Best Outdoor Air Conditioners – 2021 Round-up

Some of the best times of the year occur outside during the summer months, but the sweltering heat often prevents us from truly enjoying these times.

Fortunately, an outdoor air conditioner can help you enjoy those times without missing out or being miserable.

Comparison of the Best Outdoor Air Conditioners

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Can be used for indoor and outdoor cooling use
  • Made from UV resistant materials to withstand the weather
  • Makes use of water evaporative cooling method
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  • Will cool down up to 950 square feet area
  • Comes with 3 fan speeds included for better management
  • Very easy to operate with easy controls
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  • Best for the Money
  • 4 heavy-duty casters for easy portability option
  • Will cool down up to 600 square feet area
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  • Best Portable Outdoor Air Conditioner
  • Easy to use remote control included
  • 3 cooling modes a 3 fan speeds
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  • Best Outdoor Patio AC
  • Strong and lightweight construction for durability
  • No assembly is required with this cooling unit
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Characteristics of Our Favorite Outdoor Air Conditioners

Our favorite outdoor air conditioners are easy to use, portable, and functional. There is a setting for every condition you need, whether it’s to circulate air or lower the unit's overall temperature.

Easy to Use

We chose outdoor air conditioners that have an easy to use interface on the unit, as well as an easy to use remote control. An outdoor air conditioner is only good if used correctly, so we chose units that are easy to use.

Hessaire MC37M

Portability

Conditions outside can quickly change. Wind direction and sun position are the two most common daytime conditions that would require you to move an outdoor air conditioner, not to mention one of those summertime pop-up thunderstorms that can appear out of nowhere. This is why we made sure to choose outdoor air conditioners that were portable and easy to move.

Functionality

Being outside in the summer doesn’t always mean it will be hot the entire time. This is especially true after the sun goes down. This is why we made sure to choose outdoor air conditioners that have more than one function.

There will likely be times when using the fan will be more effective or comfortable than using the unit's air conditioning feature, which is why we chose units that have multiple functions.

Review of the Best Outdoor Air Conditioners

Best Overall:
Honeywell CO60PM

Honeywell CO60PM 2471 CFM Indoor/Outdoor Evaporative Air Cooler (Swamp Cooler) with Mechanical Controls in Gray/White

PROS

  • Cools a large area up to 850 square feet
  • Top loading ice compartment to cool the air even more
  • Hose compatibility for continuous water supply for non-stop cooling
  • A large reservoir holds 15.9 gallons is ideal if there is no hose accessibility
  • 3 different fan speeds allow you to choose the right fan speed you need with the option to turn to cool on or off

CONS

  • Can be noisy when in cooling mode
  • Pricey; this option is slightly pricier than some of the other options, but keep in mind that it comes with a hose hookup, large reservoir, and an ice storage compartment for optimal cooling

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are most impressed with how easy this unit is to use. There is virtually no installation required. Simply unbox, add the water, and plug it in. You can also add ice cubes to the top-loading ice compartment for additional cooling. When you don’t need to cool, you can simply use the fan to circulate air at the speed you need.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Just as the recent buyers report, we are most impressed with how easy this unit is to set up and use. It requires no additional equipment or tools to set up the unit. It is also extremely easy to use when using the control panel on the unit or the remote control.

We also like that you can connect this unit to a hose for nonstop water access. This, along with the top-loading ice compartment, helps create the coolest setting possible with an outdoor air conditioner.

Bottom Line

We chose the Honeywell CO60PM as the best overall outdoor air conditioner because of its effectiveness and how easy it is to use it. It requires virtually no additional equipment or supplies before putting it to use, and once it is turned on, it quickly cools an area up to 850 square feet.

Runner-up:
Hessaire MC37M

Hessaire MC37M Evaporative Cooler, 3,100 CFM, Gray

PROS

  • Covers a large area up to 950 square feet
  • A more affordable option among comparable models
  • The built-in cupholder on top of the unit makes it ideal for storing drinks
  • Hose attachment allows the unit to be continuously filled with water for nonstop cooling
  • Easy to use buttons allow you to choose the fan setting, the pump, and the oscillation of the unit

CONS

  • Noisy when running in cooling mode
  • Can create humidity, so it is best used outdoors in open spaces

What Recent Buyers Report

This unit was chosen as the runner-up because users agree that it is easy to use and extremely effective. The unit can be immediately attached to a water hose or filled with water as soon as it is unboxed. It weighs 39 pounds, so users compliment how easy the unit is to move around.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We chose the Hessaire MC37M as the runner-up because it is affordable, effective, and easy to use. It can be attached to a hose for a continuous water supply, or the large 10-gallon tank can be filled with water for approximately 10 to 12 hours of cooling time.

The fan has a powerful output of 100 cubic feet per minute. This allows it to easily cool a 950-square foot area in a short amount of time.

We also like that it is lightweight with castors on the bottom of the unit for easy portability. You can easily move it from one area to the next with little effort.

Bottom Line

The Hessaire MC37M is a great option for an outdoor air conditioner because of how effective it is immediately after unboxing. It covers a large area in a short amount of time by using the water reservoir or hose hookup.

Best for the Money:
Hessaire MC18M

HESSAIRE MC18M Portable Evaporative Cooler – Color May Vary, 1300 CFM, Cools 500 Square Feet , White

PROS

  • Covers a moderate area up to 500 square feet
  • Powerful output of 1,300 cubic feet per minute of airflow
  • The lightweight unit is only 16 pounds and can easily be moved from one location to the next
  • Easy to use with 4 different settings: fan speed high, fan speed low, pump on high, or pump on low
  • Manual or continuous water fill means that you can fill the reservoir of the unit or attach the unit to a water hose

CONS

  • More water is used when on the high setting, which can reduce the overall total cooling time
  • Small reservoir only holds around 4 gallons of water, which equates to between 3 and 4 total hours of cooling time

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are unanimous when they say this unit is the best one for the money. It is extremely effective with a powerful output of 1,300 cubic feet per minute and can quickly cool an area up to 500 square feet. The biggest complaint from recent buyers is the noise level is moderately loud for this unit.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We agree with recent buyers that the Hessaire MC18M price tag sets it apart from the rest, especially when considering the high output and relatively large area the unit covers.

We also like how lightweight the unit is. This makes it easy to move the unit from one location to the other. The built-in wheels on the bottom of the unit also make it easy to transport from place to place.

Even though the reservoir is small and can go through the water quickly, we like that there is an option to connect a hose for a continual water supply.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for an affordable outdoor air conditioner with a powerful output and simple functions, then the Hessaire MC18M is the one we recommend. It’s easy to use, can be hooked up to a water hose for a continuous water fill, and can cool a moderate area up to 500 square feet.

Best Portable Outdoor Air Conditioner:
NewAir AF-310

NewAir, AF-310, Portable Indoor Outdoor Evaporative Air Fan and Humidifier, Personal Swamp Cooler, 100 Square Foot Effective Range

PROS

  • Powerful 310 CFM of airflow
  • Energy-efficient and consumes little power
  • Easy to use control panel and remote control
  • Stylish compact design takes up little room outdoors
  • Unit includes a remote control that can adjust the fan speed, oscillation, and fan mode

CONS

  • Only cools an area up to 100 square feet
  • Reservoir is only 4 quarts, which can require frequent filling when using the cool setting

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers report that their favorite thing about this outdoor air conditioner is how sleek and slim the design is. It takes up very little room and can almost be overlooked as an outdoor air conditioner because it is not big and bulky like most models.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The NewAir AF-310 stands out to us because of this design as well. Just because you are using an air conditioner outdoors doesn’t mean it should look bad, and that’s exactly what makes this unit stand out from the rest.

It also has a powerful airflow of 310 cubic feet per minute, which can quickly cool down a 100-square foot area.

Finally, the unit is extremely affordable for the features and quality you receive with this model. While it doesn’t have the largest water tank, it provides a powerful output that can quickly cool down a room in a small amount of time.

Bottom Line

The NewAir AF-310 is our recommendation for outdoor air conditioners that don’t look like your typical outdoor air conditioner. This model provides a powerful amount of cool air to quickly cool down an area up to 100 square feet.

Best Outdoor Patio AC:
Portacool PACJS2401A1

Portacool PACJS2401A1 Jetstream 240 Portable Evaporative Cooler

PROS

  • Extremely powerful output of 4,500 CFM
  • The unit can cool an area up to 1,125 square feet
  • Automatic low water shut-off will stop the unit when the water is too low
  • It has a large 50-gallon water reservoir for long periods of evaporated cooling
  • The tall design of the unit keeps the airflow further off the ground and more evenly distributed

CONS

  • Pricier than most
  • Loud; 65 decibels on low setting and 76 on high

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers all agree that it doesn’t get more heavy-duty and top-quality than this unit by Portacool. It is durable, rugged, effective, and heavy-duty. It is ideal for various applications, including patios, garages, workshops, or outdoor venues. The large reservoir makes it easy for the unit to cool for hours at a time without needing to be refilled.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We chose the Portacool PACJS2401A1 as the best outdoor patio air conditioner because of its effectiveness in cooling a large space and maintaining that cool temperature once it is reached. Although it is pricier than most options, you know that you are getting a top-quality product that is extremely effective.

The unit is a heavy 134 pounds, so it will likely need to be placed in one location and left there, but it can be moved if need be. It has four wheels on the bottom of the unit that allows it to easily move from one location to another.

We also like the automatic low water shut-off to prevent the unit from attempting to cool when there is not enough water to do so. This helps protect the motor within the unit from overheating or becoming damaged.

Bottom Line

Any length of time spent outdoors in the summer will require adequate cooling, and this unit by Portacool is the best one for the job. It has an exceptional airflow output that will quickly cool 4,500 CFM and a total area of 1,125 square feet.

Are All Outdoor Air Conditioners The Same?

Outdoor air conditioners come in various shapes and sizes, each having its own respective set of features. Some outdoor air conditioners only hold a small one-gallon reservoir of water, while other models can hold nearly 5 gallons. 

Some models also support a hose to attach to the unit, allowing the unit to have continuous water for nonstop cooling.

Outdoor air conditioners come in different sizes. This means they will cool areas of different sizes, from small 100-square feet areas to larger 850-square feet areas.

Perks of Getting a New Air Conditioner For Outdoor Use

No More Missing Out

The hot summer months can easily cause you to pass up attending an outdoor event because of the sweltering heat, but with an air conditioner for outdoor use, you can finally enjoy the outdoors without being miserable.

Easy to Use

An outdoor air conditioner doesn’t have to be a big, bulky item that is difficult to use. Most outdoor air conditioners are designed with residential use in mind, so they are easy to use for almost any application.

Portability

In addition to being easy to use, outdoor air conditioners are also designed to be easily moved from one location to another. This also includes packing the unit and taking it on a trip or to the outdoor event in which it will be used.

Big Reward For a Relatively Small Investment

Outdoor air conditioners don’t have to break the bank, especially if you choose one of the more affordable options on our list. You will get a big return on investing in an outdoor air conditioner, particularly if you use the air conditioner for various reasons, including outdoor events, barbeques, tailgating parties, and so much more.

NewAir AF-310

How to Clean Outdoor AC Unit

Because the outdoor AC unit uses water, you will need to clean the reservoir routinely to prevent bacteria from growing inside the unit.

To clean the outdoor AC unit, you should follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the unit is unplugged and remove the panels and cooling pads from the unit.

  2. Drain all of the water out of the unit by opening the drain plug or detaching the unit's water tank.

  3. Take a sponge and wipe down the sides and bottom of the water tank. This will remove any dirt, grime, bacteria, or other debris that has collected in the tank.

  4. Make a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar and pour into the tank, letting it sit for approximately 1 hour.

  5. Scrub the tank one more time after 1 hour has passed.

  6. Rinse the tank completely and let air dry.

Conclusion

Outdoor air conditioners are a great way to beat the heat without missing out on the fun. They are relatively easy to use, easy to maintain, and provide hours of cooling in moderately large areas.

People Also Ask

We have provided a lot of information regarding the best air conditioners but read on below if you still have questions. We have compiled a list of some of the more commonly asked questions.

Should I Shade My Outdoor AC Unit?

There is no direct evidence proving that shading your outdoor AC unit effectively makes it run more efficiently. Shading can sometimes cause the opposite reaction by restricting the airflow that the unit creates. This can cause the unit to overheat or become quickly overworked.

Hessaire MC37M

Does Spraying Water on an AC Unit Help?

The AC unit will have vents that will both take in air and push out air. By spraying water on the AC unit, you can prevent debris from sticking to the vents of the unit, which can help improve the overall performance of the AC unit.

How to Protect AC Outdoor Unit From Sunlight

You can protect your outdoor AC unit from sunlight by building an awning for the unit, planting trees around where the unit will be located, or placing a protective cover over the unit. This will reduce the greenhouse effect that sometimes occurs when heat from the sun penetrates the unit and becomes trapped within it.

How to Reduce Noise From Outdoor Air Conditioner

The best way to reduce noise from an outdoor air conditioner is to try to add some cushioning to the unit that will separate the motor from the housing. Typically, noise is created by the vibration of the motor against the housing of the unit. By adding foam cushioning, the reverberation caused within the unit's housing when the motor is running is significantly reduced.