How much does it cost to run a portable air conditioner? Find out below. Also, get running costs of the lowest wattage & most efficient units. Plus, use this calculator to see your own specific costs.
Based on a study of the most popular units on the market, below you’ll find the running costs of portable air conditioners.
- It costs $0.11 to $0.22 per hour to run a portable AC, with $0.18 being the average and $0.19 being the most common.
- The 754W BLACK+DECKER BPT05WTBA (see link below) is the cheapest to run, costing 11 cents per hour.
- The most energy efficient model costs $0.15 per hour – see this powerful unit on Amazon, here.
Continue reading to see the daily and monthly running costs. And use the calculator to see the costs based on your kWh rate. Plus, see how the running costs compare with other standard household appliances.
How much does it cost to run a portable air conditioner?
It costs $0.18 per hour to run a portable air conditioner, on average.
The most common cost to run a portable AC is $0.19 per hour.
Overall, portable air conditioners cost between $0.11 and $0.22 per hour.
These costs assume a kWh rate of 15 cents (the US average) and are based on the power consumption of 56 of the most popular units on the market.
Per day, at 8 hours of continuous usage, portable air conditioners cost between $0.90 and $1.78, with $1.41 being the average running cost and $1.50 being the most common.
The running costs get more considerable per month.
Running a portable AC for a full month (specifically, 8 hours per day for 30 days at max power consumption), you can expect the electricity cost to range from $27.14 to $53.28.
The table below summarizes the cost to run a portable air conditioner over various durations of usage.
|Portable AC Running Cost Category||Cost per hour||Cost per day / 8hrs||Cost per month (8hrs p/d for 30 days)|
These costs assume continuous usage at max power consumption and a cost per kWh of 15 cents (USD).
Related: Cost To Run Window ACs [1,037+ Studied | Cheapest Revealed].
It’s worth noting, however, that portable ACs don’t operate at their max consumption continuously. They cycle on and off, go through different cooling stages, and consume different levels of power depending on the settings and surroundings among many other factors.
The costs listed, however, still provide a good sense of the expense, albeit slanted towards the higher end of the scale.
So which portable air conditioner is the cheapest to run?
It’s of course the model that consumes the least amount of electricity – let’s take a look at this in more detail.
Cost to run the lowest wattage portable AC
The lowest wattage portable air conditioner is the 754W BLACK+DECKER BPT05WTBA, which costs 11 cents per hour to run.
See the price and features on Home Depot, here.
With the same assumptions as above, this unit costs 90 cents per day, which works out to $27.14 per month – approx. 36% less than the average portable AC running cost.
However, a portable AC with a low wattage does not automatically mean that it’s energy efficient (although the model above is the most efficient for room sizes 150 sq. ft. or less).
It simply means that the appliance doesn’t consume as much electricity as others.
This is particularly important for those running their portable ACs off of batteries or generators.
Low wattage portable ACs may not cool as effectively as their more power hungry counterparts.
They may even consume more electricity to achieve the same result.
EER, CEER, and many other factors come into play when it comes to portable air conditioner energy efficiency.
So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at the cost to run the most energy efficient portable air conditioners on the market.
Cost to run the most energy efficient portable air conditioners
Based on a study of 56 of the most energy efficient portable air conditioners, the table below lists the cost to run the most energy efficient models, by room size.
|Room size||Most efficient portable air conditioner||Links for more details||Cost per hour||Cost per day / 8hrs||Cost per month (8hrs p/d for 30 days)|
|150 sq. ft.||BLACK+DECKER 5,000 BTU (SACC) Portable Air Conditioner, 8,500 BTU (ASHRAE); Model# BPT05WTBA||Home Depot||$0.11||$0.90||$27.14|
|250 sq. ft.||KingHome 10,000 BTU (6,000 BTU DOE) Portable Air Conditioner; Model# KHPA06AK||Home Depot||$0.19||$1.49||$44.71|
|350 sq. ft.||GE 8,000 BTU (DOE SACC) / 12,000 BTU (ASHRAE) Portable Air Conditioner with Dehumidifier; Model# APCD08JALW||Home Depot||$0.17||$1.34||$40.32|
|400 sq. ft.||Whynter Elite 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Heat/Drain Pump & Dehumidifier; Model# ARC-122DHP||Amazon||$0.15||$1.19||$35.64|
|450 sq. ft.||Honeywell 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Dehumidifier & Fan. Model# HJ0CESWK7||Best Buy||$0.19||$1.52||$45.54|
|500 sq. ft.||NewAir 14,000 BTU (8,600 DOE) Portable Air Conditioner & Heater; Model# AC-14100H||Amazon||$0.21||$1.70||$51.12|
|550 sq. ft.||DOLCECLIMA 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner (4 in 1); Model# 2149||Home Depot||$0.21||$1.68||$50.40|
|600 sq. ft.||FRIGIDAIRE GALLERY 13,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Wi-Fi Control; Model# GHPC132AB1||Home Depot||$0.18||$1.44||$43.20|
|700+ sq. ft.||Honeywell 775 Sq. Ft. Portable Air Conditioner with Dehumidifier & Fan. Model# HJ5CESWK0||Best Buy||$0.19||$1.52||$45.54|
Assumptions for these costs are the same as those listed above.
As mentioned in the study, the portable AC unit that stood out as the most energy efficient all-rounder is the Whynter Elite ARC-122DHP. This powerful model costs just $0.15 per hour, $1.19 per day and $35.64 per month (approx. 20% less than average).
Check it out on Amazon, here.
Again, costs are based on a unit rate of 15 cents per kWh.
Your unit rate might be different. To work out your own costs, simply use the Portable AC Running Cost Calculator below.
Related: see the cost to run window ACs vs portable ACs.
Portable AC running cost calculator
Easily work out the cost to run your portable air conditioner – enter how much you pay per kWh of electricity and your usage duration in the calculator below.
The calculator is pre-populated with the most common wattage for portable AC units and the average cost per kWh in the US.
Again, these costs make the same assumptions as above. This includes the assumption that the appliance will operate at its max power consumption.
Now that we know how much it costs to run portable air conditioners, let’s put the figures into context.
Are portable air conditioners expensive to run?
Portable air conditioners are expensive to run.
Running 1 unit for 1 hour can account for over 4% of a typical US household’s daily electricity consumption and, therefore, bill (excluding standing charges).
Portable ACs are energy guzzlers.
To put the expense into perspective, let’s compare the running costs with other common household appliances.
Running a portable air conditioner for 1 hour costs $0.18, on average. That’s equivalent to:
- The cost to run a TV for over 20 hours;
- The cost to run a freezer for 30 hours; and
- The cost of running a box fan for over 16 hours.
So, compared to other household appliances, portable air conditioners are expensive to run.
Related: Are Portable Air Conditioners Quiet?
With a cost per hour of 18 cents, on average, portable air conditioners can get very expensive to run over long periods of time.
But are they more expensive to run than window units?
To find out, based on a study of 1,037 window units, check out the cost to run window ACs, here, or get a direct running cost comparison here: Window AC Vs Portable AC [Efficiency, Cooling, Noise & More].
You might also be interested in the cost to run wall air conditioners.
If you’d like to quickly making considerable savings on your electricity bills and carbon footprint, don’t miss this 6 Quick Wins Cheat Sheet:
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