Portable Vs Window Air Conditioners: Compared with Charts

Buying an AC is fantabulous decision to escape the scorching heat of the ruthless summers. But choosing one can be a lot more tedious than you will ever think. When we think of the best AC to suite our house and our needs, the list always comes down to two options and that is portable AC or Window one.

This is the most challenging choice we make while purchasing an AC for our house. After all its choice that determines our comfort and when you do not slack for work, why slack for comfort?

Well both window AC and portable AC have their share of goods and bad’s. While one has an advantage over space, the other has the advantage over mobility. Well choosing one AC over the other is completely based upon your own convenience.

Both the AC has equal competence, choosing one would be undoubtedly based upon your circumstances and choices. If you are not a fond of moving your AC from one room to the other you may choose a Window AC or if you are the one who gets bored of sitting in one room for long hours, you may choose portable one.

While both of have the same working, they may differ on other subjects such noise, efficiency, price, portability and most importantly installation.

Working of Portable and Window AC

We all know there is conversion of gas into liquid and then cooled and splashed on you as gas.

  • Like all air conditioners we are familiar with window AC and portable AC both have refrigerants which convert gas into liquid.
  • The other process as we all have guessed is taking heat out of the liquid by the one and only evaporator coil and then the gas is pressurized and splashed into your rooms so that you can calm yourself from the hassle of your everyday routine.

As you can see, the basic functionalism of both Window AC and the Portable AC remains the same, then is there a difference?

Yes, it is. The difference lies in disposing off or exhausting heat which is accomplished by the Portable AC by exhaust vent which must be connected to the window frame, however, your window AC eases you of this insignificant discomfort by already hanging itself on a window and directly giving out heat to the environment.

Now, this is a minor difference we have discussed between the two. The mechanism however is almost the same in both the cases except for the hassle of an exhaust vent. This minor difference however is not sufficient to complete your judgement of the two.

This is just an insignificant advantage of window AC’s over portable ones. But this will remain to be incomplete scenario. However, there are many pros and cons to both of their utilities.

Water Problem

As we all have become familiar with the fact that condensation of water takes place inside an air conditioner which leads to dripping of water. However, this water gets collected in drip tray and helps in cooling the coil.

But this cannot go long, and water must be removed to avoid water from collecting on your floor and eventually taking you down. While in a portable AC you must take the hassle of regularly checking your drip tray and preventing it from overflow so that you can walk freely on your floor.

But again, window AC has win on this case by just letting the water drip off to the ground and you just must sit and enjoy the cold air of your AC without having to step out and remove the extra water.

In window AC you just must install it and forget about it and just enjoy the calmness it serves of reaching your home after the fatigue of the scorching weather. But in portable AC you must take care of the little things that your AC might drip off.

When this is not all the scenarios. To be best suited to your comfort and convenience an AC must keep up with more of the tests. BTU is one way to check the range of your AC. The higher the BTU rating the more area your AC will cool.

Next is the sound check. Imagine you enter your home after your hectic schedules and you also must hear the murmuring of your AC. So annoying, isn’t it? Then why not choose wisely by checking its decibels (unit to measure loudness). The more the decibels, the crankier your AC will be. So be sure to check it before you are firm on your decision. The next points are mobility, design, and installation.

You really do not want to get over of your budget by ignore the installation charges that must be required to be ready to use your AC. So, you need to be careful how about much your pocket can take to endure you your calm and relaxing evenings.

Which AC is best for your Ears?

The ones who were highly encaptured by window AC, I might have to disappoint you by revealing that portable AC’s are much quieter than the window ones. Window ones may be magnificent, but they are sure to tell your ears that.

Window ACs are known to produce more sound for the same BTU ratings that is above 58 decibels. So portable AC’s have a win on this case by providing a quieter environment. If you are the one who is in love with quiet, cooler, and pleasant environments, then portable AC is the one for you. But however, you can manage with some your AC’s noise, then window AC is also not a bad option.

However, you will not get to hear much of your Window AC’s clattering’s as it is far away from you and much of the noise will be turned outwards while you are much likely to hear your Portable AC’s clattering’s as it is much near to you. Well, that depends upon you.

Who Is Cooler?

As written above one way to check your AC’s efficiency is by the BTU ratings. The more the BTU ratings, the more area it will cool. So, BTU ratings are essential to check while spawning over Window and Portable AC’s.

In terms of efficiency Window AC’s get a clear win as they cover more area than the portable ones for the same BTU rating. Soon this case some portable AC’s are clearly at loss and term themselves as highly inefficient.

Window AC tend to cover more area than the Portable ones and however they are more efficient even at low BTU ratings in comparison to portable ones. Clearly if you have your eyes set on the portable AC you might have to purchase one with a very high BTU rating to cover your area.

However, if you live in a huge room then portable AC might not be the right choice for you as you might feel hot in one corner and cold in the other. So, if own a house with large rooms then window AC is the choice for you.

However, if you live in small space then portable AC must be sufficient for you and you do not have to go through the hassle of installing an all-new Window AC.

Space Issues

Well window AC is likely to occupy no floor space at all as it is going to be installed in a window. So, the AC with which you are likely to suffer space issues is the portable one as it is the one lying on the floor.

However, you can shift it as per your use, but it is still going to take up some space. So, if you have a very low floor space, then why adding burden to your floor space with a portable AC when all you can do is fix it on the window. So, if you are low on the floor space then I might disappoint you by saying that portable AC is not the one for you.

However, window AC is not a bad choice to make if shady windows that give no pleasure.

Which One Adds to Your Style?

Portable Vs Window Air Conditioners Compared with Charts

Now if you choose based on looks portable AC gets a clear win. While window ACs are all the old-fashioned ones, the portable AC’ s come with variety of modern styles for you to match your fashion sense.

If you are the one for whom aesthetics of your house matter the most then portable AC is the choice for you as it comes with various styles and colours and can even suite your summer requirements of cooling the house. You surely do not want to show your AC as q piece of junk. So why not decorate your house with a stylish portable AC.


Believe it or not, this factor influences most of your household products. It is the key to purchase anything. We surely resent to and love to purchase products which are fit for our pocket as well as our home. So, agree or not, this factor can never be neglected.

We often seek to find the best product in our range of expenditure but however we get cheated to buy the product costlier as we all in some way or the other think the costlier the price the better the product. Well, it is not always true. The best product is the one that suits all our requirements in just the budget we allow.

In price matters window ACs are pricier than portable AC’s of the same power. However, efficiency also comes into play and window ACs are unquestionably more efficient in the same power in comparison to portable AC’s.

It can be said that price of Window AC is comparable or same as the portable AC of the next level. Efficiency wise Window AC’s are equal to portable ACs of next level. So, price is almost the same for same efficiency in both AC’s. So, your price is best suited in purchasing any of the two AC’s, you just need to keep in mind your preferences and efficiency.

Mobility and Portability

As the name suggests the clear winner in this preference is portable AC as it will go wherever you want it to go. Not feeling comfortable in your living room, do not fret over the cooling because you can take it away with you in your bedroom.

However, it is not possible with your Window AC as it is doomed to hang over window. Portable AC has this as an advantage over the Window AC on this one. However, if you have large space then your portable AC might be not sufficient to suit your needs, but it can move wherever you want it to move, you just need to take care of the exhaust vent.

Well, if you do not like to stay in a place for more than a year, then it is best for you. Also why install different ACs in different rooms when you can move one AC in different rooms. Wheels of portable AC got it covered for you.

So, while window AC cools only one room, portable AC can cool as many rooms as possible you take its wheel into. Well, if you are living astray from your house for any purpose, this serves best for you.


Well with portable AC you can escape with the hassle of installing the unit on the window and can also escape the charges that your pocket has to bear for this whole installation. For installation of a window AC, you would require a professional as this is out of your own hands.

But still the hassle of installation is still there. But with portable AC’s you can get away by just fixing the exhaust vent to window frame with a clip and you are done. You are just one clip away to use your AC and get the freshness of air you crave for in these humid summers.


Well, if you are a morning view lover then I might tell you that window AC will block one foot of your view and can ruin your mornings. But this is not the case with portable AC’s. Portable AC will not even dare to come between you and your precious view, and you can have the freshness of your morning views all to yourself.

The window AC can block at least one foot of your view which might be exotic. You surely do not want to lose your morning view for an AC. That is where portable AC comes to your rescue. Now you can have both a good morning view and cool and fresh air of your AC.

Is Window AC a Good Choice?

Is Window AC a Good Choice

Well, it completely and solely depends upon your preferences. If you have a large space to cover then Window AC might suit you. If you just want an AC all for yourself then why so much hassle? Also, it also depends upon your region Window AC’s are banned in some areas and you might be caught to install one.

If you are living on rent, then also this might not be your first choice. If you have windows that have sun all throughout the day, then Window AC might not work for you at all. But if you have some shady windows that add nothing great to the view then Window AC is just for you. If you have got a large room to cool and you do not want the AC to get in your way, then window AC suits you.

But if you live in a rented apartment and move out in less than year then a Window AC does not serve your purpose. Well quality Windows AC provides you the best bit mobility and portability wise it is sure to disappoint you. Also, if there is a scarcity of windows in your house, then you might not want to block the only window in your house with a huge piece of metal.

Ventilation is also necessary after all. But however, these are not the conditions of your house then you might prefer to have a Window AC. Also, it depends upon the rules and regulations of the place you live in and whether they allow you to have it or not.

What About Portable AC?

What About Portable AC

Well, a portable is not as efficient as the window AC but it has wheels and probably much quieter. You can take it wherever you go even to the kitchen. Well moving out, you do not need to worry about your AC as it can also come with you. A portable AC can serve the purpose of your guests during the day and cool you at night. Also, its modern design can capture you and the ones that visit you effortlessly.

Also, you do not even have to worry about the installation as it has all got it covered for you. You are all ready to go by just fixing a clip in the window frame. But when it comes to floor space it is sure to take a good amount of space. So, if your house is all clatter and messy, do not add up to that mess. Also, if your house is massive and needs a good amount of cooling then window AC is what you need. It all comes down to your house and preferences.

These were all the factors that you need to keep in mind while choosing between a window AC and a portable AC. Well, when it comes to prices you can easily get a good Window or Portable AC in the range of 280 USD to 600 USD. However, the portable AC are much cheaper than Window AC, window AC have your back on efficiency. But if you are the one looking for mobility and convenience, no one can suite you as good as a portable AC.

Portable AC might need some care, but they are good to go and even can serve the purpose of decorating your house with its designs. While the window AC is elder fashioned.

Windows AC and Portable ACs have their own set of pros and cons. It depends on you which cons you can handle and what cannot. Just like if you do not have time to look after your AC then you might install one and get it over with. But if that is not the case then you might go for portable ones.

An AC is for sure one of the best home utilities to invest your money on but choosing one can be tedious and you might do not want to go through a list of AC and compare each one. But understanding BTU, and other utilities might lessen this havoc for you, and you can choose a suitable AC for your house.

While choosing an AC be sure to keep in mind your needs and preferences and the rules and regulations of the area you live in. You might get kicked out if you install a Window AC without consulting your landlord and you surely don’t want to do it.

So, it is essential to choose your AC wisely and rationally.

Mila Patel

Mila Patel is an expert in consumer technology and household appliances who earned her degree in industrial design from Georgia Tech. She brings over a decade of experience from her time at Consumer Reports and as a freelance product reviewer. Her professional journey includes working with major appliance manufacturers and contributing to home improvement magazines. Her hobbies include interior design and staying updated with smart home trends. She also enjoys cooking and experimenting with the latest kitchen gadgets in her free time.

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