Heating & Cooling, Air Conditioners

Best Portable Heat Pump in 2024: Your Ultimate Buying Guide

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Investing in special appliances is always a costly endeavor. When dropping those precious dollars on something new, you always have to ask yourself, how can I get the most out of this device, or better, what else can this little beauty do? 

Air conditioners already find themselves in an excellent position, thanks to them reducing the overall temperature of your home. Still, they are drawing air into the unit and filtering it before re-releasing it. They function doubly as air purifiers.

If it is not outright removing the heat from the air, it disperses it throughout the room as a fan does. However, one must wonder if they can use a portable air conditioner as a heater.

For your portable air conditioner to function as a heater, it has to come equipped with a heat option. Otherwise, you can only use a portable air conditioner to cool the air around which it is installed. 

Best Portable Heat Pumps

Best Overall Top Pick
Whynter 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner, Dehumidifier, Fan & Heater with Activated Carbon Filter
$679.99 $559.99

The Whynter 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner provides powerful cooling over large areas. It is designed to operate in temperatures between 68 degrees and 104 degrees.

The unit features a dual hose design for increased flexibility, remote control with LCD display, and an easy-to-use electronic control panel for simple operation.

This portable air conditioner has an auto evaporation system that automatically monitors the tank's water level and shuts off when full to prevent overflow. It also includes smart drain technology that prevents water from being trapped inside.

Featuring a dual hose system that allows you to direct cool air where it's most needed. This unit can be used as an air conditioner, dehumidifier, fan, or heater. With its sleek design and quiet operation of fewer than 56 decibels, this unit will keep your home cool and comfortable all year round.

It's perfect for cooling down a 500-square-foot space. With four operational modes and a dehumidifying capacity of 71 pints per day, this portable air conditioner is perfect for any environment. The self-evaporating system fully exhausts all condensate automatically in most environments, and the 1300-watt power consumption makes it eco-friendly.

With four operational modes, three fan speeds, and an Eco-friendly CFC-free Green R-32 refrigerant, this air conditioner is perfect for any environment.

This unit includes an adjustable louvered venting system that can be set to exhaust the hot air outside or in the room. The ARC-14S features two separate hose connections: one for intake and one for exhaust. The intake hose is designed to connect directly to your window, while the exhaust hose can extend up to 60 inches away from the unit (with included extender) so you can easily direct airflow where it's needed most.

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02/20/2024 04:54 pm GMT
Best for Small Rooms
BLACK+DECKER 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Heat and Remote Control
$429.00

This is it if you are looking for the best portable air conditioner heater unit. This Black & Decker 6,000 BTU portable A/C and heater combo unit will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It's a dual-functioning air conditioner that can cool up to 55°F and heat up to 81°F. It's perfect for small rooms like dorms, apartments, cabins, campers, offices, bedrooms, or garages.

This portable unit provides steady & fast cooling and heating for spaces approximately 20' x 25'. It's ideal to use in spaces that cannot support traditional window-mounted AC units.

The simple remote control and top-mounted LED display with a 24-hour timer to allow you to precisely control the air temperature.

The 4-in-1 functionality of the COOL, FAN, HEAT & DEHUMIDIFY settings meet your home cooling, heating, & ventilation needs. The SLEEP, MAX & AIR SWING functions control airflow. To clean the filter, just slide it out twice a month.

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02/20/2024 01:59 pm GMT
Best Smart Model
Ukoke Smart WiFi Portable 12000 BTU Air Conditioner - with Cool, Heat, Dehumidifier & Fan
$449.00 $313.58

Ukoke’s Smart WiFi Portable Air Conditioner, Heat, Dehumidifier, Fan with Voice Control and Mobile App Control is the perfect climate-control solution for your home or office. With Alexa Voice Control and the Ukoke App, you can easily turn your AC unit on/off and adjust the desired temperature.

The traditional remote control allows you to manually control your Portable AC from the digital LED display panel. The lightweight and compact design makes it easy to move from room to room, and the built-in handle provides easy portability.

The Ukoke Smart Portable Air Conditioner, Heat, Dehumidifier, Fan is 4 in 1 multifunctional appliance combining Cooling, Heating, Dehumidifying and High/Medium/Low fan modes with an added Swing function to adjust wind direction. The 12K BTU cooling capacity heats or cools up to 400 square feet of floor space.

This portable unit comes with four wheels on the bottom for easy movement, and is certified by Intertek for product safety and quality assurance. If you have any quality issues with your air conditioner, Ukoke offers 1 year new replacement.

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02/20/2024 08:33 am GMT

We’ll dive more into what a heat pump is and how it functions below. Still, before we thoroughly review that, we’ll briefly connect on how an air conditioner can turn into a heater.

Do Portable Air Conditioners have Heaters?

As we said above, some portable air conditioners have a heat option! You’ll want to look for a portable unit with 4-in-1 capabilities, including AC, Heat, Dehumidifier, and Fan modes. Although, if your air conditioner doesn’t have these options, you won’t be able to use it as a heater function.  

How Do Air Conditioners Convert into Heaters?

Portable air conditioners can’t convert into heaters without heater function. Having the heat pump is step one of the processes, though. What truly happens inside the appliance is it reverses the entire process required to make hot air cold, using an appropriately named “reversing valve.” 

Utilizing this, the coil traditionally made the hot air cold now does the opposite. 

It takes the newly heated air and pushes it throughout the machine’s exhaust ports, thus heating the house by association. 

The entire process hinges on using the reversing valve, which causes the refrigerant to change directions, allowing all the effort and energy to make hot air cold. That energy enables the AC unit to convert it to heat and disperse it throughout the house.

Get a Portable AC Unit with a Heat Pump

Taking note of the title, none of this is possible without a heat pump. Not every air conditioner has this particular part, so you will add it to your search filters while shopping to find it. 

Unfortunately, a heat pump will not be tossed in as a bonus, like a remote control or other perks within your unit. Instead, you will have to look for one that has it installed.

The easiest way to find one of these specialized units would be to go to any local HVAC store or search for it online at one of the many dealers such as Home Depot, Menards, Lowes, or even Amazon. 

It’s worth noting that air conditioners with heat pumps are typically more expensive than their cold-only brethren. 

Still, you will be saving as much money in the long run, considering you aren’t buying a space heater or something along those lines to achieve the same goal.

What is a Heat Pump?

Despite how many times we’ve referenced it up until this point, most people probably haven’t heard the term before. If they have, they don’t know precisely what it does or how it functions. 

Suppose we were to break it down to its most simple of terms. In that case, the internal device moves warm air from one part of the unit to another. Throughout the process, it then expels that heated air throughout the room it is currently positioned in.

The name heat pump is rather generic. However, there is a wide variety of them that you probably have made use of in your home without even realizing it. 

Some of the most notorious names on the list would be the following:

  • Refrigerators
  • Air conditioners
  • Freezers

You might think that all those appliances chill the things stored in them. Still, the heat pumps are often utilized in the back of those machines, expelling the heated air they removed from the device outside to chill the contents within.

Amazingly the duality offered by a heat pump allows for some phenomenal experiences to occur in our day-to-day life. More often than not, the ones we take as a given and don’t even give more than a passing thought to. 

Still, without a heat pump, we wouldn’t be able to store food or, in some cases, survive the changing seasons!

portable air conditioner 2

Why Should You Get a Heat Pump

1. Cost-effective in Price

Considering the many reasons above that have not convinced you to get an air conditioner with a heat pump, consider the costs. You would have to spend more on a heater and portable air conditioner combined. 

Even better, you might want to consider a boiler instead of the price difference of adding a heat pump to something you are already going to purchase. 

2. Cost-effective in Electricity

General pricing differences aside, you are also saving money in another way. The investment saved would be on the electricity you would use operating an air conditioner and a space heater separately instead of seamlessly swapping between one and the other.

3. Saving Space in Your Home

Having two devices will take up more space, especially when storing them aside if necessary. A cluttered area will make your mind go crazy, more often than not. The term “less is better” significantly applies in this aspect. 

Advantages & Disadvantages of a Heat Pump

Like all things in life, purchasing an air conditioner does indeed come with its very own list of pros and cons. In this case, it would seem that the pros outweigh the cons.

That is unless you have poor access to windows or need your home to be at an exact temperature for you to feel comfortable. 

Let’s check the table below to get a brief list of the pros and cons and let you decide for yourself whether or not to get an air conditioner with a built-in heat pump.

ProsCons
Easily movableYou cannot control the temperature of the home
It takes up little spaceCan be loud
Can heat & cool roomsThe unit needs to be placed near a window
Energy efficient
Hassle-free installation

When Should I Replace a Heat Pump?

As with every device, a heat pump will get old within a few years. However, you will not often replace the heat pump because you should replace it between 10 to 20 years, which is how long a portable AC heat pump will last. 

The longevity of a heat pump will depend on how frequently used it is and what location you use it in. Nevertheless, here are a few things you can do to maintain its life longer:

  • Make sure the coils are kept clean.
  • Clean the fins outside the unit. 
  • Clean and replace the air filters regularly. 
  • Check to make sure there is no build-up on the ice.

Conclusion

It’s well worth the time and money required to get yourself an air conditioner with a built-in heat pump. This device can dramatically lower your bills and give you some additional room in your house. Not to mention, it will keep things as cold or as hot as you like. Overall, it’s a win-win no matter how you look at it!

Alternatively, if the unit itself can’t fit into your living arrangement, or you can’t abide by the noise the unit could make. At the same time, it functions you can still find some different solutions. Still, achieving the same result will probably be considerably more costly.

Author

Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.