The Best Portable Air Conditioners, According to an Allergist

Stay cool this summer.

By Jessica Migala

When it comes to summer, staying cool is the name of the game. Welcome: portable air conditioners.

These home appliances become essential for beating the heat in the sweaty summer months, but what's the best way to find the right one for you?

Consider the space you'd like to put the unit in

Purchase one that meets the size requirements of the room it’s going to be in. While the portability makes it seem like you can take it from living room to bedroom to office, one designed for a smaller space won’t function as well in a larger one, and many also have to be hooked up to the window for ventilation.

Eliminate potential allergens

If you don’t have central air in your home or office, a portable air conditioning unit can also be an important tool in managing your allergies. “Having an air conditioner allows windows in the home to be closed, decreasing pollen entry into the home,” said Dr. Jennifer Diaz, Long Island Allergist of ENT & Allergy Associates in Long Island, New York. They also help you breathe easy by filtering air and removing allergens.

And because many seasonal allergy sufferers also deal with indoor allergens year-round, “AC also decreases the humidity in your environment, making it more difficult for indoor allergens like mold and dust mites to proliferate,” she said.

It also helps knowing what you’re allergic to. If you have trouble with dust, then one with a HEPA filter is best, says Diaz. But if your issue is pollen, then standard filter are typically sufficient at trapping these larger particles, she says.

Look for easy-to-clean filters

Another pro tip: Keep filters clean. Dirty filters won’t work to trap nasties as well, and they may even push more dust out into your surroundings, says Diaz. You want to find a unit that has filters that are easy to replace or clean.

Now that that’s out of the way, onto the good stuff: portable AC units that cool down a room quick, filter out allergens, and look great, too (because you don’t want a monstrosity hanging out with you).

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