Portable air conditioners review 2008

They’re still ugly and noisy, but they’re getting better at keeping you cool.
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  • Updated:11 Jul 2008


The following models scored the best results in our test.

What to buy
Brand Price
Kelvinator KPK35CRA (A) $849
Tecoair TAC1319C $879
Convair Supercool TRB $799
Convair Supercool FR $999

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Results table

Full results for all models are shown in the table below.

Brand / model (in rank order) Overall score (%) Cooling score (%) Ease of use score (%) Claimed cooling capacity (kW) Average measured power consumption (kW) Price
Kelvinator KPK35CRA (C)
80 86 67 3.5 1.4 849
Tecoair TAC1319C
76 81 63 3.2 1.6 879
Convair Supercool TRB
75 80 62 3.5 1.3 799
Convair Supercool FR
www.convair net.au
73 78 60 4.1 1.6 999
Delonghi Pinguino Eco PAC T120
69 72 63 3.5 0.8 899
Delonghi Pinguino PAC C100
65 67 60 2.9 0.7 699

  Features Specifications
Brand / model (in rank order) Fan noise (on high) Oscillating louvres Real time clock (on remote) Weight (kg) Dimensions (H x W x D; cm) Length of power cord (m) Max length of duct (m) Length of water drainage hose (m) Max. length of window kit (m)*
Kelvinator KPK35CRA (C)
Noisier 40.7 84 x 45 x 36 2.6 1.8 0.6 1.25
Tecoair TAC1319C
Noisier 36.6 62 x 47 x 39 1.7 1.9 (A) 1.25
Convair Supercool TRB
Medium 34.8 86 x 52 x 41 1.8 2 2.4 1.11
Convair Supercool FR
www.convair net.au
Medium 39.2 86 x 53 x 40 1.9 2.1 2.4 1.11
Delonghi Pinguino Eco PAC T120
Quieter 38 95 x 50 x 42 1.9 1.2 2.9



Delonghi Pinguino PAC C100
Medium 28 78 x 46 x 37 2 1.3 (B) 0.97


Table notes

* Rounded to the nearest centimeter.
(A) Uses the condensed water for the cooling process, so there’s minimal drainage required.
(B) No water drainage hose; the tank needs to be emptied regularly.
(C) Discontinued, but may still be available in some stores.

Using the table

Scores The overall score is made up of:

  • Cooling (70%)
  • Ease of use (30%)

Claimed cooling capacity Inbuilt air conditioners are more energy-efficient than portable models. The claimed cooling capacity isn’t comparable between the two types. None of the portable air conditioners tested have an energy star rating. CHOICE would like to see them included in the energy rating scheme, so you can meaningfully compare models.

Average measured power consumption This is the average of both cooling tests.

Fan noise These results are comparative only; what you’ll actually hear will depend on the environment you’re in. With the fan on high, all these air conditioners will interfere with normal conversation.

Features See What to look for, for an explanation of these and other features.

Price Recommended retail, as of June 2008.

How we tested

Cooling performance

  • Our testers assessed each air conditioner in a 5 m by 4 m room with a 2.4 m high ceiling. This room was surrounded by another room or ‘shell’, which was kept at a constant temperature and humidity level. The interior room had no windows, furniture or heat sources and its door was closed during testing.
  • When both rooms were at a stable 27ºC and 70% relative humidity, the air conditioners were turned on for an hour at full strength.
  • The testers also assessed the air conditioners’ effectiveness at a starting temperature of 32ºC and 70% humidity.
  • Testers rated the air conditioners’ cooling effectiveness on their ability to reduce the temperature in the test room and lower the humidity. They also assessed how evenly the models cooled the test room.

Ease of use

The testers looked at:

  • Stability
  • Portability and installation of window kit
  • Removing and refitting the air filter
  • Water drainage
  • The controls (including remote controls)
  • Instruction manuals
Your say - Choice voice

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