Holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and is keen on her own home’s climate. Sometimes we think that Carolina owns every single product she writes about – that’s how profound and insightful her reviews always are.
For 8 years, Richard had been working as an HVAC specialist and AC unit installer since his student years. Now, he’s our main consultant on every technical aspect that may arise during our tests and research.
Last updated: July 23, 2021
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One of the trickiest things about getting cool in the summer months is installing a window unit. Even if you are very careful, it is no easy task to get it in the window correctly without dropping it. Thankfully, this can be completely avoided by getting the best portable air conditioner and heater. These fantastic machines install in seconds and can provide cool air in the summer and warmth in the winter.
For our article, we spent lots of time looking for the five best portable air conditioner and heater combos on the market today. Of all the models we looked over, we have found that the Serene Life SLACHT10 is by far the most impressive. This machine can pump out lots of cold or warm air and has a fantastically large coverage area. It is also very easy to install. Of course, the four other units we reviewed are wonderful as well, so be sure to read our reviews carefully to find the one that works best for you.
When we were putting our list together, we first looked at how many BTUs each machine could produce, depending on how they are being used. Next, we looked at the overall coverage area for each machine, since that will help to determine the room in your home that you would use them in. Finally, we looked at the overall dimensions of each model, since this will also influence where you utilize them. After we had found our units for our comprehensive list, we were able to complete in-depth reviews of each unit. Our careful research has also allowed us to put together a detailed buying guide, so be sure to check that out if you are just starting your search.
If you are in the market for the best overall portable air conditioner and heater, then you should definitely look into this model. For starters, it truly lives up to its name. While all portable conditioners/heaters have wheels to make them easy to move from room to room, not all of them are very lightweight. In fact, many of the different units are quite heavy. This makes them very difficult to move up and downstairs, which severely limits their portability. That is, thankfully, not the case with this model. It weighs in at a mere 62 pounds, which is about the same as you would expect a window unit to weigh.
Something else that helps to set this model apart from the others on the market is that comes in an extremely compact package. This smaller than average design also lends itself to being highly portable, as you can fit this unit into pretty much any space and run it efficiently.
While this unit might not have an extremely high level of BTU output in either mode, it is more than enough for the right amount of space. This model is also incredibly efficient, which means that it will save you lots of money in operating costs when compared to window units or its competitors.
The only drawback that you need to keep in mind with this otherwise wonderful option is that the exhaust hose that it comes with is relatively short. This might make it difficult to get into position if you have a long-distance to your windows. Thankfully, you can get hose extensions if you need to make this model work for you.
Two of the biggest things that usually stop folks from getting a portable air conditioner and heater is that they worry about the cost and whether or not appliance can provide the coverage they need. If these are concerns that you share, then this might be the right model for you. While it is by no means the least expensive unit out there, it is by far the best value for what it is able to provide.
For instance, even though this is a portable unit, it has a very large coverage area. With this conditioner/heater installed, you will be able to warm or cool an area up to 700 sq. ft. This is more than enough coverage for a single room, and is, most likely, even enough for an entire floor of most homes. This makes it an attractive option for anyone that wants to cool or heat a whole lot of space without spending an exorbitant amount of money.
The reason that this model can heat and cool such a large area has to do with its high BTU output. For cooling, this unit matches the highest level of BTUs available. Heating is not quite as high but is still more than enough for the area it is designed for. Add in the fact that this unit can be operated on a timer and in an energy-saving mode, and you can see why it is such a good option.
Of course, all of this power does come at a bit of a cost. This unit is quite heavy, so it is better suited to use on one floor, rather than trying to lug it up and downstairs.
If you are someone that wants the most powerful model on the market to heat up or cool down your space, then this is a great option. This unit can pump out a staggering 14,000 BTUs while heating and cooling, which is unmatched by any of its competitors. This means that it will be able to get to your desired temperature quickly and efficiently, making for a much more comfortable living arrangement.
Surprisingly, even though this is such a powerful unit, it is rather quiet. This model operates at a mere 56 dB, which is about as loud as a normal conversation. This makes it a great option for anyone that wants to heat or cool their bedroom since you can rest assured that this particular appliance will not keep you up with loud noises.
Another high point for this unit is its compact design. While it is as tall as many other units, it is much slimmer. This makes it a great option for anyone that has a smaller space or wants to use it in a room with narrow walkways, such as a bedroom.
The only issue with this unit is that it has a bit of a learning curve as far as how to use it correctly. The instruction manual that is provided doesn’t do a very good job of illustrating or explaining how to set the unit up. Thankfully, if you have any experience using portable air conditioner/heaters, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem getting it up and running.
This model is a great option if you are looking for an air conditioner that can provide a bit of heat. This model is an exceptional air conditioner. It can put out about 14,000 BTUs when acting as an air conditioner, which is among the highest available today. This, when combined with its large coverage area, make it an excellent option for anyone that wants to cool down their space quickly.
Of course, this cannot be said for this model’s heating capabilities. While this model can certainly produce heat, it will not do quite as good of a job as other models. As such, if you are looking for a unit to simply augment your home’s heating system rather than takes its place, this is a good idea.
Another feature that helps to make this a good option is that it is very easy to move from room to room. While many of these appliances have wheels, not all of them rotate. This can make pushing them a bit of a chore since you need to bend down to turn them. This unit, on the other hand, comes with multi-directional casters that rotate. This rotation makes moving it much easier and a lot less work.
Something else that helps to set this model apart is its digital display. Many portable air conditioner displays can only be seen with the lights on, which makes it difficult to find the right temperature in the dark. Thankfully, this unit comes equipped with an easy-to-read digital display that allows to see the temperature and mode it is operating in.
Since these units are called portable air conditioners/heaters, it would make sense to assume that they are easy to move from place to place. This is, unfortunately, not always the case. The biggest issue with moving these units is that they tend to be a bit on the heavy side, especially the more powerful models. If portability is important to you, then this is a great option. Its casters make it easy to move along the floor from room to room, and it is more than light enough to carry up and down the steps each morning and night.
This unit is also nice and compact. This compact design will help to keep it out of your way while you move about your home. Its compactness also, as you can imagine, only helps to make this unit that much easier to move around.
Another key feature of this model is that it comes with a remote control. While this might not seem like the biggest deal in the world, it can be a real game-changer, especially if you are using it during the night. Even if you wake up too warm or too cold during the night, you won’t have to leave the comfort of your bed to adjust this appliance. Instead, you can simply reach for the handy remote and make the adjustment before rolling over and going right back to sleep.
The only real issue with this unit is that it has a very small coverage area. This is not the model that you would want to buy if you are trying to cool or heat an entire floor of your house. It is better suited to one room at a time and does a very good job at this.
Why did it make our list?
High cooling level
Easy to read display
What is not ideal about it?
Small coverage area
Things to Consider
In this section, we will guide you through everything you need to know to find the best portable air conditioner and heater for your needs. We have also taken the time to answer several frequently asked questions, so be sure to read through those as well if you need any further information.
Why an AC + heater combo is a great investment to make
There are plenty of reasons that getting the best portable air conditioner and the heater is a good idea. They include the following:
Portability – The first reason that you should want to get one of these units is right in its name. Unlike window air conditioners, which are very heavy and difficult to move from place to place, these machines are highly portable. All you need to do is wheel them to the room you want to use them in, install their vent, and let them heat or cool the space. Some, like the Emerson Quiet Kool EAPE14RD1, even come equipped with an easy carry handle that will allow you to move them up and down the stairs with ease.
Space-saving design – While these machines do need to have a bit of room to operate in comparison to a window air conditioner, that doesn’t mean that they will be in your way. On the contrary, thanks to their slim design, you’ll barely even notice that they are there, especially if you get an extra slim model like the EdgeStar AP14001HS.
Prepared for any type of weather – Another big benefit of selecting an air conditioner like this is that you will be prepared for any type of weather. While window air conditioners can only be used to cool a space, these machines can also heat the space. That means that you can run them pretty much year-round, which is hugely beneficial. Not only will this help to make your home a lot more comfortable, but it will also reduce the amount of stress your main heating and cooling system has to endure. These units will help to augment your main system, which will keep the cost of heating and cooling your house down dramatically.
Cheaper to run – Another big benefit of this type of appliance is that they are much cheaper to run in comparison to window units. Since these machines are not affected by the outside temperature, they take much better readings of the actual temperature in the space they are being used. This allows them to do a better job of monitoring the actual temperature, which, in turn, keeps them from running too often. This will, obviously, save you a ton of money over the lifetime of the appliance.
Efficient – Something else that these machines has going for them over window units is that they are much more efficient. Since the only thing that is exposed to the outside is the vent, these machines don’t lose as much of their air to the outside. Their vent also seals up the window much better than a window unit, which, again, allows them to run in a more efficient manner.
Easy to install – As you can imagine, installing these portable air conditioner and heater combos are much easier than a standard window unit. All you need to do is open the window, place the vent into the opening, and close the window. Since the actual machine is not hanging out of the window, you don’t need to worry about it falling out or being installed incorrectly, which is a great relief.
Features to consider when choosing an air conditioner and heater combo
As you can imagine, there are plenty of different factors that you need to take into account before you make your final selection. In this section, we will go through all of these important aspects in detail, so that you can make a more informed decision.
The first thing that you want to take into account when you are looking for a portable air conditioner and heater combination is the overall coverage area. This number is usually communicated at square feet. Before you select an appliance, you should carefully measure your space to make sure that you know how much coverage you need to heat or cool.
If you are someone that has a larger home or rooms, then you’ll want to get something like the DELLA 14000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner, which has a coverage area up to and including 700 square feet. On the other hand, if you are looking to save a bit of money and you have a smaller space, you could go for something with a smaller coverage area like the BLACK+DECKER BPACT12HWT.
Cooling and heating power
The next thing that you will want to carefully consider is the amount of heating and cooling power you desire to have in your new appliance. This is usually written as BTUs. Basically, the higher the BTU output of your new air conditioner and heater combo, the more quickly it will be able to achieve the temperature that you desire. It should be noted that, regardless of BTU output, all of the models in our list can get to the same temperatures, but it will take them different amounts of time.
If you want to heat or cool your space as quickly as possible, then you’ll want to go for the EdgeStar AP14001HS, which has a BTU output for both heating and cooling of 14,000. This is especially impressive since most devices usually have a lower BTU output for heating than they do for cooling. The Serene Life SLACHT10 is another good option if you don’t mind the heat taking a bit longer to get up to temperature in comparison to when the unit is being used as an air conditioner.
Cooling and fan speeds
Something else that you will want to think about is how many different fan speeds you will need for your new appliance. While many window units only offer one fan speeds, these models usually have several cooling/heating and fan speeds to choose from. These extra modes will add a bit more to the overall cost of the unit but will allow you to heat or cool your space more quickly.
Generally speaking, you will usually be able to decide between three different fan speeds, no matter if you are heating and cooling with your unit. You can also just have a fan running to circulate air without providing any heat or cool air. There are also different settings that will automatically adjust the fan speed to meet your temperature demands, with the unit speeding up or slowing down the airflow based on how much hotter or cooler it needs to get.
One of the key concerns that lots of folks have with getting a portable air conditioner and heater is that they will take up too much room. Window units, they think, are the only way to go if you have a smaller space but want to cool it down. That is, thankfully, not the case. While the very first portable air conditioners were quite large and bulky, as the technology has advanced, they have slimmed down considerably.
For instance, the Serene Life SLACHT10 is quite slim. From front to back, it is only about 13 inches wide. This is just a little bit over a foot, which is much smaller than most end tables, and would easily fit next to a chair or sofa without sticking out at all. This slim design makes it a great option for anyone’s home. It would, however, be especially useful in a smaller space, such as a bedroom.
A big selling point of these portable units is that they are very easy to move from place to place. If you are only going to be taking them from room to room, in fact, the weight of the unit doesn’t really play any part in it. Since all of these models have wheels on the bottom, you can simply push them into position without having to lift them at all. This is a huge advantage over other types of air conditioners.
Where the weight will come into play, however, is if you intend to move your air conditioner up and down the steps each day. If this is the case, you need to make sure you get a smaller model, like the BLACK+DECKER BPACT12HWT.
Since these machines are filled with coolant, they might be difficult for some people to lift, so a smaller model will help to make this job a bit easier.
While there aren’t too many splashy features to be on the lookout with these machines, there are some that you might want to keep in mind. One such feature is a dehumidifier function. This function will help to cool your space off by removing the humidity from the room, all while not using as much energy as the machine would while running as an air conditioner.
You might also want to look for a model that comes with a reusable filter. The filters on any air conditioner or heater need to be cleaned or replaced once a month. By getting a model with a reusable filter, you will be able to save yourself a lot of money over the lifetime of the appliance.
As is the case when you buy any new appliance, it is a good idea to read through the warranty information as carefully as possible. That way, you will have a better understanding of what is and what isn’t covered under the company’s warranty program. The last thing that you want to have happened is for your machine to break down and then find out that you are not covered by what seemed like a great warranty. Even though all of the models on our list are quality units made by great companies, you still should make sure to read through the warranty information as carefully as possible, so there are no surprises.
While it might seem like a bit of a gimmick at first, you can rest assured that these machines are every bit as effective at heating as they are at cooling. You just need to temper your expectations for these machines based on the number of BTUs each unit can produce in its different modes. Some machines can produce the same number of BTUs regardless of their mode, while others have a bit of a drop-off between heating and cooling.
Using a portable air conditioner is a very safe endeavor. Even still, there are several things that you should keep in mind. Here are some safety tips to make sure that you and your family stay as safe as possible while using it:
Plug it into a GFI outlet.
Keep it at least 3 feet from any wall or piece of furniture.
Make sure to clean up any spills immediately after emptying the water reservoir.
The number of times that you will need to empty the water reservoir in the summer months will depend on how hot and humid it is and how often your machine runs. If the weather is especially warm, you will probably have to empty the bucket at least twice a day. Otherwise, emptying the reservoir once daily should be more than enough.
If you are in the market for the best overall portable air conditioner and heater, then we highly recommend you get the Serene Life SLACHT10. This model is highly portable, has tons of modes, and is very easy to use, thanks to its remote and clear controls.
The DELLA 14000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner has the highest coverage area on the market. This makes it an awesome choice if you want to heat or cool an entire floor in your home. It is also quite budget-friendly considering its power and coverage area.
The EdgeStar Ap140001HS is the best portable air conditioner and heater if you are looking for lots of power. This model boasts the ability to produce 14,000 BTUs in both its heating and cooling modes, which is unmatched by any other unit.