The Best Portable AC Units That Don't Go In Your Window

These portable air conditioners from brands like Black + Decker and Arctic Air will cool the air around you without a standard-sized window.
Midea Duo portable air conditioner and Black + Decker portable air conditioner with remote control
Midea Duo portable air conditioner and Black + Decker portable air conditioner with remote control

After years of sticky summers in small city apartments, my childhood memories of air-conditioned houses started to feel more and more distant. Living in buildings with small, oddly-shaped windows or even no exterior ventilation to hold a traditional box-shaped window unit had tarnished my dream of ever having my own AC. Then I learned about portable stand-alone units. They’re air conditioners that you don’t put in your window, so they’re perfect for apartments, basements, attics, hallways and any other place that gets too freakin’ hot.

There are two main types of stand-alone air conditioners. One is a portable unit that typically sits on the floor and is equipped with a hose that ventilates hot air out of a window or opening, similar to a traditional window AC. Units of this type often also function as dehumidifiers, pulling heat and moisture from the air, compressing it with the internal motor, and then recirculating cooler, drier air into the space. They’re better suited for humid climates, and tend to cost around $300-500.

The other main type is evaporative. These units are lined with moisture-soaked membranes that add humidity to the surrounding air. They use an internal fan and tank of cold water and ice to send cold, moist air into a room. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, they work best in dryer areas with lower humidity and higher heat, namely the West, Southwest and Pacific Northwest. These tend to be cheaper than portable hose-vented units, generally ranging from $40-$120.

To help you find the best home cooling for you, we’ve rounded up the best vent-hose and evaporative portable stand-alone AC units in a variety of styles and sizes. May your home become the fancy cool-air house of your dreams this summer.

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A portable compact air conditioner with a dehumidifier
Lightweight and compact, this portable AC unit has wheels for extra movement and functions as a dehumidifier and fan in addition to an air conditioner. It provides maximum air circulation for smaller spaces with its automatic swing mode setting. You can use the buttons on the machine or control it with the remote from across the room.

Promising review: "EXCELLENT value, quality, and performance. It arrived on time and within an hour, it was up an running. I live in Florida and my central air conked out. I did a lot of research locally and online, and I am a pleased with this purchase as can be. I have 1,200 sq. ft. house with 8 foot ceilings and I was suffering with inside temps at 94 during the day and 90 throughout the night, at 86% humidity. I couldn't afford a larger unit, plus I was afraid it would be too large for me to handle and set up. I deduced that if I closed off the two bedrooms, I could at least cool the core of the home and take some of the brutal humidity out. It has been two days and this unit has save my life! It runs efficiently and quietly, (soft, white noise like a smoothly running fan), and continues to fill my 12 liter bucket with water from the air - just emptied the 6th bucket. The temp in my home has steady decreased to 78 degrees, (down from 94!), and still going." — Venise T.
A super sleek portable AC with over 30,000 positive reviews
With tens of thousands of positive reviews, this standing air conditioner from Black + Decker is a fan favorite. It comes with a handy remote control so you can adjust the temperature from across the room and it offers dehumidifying and ventilation in addition to air cooling. This AC works better in smaller rooms and offices and comes in six models, some which offer portable heating in addition to cooling. Note that while the unit itself does not go in a window, it does have a five-foot hose (and window adaptor) that does.

Promising review: "An absolute MUST for hot summer days. It's been 4 years since I've purchased this portable AC unit. I've been using it every day, when it's not summer I simply use the built-in fan for airflow when I'm working and white noise when I'm sleeping. When it's blazing hot during summer I have the unit blasting cool air in my home office while I'm working. This is an absolute must-buy if you're looking for some AC relief without breaking the bank. I will without a doubt buy a brand new one the moment this thing breaks down on me but it's been going strong for 4 years now and I still can't see it breaking anytime soon!" — sonny
An industry-leading option with a dual hose
This popular option from a trusted appliance brand has an ingenious dual-hose design, enabling simultaneous air intake and output. It also promises to cool using less energy than similar models. It's available in BTUs of 12,000 and 14,000, and the latter is available with heat as well.
A stand-alone unit with two vent hoses that's ideal for humid areas
Forget expensive serums and overly fruity bath bombs; real self-care is combating humidity. This stand-alone AC with two vent hoses functions not only as a super cooling air conditioner but also as a powerhouse dehumidifier, removing up to 71 pints of water in a day.

Promising review: "I've been using this unit for about a year and a half now and I still love it. I sleep with it running right next to my bed. Writing a review today because it's over 90 degrees outside, the sun directly hits a large window and wall in my bedroom all day, and this AC unit has kept my room a cool 70 degrees all day. This AC unit goes down to 61 degrees so I could absolutely make it even colder on this very hot day." — Jason
A portable AC you can control from your smartphone
Cool and dehumidify up to 200 square feet with this portable AC on wheels. It's Wi-Fi enabled and voice-controlled, so you can pair it with your phone or smart home device. Set it on its 24-hour adjustable timer and let the cooling begin. This comes in four size and power options.

Promising review: "I live in San Diego where it’s perpetually at least 75% humidity. It’s not the East Coast... but it’s pretty humid. My complex doesn’t have AC, which on normal days is tolerable but during the summer anything over 80 degrees or so outside, it’s miserable to sleep in even with a fan. I wake up every night drenched in sweat since I keep the window open since it does cool down but that humidity is just sticky... anyway this AC has been a life-changing miracle for me. I sleep like a rock through the night now. My bedroom is on the smaller side but it works incredibly, and I was able to get the seal perfectly on my window even tho it opens vertically instead of horizontally. Not to mention it’s a single pane window and my room still stays icy. I love it. Personally haven’t used the app or remote cause I go to school online so I’m always here. Buy this thing!!" — Kylie
This portable AC on wheels with a built-in dehumidifier and fan
For small rooms and larger spaces like garages or basements, this compact portable AC packs a punch. With over 12,000 positive reviews, this machine is said to cool off large rooms and enclosed smaller spaces quickly. It comes with a remote control to help you switch between the cooling, dehumidifying and fan modes. It comes in five model options, including ones that also work as heaters. While the unit sits on the ground, it comes with an exhaust hose to be placed in your window.

Positive review: "Cools off a room amazingly well. I was surprised and excited by the remote control and the feature that swings the vent covers up and down (swing setting). It pushes air around well and makes my third-floor Louisiana apartment not so miserable this summer. Glad to have this and very pleased with the quality so far." — Jon and Brittany Mohon
A super compact portable evaporative AC with a handle
The perfect addition to your desk or bedside table, this portable AC weighs less than two pounds and comes with an easy carrying handle. It functions as an air conditioner, humidifier and night light, keeping you cool and calm all summer long. Simply fill the back tank with cold water, plug the machine into an outlet and let the cool air roll.

Promising review: "Yes, it is lightweight, but it works a lot better than I ever expected. I live in a small space in a place with less than 30% humidity and high temperatures. At this moment, I have it sitting 5 ft away on medium speed and I’m chilled. I was skeptical at first but not only am I very happy with my purchase, I highly recommend it to anyone with a small bedroom or office space. It uses very little electricity, unlike larger, noisier room air conditioners. No leakage and it’s surprisingly quiet." — L. Hummel
A budget-friendly evaporative air cooler
A cooling cube you'll be happy to display, this evaporative air cooler is perfect for desks, counters and even outdoor patios. Fill the top with ice and water and have cold air for up to 10 hours. It has a built-in LED light with seven color options and four adjustable cooling speeds.

Promising review: "At night I sometimes get hot while I'm sleeping but the Arctic Air Pure Chill 2.0 keeps me completely cool and I sleep like a baby. So easy to use and small enough you can store easily. I would definitely suggest this to others." — iceeultra

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