Whynter Portable Air Conditioners
Whynter manufactures over 20 different portable AC models – more than any other manufacturer in the industry.
The table below gives a quick overview of most of these models
Looking at this table you’ll notice a few themes:
|Whynter...||ASHRAE BTU||SACC BTU||Ducting||Notes|
|ARC-08WB||8000||na||single||marketed as eco-friendly|
|ARC-101CW||10000||5200||single||marketed as compact|
|ARC-102CS||10000||5500||single||comes with 3M Filter and Silvershield washable pre-filter|
|ARC-10WB||10000||na||single||marketed as eco-friendly|
|ARC-110WD||11000||6400||dual||marketed as eco-friendly|
|ARC-122DHP||12000||6800||dual||adds heater and drain pump to model below|
|ARC-122DS||12000||6800||dual||a very popular 12,000 BTU dual hose unit|
|ARC-126MD||12000||7700||dual||comes with 3M Filter and Silvershield washable pre-filter|
|ARC-126MDB||12000||7700||dual||black color variation of model above|
|ARC-12S||12000||5000||single||marketed as eco-friendly|
|ARC-12SD||12000||7800||dual||marketed as eco-friendly but essentially a variation of ARC-122DS|
|ARC-12SDH||12000||7900||dual||adds heater to model above|
|ARC-14BG||14000||8900||dual||marketed as eco-friendly but basically black color variation of ARC-14S|
|ARC-142BX||14000||na||single||marketed as eco-friendly|
|ARC-143MX||14000||9500||dual||comes with 3M antimicrobial HAF (high airflow) air filter|
|ARC-148MHP||14000||8000||single||adds heater and drain pump to model below|
|ARC-148MS||14000||8400||single||comes with 3M Filter and Silvershield washable pre-filter|
|ARC-14S||14000||8900||dual||a very popular 14,000 BTU model|
|ARC-14SH||14000||8300||dual||adds heater to model above|
Several units are marketed as being “eco-friendly”. Why? Because they use an “eco-friendly” refrigerant: R-410A.
The problem here is that the same is true for every other portable AC unit on the market. Every single one uses R-410A refrigerant.
So, while marketing these models as “eco-friendly” doesn’t involve any false claims it certainly doesn’t involve a unique claim. All portable AC units – not just Whynter units – use R-410A refrigerant.
Several units are marketed as being equipped with air filters.
The problem here is that most of these filters have to be replaced at cost. This adds to the cost of ownership over time.
Furthermore, most of these filters will not clean air nearly as well as the filters you’ll find in a dedicated air purifier.
The standard for particle filtration in the air purifier industry is a HEPA filter. This is a very dense filter that would never work in a portable AC unit (it would reduce airflow too much).
As such, Whynter portable AC units are equipped with high airflow filters that don’t filter particles nearly as well. In other words, they don’t clean air nearly as well. So, if cleaning air in your home is a priority for you, we strongly recommend buying a dedicated air purifier separately.
A portable AC unit needs to cool first and foremost.
In the table above you would have noticed two columns for cooling capacity.
The first is labeled “ASHRAE BTUs” and the second is labeled “SACC BTUs”. Here’s a quick synopsis of the difference between them:
ASHRAE BTUs – the traditional method for calculating BTUs. This method does not account for any portable AC unit inefficiencies which is why the BTUs are higher.
SACC BTUs – SACC stands for “seasonally adjusted cooling capacity”. It involves accounting for two major portable AC unit inefficiencies – heat added back into the room by the unit’s ducting and heat added back into the room by infiltration air. These sources of heat are subtracted from the overall cooling capacity which is why the BTUs are lower.
The bottom line is that SACC BTUs are much more indicative of the actual cooling capacity for a particular model. As such, we use SACC BTUs to distinguish between the actual performance of different models on the market.
ASHRAE BTUs are good for only one thing – categorization. For example, it’s much easier to talk about “14,000 BTU models” (ASHRAE) than it is to talk about “7,000 to 10,000 BTU models” (equivalent models in terms of SACC). As such, we’ll use ASHRAE BTUs for categorization in the analysis that follows:
In the 14,000 BTU category we have seven different Whynter portable AC units currently on the market.
The three most prominent models are the ARC-14S, the ARC-143MX and the ARC-148MS. Most other models are color variations, have filter variations, or are heater variations of these three models.
The ARC-14S has long been recommended as the highest capacity portable AC unit on the market. At 14,000 BTUs (ASHRAE) it was in the highest capacity category you could buy. And with its dual hose design it was believed to be more efficient than any single hose offering on the market.
This is simply not the case. SACC fully accounts for both single hose and dual hose designs. If a unit has a higher SACC, it has a greater cooling capacity, no matter if it has one hoses or two.
The ARC-14S has a SACC of only 8,900 BTUs. There are multiple single hose models on the market with a SACC well over 9,000 BTUs. The highest SACC belongs to the LG LP1419IVSM. It has a SACC of 10,000 BTUs.
The ARC-143MX has a SACC of 9,500 BTUs. It’s not nearly as popular as the ARC-14S but, because of its higher SACC, we now know that it has far better cooling capacity. If you absolutely want to buy a dual hose Whynter portable AC unit, we strongly recommend the ARC-143MX over the ARC-14S.
The ARC-148MS features a single hose design with a SACC of only 8,400 BTUs. It’s defining feature is its added filtration. But, as we discussed earlier, the filtration it offers isn’t very good. We certainly wouldn’t recommend you buy this unit because of it. And considering the unit’s low SACC, it’s a definite stay-away in the category.
If you’re looking for the best highest capacity portable AC unit on the market look no further than the LG LP1419IVSM. It is currently our recommendation as the best portable AC unit on the market.
The ARC-122DS is by far the most popular model in this category. It may be the most popular Whynter portable air conditioner on the market.
In the past, the ARC-122DS was recommended as the perfect compromise between cooling capacity and price. Units in the 12,000 BTU category tend to be more affordable than units in the 14,000 BTU category while still offering reasonably high cooling capacity.
Or do they?
Our testing showed a dramatic leap in performance going from a sub 9,000 BTU (SACC) to a 9,000+ BTU (SACC) unit in a 150 sq. ft. test environment.
All 12,000 BTU ASHRAE units, including the ARC-122DS, are sub 9,000 BTU SACC units.
You have to move up to a high SACC 14,000 BTU ASHRAE unit to get to 9,000+ BTUs (SACC).
Do not be fooled. You will see a dramatic difference in performance going from something like the ARC-122DS to something like the ARC-143MX.
So no, in reality, the ARC-122DS is not the perfect compromise between cooling capacity and price. Instead, buying a 12,000 BTU ASHRAE unit like the ARC-122DS involves greatly compromising on cooling capacity for the sake of a slightly lower price.
All of that being said, let’s say you still want to buy a 12,000 BTU unit. How does the ARC-122DS compare to other 12,000 BTU units?
In short – not too badly.
The ARC-122DS has a SACC of 6,800 BTUs. The most efficient 12,000 BTU model on the market, the single hose Frigidaire FGPC1244T1, has a SACC of 7,200 BTUs.
Between these two models we would recommend the Frigidaire but the Whynter is not far behind.
The Whynter ARC-110WD is your best bet in the category. Its SACC of 6,400 BTUs is only 100 BTUs less than that of the most efficient units in the category.
Still, either the LG LP1018WNR (6,500 BTUs SACC) or LG LP1017WSR (6,500 BTUs SACC), are our general recommendations in the category.
The ARC-08WB is the only Whynter unit in the category. Unfortunately, the manufacturer has not made its SACC data available (at least up until the time of the writing of this guide) so we cannot compare it to other 8,000 BTU options on the market.
Again, our general recommendation lies with LG. The LG LP0818WNR (5,500 BTUs SACC) is our recommendation in the category.
Whynter offers a lot of variety – units with different types of filters, units with heaters, units with pumps, units in different colors, etc.
But ultimately, a portable air conditioner needs to do only one thing – it needs to cool. And Whynter units just don’t do that – cooling – nearly as well as comparably priced units by other brands.
The ARC-143MX is not a bad portable AC unit. If you’re dead set on buying a Whynter portable air conditioner, it would be our recommendation. However, when it comes to the 20+ other models Whynter makes, we would be hard pressed to recommend any one of them for most applications.
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