How to choose a portable air conditioner (penguin) for the summer in 2020?

If you would like to buy a penguin and you are not very clear on what characteristics to look at or what are the most recommended models, pay attention because we will explain how to choose a portable air conditioner so that you forget to get hot this summer.

Buying a portable air conditioner is a good idea as long as it is the most recommended option for you. There is no doubt that fixed systems are more effective, but they have some associated disadvantages that many people cannot assume. 

One of them is that setting a fixed air conditioner is not an easy task that you can do yourself. Its installation has to be carried out by a professional technician, and also in many cases it is necessary to carry out minor modifications to the home (rubbing, perforations and others).

So, for example, if you live in a rented house, your landlord may not allow you to make these changes. In addition, if the house is not owned and the landlord is not responsible for the cost of the installation, you are not interested in leaving a fixed appliance at home, since when you leave you will not be able to take it easily.

Another drawback of fixed air conditioning systems is that they cannot be moved. If you have a complete installation at home there is no problem, since each room has its own ventilation outlet, but if you are going to install split type appliances you will have to choose where you are going to put them. 

What happens is that there are rooms that do not cool completely, so it is possible that you pass heat in rooms where there is no appliance.

You do not have this problem with a portable air conditioner, since you can take it with you and connect it in the room you are going to be in so that it is perfectly heated. 

Third, if your budget is limited or you don't want to spend a lot of money on a device to cool the environment, in your case you are interested in buying a portable air conditioner, since fixed systems are more expensive. 

If you are clear that the most recommended alternative for your needs is a portable device, you have come to the right place because we are going to explain how to choose a penguin for this summer.

What types are there and which one is the best for me?

The first thing we are going to stop at is defining and differentiating the different types of portable air conditioning that you can find right now in the market. 

Specifically, there are two types: monoblock, which can be single-tube or double-tube, and portable air conditioning with an outdoor unit. Below we explain what the characteristics of each one are.

Monoblock portable air conditioner

This type of penguin is a single device that brings together all the components necessary to cool the house and is equipped with wheels for easy portability. 

There are two types of monoblock portable air conditioners :

Single tube: the appliance has a tube to evacuate the hot air to the outside. Its diameter is usually between 100 and 150 mm and it is usually taken out of the room through a window. It takes the air to be processed directly from the room through a grid. It is the most common type.

Double tube: in addition to the tube to draw hot air outside, this type has a second tube that allows you to get cooler air from outside and renew the air in the room. Thanks to this, it is a more efficient system than a single tube and consumes less energy.

Monoblock portable air conditioners are the most popular and widespread. The most common is the single tube, which is the one with the cheapest price, while the double tube tend to be more expensive, since they are more efficient. 

The power of this type of device usually ranges between 2,000 and 3,500 W, enough power to cool a room of about 30 square meters. Of course, you have to monitor the noise level because it is one of its weak points.

Portable air conditioner with outdoor unit

The second type is the portable air conditioner with outdoor unit. In this case we find a system that has a similar operation to that offered by fixed models: the compression and condensation unit is installed outdoors, while the ventilation unit is indoors. 

Unlike fixed equipment, the advantage of this type of appliance is that the indoor unit is equipped with wheels to place it wherever we want. Of course, keep in mind that the indoor unit must be connected to the outdoor unit through a tube, so it is not as versatile as monoblock appliances.

However, compared to the previous type, the split portable air conditioner is more efficient, quieter and less bulky. There are currently very few models of this type for sale and they are more expensive than monoblocks.

Features you have to take into account

Now that we know the different types of penguin that you can find in the market, next we will go over  the characteristics that you have to take into account when choosing a portable air conditioner. 

Calculate the fridges you need

One of the concepts that first comes to mind when we talk about air conditioning, whether fixed or portable, is that of refrigeration. 

If you are not very clear on what exactly they are, this is one of the units of measurement used to calculate the capacity of a device to absorb heat from the environment, which is expressed in refrigerations per hour. 

The more fridges an air conditioning system has, the faster it can cool a room and the better capacity to maintain the temperature. 

The problem is that the greater the number of fridges, the higher the price, so it is interesting to calculate how many are the most suitable for the space you want to air conditioning. 

Making an exact calculation of the fridges that a room needs is complicated, since various factors influence them, including the layout of the room, the construction materials, the environmental characteristics of the area, etc. Therefore, the average value taken is that of 100 frigorías per square meter. 

Therefore, to calculate the number of fridges appropriate to your needs, multiply by 100 the square meters of the largest room in which you are going to use the appliance. 

Refrigerators are the only measure that manufacturers use to express the cooling capacity of air conditioning systems. They can express it in watts, in which case you will have to multiply between 100 and 130 watts per square meter.

If the brand expresses the power in BTUs, Samsung recommends that you use this formula to calculate the most appropriate number: (length x width x height of the room) / 2 x 1,000. For example, if the room is 6 meters long by 3 wide by 3 high, the calculation would be the following: (6x3x2) / 2 x 1,000 = 18,000.

Keep an eye on the noise level

Air conditioning
Penguins are usually quite noisy devices, so observing the manufacturer's decibel (dB) is very important when buying a portable air conditioner. 

A difference of 10 or 20 dB is very significant, so try to choose a model with the least possible data: you will be grateful for it from the moment you start it.

Make sure that the noise level is always below 65 dB, since above this figure the noise is really annoying and it will make you quite uncomfortable. If you can buy a model that falls below 50 dB, better than better.

Look at the energy classification: avoid surprises in the electricity bill

Energy label
Another key feature to pay attention to when buying a penguin is its energy rating. In itself, this type of appliance consumes a lot of energy, so getting the most efficient one will make a substantial difference in the electricity bill.

All electrical appliances have a label on which we can buy what is their energy efficiency rating. If you want to avoid unpleasant surprises in the electricity bill, we recommend that you buy a model with an A or A + rating, which guarantees moderate electricity consumption.

What functions can you ask a penguin?
Portable air conditioning systems offer you various functions. As in any device, the cheapest models have more basic characteristics in exchange for cutting the price, while the more advanced models are more expensive. 

Operating modes and speeds
All penguins offer you different operating modes so that you can select the most suitable one depending on the environmental conditions. You'll usually find three modes: cooling, ventilation, and dehumidification.

The most advanced models are equipped with an ionizer mode, which is capable of balancing ions in the home to provide well-being, and some are also equipped with a hot air or heating function.

Adjustable operating speeds allow you to regulate the airflow rate, and you'll find at least two. 

Remote control and programming
Today, most of the penguins on the market are equipped with a remote control to control the device remotely.

Programming is another of the functions that can be found in many of the portable air conditioners. 

The simplest ones allow you to set a timer so that the system turns off when you want, while the most advanced ones can be configured at your whim so that they start and go off at the times you determine. 

Air filters
Aside from cooling the environment, air conditioning systems can also purify the air if they are equipped with suitable filters. Before making your purchase, check if the device includes them.

There are different types of filters. Activated carbon filters are capable of eradicating bad odors, while electrostatic filters help fight pathogens, bacteria and dust.

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