The Best Mobile Air Conditioner

Most air conditioners are fixed in place, and need trained technicians to install them. Whether the air con is in the car, caravan, truck cab, or in your home, real mobility is not an option.

The good news is that technology has advanced and now there are real mobile air con solutions.

You might be thinking that a portable is a mobile air conditioning unit.  Here’s a photo of a portable air conditioner. We can see the wheels, so it must be mobile, right?

Actually no, not really.

Especially with air conditioning, looks can be deceptive. Like many advertising images, this photograph does not show the large pipe from the machine to the window. The next photo shows a real bedroom installation with a similar machine.

Now we can see the pipe that these so-called ‘portable’ units need to exhaust hot air to the outside. These machines are large and you need two people to carry them. Then there’s the fiddly window kit to hold the large pipe in place. With many windows, like the one shown, there are still gaps so the hot air from outside (and some from the pipe) gets sucked back into the room.

To get cooling power anywhere near a mini-split, you need a unit with two pipes, one to bring in outside air and the other to exhaust the warm air.

So the so-called portable air conditioner is not portable, and nor is it mobile and easily moved from room to room, let alone home to work or to your favourite retreat. They weigh 50 – 80 lbs, and they’re also noisy. Unless you have a two pipe model, they only provide a few degrees of cooling too. Learn more here 

To add to the confusion, if you search for “mobile air conditioner” or even “mobile aircon”, you will be offered sites showing you evaporative air coolers. Here there are very small, light weight, truly mobile units. 

However, they actually provide very little cooling. We measure cooling in terms of BTU/hr or kilowatts. A small water cooler will generate 100 – 200 BTU/hr in dry air. In humid air, the cooling will be much less. To cool a whole room, you need at least 10,000 BTU/hr, fifty times more, so don’t expect much from these coolers unless it’s next to your face and the humidity is low.

There are much larger evaporative water coolers, but they’re not really mobile other than having wheels on them.

Mobile Air Conditioner – New AC Technologies

So, what are the new technologies on offer?

A real air conditioner needs a compressor to create cooling and does not rely on evaporating water. The compressor pumps refrigerant gas through tubes in a way that absorbs heat from air on the cooling side and transfers the heat to more air on the warm side. The compressor is the heaviest component.

Cooling even a small room required around 10,000 BTU/hr and that demands a heavy compressor and heat exchangers.

Therefore a mobile air con unit has to do something different.  Cooling the entire room is not an option. Therefore, we need to think in terms of cooling just a smaller space instead, something we call localized cooling.

There are several new mobile air conditioners with light weight compressors weighing about 15 – 20 lbs like the image below.

These mobile ACs typically provide 2,000 BTU/hr cooling from 200 Watts of electricity. You need to be right next to them to feel the cooling, and they’re not silent. You need to tolerate significant noise. These machines still need pipes to bring air from the outside for cooling. But they are light and easily mobile air cons.

Mobile Air Conditioner – Why Coolzy?

A clever Australian engineer worked out how to focus the cooling instead. He recognized that it’s people who need cooling, not the rest of the space. He invented the Coolzy. Only 22 inches high and weighing 34 lbs, it’s still easy to carry and moves on small wheels. Cool air emerges under the long curved flap and provides effective cooling up to 6 feet away. Coolzy provides up to 4,000 BTU/hr cooling from only 340 Watts power, so it still costs next to nothing for the electricity. Coolzy is quiet as well, easily quiet enough to sleep with, unlike any other the appliances we have discussed here.              

One of the best features of Coolzy is the absence of pipes. The machine cleverly directs the small amount of heat produced from the back of the machine to the ceiling where you can’t feel it.  That’s the same as your kitchen fridge and freezer: the warm air rises to the ceiling. There is no need for fiddly installation: just plug it into a nearby power socket.

The focusing technology enables the use of small, highly efficient refrigeration technology, so the total heat liberated is only 340 Watts, about the same as three people conversing with each other.

So if you’re looking for a truly mobile AC, then perhaps Coolzy is the answer for you.