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Best Ventless Portable Air Conditioner Units for Windowless Use

A good portable and ventless air conditioner can keep you comfortable while also giving you the freedom to move cool air to any room you’d like with and without window access — all at a...

A good portable and ventless air conditioner can keep you comfortable while also giving you the freedom to move cool air to any room you’d like with and without window access — all at a budget-friendly price point.

But what is the best ventless portable air conditioner without a hose you can buy today? And what is the best portable AC unit with a low profile vent that barely takes up any window space at all?

In this article, we're going to discuss just that. We’ve rounded up the top portable and ventless air conditioners for each size room and will help you pick the best one for your needs. Whether it’s a windowless air conditioner or a stand-alone AC unit that uses a hose to expel hot air, you’ll find the best options on this page.

SereneLife 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

big white air conditioner Caption: A sleek and powerful portable air conditioner unit

What is a Ventless Portable Air Conditioner Unit?

But first, let’s take a look at the fundamentals you should familiarize yourself with before you purchase one of the best portable air conditioner units.

Ventless Non-Window AC Unit vs Portable Hose Air Conditioner

Not many people know this, but there are actually two different types of indoor air conditioning units you can choose for your home.

If you confuse these two types of AC units, you could end up making a costly (and inconvenient) mistake.

The two terms you need to familiarize yourself with are:

  • Ventless air conditioner (non-window AC unit)
  • Portable air conditioner (a hose connects to a window)

What is a Ventless Air Conditioner?

A ventless air conditioner is a type of air conditioning unit that doesn’t use refrigerant or a compressor system to create cool air. Ventless air conditioners don’t produce any heat or extract heat from a room and therefore do not require a hose for ventilation.

A portable air conditioner is a self-contained air conditioning system that uses refrigerant and a compressor to create cool air. Portable air conditioners generate heat inside the unit and remove heat from a room, and therefore must be connected to a window with a hose for ventilation.

Portable AC units are basically an all-in-one system that works similar to a central air conditioner unit and even a ductless mini-split AC system. Although the best split air conditioner system doesn’t need a window for operation, it still requires professional installation and two units: an indoor evaporator and outdoor compressor.

How Portable Air Conditioners Work

The basics of how a portable air conditioner works include pulling hot air out of a room, conditioning it, and then pushing cold air back into the space. Along with removing hot air, portable air conditioners also extract moisture and funnel it through a hose and out the window.

For a portable air conditioner to work properly, it must be installed next to a window (or vented in some other way) so that the hose can exhaust the hot air to the outside.

A fan on the front of the unit is what blows out conditioned air to cool the room. This process provides colder air than a ventless air conditioner because warm air is removed from the room.

Which Type of Air Conditioner Should You Get?

Now that you know how an evaporative cooler vs an air conditioner works, it may seem like an obvious choice to buy a ventless air conditioner because it’s a lot more mobile; however, there’s actually a more important factor you need to take into consideration before making a purchase, such as the humidity levels of where you live.

Here’s what you need to know about these types of air conditioners:

Portable AC

This type of air conditioner is best for humid climates because it cools the warm air by removing moisture from it. That’s why this indoor air conditioner must be connected to a window to expel the moisture and hot air. The air it delivers is also conditioned, which makes it colder.

Ventless AC

Ventless AC is best for dry climates because it adds moisture back into the air to help cool it. However, there must be a constant supply of fresh air, like an open window or door, to avoid overly saturating the air inside the room with water vapor. Also, you need to keep the internal tank filled with water or ice to deliver the coldest air possible.

How to Choose the Right Size Air Conditioner

Now that you know how to pick an air conditioner for your home, the next step is choosing a model that’s properly sized for the room it’s going to be used in.

When you’re shopping for an indoor air conditioning unit, you’ll find two types of efficiency ratings:

  • BTU is for portable air conditioners (e.g., 8,000 BTU or 14,000 BTU)
  • CFM is for ventless air conditioners (e.g., 700 CFM or 2000 CFM)

While these numbers may seem complex, they’re actually quite easy to understand; each one pertains to a maximum square footage that the air conditioner can handle.

We have refined our reviews by BTU criteria as well if that is your primary purchasing consideration:

  • Best 5,000 BTU Air Conditioners
  • Best 6,000 BTU Air Conditioners
  • Best 8,000 BTU Air Conditioners
  • Best 10,000 BTU Air Conditioners
  • Best 12,000 BTU Air Conditioners

These numbers are important because you don’t want a ventless or portable air conditioner unit that’s rated too high or too low for the room you want to use it in.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to buy a model that’s too weak to cool your room. That will increase your monthly energy costs and leave the room feeling hotter than you desire. You also don’t want an AC unit that puts out too much power for the room. That will cause the air conditioner to overwork itself and eventually break down, plus you’ll spend too much money on the initial purchase.

What you do want is for the AC unit to be sized properly for a room for maximum efficiency and cooling performance.

This process is easy to do and only requires two steps:

  1. Measure the room you’re going to place the unit in.
  2. Match the room size up with our handy reference chart below.

Step 2: Match the Room Size to the Correct BTU or CFM Number

After you have the total square footage in hand, the next step is to match it to the correct BTU or CFM number, depending on the type of air conditioner you want to buy (portable or ventless).

We’ve made these easy for you by giving you these two charts below.

Below is a quick reference chart to find the right BTU capacity for your needs.

[Link to BTU chart]

All of the portable ACs reviewed on this page include the square footage and BTU rating to help you find the right indoor air conditioning unit for your needs.

Benefits of Portable & Ventless Air Conditioners

Below are some of the primary benefits of portable ventless air conditioners that help justify their sometimes increased cost over more old-technology traditional in-window style units. There are pros and cons to each, but below are some of the biggest pros of ventless portable air conditioners.

Low Energy Consumption

One of the major benefits of owning a portable air conditioning unit is that it drastically cuts down on monthly energy costs for cooling your home.

With a central cooling system, you have to pay for it to run throughout the entire house even if you just want to cool down one specific room. The average homeowner spends $100-200 per month for this type of cooling system.

So how much electricity does a portable air conditioner use?

By comparison, a compact cheap portable air conditioner uses one-eighth of the electricity required to run central air, which comes out to about $6-15 per month at the bare minimum to cool a room.

And a ventless air conditioner costs even less to use because it doesn’t have to run a compressor. Some of the best ventless AC units consume about 100 watts of electricity which is equivalent to a typical light bulb.

No Restrictions

The biggest competitor for portable ACs are window-mounted air conditioning units.

However, window units don’t comply with most building codes and HOA regulations. If you rent an apartment or live in an HOA zone, you can’t install them without written permission from the landlord.

Portable units don’t have this restriction because they don’t protrude from the outside. This makes these devices one of the best investments you can make to enjoy cooled air.

Non-Permanent and Easy to Install

Unlike other types of air conditioners, portable ACs are very lightweight, and as long as there is an electrical outlet and a place to vent the warm air, then you’re good to use it.

A ventless portable air conditioner is the easiest AC unit to install because it doesn’t need any installation. You just set it up, turn it on, and enjoy the cold air.

As for portable ACs, these are non-permanent installations as well. You simply place the window slider kit into the window, connect the hose, and turn the unit on.

You don’t have to be an HVAC professional to install any of these air conditioners, and no special tools are required; everything you need comes in the box.

Quiet Operation

If you don’t like a lot of noise coming from your air conditioner, then you will find a ventless portable air conditioner to be the best choice.

Ventless AC units are very quiet because they only operate with a fan and a small motor. So they’re about as loud as a whisper.

A standard portable air conditioner, on the other hand, can be as loud as 55 dB on the highest fan speed settings and as quiet as 45 dB on the lowest setting. So the noise level is much louder than a ventless air conditioner but still not intolerable.

If you’re wondering are portable air conditioners good for a bedroom, the answer is that they can be, as long as you can tolerate some compressor noise. If not, you may want to consider small air conditioners that keep noise levels low.

Easy to Maintain

When it comes to portable AC maintenance, these units are much easier to maintain than window air conditioners and central AC systems.

Because no parts of the unit are exposed to the outside, there is less damage that can occur when compared to a window unit. Also, the filters are easy to remove and clean with water, making the cost of ownership much cheaper than a central air conditioner system that uses degradable air filters.

Ventless & Portable AC Units vs Window Air Conditioners

If you were thinking about getting a window air conditioner, there are some things you may want to consider before making that purchase.

A portable air conditioner without a hose or with a vent could be a better choice for you. So look over these window AC vs portable AC points to help you make the right choice.

No Need for Weatherproofing

Because window ACs are partially exposed to the outdoors, they often require some sort of weatherproofing cover to keep them from deteriorating. The best portable air conditioners don’t have any parts exposed to the outside, so you never have to worry about them getting damaged by weather.

Easy to Install

It doesn’t require much effort to install a portable unit, and each model comes with a window venting kit. Ventless air conditioners don’t need to be vented outdoors, so no venting is necessary. Window units, on the other hand, often require two people for installation because they’re so heavy. These devices also need one person to hold the unit in place while the other adjusts the window around it.

Can Move It from Room to Room

A major advantage of portable and ventless AC units is that you can roll them from room to room and set them up with ease. Once you mount a window AC unit, it stays put.

More Attractive

Portable air conditioning systems come in very attractive and modern designs. Window unit designs haven’t really changed that much over the years and can be an eyesore for some people.

Can be Used in Apartments

Not many apartment complexes allow the use of a window air conditioner; however, some do let you install portable ACs because they’re non-intrusive. All landlords will allow ventless air conditioners to be used for cooling because they don’t need any ventilation.

Single Exhaust Hose AC Units

As the name suggests, this type of portable air conditioner only has one exhaust hose coming out the back of the unit.

After the air is pulled from the room and sent into the air conditioner, it’s passed by the internal coils to be chilled before being pushed back into the room. Some of that air is used to cool the unit down and then sent through the hose and out of the house. That process creates negative pressure.

What this means is that hotter air from the outside or other rooms of the home can be sucked into the space through cracks and gaps around doors and windows.

Therefore, portable AC units with one exhaust hose may have to work harder to keep a room cool if there are a number of air leaks inside the space.

For most home applications, this negative pressure issue is not really that big of a deal to worry about. A major benefit of using a single-hose air conditioner is that these units are much easier to move to other rooms of your home because the setup is simpler. Also, if there are any issues like the portable air conditioner not cooling, the repair can be much easier to troubleshoot and fix yourself because only one hose is involved.

Dual Hose AC Units

Dual hose air conditioners have two hoses coming out of the back of the unit.

One of the hoses in a dual hose system is used to draw air in from the outdoors and use it to cool down the portable AC unit’s compressor and condenser coils.

The other hose is an exhaust hose and used to expel that used air out of the home after it’s served its purpose.

A dual hose design doesn’t cause negative pressure, so there are no concerns there.

The main benefit of using a dual hose air conditioner is that these units can cool down a larger space much quicker because they don’t have to work as hard.

For that reason, you’ll want to consider a dual hose AC unit for large rooms. We have a complete guide on the best dual hose portable air conditioners if you want to compare the top units.

Which is Better: Single Exhaust Hose or Dual Hose Air Conditioners?

After considering all of the factors, there’s not much evidence that either a single exhaust hose or dual hose portable air conditioner is a better option.

But it’s worth knowing what the differences are so you are well informed before making a purchase on one of these indoor air conditioners.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do ventless air conditioners work?

Ventless air conditioners do work to cool a room. A ventless air conditioner is best used in dry climates where indoor humidity is not a concern. By adding a mist of coolness to the air, a room can feel more refreshing.

In humid climates, a ventless AC unit does not work as well because the air is already saturated with water droplets. And those warm droplets will counteract the cooling effect of a ventless portable air conditioner.

Can I use a portable air conditioner in a room without a window?

You can use a portable air conditioner in a room without a window as long as you vent it in some way. The heat must be exhausted from a portable air conditioner in a room without windows. A simple way is to point the hose out of a doorway.

A ventless air conditioner can be used in any room with or without windows because it doesn’t require ventilation. No hot air is generated or removed; therefore, it is a good non-window air conditioner choice.

If you’re looking for a window-type air conditioner that doesn’t require a window for ventilation, you could also choose a wall-mounted air conditioner unit. It looks similar to a window AC unit but is installed through an exterior wall and mounted inside a metal sleeve.

How to vent a portable air conditioner with no windows?

There are several ways to vent a portable air conditioner with no windows. You can connect the portable air conditioner hose to a dryer vent, through a drop-ceiling, up a chimney, out a door, through a hole in the wall, or through the floor into an unoccupied space.

Check out our guide on portable air conditioner venting options for the full list of ideas and how-to methods.

If you choose a ventless AC unit, then you won’t have to worry about venting the air conditioner. This type of non-vented portable air conditioner can cool a room without the need for a hose.