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Complete Buyer’s Guide to Personal Air Conditioner Units

I grew up in Houston, so I know what air conditioning is.  Between April and October, our air conditioner was off pretty much when it was broken, and at no other time.  In Houston in the summer, the normal routine is to go from your air conditioned house to your air conditioned car to your air conditioned school, office, or shopping mall (OK, it’s not YOUR shopping mall, but you get the point).  Nevertheless, there are still sometimes when we have actually go OUTSIDE, and the only real solution available then is to sweat.

Or so I thought.  It turns out that some clever people have now invented a lifesaving (OK, that’s too dramatic — sweatsaving) device: the personal air conditioner.  These genius devices allow you to take your air conditioning with you always and everywhere, as God intended.  These clever devices go by a lot of names: they can be referred to as a mini personal air conditioner, a personal portable air conditioner, or a personal mini air conditioner.  This variety of names is somewhat ironic when you consider that these things aren’t technically air conditioners.

Yes, that’s right.  Rather than relying on tubes and freon and such things, these “air conditioners” use mist, evaporation, or (sometimes) a big hunk of ice plus a fan to cool you off anywhere.  But, given that the manufacturers claim that these things can reduce the surrounding temperature by up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, we’re betting you don’t care how they work — as long as they work.

Which mini air conditioner personal unit is best for you?  That depends mostly on your budget and your size requirements.  The smallest personal air conditioner units tend to be the cheapest, but they also have the least cooling capacity.  This tiny unit costs just $49.95 and has a nifty camcorder grip on it — but one that is designed to be used to point the thing at yourself rather than anyone else.  It runs on batteries or — get this — USB power.  I mean, is there anything that can be run on USB these days?

This bad boy isn’t hand-held, and looks like it needs to sit on some flat surface, but it is also battery operated, so you can take it anywhere.  This unit, though, uses frozen water rather than just evaporation.  You have to fill up a bottle (included with the unit) and put it in the freezer.  Disappointingly, this one is not USB powered.  When are these people going to join the 21st century?

We hope this has been a useful guide to the miracle personal air conditioner.

Complete Buyer’s Guide to Mini Air Conditioner Units

There are a number of different kinds of mini air conditioner units available on the market today.  Mini air conditioners include three main kinds:

  • mini ductless air conditioner
  • mini portable air conditioner
  • mini window air conditioner

We’ll take a quick look at all three.

Mini Ductless Air Conditioners

Ductless air conditioners are also called mini split systems.  These are two-part air conditioners, as opposed to vertical air conditioners or casement air conditioners (i.e. window units), which just have a single part.  These air conditioners have a blower inside the house and a cooling unit outside the house.  The two parts are connected by two refrigerant tubes.

Ductless air conditioners are made by a huge variety of manufacturers in a wide range of sizes.  One of the most popular manufacturers seems to be Klimaire and Toshiba.  Klimaire manufactures mini split systems 9000 BTU, 12000 BTU, 18000 BTU, and 24000 BTU sizes.  Toshiba has 12000 BTU, 18000 BTU, and 24000 BTU sizes.

Mini Portable Air Conditioners

Ductless air conditioners are permanently installed in a single location, which is fine for most people.  But, if you want to roll your cooling power from room to room with you, then you need a portable air conditioner.  Portable air conditioners are just what their name implies — wheel-mounted units that can be moved from room to room within your house.  Like all air conditioners, these units remove water from the air as they cool.  Some of the water is evaporated away; the rest is usually maintained in an internal reservoir that has to be emptied occasionally.  That’s the price for the convenience of moving the unit from place to place.

This kind of mini air conditioner is also manufactured in a wide range of sizes by a wide range of manufacturers including Haier, SPT, Edgestar, Soleus, Whynter, and Royal Sovereign.  These units are significantly cheaper than ductless air conditioners on a per-BTU basis.  That means more cooling for less money.  Many of these units can also be permanently mounted in casement or double-hung windows and used as window unit air conditioners.

Mini Window Air Conditioner

A mini window air conditioner is basically just a window air conditioner with a small size and a low capacity.  Also referred to as compact air conditioners, these tend to range from 5000 BTU air conditioners to 6000 BTU air conditioners, though some 8000 BTU air conditioners are also considered compact.  The majority of these are horizontal as opposed to vertical air conditioners, meaning that they are suitable for double-hung sash windows rather than casement or slider windows.

Frigidaire is a very prominent manufacturer in this category.  They offer products in the 5000 BTU — 6000 BTU range for prices between roughly $120 and $300.  Goldstar also offers a 5000 BTU unit.

Mini Personal Air Conditioners

An interesting, fun, new device has recently appeared on the market called a mini personal air conditioner.  These small, hand-held units are actually evaporative cooling fans, which means that they use evaporating water to cool air before blowing it on the user.  They’re not really air conditioners in the true sense of the word, but if your sitting outside on a hot day, you probably won’t complain!

These units cost about $50 and are widely available online.

Your Reviews

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