Window vs Portable A/C

We’re moving onto a house that doesn’t have A/C in the upstairs bedrooms.

And looking at portable vs window. Window ones seem less expertise. It is not a big purchase but I prefer the one that is easier.

Any experience or thoughts on which you prefer.

Are the portable fairly easy to install the exhaust in the window? Also, how important is the brand.

Not earth shattering issue but thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts…

I’ve had many window a/c’s but never a portable. Seems to me [and not really experienced] portables need a lot of effort. Water? Ice? Ducting? If you get one that needs to configure a window for exhaust, why not just get a window unit? IMHO

Have you looked into a mini-split system? They are very efficient and really cool a room/house down nicely. I stayed at a place in Texas last year when temps were around 100. The unit had 2 but I didn’t realize that until a couple of days in. Still, the whole cabin was very comfortable.


Thanks for the feedback. appreciated

My preference is for a window unit. I have had both for a room above our garage. Removing the unit for the colder months and then replacing for the warmer months is simpler with the window unit.

Are you owners or renters? If owners, definitely go with a mini split, and consider it a long term investment. If renters, does your lease allow a window unit? If so that would be my preference as they won’t eat up floor space.

As for a portable, do NOT use an evap cooler indoors. Way too much chance for leakage which can cause damage. They also tend to be noisy. Outdoors, they can be awesome!

once again, thank you for insightful comments

BTW, we own. Split might be the eventual pick but we are thinking a window to bridge this summer.

Mini Split, Window and then Portable in that order. If a window fits in there it would be much cheaper and efficient then a portable. Some Portables put out a lot of water which you would have to keep an eye on and dump often plus the take up space on the flood and have to be a few feet from a window for venting.

Thank you for responding

The window unit shouldn’t be that difficult to install and you can probably find one for less money than a portable. The thing I spent the most time on with the window unit install was plugging gaps in the window around the unit, something you would have to deal with in a portable as well. A portable will also be much noisier and less efficient as everything is inside the room whereas a window unti will have the back half of the machine on the outisde of the window. The mini-split would be the best quieter and more efficient option long term but is more expensive and more involved of an installation.

KC and others are correct on this. I left my last window shaker behind 6 years ago. I even remember putting it in, a 24k one as I recall. I told late wife if she wanted it in there she had to help me get it in the hole, and she managed to help enough. It was a royal mess, taking up window space that could have let light in.

In my new lifetime I have put in two mini-splits. One cools a single room garage apartment, and the other makes a glassed in porch livable. That is if you can get around all the sewing machines out there. I did find some not-so-good place for a mini split. That is Kodiak, where there is no qualified HVAC tech on the whole island.

With any A/C you have to worry about where the extracted water goes. The portable and the window unit may not have a good way to handle that. The mini-split uses tubing to run it where you want, so it does not dribble all over side of house.


My five window units have a drain about 8" from the house. No mess.

Check out Frigidaire air conditioners, window units. Also check out Consumer Reports through your local library. I had an LG air conditioner, which worked well, but later thought I should have bought the Frigidaire. I now have a Danby, which is difficult to use. I can’t figure out how to set it up so it comes on automatically, so I just turn it on manually. It does cool down my apartment, however.
Good luck with your search.

I have a portable AC unit. There is no issue with water venting [unless you use it as a dehumidifier in which case you would need a drain pan] bc you stretch an exhaust tube out a window and condensation is vented to the outside, That said, it can keep a single room at a manageable temp but, depending on how hot it is, might struggle to keep it below 65 or so. It comes with a partial frame that fits on one side of your window [with window left partially open at all times]. The frame doesn’t fit tightly so outside air can enter a little. When we had wildfires, the smoke seeped in and I had to remove the tube and close the window then find a fan to use instead, I remove it every winter. I had another brand at work and the exhaust tube heated up so much that it heated the room. I had to wrap it with insulation. The one I have now doesn’t do that. It has ac, fan and dehumidifier functions and can change temp, speed or mode using a remote. I have no experience with a window ac. I wholeheartedly agree with the mini split.

Thank you all for taking the time to respond

We’re not currently in the market for either, but the newer saddle type units look interesting. They seem easy to install and may be less noisy as the would have more surface to support them. Just a thought.