Portable air conditioning units target only the spaces you actually need to cool, which helps cut down on utility costs. These devices are a great option for spaces that don’t have central air and for which wall-mounted or window models aren’t an option.

Most portable AC units are rated in BTUs (British thermal units); more BTUs mean a more powerful appliance. Shoot for at least 6,000 BTUs for an average-sized room. Here are three portable AC options with key features and efficiency ratings that stand out.

Fits on your desk: Evapolar evaCHILL Personal Evaporative Air Cooler and Humidifier

Stay Chill While You Work

Easiest to take around with you. Amazon

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At just under 2 pounds, this is the most truly portable AC unit on the list. It also does triple-duty as an air purifier and humidifier. It’s charged through a USB port, which makes it a particularly good option if you already have a portable battery pack (you can also charge it from your laptop). It also doesn’t require any type of window hook-up, unlike more powerful models. This is a great option to keep on your desk or even to bring camping.

Roll it around: Honeywell 12,000 BTU Portable Heat/Cool Air Conditioner

Keep Any Space Cool

Mid-size and on wheels. Amazon

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This is a great mid-sized model that can cool a room as big as 550 square feet. It has three fan speeds and reusable air filters that trap dust and don’t need to be replaced. This model is also on a set of four wheels so it rolls from room to room rather than needing to be carried.

Most powerful: Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner


This one is on wheels for easy transport to any room with a window. Amazon

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This Whynter AC unit packs a whopping 14,000 BTUs and can keep a 500-square-foot room cool. The best thing about this model is that it has a built-in dehumidifier that can pull up to 71 pints of water from humid air every day, sucking up some of that sticky heat.