When you need air conditioning in a specific room, it is more cost-effective to use a portable AC than to turn on the central heating and air system. The most efficient portable air conditioners are the dual-hose models.
This review will examine the dual-hose portable ACs, review them, and give you factors to consider before making your purchase.
Dual-hose AC systems make use of a separate intake and exhaust ports for a more efficient cooling process. Unlike a single-hose set up, a dual-hose system doesn’t have to work as hard to get fresh air into the unit.
A single-hose system pushes the hot exhaust air out of the hose and intakes new air, most of which comes from the exhaust hose. This makes the air to be cooled much hotter than it needs to be and causes the system to run longer to cool effectively. A dual-hose system negates the hot air return and only pulls fresh, cooler air in.
Many systems will also have multiple internal fans that work to cool the air inside the unit, chill the coils and motor and reduce the overall temperature of the internal parts. All of this works together to produce cold air faster, using less energy to do so.
Benefits of Dual Hose Air Conditioners
Compared to single-hose air conditioners, the benefits of dual-hose portable air conditioner systems are paramount. The primary benefit is colder air sooner without having to overwork the motor or compressor. Because the air entering the room is colder, it takes less time to cool the room to the proper temperature.
Each benefit layers on top of the other. Because the units are more efficient, they run for less time, which can save money on your energy bill. Add to that their simple setup and multiple control options, and you have a list of benefits suitable for any owner.
Considerations When Buying a Portable Dual Hose AC Unit
While it may seem simple enough to pick a dual-hose air conditioner, make a purchase, and start cooling your room, there is a lot more to it than that. There are several things you need to consider before you make a final purchase. Read on to find out what you should be thinking about.
One of the most important things to think about is the room size or coverage area you wish to cool off or heat up. Making sure you have the right BTU ratings for the room size will enhance the efficiency. If you end up with an air conditioner that is too small, it will work harder to maintain the set temperature. Units that are too large will draw more power than needed.
To get a basic idea of the coverage area, you need to measure the square footage of the room. This is done by multiplying the length of the room and the width of the room. However, you also need to factor in other considerations.
Ceiling height can be a factor, as well as how much direct sunlight the room receives on an average day. Everything factors into the proper size model you need, but the square foot measurement is the one you need the most.
Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)
We measure the efficiency of a portable air conditioner with the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). This rating takes the BTUs of the machine, and the kWh draw it requires per BTU. This ratio is then converted to a decimal number to show you how efficient it is.
The higher the EER, the more efficient the air conditioner is. On average, a dual-hose portable air conditioner will have an EER rating between 9.0 and 14.5.
Noise Levels (dBA)
We measure noise levels in decibels (dB) or “A”-weighted decibels (dBA) to let you know how noisy the machine is. The higher the dB rating, the louder the unit is when operating. You should understand that the given rating (unless otherwise specified) is for regular operation, usually on the low setting.
There are also ratings for the start-up noise level, which is generally higher than the average dB level, but only lasts about half a minute. You will want a quiet machine, so you don’t have to talk over it or turn the volume up on the television while the air conditioner is running.
Quest machines will range from 51 to 54 dB, with the average rating being between 56 and 65dB. Anything much over 65 dB will be too loud for daily use.
All air conditioners will have a filtration system of some sort. The primary reason for a filter is to prevent dust, dirt, and debris from getting to the internal moving parts. Modern filters also absorb odors, capture allergens, and clean the returned air that you breathe.
The portable systems can use multiple filters, too. A pre-filter will generally be carbon or charcoal, which absorbs odors and traps things like cigarette smoke. These need to be replaced regularly.
The other filters (or only filter if there isn’t a pre-filter) are generally screens of mesh and not fiber. These filters are washable and reusable until the mesh tears or separates.
The best feature of these machines is their portability. Some are more portable than others, though, so you need to check that out.
Most of the units will be on wheels, but not all the wheels roll easily on carpeting. Other machines are hefty, weighing over 100 pounds, which can impede the portability. You should check the weight, but also make sure it doesn’t have a drip tray that might spill when being moved.
Not all portable air conditioner dual-hose systems are created equal. Many features are included on some models to make them more appealing. Some of these options you may be able to do without in order to save a little cash. Others, though, are more essential for ideal operation.
Having an air conditioner with heat mode, for example, can lead to year-round use without having to purchase a separate heater. If you like to fall asleep to white noise, finding a unit with a sleep mode or sleep timer is essential.
Most portable ACs will have multiple fan modes as well, which should be a standard feature. You also want to look at how the air conditioner is controlled. Push-button local controls are standard, but options such as remote controls or mobile apps are also common.
Installation Requirements/Ease of Setup
One other vital factor to consider is the setup and installation of the unit. A lot of portable air conditioners only require you to connect the two hoses to a window kit for proper venting, turn them on, and enjoy the cold air.
Others may require a dedicated circuit, a 30amp breaker, or a special outlet. Before you buy, make sure your room can accommodate the setup of the unit you are looking at. Windows for venting (or for placing a window air conditioner) need to be the right size and type for the given model. Once everything is verified, then you can make your purchase.
Price & Warranty
Finally, you will want to take note of the price tag and the warranty period. The warranties will range between 1-year and 5-years. Some models have multiple warranties to cover the air conditioner and the sealed compressor separately.
Make sure you understand the warranty terms and conditions before making a purchase. You also need to ensure the portable air conditioner dual-hose system is within your allotted budget. The most expensive model isn’t always the best, and if you stretch your budget too far, you can end up regretting your investment.
6 Best Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioners Reviewed
Below, you will find the 6 best dual-hose portable air conditioners, reviewed, rated, and compared for your convenience. Your next portable AC unit is likely on the list here. Take a scroll and find the best model for your needs.
1. Whynter ARC-14S
Our Top Pick
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||Up to 500 Sq. ft.|
|Noise Level||56 db|
|Warranty||1-year warranty from date of purchase|
The Whynter ARC-14S is our top pick for a good reason. This unit packs 14,000 BTUs in a sleek and slender casing that fits a lot of décor styles. It is rated to cool up to 500 square feet effectively; however, if you have tall ceilings or large windows in the room with a lot of direct sunlight, you may be better-suited measuring at 400 square feet.
With an EER rating of over 11, the unit doesn’t cost a lot to operate, either. While you will notice a spike in the summer months on your electric bill, it isn’t anything that drastic. Some owners have found the unit to be so efficient that they don’t need to run their fans or central AC units as much. This can translate into a lowering of your electric bill, which is always a good thing.
Set up is a simple process with only the window kit to assemble. You can have the unit out of the packaging and cooling your room in under 10 minutes. You will find that the three modes of operation will fit anything you need. Cooling mode allows you to set the temperature and maintain a constant temp all day long.
If you like to sleep with the fan on, fan mode will use less electricity and keep the consistent hum that helps you fall asleep. You also have the option to dehumidify, with a capacity to extract up to 101 pints per day, you won’t feel the muggy, sticky air in your home anymore.
Maintenance is also a breeze. With two filters (a carbon filter for air quality and a screen pre-filter), you can breathe easy knowing your air is purified and fresh.
Backed by a 1-year warranty, the Whynter ARC series is among the best in the business. If you want a year-round option, the ARC-14SH also can heat your space during the colder times.
- 14,000 BTUs cool up to 500 feet in a short amount of time.
- Dehumidify option means you don’t have to worry about drain pans.
- Large caster wheels for easy portability.
- May not be as useful in rooms with a lot of windows or high ceilings.
2. EdgeStar AP14001HS
Best Dual Hose Portable AC With Heater
|BTU||14,000 cool/8,500 heat|
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||450 Sq. ft.|
|Noise Level||56 db|
|Warranty||90-day labor, 1-year limited warranty on parts|
If you want to have a year-round option, then you should look at the EdgeStar model with heat. The air conditioner side uses 14,000 BTUs to cool up to 450 square feet (using a maximum 256CFM airflow rate). This is easily the best dual-hose portable AC with a heater on the market.
The heater side uses 8,500 BTUs but is designed as a supplemental heater, and shouldn’t be relied upon to heat a room on its own. Smaller spaces or direct heat to a specific area can be accomplished, though.
The caster wheels allow you to move and transport the unit to any room you like. It also works in any sliding style window up to 56-inches wide. The two hoses attach quickly, and set up takes less than 5 minutes.
One thing to note, though, is that there is a direct drain option for the drain pan. If you use this in a more permanent location, using the drain line is a great idea to help eliminate the need for manual emptying when the drain gets full.
Maintenance and cleaning are about industry average, though the drain pan can fill quickly in high-humidity climates. For the first 90 days after purchase, you are covered by a full parts and labor warranty. After the 90-days, though, there is no longer a warranty on the labor, and the parts warranty extends another 12-months.
- Fits any standard 110-115v outlet.
- Horizontal or vertical sliding window installations possible.
- Low noise levels (56dB) for daily operation without disruption.
- Heating is supplemental only and won’t heat larger spaces.
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||450 Sq. ft.|
|Noise Level||50-54 db|
|Warranty||1-year parts and labor, 5-years sealed components.|
The Haier portable air conditioner is one of the top-rated models available today. It is highly efficient and utilizes 13,500 BTUs to power the compressor for maximum cooling. Designed for spaces up to 600 square feet, this model is more practical at 450 square feet.
Not only is the unit efficient at cooling, but it will dehumidify the room as well. If the humidity is low, you won’t have to worry about draining the drip tray. However, in humid climates, when run on dehumidify, the tray can fill quickly, requiring you to empty it manually.
The castor wheels roll well on all surfaces, though two people may be needed to move it on thicker carpeting. The window kit sets up in a short amount of time, though some reports state the hose connections on the window unit are difficult to lock in place. It is advised that you attach the hoses to the window sleeve before putting it in the window.
This Haier model is also one of the quietest units around. On cooling mode at low fan speed, it only produced 50 dB of noise levels. This is quieter than a two-person conversation at low volume in a quiet room. On high, the noise levels can reach 54 dB, which is still soft enough to watch TV without having to increase the volume.
One of the more efficient units around (EER rating above 11), the Haier 14000 fits any standard outlet (110-115v) and doesn’t require a dedicated circuit. However, if you place it on a 20amp circuit, it may trip the breaker if any other devices are plugged into the same line.
The warranty is a two-part warranty with a 1-year coverage on parts and labor. A 5-year limited warranty covers the compressor (sealed component). Should anything go wrong in that time, you can contact Haier who will replace or repair the unit for you. Make sure you read all of the warranty information and follow all claim steps before contacting them.
If you are looking for an option with heat, the Haier HPND14XHT has all of the same qualities and features, with the added benefit of a 10,000 BTU heat mode.
- Easy to use remote control operation.
- Simple setup and installation will have your room cooling own in less than 10 minutes.
- Excellent warranty period through Haier
- Not as durable as some other models in this price range
4. Whynter ARC-12SD
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||400 Sq. ft.|
|Noise Level||56 db|
Whynter enters our list again (and not for the last time) with the ARC-12SD. Unlike the top pick model, the 12SD uses 12,000 BTUs to cool up to 400 square feet. It isn’t as efficient as the ARC-14S and has an EER rating of only 10.5. However, for the size of the unit, this is still an excellent rating.
You can also pick this unit up with heat included for use in the winter, spring, and summer (model ARC-12SDH). The 12S, though, on its own, will give you the option for manual or continuous draining (hose included) for use in any climate.
The wheels aren’t as durable as the top pick version, and on carpet can tend to get stuck. If you plan to roll it around when on the carpet, make sure to use two people. Tipping over isn’t the end of the world, of course, but it may spill the drain pan inside, which can cause problems with operation.
Setup is simple and should only take about 5 minutes to get the window kit installed and connected. As long as you have a sliding style window, this model will work in any room. While it isn’t whisper-quiet, at only 56 dB, you won’t be disturbed by its daily operation.
- Doesn’t require any special outlets or circuits for operation.
- Ideal for use overnight in the bedroom.
- Charcoal activated filter for pure air.
- Wheels could be more durable for use on carpet.
- Not the most efficient model on the list.
5. Whynter ARC-126MD
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||450 Sq. ft.|
|Noise Level||56 db|
Whynter is back on our list with the ARC-126MD model. This unit deserves a place on any best-of list because of its prowess in smaller spaces. The 12,000 BTU model will effectively and quickly cool rooms up to 450 square feet in a matter of minutes.
The adjustable temperature controls allow you to set a temp and let the machine decide how much to run. This means more efficient use of the fans and airflow while maintaining a cool room all day long.
The beauty of this model is the use of a 3M Silvershield air filter. Instead of activated charcoal, the 3M filter is antimicrobial, which provides more filtering at lower microns to capture allergens, smoke, mold, and bacteria. With the ARC-126MD, you can breathe easily no matter the conditions.
The efficiency drops a little because of the extra filtration. Airflow through the unit isn’t as fast as other models, but you won’t notice unless you run two different units side by side. However, for those watching their electric bills closely, you may find another model easier to afford.
With remote operation and three fan speeds to choose from, this model will cool the air or help circulate as you need. Easy portability means you can take it with you to any room as long as there is a window to vent out of.
- 24-hour timer for use at night while you sleep.
- Easily rolls from one room to another.
- 3M Silvershiled antimicrobial filter for the purest air.
- Not the most durable unit on the list.
- Known to become loud after prolonged use.
6. Avallon APAC120S
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||425 Sq. ft.|
|Noise Level||56-58 db|
|Warranty||5-year warranty (With restrictions)|
The Avallon APAC120S rounds out our top 6 list for the best dual-hose air conditioners. This 12,000 BTU system is rated to cool up to 425 square feet of space and will do so in a short amount of time. The unit is simple to install and will fit horizontal and vertical slide-style windows up to 56 inches.
The medium-sized caster wheels roll easily over most flooring, too, and the unit doesn’t tip over easily, even if you move it on carpeting by yourself. With a 10.1 EER rating, the unit is efficient enough to be used daily (about 5 to 6 hours) or overnight while you sleep.
It isn’t the quietest machine on the market, but on high speed, in cooling mode, you can expect about 58 dB of noise. Start-up noise levels can exceed 60 dB, but usually only last about 20 seconds.
One of the best features, though, is a technology they call “Invisimist.” The drain pan is connected to a hose that ends inside the exhaust tube. The condensation is pushed through the hose and forms a mist spray that is pushed out with the exhaust air. Because of this, you never have to worry about emptying a drain pan, regardless of the climate.
The warranty period is a little tricky. The included warranty covers the unit for 5 years. However, the company will cover shipping and handling costs for the first 90 days only. After that, the consumer is responsible for shipping costs during a warranty claim. In the first 12 months, Avallon will cover all costs for any repairs to any defective part. For the remaining 4 years, they will only cover the costs of replacing the compressor.
- Invisimist technology to clear out the drain pan.
- Fits most residential windows without extra parts.
- Rolls easily on all surface types.
- Dehumidifies up to 80 pints per day.
- Casing is not highly durable and can break if tipped over or kicked.
- Compressor runs hotter than other models.
Single vs. Dual Hose
There are a few reasons one may consider a single-hose unit over a dual-hose AC. The largest reason most people go this route is the cost. While it is difficult to find a reliable and durable dual-hose air conditioner for less than two hundred bucks, single hose systems thrive in the sub-$200 market.
However, because the two hose systems are much more efficient, the cost, over time, through the savings in your energy bill will outweigh the initial investment. If you are looking to save money and only need a portable AC for short-term use, or as a sporadic supplement to your central AC, a single-hose system could be a viable option.
If you plan to use the portable AC on a more regular basis, though, you should look at purchasing a dual-hose portable AC instead.
Dual Hose vs. Window AC
Compared to a window air conditioner unit, portable ACs are generally (though not always) more economical to run. Window ACs may require a dedicated circuit or particular outlet, where most dual-hose units will fit a standard 110-115v outlet.
The most significant difference is portability. You can move the dual-hose systems to any room at any time with a simple window hose kit to deal with. Trying to move a window unit can be difficult and would require two people to move safely. If you need only to cool a single room, the window unit may be more economical for you with less maintenance.
However, if you plan to use the air conditioner in multiple rooms, or need to travel with the air conditioner, a portable unit is the more sensible option.
Installing Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioning Units
Installing a dual-hose portable air conditioner is a straightforward DIY project that only takes one person.
Once you get everything out of the box, you need to place the unit near a window. Most of the exhaust hoses fall between four and six feet, so your unit will need to be within that distance. You also want to make sure there is some slack in the hose.
Installing the window kit works for most sliding windows, but won’t work in crank-close windows. The kit will fit in the window opening with the window and sill holding it in place. You can also secure with screws if needed.
Attach the hose to the air conditioner, and the other end to the mounting holes in the window kit. Once everything is secure, you can plug the air conditioner in and turn it on.
One thing to note, though, a lot of manufacturers will put the extra pieces, screws, and owner’s manuals inside the venting hoses. Make sure you remove all of these items before you connect the hoses. You will also need to make sure the filters are unwrapped and put in correctly. If your unit has a water drain line, it will need to be plugged or connected (varies by model).
You can watch this video to get a better idea of the installation process.
Frequently Asked AC Questions
Can I convert a single hose AC unit to dual?
For the most part, no. A single-hose AC has a different intake method, uses smaller fans, and relies on recirculating the internal air more than a twin hose system. There are ways it can be done on specific models, but none that can maintain the warranty or are simple to implement.
How long can I expect a dual hose portable AC unit to last?
With proper care, non-excessive usage, and regular cleaning, there is no reason a dual-hose portable AC can’t last at least 5 years. Beyond this, it will depend on the life span of the compressor and internal fans. Once those give out, they will need to be replaced.
What are some common problems that may arise with this AC unit?
Some of the most common problems arise from simple issues. The unit not cooling properly is among the most common of all problems. This is usually due to a clogged or dirty filter. Cleaning the filter or replacing it can solve the issue. Another problem may be a clogged or blocked inlet hose. Check the hose for holes, kinks or clogs and repair as needed.
What can be done to extend the life of a portable dual hose AC?
Regular and routine cleaning and maintenance will be the best option to prolong the life expectancy of your portable air conditioner. Cleaning the filters, vents, and drain pans will go a long way to making sure the units perform at their best. It is also advised to run them as little as possible. When you aren’t home or not in the room for extended periods, shut them off to prevent overheating or premature wear on the compressors.
Are there any safety considerations when installing and using this type of AC unit?
When dealing with refrigerants and electricity, there are always safety concerns. You need to ensure the outlet, plug and wires are in good repair. You should also make sure the unit is adequately vented. If you notice anything out of the ordinary (odors, smoke, hot to the touch) turn the unit off and unplug it immediately.
Where is the best place to buy this type of air conditioner?
Several places sell dual-hose air conditioners. The best place to purchase is through Amazon. Shopping through Amazon will ensure you have the right item, can easily find replacement parts, and will get tracked shipping. You can also purchase in person if you prefer. Many home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s will carry a good selection. You won’t find the variety or savings like you can through Amazon, though, and when the time comes for new filters, they may or may not have the type and size you need for your specific model.
Dual-hose portable AC units are efficient, cost-effective, and come in a wide variety of cooling and heating capacities. It can be challenging to find the perfect model for your needs. Take your time and make sure you understand how many BTUs you need for the room size you want to cool, and that you have the right types of outlets, windows for venting and power requirements.
If you are unsure which one to go with, we recommend the Whynter ARC-14S. It is our top pick because it is simple to use, has all the features you need, and doesn’t break the bank to cool your home.
Last Updated on