< Back to guides

Portable Vs Wall Mounted Air Conditioning Units

Portable and wall mounted air conditioning units both come with their benefits. Depending on your home set up, one type of system may be more suitable than another. This means that before you buy a system, you need to know exactly what you’re looking for. If not, you may find yourself wasting energy, or finding that your system doesn’t work as effectively as it should.

Sometimes, you may think that complete air conditioning systems are out of the question. The investment might simply be too much right now, or it may even be down to the fact that you don’t have the space available to install an air conditioning unit inside and outside your home. Likewise, you may not see the point in purchasing a small portable air conditioning unit, especially when you’re only looking to cool one room alone.

If you’re torn between a wall mounted air conditioning unit and a portable air conditioning system, you’ll find our guide helpful. We’ll explain the purpose of each and why you could benefit from one over another.

How does a general air conditioning system work?

No matter the type of air conditioning unit you choose, each one will have one main function - to cool the air in your home. Each will use electricity to run on and a refrigerant, a chemical solution used in cooling appliances, to keep a room cool. No matter which type of system you choose, the unit will draw in the warm air and moisture and dispose of it, leaving clean, filtered air to circulate around your home.

What is a portable air conditioner?

A portable air conditioner is a standalone system, perfect for cooling smaller spaces such as an office room, a single bedroom or a garage, for example. Usually, a portable air conditioning unit will be placed on the floor and will be fitted with wheels; a perfect way to transport the unit to different areas of a home when needed.

Portable air conditioning units are quick to set up and easy to run and control. However, as with any air conditioning system, the warm air and moisture drawn away from a room needs to be released. With a portable air conditioning system, you’ll usually need to fix a window kit to the unit. This will include an exhaust hose which will then dispose of this air through a window. When the portable unit is set up, you’ll then be able to start cooling your home straight away.

How is moisture collected and released?

Moisture is released in a different way to warm air. Depending on the type of portable air conditioner you choose, the process can change slightly:

  • Self evaporating - More advanced machines have a self evaporating feature, meaning you’ll never have to deal with collecting or disposing of excess moisture from the air.
  • Models with a condensate pump - by attaching a hose from the drain port on your unit to a specific drainage location, the moisture from the air conditioner can be released easily and quickly.
  • Manual removal - in older or more standard portable air conditioners, there will be a container that will need to be emptied regularly. Depending on the size of your air conditioner as well as how often you use it, the amount of times you’ll have to empty the container can vary. In this case, you’ll need to turn the entire system off, empty the container and replace it before you can start cooling a room again.

Common portable air conditioner questions.

In order to find the best portable air conditioner for you, it’s worth finding out the answers to some common questions:

Can I use a portable unit for multiple rooms?

A portable air conditioner is more effective in the room it is situated in. As they’re not as powerful as bigger AC systems, you’ll probably not be able to feel much of an effect in other rooms or hallways. For cooling large spaces and multiple rooms, you may need more than one portable unit or a wall mounted system.

Is a portable air conditioner noisy?

To really know the answer to this question, you should take note of the portable air conditioner’s decibel rating, or dB level. Unit levels can range from 48dB to around 60dB. There will be some noise from a portable system due to the compressor and fan working together.

Are they energy efficient?

A portable unit will have an Energy Efficiency Rating, or EER. The higher the efficiency rating, the more energy efficient it will be. Ratings range from A-G, with A being the highest and G being the lowest. Different models will have different ratings, so look at these before you go on to purchase.

What else do I need to consider?

The main things to bear in mind is the size of the room in which a portable air conditioner will be placed, and the amount of BTUs, or British Thermal Units, needed to cool your living space. You can easily use an online BTU calculator to work out this information.

What is a wall mounted air conditioning unit?

Wall mounted air conditioning systems, or split system air conditioners, comprise of two different units; the indoor and outdoor unit. The indoor unit is mounted on the wall and the outdoor unit is usually placed on the ground or against a wall. The two units are connected by piping which is fed through the wall. The two units work together to cool the air in your home and to release warm air and moisture efficiently. The indoor unit is usually very quiet, whereas the outdoor unit tends to be noisier in operation.

How do wall mounted air conditioning units work?

The air from the room is drawn into the wall mounted air conditioning unit. It travels over the condenser and is cooled, thanks to the refrigerant; a cooling agent used in many refrigeration products. The cool air is then forced back into the room, which pushes the hot air and moisture out through the external unit.

It’s important to ensure there is enough space around the wall mounted unit to allow the air to comfortably flow in and out. Installing wall mounted air conditioning units is a job for a professional engineer. It’s important that you don’t try and do this yourself.  

Common questions about wall mounted air conditioning units.

Before you shop for a wall mounted air conditioning system, it’s worth finding the answers to some common queries:

Why is a wall mounted air conditioner advantageous?

Wall mounted air conditioning units have a high cooling power, bringing almost instant relief from warm conditions. They’re also great for filtering the air, clearing dust and pollen from the environment. Purchasing an air conditioner can be a pricey investment up front, but over time, they’ll save energy and money on your bills too.

More modern wall mounted air conditioning units are much more aesthetically pleasing than older, more bulkier models of air conditioning. The designs today are much more sleek, still bearing in mind the need for energy efficiency.

How can I tell if I have a broken air conditioner?

Sometimes, the signs of a broken air conditioning system are quite clear. Your system could have a small leak, or begin blowing out warm air instead of the cool air you’re used to. If you’re ever unsure or you feel like you need a professional to take a closer look, then it’s always best to get in touch with your air conditioning manufacturer.

Do I need to change my filter?

You should regularly change the filter in your system to ensure it’s always running efficiently. Without a clean filter, your system will be more prone to break down. Filters can clog up with dust particles and debris if not looked after. Depending on the type of filter your system has, the time for changing it will vary from days to years. Washable filters can be cleaned multiple times before they should be replaced.

Can I use my air conditioner too much?

Your air con system should be free to use as and when you feel the need to. However, if you’re starting to get worried about energy bills or that your system is eating up more energy than you’d like, then it makes sense to cut down on your usage, only using your system when it’s absolutely necessary.

How long will the system last?

Replacement air conditioning systems should be considered after you’ve had a current system for over ten years. After this time, chances are there will be a much more advanced system available thanks to today's technologies, meaning a new system could save you even more money, energy, and give you peace of mind.

Are portable or wall mounted air conditioning units for you?

Whether you’re looking for the best portable air conditioning units or are after a more powerful wall mounted air conditioning system, always do your research beforehand to ensure you make the right decision. Thankfully, our engineers are more than happy to make recommendations for you based on your home specifications.

By purchasing your air conditioning system from BOXT, we can provide you with the exact same system for a great, fixed price. We’re partners with leading air conditioning system manufacturers, meaning we can bring you incredible deals for a lower price, including installation. Use our ‘Find An AC’ tool to find your perfect air conditioner or use our live chat to speak with a registered BOXT engineer.

< Back to guides