Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own.

Budget portable air conditioners: 7 best models in Australia

The best budget portable air conditioners in Australia

A portable air conditioner is a compact, mobile appliance designed to cool down a particular area or room. Unlike traditional air conditioning units, which require installation within a window or wall, portable air conditioners offer flexibility and convenience as they can be moved from room to room.

This makes them an especially good choice for renters. They also tend to be less expensive.

When hunting for a budget-friendly model, consider the power capacity (measured in BTUs), energy efficiency and additional features such as a dehumidifier function or built-in air purifier. Be mindful that sometimes a lower-priced model can cost more to run, so consider the unit's energy efficiency rating as well.

To help you find the best model for your needs, we evaluated models based on their customer ratings and product features for the asking price. We came up with what we believe are the 7 best budget portable ACs you can get online.

Read more detail on our methodology below.


Teco 3.3kW Reverse Cycle Portable Air Conditioner

Best budget portable AC overall

Teco 3.3kW Reverse Cycle Portable Air Conditioner
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Slient operation

Cons

  • Too bulky
  • Wi-Fi configuration may be challenging for some

The Teco 3.3KW Reverse Cycle Portable Air Conditioner is our pick for the best overall budget portable AC.

With a 5 out of 5-star customer rating on Harvey Norman, this device offers an impressive cooling capacity of 3.3kW and a heating capacity of 2.9kW, making it a reliable choice for all seasons. Its compact size and convenient set-up makes it a breeze to fit into any space, big or small. The dehumidifying feature is a bonus, taking care of small areas quickly and providing a comfortable environment.

The unit has three fan settings, including an auto mode, and the Wi-Fi connectivity allows for seamless control via a smartphone. Despite being slightly larger than some other portable models, its roll-on castors ensure it can be moved around without a problem. The package also includes a 1.5m exhaust hose and window kit for permanent fixtures.

On the downside, the larger size may be an issue for those with limited space. And while the Wi-Fi feature is convenient, it will likely be superfluous for some users.


Carson 9000 BTU 2.64kW Portable Air Conditioner

Best budget portable AC under $500

Carson 9000 BTU 2.64kW Portable Air Conditioner
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Suitable for small spaces
  • Comes with a dehumidifier mode

Cons

  • A bit noisy
  • Water tank requires frequent emptying

The Carson 9000 BTU 2.64kW Portable Air Conditioner is an exceptional budget option under $500, ticking all the right boxes for those seeking a cost-effective cooling solution.

It boasts a sleek, portable design perfect for areas ranging from 15 to 20m³. With an easy-to-read LCD and a handy remote control, operating this unit is very straightforward.

The air conditioner shines with its versatile features, such as the dehumidifier mode, dual-speed oscillating fan and a self-evaporating system. No installation is required, and it comes with an easy-to-install window exhaust kit. It's quite energy-efficient, meaning you can keep cool without worrying about your energy consumption.

But with a maximum noise level of 65dB, it can be a bit loud compared to other models in this price range. Also, the frequency of emptying the water tank depends on the humidity level and the unit's operating mode. This means the dehumidifier function may require more frequent maintenance.


Delonghi 26kW Portable Air Conditioner PAC CN93ECO

Best Delonghi budget portable AC

Delonghi 26kW Portable Air Conditioner PAC CN93ECO
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Energy efficient
  • Works fast
  • Minimum drainage

Cons

  • The 1500mm hose might not be long enough
  • Only a 2 year warranty

The Delonghi 26kW Portable Air Conditioner PAC CN93ECO is our pick for the best option from this brand.

With a solid 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon, this unit impresses with its unique Silent Technology. The noise pressure levels are commendably low, ranging from 47 to 50dB, making it a perfect choice if you're in the market for a quiet AC unit.

Operation is easy thanks to the soft touch buttons and a convenient remote control. It also has a user-friendly interface via an LED panel on top that displays all modes. The unit comes with castors attached to the base for easy portability, although given its ability to cool areas up to 90 square meters, frequent moving won't likely be necessary.

It features a 24-hour timer for efficiency and even a dehumidifying mode to help maintain a comfortable humidity level in your home. One particular highlight is the Condensate Recirculation System, which significantly reduces the frequency of draining, a feature customers appreciated in their reviews.

However, it's not all perfect. Some users said that the 150cm hose might not be long enough for their needs, so make sure to measure and plan your setup accordingly. Additionally, while the unit comes with a 2-year warranty, it's slightly shorter than other brands on the market. (With that said, Australian Consumer Law should still protect you in the unlikely event of total product failure.)


Rinnai 4.1Kw Cooling Only Portable Air Conditioner

Best budget portable AC for large rooms

Rinnai 4.1Kw Cooling Only Portable Air Conditioner
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Handy remote for easy operation
  • Various modes for different needs

Cons

  • Can be noisy in small spaces
  • Bulky

The Rinnai 4.1Kw Cooling Only Portable Air Conditioner holds a 4.2 out of 5 stars rating on Appliances Online, making it our choice for the best budget portable AC for large rooms.

This unit, noted for its adjustable temperature control and multiple-speed fan, allows for a customisable cooling experience. Not to mention, it's got a washable filter, sleep mode, an inbuilt timer and a handy remote control for easy operation.

Perhaps the most impressive feature of this air conditioner is the water alarm, eliminating the need to constantly empty water. You can switch between modes such as Auto Mode for fuss-free operation, Cool Mode for chilled air, Dry Mode for chilled and dehumidified operation or Fan Mode for a natural breeze. The Sleep Mode function adjusts the temperature over 8 hours at preset intervals to maintain comfort while sleeping and optimise energy usage throughout the night.

One con with this model is the noise level, which some users have reported to be a little high, especially in small rooms. Additionally, the unit is quite large, which may be inconvenient for those with limited space.


Delonghi 26kW Portable Air Conditioner PAC CN93ECO

Best budget portable AC for quiet operation

Delonghi 26kW Portable Air Conditioner PAC CN93ECO
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Energy efficient
  • Works fast
  • Minimum drainage

Cons

  • The 1500mm hose might not be long enough
  • Only a 2 year warranty

If you're looking for an affordable AC with a silent operation, our pick is the Delonghi CN93ECO. With a respectable 2.9kw cooling capacity, this air conditioner works well in medium to large rooms, refreshing and dehumidifying spaces with remarkable efficiency. Its dehumidifying mode can handle up to 41L/24 hours, which is impressive for its price range.

Generating 50% less noise than a traditional portable air conditioner, the PAC CN93ECO allows you to enjoy a cool and peaceful indoor environment. The device is also integrated with geofencing and app control, enabling users to remotely manage the air conditioner's settings and turn it on as they approach home.

In addition, the My Eco Real Feel function automatically adapts to ambient temperature and humidity levels to optimise energy consumption. Beyond performance, it's also eco-friendly, thanks to its use of R290 Natural Gas, a non-toxic and ozone-friendly fluid.

Despite these numerous advantages, there are a few areas where the PAC CN93ECO could improve. For one, it may not be the most budget-friendly option, costing $799 apiece. Additionally, assembling the air conditioner takes some time and effort, which could be a turn-off for some users.


Excel Air 3.6kW Portable Air Conditioner EPA14A

Best budget portable AC for energy efficiency

Excel Air 3.6kW Portable Air Conditioner EPA14A
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Smooth castor wheels
  • Auto Evaporation System

Cons

  • Noisy operation
  • Not for large rooms

With a rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars on Bing Lee, we recommend the Excel Air 3.6kW Portable Air Conditioner EPA14A as the best energy-efficient option.

This unit can cool rooms purportedly up to 25m². It has a remote control to adjust the temperature from any corner of the room easily. It also features a 24-hour timer and sleep mode that allows personalised use and contributes to lower electricity bills.

With four castor wheels and handles, you can easily relocate the unit. Additionally, the dehumidifying function is quite the sell, effectively reducing excess moisture in the air. And the Auto Evaporation System saves you the hassle of draining water frequently.

However, some users have reported a noisy operation and brittle plastic parts. Nonetheless, with its convenient features and energy efficiency, the Excel Air 3.6kW Portable Air Conditioner EPA14A remains a good, affordable choice for smaller rooms.


Coolzy-Pro Personal Air Conditioner

Best budget portable AC for tents

Coolzy-Pro Personal Air Conditioner
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • No consumables required
  • Energy-efficient

Cons

  • Emptying the tray could be messy
  • May not suit larger tents

The Coolzy-Pro Personal Air Conditioner is our pick for the best budget-friendly option for cooling tents.

With three speed settings - low, medium, and high - it gives users the flexibility to control the temperature to their comfort levels. At just 15.4kg, the unit is also easy to move around, and it comes with four wheels and carry handles.

The Coolzy-Pro isn't only a refrigerated air conditioner; it doubles as a fan. Users will appreciate the remote control and the included Focus Enhancer. It operates on 220-240 Volts ~50 Hz and is energy-efficient, consuming just 340 Watts of electricity.

Plus, it delivers a solid 1100 Watts of cooling capacity and offers practicality with a removable tray for condensation water removal. The R290 Gas in the unit is environmentally friendly, making it a more sustainable option.

However, it may not suit larger tents or spaces, as it is designed for personal use. Also, some users said emptying the water tray could be messy.


Save on portable air conditioners with these deals and discounts:

Appliances OnlineAppliances Online

$280 off Haier Reverse Cycle Inverter Split System Air Conditioner

Ends

Appliances OnlineAppliances Online

$296 off Haier 5.0 kW Pinnacle Hi Wall Split System R/C Air Conditioner

Appliances OnlineAppliances Online

26% off Kelvinator 7.1kW Split System Reverse Cycle Inverter Air Conditioner

Appliances OnlineAppliances Online

41% off Mitsubishi Electric 5kw Reverse Cycle Split System Air Conditioner


Methodology

12
Brands considered
54
Products compared
7
Best products chosen

Why you can trust our picks

For this list, we focused on portable air conditioners under $1,000 from various online retailers including Amazon, Big W, eBay, MyDeal and Myer. We compared options from the following brands:

  • Carson
  • Coolzy-Pro
  • Delonghi
  • Devanti
  • Electrolux
  • Excel Air
  • Klika
  • Midea
  • Olimpia
  • Rinnai
  • TCL
  • Teco

We narrowed down our choices based on customer ratings and reviews (as of January 2024). We also considered each model's key product features, including size coverage, noise levels, design, energy efficiency and value for money. We came up with what we believe are the 7 best budget portable air conditioners available online.

Types of portable air conditioners

Single duct portable: These units are the most widespread type of budget portable air conditioners. They draw in stagnant air from the room, cool it down, and circulate it back. The warm air is then directed outside via a single hose or duct.

Spot coolers: Typically meant for commercial or industrial applications, spot coolers are budget-friendly options that do not require a duct or connection to the outside. However, their use is specific and may not suit typical household cooling needs.

Reverse Cycle: A few manufacturers also offer budget-friendly portable air conditioners with reverse cycle capabilities. These units can cool the air and provide heating, making them a versatile option for climates with varying temperatures.

How to compare budget portable air conditioners

Before deciding on your chosen portable air conditioner, consider the following key features:

Noise

Portable air conditioners can be pretty noisy, especially at high fan speeds. Look for models with lower noise levels listed in decibels (dB).

Room size

Note the recommended room size for each model and choose one appropriate for your space. Selecting a unit that is too small may not cool your room efficiently, and choosing one that is too large will use more energy than necessary.

Energy efficiency

Look for the Energy Star rating on portable air conditioners. A higher star rating means it is more energy-efficient and can save money on your electricity bill.

Ease of use

Consider the ease of installation, operation, and maintenance. Some models may require a professional to install, while others are simple plug-and-play units.

Additional features

Certain portable air conditioners may have additional features such as timers, remote controls, or programmable settings. Decide which features are important to you and choose a model accordingly.

Value for money

While budget is important, make sure also to consider the overall value for money. A cheaper unit may seem like a good deal initially but may cost more maintenance and energy over time.

Water collection

One important factor to consider when choosing a portable air conditioner is how it collects and manages water. Depending on the type of unit you choose, you may have to empty a water bucket manually, periodically check and drain a drip pan, or not worry about water.

Drip air conditioners: These units collect all condensate (water) in an internal bucket that must be manually emptied regularly to avoid overflow.
Partial drip air conditioners: Most of the water is drained through an exhaust hose, but some may still collect in a drip pan. You'll need to check and drain the pan occasionally, but not as frequently as with a drip model.
No-drip air conditioners: These units release all water into the air, eliminating the need for any manual draining or maintenance.

Portable AC maintenance

Here are a few tips to consider when maintaining your portable air conditioner:

  • Cleaning the filters: Regularly cleaning or replacing the filters is essential to ensure your unit operates efficiently. Dirty filters can restrict airflow and cause the unit to use more energy.
  • Emptying the water tank: If your model has a built-in tank, make sure to empty it regularly to prevent overflow and potential damage to your unit.
  • Cleaning the condenser coils: Dust and debris can accumulate in the condenser coils, reducing their efficiency. Make sure to clean them regularly with a soft brush or vacuum cleaner.
  • Checking hose connections: If your unit has an exhaust hose, ensure the connection is secure and free of blockages. This will maximise performance and reduce energy consumption.

Frequently asked questions

Why you can trust Finder Shopping best guides

favourite icon

We're knowledgeable

Our editorial team has decades of experience testing and comparing products. We only use experienced journalists with proven track records.
we're experts icon

We're comprehensive

We assess hundreds of products for each guide to ensure you're getting a full overview of the market. All guides are regularly reviewed and fact-checked.
we don't cut corners icon

We don't cut corners

Selections are based on our own research, comparisons and testing. We do not use automation software or AI. Every best guide follows a stringent methodology.
Avatar

Written by

Ericka Pingol

Ericka Pingol is a writer for Finder specialising in reviews. She has previously written articles about property investment, finances, and health. She’s a huge fan of Tina Fey, bubble teas and dogs. Ericka has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of the East, Manila and is currently writing her thesis for a Master’s degree in Communication See full profile

More guides on Finder Shopping

Go to site