At home it’s easy to control the inside temperature. Assuming it’s only you, or at most a roommate or two, it’s not difficult to agree on a temperature setting. However, work poses a different scenario entirely. If you work in a big office, or even a small to medium-sized space, chances are you are not in control of the thermostat. For those that run cold, a space heater or work blanket is an easy fix. But what if you run warm? Removing layers can only take you so far. Luckily, some genius invented the personal air conditioner.
A personal air conditioner is a desktop-sized air conditioner that uses a refrigerant, like a regular AC unit. Thankfully, these ACs aren’t like the one in your apartment (read: loud and obnoxious). These ones are smaller, quieter and won’t run up your energy bills or your patience. You can tuck them under your desk when the office temp is tolerable, and then easily bust them out when things get too hot. And the best part? Several of these come in under $150.
If your work situation is fine but things aren’t as cool in your apartment or home, we’ve got some options for you, too! From desktop-sized units to ACs the size of R2D2, here are our favorite personal air conditioners.
1. Evapolar 3-in-1 Personal Air Cooler
BEST OVERALL FOR THE OFFICE
Still not satisfied? Perhaps the 3-in-1 Personal Air Cooler from Evapolar is more to your liking. Not only will this all-in-one help cool you off, but it will also clean the air and work as a humidifier. Evapolar claims its do-it-all wonder will effectively cool an area of 45-square-feet in front of it and will work up to 4-6 hours on a single tank of water. It’s also eco-friendly and as quiet as a trip to the library.
Pros: Works with any USB power supply, low energy consumption, includes LED light.
Cons: Reviewers claim it only cools a small area.
2. Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner
BEST OVERALL FOR APARTMENTS
This air conditioner comes with three functions, cooling the air during hot summer days, dehumidifying during humid nights, and circulating air with the fan function for everyday use. It comes with a 24 hour energy saving timer and remote for easy control. Its design optimizes quality and comfort, with thermal overload protection and a washable filtration system to extend the life of AC.
Pros: Quiet operation, easy window installation kit included.
Cons: Some customers complain that the unit doesn’t last as long as desired.
3. Desktop Mini Air Conditioner
Using a combination of cold water and/or ice, the Mini Portable Air Conditioner is the ideal personal cooler for your office or work area. Without getting into thermodynamics, this desktop device works something like this – the evaporation of the water cools the air around it, thus making the area directly around you a bit cooler than it was before. (Need something bigger, then check out this evaporative cooler.)
Pros: Compact 9.5 inch design, also works as humidifier and air purifier.
Cons: Some reviewers complain of having to fill the water tank often.
4. HoMedics Mychill Personal Space Cooler
BEST FOR DRY HEAT
If you’re familiar with evaporative coolers and want one with a few more bells and whistles than, let’s say, the Modoats, the MyChill from HoMedics is the next step up. With three speeds and an adjustable louver, HoMedics claims its tiny personal chiller will cool the area around you by up to 12 degrees. It even has an indicator light to let you know when the water tank needs to be refilled.
Pros: 6 foot cooling area, gets cold fast.
Cons: Not ideal for humid conditions.
5. Whynter Portable Air Conditioner
This portable unit is an all-in-one air conditioner, fan, and dehumidifier and comes equipped with a remote to easily switch between settings. It can cool up to a 500-square-foot radius, making it a great option if you’re looking to cool off a larger space. Plus, the unit comes with a carbon air filter, purifying the air while cooling off your home or office. It also has a 24 hour programmable timer to keep your space comfortable all day.
Pros: Eco-friendly CFC refrigerant, large cooling area.
Cons: Some reviewers claim it’s noisy and bulky.
6. Black + Decker Portable Air Conditioner
BEST MOBILE OPTION
The Black + Decker Portable Air Conditioner can cool areas that are approximately 15 inches by 20 inches, making it ideal for small rooms like bedrooms, dorms, and garages. The unit’s vertical motion provides continuous, powerful airflow to keep your room comfortable. Equipped with a 24 hour timer and sleep mode function, you can set your air conditioner to work around your personal schedule.
Pros: Equipped with wheels and carry handles to move easily from room to room.
Cons: Some reviewers found it noisy. The included window seals can tear easily.
7. Honeywell Compact Portable Air Conditioner
BEST FOR SMALL ROOMS
This unit comes with a Smart Digital Thermostat system for room climate control, as well as digital controls equipped with a remote for easy setting changes. This Honeywell air conditioner is small, lightweight, and comes with wheels, making it the ideal portable cooling unit. The dual motor makes the air conditioner run quietly, and the washable filter keeps the air free of allergens like dust and pet dander.
Pros: Cools air quickly. The unit is light and compact.
Cons: Cools small areas only, reaching a maximum of 350-square-feet.
8. RolliCool Alexa-Enabled Portable Air Conditioner
This portable air conditioner has the added benefit of being compatible with Amazon’s Alexa: use voice commands to change settings and adjust the temperature. You can also control this unit away from home with the RolliCool app, which lets you set schedules, change modes, and more, all from your smart phone. With five different modes, you can cool, heat, dehumidify, use the fan, or set to sleep mode, all in one unit.
Pros: Easy to control and its five modes keep rooms comfortable in all weather.
Cons: A few customers had difficulty pairing with Alexa.