Probably The Quietest Portable Air Conditioner On the Market In 2017
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the main reasons that people look for the quietest portable air conditioner their budget will allow. Below I’ve reviewed what I believe to be the best and quietest model on the market and compared it to 2 other models to cover a range of room sizes so that you can select the one that best fits your needs.
Here are our Top 3 Quiet Portable Air Conditioner Units
- DeLonghi America PACAN120EW – 50db
- Whynter ARC-142BX – 53db
- Whynter ARC-10WB – 54db
- 1 Why Are Portable Air Conditioners Noisy?
- 2 Top 3 Quietest Portable Air Conditioners in 2017
- 3 Whynter ARC-142BX Review
- 3.1 Design and Styling
- 3.2 How Portable Is The Unit?
- 3.3 Remote Control
- 3.4 What Are The Operating Modes?
- 3.5 Environmentally Conscious
- 3.6 Double Filtration For Increased Indoor Air Quality and Health
- 3.7 Easy To Maintenance
- 3.8 Simple to Install
- 3.9 Measure Up To Avoid Disappointment
- 3.10 What Is The Warranty That Comes With The Unit?
- 3.11 Pricing and Delivery
- 3.12 Review Summary
- 4 Whynter 10,000 BTU ARC-10WB Portable Air Conditioner
Why Are Portable Air Conditioners Noisy?
When it comes to portable air conditioners it’s hard to get away from the fact that they do make some noise. There have been great strides since these were introduced in the 1950s to reduce this noise with the 2017 models vastly improved from even a few years ago, but the fact remains that due to their engineering design they still create noise. In order of quietest to noisiest the sequence is central air conditioning, split duct, window and then finally portable. The reason for this is purely down to the design of these units.
It’s simple physics – the more remote the machinery is from the location people are spending most of their time, the less noise they will hear and the quieter the unit will be perceived to be. This doesn’t mean there isn’t noise being made, there is, it’s just that this noise is being made elsewhere so people can’t normally hear it.
The noise an A/C unit makes originates from the pumps, fans and motors that make up the unit’s moving mechanical components. With central air conditioning units these are normally on the roof, in the garden or in a basement tucked in places where people don’t hear them. With a portable air conditioning unit these components are in the room, often right next to the people who are relaxing, watching TV or sleeping and that’s what makes them perceived to be noisier that other types of unit.
Now that you understand a bit about why portable units are noisy you have a couple of options. First, you can select a different type of unit that is inherently less noisy. But I’m guessing it’s not really an option otherwise you wouldn’t be have been searching for the quietest portable air conditioner and you wouldn’t have found this page! So the second option is to select the quietest unit for the size of room you need to cool at a price that you are willing to pay.
The remainder of this article is be dedicated to helping you choose the quietest unit for your specific needs. Note: This site is all about educating you to make the best a/c choices. I’d recommend you read my complete guide to selecting the best portable air conditioner for you if you want to learn more.
Top 3 Quietest Portable Air Conditioners in 2017
To compile this list I’ve spent a lot of time researching online, reading reviews, frequently asked questions and digging out each manufacturer’s manuals and literature and also combining my own experience. I’ve even contacted a few of them directly to get some extra information to figure out exactly what their published noise levels are. Below are my findings.
Not sure which unit to go for yet? Below I’ve given a detailed review of each of these quite units with some pros and cons for each. Read on for more info…
Visit my full and detailed DeLonghi America PACAN120EW review page.
Whynter ARC-142BX Review
It’s 14,000 BTU cooling capacity gives it the power to cool rooms up to 500 sq/ft so this unit will be great for living rooms and large dens and kitchens as well as small apartments and holiday homes.
Design and Styling
The style won’t win any prizes but is definitely functional and inoffensive. There are 2 blades on the front of the unit towards the top. These can be used to focus the air in a single direction or with swing mode activated distribute the cool air evenly around the room.
The controls are situated on the top of the unit for easy access. These are set in a silver background with a small LED screen which is used to display the temperature and the number of hours delay when activating the timer mode. There are blister type buttons to allow you to select the various functions that the unit offers and quickly see the status of those functions that are active.
How Portable Is The Unit?
At 76 lbs this is one of the lighter 14,000 BTU models on the market. Some can weigh close to 100 lbs which to be honest is on the border of what I’d consider portable. At 15.8 deep x 19.2 wide x 32 inches high it’s also one of bigger units in its category but only by a few inches and this shouldn’t make too much different to its overall portability. It is worth making sure that if you plan to store in a closet when it’s not in use it will actually fit!
The unit has 4 casters for easy transport and positioning and also a couple of useful built-in handles at either side of the case that are perfect for lifting the unit over a thresh hold or up some stairs. Remember to use a safe lifting technique if you do have to lift the unit.
The remote allows you to set and control the unit without having to pay it a visit each time so you can kick back and relax and still control the temperature, mode of operation, times etc. Batteries are included so you can be up and running straight away.
What Are The Operating Modes?
The Whynter ARC-142BX has four modes of operation. Each one is designed for a different function and allows you to save energy by only using the features that you need at any one time. The range of cooling can be set between 62 degrees and 88 degrees Fahrenheit.
Auto Mode – The first mode is Auto. This allows you to set a temperature and leave the unit’s built-in electronics and sensors to use the cooler and fan to reach and then maintain this temperature.
Fan Mode – Allows the unit to act as a standard air fan. This is useful if it’s not too hot but you still want a relaxing breeze circulating around the room.
Dehumidify – Useful if you just want to extract water from the air. The dehumidifier has a rating of 71 Pts./day capacity and has a built-in water tank or the ability to drain it directly into a sink or drain to allow you to run in continuously.
Cooling Mode – This is more or less the same as auto mode except you can select one of the 4 fan speeds. In auto mode you can’t select the fan speed; the unit’s built-in logic will set it depending on the room conditions.
Protecting the environment and living in a sustainable way that will allow future generations to enjoy the type of life we have is now a very real consideration for us. Whynter has done their bit with this unit and uses R-410A as a refrigerant chemical. This is a CFC free chemical so won’t cause as much harm to the environment when the unit is eventually scrapped. They also use lead-free components to minimise potential harm to people that lead-based components can cause.
Double Filtration For Increased Indoor Air Quality and Health
What has impressed me about this unit is the inclusion of two filters to ensure that the cool air you are breathing is as free of allergens and odours as possible. It actually has 2 filters: a pre-filter to remove particles and a carbon filter to remove odours and keep the air fresh. There are very few units that have this type of carbon filter and this will really create a noticeable difference to the indoor air quality of the room.
Easy To Maintenance
Safety First. Before carrying out any maintenance on the unit be sure to switch it off and unplug it from the power socket. The unit comes with a built-in LCDI (Leakage-Current Detection and Interruption) plug as an addition safety feature to protect people against the possibility of an electric shock while the unit is operating.
The portable AC unit is very easy to maintain. The following 3 simple tasks are required.
- Cleaning the air filters – every 2 weeks. Simply remove, vacuum out the dust, wash in warm water then replace when they are dry.
- Replacing the carbon filter strip – every 2-3 months.
- Emptying the water tank – as and when required. The unit utilises a clever self-evaporation system which uses the water extracted from the air to increase the efficiency of the cooling process. Depending on the humidity in the area it may never require emptying during the hot season. It should always be emptied before putting the unit into storage for any length of time though.
The user manual has excellent step-by-step instructions on how to carry out these maintenance activities. To see the manual at Amazon.com click here and then scroll to the technical information area under the product specification section.
Simple to Install
The ARC-142BX is super-easy to install. It comes complete with a window kit that allows you to connect the unit to a virtually any window.
The unit hose must be connected to a window to allow the hot air from inside the room to be expelled outdoors.
The window kit will fit a horizontal or vertically opening window from a minimum of 26.5 inches to a maximum of 48 inches in length. Most people seem to be able to install this without any issues. However, it must be said that most of the issues reported online are related to the hose assembly, most likely due to the huge variation in window sizes, designs and heights.
Measure Up To Avoid Disappointment
I’d highly recommend carrying out some quick measurements to avoid issues when installing the hose unit. You need to make sure there is at least 20 inches of clearance between the unit and the air intake filters. In practice, this means 20 inches between the unit and the wall.
The duct will extend up to 9 feet but for efficiency reasons (link to my complete guide article) try to keep it as short as possible. If you need an extension then an extra 5 feet hose extension is available from Whynter.
What Is The Warranty That Comes With The Unit?
This portable air conditioner comes with a 1-year limited and 3-year compressor warranty. The one year warranty covers defects with all mechanical and structural components while the 3-year compressor warranty only covers the unit’s compressor unit which is used to run the cooling elements of the AC.
Warranty Small Print
It’s worth pointing out that for any defect reporting during the first 2 months Whynter will pay for shipping the unit back to their base. However, after 2 months and up to the end of the 1-year limited warranty period this cost will be covered by you.
Also, they stipulate in their small print that the unit must be returned in its original box and packaging so remember to store this in a loft or garage so that you still have it to hand if something does go wrong with the unit.
Having reviewed the comments others have left online there doesn’t seem to be too many reliability issues with this unit. That said, Amazon do offer an extended 2 and 3-year protection plan for a very reasonable price if you do want that extra piece-of-mind and confidence that you will not be without a unit for too long if it does malfunction.
Pricing and Delivery
Some site usually offer standard and also seasonal reductions i.e. during the Black Friday sales, so it’s worth shopping around to see what the current deals on offer are especially around the holidays.
You might want to think about buying a reconditioned unit. This could be a consideration if you only need the unit for few months of the year or intend to use it for a holiday home where the usage will be limited. Ebay, Craigslist and Gumtree are good places to look for these.
The WhynterARC-142BX has free delivery from Amazon if you have an Amazon Prime account.
At the time of analysis, over 70% of reviews on Amazon.com have given this unit 4 or 5 stars so there is no question that it seems to be a well-received and quality product.
Below are some snippets of what people think of the unit:
5 Star Positive Comments
- “Best ever portable air conditioner” – 5 stars
- “Good value – did the job!” – 5 stars
- “Way better than expected.” – 5 stars
- “Great A/C unit, well worth the money!” – 5 stars
3 Star Areas For Improvement
- “Great cooling, horrible exhaust hose setup!” – 3 stars
- “BEWARE THE HOSE” – 3 stars
- “Very cool but the hose and attachments are very poor” – 3 stars
From reading the reviews that other users have left online it does seem to be that the main issue reported is connected to setting up the hose attachment. This is a common complaint with any portable AC unit and it must be said that these are the minority of reviews, remember over 70% of people gave it 4 or 5 stars.
Whynter 10,000 BTU ARC-10WB Portable Air Conditioner
This is the second Whynter to make it into the top 3 quietest portable air con list. This model is only rated at 10,000 BTU but what it lacks in power it makes up for in value for money at almost half the cost of some of the other more powerful units on the market.
If you are looking to cool a smaller room (up to 300 sqr/ft) then the ARC-10WB is a no-brainer!
How Does It Look?
The big different between the ARC-10WB and the ARC-142BX is that it’s white. The overall styling is very similar with the blades for directing the air situated towards the top of unit just below the control panel. Although the front panel of the unit is white, the back is still black which does spoil the look slightly as it’s a mix of two colors. I think it would have made more sense to go all in and construct the whole unit in a single colour to make is look slightly better.
Is It Easy To Move Around And Maintain?
In terms of size the ARC-10WB is 13.6 inches by 17 inches x by 28 inches. This makes it slightly smaller than the other two units, which is possible due to the lower cooling power of the 10,000 BTU unit and therefore smaller components inside.
At 64lbs the ARC-10WB is also a lighter than the other two models (76lbs for the 10WB and 68lbs for the PACAN120EW) so is easier to move and particularly lift around. Lifting the unit up and down stairs is made easier with some built-in handles on each side of the casing.
What Are The Key Features of The Unit?
For its size and cost this unit is still packed with features. It has three operating modes:
- Air Circulation Fan
The cooling mode uses the dehumidifier and the fan to condition the air to the set temperature. The unit can operate across a set point range (i.e. the temperature you want to maintain in the room) of between 62°F and 88°F.
The dehumidifying mode is useful in humid climates where the temperature may not be too high but the air is very humid. The unit can remove up to 55 pints of water from the air each day, and there is also the option to attach a hose and bypass the built-in water tank to drain the water directly into a drain or sink. This is very useful if do live in a humid environment and will save you from having to make several journies emptying the water tank.
It is worth noting however that this unit does have the self-evaporation feature which is now popular in most units. This uses the water collected from the air to cool the coils that cool the air. It gets rid of the water as well as making the air cooling process more efficient. This means that you should rarely need to empty the unit’s tank.
Fan mode has 4 speeds and can be used to direct a breeze of air around the room or in a single direction using the unit’s blades.
Enhanced Air Filter System
Like its brother unit the Whynter ARC-142BX, this unit has an enhanced air filtration system. This is a real bonus feature for such a low-cost unit. The anti-bacterial silver ion filter is designed specifically to remove large particle like hair, dust, dander etc. as the air is filtered through the unit using the washable filter, but also has “silver ion” coating to kills bacteria. This help keep virus’ fungi and spores under control.
This unit doesn’t have the carbon filter which the other unit features so it is less well-adapted to removing odors from the air though.
Is the Installation Easy?
The installation of this unit is reported as being simple, quick and straightforward. The window kit will fit windows up to 38″ wide and the hose for exhausting the air outside will expand to 48″ so the unit will fit most window sizes and heights off the ground.
Remember to measure up before you buy to avoid disappointment and hassle when you come to installing it!
Pricing and Warranty
As with the previous unit the ARC-10WB comes with 1 year limited part and labour warranty and the 3 year warranty on the compressor. This is not the best warranty on offer but very good for the price. Various companies, including Amazon.com offer 2 and 3-year extensions for extra piece of mind, however, there are no reports on unit breaking down during this time. Most units are broken in shipping so are fully covered under existing warranty.
Review Summary for the ARC-10WB
5 Stars - People who loved it!
- “Still Working Great After THREE Years!” – 5 stars
- “So far I love it!” – 5 stars
- Great value and performance; beats my other 10K BTU portable A/C” – 5 stars
Not so great feedback
- “P1 Error. Defective on Arrival Working Replacement now Recieved” – 3 stars
- “It cools great but it’s loud!!” – 3 stars
- “Seems great but the hose won’t stay connected” – 1 star