Self Evaporating Portable ACs (7 Best Models Compared)

Air conditioners help you control your home environment and keep you cool and comfortable all year round. Portable air conditioners are a great solution for homeowners who only need AC at certain times of the year or only need cooling in certain areas.

Self-evaporating portable air conditioners work in a slightly different way to conventional AC and are easier to use and maintain. In this guide, we’ll help explain how self-evaporating ACs work and introduce you to some of the best models on the market.

Easiest to Set-up & Use

Whynter CoolSize Compact Portable Air Conditioner (ARC-101CW)
Whynter CoolSize

Product Tag

Emerson Quiet Kool Portable Air Conditioner
Emerson Quiet Kool

What Exactly Are Self Evaporating Portable AC Units?

Conventional portable AC units work by cooling the air in your home, and a small amount of moisture is removed from the air in the process. This moisture needs to be removed from the machine periodically, and this means emptying the drainage tray regularly. Self-evaporating portable air conditioners offer a solution to this and remove the need to empty the machine. Other than moisture collection, they work in exactly the same way as a standard AC, with air being drawn into the machine using fans, cooled with condenser coils, and blown back into the room.

The moisture is gathered in the same way, but then half of it is used to cool the internal mechanism of the AC and keep it working correctly. The other half is re-evaporated within the machine and dispersed back into the air. This moisture is then used to help cool the air in your room and circulated back into your home.

This operation means that there’s no drainage tray to be emptied, and you can have peace of mind that no excess moisture will linger in the machine and cause internal damage. This style of portable AC works well in areas where you need to use it constantly, but you don’t want to do constant maintenance on the machine. Self-evaporating units also work well in dry rooms or homes where you don’t want to lose too much moisture from the air.

Related ArticleHow Does a Portable AC Work?

Benefits Of Self Evaporating Portable Air Conditioners

Self-evaporating portable air conditioners are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners for many good reasons. Here’s a quick breakdown of the benefits they offer:

Reuse Condensed Moisture

The moisture taken from the air is stored within the machine and then reused. About 50% of it will support the internal mechanism by cooling the device, while the other half will be dispersed back into the air to help cool it. This means you have less risk of excess moisture lingering in your AC and damaging it, and there’s no tray to empty.

No Draining & Less Maintenance

With a traditional AC, you have to empty the drainage tray periodically, or the moisture will stop your AC from performing properly. In self-evaporating air conditioners, the liquid is reused, so you don’t need to empty the drain tray. This means less work to maintain the device.

Energy Efficient

Self-evaporative ACs reuse the moisture gathered, making them more energy efficient. You’ll find that, on average, this type of AC has a SEER rating of 10 or above, making them cheaper to run than traditional alternatives.

Easy To Install & Use

Portable air conditioners are designed to be simple to use. They need to be plugged in, and there usually needs to be an exhaust pipe directed out of a window, but it will generally only take a few minutes to set up. Modern portable self-evaporative ACs usually have basic controls on the unit itself and often have a remote control, so they’re easy to configure and use.

6 Best Self Evaporating Portable Air Conditioners Reviewed

1. Whynter CoolSize Compact Portable Air Conditioner (ARC-101CW)

Specification Summary
Height 28 Inches
Dimensions 17 x 14 x 28 Inches
Moisture Removal Per Hour 2.92 Pints
Programmable Timer Yes
Cooling Capacity 8000-12000 BTU
Warranty 24 months

The first portable AC on our list is small, but there’s a lot going on with it. It’s simple to set up and use but has some modes which make the AC more useful to homeowners. It’s also fully self-evaporating, so there’s no need to empty the drainage tray.

It’s not the most powerful AC out there, but it has enough BTU to cool a 250-300 square foot room quite comfortably. The fan has 3 different settings, too, so you can crank up the output in the hot months if you need to. One of the best things about this portable AC is the dehumidifier function, which helps regulate the amount of moisture in your air well. It has two drain ports, so you can use the dehumidifier constantly without any need to empty the tank. It comes with a 5-foot exhaust hose too, so you’ll be able to place it quite easily in any room.

What really stands out about this self-evaporating AC is the efficiency. It has a SEER rating of 10 which means it’s very cheap to run, and it even has a reusable filter, so you won’t need to buy any extras. All of this adds to the overall value of this AC and makes it a good investment. It’s a simple but effective machine that is perfect for hands-off homeowners who just want things to work as they should. It will work well in a small or medium-sized area but isn’t really suitable for a larger space.

What We Like
  • Extremely efficient
  • Can be run continuously
  • 3 different modes
  • Very quiet
  • Remote control
What We Don’t Like
  • Not suitable for large areas
  • More expensive than other portable ACs


Specification Summary
Height 26 Inches
Dimensions 16.5 x 11.5 x 26 Inches
Moisture Removal Per Hour 1.5 Pints
Programmable Timer Yes
Cooling Capacity 6000-8000 BTU
Warranty 12 months

The Black & Decker portable AC is perfectly suited for a home office, bedroom, or small living room. It’s compact and quiet, with enough BTU to provide effective cooling. It’s also really simple to set up and use.

This air conditioner has 3 different modes: cooling, fan, and dehumidifier. The dehumidifier function isn’t overly powerful but will bring the moisture levels down in a small area. It’s completely self-evaporating, so there’s no drainage tray to empty, and there’s an attached exhaust hose that can be vented through any nearby window.

The best thing about this AC is the simplicity. It’s compact and lightweight, with wheels on the base to roll it about in your home. It’s a simple plug-and-play mechanism so you can use it instantly, and there’s no drainage tray to clear. You will need to clean the filter every few months, but other than that, the maintenance is minimal. There are several different modes so you can adapt it to your requirements, but it runs very quietly. In fact, if you turn it to night mode, it goes under 50 decibels, so you’ll barely hear it running. It also comes with a remote control to make it even simpler to use.

Self-evaporating portable ACs were designed to make life easier, and this Black + Decker model does just that. This is best suited for small, single room spaces and won’t work well in large rooms, but it’s a great asset for all those who want an AC that works with very little maintenance.

What We Like
  • Really simple to set up and use
  • Remote control
  • 3 different modes
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Low maintenance
What We Don’t Like
  • Only suitable for small rooms
  • Not very powerful dehumidifier

3. Emerson Quiet Kool Portable Air Conditioner

Specification Summary
Height 28 Inches
Dimensions 18 x 15 x 28 Inches
Moisture Removal Per Hour 3 Pints
Programmable Timer Yes
Cooling Capacity 8000-14000 BTU
Warranty 60 months

The Emerson full self-evaporative portable AC is larger and more powerful than most other models. As a result, it’s effective in spaces up to 550 square feet and is suitable for higher temperatures than other portable air conditioners.

This portable self-evaporative AC has several modes with a programmable timer and remote control. It can even be configured so you can control it through your phone or Alexa. There’s a long exhaust pipe so you can place the AC as needed and a very precise temperature control to help you get the right balance. All of this makes it really simple to use well.

With high output ACs, you need to consider the running costs and energy efficiency. This is a surprisingly efficient unit for a portable AC with an EER rating of 10, so it’s cheap to run. It comes with an air sweep function, too, so that cool air spreads more effectively around the room. We’ve found this means you can run it for shorter bursts and still feel the benefits.

This portable AC gives you complete control of the environment around you. It doesn’t just offer cooling but provides heating and drying functions too. The drying mode removes moisture effectively from the room, and the heating mode is just as effective as a portable heater. This makes it well suited for active spaces where you will have different needs, and it works as a year-round device. It would be a bit wasted in the garage or basement areas that don’t see much use, and if that’s what you need, then you can probably get a cheaper unit.

What We Like
  • Heating and cooling options for year-round use
  • Remote control and WiFi-enabled
  • Energy efficient
  • Really powerful, suitable for big rooms
  • Long warranty
What We Don’t Like
  • Louder than other models
  • More expensive than other ACs

4. Friedrich ZoneAire BTU Portable Air Conditioner

Specification Summary
Height 28.3 Inches
Dimensions 17.1 x 14.25 x 28.3 Inches
Moisture Removal Per Hour 3.8 Pints
Programmable Timer Yes
Cooling Capacity 10000-14000 BTU
Warranty 12 months

This is a large and powerful air conditioner built to help you control the environment of a large area. It isn’t as portable as other ACs and is a bit bulkier, but it is very effective and has some intelligent features to make life easier.

There are 4 different functions, so you can ventilate, heat, cool, and dehumidify the area. Unlike some other portable ACs, all the functions seem to work well, so you’ll have full control over your environment. There’s a drain pump and long exhaust to get rid of the excess heat and liquid from the device, which allows you to run it continuously if needed.

The intelligent features are what set this portable self-evaporative AC apart from other models. It has an app that works over WiFi so you can control it from your cell, four different operating modes, touch LED screen controls and a programmable timer. It is very low maintenance and will run silently, so you won’t notice it’s there. This makes it an effective portable AC for homeowners who don’t want any fuss and need heating and cooling to cover more than one area.

What We Like
  • Powerful, works across several rooms at once
  • Remote control and WiFi-enabled
  • Very energy efficient
  • Heating and cooling options
  • Intelligent and simple to use
What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive
  • Louder than other ACs

5. Toyotomi Double Duct Portable Air Conditioner

Specification Summary
Height 29.4 Inches
Dimensions 18.4 x 15.2 x 29.4 Inches
Moisture Removal Per Hour 3.76 Pints
Programmable Timer Yes
Cooling Capacity 11,500 BTU
Warranty 12 months

The Toyotomi fully self-evaporative portable AC is a mid-sized unit capable of cooling small or medium-sized rooms. It’s larger than some other models but still lightweight and easy enough to move and store.

Like other portable ACs, it has heating and cooling functionality, along with a dehumidifier mode. The dehumidifier is actually very effective, so if you live in an area with high moisture levels, then this will be useful to you. It isn’t as efficient as some other models, so it will have higher running costs, but it is quiet and barely noticeable when it’s turned on.

This portable AC offers both heating and cooling and has a double duct system. This means that the heating and cooling functions operate separately, allowing warm and cold air to mix to achieve the desired temperature. This makes the heating function more effective and gives you more precise control over the temperature in your home.

This AC will work well in a large living room space, offices, or bedrooms. The different functions make it suitable for year-round use and perfect for homeowners who need heating and cooling. It isn’t the most advanced AC out there, but it’s one of the most durable and offers some good long-term value.

What We Like
  • More precise temperature control
  • Energy efficient
  • Heating, cooling, and dehumidifier options
  • Durable
  • Runs quietly
What We Don’t Like
  • Fewer controls and modes
  • Less compact design

6. Soleus Air Portable Air Conditioner

Specification Summary
Height 29.25 Inches
Dimensions 17 x 15 x 29.25 Inches
Moisture Removal Per Hour 3.95 Pints
Programmable Timer Yes
Cooling Capacity 12000- 14000 BTU
Warranty 12 months

The final AC on our list is the Soleus self-evaporative portable model, which offers very high levels of heating and cooling. It can cool an area of over 550 square feet and will work across several rooms or areas in your home with wide louvers to help direct air to every part of the room. If you need to cool an area quickly, this AC will suit you.

Despite the high BTUs, this AC runs quietly and shouldn’t go much above 50 decibels. It’s got an easy-to-use display screen so you can move between functions easily enough. There’s also a programmable timer, remote control, and indicators for when filters need to be cleaned. The Soleus portable AC is fully self-evaporating but has a backup drain for excess moisture if you’re using the dehumidifier for long periods. This will need to be emptied manually and means there is a bit more work involved to maintain this model.

Soleus is a well-known brand, and the best feature of this portable AC is its durability. This is a powerful and sturdy machine that’s clearly built for heavy use. It should last for a long time and is a good investment for homeowners. This is best suited for those who are prepared to pay a little bit more to have full control of the environment around them.

What We Like
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Heats and cools large spaces effectively
  • Heating, cooling, and dehumidifier options
  • Very quiet running and even quieter sleep modes
  • Easy to use
What We Don’t Like
  • Higher maintenance
  • More complicated setup

What To Look For When Buying Self-Evaporating Portable AC

We’ve shown you some of the best self-evaporating portable air conditioners on the market, but if you’re searching for yourself, then you need to understand what to look for. There’s a wide variety of options available, so we’ve given a quick breakdown of the most important factors:

AC Size (BTU Vs. Area)

The output of air conditioners is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). The greater the BTUs, the more cooling the AC provides and the greater the area it can cool effectively. It’s important to understand the area of the room your AC will be working in so you can get an appropriate number of BTUs.

If you get an AC with too much BTU for the space, it will mean it takes more energy to run and that you’re overpaying on your bills. If you get an AC with too few BTUs, then you won’t be able to cool the space properly. This is a key factor and potentially the most important aspect to consider when selecting your AC.

You’ll need about 25 BTUs to cool 1 square foot of space, and your average portable AC will provide 6000-12000 BTUs. This means your AC should be able to cool an area of 150 and 500 square feet, but you can get larger AC’s if you need them.

Related ArticleWhat Size of AC Do I Need?


Your self-evaporating AC generates some heat because the mechanism works to evaporate the water held within it. This heat needs to be vented, and you’ll ideally need to place it near a window. Consider the exhaust of your AC and where it will sit in the room before you purchase.


Self-evaporating ACs are designed to be lower maintenance than conventional portable air conditioners, but they do still need some cleaning. At a minimum, you’ll need to replace the filters from time to time, and some units will need more attention than others. Modern portable ACs tend to be more reliable and easier to maintain, so you might be better off looking for a newer model. Always look for a good warranty to protect your investment, and most portable ACs are covered for 5 years or more.

Related ArticleHow to Clean a Portable AC?


Air conditioners can take a lot of energy to run, and portable models are not known for their efficiency. The efficiency of an AC is given as a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (EER), and the higher the number, the more efficient it is. A good SEER rating can save you a lot of money in the long run, so it’s worth considering this before you buy.

Noise Level

Air conditioners have traditionally been very noisy, and this can cause a disturbance to you and your family. The noise output from your portable AC is measured in decibels, and you want to get as low a decibel model as possible.

ACs can be anywhere between 30 and 80 decibels, but portable ACs are smaller and usually aren’t above 60 decibels.  Modern air conditioners tend to be a lot quieter with lower decibels, but always aim for a self-evaporating air conditioner under 55 decibels.

Related ArticleQuiet Down a Portable AC

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Where should I put the self-evaporative AC’s?

Self-evaporative AC’s can be used in any room but need to be close enough to a window so that the exhaust pipe will reach it.

How can you tell if your air conditioner is self-evaporating?

This will normally be advertised on the model specifications, but if no drain tank needs to be emptied, then it will mean your AC is self-evaporating.

How long do self-evaporating portable AC’s last?

A well maintained self-evaporating portable AC will last 5-10 years. Certain models are designed to last longer, but generally, after 10 years, you’ll start to see some performance issues.

Where can I buy self-evaporative portable AC’s?

Online marketplaces usually have the greatest variety of self-evaporative portable ACs and will give you the best deals. Try large online sellers like Amazon or Sylvane to get the best value air conditioners.


Self-evaporative air conditioners make life easier in the home and provide effective cooling with very little maintenance. They are ideal for those who need an AC to run for long periods or those who live in dry conditions and don’t want to remove much moisture, but they do give off more heat than a standard portable AC, so you have to consider ventilation.

Hopefully, this guide has given you some helpful information about self-evaporative portable ACs and introduced you to a few models which will work in your home.

Related ArticleAre Portable ACs Worth It?