Portable Air Conditioners Might Not Use As Much of Electricity As You Think

Use of Electricity

No matter which part of the world you live in, the summer months may get humid. The sun can become uncomfortable even in cooler climates, and the moisture can be even worse. Luckily for everyone out there, we now have air conditioners.

Do portable air conditioners use a lot of electricity? It depends on how many hours you use them. But the electricity these units use is only ⅛ that of central air units. Also, depending on the unit status, portable A/C’s can cost more than they should.

Even if the portable A/C is smaller than conventional A/C systems, it still uses electricity to perform. If you want to know the estimated electricity bill of your portable A/C, this article is for you.

How Much Electricity Does a Portable Air Conditioner Use?

A portable air conditioner uses the same equipment, whether ductless or central A/C, as a standard air conditioner. The distinction is that the portable A/C is smaller, no permanent installation is required, and it is mobile.

The downside is that a hot air vent is required. It makes louder noises, and comparatively smaller areas are cooled down. The amount of energy it uses will also depend on your portable A/C’s BTU.


If you do not understand the terms, you cannot figure out how much electricity it uses. The British Thermal Unit (or BTU) is a word you may have learned but may not truly comprehend.

In air conditioning, the BTU is the unit used to measure the air conditioner’s cooling capacity.

One BTU is the same amount of energy used to cool 1 pound of water by 1° Fahrenheit for the air conditioner. It sounds scientific, and I suppose it is, but it’s just about your unit’s strength.

Fortunately, some units list the numbers on the label, so you don’t have to determine the BTU. If the BTU is not listed, go to Google and type in your model number and manufacturer.

10,000 BTUs Rated 1010 Watts Portable Air Conditioner

Unit Example: Midea 3kW Portable A/C

It has a 10,000 BTU cooling capacity or 0.834 tons. You can see that it runs at 220 Volts, 4.5 Amperes using 1010 Watts. If the unit were to run for a whole hour, it would use 1010 watts. That is equivalent to running 10 old-style 100-Watt light bulbs for one hour.

But how much power is consumed by a portable air conditioner if the portable A/C runs for an hour? We get 1.01 kW as we convert 1010 watts of energy into kilowatts.

  1. Calculate the amount of energy used in one hour by 24. This is to see how much electricity a portable air conditioner uses if it operates for 24 hours. We’re going to get 24.24 kWh in this situation. That means $2.84 higher energy costs.

  2. We would multiply the energy used in a day by 30 if we kept the unit working for the whole month. We have 727.2 kWh, which costs about $85.44.

We referred to a 10,000 BTU portable A/C device rated 1010 Watts to explain how much energy a portable air conditioner uses:

  • When working for one hour, 1.01kWh
  • When running for one day, 24.24 kWh
  • When working for the whole month, 727.2 kWh

Multiply the previous prices with the real energy cost in your region to get the same electricity price.

12,000 BTU Rated At 1160 Watts Portable Air Conditioner

Unit Example: Black & Decker 12000 Portable A/C

The model BPACT12H is rated 1160 Watts. We will see how much electricity a portable air conditioner uses in one hour, in one full day, and at the end of the whole month.

For every hour, the Black & Decker portable air conditioner uses 1,16 kWh of electricity. During one entire day of running, it will take 27.84 kWh, and in a full month, 835.2 kWh.

Considering the electricity price, here are the following expenses:

  • $0.1363 per hour
  • $3.2712 per day
  • $98.136 for a whole month continuously

Advantage of Portable Air Conditioners

When you spend more of your time in one room, there is no need to cool down your whole home. You’ll save about 1% on your energy bill for each degree.

You’ll save 3% to 5% on your electricity bill on each degree above 78°F. You’ll experience lower energy costs with a portable cooling device without losing convenience.

Enjoy Year-Round Temperature Management

There is no need to forego the money-saving advantages of a portable unit if you have a central air unit. Such an investment will help keep the electricity bills stable over the year.

Some units, adding to their year-round appeal, also have a heating capability.

Fun Features

Some portable air conditioners are more like high-tech gadgets than conventional air conditioners. The more functionality the unit provides, the more likely it is that you can save money.

Keep the temperature up when nobody is around, and change the temperature to something more relaxing before you get back.

Multi-Tasking Abilities

There are also portable air conditioners that double as multiple units. For example, some units have air dehumidifiers and air purifiers with HEPA filters and efficient air conditioners.

If a dehumidifying feature is included in the device, the humidity levels within your home can be lowered.

But remember, the BTU is also a decent indicator of how much space a multitasking portable unit can cool. The larger the machine’s BTU, the colder the unit’s room will be.

Make Your Home More Efficient

Try buying a small room air conditioner if you want to save on your electric bill while cooling a room. Using this machine to augment your cooling will save you a significant amount of money during the summer months.


The energy ratings, size, and strength of portable air conditioning systems differ. Ensure that the device is clean, particularly during the winter season, and that no dust can block the filter.

The air conditioning unit works harder and consumes more electricity when there is dirt or debris in the filter. This results in higher bills and could shorten the unit’s life as well.

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