Ventless Portable Air Conditioners: The Reality!

When you want to keep cool during summer, a ventless portable air conditioner without exhaust hose venting sounds like total freedom.

But does this attractive sounding ″no vent air cooler″ even really exist? Are there really any portable, ventless air conditioners in existence, that don't require venting?

And where can you buy one of these appliances, if they are available on sale in stores?

Just to set the record straight for those that are not quite sure if a portable, unvented AC is even possible, let's look at what we have here. Until someone invents an alternative, aside from misting fans or regular fans that just move air around the room, we are limited to the two main types of air cooling device:

  1. Refrigerant-based air conditioner (AC)
  2. Ventless evaporative air cooler (swamp cooler)

Let's take a look at the two types in a little more depth to see the differences between them. We'll start with air conditioners:

Air Conditioning Fact:

portable air conditioner window ventedWithout exception, all refrigerant-based air conditioners must have a way to vent the hot air they produce as a by-product of the heat exchange process that produces the cold air.

The science is pretty simple to understand here. Just like your domestic fridge, a process that involves a motorized compressor to compress the refrigerant gas and create the heat-exchange mechanism to create the chilled air.

Why an AC Produces Heat

Motors produce heat through mechanical work. That heat can be considerable, depending on how hard the motor is working.

A domestic fridge produces a lot less hot air than an AC unit because it has far less volume of air to chill. Simply that!

Where Does the Heat Go?

So whatever you might think, or whatever you might be told by a slick salesman, a traditional AC must have a way to remove the hot air it produces and not exhaust it directly into the room that needs to be cooled.

That means the hot air has to go outside somehow!

That "somehow" is via a venting duct or exhaust hose. A fixed, mini-split or window AC system has a permanent link to the outside of the building so there is no need for a visible hose.

Exhaust Vent Hose

However, a portable AC unit needs to make use of a flexible exhaust vent hose that comes with it. The hose must be connected to a suitable exterior venting hole, installed window kit or, at its most basic, simply hung out of a slightly open window to allow the hot air to get out of the room.

Now let's take a look at evaporative (swamp) coolers:

Evaporative Coolers

ventless portable evaporative air coolerThe alternative way to create cool air indoors (or out) with a free standing, movable unit is to get an evaporative or swamp cooler (the real name for a vent-free portable or room air cooling unit).

This type of device does not employ a refrigerant plus mechanical compressor system to create cool air. It therefore does not produce any heat.

Simply put, these coolers do not need to be vented or make use of an exhaust hose. They are therefore truly "ventless" portable coolers.

Do Ventless Air Conditioners Work?

Yes they do!

Completely "no vent needed" portable cooling devices, evaporative coolers (swamp coolers) create airflow to cool you like a cool breeze. There is no refrigeration process or compressor to produce hot air like like an air conditioner that must be vented.

An evaporative cooler does not reduce the overall temperature inside a room or dry the air in the same way an air conditioner does. Instead it cools by evaporation, humidifying the air.

Evaporative Coolers are Not Air Conditioners

The point to be realized here is this: While these coolers are indeed vent-free and may closely, visually resemble what is often described as a ″portable air conditioner, no vent required″ and while they certainly do produce lots of cool air, they are NOT air conditioners!

These cooling devices rely on the evaporation of moisture to create cold air that is forced through and out of the unit by a powerful fan.

Cooling by Evaporation

The air comes into the unit, is saturated with moisture and blasted out many degrees colder than it went in!

The other major point to bear in mind here is that a true AC can use upwards of 1-2 kilowatts of power (1,000-2,000 watts) to run, while a comparable evaporative unit only needs to use between 100-200 watts of electricity to do the same job.

That represents a considerable saving in energy and results in much lower electricity utility bills for the summer!

Not for Humid Conditions

The major downside is that evaporative coolers do not perform very well in areas of high humidity.

Their ability to produce cold air is greatly reduced as the level of moisture naturally occurring in the air rises. That's especially humidity levels above 50-60%.

Would You Buy a Portable Evaporative Cooler?

If you believe where you live has the right atmospheric circumstances for an evaporative cooler to work well and provide you with low cost coolness, why not take a look at one of the top models currently on sale online?

There are some really great units on sale right now, but it makes sense to get the best of the available models when it's offered.

Top Rated Cooler

It just so happens that I ran across this top rated cooler the other day while searching for stuff on the electrical appliance store Sylvane's website. I was so impressed, I thought I would share it with you. The cooler is made by Hessaire, a highly respected brand in air coolers and is pictured below.

Note: As a Sylvane affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Hessaire MC37V 3,100 CFM Evaporative Cooler

Get the best of both worlds with this cooler that is perfectly at home indoors or outdoors, blasting out a gust of chilled air to keep you cool!

This powerful swamp cooler from Hessaire has a high output of 3,100 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute), making it perfect for outdoor use as well as indoors, in the garage or workshop or in a covered porch.

It is easily capable of cooling an indoor space of up to 950 sq ft without needing to be connected to a window by an ugly plastic hose, or guzzling up kilowatts of your electricity supply!

Note: Max energy consumption is only 250 watts!

Manual Controls

This model is as simple to use as any air conditioning unit with its easy-to-use on-board manual control panel.

You can set the fan speed and louvre oscillation for total control or use it in fan-only mode for those times when you don't need so much cooling power.

It's the perfect cooler for anyone who loves simplicity over complexity!

With no remote to keep misplacing (yeah, I do that all the time!) and no complicated digital controls on-board, this very simple cooler has far fewer things that can go wrong!

Large Water Reservoir

Hessaire MC37V features a 10.3 gallon water reservoir that will allow the unit to keep running overnight without needing to be refilled.

For outdoor use, it has a standard garden hose connector so you can hook it up to your garden hose and keep it running continually for those hot days when you're outdoors perhaps relaxing on your patio or around the pool.

Click the image above right to visit the product page at the Sylvane website to ge the full details and current discount price (with free shipping) that will, I'm sure, pleasantly surprise you!


Note: I personally recommend Sylvane now because it's a dedicated electrical appliance store specializing in air cooling, purifying and dehumidifying, so their staff know what they're talking about and their after-sales service is excellent.

Plus the prices are comparable to all the major online retail stores... and you get free shipping on these models!

Here are some other great swamp coolers that you may be interested in taking a closer look at:

Honeywell CL30XC Portable Evaporative Air Cooler

This great portable air cooler from Honeywell provides an option for cooling smaller rooms in your home or in the office that is energy efficient during hot, dry weather conditions.

This is a slightly smaller, more compact cooler than the model from Hessaire above and while it doesn't pack the same level of cooling power, it's perfect for smaller areas up to 320 sq ft and for spot cooling.

A really useful feature is its programmable capability. Using an easy-to-use digital LED control panel, you can program in the fan speed, swing louvers and start/end runtimes which are also controllable via the remote.


Take a look at these attractive features:

Please note: This device works best in hot dry climates. That means the air humidity needs to be low in your area.

You can click the image (above right) to visit the Sylvane product page for full details, customer feedback and specifications.

Champion CP70 Ultracool Evaporative Cooler

Here is a nicely compact, lightweight, yet surprisingly powerful 700 CFM portable swamp cooler from the Champion brand of coolers.

Designed to be used mainly indoors in the home or in a garage, workshop or a small shop of up to 350 sq ft, this cooler is equally at home outside or in a covered porch to keep you and your family cool wherever you meed it!

Featuring low maintenance operation and 70% less energy than a comparable air conditioner, this cooler can drop the temperature by as much as 25 degrees in ideal conditions (low humidity).

Adjustable Fan Speeds

It also features three cooling speeds, a programmable 8-hour timer and oscillating louvers for dispersing the cold air around the room as needed.

A good-sized, 6 gallon water reservoir will keep this cooler going for several hours plus there's a low water alarm that tells you when it need refilling.

Super low power consumption at max only 84 watts, saving a lot of money off electricity bills!

Check this cooler out at Sylvane by clicking the image above right for full details and great low price (with free shipping).

Hobson's Choice: When a Portable Air Conditioner is Needed

If you live in an area with low humidity, you are in luck as you can take advantage of the low power consuming evaporative option to keep cool.

If you have high humidity, your options are limited to the more costly air conditioning solution along with the vent hose and the additional expense in power consumption!

However, it's not all bad.

How to Stay Cool in Humid Climates

There are a number of excellent portable air conditioners we can recommend that are better suited to more humid climates and provide cooling relief from the heat without costing quite as much as you may expect.

There are also some clever self evaporating portable AC units that don't need periodic draining and are even more energy efficient thanks to their clever technology.

Smart Portable ACs

While I'm mentioning clever tech stuff, I should also mention that you can now buy smart portable air conditioners that are WiFi enabled so that you can program and control them remotely from your phone if you like.

Things are certainly moving forward at a rapid pace in the world of indoor climate management!

However, let's return our attention to evaporative coolers and cover some concerns new users may have about them.

Should a Window Be Open for Evaporative Coolers?

While it could be said that it is an unwritten law that all windows must be closed when running an air conditioner (to keep the heat out and the cool in), things are different for vent free evaporative (swamp) coolers.

Since these coolers create cold air by evaporating water, they subsequently create a lot of additional humidity in the inside air. As the humidity rises, the cooling efficiency drops.

For this reason, keeping windows open even just a little to create a cross draft and carry that extra humid air outside is a really good idea to help the cooler remain effective and keep that chilled air coming!

So yes, windows should be open for evaporative cooling to work as best they can, keeping you cool in summer for a great deal less in energy consumption than comparable air conditioning devices.

Portable Air Conditioner, No Vent

You can find out a lot more about what is often referred to as an "unvented air conditioning unit" that is not really an AC (without vent hose), but is a truly unvented air cooling option that works by evaporation, not refrigeration.

Here is a great external resource that explains this device in a great and highly informative website that really gets into what the unfortunately mistakenly described type of "portable air conditioner no vent" coolers really are and how they keep you cool.

Additionally, that site provides plenty more great resources for buying the best of them for your needs.

Also, staying with this site, check this out if you want to know how well ventless air conditioners work, or take a look at this to know if ventless air conditioners are any good.

There are lots of good reasons to choose an effective evaporative cooler (ventless portable air conditioner) when you live in a dry climate, to keep you cool in summer while you save money on energy bills and be kinder to the environment while you're about it!

Last Updated: June 12, 2022

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