Hi everybody, and welcome back to another Your Best Digs review, I'm Daniel and today we'regoing to talk about the best portable air conditioner.
We don't make sponsored videos and we're not compensated to promote any specific brands:we're just here to help you find the product that meets your needs.
For more info on these portable air conditioners, check out our full write-up on Your Best Digs.
We've been buying and testing air conditioners for three summers now, and once again we'vebought the newest models from the top manufacturers.
Year after year two air conditioner brands keep coming out on top in these tests.
Each brand is better for different reasons, though.
We like the LG portables for refined design, quiet fansand top-ranked performance in most conditions.
This new 12,000 BTU model is a fresh update of the model we've had for three summers,and it's even better than our old favorite.
However, if you're in a climate where the temperatures soar above 95 every week duringthe summer, the LG's single-hose design just isn't effective.
Instead, you’ll want to choose the Arc-122DS from Whynter.
This one uses a dual-hose design that can actually cool a room during a heat wave, andit's also a well-built, quiet performer.
If you want to find out more about how portable air conditioners work, keep watching for allthe details on the new performance standards.
There are links below if you'd like to just skip ahead and see the winners.
Why a portable air conditioner?If you compare a portable air conditioner with a window, wall-mountor central air conditioner system,there are a few advantages and a few big drawbacks.
The first advantage is, you can install a portable just about anywhere.
If you've got the wrong kind of window for a window unit, this is the easiest way toget relief from the heat.
Second, you can move a portable AC from one room to another.
It takes some time to seal the window, and we don't think anyone's going to want to carryone of these up and down a flight of stairs every day, but it's mucheasier than moving a window unit.
The drawbacks are pretty serious, though.
Our favorite two portable ACs will still blow cold air when the outside temperatures soar,but even at only 75% of the rated size, our window AC unit quickly cooled the room toa much lower temperature than the portables could.
The other down-side is noise.
Fan noise is going to be an annoyance when you're running any air conditioner, but witha portable, all the noisy components like the compressorare also right there in the room beside you.
If you do decide you want the flexibility of a portable system,which type should you choose?The answer simply comes down to where you live.
At our headquarters in San Diego, it only gets above 90 degrees a few days out of everyyear; at our new office in Austin, it's that hot for 114 days most years.
If you're mostly running your AC when temperatures outside are below 90 degrees,a single-hose portable does a good job.
In fact, if you have heat coming from inside your room, let's say from an oven,the single-hose design is ideal.
Single-hose types are also far more common, which makes this typeeasier to find and a bit cheaper to buy.
A single-hose system has to use air from your house to cool off its components, though.
This gives it a bit of a boost when you first turn it on, but over time air gets suckedin through doors and windows to replace the airthat goes out the window through that hose.
So when temperatures outside are above 90, all of the air that's coming into your houseis so hot, the single-hose AC can't keep up anymore.
The dual-hose models, on the other hand, use their second hose to take in air specificallyfor carrying away heat.
They don't use up air you've already cooled, and they minimize extra hot air coming in throughall your doors and windows.
In a moderately-hot climate like So Cal, we didn't see the full benefit from the dual-hosemodels most of the year and our top single-hose models actually performed a little bit better.
When the temperature hit 102 degrees in July, though, the difference was clear.
A dual-hose portable still isn't going to cool your room all the way down to 70in a heat wave, but it isn't literally heating up your house the way a single-hose model does.
So, what's a BTU?Portable air conditioners also come in a bunch of different sizes, mostly labelled as 10,10, 12 and 14 thousand BTUs.
But, what does that mean?The British thermal unit represents a specific amount of heat, and air conditioners are sizedby how many BTUs they can take out of your room in an hour as they cool off the air.
For most air conditioners, we always recommend checking the size of your room on a BTU calculator,to see how much heat your AC will need to move out of the room.
If it cools too fast, oversized AC makes things clammy.
Things get tricky with portables, though.
In our testing, we found that even a portable air conditioner that's supposed to be"too big" for a roomwon't be able to super-cool the space like a bigger window unit could.
Portable air conditioners have always performed much more poorly in real-world conditionsthan when they're in a lab moving heat from one space to another.
After years of complaints from consumer groups, the Department Of Energy regulations on testingchanged in 2017.
So, what does the new rating show?Most portables perform about 25% worse under the new test.
The new testing shows that having the entire AC system inside your room and leaking heatout of the vent hoses makes portables much worse than other AC types.
The new labels are sometimes tricky to spot, but they're required on all new portable ACsand they're all pretty sad.
When we first tested a lineup of portable air conditioners back in 2016, we did extensiveresearch and looked at 20 different air conditioners.
We bought the four best models and gave them a summer-long workout.
We're still satisfied with the performance of our picks from back then, but most of themodels we tested have been replaced by new designs.
We tested two different updates to our old winner, and used this update to test evenmore models from the "goldilocks" 12,000 BTU size.
We looked at specification sheets, talked to sales reps and dug into reviews to findtop performance, great efficiency, quiet operation, and good design.
We bought two current models that were released in 2017, and two brand-new designs that werejust released for the summer of 2018.
How did we test?In 2016, we tested four top-ranked units for over 100 hours across two summers in San Diego.
We took readings of how much the temperature dropped per minute, and averaged all the numbersto get performance scores.
For the update tests, we've set up a bedroom with some carefully-planned controls.
To get all of our conditions as consistent as possible, we tested when outdoor weatherwas mild in the spring and added heat inside the room with our favorite spaceheaters, bringing the room up past 89 degrees with the apartment's central heat and thenletting things level off to 85 before beginning each test cycle.
In these torture-test conditions, with space heaters constantly adding heat from insidethe room, the single-hose models from LG outperformed everything else.
A poor result from the dual-hose system surprised us, so wechecked again with a different type of test.
For a second round of testing, we set up again in July with back-to-back days of100+ degree weather.
We didn't have any control over the conditions for this test, so the weather was slightlyhotter on the day we ran the dual-hose model,but it still beat the single-hose type easily.
We spent 20 hours logging temperature changes and four monthsusing these machines to stay cool.
It's now clear to us that the dual-hose and single-hose systemsmake sense in different conditions.
What about noise testing?We tested the compressor starting noise andongoing fan noise to see which of these machines is least likelyto wake you up in the middle of the night.
Fortunately, the top picks in both single and dual-hose designare also the quietest we've tested.
So, what did we find out?The best single-hose design was the LG - LP-GRX1218.
This machine really was our favorite of the bunch.
The controls are good, there are handy features like a magnetic remote storage cubby and aspool for the cord, and it's tied for the quietest model we've tested.
This is a new model to replace our old favorite from 2016, and that one has worked well forus over three summers of testing.
The little touches that are all over LG's air conditioners really add up.
The fact that LG includes a sleep mode that actually turns off the lights is one of thoselittle things that tells you a manufacturer cares about design.
It’s also the best-performing air conditioner in our space-heater torture test, which makesit an easy pick as well.
As good as LG's product design is, though, a single-hose design like this will startheating up your room on the hottest days instead of cooling it down.
The LG always blows cold air out the front, but the amount of air that's pulled in throughyour doors and windows means there's no way for this machine to really keep your roomcool once outside temperatures get past 95.
If you live in a part of the country where it rarely gets above 90, though,this design still works well.
LG has been improving this model every few years and we think the new oneis the best-designed of the bunch.
The best portable air conditioner for heat waves is the Whynter - ARC-122DS Elite.
Whynter specializes in dual-hose portables, and this is their most popular model.
The Whynter's performance really stands out once outside temperatures hit 90 degrees.
In our first tests with a space heater for a control, Whynter's dual-hose system couldn'tkeep up and actually made the room hotter after twenty minutes than it was at the start.
As we turned off the space heaters for the last part of the test, Whynter's system neverreally caught up with the single-hose designs, even after running for an hourwith all the space heaters turned off.
Because the difference was so dramatic, we knew this kind of performance couldn't representwhat Whynter's best-selling portable AC was designed to do.
For a second round of tests, we used less controlled (but more realistic) conditionsduring a July heat wave, and the Whynter easily beat the single-hose designs.
If you're only suffering through 87-degree summer days, there are no major details toset these apart, other than the LG’s design being a bit more attractive than the Whynter.
Fortunately, this model is basically just as quiet as the LG, so they're both equallydiscreet in your bedroom.
The other 12,000 BTU models we tested are all reasonable performers, but the new LGstill comes out on top for best overall cooling performance, lowest noise, and best features.
Overall, we're happy with the performance and flexibility of the new LG - 12,000 BTU model.
It's a great design, just like the model it replaces.
For regions where the afternoon weather gets up into the 90s or 100s, though, this typeof AC just doesn't work well.
If you're living in a hot spot like Phoenix, where you already see 90 degrees in March,the Whynter dual-hose design is going to work far better than the LG single-hose.
We hope we've helped you find the portable air conditioner that's right for you.
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Stay cool everyone!.