- Haier QPCA14YZMW
Best All Rounder
- Black+Decker BPACT12WT
- SereneLife SLPAC10
When you’re facing high temperatures, air conditioning can be the only thing stopping you from melting. In some cases, it can even be a lifesaver. The best options are built-in AC systems that properly vent outside. These can keep entire houses cool and allow you to control the temperature to your preference easily. If your house doesn’t have a built-in AC system though, you’ll likely have to look into a mobile AC unit. These handy things can be surprisingly effective and you can reposition them around your house if you need a specific area cooled.
One of the main things to be aware of is that extras such as Wi-Fi connectivity for remote control regularly push up the price. In some cases, the simple addition of Wi-Fi can add hundreds of dollars to the price. If you’re looking for a budget option, be prepared to let go of some of the extra creature comforts. Another thing to remember is that all true AC systems exhaust hot air, you will need to plan to run an exhaust hose out of a window or something similar. Almost all units will come with a hose, but it may not be long enough for where you want to position it. Ideally, you want the hose to have as short a run as possible, as it will heat up your room too, somewhat counteracting the effectiveness of the cooling.
A factor that may not be so obvious at first though is running costs. Depending on your electricity costs and how long you have it running for, the running costs can be a hundred dollars a year or more. Efficiency can help you save here. Over time a more powerful machine may be cheaper than a weaker one if it’s more efficient. To calculate how many watts an AC unit would draw, take the BTU number and then divide it by the EER or Energy Efficiency Rating. You can then work out the electricity costs by multiplying the kilowatts of power it draws by the number of hours you’ll have it running per day, month, or year then multiply that by the price of your electricity per kWh. While efficiency may not make much of a difference if you’re only purchasing it as a stop-gap before a better system, but if you’re planning for the long term, efficiency can make a big difference, especially if you’ve got a higher electricity price.
To help you find a good deal, we’ve drawn up a list of the best budget mobile AC units in 2021.
- Timer system
- Environmentally friendly refrigerant
- Cooling capacity: 12000 BTU
- Energy Efficiency Rating: 9.61
- Coverage: 300 sq ft
The Black+Decker BPACT12WT is a reliably popular portable AC unit. It features a high BTU rating and a high energy efficiency rating making it relatively cheap to run. The large number of positive reviews inspire more confidence in the reliability of the product from a well-known brand. While not quiet, it isn’t particularly loud either and has a sleep mode that can reduce the sound levels slightly.
A 24-hour timer system allows you a broad range of configurability for how long it will run for. One potential issue that some users have reported is that the hose may not fit snugly to the machine, leading to hot air bleeding out. The hose is also relatively short and only comes with adaptors for a small number of window types. This may force you to get another longer hose and/or another window adaptor.
- High efficiency
- Easy to use window fitting system
- Cooling capacity: 13500 BTU
- Energy Efficiency Rating: 10
- Coverage: 550 sq ft
The Haier QPCA14YZMW is a powerful mobile AC unit designed to cool large rooms. It’s capable of cooling rooms of up to 550 square feet with 13500 BTU and an excellent efficiency rating of 10. A window fitting kit is included that doesn’t require any cutting, however, it is only compatible with a small range of window types.
A range of fan speeds allow you to configure the strength of cooling. You can also choose to run a dehumidifying setting. As with many mobile AC units, the hose is quite short at just 5 feet long. This may require you to get a longer hose depending on how and where you want to position it. The system to mount the hose to the AC unit can sometimes be unreliable.
- Washable filter
- Efficient operation
- Remote control
- Cooling capacity: 8000 BTU
- Energy Efficiency Rating: 9.4
- Coverage: 175 sq ft
The MIDEA MAP08R1CWT is a small and cheap option designed to cool smaller rooms. The 175 sq ft rating is generally quite a bit smaller than most other 8500BTU coolers so it may be more powerful than advertised. It comes with a remote control so you don’t have to get up to change the settings. A toolless window fitting kit is included, though it only fits a small range of windows.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t include an anti-condensation feature which means that it will fill a drain pan, that you will need to regularly empty. Failure to do so may lead to it leaking on your floor. It offers only two fan speeds which may not be enough control for every situation.
- Dehumidifying option
- Cooling capacity: 10000 BTU
- Energy Efficiency Rating: 8.7
- Coverage: 350 sq ft
The SereneLife SLPAC10 is an old workhorse. It’s age is both an advantage and it’s disadvantage. Being around for years has pushed the price down while demonstrating solid reliability. Unfortunately, it’s also missing modern energy efficiency ratings so running costs will be a little high.
Long-term popularity means that there are lots of spare parts and repair technicians are likely to be familiar with the model. It’s also quite loud and lacks a moisture dissipation system.
That was our round up f the best budget mobile AC units in 2021. Have you bought a budget mobile AC unit recently? Would you recommend doing so? Let us know down below.