14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioners
The actual cooling capacity of a 14,000 BTU portable air conditioner is often much less than 14,000 BTUs.
The most efficient 14,000 BTU units have an actual cooling capacity closer to 12,000 BTUs. The least efficient 14,000 BTU units have an actual cooling capacity closer to 7,700 BTUs – almost half of the claimed BTUs.
How does this happen?
The problem is that portable AC units are inherently inefficient. They provide a complete AC system in one compact portable package which makes them very convenient to use, but that convenience comes at the cost of two major inefficiencies.
The first inefficiency is their ducting. A portable AC unit absolutely has to intake air to cool its warmer components. This air gets heated up (as its cooling the components) and has to be removed from the room that the air conditioner is actively working to cool.
The heated air is removed via a large diameter plastic duct. As the heated air travels through this duct (to be exhausted outside) it heats up the duct. The large surface area (most portable AC units use a 5 inch diameter hose) and thin plastic construction of the duct readily radiates heat back into the room the portable AC unit is actively working to cool.
The second major portable AC inefficiency also has to do with its removal of warm air from the room it's actively working to cool. This removal of air creates an area of low pressure inside the room. This causes higher pressure hot outdoor air to get sucked into the room by any means it can find – through air gaps in windows, etc.
In the past, portable AC cooling capacity was measured in very forgiving conditions. Hence why the commonly specified 14,000 BTUs of cooling capacity for 14,000 BTU units is so much higher than their actual cooling capacity.
The Department of Energy recognized this trend and wanted to do something about it. So they compromised with portable AC manufacturers to come up with a new standard for determining cooling capacity. This new standard is a much better representation of the actual cooling capacity of portable AC units.
The new standard is called Seasonally Adjusted Cooling Capacity – SACC.
SACC = ACC95 × 0.2 + ACC83 × 0.8
ACC95 = CapacitySD − Qduct_SD − Qinfiltration_95
ACC83 = CapacitySD − Qduct_SD − Qinfiltration_83
Thus, SACC not only takes into account heat added via ducting (Qduct) and heat added by warm outdoor air getting sucked into the room due to pressure differences (Qinfiltration), but it also
- does so at two different outdoor temperatures - 95° F (ACC95) and 83° F (ACC83) and
- puts 20% of the weight of the score at 95° F (ACC95 × 0.2) and 80% of the score at 83° F (ACC83 × 0.8)
The score is weighted in this way to reflect what the DOE believes to be the average use case for a portable AC unit – that it will be used at temperatures closer to 83° F the majority (80%) of the time and temperatures closer to 95° F in brief stints (20%) – such as during a temporary heat wave.
Your particular use case may not be accurately reflected here – you may be planning on using the AC unit at altogether different temperatures. Regardless, SACC is a much more accurate benchmark for actual cooling capacity. It certainly is a massive improvement over the inflated BTU numbers used in the past.
The table below shows the SACC BTUs of all of the most popular 14,000 BTU portable AC units on the market.
|Midea Duo (MAP14S1TBL)
|Black + Decker BPP10WTB
|Black + Decker BPACT14WT
*We tested an older version of the Whynter ARC-14S with a SACC of only 8,900 BTUs.
Note how most of these models have exactly the same number of BTUs – 14,000 – under old guidelines for specifying cooling capacity.
In the past, this is the only cooling capacity data you would have available to you to make a purchase decision. And that decision would be very difficult to make, because most of these models have the same traditional cooling capacity of 14,000 BTUs.
Today, you have one additional tool to use – seasonally adjusted cooling capacity.
Looking at the table above it’s clear that the Midea Duo cools much better than the Black + Decker BPACT14WT, for example.
Why? Because its SACC – a value that represents its actual cooling capacity quite well – is much higher.
Our own testing showed a quantum leap in performance at the 9,000 BTU (SACC) threshold. Units with less than 9,000 BTUs (SACC) cooled the test environment (an approx. 150 sq. ft. space) very slowly and couldn’t achieve a truly cold environment (the best they could do was a room temperature of about 75° F) even after a few hours of run time.
Units with more than 9,000 BTUs of seasonally adjusted cooling capacity (SACC) cooled the test environment very quickly and were able to get room temperature down to 72° F within an hour.
Thus, our testing revealed that there’s a clear separation between 14,000 BTU units with a SACC less than 9,000 BTUs and those with a SACC that’s more than 9,000 BTUs.
And so, at a minimum, we recommend a unit with at least 9,000 SACC BTUs.
14,000 BTU Units Ranked
The Midea Duo has the most cooling capacity of any 14,000 BTU unit on the market. But is it the best 14,000 BTU portable AC unit you can buy?
Here’s the thing. Almost all portable AC units have very much the same
they all come with a window kit that’s installed much the same way
they all make approx. the same amount of noise
cooling, drying (dehumidifying), and fan only
Size and weight
they’re all heavy and large
The primary differentiating factors between them are cooling capacity, energy efficiency, and value.
The Midea Duo has the most cooling capacity in the category.
Remember, portable AC units are inherently inefficient appliances. All portable AC units are underpowered. And so the Duo being the most powerful portable AC unit you can buy gives you the best chance to properly cool
- a fairly large space
- a challenging space – e.g. a room in a climate where it gets over 90° F quite often or a room that’s on a second story (heat naturally rises so second story rooms are naturally hotter)
Buying any one of the lower SACC 14,000 BTU units on the market does not give you the best chance to cool these types of spaces.
The Duo is also highly energy efficient.
The table below lists the CEER (combined energy efficiency ratio - energy efficiency on all modes) and the SACC/watts ratio (energy efficiency only on each unit's cooling mode) for the most popular 14,000 BTU units on the market.
|Midea Duo (MAP14S1TBL)
|Black + Decker BPP10WTB
|Black + Decker BPACT14WT
Note how energy efficiency increases with cooling capacity.
The Duo has the most most cooling capacity and is the most energy efficient portable AC unit on the market.
Because its cooling capacity is so high, it's also a good value (we use SACC/$ to evaluate value), despite its high price.
The Duo also features above average build quality, high airflow (which allows it to project cold air over longer distances), an extensive window slider kit (which allows it to be installed in a variety of different sized windows), and an extensive weather stripping and insulation kit (which, upon installation, further maximizes the unit's cooling capacity).
These features, on top of its market-leading cooling capacity, energy efficiency, and the fact that it's still a good value make the Midea Duo the best 14,000 BTU portable air conditioner we've tested.
If you don't have the budget for the Duo, we recommend the Black + Decker BPP10WTB. It still has 10,000 SACC BTUs and good energy efficiency, and it's usually much less expensive than the Duo. It's the best value 14,000 BTU portable AC unit on the market.
The top five 14,000 BTU portable air conditioners we've tested:
- 1. Midea Duo (MAP14S1TBL)
- 2. Black + Decker BPP10WTB
- 3. LG LP1419IVSM
- 4. NewAir NAC14KWH02
- 5. Whynter ARC-14S
We rank the BPP10WTB above the LG LP1419IVSM because it's usually much cheaper with slightly better energy efficiency and the same SACC (10,000 SACC BTUs).
The NewAir NAC14KWH02 is ranked lower because of some reliability concerns.
The Whynter ARC-14S is ranked even lower because the model we tested only had 8,900 SACC BTUs and performed poorly in our testing.
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so if the LG can do the best then what if u was to put 2 of them in the same room at the same time my like if u have 2 windows side to side and have to of the lg work at the same time i wonder if it will cool the room faster i want to cool my room faster then 1hr i want like 15 mints to 30 mints at the most the only thing is that thy cost over 600 that killer to my wallet my room is 169 sq. ft 13 x 13 feet i have a I have a walk in closet it has a hatch that goes into the attic not an addict that you could stay in it's just like insulation only nothing to step on other then the wood beam i plane to use that for the hose to go to ans no other place to vent out the hot aire also the room is only 4 fy long and 298 inch wide and i not sure if i can inclose the air con in side with a hard wood door then attach a air duct made out of foam board and a Whole Room Air Circulator Fan to put air in the room to keep the sound down not sure if that will work for just one air con not 2
Buying a portable AC is at best for the non technical person, a challenging and complicated process where many facts have to be considered. You folks have broken down that process by giving straight forward facts and figures to assist me in determining what portable AC unit I should purchase to accommodate cooling the space that I want to cool. Thank you very much.