Best portable car air conditioner

Imagine driving down a country road with the best portable air conditioner blasting, the tunes blaring, and the sun shining. Your destination doesn’t matter. You’re enjoying the freedom and the welcome relief from the relentless, summer sun cool that can only come from portable car air conditioners. So what are the best portable car air conditioner near me and install portable ac in car picks,

Now, imagine the same scenario without a mini air conditioner for cars. Even with the windows down, you’re sweating and uncomfortable. You want to get out of the heat and cool down. You need the best portable air conditioner for car and trucks, and you need to find one now.

That’s why we created this portable air conditioner buying guide. We looked at the best portable automobile air conditioners and assembled reviews to make your search for the right air conditioner for car and truck interiors easier.

portable car air conditioners

Best portable car air conditioner

12v Dual Head Car Fan by EXCOUP – Editor’s Choice

Car Fan 12V Vehicle Fan, 5inch Truck Cooling Fan with LED Display Temperature & Humidity, 12 Speeds and 360 Rotatable for Car Truck Van SUV RV Boat Auto Vehicles Golf Brand: EXCOUP
View on Amazon

The Good

  • Inexpensive AC alternative for car
  • Powerful motor that delivers great air flow
  • 360 degree rotation
  • 12 speed settings
  • Digital display for temperature and humidity
  • 12v operation with 12v cord included

The Bad

  • Only adhesives are included to mount the fan

Are you looking for a good alternative for AC in your car? The 12v Dual Head Car Fan from EXCOUP is a good option with its great operation yet inexpensive cooling alternative for car. Just plug the fan to your car’s 12v socket and switch it on.

There are 12 settings you can choose plus the fan can be adjusted 360 degrees. The operation is not noisy though. The fan blows similarly to the lowest setting of car’s fan. This fan can be used on most vehicles with 12v socket.

Mounting this fan is easy with the adhesives provided. One drawback is that it might cause problem with your car’s dashboard if you want to remove it to change its position. If you want to do this, you also need to get another pair of adhesive.

The advanced LED display is a great feature to determine the temperature inside your car. This is the only fan listed with a temperature and humidity sensor. That’s why this fan made it to our top choices for 12v fan for cars.

How it works?

Just plug the 12v cord to your car’s 12v socket. Then choose your desired fan speed.


mini portable car air conditioner

IcyBreeze v2 Portable Air Conditioner – Editor’s Choice

 IcyBreeze v2 Portable Air Conditioner & Cooler with Rechargeable Battery
View on Amazon

The Good

  • Sturdy and durable plastic
  • Battery powered for portability
  • Battery charger and battery pack included
  • Flexible hose for desired adjustments
  • Can be used as a food and beverage cooler

The Bad

  • Needs extra space to place in the car
  • Not suitable for cooling larger spaces like RV’s

The IcyBreeze v2 Portable Air Conditioner is a great air conditioner solution for your car that has a broken air conditioner. This quality-grade 12v AC doesn’t require any installation. Just plug the battery in and you have an instant air conditioner.

How IcyBreeze v2 Portable Air Conditioner works? Ice and little water is filled in the Icybreeze cooler and the power is turned on. Air is then pulled from outside, to run across the cooling coils placed internally. The cooled air is blown out by the flexible hose. The hose directs the air to the required location. It is blown by a three speed fan keeping the area cool. This makes the product suitable for use by boaters, campers and even during sporting activities.

The 12v car AC also includes power source options namely a standard charger and a 12v 6AH Li-Ion battery pack. This unit has an optional 12v car adapter (sold separately) to maintain its cooling capability even for hours of traveling.

Key Features

  • The cooler space has 38 quarts
  • Three-speed highly powered fan which blows up to 25mph
  • Rechargeable Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery (12V)
  • 2 cup holders
  • Multiple lift points and ergonomic handle
  • Built-in wheels for portability
  • Thick and insulated side walls
  • Additional integrated vent
  • Made in the USA

Portable air conditioner for car battery operated


Evapolar evaCHILL

vapolar evaCHILL Personal Evaporative Air Cooler and Humidifier Portable Air Conditioner Fan, White
View on Amazon

The Good

  • Good value for the money
  • Light, compact and movable
  • Efficient
  • USB-powered
  • Cools and humidifies

The Bad

  • Only works for one person

The Evapolar evaCHILL is the smallest yet very promising portable air conditioner that you may utilize in your car. It doesn’t just cool but it also humidify your car.

This cooler is very easy to setup. Just add water to its tank and it will work for up to 8 hours. The handle is very convenient for moving this unit. It has a cartridge inside and is replaceable whenever necessary.

There are four fan settings with a simple touch of a button. Just plug this unit in to your car’s USB and voila you may enjoy the cooling effects yourself!

One thing to note that this portable cooler is not designed for two or more people. When the sun’s heat is at its peak, you will notice that it’s cooling capacity will not sustain. In addition, this unit needs a space to be placed and your car’s dashboard is not enough. You can place it on the front passenger sit if you want to use this. Therefore this is a great cooler for the driver alone.

Key Features

  • USB-powered cooler
  • Air-cooler functionality
  • Humidifier
  • Replaceable evaporative cartridge
  • Light and compact

install portable ac in car

WHAT TO CONSIDER WHILE BUYING AN AC?

For ACs, we’re focused on its cooling capacity, what kind of ambient temperature it’s built for, filtration, the coolant used and a few of the smarter features that have now become common.

TYPE OF ACS 

WINDOW ACS 

They are pretty large because they have to incorporate every component inside a single chassis. This also means that there are fewer things that a consumer has to worry about, and thus, the entire unit ends up being cheaper than the rest.

AC Air Conditioner buying guide window AC
Window Air Conditioner

Such ACs are also termed monoblocks for this very reason. To mount a Window AC onto a wall, you ideally require about 9-12 inch thick walls. If your walls are thinner than that, an additional support structure will be necessary, or you’re better off looking for a thicker wall. 

Pros

+ Cheap 

+ Easy to install 

+ Monoblock design 

Cons

– Noisy 

– Needs a thick and sturdy wall for mounting 

SPLIT ACS 

Seen as an improvement over Window ACs, split ACs are made by separating the compressor and heat dispensing coils into an external unit which sits outside your home. Maintenance for split ACs is more difficult since the maintenance personnel have to access the external unit.

AC Air Conditioner buying guide split AC
Split Air Conditioner internal unit

There are also certain limitations regarding how far apart the internal and external unit can be installed. The farther you place the two, the less efficient the combination becomes so you should ideally keep it low. That being said, these ACs can be installed up to 40 meters away from each other provided the interconnecting tubing is well-covered. Cassette ACs are a variant of split ACs in which the internal unit is mounted on the ceiling of the room. 

Pros

+ Expensive 

+ Makes less noise

+ Can be installed on any wall – Difficult to install

Cons

– Higher risk of coolant leaks 

CAPACITY OR TONNAGE

When you’re trying to cool a room, you need to look at the size of the room, the number of heat sources, the ambient temperature of the geographical region, number of windows in the room and surfaces exposed to the sun. These factors play into the simple rules of thermodynamics, but we’re not going to teach you physics in this guide but rather drill it down into simple logic. 

What we’re presenting is a rather simple calculator. Simply pick the right option in each row of parameters. You should only pick one option in each row. There are ten rows in all. Take the score for each row and total it up to get the final grand total. Then refer to the chart to get the recommended tonnage. 

AC Air Conditioner buying guide window split AC
AC Tonnage Calculator

In case, your score is higher than what this chart recommends, and you need to split the room into two logical parts and then use the above chart for each segment and then install two ACs in the room. 

Reference sheet for score tonnage
Reference sheet for score tonnage

You can check out our handpicked list of the best Split and Window ACs under different tonnage-

EFFICIENCY AND RATING 

With heavy appliances, you’ll always see an energy efficiency rating applied. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency requires that every AC have a label indicating its efficiency on a 5-star scale. The more stars you have on this scale, the more efficient the AC will be.

Window AC Split AC air conditioner buying guide BEE ISEER energy efficiency rating
ISEER Rating for Air Conditioners

The Energy Efficiency Ratio is simply calculated by taking the cooling capacity of the AC and dividing it by the power consumed by that AC. The chart below gives the Star rating applicable for the EER range. 

Latest BEE ISEER Energy Efficiency Rating for ACs
Latest BEE ISEER Energy Efficiency Rating for ACs

These ratings go a long way in saving power consumption. A 5-Star AC can be up to 35% more efficient than a 1 Star AC. However, 5-Star ACs are also way more expensive, and it will take a couple of years before the higher cost evens out based on money saved for utility expenses.

INVERTER OR NON-INVERTER ACS

Inverters are what convert DC (Direct Current) power to AC (Alternating Current) power. Within air conditioners, you first take the AC power from the wall socket and convert it to DC and then turn it back into AC for the compressor motor. Traditional air conditioners used to do this in a fixed manner so compressors would either be in an ON state or an OFF state. Inverter air conditioners are more dynamic with the switching frequency. This allows the compressor to work in a variable manner so effectively; you are varying the tonnage/capacity of the air conditioner as per your needs. This precise control helps you manage temperature better than traditional air conditioners.

Inverter AC vs Non-Inverter AC
Source: Daikin

However, getting to the right temperature takes a little extra time in inverter air conditioners as compared to traditional air conditioners. Because there is complicated circuitry involved, these inverter air conditioners are also more expensive to repair, especially when the main circuit board, i.e. the PCB goes wonky, you have to replace the board entirely. With traditional air conditioners, you could simply replace the individual components on the circuit board as they weren’t complex. Of course, if you were to get the parts list, you can always replace the components on an inverter air conditioner as well, but you’ll be stuck if the main microcontroller is messed up. You need to programme those before replacing them.

Since the capacity of inverter air conditioners is variable and more precise, you end up using just the right amount of power needed. This makes inverter air conditioners more efficient than traditional ACs. Certain manufacturers also use twin cylinder compressors which allow for greater control over the compressors. That, coupled with inverter technology, helps save power even more. However, complicated machinery tends to break down more often than simpler machinery. Here are the pros and cons summarised.

Pros

+ Uses less power

+ More consistent temperatures – Less reliable

Cons

– Expensive

MISCELLANEOUS

FILTERS

Filters are capable of trapping particles and performing the function of an air purifier as well. These ACs come with a separate replaceable filter module, and the practice is more common in industrial HVAC systems that are meant to be installed for hospitals and clean rooms. Most home ACs don’t have such advanced filters. The ACs that mention PPM statistics for known pollutants rather than generic terms like “bacteria filters” are what you should focus on.

HEATING

Certain ACs can heat the room during chilly winters. This is helpful since you can reduce the number of appliances require.

TIMERS 

Timers allow you to program the AC to operate for a certain period before shutting down automatically. This is great if you want the room to be cooler when going to sleep and then want the AC to shut off automatically after a couple of hours.

Leave a Comment