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5 Quietest Portable Air Conditioners

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.

Quiet portable air conditioner

You'll 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.

Thankfully, specially designed ultra quiet portable air conditioners exist that reduce that noise to a distant memory.

In today's guide, we recommend only the best silent portable AC units. These are the models that make the least noise but can still be trusted to keep your home cool.

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.

Model

Details

Whynter Elite ARC-122DS 12,000BTU Dual-Hose Portable AC

OUR TOP PICK

Whynter Elite ARC-122DS

Price: $$

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 Portable Air Conditioner

Emerson Quiet Kool EAPC8RD1

Price: $

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 Portable Air Conditioner

De'Longhi Whisper Cool

Price: $$$

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 Portable Air Conditioner

Honeywell HL10CESWW Contempo Series

Price: $$

Type: AC, dehumidifier, air filter

Noise Level: 52 dBA

Energy Efficiency: 8.9

Room Size: up to 350 ft2

Warranty: 1 year

LG LP0817WSR Portable Air Conditioner

LG LP0817WSR

Price: $

Type: AC, dehumidifier, air filter

Noise Level: 53 dBA

Energy Efficiency: 9

Room Size: up to 150 ft2

Warranty: 1 year

Table key:

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.

Our Top Pick


Whynter Elite ARC-122DS

The quietest and most energy efficient portable air conditioner around.



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.



Key Features

  • Cools up to 400 square feet
  • Full thermostatic control
  • Only 52 dB noise
  • Air conditioner, fan or dehumidifier
  • Energy efficient
  • 24 hour timer



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 model 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 Whyntermodel like this, but it's definitely the best. For one thing, compared to predecessors, it has a much better EER (energy efficiency rating) of 12, compared to the 10.9 and 11.2 of the ARC-12SD and ARC-12S respectively.


The EER is the ratio of the cooling capacity compared to the power used. The higher this ratio is, the more energy efficient a cooling system is. This value of 12 makes this portable AC unit from Whynter both the quietest and the most energy efficient portable model we found in our research.


With the ARC-122DS Elite you don't have to worry about frequent emptying. It comes with the Whynter-patented manual and continuous auto-drain technology that makes maintenance a lot easier than with your standard machine. The addition of a remote control means that you have very little to worry about with the actual running of this appliance.


According to the manufacturer's recommendation, this model can cool a room or area of as much as 400 sq. ft. That makes it is perfect for apartments, small homes, offices and server rooms.


What about the bedroom? Well, as the title proclaims, this is by far the quietest model we have reviewed, generating sound that measures at less than 52dB.


If you can find a quieter portable AC unit then we'd love to hear from you!


The key thing to remember here is that there's no such thing as a silent portable air conditioner. You will need to accept some some noise and 52 dB is as quiet as it's going to get. It really is very little background noise.


The only downside we can really find with this model is that if you are unfamiliar with this type of air conditioner, you may find it hard setting it up for the first time.


The price too, might be a bit high for those with a modest budget.


How does it compare to the rest?


Well, this is the quietest model 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. Statistics like that are hard to argue with really.

Pros

  • Quiet operation, generating only 52dB of noise
  • Compact and portable
  • Auto-drain function
  • Built-in air filter & dehumidifier

Cons

  • More complicated to use than some others
  • There are cheaper options out there

Bottom Line

If you've been looking for the quietest portable air conditioning unit then your search has just ended.


The Whynter Elite is a top performer full of energy saving technology.


In our eyes, the best quiet portable air conditioner available right now.




Recommended Article: Don't miss our guide to the top sliding window AC units.


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.

    Pros

  • Still relatively quiet, even at its highest setting
  • 24-hour programmable timer
  • Auto-evaporation system

    Cons

  • May be too loud for some people

  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.



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 Whisper Cool portable AC 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 model, 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 can prevent the growth and spread of mildew and mold. The addition of the fan means 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. 

    Pros

  • Easy to install and easy to use
  • Larger cooling area
  • Humidifier, fan, & filter

    Cons

  • Louder than some of the other models on our list

  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!


Honeywell HL10CESWW Contempo Series


Honeywell are a company that are highly reputable and therefore, their portable ACs, 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.

    Pros

  • Extremely user friendly
  • Compact and incredibly portable
  • Easy to install

    Cons

  • Not as powerful as others on the market
  • Just a one year warranty

  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.



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 model.

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 AC units, 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.

    Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Easy to use
  • Doubles as a dehumidifier also

    Cons

  • It's not the most powerful, but reasonable for the price point

  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.



Conclusion

In our mind there's no contest really. The Whynter model is both the quietest (marginally) and the most energy efficient.

It's a great piece of technology that cools small spaces really well.

Our Top Pick

Whynter Elite ARC-122DS



 - Less than 52 dB noise output

- Heats spaces of up to 400 square feet

- Energy efficient



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.

Air conditioner blowing cold air

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 silent 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.

Cooling electric devices

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!

Quiet Portable air conditioner

Single Hose or Dual Hose

It is unlikely to escape your notice when looking at the various models out there that there are two different hose configurations – single hose and dual hose.

Single 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

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.

Man fixing grill of air conditioning unit

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.


Extra Features

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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