Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

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Our guide explains how to choose a portable air conditioner and how an air conditioner differs from a fan.

Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

The best air conditioners will cool any room quickly and evenly. However, broken appliances make noise, use more energy and are left in warm, cool places in the house. Choose the perfect air conditioner – when you really need it – using our expert advice and Best Buy recommendations.

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For most people in the UK, especially those with small homes or those who don’t have the energy to run an air conditioner, an electric fan will be a smarter and more environmentally friendly investment. But when you’re shopping for a space-cooling air conditioner, terms like “self-contained,” “BTU,” and “coolant” can be confusing.

Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

To help you shop smarter, we explain the differences between the types of air conditioners and offer some tips for maintaining your air conditioner after it’s set up. Once you know what you’re looking for, head over to our air conditioner reviews and shop Best Buy.

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Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

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All the air conditioners in the table below have passed our rigorous tests, so you can be sure they are effective at cooling, easy to use and energy efficient.

Two models on our chart are so impressive that they easily win? Best Buy recommendation.

Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

Join? for our best air conditioner buys and reviews. We’ve tested air conditioners from brands like AEG, DeLonghi, and Electriq, but only the best earn a Best Buy rating.

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Whether you have a loft bedroom, a conservatory or a villa-style home, air conditioning can be a good investment.

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Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

At the time of writing, the cheapest air conditioner we’ve tested will set you back around £250. At the other end of the scale is the top-of-the-range model, costing over £500. Think about how much use you’ll get, you might not want to spend hundreds of pounds if you’re only going to take it out of storage a couple of times a year.

They are also known as single unit, stand alone and single unit air conditioners. They usually have wheels on the bottom so they can be rolled between rooms.

Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

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They are ideal for cooling a room and for placing on the floor. The hose attached to them should be hung from a nearby window. If you are unable to install a permanent air conditioner due to lack of space or building restrictions, a portable air conditioner can be a smart investment.

Portable models draw hot air from the home and blow it out through an attached hose. A reliable model will cool the room you’re in, but don’t expect it to push cold air down the hall or into another room.

Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

Due to condensation, water droplets collect, so you have to manually remove the water from the tank from time to time and clean the filter at the same time.

The Best Portable Air Conditioners

Also known as stationary air conditioners, they have two parts: a condenser unit (mounted externally) and an evaporator (mounted internally). The two parts must be connected, so the installation is much more difficult compared to the portable model.

Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

These machines are quieter and more efficient than portable air conditioners, but only need to be placed in one room at a time. If you’ve settled on a split air conditioner, you’ll need a professional to install it; keep in mind that installers are busiest in the summer.

They have a compressor in the outdoor unit that circulates the refrigerant and converts it from gas to liquid. This liquid passes through the cooling lines to the internal evaporator, where it changes from liquid to vapor. Heat is removed from the surrounding air and cooled air enters your home.

Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

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The outdoor unit will convert the refrigerant vapor into liquid. This process will be repeated over and over again until the unit reaches the programmed temperature.

Some models double as dehumidifiers, meaning they serve their purpose all year round, not just in the summer. However, if you will be using this feature most of the time, we recommend purchasing a dedicated dehumidifier.

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Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

With some air conditioners/dehumidifiers you will need to connect a hose (may not be supplied) to drain the water. With others, you’ll need to set the car up like air conditioning by running the hose through an open window.

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Tempted by a dehumidifier? Before you drop your cash, take a look at our dehumidifier reviews to make sure you’re choosing wisely.

Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

Having a range of fan speeds is useful as it affects how quickly the room cools (and how noisy the air conditioner makes). Most models have three fan speeds, and some even have a fan-only mode, which has no cooling effect and circulates air in the room.

We do not recommend buying an air conditioner primarily for the fan function; You can save a lot of space and money by buying a fan.

Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

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Useful if you want to adjust the settings without lifting. When we purchase an air conditioner with smart functions, we go through rigorous privacy and security tests.

This reduces noise by running the compressor and fan more slowly. Often the target temperature will automatically rise during the night so you don’t wake up in the freezing cold.

Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

But the air conditioner will not work completely silently, even in sleep mode. In fact, you are better off pre-cooling the bedroom before going to bed than trying to sleep with the air conditioner on.

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This allows you to set the machine to turn on and off automatically, which is useful if you want to return to a cool house or save energy after the device is put to sleep. Choose a clock and an air conditioner with a 24-hour setting. Some only have countdown timers or delays that need to be reset daily.

Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

They come in many shapes and sizes, but are often described in terms of BTU (British Thermal Unit) output.

In theory, the higher the BTU, the more efficiently it can cool a room. Generally, 5,000 to 8,000 BTUs are sufficient for most living rooms and bedrooms. Use this calculator to determine which BTU is right for you:

Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

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Multiply the room measurements (in feet) by five. So for a 15′ x 10′ x 8′ room you would calculate 15 x 10 x 8 x 5 = 6000 BTU air conditioning.

If you’re concerned about how much energy your air conditioner will use, look for a model with a good energy efficiency ratio (EER). This is the ratio between the air conditioner’s BTUs and its energy consumption (in watts). Generally, the higher the EER rating, the more efficient it is.

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Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

You can also look at the declared energy class. Air conditioner manufacturers need to self-certify their energy class from A to G. However, we carry out our expert tests according to the European standard BS EN 14511:2013. Often, the declared and actual energy class are different.

Best Portable Air Conditioners 2022

Our data shows that portable air conditioners consume as much energy in one hour as a fridge-freezer consumes in one day. This means that energy costs can easily rise.

Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

Split air conditioning units are generally more energy efficient, but they are more expensive and require a professional to install permanently. We do not test split air conditioning units as they are not that popular in the UK.

Although the electricity used to power portable air conditioners may come from renewable energy sources, this cannot be guaranteed. Electricity is generated from a mix of fossil fuels, renewables, gas and nuclear power, but this is mixed into the grid.

Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

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Portable air conditioners also use refrigerant gas to cool the room. This can be in the form of HFCs (Hydrofluorocarbons), which when released as a greenhouse gas can cause global warming. If yours is working properly, it shouldn’t emit any HFCs. However, if the device leaks or is disposed of incorrectly, it can emit harmful greenhouse gases.

The UK aims to phase out the use of HFCs by 79% by 2030 in favor of alternatives with a lower global warming impact, such as R290. You’ll find them more commonly used in the latest models of portable air conditioners, but older machines may still use HFC refrigerant.

Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

Before you decide to invest in a portable unit, there are more sustainable options for cooling your home that you can try beforehand, such as using an electric fan or closing the curtains.

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However, if you do decide to use a portable air conditioner, there are a few things you can do to make it more efficient:

Best Home Air Conditioning Unit

About two million tons of electrical and electronic waste are generated every year

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