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The Pros and Cons of Portable Air Conditioners: Are They Right for You

Author Rod Marchant-Smith | Peninsula Air Conditioning

A reliable air conditioning system is essential for a scorching Australian summer. But while we’re all looking to beat the heat, air conditioning isn’t one size fits all. 

For those living in a rental house or apartment, or looking for a lower-cost and ready-to-use air conditioning solution, a split system or ducted air conditioning system may not be a viable option. Luckily, a more affordable, rental-friendly option is available: portable air conditioning.

Portable air con units may be the perfect solution for those looking to keep cool with minimal hassle, cost or ongoing maintenance. However, affordability and convenience don’t always go hand in hand with optimal performance. Therefore, it’s important to have a full understanding of the pros and cons of a portable aircon before deciding which air conditioning solution is right for you.

Pros of Portable Air Conditioners

1. Flexibility and Mobility

One of the main advantages of portable air conditioners is their portability. Unlike fixed systems, mobile air conditioning units can be easily moved from room to room, providing cooling exactly where you need it. This flexibility is particularly useful for those who are budget-conscious, as it means you can stay cool wherever you are in the house, without having to install multiple air conditioning units.

2. Easy Installation

Installing a portable ac is a breeze. Unlike split systems or ducted units, which require complex (and somewhat permanent) installation, all you need to run a portable air conditioner is a window or an outlet to vent the hot air, and you’re good to go. 

The fuss-free installation of a portable air conditioner makes it a great option for renters who may not have permission to alter their property by installing an air conditioning unit, or simply don’t want to spend the money to do so  in a rental property.

3. Cost-Effective Solution

Portable air conditioners are a cost-effective solution for cooling smaller spaces. They’re generally more affordable upfront compared to other air conditioning options, making them perfect for those who don’t want to invest in a larger, permanent system. Plus, as the air conditioner is portable, you’re saving on the cost of installation too, which can cost up to $5000 depending on the unit. 

Cons of Portable Air Conditioners

1. Limited Cooling Capacity

While portable air conditioners are efficient for cooling small to medium-sized spaces, they may struggle to properly cool larger rooms or open-plan areas. 

If you have a larger space or multiple open rooms to cool, you may need to consider a more powerful system such as a split system or ducted air conditioning in order to truly benefit from your aircon.

2. Noise Levels

Portable air conditioners can be noisier than fixed systems, as the compressor and fan are located within the same unit. While some newer models feature technology that reduces noise levels,, it’s important to consider the noise factor if you require a quieter environment.

3. Aesthetics and Space Considerations

Portable air conditioners, though compact, take up floor space. Therefore, if you have an already-small or crowded room, a standing aircon unit might seem inconvenient or in-the-way. 

It’s also important to keep in mind that the venting hose of the portable air conditioning unit needs to be directed outside, which, along with the unit itself, may impact the aesthetics of your space. 

Is a Portable Air Conditioner Right For You?

Now that you’re aware of the pros and cons of a portable air conditioner, it’s time to determine whether or not a portable aircon is the right choice for you. Consider these factors to help inform your decision:

  1. Room size: Portable air conditioners are ideal for smaller spaces, such as bedrooms or home offices. Assess the size of the room you want to cool and compare it with the cooling capacity of the portable unit you’re considering.
  2. Flexibility requirements: If you require the flexibility to move your cooling unit around different areas of your home or office, a portable air conditioner offers unmatched convenience.
  3. Budget and affordability: Portable air conditioners are generally more affordable upfront, and don’t require costly installation, making them a budget-friendly option for cooling smaller spaces.


Portable air conditioners offer flexibility, easy installation, and affordability, making them a great option for rental properties or smaller rooms. 

For a more powerful and efficient cooling solution, discover Pen Air’s split systems, multi-split systems, and ducted air conditioning options are designed to meet your higher-end cooling

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