The best portable air conditioning units

Portable air conditioning units are ideal for cooling your garage while you work or tidy up, or even the living quarters of a campervan.

portable air conditioning machine

by Chris Williams |

With summers becoming increasingly toasty your desire for air conditioning in your garage or campervan is likely to increase.

If your campervan does not have dedicated air conditioning for the living quarters, don't fret because it isn't game over. There are a number of portable options for you to consider.

Are portable air conditioners noisy?

All of our picks above are reasonably quiet but expect some whirring. The bigger units are louder and it also depends on the fan speed setting you choose.

If you're working in a garage or workshop the noise is unlikely to bother you but if you're working on an Airfix model and need some quiet, you may find the noise irritating.

If you are eying one of these up for use in a campervan, remember the living quarters is a confined space and sleepers will find the whirring annoying if running the unit at night. More expensive units you can have professionally fitted to the roof of the campervan and are quiet - brands such as Domestic and Truma offer these. But they will cost you thousands of pounds.

The best portable air conditioners

Unlike many portable air conditioning units, this Black+Decker unit does not require ventilation out of a window to work, making it truly portable.

It is very easy to setup and use. There are three-speed settings for the fan and to engage the cooling, fill the seven-litre water tank, add the cooling packs and away you go. The machine will moisturise the air as well as cool it.

Pros Cons
• Fan, humidifier, cooler 3-in-1 • Big
• Efficient
• Easy to use
Fan speeds Three
Weight 7.66 kg
Extras Washable dust filter, Portable

Technically not an air conditioner, but we've tested this air cooler and found it to be more than capable of keeping us cool on a tight budget.

This will easily fit on a desk or tabletop. Just fill the water tanks with water (you can also freeze them if you want) and the air it expels will be moist and cool. There are three fan speed settings to choose from and the LED lights are a nice touch. A word of warning however, we found that it left ring marks on every surface it was used on and moving it when filled with water caused some unwanted spillage.

Pros Cons
• Lasts a long time • Leaves ring marks
• LED lights are a nice touch
• Easy to use
Fan speeds Three
Weight 1 kg
Extras LED mood lights, table-top design, antimicrobial filter

An advanced option for keeping cool this summer, this energy-efficient (Class A) air conditioner from Pro Breeze is an excellent investment. Offering two fan speeds and four settings, it's ideal for cooling, dehumidifying and has a sleep mode for quieter running. It even ships with a clever window-venting kit for even better room cooling.

Even cooler, it works with both Google Home and Amazon Alexa meaning you can adjust the temperature, fan speed or timing using nothing more than your voice (and a smart speaker).

Pros Cons
• easy to use • Rather expensive
• Energy efficient
• Quiet mode for night-time
Fan speeds Two
Weight 24.5 kg
Extras Window venting kit, smart assistant compatibility, sleep mode

This is a great little unit. It offers value, space-saving, and relatively efficient cooling given its size, making it not just good for home use but in a campervan too.

Don't expect this model to be as intense as the larger Black+Decker model above, but it can certainly take on the Begleri model. We like the design because it's minimalist, sleek, and has a neat touch display. It also has a slightly larger water tank at 600ml to give that little extra cooling time before a refill is needed. Like the others, it can act simply as a fan too.

Pros Cons
• Value • 600ml water tank doesn’t last long either
• Nice design
• Effective for its size
Fan speeds Three
Weight 1.3 kg
Extras Table-top design

Related: Best air-con units for camping

This is very similar to the large Black+Decker model but a few pounds cheaper.

The Amazon Basics unit is a little less powerful and not quite as nice to look at as the Black+Decker unit. However, it also has a seven-litre water tank and is a bit lighter too. Crucially, the Amazon Basics unit still works very well both at home when you need it.

Pros Cons
• Value • Not very aesthetic
• Effective cooling
Fan speeds Three
Weight 1.3 kg
Extras Remote control, auto-shut off, ioniser

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