Need to know
- Aldi is selling a 2kW portable air conditioner with fan and dehumidifier for $299 as a Special Buy on Saturday 16 December
- Portable air conditioners are generally an inefficient way to cool your home, however as they are relatively cheap, easy to use and don’t require installation, they can be useful if you need a fast cooling fix
- CHOICE’s expert reviews compare almost 100 portable air conditioners to help you find the best one for your home and budget
A record-breaking heatwave scorched New South Wales last weekend and extreme temperatures are predicted to continue across Australia this summer.
If you’ve been breaking out in a sweat worrying how to keep yourself cool, you may be enticed by Aldi’s cheap offer on portable air conditioners.
The supermarket chain is selling a 2KW portable air conditioner as a Special Buy this Saturday 16 December.
But is this a hot deal you should grab or should you cool your heels? CHOICE experts share their take on portable air conditioners and things to consider before picking up this Aldi buy.
There are various pros and cons to consider before buying a portable air conditioner. They're relatively cheap to buy but they are an inefficient way to cool your home, and anything you save on the purchase price can show up in increased energy bills down the track.
However, they can be a useful cooling option if you aren't lucky enough to have reverse-cycle air conditioning installed in your home – for example, if you're in rented accommodation or you can't afford the upfront costs associated with installing this more efficient type of air conditioning.
Portable air conditioners are also easy to install, simple to use and you can move them from room to room, but they can be quite noisy, especially when used on a higher fan setting.
How does it perform?
You can view how this Aldi portable air conditioner stacks up against other models in our detailed review which is available to CHOICE members.
We can reveal, though, that the Aldi model scores the same, and even outperforms, other portable air conditioners in the 2kW–3kW range that cost hundreds of dollars more (our experts recommend two portable air conditioners that have around a 2.9kW capacity).
What are its specification and features?
The unit being sold by Aldi is a portable heat pump air conditioner, which means it comes with a large flexible ducted tube that exhausts air outside via a window.
Most portable air conditioners of this type, including the Aldi model, come with a 'window kit' which is an adjustable panel that helps you seal the ducted tubing into your window with minimal leakage. So the first thing you need to check is that you have enough space to place the portable air conditioner next to a suitable window.
The Aldi model scores the same, and even outperforms, other portable air conditioners in the 2kW–3kW range that cost hundreds of dollars more
The Aldi model comes with cooling, fan and dehumidifying features which are common to most of these types of portable air conditioners. It has two speeds, an LED display control panel, 24 hour timer, WiFi and remote control.
Like most portable air conditioners, it comes on four castor wheels so it can be moved around (but keep in mind that these models can be quite bulky and heavy and will need to be placed next to a suitable window to operate).
What size room is the Aldi portable air conditioner good for?
This unit has 2.0kW cooling capacity, which means it is only suitable for cooling a small room. A higher kilowatt capacity means more cooling power for a larger room (which will cost you more in energy).
CHOICE experts advise that a 2.0–2.5kW portable air conditioner is only suitable for cooling a room roughly sized up to 15 square metres, so a small bedroom, study or kitchen. View our size guide in our portable air conditioner buying guide.
The Aldi portable air conditioner comes with a remote and works with Google Home, Alexa and Wi Fi control.
Generally the greater cooling capacity a unit has, the more it will cost to buy and the more it will cost to run. The models in our portable air conditioner review, which includes the review for this particular Aldi portable air conditioner, range from $299 up to $1799, so the Aldi model is definitely at the lower end of the price range.
On top of the purchase price, the running costs for this type of appliance can be significant. As part of our reviews, we look at energy efficiency and performance. We have calculated that the average running cost for a 1.2–3kW unit used for four hours per day over summer is $132* and the average price of a unit for this size is $585.
Using these same calculations, we have estimated that the Aldi model will cost roughly $108* to run for the same period over summer, which means its running costs are below average for units of this approximate size.
Consider performance and how long the product will last
The price of an appliance doesn't always indicate performance, and there are certainly cheaper models that outperform more expensive models in our testing.
When an appliance is sold for such a low price, it's worth considering the customer service that may or may not be available to you should something go wrong with the product, and also how long it will last.
A cheap product could mean it is made with cheaper components that may make the unit harder to repair later in its life. One benefit of the Aldi model is that it comes with a three-year warranty (of the two models we recommend in our review, one has a two-year warranty and another has a three-year warranty). But you'd still want your portable air con to keep running for longer than three years, so the quality of customer service after that point is worth considering.
Although we're not fans of portable air conditioners in general due to their inefficiencies, we know that for some people, they're the only option to beat extreme heat. And, they're easy to install and cheap to buy, which are both bonuses if you find yourself in need of a cooling solution, fast.
This Aldi portable air conditioner is a tempting buy due to its low price tag, three-year warranty, and the fact it scores relatively well against other models that cost significantly more.
If you intend to pick this appliance up in the Special Buy sale, keep in mind that these units can be very heavy (almost half the portable air conditioners in our review weigh 30kg or more and some weigh over 40kg), and they are quite bulky, so you'll likely need a large car or van and someone to assist you.
The Aldi model is a tempting buy due to its low price tag, three-year warranty, and the fact it scores relatively well against other models that cost significantly more
And if you're considering whether the Aldi model is worth buying, or whether you're better off spending a little more on a higher-performing model, log in or sign up to read our full portable air conditioner review which compares almost 100 products.
*We calculate the approximate cost of operating portable air conditioners at maximum capacity for four hours per day for three months in hot weather, based on 40c/kWh.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.