Honeywell Portable Air Conditioners

honeywell portable ac image

Honeywell manufactures three different lines of portable air conditioners:

  • Contempo
  • Classic
  • Compact

Contempo line

The Contempo line consists of seven different models

  • Honeywell HL09CESWK
  • Honeywell HL10CESWK
  • Honeywell HL12CESWK
  • Honeywell HL14CESWK
  • Honeywell HL14CESWB
  • Honeywell HL14CHESWW
  • Honeywell HL14CHESWK

The model number follows this format

HL [BTUs] [letters designating if it comes with a heater or not] [letters designating color]

Honeywell uses the following color codes across all lines:

WW = White
WK = White and blacK
WB = White and Blue
BB = Black

Honeywell inserts the letter “H” into the model number for models with heaters.

For example, the Honeywell HL14CHESWW is a 14,000 BTU model with a heater that’s white in color.

14 = 14,000 BTU
CHES = heater
WW = white

The Honeywell HL09CESWK is a 9,000 BTU model with no heater that’s white and black in color.

09 = 9,000 BTUs
CES = absence of letter “H” = no heater
WK = white and black

The Honeywell HL14CESWK and Honeywell HL14CESWB are the exact same model, just with a different color.

Removing redundant color variation models from the list above we have only five models in the Contempo line:

  • Honeywell HL09CESWK
  • Honeywell HL10CESWK
  • Honeywell HL12CESWK
  • Honeywell HL14CESWK
  • Honeywell HL14CHESWK

Each of these models, except for the  HL09CESWK, falls into a traditional BTU category - those being 8,000, 10,000, 12,000 and 14,000 BTUs.

Classic line

The Classic line consists of only three models, two of which are color variations of each other:

  • Honeywell MN10CESBB – black version of below
  • Honeywell MN10CESWW – white version of above
  • Honeywell MN12CES

Compared to the Contempo line the Classic line features

Slightly shorter ducting

the duct connecting the AC unit to its window bracket is about 1 ft. shorter for the Classic line

Lower dehumidifier capacity

on dry mode these units cannot remove as many pints of moisture per day as their Classic line counterparts

No sleep mode
No drain hose

this is only really a negative on dry mode. On cooling mode (regular AC use) you won’t have to drain any of these units continuously. On dry mode (dehumidifier mode) continuous drainage is recommended and Classic line units make that a little more difficult with no included drain hose

Compact line

The Compact line features only two models

  • Honeywell MO08CESWK
  • Honeywell MO10CES

These models are smaller and lighter than units in other lines.

They suffer from the same shortcomings as the Classic line compared to the Contempo line:

Shorter ducting
Lower dehumidifier capacity
No sleep mode
No drain hose

The cooling capacity dilemma

  • LG LP1419IVSM
  • NewAir NAC14KWH02
  • Whynter ARC-14S
  • Honeywell HL14CESWK

These are all 14,000 BTU portable air conditioners. Do they all have the same cooling capacity?

In the past, the answer would have been yes. Today, the answer is a definite no.

In the past, cooling capacity was calculated

  • At relatively low outdoor temperatures and
  • Not accounting for the portable AC unit’s inefficiencies

Using this old system all of the models in the list above have the exact same cooling capacity of  14,000 BTUs.

Today, we have an additional metric by which to compare the cooling capacity of different models. This metric is called seasonally adjusted cooling capacity. SACC for short.

SACC is calculated

Thus, SACC is much more indicative of the actual cooling capacity of different models than the previous method for calculating BTUs (in which most models are either 8,000, 10,000, 12,000, or 14,000 BTUs).

The only real differentiating factor – cooling capacity

All portable AC units have

  • Approx. the same size and weight – they’re all large and heavy
  • Approx. the same installation difficulty
  • Similar power draw in the same BTU category
  • Similar noise output across the board
  • Essentially the same feature set – a dry mode, a cooling mode, and a fan only mode

Thus, the only real defining factor that separates one model from another is cooling capacity (more specifically, the type of cooling capacity that’s most indicative of performance in real world scenarios – SACC).

Cooling capacity is also the most important feature to consider as it describes the primary function of the portable AC unit – cooling.

Cooling capacity for Honeywell units is lackluster

Across the board, Honeywell units consistently have a lower SACC than counterparts made by other brands in the same traditional BTU category.

Important Note

This particular guide was written several years ago. As such, certain models referenced in this guide may no longer be available and/or the specific models we recommend may have changed. See our general portable AC buyer's guide for our latest recommendations.

14,000 BTUs

In the 14,000 BTU category the Honeywell HL14CESWB (Contempo line) has a SACC of only 8,500 BTUs. The Honeywell MM14CCS (Classic line) has a SACC of only 7,500 BTUs.

Top performing units in the category have a SACC of 9,000+ BTUs. The most efficient 14,000 BTU unit is the LG LP1419IVSM with a SACC of 10,000 BTUs.

12,000 BTUs

Frigidaire FGPC1244T1 (top performer)12,0007,200
Honeywell HL12CESWK12,0006,500
Honeywell MN12CES12,0006,500

10,000 BTUs

LG LP1018WNR (top performer)10,0006,500
Honeywell HL10CESWK10,0005,500
Honeywell MN10CESBB10,0005,500

8,000 BTUs

LG LP0818WNR (top performer)8,0005,500
Honeywell MO08CESWK8,0004,000


A portable air conditioner’s primary function is to cool. And Honeywell units simply don’t do this as well as counterparts by other brands (they consistently have a lower SACC).

We therefore do not recommend any Honeywell portable air conditioner currently on the market.

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