Portable air conditioners make summer overnight stays and camping cool and comfortable. Also called a mini-coolers or portable air conditioners, these products are sold for convenient portability. However, because many of them are compact, you may be wondering whether they are powerful, even though they are small, and whether they can really cool you down in the middle of summer. In this article, we would like to introduce how to choose a portable air conditioner.
In This Article
- 1 What Is a Portable Air Conditioner?
- 2 Differences Between Portable Air Conditioners and Cooling Fans
- 3 High Cooling Capacity
- 4 Portable Power Supply Capacity and Rated Output
- 5 Products That Are Not Too Loud in Operation
- 6 Those That Come with Heat Exhaust Ducts and Drainage Hoses
- 7 Check the Weight and Shape
- 8 Check the Remote Control and Air Direction Adjustment Functions
What Is a Portable Air Conditioner?
A portable air conditioner is a small, portable air conditioner. It basically works the same way as an air conditioner, using a refrigerant and heat exchanger to deliver cool air. They are mainly used in outdoor situations such as overnight stays in cars or camping in the summer.
The cooling capacity of most air conditioners is about one-fourth to one-tenth that of a standard car air conditioner, and when the poor insulation performance of cars is taken into account, it is not expected to be powerful enough to cool the interior of a car to a crisp in the middle of summer.
Nevertheless, the heat is getting hotter every year. With more and more municipalities enacting ordinances that prohibit idling even if you want to turn on the car air conditioner, portable air conditioners are attracting attention as an environmentally friendly way to feel cooler.
Differences Between Portable Air Conditioners and Cooling Fans
The difference between portable air conditioners and cooling fans is the way they generate cool air. Portable air conditioners are portable cooling and use electricity to send cold air through a refrigerant and heat exchanger. The mechanism is the same as that of home cooling, but it is characterized by its compact size and the fact that it can be used without an outdoor unit.
On the other hand, a cooling fan evaporates water and uses rarefied heat to send cold air. Many of these devices are smaller in size than cooling fans. Although their cooling effect is inferior to that of portable air conditioners, they can be used in a wide range of situations.
Here are some points that you should always check when choosing a portable air conditioner.
High Cooling Capacity
Portable air conditioners come in different sizes. First, check the size to see if it will fit in the space available for installation, such as in a car or tent. For installation, we recommend a location and direction near a window where it is easy to exhaust and drain air and where the cool air hits your body.
The cooling capacity of a portable air conditioner is expressed in units of “◯kW,” and the larger the number, the higher the cooling capacity. In addition, the size of the main unit tends to be proportional to the cooling capacity, and in this verification, the larger the size of the product, the higher the cooling capacity and the cooler the user feels.
On the other hand, products with cooling capacity below 0.3 kW were found not to feel very cool in a hot and humid environment with a temperature of 30°C and humidity of 80%, even when exposed to direct airflow.
If the product is intended for use in mid-summer, it is recommended that the cooling capacity be at least 0.3 kW, and that the cooling capacity be as high as size and budget allow.
Portable Power Supply Capacity and Rated Output
Portable air conditioners are expected to be used when connected to a portable power source, such as when sleeping with the engine off in a car or when brought inside a tent. Check the capacity and power rating of the portable power supply to determine whether it can start up properly and how many hours of continuous use it can be used.
Power consumption of portable air conditioners is generally around 100-350W. Products with high cooling capacity also consume more power, and even a portable power supply with a capacity of 1,500 Wh, which falls into the highest class of commercially available products, can be used for 4 to 5 hours.
Products That Are Not Too Loud in Operation
Considering that you will be using it when you sleep, you want to choose one that is as quiet as possible. However, portable air conditioners have a built-in compressor, so you should be prepared for a certain amount of operating noise.
60 dB is the loudness of a normal conversation, while 70 dB is the same level as in a noisy office. In actual use, products that exceed 70 dB are noisy, so it is best to avoid them.
Those That Come with Heat Exhaust Ducts and Drainage Hoses
Many portable air conditioners are constructed with the indoor and outdoor units of an air conditioner in one unit, which requires heat exhaust and drainage outside the car or tent.
We recommend products with attached heat exhaust ducts and drainage hoses at least 1 m long, assuming that they extend from the location of the main unit to the top where the window is located.
Check the Weight and Shape
If you will be bringing it into your tent or using it in your garage at home, we recommend a product with a weight and shape that is easy to carry. Products that weigh up to 10 kg and have handles are easy to carry.
However, lightweight products tend to have low cooling capacity. If you are staying in a car and will not be moving it much, it would be better to choose a product with a high cooling capacity while putting up with a certain amount of weight.
Check the Remote Control and Air Direction Adjustment Functions
If you are going to use a portable air conditioner, you may want to spend time relaxing in a cool car. A remote control is convenient because you can operate it while lying down.
We also recommend a portable air conditioner with adjustable louvers and ducts on the cold-air side so that you can control the direction of the cool air. Even if the cooling capacity is a little low, you will feel cooler by directing the cool air directly to your body.
In particular, check if the louvers can be turned downward. Note that even if the cooling capacity is high, products with air outlets at the top that cannot be turned around will make it difficult to get cool air while lying down.
A portable air conditioner can create a comfortable environment even under the hot sun. To get the most out of your portable air conditioner, you should also incorporate a portable power supply.
With a portable power supply, you can use not only the portable air conditioner but also various other devices such as cooking equipment and lights. To make your summer camping experience more comfortable, try to introduce a portable air conditioner and a portable power supply.