Portable and window air conditioners offer some cheaper alternatives to more expensive central air conditioning units. Portable air conditioners range from $300 to $1,500, while window air conditioners range from $200 to $1,000, plus any additional expense for installation.
The main advantages of a portable air conditioner are being able to cool individual rooms and not having to take up an entire window space. Portable air conditioners also do not require complicated installation, in most cases you can simply set them up and go. The disadvantage is their slightly higher price and the general lack of energy efficiency.
Window air conditioners offer very good energy efficiency and many have Energy Star ratings. They typically cost less than portable air conditioners and offer the same convenience of cooling one room. The window installation means that it does not take up any floor space. The disadvantage to this is that it does take up part of the window, which may result in the loss of daylight coming in or a view. The other potential disadvantage is the fact that some home owners associations frown on the unsightly appearance of window air conditioners. Another possibility is a unit installed through the wall; however, this requires a professional installer.