and will also therefore, remove excess water from the air while cooling it and the addition of the fan means that it can help to further regulate the temperature and spread the cool air better. The dehumidifier is actually able to remove as much as 80-pints of moisture a day.
We know only too well that no-one really wants to have to spend hours on the installation of a portable air conditioner, which is another reason why we had to choose the Honeywell for our shortlist. Similarly, to others we've discussed, there is a relatively simple installation process for this air conditioner. For one thing, it comes with a fully adjustable window bracket that can be fitted either to sliding or double-hung windows with a width of anything from 26.6 to 49.6-inches.
Neither do you have to worry about where you are going to place it because the 6-foot power cord and 4-foot vent hose allows it to be placed in the best position that suits you.
Convenience was definitely at the forefront of the designers at Honeywell with the creation of this appliance. As well as the fact that it is easy to install and functions as more than one device in relative ease, there are yet further reasons why this is the least hassle, in general.
For one thing, and this is yet another thing that it shares in common with other portable ac units, it has a special auto-evaporation system. This means, as we've explained before, that there is no water that needs to be emptied on a regular basis as it is evaporated outside of your home.
As a further convenience it also come with a remote control. Although the functionality of the remote is not particularly complex, it offers all the standard controls at the touch of a button, meaning you can adjust the AC from the comfort of your bed or without getting up from the couch.
So, how does it stack up against the rest?
According to the noise rating, pretty well. It's among the quietest of AC units on the list. Unfortunately, its energy efficiency rating is one of the worst at 8.9. The warranty ( one year) is also pretty short in comparison with the rest.
Bottom Line: At its mid-range price point it fairs pretty well. It is one of the quietest on the market, but the warranty and EER might make you want to look elsewhere.
5. LG LP0817WSR
LG are one company that have a great reputation when it comes to designing and manufacturing modern electronics and electric devices and appliances. Although most are probably more familiar with their high definition LC televisions and mobile phones, the same qualities that make those items so special can be found in other appliances, like this LG LP0817WSR portable air conditioner.
This is an air conditioner with a cooling capability of 8,000BTUs, which means it is ideal for rooms and spaces with a maximum area of 200 sq. ft. Although this is not the biggest, it is certainly not the smallest of any of the units we have reviewed in this post. The cool air is circulated with the help of the auto-swing air vent technology.
Just like any of the other air conditioners on this list, this model from LG does not just cool air. It too also has a dehumidifying functionality. In actual fact, it can dehumidify as much as 1.8kg of moisture from the space it is setup in, every hour. This is perfect if you have problems with dampness or mold because while it is cooling the air, it will also draw the moisture from it and reduce the spread of mildew and mold.
When power outages occur, it can be a pain, admittedly not a massive pain, but still another thing you can to do, to reset electrical and electronic appliances like air conditioners. Similarly, to others on this list though, again, the LG LP0817WSR has the ability to store the last settings that had been inputted into it at the time of the power cut. The Automatic Restart means you don't necessarily have to rush to fiddle with it to get the same settings you had before, as it will just resume doing what it had been doing before the power went off.
When we think of portable air conditioners, we think about convenience. That is surely one of the key reasons why you are looking for a silent portable air conditioner. This particular model is very convenient, especially when it comes to installing it. The kit has clearly been designed with people who don't have a lot of technical knowhow and or time on their hands. It can fit in both vertical sliding windows with a width of 18 to 50-inches and casement-style windows with a height of 18 to 50-inches.
Now the price is always something you should consider, along with all the other key aspects. You'll undoubtedly will have a budget and will want to stick to it, but you need to make sure for the price that you get exactly what you need and want. As one of the lowest priced models on our list, this offers exceptional value for money, if you are only looking to cool and dehumidify a small area. If you are looking to cool a larger area than 200 sq. ft, you will need to buy a different one.
With everything taken into consideration, we highlighted this model for a reason. It's slick, portable, very convenient and efficient and provides you with an air conditioner that won't break the bank or give you headaches when trying to set it up.
How does it compare to the rest?
Noise-wise it's one of the louder models on our list. However, this is a compilation of the very quietest portable AC units on the market so it's doing pretty well. The energy efficiency rating of 9 is on the lower end of our recommendations. It's the cheapest model on our list, but it's also the joint least powerful with the Emerson model.
Bottom Line: In the end, with any of the air conditioners featured in this post, you need to weigh up their pros and cons, features and price to see if they ultimately are what you need. This LGLP0817WSR may not be the most powerful, but it has enough power, is easy to setup, runs like a dream and is very inexpensive.
Well guys, we hope you agree that it has been interesting, to say the very least, looking at the products we selected for their quietness and portability. Have you already picked out the ultra quiet portable air conditioner you are going to invest in? We say ultra quiet, obviously, because it won't be a completely silent portable AC. When that technology has been introduced at an affordable price, we will be sure to cover it in great detail though.
If you are undecided, don’t worry as we are just going to wrap up things a little. We picked the five we reviewed, as we hope you appreciate, because of their great qualities. They all, in their own way, meet the brief for being really quiet portable air conditioning units.
For one thing, they all, though some better than others, are very portable. You could pick any of them and they will not take up too much floor space in even the smallest rooms. Which is crucial when space is limited and at a premium. Alongside the need for them to be portable, they also, all operate very quietly. Let’s face it, the lowest sound output produced by one is 52dB, with the highest being around 54dB. That is actually not that big a difference.
It’s only when you need to choose the quietest, that you need to consider such small increments for instance, if you need an air conditioning unit for your bedroom or small at-home office space, or even in your workplace area, and it's not a big area to cover, the noise generated by the air conditioner you choose would matter. Then, the small increments become the deciding factor between the four above. That is why we highlighted from the beginning that the Whynter Elite model is by far the quietest compared to the others.
If, of course, the noise isn't going to be a problem because you are a deep sleeper or your office space is already a noisy environment, those increments are less important. The curious thing is that another thing worth taking into consideration when deciding, is the additional features. Sure, you probably only came looking for an air conditioner, but if you could get a reasonably priced, quiet and portable air conditioner that also doubled up as a dehumidifier, wouldn’t that be better value for money?
This is why it is crucial that price, portability, functionality and convenience are factors you should think about. If you want our opinion about which is the best overall? That is easy really, because of its price, its BTU, its design and, of course, the sound output it generates, we would select the Whynter Elite model that we covered first.
That is definitely the one we would invest our hard-earned money in. However, we also think it's worth pointing out the one that we think offers perhaps the best value for money all round, with you bargain hunters in mind. That would be the Emerson Quiet Kool unit. It is a little louder than the Whynter Elite, sure, but considering it is a fraction of the price and still relatively quiet and the fact that it is simple to install, use and features a wide array of different features. That is the one that will not let you down or let you feel like you have spent less money on an inferior product.
Now that we’ve discussed our shortlist of the five quietest portable air conditioners on the market, you probably think you are ready to go out and buy one. But, wait. Are you really that confident that you understand everything you should take into consideration when buying one? To give you a helping hand, if you are still feeling like you need help whittling five down to one, we thought you may benefit from this buyer’s guide.
In this guide you will find helpful advice and guidance about choosing the air conditioner that is the right size and has the best hose configuration to meet your own needs. Do you know the difference between single hose and dual-hose air conditioners? No? Well, hopefully by the end of this guide you will.
As Energy efficiency is such a hot topic these days, we also discuss the EER or Energy Efficiency Ratio with relation to portable air conditioners, so you will be able to make the right buying decision that will ease your green-minded conscience. As no air conditioner, particularly when it comes to the portable kind, is ever just an air conditioner, we will discuss some of the extra features and why you might want to buy a model with those.
Important Things to Consider When Buying A Quiet and Portable Air Conditioner
Now that you know our choices for the quietest portable air conditioner, before you go off and buy your favorite, there are some other important things you need to consider. We are going to discuss some of these in this buyer’s guide.
Choosing the Right Size
Having the right sized portable air conditioner can ensure that you cool the room if it's used in properly. An air conditioner unit that is undersized for the room, won’t adequately cool it, while one that is oversized will not be able to remove sufficient humidity, meaning that the air is still very moist.
In order to find the correct air conditioner size, you need to calculate the room’s square footage by multiplying the width by the length of the room. It is also important to know the BTU or British Thermal Unit of the air conditioner, as this indicates how much heat it will be able to remove from the room.
The general rule of thumb is that the higher the BTU rating, the larger a room the air conditioner can keep cool. A large percentage of manufacturers often recommend the size of room a unit is suitable for, but in order to give you a good idea for the number of BTUs you require, check out the following guide:
- Rooms measuring a maximum of 200 sq. Ft – 8,000BTUs
- Rooms measuring a maximum of 300 sq. Ft – 10,000BTUs
- Rooms measuring a maximum of 400 sq. Ft – 12,000BTUs
- Rooms measuring a maximum of 600 sq. Ft – 14,000BTUs
You need to note that you should increase the power and size of the portable AC, if:
- Rooms have excessive sunlight. Then you should choose an air con unit that provides 10% more in BTUs than what you need for that room size.
- Placing a unit in the kitchen. Then you need to choose an air con unit that provides 4,000BTUs more than what you need for that room size.
- Rooms that regularly have more than 2 people in them. Then you should make sure that the air con unit provides an extra 600BTUs for each person.
On order to run an efficient cooling operation it's really important that you size your device right!
Single Hose or Dual Hose
It is unlikely to escape your notice when looking at the various portable air conditioners out there that there are two different hose configurations – single hose and dual hose.
Single hose air conditioners extract warm air from a room, sending it through coils cooled using refrigerant and then the moisture and heated air is passed into the hose and out the house. This often creates what is known as negative air pressure as the air is continuously pushed outside the room. This means that any cracks in windows and doors allow the hot air to seep into the room and pulls the warm air into your home.
If the room you are cooling is large, a single hose conditioner has to work harder and harder in order to cool that room. Conversely, if the room is smaller, the single hose is the appropriate size for cooling the air. Additionally, single hose air con units are often quieter than dual hose systems with the exact same BTU rating. As most dual hose air conditioners utilize compressors/internal fans, they produce a higher output of sound. That is why we have focused on single hose AC units.
Dual hose portable AC units have one outtake hose and a couple of intakes. Through the intake point, the air is pulled into the unit and cooled before being sent back out again. The machine heats up during the process and intake pulls the air in from the outside to cool the AC down. There’s a second hose that sends the warmed air outside the home.
As a result, dual hose unit does not produce the same negative pressure on the inside like the single hose models and because it doesn’t need to work hard when cooling it could actually be a more efficient option. As well as being more efficient, this kind of air conditioner is likely to cool the room down 40% faster than single hose units. However, dual hose units use more energy, are more expensive, less portable and noisier.
What Kind of Draining is Needed?
You’ll find most portable units have self-evaporating systems, so water condensation is then recycled into the air, drainage is not necessary. You generally won’t have to dump any of the water collected, unless you live in an area with high levels of humidity. You might have to then empty it manually, as the compressor shuts off automatically and there is usually a light that indicates you need to empty the unit’s tank.
Portable units that have a condensate pump collects water into a tank and then pumps outside from a hose. There is some extra installation required. With some of the models you need to empty the water collected manually and will need to be done around two to six hours depending on how high the humidity levels are in the room.
EER – Energy Efficiency Ratio
Energy Efficiency Ratio is used to measure how efficient a portable air con unit is. This is the ratio of the power input to the cooling capacity. Therefore, the higher this rating is, the more efficient the conditioner is. Generally, units with EERs higher than 10 are more cost-effective and energy efficient options for cooling.
Just be aware that portable AC units are generally pretty inefficient devices. This is because they get hot but since they are located indoors (unlike conventional AC compressors), extra work must be done to push this heat outdoors through the exhaust hose. If the exit point of the hose isn't sealed then warm air can get indoors. Also, since the compressor is located indoors it radiates heat in the room that you are trying to cool. Portable AC units must work really hard to keep a room cool!
Look for a model that has an Energy Star certificate to ensure it is top of its class for efficiency.
Remote Control - A unit that has a remote control offers you control over the air con unit from a distance, so it can be switched on and off without getting out of bed or off the couch.
Heat/AC Combo - If you invest in a unit that not only functions as an air conditioner but a heater too, you could save money in buying two separate products for your home.
Dehumidifier - A unit that has a dehumidifier helps to remove the dampness in the air.
Programmable Thermostat – Having a programmable thermostat enables you to set your unit to a specific temperature and will switch off when the room is cooled to that specific level.
Hopefully now you have all the information you need to make the best decision about the quiet portable air conditioner you should invest your money in.
We’ve highlighted our five favorites, given you recommendations about the size and hose setup. The rest is up to you! We are confident though, that it will be less of a headache trying to select a great unit and will find one that gives you many years of service.
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