How much does it cost to run a portable air conditioner?

How much it costs to run a portable air conditioner is specific to each model, but estimated averages can give you a rough idea, without specific data.

The usage of every portable air conditioning unit differs in terms of the size and capacity, climate, usage rate, and more. This can make it challenging to determine power usage and running costs.

However, you can use estimations of power usage and cost, as well as real-life examples, or you can collect your own data on your specific portable air conditioner to determine how much it costs to operate.

How much power does a portable air conditioner use?

There are many factors that affect how much power your air conditioner uses and subsequently, how much it costs you to run. The main factors that determine how much power your portable air conditioner uses are the capacity and the usage of your specific unit.

The energy-efficiency rating, the type of technology and the climate that you are in will have some impact on how much power your air conditioner uses.

But in the end, the amount of power that your portable air conditioner uses to cool down your room and the amount of time you run your unit per day, will have the biggest impact.

How much does it cost to run a portable air conditioner?

When you take all of these factors into consideration, it becomes clear that one portable air conditioner model and its power usage can vary drastically from the next.

Not to mention the fact that portable air conditioner power usage fluctuates throughout a cycle. This can make it difficult to determine exactly how much it costs to run a portable air conditioner.

To simplify this, if you assume that most portable air conditioners have an average energy-efficiency rating (EER) of 10, and the average cost of electricity in the United States is about $0.13 per kWh, the following can be estimated about running certain size portable air conditioners for an hour:

Portable air conditioner size (BTU) Estimated running cost per hour
5 000 BTU $0.07 per hour
8 000 BTU $0.11 per hour
12 000 BTU $0.16 per hour
15 000 BTU $0.20 per hour

These average figures can give you an approximate idea of what it will cost to run your air conditioner, but each specific model and size is different and you need to compile your own data to work out how much it will cost to run your specific unit.

Specific air conditioner models and their running costs

It can also be useful to compare the costs of specific real-life portable air conditioner models of a range of sizes to the averages above, as follows:

Portable air conditioner model BTU (British Thermal Unit) Wattage (in kW) Average US electricity cost per kWh Running cost per kWh Available on Amazon
GE‎ APFD06JASW Portable Air Conditioner for Small Rooms 6 100 BTU 1 kW $0.13 $0.13

(1 kWh x $0.13)

BLACK+DECKER BPP05WTB Portable Air Conditioner 8 000 BTU 0,86 kW $0.13 $0.11
TOSOT Portable Air Conditioner 10 000 BTU 1,25 kW $0.13 $0.16
SereneLife SLACHT128 Portable Air Conditioner 12 000 BTU 1,35 kW $0.13 $0.18
Whynter ARC-14S Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner 14,000 BTU 1,25 kW $0.13 $0.16

When you compare these real-life examples to the average estimates, it becomes clear that every portable air conditioning unit varies in terms of actual power usage and, subsequently, running costs.

How to measure your specific portable air conditioner model

If you want a more accurate measurement of your portable air conditioner, you need to compile your own data.

To do this, you need a digital watt meter, like this best-selling Poniie PN2000 Plug-in Kilowatt Electricity Usage Monitor, into which you can plug your portable air conditioner power cord.

Electricity Usage Monitor on Amazon

This will allow you to get a more accurate measurement of your unit’s average power usage.

You can then multiply your air conditioner’s average power usage per hour by the cost of electricity per hour in your area. This will give you the most accurate measurement of what your portable air conditioner costs to use per hour.

Usage rate of portable air conditioners

Since the electricity usage of portable air conditioners is not consistent, you can get a more accurate cost estimate when you consider the cost per month, instead of per hour.

This will, of course, also differ depending on how frequently you use your air conditioner.

This means you have to multiply the cost per hour of your model, by the number of hours that you use your air conditioner in a day, and then by the number of days in the month that you have used it for.

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