Keeping yourself cool during a home workout is only part of the battle. You also have to deal with moisture, humidity, and other factors that can cause equipment damage or corrosion.
Air conditioners can serve multiple purposes in a home gym by keeping the air free of moisture and keeping you cool at the same time. But which brand, model, or style is right for you? There are several types of ACs to choose from, and each one brings something different to the table.
In our best air conditioners for garage gyms review, we will cover the various types and styles of air conditioners. We will also help you decide which is best for your needs and what to look for when making a final decision.
Why Is a Cool Garage Gym Important?
Keeping your garage gym cool is important for many reasons. Besides your own comfort, it also helps maintain your equipment and the space itself. Let’s look at the top benefits of a cool garage gym.
- Personal comfort. The primary reason is to maintain your own comfort levels. If the gym is too hot, your sweat won’t evaporate quickly, and you can become overheated, or worse.
- Equipment protection. Air conditioners work to remove humidity from the air, helping your metal and steel equipment stay rust-free for longer.
- Reduce mold. High humidity levels help mold thrive and grow. Air conditioners maintain lower humidity reducing the chance mold can survive.
- Keep muscles functioning. When muscles get too hot or too cold, they can cramp up, break down faster, or spasm. Proper air temperature and airflow will help keep you at optimal performance during your workout.
AC for Garage Gyms Compared
Types Of AC Units Best Suited to Garage Gyms
There are several types of air conditioners that you can buy, install or add to your garage gym. Let’s take a closer look at the most popular options aside from central air conditioners to see what your options are.
Portable Air Conditioners
Portable ACs are easy to use and are generally lightweight, so you can easily move them around the space. Most of these models will need a window to vent out of, however in a garage gym, you can use the garage door as the vent space if a window is not available.
The limitation for portable models, though, is that they need to be drained, vented, and require a dedicated outlet to operate efficiently. You also need to worry about output capacity to ensure the AC can cool the square footage of your garage.
Window Air Conditioners
Window ACs aren’t as efficient as portable units but are generally stronger and can cool larger spaces. With modern models, you also get a mobile app and voice controls, multiple mode selection, and automotive louvers.
These models will require a window to set in and can require two people to install. You also need to ensure the mount is right and angled correctly, so it doesn’t drain on the inside of the garage. Correct measurements are needed to ensure the one you choose fits in the window of your garage.
Mini Split Air Conditioners
Mini split systems come in two main forms: ducted and ductless. Ductless systems use a heat pump connected by power and refrigerant lines to an air handler that is mounted high on the wall in your garage.
These are among the most efficient systems on the market, with EER ranging over 20 in many cases. You can also get high efficiency with ducted models. These are similar but rely on ducting to move the air from one place to another.
Ductless models are generally installed in more garages, where ducted models work as a replacement to existing central AC units.
Evaporative Air Coolers
Evaporative air coolers, also known as swamp coolers, use water to cool the air. Ice and cold water are stored in a tank and added to the air to keep it cool. While they can cool large spaces rapidly and maintain a lower temperature, they aren’t generally advised for garage gyms.
The added moisture to the air raises the overall humidity, and you will require more airflow and proper ventilation to maintain your equipment. Without daily cleaning and maintenance, mold and mildew, as well as oxidation and rust, can become an issue.
6 Best Air Conditioners for Garage Gyms
In this section, we rate and compare the 6 best garage gym AC systems on the market right now. Each one offers its own pros and cons, and we will review each based on all merits to help you pick the best option for your home gym setup.
1. Whynter ARC-14S
Best Portable AC For Garage Gyms
|Overall Dimensions||16 x 19 x 35.5 Inches|
|BTU Rating||14000 BTU|
|Coverage Area||500 Sq. Ft|
|Energy Efficiency||11.3 EER|
|Warranty||1-year unit, 3-year compressor|
The Whynter ARC-14s is easily the best portable AC for garage gyms out there. It is sleek and stylish, so it won’t be an eyesore. But it also has a durable build and solid base to make it stand up to harsher conditions.
The dual hose setup adds to the efficiency by allowing the heat to escape while fresh cooler air is brought into the machine. However, it does require a window, and the hose should only extend to 9 feet.
The cooling capacity of 14000 BTUs allows this little beast to cool up to 500 square feet while maintaining about 11 EER. One of the more important factors, though, is the moisture removal capacity of portable units.
This model offers a water removal of a huge 71 pints per day (PPD), and when the drain line is connected directly to a drain (or to the flowerbed outside your garage), you never have to worry about emptying the collection bin.
While this model doesn’t offer a heating source, it does come with 3 operation modes, including AC, fan only, and dehumidifier. Each mode is ideal for various stages of your workout to keep you cool and remove excess moisture when you are done.
With a 3 year warranty on the compressor and a solid 1-year parts warranty, you have little to worry about as far as performance and functionality go, either.
What We Like
- Eco-friendly R32 refrigerant
- 9-foot dual hoses
- Simple set up and installation
- Up to 253 CFM
What We Don’t Like
- Can be noisy during operation
- 1-year warranty is low
2. Midea U Inverter
Best Window AC for Garage Gyms
|Overall Dimensions||21.97 x 19.17 x 13.46 Inches|
|BTU Rating||8000, 10,000, 12,000 BTU|
|Coverage Area||Up to 500 Sq. Ft|
|Energy Efficiency||12 EER|
The Midea U Inverter air conditioner is a window unit that still allows you full use of the window. The obvious downside is that you need a window for it to fit in. If your garage doesn’t have a window that opens vertically, this model won’t work for you.
However, for those that do, this is one window unit you don’t want to miss. The installation is rather simple. It sits on the window sill over the ledge and catches the pane in the center. There are attachments to close off any gaps or holes as well so your garage can remain draft-free.
There are also three sizes available in either 8,000, 10,000, or 12,000 BTU outputs. Each one will cover between 350 and 500 square feet to bring cooling, circulation, and a dehumidifier to your space.
While the initial installation can be a little more difficult than other window models (and require a second person), it is worth it. With wireless communications, you can use your phone or tablet to control the modes, speed, and direction of the airflow.
Because it is a window set unit, it also drains directly outside without the need for a drain hose or specific mount height.
One of the best features is noise level. Because the window closes and the louder components are on the outside, this unit can produce up to 9 times less noise than a standard window unit. Vibration is dampened, and the compressor is sealed as well, further reducing noise-making capabilities.
What We Like
- As low as 42dB
- Use with window open or closed
- Remote, wireless, or voice controls
- Single or double-hung window compatible
- Energy Star Rated
What We Don’t Like
- 1-year warranty only
- No heating available
3. Senville LETO Series
Best Mini Split AC For Garage Gyms
|Overall Dimensions||33.27 x 12.6 x 27.56 Inches|
|BTU Rating||9000, 12,000, 18,000, 24,000, 30,000 BTU|
|Coverage Area||500 to 1500 Sq. Ft|
|Energy Efficiency||up to 17 SEER|
|Warranty||1-year parts, 5-year compressor|
If you are looking for the best mini split system for your garage gym, look no further. The LETO series from Senville is a sleek and stylish air handler that connects to the heat pump and maintains one of the highest energy efficiency ratings on this list.
This system is also all inclusive, giving you everything you need for a proper install. However, the DIYer should take note that without professional installation (and proof of such), the warranty is immediately null and void.
This system comes with remote operation, ultra quiet modes and offers heating as well as cooling. The heat pump is mounted outside on a concrete slab that must be level. It runs power wires and refrigerant lines (R-410a) to the air handler inside. The result is cool (or heated) air circulating through your garage at the push of a button.
The 4 modes of operation ensure you get the functionality you need whenever you need it, and this system is rated to run as low as 5 degrees ambient temperature (for heating).
The compressor and heat pump are warrantied for 5 years. However, the rest of the system is only covered for 1 year. This is a slight disappointment, but with a labor warranty from your installer, you are protected against any initial mishaps.
What We Like
- Highly energy efficient
- Multiple air handler capable
- Enough BTU output for the largest garages
- Simple operation
What We Don’t Like
- Must be professionally installed
- Warranty could be longer
4. Honeywell CO60PM
Best Evaporative Air Cooler For Garage Gyms
|Overall Dimensions||18.35 x 27.56 x 40.04 Inches|
|Coverage Area||850 Sq. Ft|
Swamp coolers, or evaporative coolers, are an effective way to move a lot of air and cool larger spaces. These types of air coolers come in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and abilities. However, they all have the same major issue: they add moisture to the air.
Unlike every other model on this list, the coolers add more moisture to the air than they can remove. This is because they use water or ice (or both) to pull the air over, which cools it. As a result, the now cooler (and heavier) air is pushed into the room, dropping the temperature and keeping you cool.
For a garage gym, this can work well, but you will need proper air circulation to help keep the humidity levels down. You also have higher maintenance with your equipment since you will need to wipe them dry more often.
The Honeywell model, though, is a more advanced version of the old swamp coolers and features an easy-to-use, compact design that does actually control how much moisture is added to the air.
It is capable of cooling spaces up to 850 square feet, and it is ideal to use at the back of your garage with the main door open. This will push all the stagnant air out of the garage while cooling the fresh air it pulls in.
You can use the top load ice compartment for extra cooling or connect a garden hose for constant water level and water cooling. Either way, the Honeywell 1-year warranty will protect your initial investment and get your space cooled down in no time.
What We Like
- Water tank or hose connection
- Top load ice compartment
- Indoor/outdoor rated
- Triple sided honeycomb air inlet
- 15.9 gallon water tank
What We Don’t Like
- 1-year warranty
- Best used only in hot & dry climates
Best Small Portable Model
|Overall Dimensions||17.9 x 15 x 30.7 Inches|
|BTU Rating||12,000, 14,000 BTU|
|Coverage Area||Up to 650 Sq. Ft|
|Energy Efficiency||10.8 EER|
One of the best smaller portable AC models comes from hOmeLabs. The little unit has a powerful output and can move a lot of air, despite its size. The best part is that it doesn’t compromise efficiency to do it.
This little model has a lot of advanced features and some standard ones you may not expect. The filters are all mesh style washable filters, so you won’t have to worry about replacements for a long time to come.
It also has a touch-sensitive control panel that offers push-button mode selection; choosing one of 4 cooling or fan modes will keep your space cool and controlled at all times. You can even set the mode to auto and select a temperature that the unit will maintain.
Because it is a portable AC, it also has a drain pan and can dehumidify your garage when you aren’t working out, protecting your equipment and tools, or whatever else you may store in there.
This model comes in either 12,000 or 14,000 BTU and can cool up to 650 square feet.
The downside is that it is a single hose unit instead of a dual hose. This means it isn’t as efficient as the larger twin hose models. Because air intake has to come from the room instead of outside, there is a bit of overlap and re-cooling of colder air.
However, for the price, this portable unit offers the most bang for the buck, including LED readouts, a digital display, a simple 3-step installation, and an infrared remote control. The hOmeLabs portable AC also doubles up on the standard industry warranty giving you added investment protection.
What We Like
- Window kit included
- Drain hose or container options
- Automatic swinging louver function
- Multiple control points including remote
- Less than 53dB while operational
What We Don’t Like
- Higher weight for portable units
- 5-foot hose can be too short
6. SereneLife SLPAC
Best AC & Heater Combo
|Overall Dimensions||17.4 x 13.4 x 32.1 Inches|
|BTU Rating||12,000 BTU|
|Coverage Area||350 Sq. Ft|
|Energy Efficiency||9.8 EER|
The SereneLife portable air conditioner is the best AC and heater combo on the market right now. This compact unit fits in any room of the home, including your garage gym, and can output cold or heated air to fill space.
It is a bit more limited than some of the other models we cover here because of its size. However, with 12,000 BTUs pushing the unit, you can effectively cool up to 350 square feet and heat up to 300.
While it doesn’t offer a continuous drain system, you can switch the unit to dehumidify mode to remove excess moisture after your workout. You will need to empty the 1.5 liter drain pan before the next use, though.
With remote operation and an automatic louver system, this model truly is a set and forget portable AC.
Another one of its limits, though, is the shorter power cord. Where most models offer 9 feet or longer, the SereneLife unit only comes with 5 feet. Since the power draw limits the use of extensions or power strips, you will need an outlet near the window for optimal use.
The 1-year warranty is available but only when you purchase through Amazon, so that is something else to keep in mind. Buying from anywhere else will not come with the manufacturer’s warranty, but sometimes it can be offered by a 3rd party elsewhere.
What We Like
- 380 CFM
- Heat and cooling
- Remote operation
- Simple install and set up
What We Don’t Like
- 5-foot power cable can be limiting
- No drain hose
How To Choose Air Conditioner For Garage Gym: Buying Guide
Aside from the style or type of air conditioner, there are several consideration factors to take into account. Below we will examine those factors and show you why they are important considerations before you buy.
BTU Vs. Room Size
The square footage of your garage will be an important number to make a note of. This is a direct correlation to the BTU output of the AC. Larger output sizes mean more coverage area and faster cooling.
However, just having a large BTU air conditioner isn’t the best option. If the AC is too big for the space, it will become less efficient and can end up costing you more in energy consumption. The average is 10 BTU per square foot for cooling and 20 BTU per square foot for heating.
Efficiency & Running Costs
High efficiency models tend to cost more upfront but will have significant savings on your annual energy bills. With modern designs and high efficiency models, you can save up to 33% per year on energy costs.
Balancing size, efficiency and costs can be a delicate performance and will require the correct space measurements and performance output capabilities. Too small, and the system will be overworked, too large, and energy costs will go through the roof.
Fan & Humidify, Dehumidify & Heating Options
Your air conditioner should offer several modes of operation, including fan-only mode and cooling mode. Some more expansive models will feature an all-in-one operation that include heating as well.
This can be an important decision factor if your garage needs to be used year-round and gets cold in the winter. However, insulation and airflow are also important to consider. Lower insulation levels can make heating less cost-effective in the long run.
Models that vibrate, aren’t installed correctly, or are on concrete can produce more noise than normal. In many garage gym setups, this isn’t a big deal, but some models can get loud enough to be disruptive.
If you enjoy listening to music while you work out, it may be prudent to look for an AC model with a low noise function. If it isn’t that important to you, though, you may be able to save a few dollars with louder models.
Ease of Maintenance
AC maintenance is usually down to a standard cleaning regimen and cleaning or replacing the filters. Each model will have various cleaning and maintenance requirements. Make sure you read through the owner’s manual to find out what your specific model needs.
In general, you will need to keep the system cleaned, vents unblocked, and filters replaced. Portable units will need the drain system maintained, emptied, and unclogged on a regular basis too. However, overall maintenance levels are fairly low.
Warranties will help protect your investment against defects or issues. Most air conditioner models will have a wide range of coverage. On average portable ACs offer 1 or 2 year warranties, while window units can reach 5 years or more.
The actual coverage needs to be read over, though, so you know what to expect and what is or isn’t covered. You will also find what is needed on your part for the warranty to take effect (registration, professional install, etc.).
Finally, the price will be a concern. Higher upfront costs can be a turn-off, but you can save more through your energy bills over time with the right model. However, cheaper models may not offer the long-term savings, but if you need a less expensive option, they may be the best option.
How Cool Should a Garage Gym Be?
Indoor workouts need to pay special attention to the conditions inside the gym space. In a garage gym, this can be difficult to control, which requires even more consideration.
The optimal temperature range falls between 68 and 73 degrees (Fahrenheit) which requires both proper heating and cooling.
In colder temperatures, your muscles are more rigid and stiff, which means you can cause sprains and injury more easily. It is important that you loosen and warm your muscles before working out. Light aerobics, jogging, or even jumping jacks can suffice.
With hotter temperatures, you can dehydrate faster. Cooler temperatures will help the sweat evaporate more slowly. You will also need to pay attention to your workout clothing, how hard you push yourself, and water intake levels.
The right garage gym AC can help you maintain the optimal workout temperature range, so you are at your best without entering the danger zones of too hot or too cold.
People Also Ask (FAQ)
How can I make my garage cooler for free?
If you need to cool your garage and don’t have time or resources to order a new air conditioner, you can do other things to help. For example, opening the door and any windows will help circulate air, and if you have a portable fan, you can increase the airflow. Drinking cool water and having a cold wrap around your neck or wrists can also help lower your body temperature.
How do I control the temperature in my garage gym?
Fans, windows, and air conditioners are the best way to control the temperature in the gym. Proper insulation, floor coverings, and air circulation will help control the garage’s temperature as well. Ideally, you want the range to fall between 68 and 73 degrees, though your personal preferences and needs will vary.
Is it bad to work out in a cold garage?
It isn’t a bad thing to work out in a cold gym, but you will need to keep your body temperature up. In addition, proper warm-ups before you being the actual workout are needed to loosen and relax your muscles. Without a good warm-up (and staying stretched and loose during the workout) can result in cramps, strains, and sprains.
How can I improve the air quality in my garage?
Using a portable, window, or mini split air conditioner in your garage can help with air quality, too. Not only will humidity and temperature be controlled, but the filters in these units will trap dirt, dust, and debris that can lower the quality of the air you are breathing.,
Being able to properly control the climate in your garage gym can be a challenge. Fans and open windows may not be the best answer, especially during the colder and hotter months of the year.
The right air conditioner, though, can make all the difference. Not only will you be able to maintain the right temperature, but you can also remove damaging humidity and moisture from the air.
Hopefully, this article has given you an idea of which brand and type of garage gym air conditioners are best for your specific needs.
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