A Quiet Portable Air Conditioner For Every Size Space

Whether you are trying to work, sleep or watch TV, having a quiet portable air conditioner is desirable. Probably, even more important to you is that this unit is efficiently cooling your home or office.

room with PACImage Source

Portable air conditioners have a bad reputation of being a little noisy. However, they offer a great deal in terms of cooling and flexibility so they should not be discounted without further consideration. Ideally, increased noise level does not have to be tolerated just to achieve optimal interior temperature.

When buying a portable air conditioner online or in a store, you are not going to really be able to tell how loud the unit will be until you get it home and set-up. It is likely that you do not have the time to buy, try, and return numerous models to find the quietest portable air conditioner.

We understand that no one, except us, really enjoys researching all of the portable air conditioners on the market! In an effort to determine the quietest model, we have gathered research and reviews on many different brands and sizes of portable air conditioners and narrowed it down to the best so that you can confidently purchase a quiet unit the first time. If you already know you want a quiet portable air conditioner, this Honeywell model from Amazon is a great option.

Click on the links below to advance to sections of interest or continue to read the entire article.

How do I tell if a portable air conditioner is quiet?

The reason a portable air conditioner is a little louder than central air conditioning is because the compressor and condenser are housed inside of the unit and thus working to cool the air in your living space. With a window unit these parts are on the back of the unit that hangs outside, so the noise is lessened. However, depending on your housing arrangements and personal preferences, a window unit or central AC may not be feasible.

Central AC will be the quietest option because the condenser and compressor are housed in a unit outdoors, but it can be extremely costly to install and impossible in some older homes. The cost and time involved with putting in central air may not be worth it in homes where climates are mild with only a few months of hot weather. Those of us that have experienced these climates understand that while usually mild there will be a few months in the summer when air conditioning is sweet relief.

A window unit can be a good alternative to central AC but it does have some drawbacks. The compressor and condenser are still housed within this unit, so it will not be as quiet as central AC. The units are very large and heavy. They are cumbersome to install and cannot be regularly moved to different areas of your home or office. Plus, if you are renting, some buildings do not allow them and let’s be truthful, they are an eye sore when viewing the building’s exterior.

Portable air conditioners are another option. They are still heavy machines, but they are free standing units placed on castors so they can be moved between rooms. You don’t have to have super human strength to move these; really any adult can push it to another room.

They do have to be located close to and vented out a window in order to move hot air outside. Each comes with a window kit that allows you to vent through the window without making any permanent changes to your home. When you want to move the unit, remove the kit from the window. You could feasibly use the unit in your living room during the day and move it to your bedroom at night with a little effort.

What should I know when looking for a quiet portable air conditioner?

The noise level of a portable AC is measured in decibels (dB(A)). To give you an idea, the noise an airplane makes as it takes off is approximately 120 dB(A), while a library measures about 40 dB(A). Those are huge noise level differences!

Two people having a conversation is roughly 65 dB(A), so you can imagine how a portable air conditioning unit with 55 dB(A) or less will emit a tolerable white noise. However, other factors like your proximity to the unit, the fan speed being used and the compressor kicking on will all contribute to the noise level.

Descriptions of the noise level of a portable air conditioner vary but when reviewers were asked to compare it to another appliance many said it had a similar noise level to running your dishwasher. If I am sweaty and exhausted from the heat, I am going to be able to tolerate a noise comparable to a dishwasher while I am working or watching a movie in exchange for a cool environment. However, that all changes if I am trying to sleep. I need it to be very quiet and dark to fall asleep, but I also like it cool in my room. There has to be a solution!

If you are like me and that level of white noise is still too loud, especially when sleeping, consider a portable air conditioner with a built-in timer. Most timers have delayed start-up and shut-down. This way you can cool the room before you sleep, turn it off at bed time, and have it automatically start a little later once you are in a deep sleep. The timer feature also saves electricity and money because you don’t have to run the unit all day if you are not home. Just set the timer to start before you return and your space will be cool when you arrive.

What are the quietest portable air conditioner models?

At this point, we all understand that there isn’t going to be a silent air conditioner, but some models are better than others. We have selected the best and quietest unit in each BTU size. If you are unfamiliar with British Thermal Unit measurements or the size of unit needed to cool your space, there is a calculator to help you determine the BTUs needed for the size of your space.

Basically, you need to consider the square footage of the space you are trying to cool to determine the size of portable air conditioner that you need. Portable air conditioners are measured in BTU. Most portable ACs measure between 8,000-14,000 BTU.

If you select a machine with a larger BTU number, it will be able to cool greater square footage than the smaller BTU units. The downside is that the larger BTU portable air conditioners are more expensive units and cost more to operate. Read the following reviews to determine the right air conditioner for your space. All of these are approved for quieter operation.

Quietest 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

Honeywell MM14CHCSImage Source

The Honeywell MM14CHCS 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Heat Pump is the best and biggest unit we found. It cools rooms up to 550 sq. ft. Both more powerful and quieter than other units, it is ideal for locations such as: small apartments, living rooms, offices, basements, and insulated garages.

It has an easy to use LCD screen that allows you to program the timer from 1-24 hours. This feature will come in handy when you want the unit to start cooling down your home before you arrive home from work. Or, if you want to turn it off before you go to sleep but only want it to resume cooling (and white noise) once you are soundly asleep. The convenient remote gives you the flexibility to turn the unit on and off from the comfort of your bed or couch.

Additional useful features include the unit’s Auto Evaporative System which has a no bucket design. The condensate automatically evaporates through the air outlet hose, so you don’t have to remember to empty the drainage tank.

This 4-in-1 portable air conditioner with built-in heat pump functions as a fan, cooler, dehumidifier, and heater. If you just want to circulate the air in the room the 3 speed fan function will come in handy. The model has a dehumidifying capacity of 95 pints every 24 hours. Plus, the heat pump converts cool air to hot so you can put this model to good use year round.

Click here to get the Honeywell MM14CHCS at Amazon.

Product Specifications:

  • Model: MM14CHCS
  • Measures: 19.9 X 15.8 X 34 inches (This unit must be placed 20 inches from the wall and allow an extra 2-4 inches for vent to open on the top of the machine.)
  • Weighs: 6 pounds
  • Cooling Area: 550 sq. ft.
  • BTU: 14,000
  • Air Flow: 265 cfm
  • Dehumidification: up to 95 pints per day
  • Included window unit kit: extends from 19.9” to 47.25”
  • Condensate Removal: Auto Evaporative system
  • Quiet Operation: 55 dB(A)
  • Filter: 3M washable and electrostatic filter
  • Refrigerant Type: R-410A
  • Display: LED
  • Exhaust Hose: 45” long plus an 8” plastic nozzle that connects to the end for the window.Diameter is 5”. Adapter for exhaust hose converts diameter into an 8” x 3” oval
  • Volt and Amp Requirements: requires a 110/120V receptacle, rated at 15A
  • Energy Usage: 0 kWh/yr
  • Minimum temp setting: 61 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Warranty: 1 year parts and labor/ 5 years on the sealed system (compressor, evaporator, condenser)
  • Timer: Yes (1-24 hours)
  • Remote Control: Yes
  • Dual Hose System: No
  • Dehumidifier: Yes
  • Fan: Yes
  • Air Conditioning: Yes
  • Heat Mode: Yes (Heating capacity 12,000 BTU)

Quietest 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

The DeLonghi America PACAN120EW 12000BTU Whisper Cool Portable Air Conditioner is ideal for all seasons. It is a fan, air conditioner, dehumidifier, and heat pump all in one easily movable machine. If one room of your home is a hot spot in the summer, it can be vented out a window in that room and the air conditioning feature will have the space cooled off quickly.

In the winter, another area of your home may not have the benefit of direct sunlight to add a little extra warmth. Move the unit into that room and use the heat mode to warm it up with very little effort.

The fan can be used independently to circulate air when cooling or heating is unnecessary. The dehumidifying only function removes 86 pints/day of moisture and 55 pints/day while cooling. It works best in spaces up to 450 sq. ft. The ideal uses for this size unit would be living rooms, bedrooms, and offices.

Many reviewers feel passionately that the two best features of the DeLonghi portable air conditioner is the Whisper Cool and Real Feel aspects. Whisper Cool provides maximum cooling power with 50% less sound than other standard portable air conditioning units. Most users agree that the noise it emits is louder than a whisper but significantly less noisy than other portable or window air conditioning units they have experienced. One reviewer even said that it wasn’t much louder than central AC.

The Real Feel feature regulates the temperature and humidity to give the room a comfortable cool feeling. Basically, it wards off the chilly feeling that some ACs project and just provides a steady, even coolness in the room. I am personally always adjusting my air conditioning temperature as I become chilly or warm. I appreciate that DeLonghi has created a special feature that regulates this automatically. This is DeLonghi’s proprietary mode so you won’t find this feature on other brands.  If these are important features to you, see the review I wrote about eight of DeLonghi’s most popular portable air conditioners. 

A few other unique aspects of the DeLonghi portable AC is that it comes with a storage bag to keep dust off of the unit when it is not in use. This is particularly handy if you will be storing it for portions of the year. Additionally, it comes with a convenient remote that can be stored in the unit when not in use.

The Biosilver filter improves air quality by trapping bacteria, dust and pollen and prevents the growth of mold and mildew. It is easy to clean by periodically dusting over it with the brush attachment on your vacuum. For deep cleaning, the filter can be removed and washed.

Click here to get the DeLonghi America PACAN120EW at Amazon.

Product Specifications:

  • Model: PACAN120EW
  • Measures: 8 x 15.5 x 29.5 inches (It will need to sit about 18 inches from the wall to accommodate the hose venting out the window.)
  • Weighs: 4 pounds
  • Cooling Area: 450 sq. ft.
  • BTU: 12,000
  • Dehumidification: up to 55 pints/day when cooling
  • Included window unit kit: extends from 20” to 47”
  • Condensate Removal: Condensate Recirculation System
  • Quiet Operation: 50% quieter than standard portable air conditioners
  • Filter: BioSilver filter traps bacteria, dust and pollen and prevents the growth of mold and mildew
  • Refrigerant Type: R-410A
  • Display: LED
  • Exhaust Hose: 6” diameter hose that can be extended to about 4’
  • Volt and Amp Requirements: 115 V 60 Hz and 10.8 A
  • Energy Usage: 57 kWh/yr
  • Minimum temp setting: 64 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Warranty: 2 year parts and labor/ 4 years on the sealed system (compressor, evaporator, condenser)
  • Timer: Yes
  • Remote Control: Yes
  • Dual Hose System: No
  • Dehumidifier: Yes
  • Fan: Yes
  • Air Conditioning: Yes
  • Heat Mode: Yes

Quietest 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

Honeywell MN10CESWWImage Source

The Honeywell MN10CESWW 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner is designed for smaller areas (350 sq. ft.) such as small bedrooms, living spaces, and offices. It does an excellent job of cooling these areas, and the quiet operation (55 dbA) is a huge selling point for this model.

One reviewer even said that he and his wife like to have it running when they sleep because it provides soothing background noise. Another reviewer stated that the Honeywell MN10CESWW 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner is much quieter than his old window AC unit. Now, he can comfortably watch TV without needing to turn-up the volume.

The Honeywell MN10CESWW is an air conditioner, fan, and dehumidifier in a single unit. You can run all of these features independently or combined. The air conditioner has three cooling modes, the fan has three speeds, and the built-in dehumidifier handles up to 68 pints per day.

While this unit does not have a heating mode, if you live in warmer parts of the country you may not really use that feature anyway. Not adding the heating element makes this unit less expensive, so it may be more budget friendly.

Keep in mind that part of the cost savings is because it is also a smaller unit. So, consider room size when making your decision. The space should be less than 350 sq. ft. or you will lose your cost savings by over working the air conditioning unit trying to cool too large of an area. Plus, it just will not get the room cool enough for you if your unit is too small for the space.

The Auto-Evaporation System is very convenient and means that it can run continuously with no buckets to drain on this model. Additionally, the air conditioner can be set between 61-89 degrees Fahrenheit.

It has a built in 24 hour timer with allows you to schedule the unit to start and stop when it is most useful for you. Set the unit to shut-off once you leave in the morning and to start cooling an hour before you arrive home from work. You will be comfortable and you will be saving energy and money. Also, it has a remote so you can adjust the settings from any location in the room to ensure continuous comfort without disruption.

Click here to get the Honeywell MN10CESWW at Amazon.

Product Specifications:

  • Model: MN10CESWW
  • Measures: 15.2 X 18.1 X 29.3 inches. (Place it about 15 inches from the wall or window to properly vent.)
  • Weighs: 63.9 lbs
  • Cooling Area: 400 sq. ft.
  • BTU: 10,000
  • Air Flow: 174 cfm
  • Dehumidification: up to 68 pints per day
  • Included window unit kit: extends from 19.9” to 47.25”
  • Condensate Removal: Auto Evaporative System
  • Quiet Operation: 55 dB(A)
  • Filter: 3M washable and electrostatic filter
  • Refrigerant Type: R-410A
  • Display: LED
  • Exhaust Hose: The hose extends from 12 inches to 47 inches. The diameter is 5″.
  • Volt and Amp Requirements: requires a 110/120V receptacle, rated at 15A
  • Energy Usage: 68 kWh/yr (The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is 11.1.)
  • Minimum temp setting: 61 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Warranty: 1 year parts and labor/ 5 years on the sealed system (compressor, evaporator, condenser)
  • Timer: Yes (1-24 hours)
  • Remote Control: Yes
  • Dual Hose System: No
  • Dehumidifier: Yes
  • Fan: Yes
  • Air Conditioning: Yes
  • Heat Mode: No

Quietest 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

Honeywell MF08CESWWImage Source

The Honeywell MF08CESWW 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner is going to be the smallest portable air conditioner at 8,000 BTU. This model is quiet too! Reviewers say that it is very quiet and ideal for use in a bedroom. It will cool an area up to 300 sq. ft. Best uses for this size portable air conditioner would be in small bedrooms, offices, or mobile homes.

It has 3-in-1 technology so this unit can operate as a cooler, dehumidifier, and fan. There is no heating option on this machine but many find it an unnecessary feature.

It also boasts an environmentally friendly compressor. The fan has three speeds (high, medium, and low) and the air conditioner settings can be lowered or raised to the temperature you prefer. The dehumidifier can operate alone or while cooling the room, and it removes 51 pints of moisture per day.

The included remote will allow you to operate the unit from across the room. When not using the remote, it can be tucked away in a slot on the top of the unit. While not a necessity, I do enjoy when appliances have a spot to hold their accessories. I am always misplacing the remote!

At 52 pounds it is lighter than many other portable units and has caster wheels that are useful for easily moving it to another room. The included window vent kit is easy to install and can be set-up in whichever room you prefer to use this air conditioner. Since this is not a permanent fixture, when not in use, the window kit can be removed and the unit stored away.

Click here to get the Honeywell MF08CESWW at Amazon.

Product Specifications:

  • Model: MF08CESWW
  • Measures: 19.5 X 14.2 X 24.4 inches. (Unit must be about 1 1/2 to 2 feet from the wall or window to properly vent.)
  • Weighs: 52 lbs
  • Cooling Area: 300 sq. ft.
  • BTU: 8,000
  • Air Flow: 147 cfm
  • Dehumidification: up to 51 pints per day
  • Included window unit kit: extends from 19.9” to 47.25”
  • Condensate Removal: Auto Evaporative System
  • Quiet Operation: 54 dB(A)
  • Filter: washable slide-out filter
  • Refrigerant Type: R-410A
  • Display: LED
  • Exhaust Hose: The hose extends from 12 inches to 47 inches. The diameter is 5″.
  • Volt and Amp Requirements: requires a 110/120V receptacle, rated at 15A
  • Energy Usage: 0 kWh/yr
  • Minimum temp setting: 61 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Warranty: 1 year parts and labor/ 5 years on the sealed system (compressor, evaporator, condenser)
  • Timer: Yes (1-24 hours)
  • Remote Control: Yes
  • Dual Hose System: No
  • Dehumidifier: Yes
  • Fan: Yes
  • Air Conditioning: Yes
  • Heat Mode: No

Where Can I find information on Pricing, Shipping, and Warranties?

We found the best prices on these units through Amazon, and they all qualify for free shipping. We have even seen some occasional sales on Amazon for these products. And who can deny the huge convenience of having a large, heavy item delivered directly to your door?

You won’t regret purchasing any of these portable air conditioners. Each has a generous warranty. The Honeywell models have a 1 year warranty on parts and labor and a 5 year coverage on the sealed system, which includes the compressor, evaporator, and condenser. The DeLonghi warranty covers 2 years on parts and labor plus a 4 year warranty on the sealed system.

Summary

When using a portable air conditioner in a high traffic room (i.e. living room, bedroom, office, etc.), you do not want the noise level of the machine to interrupt your activities. While a silent air conditioner does not exist, a quiet, portable unit is well within reach. Any of these four units will cool down your living space while producing much less noise than other units available today.

Based on the square footage of the space you want to cool, you can now determine the size of the portable AC unit that you need. Just keep in mind that as the BTU number increases, so does the square footage of the room that the air conditioner can cool. If you have a bigger space, go with a unit with a 12,000 or 14,000 BTU. Plus, both of the quiet models we found in these sizes have a heat pump! It may be difficult to think of colder weather now, but it will be a nice bonus to have this fall and winter. Have a smaller area? Then an 8,000 or 10,000 BTU unit will work for your needs. They are smaller, use less energy, and cost less.

If you are ready for a cooler, more comfortable home or office, order one of these quiet portable air conditioning units today. Just think, in a matter of days, your unit will be delivered and you will be ready to relax in a much cooler space after a simple installation of the product. Once your portable air conditioner arrives, here is additional information on how to install it. Honestly, anyone can do this, so do not hire a contractor until you look through the instruction manual. It will be a breeze with the included window unit kit and exhaust hose. Since it is portable, you can try it out in every room in your house!

The increased noise level from any of these portable air conditioners will be minimal so you can cool off and be ready to put in a solid day’s work, watch your favorite television show, or relax for a good night’s sleep.

3 thoughts on “A Quiet Portable Air Conditioner For Every Size Space

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