Buy Committee: How Do I Choose Between a Window Unit or Portable Air Conditioner?

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Photo: Pier Luigi Valente (Unsplash)

It’s hot outside and, Buy Committee, Ana Suarez desperately needs your help to survive the next few months.

There’s no central air in my 750 sq. ft. apartment. I’ve sucked it up by just using a fan in the living room for a while, but it is going to be 100 degrees on Saturday in New Jersey, and will continue to be gross and hot through September.

My bedroom has a shitty old window unit that works fine. But my living room can feel like a sauna some days unless you’re sitting directly in front of the fan. My cats love it, but my poor dog does not.

Would a window unit or a portable air conditioner be better? The living room is 11' x 16' - in case those dimensions matter!

So, Buy Committee (that’s you), scroll down to the comments to share your experiences with your window unit or portable air conditioner. Help Ana decide which she should invest in.

I, for one, hate portable air conditioners. While they look like fancy standalone units, most product images neglect showing you the weird exhaust hose/pipe that you’ll need to attach to your window to get it to work. My brother has one, and it’s unsightly.


I’d say stick with a window unit. And while it’s easy to get distracted by the new modern design and smart home powers some of the latest models have, the most important thing to pay attention to is the power. You’ll probably need at least 15,000 BTU, like this Frigidaire unit, to be able to sufficiently cool an apartment.


Of course, we’re looking to help you decide on more purchases. So, if you’re still agonizing over something, email with the subject line “Buy Committee” or tweet us at @ItsTheInventory.