Portable air conditioners offer more flexibility than window or in-wall air conditioners because they don't require permanent installation, and they come with wheels so they can be easily moved from room to room. You'll want to remember that even though portable air conditioners are generally compact, they do take up floor space in your room, unlike wall or window units.
How Do Portable Units Work?
Portable air conditioners use the air from inside the room to cool the condenser, then vent the hot air out with a hose through a window, sliding door, wall or ceiling. Condensation is collected in a bucket or tank, which must be emptied manually every few hours, pumped through a hose to the outside with a condensate pump, or evaporated and dispersed back into the air.
Hose Systems vs. Evaporative Systems
Units with hose systems use air from the room to cool their condensers. Units with evaporative systems don't have a compressor or condenser. Instead, they evaporate water, which absorbs heat, cooling the air. An evaporative system can be a good choice for dry climates since it adds moisture to the air and doesn't need a hose to vent heat outside, making it more portable than a hose system. Evaporative coolers are designed for spot cooling and won't lower the ambient temperature in your room; however, they require a constant supply of water in order to run.
Besides selecting the type of portable air conditioner that will best fit your needs, you may also want to consider getting a unit that does more than just cool the air. Available options for air conditioners include a built-in humidifier that removes excess moisture from the room, a built-in heater, or both a built-in heater and humidifier. You can also find air conditioners with convenient features such as automatic shut-off, sleep mode, a timer or remote control, and more.