Best Portable Air Conditioners in the UK 2021

Air conditioning units are essential in hot countries where they’re fitted as standard to many homes, flats and apartments. 

But, as British summers get hotter, air-con units are growing in popularity across the UK and could even become the new norm.

Fans can be sufficient, but air-con is much more effective for directly reducing the temperature. Air conditioning units have been scaled down into portable packages, ideal for home use.

Many also have ‘sleep modes’ for night-time use and they’re small enough to be moved between various rooms in your house. 

Therefore, whatever type of air conditioner you’re looking for, there’s something for everything.

In this article, we will cover the best portable air conditioner brands in the UK and what to consider when buying a portable air conditioner.

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Best Overall – Inventor Magic 12,000BTU Portable Air Conditioner

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The Magic 12,000 BTU Portable air conditioner has a 5-in-1 cooling system that takes advantage of the new-generation R290 refrigerant. 

The 12,000 BTU rating of this portable air-con unit is considerable, enough to efficiently cool an entire average-sized floor, flat or apartment. R290 possesses excellent thermodynamic properties but chiefly, it has a very low environmental impact. 

In terms of functionality, this air-con unit has Auto, Cool, Dry, Fan and Heat features. Automatic mode monitors the ambient temperature and automatically adjusts to maintain the chosen ambient room temperature.

Cool will reduce the temperature of a room, Heat provides heating, Fan operates the fan only and Dry will dry out a room to reduce moisture/humidity. You can also choose from 3 fan speeds. 

This is a fairly compact unit measuring 46.7 cm x 39.7 cm x 76.5 cm, and it weighs 34kg, which is reasonable for a 12,000 BTU unit.

Omni-directional easy-roll casters simplify moving the Inventor Magic 12.000BTU Portable Air Conditioner around. It’s also equipped with a remote control, 24hr timer and LED control panel. 

This is an Energy Class A product, so is remarkably cheap to run for long periods of time. A 1.5m window kit duct is included. 

Overall, a superb all-rounder that will efficiently cool extra large rooms or even an entire floor of a flat or apartment. It is capable of both heating and cooling. 

Features

  • 12,000 BTU
  • 5 multi-functional cooling and heating settings with adjustable fan speed
  • Measures 46.7 cm x 39.7 cm x 76.5 cm
  • Weighs 34kg
  • LED display
  • 24-hour timer
  • Wireless remote control
  • Omnidirectional easy-roll casters
  • Eco-friendly refrigerant 
  • Energy Class A
  • Comes with window duct kit

Pros

  • Small, compact but powerful design
  • Uses new-gen R290 refrigerant 
  • Comprehensive remote and control panel 
  • Timer and remote control 

Cons

  • On the heavy side (but still easy to move)

Bottom Line

The Inventor Magic 12.000BTU Portable Air Conditioner is an exceptionally good portable air-con unit. It boasts stand-out performance but is also greatly enhanced by its ability to heat as well as coo, which is rare for a unit of this price. A high-quality portable air-con unit suitable for a diverse range of uses. 

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Runner-Up – Pro Breeze 4-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner 7000 BTU

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By Pro Breeze, this 4-in-1 portable air-con unit packs 7000 BTU of cooling power, making it suitable for single rooms or small apartments/flats. 

It’s a very small unit, measuring just 31 x 31 x 64 cm, which means it will easily fit in most rooms – it’s lightweight too at 22kg. Omni-directional high-quality casters mean it’s super-easy to roll round around your home. 

The 4-in-1 features include cooling, dehumidifying, automatic mode and fan-only settings. The fans can be set to disperse cool air over a wide or narrower area.

There’s no heat mode, so this air-con unit is only suitable for cooling down interior spaces during hot weather. It comes with a window duct unit for easy installation. 

An Energy Class A unit that uses the new-generation R290 refrigerant, this air-con unit is eco-friendly and energy-efficient, keeping energy bills down. It can cool rooms down to as low as 15C, which is ideal on exceptionally hot summer days. 

Whilst the unit is reportedly quite loud, it does have a sleep mode that will slowly cool a room until you fall asleep, and also lowers the operation volume. A 24hr timer allows you to set-and-forget the unit if you go out/go to work, etc. 

The Pro Breeze 4-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner 7000 BTU is a brilliant all-rounder with plenty of features and at just 22kg, it’s one of the more portable air-con units on the list. 

Features

  • 7,000 BTU (9,000 BTU model also available) 
  • 4-in-1 cooling with adjustable fan speed
  • Measures 31 x 31 x 64 cm 
  • Weighs 22kg
  • LED display
  • 24-hour timer
  • Wireless remote control
  • Omnidirectional casters
  • Eco-friendly refrigerant 
  • Energy Class A
  • Comes with window duct kit

Pros

  • Compact unit
  • Energy-efficient and eco-friendly refrigerant 
  • Timer and remote control
  • Sleep mode for nighttime operation 

Cons

  • Probably best for small rooms 

Bottom Line

A compact unit for small to medium-sized rooms, the Pro Breeze 4-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner 7000 BTU is an excellent option for cooling purposes only. It has plenty of controls including adjustable fan direction and speed and is capable of cooling rooms right down to 15C – perfect for serious heatwaves. 

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Ultra-Quiet – Inventor Chilly 9000BTU Portable Air Conditioner

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Another excellent air-con unit by leading brand Inventor, the Inventor Chilly 9000BTU Portable Air Conditioner is small and compact.

It’s no slouch, though, and with 9000 BTU of cooling power, it will easily cool larger rooms, small floors or flats/apartments. 

Like many other newer air-con units, the Inventor Chilly 9000BTU Portable Air Conditioner uses eco-friendly R290 refrigerant and has an Energy Class A rating, which ensures a decent level of energy efficiency when used over long periods of time. 

A small, upright unit that measures 34.5 x 35.5 x 70.3 centimetres and weighs 24kg, this is a truly portable air-con unit that should be easy to wheel around the house courtesy of 4 omni-directional smooth casters. 

The Inventor Chilly 9000BTU Portable Air Conditioner is a powerful unit, and is loud during peak operation, but does have a particularly good ‘sleep mode’ for quiet, smooth cooling during the night.

It ranks amongst the quietest 9,000 BTU air-con units, so is a solid choice if operating volume is an issue for you. 

The Inventor Chilly 9000BTU Portable Air Conditioner has a remote control and top-mounted LED control panel.

You can select the desired temperature, mode and timer from the remote but will only change fan speed from the unit, which is hardly a problem but worth pointing out. 

Overall, a superb compact but powerful air-con unit thanks to its hefty 9000 BTU of cooling power. 

Features

  • 9,000 BTU
  • Cooling and fan-only modes
  • Measures 34.5 x 35.5 x 70.3 cm
  • Weighs 24kg
  • LED display
  • 24-hour timer
  • Wireless remote control
  • Omnidirectional easy-roll casters
  • Eco-friendly refrigerant 
  • Energy Class A
  • Sleep mode
  • Comes with window duct kit

Pros

  • Powerful for a compact unit 
  • Eco-friendly credentials
  • Wireless remote 
  • Quieter than most models 

Cons

  • No heating mode 

Bottom Line

A tall but slimline and powerful air-con unit. The Inventor Chilly 9000BTU Portable Air Conditioner packs all your usual features and 9,000 BTU ensures it can efficiently cool larger rooms and apartments. The sleep mode is particularly quiet, perfect if you find this an issue with fans or other air-con units. 

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Best Budget – Amazon Basics Portable Turbo-Speed Air Purifier & Air Conditioner

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Though technically an air purifier, this official Amazon has a powerful fan for cooling a room and circulating the air. 

The device has a CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) of 200 m³/h, so it’s ideally suited for rooms no larger than 16-24 m². The air purification system uses ionic purifying technology to efficiently remove harmful particulates and other pollutants.  

The filter itself uses three different filtering technologies and can be easily and cheaply replaced. There are 4 fan speed modes ranging from Low to Turbo and the filter model can be switched on and off independently.

There’s also 1H, 2H, 4H and 8H timers so you can switch it on for sleep, when you get up in the morning, back from work, etc. 

The remote control allows you to control everything wirelessly – very handy. The sleep mode feature is very quiet and efficiently cleans and filters bedroom air to improve sleep health and quality.  

This is an excellent choice for those who live in polluted urban areas, e.g. cities or on main roads. 

Air filtering is an ongoing and growing issue right now and many users report marked improvements in their breathing, sleep and general health when using air filtering devices at home. 

Features

  • Air filtering fan unit
  • 3-in-1 filter with ionic technology 
  • 4 fan speed modes (Turbo is best for hot weather)
  • Timer
  • Remote control 
  • Sleep mode

Pros

  • Air purification fan
  • Excellent sleep mode 
  • Turbo mode for cooling
  • Top-quality replaceable filter

Cons

  • Not the most efficient cooling device

Bottom Line

Though not strictly an air-con unit, the Amazon Basics Portable Turbo-Speed Air Purifier does have a powerful fan. The filter is very good and will efficiently clean the air from harmful pollutants. Suitable for medium to large rooms.

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Well-Reviewed – Igenix IG9911 Portable Air Conditioner

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A slimline 9000 BTU portable air conditioner, the Igenix IG9911 Portable Air Conditioner is a lesser-known but still well-reviewed choice. 

It works both as an air-con unit, fan and dehumidifier. The dehumidifier is powerful and effective, absorbing some 27 litres of moisture on any given day.

9,000 BTU is pretty hefty and should adequately cool rooms in excess of 24m/2, suitable for flats and apartments. 

This unit is fairly tall but thin, measuring 88.5 x 43 x 40 cm, and weighs just 24kg. It’s worth mentioning that the dehumidifier can be used independently of the air-con itself, so you’ll be able to dehumidify the air even when you don’t want/need additional air-con – suitable for colder months. 

You can select from 3 varying fan speeds and everything is fully controllable via wireless remote.

Like most air-con units, the Igenix IG9911 Portable Air Conditioner comes with a window duct kit. It’s rated Energy Class A, so is as power-efficient as other air-con units on the list. 

Overall, a slim, effective and easy-to-use air-con unit with a built-in independent humidifier.  

Features

  • 9,000 BTU
  • 3-in-1 with fan, cooling and dehumidification
  • Measures 88.5 x 43 x 40 cm
  • Weighs 24kg 
  • LED display
  • 24-hour timer
  • Wireless remote control
  • Energy Class A
  • Comes with window duct kit

Pros

  • Slimline design 
  • Energy efficient 
  • Independent dehumidification 
  • Decent BTU rating

Cons

  • No heating

Bottom Line

Yet another slim, effective air-con unit. The Igenix IG9911 Portable Air Conditioner benefits from an independent dehumidifier that is capable of removing 27L from the air each day. 9,000 BTU is no slouch either, a solid choice for large rooms, flats and apartments. 

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Portable Air Conditioner Buyer’s Guide

Portable air-conditioner units all have one thing in common; they’re small and portable. They don’t need to be installed permanently into your home. 

The vast majority come with window duct kits, which are essentially tubes you connect to the unit and place outside of your window. The unit will replace the hot air inside of your room with cooled air, whilst blasting that hotter air out through the window – simple but smart. 

The max weight of a portable air-con unit is probably around 35 to 40kg, but most have casters for easy transportation between rooms. 

There are other features to be aware of:

Cooling Power (BTU)

Air-con units have a BTU rating. 

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit and has become the go-to measure of ‘cooling power’. A higher BTU means that an air-con unit can efficiently cool a larger space. 

For example, most living rooms in the UK are around 200 square feet (18m2). 

  • A one-bed home or large one-bed flat is around 500 square feet (46m2). Smaller flats can be as small as 30m2.
  • To cool a space of around 200 to 300 square feet, you’ll need to choose an air con unit with around 4,000 to 6,000 BTU.
  • For larger spaces of around 400 to 600 square feet, you’ll need a unit rated between 10,000 and 15,000 BTU.

This will vary depending on how well insulated your home is, the number of windows you have and other factors. 

As a rule of thumb, in the UK, you’re looking at 10,000 BTU+ to cool flats or entire floors of a small house. 

For single rooms, you can get away with much less. 

Dehumidification 

Many air-con units also come with dehumidifiers, perfect for when humidity is also a problem. 

Dehumidifiers will need to be maintained periodically, as they’ll collect water in a reservoir that needs to be emptied (usually very simple). 

Air Filtering

Air-con units may also have built-in air filters to remove chemicals and harmful pollutants from the air. 

Filters may use a blend of physical filtering (e.g. activated charcoal) and ionic filtering. 

Energy Efficiency 

Portable air-con units will be given an energy efficiency rating. The scale ranges from G (the least efficient) up to A (the most efficient). Grade A is also split into three additional grades; A+, A++ and A+++.

Most portable air-con units (including every unit in this list) are rated at least A. 

Heating

Some air-con units double up as heaters. 

Air-con heating is ideal for rooms that aren’t covered by radiators, e.g. garages, sheds, out-houses and conservatories. They’re very effective at circulating hot air around a room. 

Refrigerant 

Air-con units use refrigerants to cool the air. Refrigerants have been traditionally hard to dispose of due to their high environmental impact. 

The newest refrigerant is called R290, which you should look out for if you’re concerned about the environmental impact of your air-con unit. 

Summary 

5 brilliant portable air-con units here. 

The Inventor Magic 12,000BTU Portable Air Conditioner ticks every box, it even has a heating mode. 12,000 BTU is sufficient for cooling and heating larger spaces, perfect for whole flats, apartments or even one-bed homes. 

The runner-up, the Pro Breeze 4-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner 7000 BTU is cost-effective, efficient and compact. It’s a fantastic choice for smaller spaces. 

The ultra-quiet Inventor Chilly 9000BTU Portable Air Conditioner has a very good sleep mode for quiet nighttime operation. 

With an excellent air filter, the Amazon Basics Portable Turbo-Speed Air Purifier is a superb budget option, though technically not an air-con unit. 

Finally, the Igenix IG9911 Portable Air Conditioner rates as another solid choice and has a very respectable 9,000 BTU. 

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