If you are looking to keep a room cool and don’t want to mess with vent hoses and lifting heavy machines into windows, then you want a ventless portable air conditioner. These bad boys use ice and water to cool the air and can literally be placed in any room at any time.
This article will focus on ventless portable air conditioners, the buyer’s guide to choosing the right type and size, and then show you the best options for ventless ACs. By the end of this article, you will know which model is best for you, how to install and operate it, and what to look for before you buy.
Ready to get started? Read on to find out more.
Expectations of Non-Vented Portable AC Type Units
Ventless air conditioners have a level of expectation that needs to be met to fully enjoy the purchase. First, you will need to understand that these machines are not central air conditioner replacements. They aren’t going to drop the temperature in your home several degrees.
What you will get is a room fan that can cool the air and keep it moving. You also need to realize that there is extra maintenance involved with these machines, compared to portable ACs, fans, and window ACs.
They will accumulate condensation, which will need to be drained. The ice and water trays need to be washed and dried to prevent mold and bacteria growth, and the overall cleaning takes longer.
With that all out in the open, what you get in return is an effortless device that can actually lower the temperature of smaller rooms better than a fan can. It is a trade-off worth making, and when used in conjunction with other AC units, they can help make the entire system more efficient.
How Do Ventless Air Conditioners Work
So how do they work exactly? Ventless air conditioners work by pulling in ambient air through a vent, usually in the back or bottom of the machine, building pressure with that air, and expelling it through the top or front. The difference here is that the air passes over or through a tray of cold water or ice, where the heat exchange makes the air colder.
Because the portable AC isn’t pulling the heat from the air, there is no need to exhaust the hot air out. Therefore, there aren’t any hoses, window kits, or exhaust fans to worry about. Instead, you get a highly portable machine that simply works. Just plug it in, fill the tray and enjoy fresh, cold air.
Ventless Portable ACs Compared
Considerations When Buying Ventless AC
Before you head out and just pick up any old machine, there are several things you need to consider. Below I offer you a brief buyer’s guide to help you understand the various conditions and features you need to think about. Then, once you know what you are dealing with, you can pull out your wallet.
Your region’s climate will play a big part in how efficient these machines can be. High humidity and high heat areas will have the least efficient use of these fans. However, they will help out with the heat and humidity a lot. The issue here is that in hotter climates, the ice melts faster and the water warms up, so you will need to change it out more frequently.
For the humid areas, condensation will accumulate much faster, causing you to need to empty the drain pans on a more regular basis.
Each model will have a specific amount of coverage area, so it’s a good idea to get the right size for your space.
This is measured in square feet, which should match or exceed the size of your room.
You can get the room’s square footage by measuring the length and width of the room and multiplying the two numbers together.
You should also take into consideration the ceiling height, number of windows, and how much direct sun the room gets daily.
All of these factors reduce the effectiveness of the portable ACs and will require more effort on your part to keep them running in peak condition.
Airflow is the measure of the amount of air the fan can move in a given time. Airflow itself is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). While a higher CFM is generally a good idea, you can overpower a room by using a fan that is too large for the space.
While it may seem like a good idea to get the biggest, most powerful ventless portable AC, if it is too much fan for the room, it will actually cost you more to operate it than it would to get one designed for that size space.
Not every ventless fan has a separate tray for ice. Some models will have a water tank only, or a tray for either ice or water. Water will work well to cool the air, but ice is even better. Even when the ice melts, it leaves behind cold water that can prolong the use of the fan and reduce the number of times you need to get up to change it out.
Looking for a ventless AC that has an ice tray is a good idea. If you can’t find one, read the manuals for the others, and you will find that a lot of them can use ice in the water trays.
Another thing to think about is how much the device will cost you to run. Power consumption (measured in wattage) is the total of the voltage needed to run the device multiplied by the amp draw of the motor. When you also factor in the length of time the machine is running, sometimes these numbers can add up quickly.
A low wattage system will help keep your energy costs down. However, this doesn’t mean the machine is efficient. You will want to look for an option that has a low consumption level with a high output, which can be hard to find (we’ve done the work for you, though, see the list below).
See related article: How many Watts does a portable air conditioner use?
Water Tank & Runtime
Like the ice trays, most machines will have a tank. Some will use water only, while others can use gel packs. The gel packs, kind of like those first aid packs you put on your ankle when you twist it running to the refrigerator, will last longer than water, but take longer to freeze and set up.
The water tank capacity is important, though, as you don’t want to run these units dry if you can help it. If you plan to use the machine overnight in the bedroom, make sure the tank and reservoir are large enough to accommodate.
Helping with power consumption, some machines will have automatic shut-offs or limited runtimes as well. This is an important thing to consider, both on the good side that you will most likely leave your house with the unit still running and on the bad side. The bad side is that it can shut off in the middle of the night (or afternoon) when you need it the most.
Not every model will offer additional features. Some remove add-ons to save costs and keep prices lower. Others will add features at the expense of raising the price, hoping they offer something you can’t live without.
Timers are a good idea for most cases since you won’t always remember to shut the fan off manually. However, the timers need to be programmable and not just inherent, or else they get frustrating.Alerts are also something to look for. When the ice or water levels get too low, you need to know about it. It is much easier to have the machine tell you when this happens instead of having to get up every hour to check on it.
- Remote Control
Nothing says I am too hot to get up like needing a remote control. On those days, you will be happy you spent the extra few bucks to get a model that offers one. Just don’t lose the remote down the side of the couch during your cool air nap.
Almost every model will have a filter of some sort. Charcoal or carbon filters are among the best as they filter the air but also help eliminate odors. Filters will need to be cleaned and washed (if able) or replaced regularly. Make sure you know the timing and cost of replacements before you buy them.
Ease of Use & Cleaning
As I mentioned earlier, these aren’t the lowest maintenance fans around. However, that extra amount of work on your part will keep these guys working at their best. Overall, maintaining and cleaning this portable AC isn’t difficult.
Once you remove the filter and clean it or replace it, empty and wash the ice and water trays, it is only general maintenance that is left. Clear out or drain any condensation, wipe down the body and vents and remove any dust from the room exhaust ports and you are good to go.
Price & Warranty
Finally, the cost of ownership will play a part in your decision. Your budget will dictate which range of prices you should shop in, and I highly recommend you stay in that range (so does your husband or wife).
The cost to bring the unit home is only part of the price. You also need to consider the power consumption and usage times and factor that into your monthly budget as well.
Then, you can think about the warranty (if any) that the manufacturer offers. These will protect your investment in case you get a defective unit (it does happen) and against unforeseen failures in craftsmanship, motors, or cooling abilities.
7 Best Ventless Air Conditioners Reviewed
I now present you with the 7 best ventless air conditioners, reviewed, and compared for your pleasure. I would urge you to take your time reading through this list, but the longer you take, the more you’re going to sweat.
Not into reading? Watch our youtube video instead as we highlight the top models in this category.
1. Honeywell 525-729CFM Portable Evaporative Cooler
Our Top Pick
|CFM Airflow||525-729 CFM|
|Power Consumption||288 watts|
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||320 Sq. ft.|
|Dimensions||18 x 13.9 x 33.7 inches|
|Water Tank Capacity||7.9 gallons|
The Honeywell model CO30XE is the top pick, and you are going to love this guy! It has a separate water bucket that you can fill with water and an ice tray to enjoy refreshing air up to 8 full hours. While it works best in the low humidity southwest region, this air cooler will give you more than you bargained for.
Not only does this unit come with remote control (up to 30 feet), but it is also coated in UV protection, which means you can wheel this thing out on the deck, near the barbecue or pool, or even in the backyard.
With only 288w power consumption, it is light on your power bill and runs for a long time. You can even set it up to run overnight with the 7.5-hour timer. And don’t worry about running out of water as Honeywell thought of that and included a low-water alarm.
Maintenance is made more comfortable, too. The water tank is removable so you can wash it in the sink or tub, and the ice tray wipes out without a mess. The carbon filter captures odors and dust to keep your room fresh, clean, and cool.
There is a range of models to choose from too. The CO30XE is the smallest of the bunch, with a max airflow of 729. However, you can look at the CO60PM with 1540 CFM or the CO48PM with a max of 1647 CFM.
We love the bigger model too and have it on our list of top swamp coolers.
- Wide range of models to choose from for the perfect room size fit
- Separate water tank for easy cleaning.
- High CFM for airflow you can feel
- Ideal for South and Midwest low humidity regions.
- Can get too heavy to move when full of water
2. Briza Cool Air Cooler
|CFM Airflow||125 CFM|
|Power Consumption||80 watts|
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||100 Sq. ft.|
|Dimensions||12 x 12 x 15 inches|
|Water Tank Capacity||2.1 gallons|
|Warranty||Up to 2-year|
Briza Cool is a close runner up for the best small portable AC. This tiny unit packs a punch and is compact but also powerful. At only 11 pounds, the 2.1-gallon water tank will hold ice, ice packs or water.
Even if the water is warm, it will still lower the temperature of the air flowing through it. The airflow rating is a little low, so you need to be right in front of it to feel the breeze. However, you can be anywhere in a small room to feel the effects. The cooling capacity of this small-stature cooling fan is about 100 square feet.
Don’t let the size fool you; when you enter a room with a Briza Cool, you will know it. The warranty comes with a 30-day buyback guarantee and a 1-year warranty after that. That is, if you buy the machine at a trade show. If you buy directly online, the warranty is automatically extended to 2-years. If you have the 1-year warranty, you can then visit the website and submit your proof of purchase and extend the warranty another 12 months.
No matter how long your warranty period is, this fan will run for years. The filter is washable and should be done every couple of months. Eventually, though, it will need to be replaced. With moderate use, this is about 2 years, and replacements are available through the Briza Amazon store.
- Aspen wood filters purify the air and eliminate odors.
- Remote control operation and timers for use overnight.
- Effective cool without a lot of fuss or mess
- Warranty terms are confusing.
- Not a high output of airflow
3. Evapolar evaCHILL Personal Evaporative Air Cooler
Best Small Ventless AC
|CFM Airflow||25 CFM|
|Power Consumption||7.5 watts|
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||45 Sq. ft.|
|Dimensions||6.5 x 6.5 x 6.5 inches|
|Water Tank Capacity||800ml|
The evaCHILL from Evapolar is the best small ventless AC you will find. This model is considered a personal cooler fan and will not lower the temp in a room. However, when sitting at your desk, this USB powered fan is just right.
You can angle the vents in multiple directions to get the perfect airflow directly on you. It also comes with 4 fan speeds and an 800ml water tank. You cannot add ice to the tank, but with the no-spill and easy fill system, you won’t have too.
Even luke-warm tap water will cool the air blowing through this machine, and in a personal space, that is all you really need. It is small enough to take with you to the ball game, sitting on the couch or at the office.
It uses USN-C to power the unit and only draws 7.5 watts to operate, per hour. There isn’t a low water alarm on this model, but the tank is improved and will last up to nine hours. With a 1-year warranty, you have even less to worry about. So, when you are ready to have your own personal cooling fan, give the evaCOOL a try. You’re gonna love it.
- Personal fan for anywhere you are, at home or on the go.
- New water tank fills easily at any sink and last up to 9 hours.
- Won’t spill if knocked into (don’t roll over or turn on the side, though)
- Too small to cool a room.
- Cannot use ice in the machine
4. Honeywell 300-412CFM Fan & Humidifier
Packed With Features
|CFM Airflow||412 CFM|
|Power Consumption||102 watts|
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||200 Sq. ft.|
|Dimensions||15.7 x 13.5 x 31.5 inches|
|Water Tank Capacity||2.6 gallons|
Honeywell enters our list again, this time with a portable ventless cooler that is packed with features. If you are a gadget freak and love lots of buttons, you will enjoy this model. It has a setting for everything and will not disappoint.
About the only thing this model is missing is an ice compartment. However, with the 2.6-gallon capacity water tank, you can add ice to the bottom. If you like the idea of frozen gel packs, you can use those instead of ice. However, you will need to use water, or else the low water alarm will annoy you.
Unlike our top pick, the CS10XE is not rated for outdoor use. However, in small and medium rooms, you will experience a cooling breeze that you won’t believe. This model pushed out up to 412 CFM covering about 200 square feet.
The maintenance is relatively straight forward and simple to perform. The filter and vent louvers will be your biggest areas of worry. Not because they are hard, mind you. Just tedious. The filter should last you about a year before it wears out and needs to be replaced.
As long as you keep water in the tank and the intake vents clean of debris and dust build-up, you will most likely never have an issue with this machine until it just wears out from use, years down the road.
- High-quality build and materials
- Low maintenance
- Tech-person’s dream with push-button and remote access
- Can’t be used outdoors like other Honeywell models
5. Hessaire Products MC18M Evaporative Cooler
Value For Money
|CFM Airflow||1300 CFM|
|Power Consumption||82 watts|
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||500 Sq. ft.|
|Dimensions||20 x 10 x 28 inches|
|Water Tank Capacity||4.8 gallons|
If you are looking for the most bang for your buck, the Hessaire Products air cooling ventless portable AC is your answer. When you need to cool medium to large-sized rooms, this 1300 CFM cooler will do the trick.
It has a lower price tag than most others on this list, but it also lacks some of the more standard features. You won’t get remote operation, for example, and instead have a 6-selection turn dial to choose your operation modes from.
This simple approach means there are fewer things to go wrong and better peace of mind from this rugged build. One thing to note, though, is that the machine does require daily maintenance. There is a water medium in the bottom of the tank that helps prevent the unit from running dry or overflowing.
When you are done with the unit, it will need to be placed on fan only mode and run for at least half an hour. This is to dry out the medium, preventing bacteria and mold from forming. The filter is washable and will last you quite a while, though, and the back panel access makes taking it out for cleaning simple.
The 1-year warranty will cover the entire unit, down to the four caster wheels should anything go wrong. With proper care and moderate usage, though, this monster of a cooler fan will last you several years to come.
- Easy to assemble and start using
- Turn-dial settings allow you to choose how to cool the room
- Optional garden hose adapter for continuous water fill
- Higher daily maintenance than some models
- Low on features and controls
6. Frigidaire EC200WF Air Fan
Good For Bedrooms
|CFM Airflow||350 CFM|
|Power Consumption||65 watts|
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||250 Sq. ft.|
|Dimensions||12.7 x 12.8 x 31.4 inches|
|Water Tank Capacity||1.8 gallon|
If you have trouble sleeping because of the temperature in your bedroom, the Frigidaire EC200WF ventless cooler is ideal for you. This is a good model for bedrooms because of its sleek design, simple controls, and quiet operation.
At only 54 dB (on high speed), you can sleep well with a gentle hum of white noise, while the fan works to keep you cool. With up to 350 CFM of airflow, this little guy will power through the night, keeping spaces up to 200 square feet cool and refreshed.
It also boasts a low 65-watt power draw, which should ease the bill payer of the household when it comes time to write a check to the power company. But here’s the best part: unlike most other models, this one oscillates. You can put it at the foot of the bed, and there won’t be any more fighting over the cool side.
The fan has three speeds and four modes for quiet, cool operation. The 1.8-gallon water tank can be filled with ice and topped off with water to provide up to 9 hours of cooling efficiency. It also comes with a 1-year warranty to help promote peace of mind from a name we have grown to know and trust.
Check out our Frigidaire air conditioner reviews here.
- Oscillating fan for wide coverage area
- Digital display with feather-light push-button controls
- Removable water tray features a no-drip functionality.
- It can be challenging to keep clean compared to other models.
7. Luma Comfort EC110S Evaporative Cooler
|CFM Airflow||500 CFM|
|Power Consumption||110 watts|
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||200 Sq. ft.|
|Dimensions||12.8 x 11.2 x 34.5 inches|
|Water Tank Capacity||1.7 gallons|
One of the most popular models is the Luma Comfort EC110S. Partly because it has a lot of features, others are missing and partly because it is a good looking machine, whatever your reason this model will work for you.
It features a 1.7-gallon water tank that is easily filled. And unlike most other models, the Luma Comfort comes with a reusable ice pack. Once frozen, the pack fits into the water tank (on either side) and provides up to 4 extra hours of more cooling power.
If you don’t like the ice pack, you can fill the water tray will ice as well. Just make sure you top off with water to prevent the alarm from sounding. The Luma Comfort air cooler is ideal for any climate but especially in those areas with less than 65% humidity on average.
Maintenance is straight forward with each compartment opening for easy access to the tray, filters and cooling pads. Everything cleans easily and snaps back in place for a regimen that only takes about 5 minutes.
Should anything go wrong with the unit, motor, controls, or operation, the EX110S is backed by an industry average 1-year warranty from the date of purchase. Customer support is friendly and welcoming and will help you get through any problems you may have.
- Ideal for temperate climates with less than 65% average humidity.
- Oscillating fan for broader coverage area
- Easy fill water tray comes with an ice block
- Less efficient than some other models on the list.
- Can get noisy on higher speeds
Ventless, Vented & Window ACs Compared
When it comes to cooling your dorm, office, or room, you have options. You can choose a ventless portable AC, a vented portable AC, or a window air conditioner. Which one do you pick?
A lot will depend on the size of the room and your climate. Window air conditioners are ideal for humid areas that get warmer. Because they actually help dehumidify without overflowing, they can drain directly outside while keeping almost any size room cooled off. They are harder to install than the other options and can cost a lot more (depending on BTUs and features). However, since they are an actual air conditioner, they cool a lot better.
Portable vented air conditioners need a window to vent the exhaust from, and most hoses are between 4 and 6 feet long. This limits where they can and cannot go, making the portable aspect a little less portable.
For rooms without venting windows (crank close, for example) or without windows at all, ventless portable units are the ideal solution. They cool without requiring a window and can be transported to any room of the house at any time. There is a little set up with the water and ice, of course, but they require no installation. Fill the tank or tray, plug the machines in, and off you go.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Do they make ventless portable air conditioners?
Ventless portable air conditioners are also known as evaporative coolers, swamp coolers, or water fans. Instead of refrigerant and compressors, they use high-speed fans to blow air over ice and cold water. The air temperature drops like a portable air conditioner but without the added noise, exhaust venting, and installation.
Where does the heat go on a ventless air conditioner?
There isn’t a mechanical heat transfer with a ventless portable AC. Air is cooled by being blown over ice or cold water. The ice or water absorbs the heat from the air, resulting in a more cooling breeze. Once the ice melts or the water gets too hot to be effective, you simply drain and replace it.
How much is the cost of running a ventless AC?
The actual cost is determined by your amount of use, the power consumption of the model you purchase, and the cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in your area. On average, ventless portable air conditioners will cost about $2 per day to run on the high end. This is less expensive than a central AC or window AC unit but more than a box or tower fan.
When is a ventless air conditioner a good option?
Are portable air conditioners worth it? These are good options for any occasion or reason. However, they are best suited for rooms where you cannot access the window for a window AC, or you need to move them to different rooms frequently and don’t want to mess with vent hoses.
How long can I expect a ventless AC unit to last?
Most ventless models come with a 1 to 3-year warranty. However, with proper care, regular maintenance, and not over-using the machines, they can last you several years beyond the warrantied period.
Where is the best place to buy this type of air conditioner?
Your best bet is to shop online at either Amazon or Sylvane, where you can find better prices and options for expedited shipping, free shipping, first-time customer discounts and extended warranties. You also get to choose from older models at significant savings over the current model found in stores.
You can also pick up evaporative coolers in any home improvement store such as Home Depot, Lowe’s Tru-Value, etc. However, these stores will be limited to carrying only current or latest models and lower stock quantities.
When you need to cool a room quickly and efficiently, there are several methods you can choose form. One of the most efficient and easiest is an evaporative cooler or ventless portable AC. With a tray or tank to hold ice and water, these machines will chill the air and move it around the room to keep you cool and comfortable on hot days.
If you aren’t sure which model you should pick, I recommend that you take a good, long look at the top pick. The Honeywell CO30XE is ideal for small and medium-sized rooms and has enough features to keep you comfortable and in control for hours on end.
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