Our review compares portable air conditioners on customer satisfaction, so you can find out what other Aussies think about the compared brands before you go ahead with a purchase. Think of it as like asking hundreds of your closest mates which portable air conditioner they think is best!
Canstar Blue surveyed 536 Australians for their feedback on the portable air conditioner(s) they’ve purchased and used in the last three years.
The winning brand is the one that receives the highest Overall satisfaction rating once all the scores from the Overall satisfaction criteria are combined and averaged.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included, so not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The brands rated in this survey are listed below in order of best overall satisfaction.
Find more detailed information on our Most Satisfied Customer methodology.
Electrolux was rated five stars for value for money, features & functionality, ease of use and overall satisfaction, with four stars for performance and design.
Swedish electronics giant Electrolux has been making appliances since the early 1920s, starting with vacuum cleaners and slowly growing to a wide series of electronic goods. The brand’s portable air conditioner range includes (at the time of writing) two units, the 2.5kW and 3.5kW Ultimate Home models. Both feature silent air operation, efficient cooling technologies, four fan speeds, a 24-hour timer, remote control, and a window kit. In addition to the output, the primary difference is the 3.5kW model also features a larger moisture removal limit per hour, making it a potentially more suitable option for those in more humid climates.
Rinnai was rated five stars for design, with four stars for ease of use, features & functionality, value for money, performance and overall satisfaction.
A Japanese brand that covers plenty of appliance spaces, from hot water systems through to its wide range of heaters and air conditioners, Rinnai offers a number of portable air con units, with power outputs ranging from 2.6kW to 4.1kW. The 2.6kW Rinnai portable air conditioner model features an adjustable temperature control, multiple fan speeds, a washable filter, wheels, inbuilt timer as well as a remote control to give you more control over your comfort. Those looking to cool down larger spaces might be interested in the 4.1kW model, which features multiple settings and a sleep mode for optimum usage.
Dimplex was rated five stars for performance, with four stars for features & functionality, value for money and overall satisfaction, and three stars for ease of use and design.
Specialists in home heating and cooling solutions, Dimplex offers several models of portable air conditioners, coming in sizes from 2.5kW up to 4.5kW. The smallest model features an LED display, dehumidifier function that can take care of over 2L per hour, multiple speed settings, with a 24hour timer. The 4.5kW Dimplex portable air conditioner model also features dehumidifying functionality, soft touch control panel with LED remote control to help you set the temperature you need. It also features three speed settings and 24hour timer, along with side-positioned exhaust hose.
Goldair was rated four stars for value for money, ease of use and overall satisfaction, with three stars for performance, features & functionality and design.
Goldair has been in the heating and cooling business for over 40 years, and boasts an impressive range of heaters, electric blankets, installed air conditioners, and portable air conditioners. The brand’s portable range shares cooling and dehumidifying capabilities, adjustable thermostats, voice control technology, 24-hour timers, and sleep modes. Some of its models also include Wi-Fi compatibility and can be controlled via the Goldair app, allowing you to set the control and options from the other side room for the ultimate comfort.
Arlec was rated four stars for ease of use, features & functionality, value for money, performance and overall satisfaction, with three stars for design.
An Australian brand that’s exclusively available through Bunnings, Arlec may not have the range as other brands, currently offering two portable air con models for shoppers to choose from. The Arlec 9000BTU model features a 2.6kW output, 24hour timer, remote control, multiple speed and temperature settings, sleep mode, dehumidifying functionality as well as a window venting kit and air duct hose to help with ventilation. The larger 4.6kW Arlec model also includes Wi-Fi capabilities, along with automatic shut-off, and is suitable for larger spaces.
De’Longhi was rated four stars for ease of use, performance and overall satisfaction, with three stars for value for money, features & functionality and design.
It’s perhaps best-known for coffee makers, but this Italian manufacturer creates small appliances for all around the home. De’Longhi’s flagship Pinguino portable air conditioner range includes several models, some including a dehumidifier function, with others featuring reverse-cycle functions. Most models also use air-to-air technology, with smaller units coming with handles and castors that allow you to easily move the model from room to room without raising a sweat. De’Longhi’s budget-friendly air cons include a 12-hour electronic timer and thermostat, while mid-range models take the timer limit up to 24 hours.
Kogan was rated four stars for ease of use, with three stars for all remaining categories, including design, features & functionality, value for money, performance and overall satisfaction.
Known for being an online retail marketplace, Kogan also offers a number of its own products, with portable air cons no different. With power outputs ranging from 2kW through to 4.7kW, Kogan models may suit both smaller and larger rooms, with models featuring various operating modes (air conditioning, dehumidifying, heating and fan, etc.) plus sleep and smart functions to automatically meet your cooling needs. Some also include a 24-hour timer, remote, and window exhaust connection kit, with one model even including a reverse cycle mode to offer heating during the cooler months.
Not all brands in the market qualify for our ratings (based on minimum survey sample size), but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth considering. Here are several more brands to check out before making a purchase decision.
How a portable air conditioner work will entirely depend on the type of air conditioner it is. There are two types of portable air conditioner mechanisms:
Refrigeration cycle units use the same basic cooling system as most large air conditioners. This type of air con works to transfer the heat in a room to a refrigerant gas (which is usually just plain old air in household air conditioners), which is then circulated out of the house to a condenser where the heat is dumped. This type of air conditioner must be connected to the outside of the building in order to dump the heat, which is usually done using a flexible hose that allows the unit to move around.
Evaporative cooling air conditioners pump air from outside through a screen that is partially saturated with water. This damp layer absorbs heat from the air. The cooled air is then pumped directly into the building or used indirectly to cool the condenser of a refrigeration system. The main advantage of an evaporative cooling unit is that it’s much cheaper to run than a refrigeration cycle unit.
Evaporative portable air conditioners also don’t require any external connecting pipes to circulate air – this makes them truly portable, unlike refrigeration cycle models. However, the use of water as the cooling mechanism has two main disadvantages. Firstly, the humidity of the cooled air is increased as it passes through the filter, which can be uncomfortable and less useful in humid climates. For this reason, evaporative cooling is likely best suited to hotter, dryer climates. Secondly, these coolers require a steady supply of water in order to operate, meaning you may have to regularly top up your unit on those hot days.
Many portable air cons cost between $200 and $1,200 which, despite being a significant investment, is much cheaper than the costs you’d incur by buying and installing a full-size air conditioning system. Our survey found that Australians who have bought a portable air conditioner in the last three years spent an average of $381 on a new model. This is also quite a modest amount, especially considering portable air con models from major brands can cost around $600. It seems that many consumers are price-conscious when it comes to buying portable air conditioners, and probably because they’re often seen as short-term cooling solutions. However, a short-sighted approach could prove to cost you in the long run – after all, summer comes around every year!
More air conditioner guides:
Portable air conditioners lose much of their effectiveness when cooling large areas, so if you’re worried about your energy bill it’ll be important to consider what room size you’ll want your portable air con to be cooling. Energy ratings for portable air conditioners operate slightly different to other appliances, although you can check to see if one appliance is more efficient than others if it does have a label. Otherwise, you can also check our guide on how much electricity your air conditioner uses to get an idea on what to expect once you turn it on.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Site Editor, Dean Heckscher. He’s our resident expert on all things automotive, health & fitness, streaming and more. Dean is also one of Canstar Blue’s customer research report producers, helping to turn complicated subjects into easily-digestible information for our readers. He’s passionate about helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services.
Samantha Howse is Canstar Blue’s Consumer Research Specialist, coordinating the consumer research program behind our customer satisfaction awards across Canstar and Canstar Blue in Australia and New Zealand. Sam has earned a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) from Griffith University and, with seven years in market research and 2 years in marketing, she is experienced in survey design, implementation and analysis, coupled with an understanding of marketing principles and best practice.
Here are the past winners from Canstar Blue’s portable air conditioner ratings:
Appliances - November 29th
Australian summers can be unforgiving, so which air conditioner is best for you – a split-system or portable air conditioner? Canstar Blue’s review can help.– Read more
Appliances - November 6th
Ducted air conditioning is indisputably the pinnacle of household heating and cooling. Unlike conventional air conditioners which can usually only cool one or two rooms, ducted air con uses vents (or ducts) in the walls …– Read more
Best-Rated Air Conditioners - November 3rd
What temperature should you set your air conditioner too? Does air con temperature affect running costs? Read more at Canstar Blue.– Read more
Appliances - October 27th
What is a smart air conditioner? What can they do? Find out all the answers to your smart air conditioner questions at Canstar Blue.– Read more
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