The 7 Best Garage Air Conditioners – [2021 Reviews]

Cool your garage or workspace with a portable air conditioner, we examine the year's top models

Our Editors independently research, test, and rate what we feel are the best products. We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

While garages are great for the obvious purpose of stowing cars away safely, they can also be used as an extra office, workshop, and so much more.

If you spend a lot of time in your garage, chances are you’ve experienced a time where it was unbearably hot or muggy in there.

Sometimes, a fan just doesn’t cut it. What you need is one of the top garage ac units, so we’ve done the research  to bring you the top models on the market!

Best Garage Air Conditioners

 SereneLife Compact Air ConditionerWhynter ARC-14S Portable Air ConditionerBLACK + DECKER BPACT12WT Air Conditioner
editors choice
BTUs:10,00014,00012,000
Remote Control:YesYes
Yes
Cooling Area:300 sq ft500 sq ft500 sq ft
Other:Very quiet, 57 dBUses CFC free Green R-32 refrigerant24-hour timer

For more of my garage recommendations, have a look through these popular Outside Pursuits guide links: Garage Storage Systems, Garage Door Openers, Floor Jacks.

Quick Answer: The 7 Best Rated Garage Air Conditioners For 2021

  1. SereneLife Compact Portable Air Conditioner
  2. Whynter ARC-14S Portable Air Conditioner
  3. BLACK + DECKER BPACT12WT Portable Air Conditioner
  4. Shinco Portable Air Conditioner
  5. DeLonghi Portable Air Conditioner
  6. hOmelabs Portable Air Conditioner
  7. Hessaire MC37M Portable Evaporative Cooler

Our reviews of the top rated garage air conditioners with our comparison table and buyers guide will help you choose the right air conditioner for you.


Garage Air Conditioner Reviews

SereneLife Compact Freestanding Portable Air Conditioner at a Glance:

  • BTUs: 10,000
  • Remote Control: Yes
  • Cooling Area: 300 sq ft
  • Other: Very quiet, 57 dB

Starting things off on the right foot, we bring you what’s often considered to be the best garage AC unit: the SereneLife Compact Freestanding Portable Air Conditioner.

Ideal for spaces of up to 300 square feet, it’s perfect for garages as well as a home office, bedroom, and living room. As it’s so compact and lightweight, it’s extra portable for easy movement between spaces in your home.

With 10,000 BTU cooling power and rated at 920W, it’s powerful yet surprisingly quiet. So quiet in fact, that it’s no louder than a quiet conversation or a dishwasher running. This means that you’ll be able to sleep or work with complete focus while it’s operating.

3 operating modes allows you to use it for cooling, dehumidifying, and fan. It’s quite easy for garages to become humid and musty, so all of these features ensure that yours will stay clean and at a comfortable moisture level. The automatic swing mode with moving wind vents offer excellent air circulation, on top of that!

Feel free to stay where you are to change any of these settings, as it comes with an included remote. The push-button control panel right on the top of the unit looks sleek and modern. It’s very user-friendly, including an LED display which lets you change the mode and temperature unit.


Whynter ARC-14S Portable Air Conditioner at a Glance:

  • BTUs: 14,000
  • Remote Control: Yes
  • Cooling Area: 500 sq ft
  • Other: Uses CFC free Green R-32 refrigerant

Next up is the Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner. This one also features the ability to dehumidify and fan, which means your garage will stay at a level that’s never too dry nor too humid. If you are looking for a more robust, powerful AC unit then this is an excellent option.

Earning awards from both Good Housekeeping and Consumer Reports, it’s not just us who was impressed by the ARC-14S’s performance! If you’re searching for a portable AC that’s capable of cooling up to a 500-square-foot space, this one should be one of your top choices.

This is a sleek, modern AC that features a style which almost looks like a throwback to vintage models with the platinum-and-black colorway. At the top front of the unit, you’ll see a nicely-sized blue LCD screen with all user controls.

You can also control everything with the included remote control, for added convenience. With a dehumidifying capacity of up to 71 pints per day, it’s perfect for more humid climates.

The eco-friendly, CFC-free green R-32 refrigerant is a much more feasible option if you’re looking for an air conditioner that is healthier for our planet and your family’s well-being. The auto-drain technology also uses and recycles moisture which is gathered while in use.


BLACK + DECKER Portable Air Conditioner at a Glance:

  • BTUs: 12,000
  • Remote Control: Yes
  • Cooling Area: 500 sq ft
  • Other: 24-hour timer

Black + Decker is definitely a household name recognized for creating high-quality, user-friendly appliances. Their BPACT12WT Portable Air Conditioner is exemplary of that, offering good looks, easy use, and efficient operation. Much like our last model, this one also features a nice balance of power and quiet functioning.

With a 12,000 BTU capacity, you can count on being cool and dry, even during the muggiest seasons. This one is perfect for significantly smaller garages, as it’s made to cool spaces up to 150 square feet. If you’re someone who also needs a cooler for your RV or bedroom, it’s very effective.

Installation is required with this model, though isn’t all that difficult. In fact, it’ll very likely take you less than 30 minutes to have it up and running.

Much like the others, you have the same 3 modes: cool, fan, and dehumidifying. All focus on energy efficiency, and along with a 24-hour timer you can make sure it turns off and on exactly when you need it to.

We loved the ease of cleaning the filters instead of having to buy and waste disposable ones. Simply take it out at least twice a month, rinse it under water, and put it back!

We also love B+D for their overall excellent build quality that’s made to last. You can count on having yours for many years to come.


 

Shinco Portable Air Conditioner at a Glance:

  • BTUs: 12,000
  • Remote Control: Yes
  • Cooling Area: 400 sq ft
  • Other: Very quiet, 52 dB

The best portable air conditioner for garage use is undoubtedly the one that’s lightweight, powerful, and easy to use. The Shinco 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner definitely fits the bill, with its handy dehumidifier and fan function, and so much more.

The all-white design is basic and comes with a user-friendly LED display for quick and seamless operation. Ideal for spaces of up to 400 square feet, this model is nice for bigger garages and rooms.

Most of us have experienced those sluggish AC units that take forever to cool a room after you turn it on. You don’t have to melt waiting around – this unit cools quickly.

Once it reaches your desired temperature, simply switch it to the first speed level or all the way off. You can create a more streamlined process by simply using the included remote control or the 24-hour timer which will turn the air conditioner off and on as you wish.

Noise production does vary, depending on what speed level you have it set on. However, this is the case for just about any model. Overall, it’s actually one of the quieter ones in this price range!

You may not need an AC unit that stays just in one place. If you’d like to move it to different locations within your garage or to different locations around your home, there are castor wheels that facilitate this.


DeLonghi Portable Air Conditionerat a Glance:

  • BTUs: 11,500
  • Remote Control: Yes
  • Cooling Area: 500 sq ft
  • Other: Washable air filter

It’s always nice knowing that your products are made with real, high-quality materials. DeLonghi is a company which places special focus on keeping things in the US, where they’re located.

Their PACEM370 WH Penguino Portable Air Conditioner is a great example of quality and attention to detail taken in both appearance and functionality. This model comes in both 11,000 BTUs and 11,500 BTUs, but we had the pleasure of using the latter as it covers up to 500 square feet instead of 400.

We found it to distribute cool and conditioned air evenly over larger garages. Its intuitive controls and 3-in-1 settings mean that even the least tech-savvy person will be able to operate it without a hitch.

If you’re someone who places a special focus on eco-friendly products, then you’ll definitely want to take a look at the Penguino. It’s been reported to be up to 17% more effective than other models in this price range, which will help you save money on your electricity bills.

A washable dust filter means that you won’t be using disposable ones, which can really add up. Simply wash it in your sink for a no-mess experience that will clean everything up.

The noise on this one also varies, though even at the higher levels it’s still pretty quiet.


hOmelabs Portable Air Conditioner at a Glance:

  • BTUs: 10,000
  • Remote Control: Yes
  • Cooling Area: 450 – 600 sq ft
  • Other: Washable air filter

hOmelabs is one of those brands that are forward-thinking and visually eye-catching. Their 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner comes in a very unique, all-white design that doesn’t mess around with bulkiness or unnecessary extras. If you’re on the hunt for the best portable AC for garage use, you have to give this one a serious look.

The portable AC is very compact and lightweight, including wheels that make it a breeze to move around wherever you need it. All you have to do is attach the hose and window slide adapter, plug in the power supply, and you’re ready for liftoff!

One of our favorite features was undoubtedly the horizontal auto-swing feature. Once you turn it on, the air outlet door opens up all the way. Simply press the “swing” button and it will start moving from side-to-side. This is great for more even air distribution as well as making sure it doesn’t dry any one spot out.

This quiet air conditioner is perfect if you need to use it while sleeping or focusing on something that requires a lot of attention. The full-feature remote control comes included and lets you change the AC settings to your liking without getting out of bed or off your seat.


Hessaire MC37M Portable Evaporative Coolerat a Glance:

  • BTUs: N/A (Evaporative Cooler)
  • Remote Control: Yes
  • Cooling Area: 950 sq ft
  • Other: Continuous fill option with a household hose

The Hessair MC37M Portable Evaporative Cooler is certainly a unique one in terms of looks and power. The all-gray color scheme looks industrial yet simultaneously modern and trendy.

While the Hessair is not an actual air conditioner, it uses evaporative cooling instead but it definitely packs a punch with its ability to cool up to 950 square feet.

Due to its super-charged cooling capabilities, you can expect it to be a bit less portable. This one weighs 39 pounds, so it’s more well-suited towards stationary or semi-stationary garage use. However, it does come with 4 tough, locking caster wheels if you’d like to roll it around anywhere.

With 3 fan speeds and oscillating louvers, you can expect cool and conditioned air to be distributed evenly, with wide coverage. You get manual and continuous fill options here, simply by hooking up a household hose with the included float adapter. This means you never have to hassle with watching and filling up the water tank.

You’ll find 3-sided, rigid, high-density cooling pads in this unit which make for enhanced evaporative surface area. This results in even more cooling efficiency! 3 rotary controls let you change the speed and oscillation motor, though you also get an included remote control to do so from a distance.


Garage Air Conditioner Comparison Table

Garage A/C Units BTUsRemote ControlCooling AreaOtherRating
SereneLife Compact Air Conditioner10,000Yes300 sq ftVery quiet, 57 dB4.3 / 5.0
Whynter ARC-14S Portable Air Conditioner14,000Yes500 sq ftUses CFC free Green R-32 refrigerant4.3 / 5.0
BLACK + DECKER BPACT12WT Air Conditioner12,000Yes500 sq ft24-hour timer4.4 / 5.0
Shinco Portable Air Conditioner12,000Yes400 sq ftVery quiet, 52 dB4.5 / 5.0
DeLonghi Portable Air Conditioner11,500Yes500 sq ftWashable air filter4.9 / 5.0
hOmelabs Portable Air Conditioner10,000Yes450 - 600 sq ftWashable air filter4.3 / 5.0
Hessaire MC37M Evaporative CoolerN/AYes950 sq ftContinuous fill option with a household hose4.4 / 5.0

How to Choose the Best Garage AC Unit – Buying Guide

best portable ac for garage

Now that you’ve read through all of our reviews of garage AC units, have you decided which one is right for your garage? If not, then we’re here to help. We know it can be challenging trying to narrow it down to just 1 model when there are so many great ones on our guide.

However, that’s exactly what we’re going to do with the following buying guide. We’ll take you through each step that you should consider when choosing the right type.

Size/BTU Rating

Before anything else, you need to be looking at the size or cooling capacity of the air conditioner. To do this, it’s important to know the size of your garage first! Don’t just take into consideration the width and length; you need to be looking at the height as well!

This is because air fills up an entire space and trying to cool it is going to be difficult if the AC isn’t rated for the right size. The cooling capacity of an air conditioner is measured in BTUs, or “British Thermal Units”. This is only a guide:

For a 1-car garage you will want around 7,200 BTUs. For 300 square feet, 9,000 BTUs. For a 2-car garage, 13,200 BTUs is ideal. For a 500 square-foot garage, go to around 15,000 BTUs.

If you can’t find a model that suits your garage size exactly, it’s absolutely better to go for the more powerful option.

Noise

The noise of these models are all pretty similar, though there is a bit of variation. Noise may not be that big of a deal, depending on what you’re using it for. If it’s autobody work, for example, you’re probably not going to even notice.

However, if you’re using a garage for tasks that require your utmost attention or you’ve converted the garage into a spare bedroom, then keeping things quiet will be more essential.

You want an AC unit that is between 42 to 68 dBa, though if you can get it in the 50s range or lower, that’s ideal. Remember that you can always keep things quiet by running the unit on the lowest speed level.

Portability

What are you going to use your air conditioner for? If it’s really only for keeping it in one spot in your garage, then portability won’t make that big of a difference. However, if you’re going to use it in the garage, your bedroom, kitchen, home office, etc. then portability will play a much bigger role.

Take a look at how much the unit weighs, first. Anything under 40 pounds will be pretty simple to move around – more so if it comes with castor wheels. There are some models that weigh around 80 pounds, which makes a big difference in portability.

Also take into consideration the bulkiness of the unit, and if the model comes with any handles that would further facilitate movement.

Energy Efficiency/Rating

Whether you care about the planet or simply your energy bill, you’re going to want a more energy-efficient machine. The more efficient an AC unit is, the more you’re going to save and the smaller your carbon footprint will be.

If applicable, select a model with a good SEER or EER rating. Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) measures how efficient an air conditioner operates over a season, while the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is a standardized measurement of the efficiency of an air conditioner. The higher the ratio is, the more efficient the unit.

These ratings means that the air conditioner uses less energy to function so nothing goes to waste.

Generally speaking, portable garage air conditioners tend to use the most energy, though it’s not an absolute rule.

Modes

You may notice that the vast majority of these models come with 3 different operational modes. These modes are typically: Cooling, Dehumidifying, and Fan. Of course, this depends on your climate and garage as well. If you don’t have any issues with humidity for example, you probably will only want cooling and fan.

You may not want fan, either, as you may find cooling to be enough! Musty garages (and most) typically benefit from all 3. It all comes down to your own personal preferences and condition of your garage.

There’s an extra feature that we love, and that’s the 24-hour timer. The 24-hour timer lets you select the time when you want your AC unit to turn on and off, without actually having to be there to set it up. This is really great if you’re using the AC unit while you’re working or sleeping.

User Panel/Remote

The panel of the unit will obviously let you change up the modes, temperature, and more. However, not every one is the same. You want one that is easy to see in the light and the dark, responds quickly to touch, and is overall user-friendly.

We also recommend getting yourself an air conditioner that comes with a remote control, so you don’t have to get up and walk over to the unit itself to change settings or turn it off/on.

Maintenance

As with all appliances, garage air conditioners need to be properly maintained to keep them working as they should but also to extend their lifespan as long as possible.

The good news is that garage air conditioners are pretty easy to maintain, as long as your garage is relatively clean, as well. If you have all kinds of sawdust, dirt, dust, etc. flying around then you’ll obviously need to clean it more often.

Many units feature easy-access filters which can simply be slid out and washed in the sink whenever grime starts building up. Many come with built-in indicator lights to give you a visual alert when it needs to be cleaned.

Price

How much are you willing to spend on a good portable ac for a garage? Remember that it will offer you years upon years of cooling and comfort. Whatever the budget is that you have set for yourself, we’re confident that we have at least one model that will fit nicely into it.

However, also make sure you’re taking a look at the included warranty as a product may look more affordable upfront, but will come with a much shorter warranty than the more expensive one. A good warranty can save you a ton of time and money!

FAQs About Garage Air Conditioners

Q: How many BTUs does it take to cool a 2 car garage?

A: Two car garages can vary in sizes of course but we feel that approximately 13,000 BTUS should be sufficient.

Q: Should you insulate a garage?

A: It’s not a bad idea at all. Insulating your garage can help minimize the transfer of heat from the exterior of your home to the inside of your garage. It can also keep cool air in better!

Q: What should I look for when buying a portable air conditioner?

A: Well, you obviously want it to be portable and effective at cooling! It should be versatile in operation modes, move side-to-side if possible, have a remote control, and be energy-efficient.

Q: Which is best, a portable AC or split AC?

A: For a garage, you’re almost always going to be better off with a portable air conditioner. Split AC units are also awesome, but they’re more well-suited for even larger spaces than garages typically are. If you need to move your AC around, then it’s going to be pretty difficult doing so with a split.

Q: Is it worth buying a portable air conditioner?

A: Absolutely! You can use it not only in your garage but in every room in your home. If you have a large shed you could also use it there as well, assuming you have electricity.

Tips For Choosing Garage Air Conditioners

#1: Make sure you know if your garage has insulation or not.

If your garage doesn’t have any insulation, then you need to add on 2,000 to 4,000 BTUs to the size that is recommended for your garage size.

#2: Replace any insulation/insulating strips around your garage door.

Have you ever felt how hot garage doors get in the summertime? Garages can contribute a ton to the heat of a garage, so make sure you have proper insulation around it.

#3: If you have a window in your garage, consider blacking it out.

That is, if you don’t use the window or like the light coming in. If you like your window, then definitely just keep it as is!

Summary

Now that you know probably everything you could ever want to about some good portable garage air conditioners, have you decided which model is right for you? We hope that our guide was able to help you pick the perfect one.

Just remember, that whichever one you select, you’ll be receiving one of the best in the world. Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll see you again soon!

How We Researched

To come up with the top portable air conditioners for garages, we researched a variety of sources for reviews such as Target and Walmart along with our own personal experience.

We also consulted online magazines for product research and reviews to get as much unbiased information as we could. To help weed out fake reviews we used Fakespot.com to make sure we only looked at genuine reviews.

With so much quality gear available, we had to narrow it down based on what we felt were the best options were for the price. The staff authors have a wide and varied background in home repairs, and auto mechanics. They are eager to share their knowledge with readers.

To help narrow down the selection we used personal experiences along with recommendations from fellow auto-enthusiasts and industry experts.

After extensive research, we came up with our list to help you choose the right one for you.

Sources

Notice:

OutsidePursuits.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. OutsidePursuits.com earns fees from products sold through qualifying purchases by linking to Amazon.com. Amazon offers a commission on products sold through their affiliate links.

Richard Remick

Richard is the founder and the chief editor of Outside Pursuits. Passionate about the great outdoors, Richard spends much of his time in Colorado enjoying skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, cycling, hiking, and camping. When at home in Florida, he is most often found in the water. He loves water sports such as paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving. He is a certified scuba diver. Because of his wealth of knowledge and experience, Richard has been invited to contribute articles to many outdoor-focused websites, such as Florida Rambler, and has been profiled on travel websites such as JohnnyJet.

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