Air Conditioning Buying Guide

An air conditioner provides the most superior and efficient method of cooling compared to traditional fans and evaporative air coolers.
There are different types of air conditioners available each with their own advantages and disadvantages. It is important to know the differences between each when looking to purchase an air conditioner to ensure the best suited model is used for the circumstances given.
Air conditioners can be classified into two categories – mobile/portable conditioners and split-system units. Find out which is right for you in our complete buying guide

Portable Air Conditioning

A portable air conditioner is the most popular type of air conditioning unit found in a home environment or any situation where versatility is key. As their name suggests, portable/mobile air conditioners are easily transportable and can comfortably be moved around from room to room and between floors.
They usually come with an exhaust hose which blows hot air extracted from inside the room, to outside the room. The exhaust hose would need to be vented outside the room, through a window, hole in the wall or into an adjacent room or hallway. The length of the exhaust hose is often around 1 -1.5 metres, and should not be extended, as it will cause heat to back up inside the air conditioner.
They are powerful enough to cool all room sizes without the stress of professional installation. They can simply be plugged in, vented and the benefits will be noticed immediately.

Best Portable Air Conditioners for 2021

Wall Split Air Conditioners

Wall split air conditioners consist of an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit is mounted to the wall and is connected to the outdoor unit via a pipe. The outdoor unit can either be installed on the ground or fixed to the wall using brackets. For this reason, wall split air conditioners are often called fixed air conditioners as they are not mobile. These units do require professional installation but they do have the benefit of clearing up floor space and are also quieter than portable/mobile air conditioning units. As well as cooling, wall split air conditioning units are also able to heat rooms efficiently.

Best Split Air Conditioners for 2021

Ceiling Cassette Air Conditioning

Similar to wall split units, ceiling cassette air conditioning units require professional installation but are mounted to the ceiling rather than the wall. Similarly, ceiling cassette units can also be used to heat rooms efficiently.

How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

When an air conditioner is switched on, air is drawn into the unit and passes over a cold evaporator coil, where it’s cooled and some of the moisture is removed. The air is then re-circulated into the room, reducing the overall temperature and humidity. At the same time, a chemical refrigerant in the system absorbs the heat from the warm air before venting it outside via the hose.
This process continues until the room reaches the temperature the thermostat is set to, and then the unit switches off. When the temperature in the room rises again, the thermostat senses this and switches the air conditioner on again until the room cools again to the required temperature.
As the air cools, water is released into the air conditioning system. This either empties away through an external drain or is collected in a tank that needs to be emptied when full.

How Powerful Should The Air Conditioner Be?

An air conditioners power is measured in BTU, or British Thermal Unit rating.
BTU is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1lb of water by 1°F.
In relation to air conditioning, the higher the BTU rating, the bigger the room it can cool. However, another important factor to consider is the higher the BTU rating, the more it will cost to run the unit.

Does An Air Conditioner Need To Be Vented?

All portable air conditioners need to be vented.
This is necessary because air conditioners extract hot moist air from the room which then needs to be vented outdoors, in order for the room to be effectively cooled.
A portable air conditioner should ideally be vented through an open window as this allows the hot air to go directly outside the home as fast as possible. Many portable air conditioners come supplied with a window kit. They keep the majority of the window sealed so only the duct is directed outside rather than having the window completely open or the window down with of its weight anchored on the duct. Window kits stop cold air getting out as well as hot air getting in.
If a portable air conditioner is to be used permanently, then a small hole the same size as the ducting hose can be drilled through the wall. This is useful as the air conditioner will not have to be constantly moved around and monitored. A duct through the wall also stops cold air getting out and hot air getting in.
If both of the mentioned cannot be done, then a portable air conditioner can be vented through a slightly open door into another room or corridor. This is not ideal as the hot air that is being extracted from the room the air conditioner is working in will be directed to another space which will then need to be sorted out. And the air conditioner will then have to be placed into that space and then you will have the same problem all over again.
If it is not possible to vent a portable air conditioner, then split units (wall or ceiling) or evaporative air coolers are great alternatives to consider.

Air Conditioning Features

Mode Settings – As well as the ability to cool, many air conditioners come with a variety of additional settings such as the ability to fan, dehumidify as well as reduce the fan speed and noise levels to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep.
Adjustable Thermostat – Allows the user to have complete control over the temperature in the room by working towards and maintaining a constant, optimum temperature.
Timer – Timer function which allows an air conditioner to switch on and off automatically helping to reduce energy costs.
Fan Only – Many portable air conditioners have a fan only mode which means they can also be used as a big fan if you want a light breeze.
Wi-Fi Compatible – Many new high spec portable air conditioners are incorporating Wi-Fi technology meaning they can be remotely operated from an app. This is an extremely useful feature as they can be used to suit personal needs.
For example, if you need the air conditioning off all day whilst at work, but turned on a hour before your due to come back so its already nice, cool and ready for you to relax the rest of the evening.
Dehumidification – All air conditioners by default dehumidify the environment as the method of cooling involves removing the excess moisture from the air. So all portable air conditioners can be cool the air as well as dehumidify the environment.
Heating & Cooling (3-In-1) – Some newer portable air conditioning models such as the latest Meaco portable air conditioning range have the added ability to heat which make them 3-in-1 units. Cooling for the summer months, heating for the colder months and dehumidifying all year round. This makes them amazing investments as they can be used all year round.


All filters, air intakes and grilles need to be kept clean at all times in order for the unit to maintain peak performance. Filters can get dirty quickly so it is important to clean them regularly. There may be a small amount of water in the unit’s internal water tank which will have to be emptied on a regular basis to ensure the tank doesn’t overflow causing water to leak.

At, we pride ourselves on providing a quality range of air conditioners from the best manufacturers at only the best prices. If you're unsure as to which air conditioner is right for you, you can use our LiveChat to speak to an expert, or if you prefer to speak to someone, our dedicated Customer Services team are on hand to assist. Call us on 0800 865 4567