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Whynter ARC-1230WN Portable Air Conditioner: The Best Unit You Can Buy – Forbes

If you’re in the market for a premium portable air conditioner, you’ll find none better than the Whynter ARC-1230WN, which earned top marks in our larger tested review of the best portable AC units. Here’s why we love it.
More than a glorified fan, a portable air conditioner is capable of keeping your living space cool and comfortable in the face of sweltering heat outside. To determine the most effective units on the market, I tested seven of the best portable air conditioners in my 400-square-foot Florida home, comparing each model’s cooling ability, functionality and overall design. The Whynter ARC-1230WN Portable Air Conditioner proved to be the full package. Out of the bunch, this smart portable AC delivered the most impressive cooling power. Adding to its overall appeal, it includes multiple modes of operation and is equipped with smart features that make it a breeze to operate.
This dual hose model easily cools down a room and offers the most essential features for a portable … [+] air conditioner.
The Whynter ARC-1230WN has 12,000 BTU (based on standards established by the U.S. Department of Energy), making it the perfect size for spaces up to 600 square feet. Equipped with swinging louvers to distribute cold air around the room, the unit can also function as a fan or dehumidifier. For anyone who wants a portable air conditioner that can keep up with rising temperatures but isn’t overly complicated to use or install, this model from Whynter is easily the best option available. Ahead, learn more about this portable air conditioner’s performance and why I recommend it as the number-one unit you can buy.
BTU (ASHRAE/DOE): 14,000/12,000 | Coverage area: Up to 600 square feet | Noise level (high/low): 54 dB/41 dB | Additional features: Includes dehumidifier and fan functions
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The most important measure of success for a portable air conditioner is how well it cools your living space. When testing the Whynter ARC-1230WN in my 400-square-foot living room, it immediately took the edge off the Florida heat by lowering the temperature in the room by three degrees within 30 minutes. Then, at the two-hour mark, this model really wowed me: In just 120 minutes, it had lowered the temperature of the room from 76 to 69 degrees. No other model was able to match the cooling performance of the Whynter ARC-1230WN—this air conditioner cranks out super cold air, making it a top pick.
Every portable air conditioner requires a vent hose to be installed through a window, but not all models include two hoses: one for the intake of outside air and another for exhausting hot air. Compared to single-hose units, dual hose models are more efficient at supplying cool air while reducing the opportunity for hot air to creep in through cracks in doors or windows. What makes the Whynter ARC-1230WN even more attractive is its unique hose-in-hose design that combines the cooling efficiency of dual hose air conditioners with the streamlined aesthetic of a single-hose model. While the exterior hose is larger than most, it’s less of an eyesore than two hoses.
As expected, installing the Whynter ARC-1230WN was a quick process, only requiring about 15 minutes of my time. (That said, you may need a helping hand to free the 73-pound appliance from the packing material.) The included window panels are easy to put in place, and thanks to the hose-in-hose design, you don’t have to wrangle multiple tubes. The connectors at both ends of the hose are sturdy and intuitive, making it simple to see how to fit all the pieces together. The clear step-by-step instructions that are included certainly helped, too.
The Whynter ARC-1230WN’s hose-in-hose design.
The Whynter ARC-1230WN is equipped with Wi-Fi, meaning you can control it from just about anywhere using an app on your smartphone or tablet. While it’s not the most sophisticated app I’ve seen for a portable air conditioner (that distinction belongs to the LG LP1419IVSM, which I also tested), it’s straightforward and intuitive. After downloading the app and connecting the portable air conditioner to my home’s Wi-Fi network—a process that took less than 5 minutes—it was a cinch to pair the air conditioner with the app. Through my phone, I was able to control functions like the temperature setting, fan speed and the 24-hour programmable timer, which allows you to set a schedule for leaving the house or returning home.
While the unit comes with a remote, I much preferred using the app to control the settings. The remote control was fine for turning the air conditioner on and off, but in some cases, I wasn’t able to adjust the fan speed or target temperature from more than 20 or 30 feet away. Though annoying at times, I don’t hold this against the Whynter ARC-1230WN because the app worked flawlessly every time I used it. Anyway, I’d rather use an app on my smartphone than keep tabs on a remote control.
While testing seven top-rated portable AC units, the Whynter ARC-1230WN proved itself to be a cut above the rest, lowering the temperature of my living space more effectively than any other unit. With 12,000 BTU of cooling power, it’s also one of the more powerful units I tested, covering areas up to 600 square feet. Compared to the other popular portable air conditioners in my testing line-up, the Whynter ARC-1230WN delivered the most complete overall package. Some models, like the LG LP1419IVSM, had a more intuitive or robust app, but there was no function I couldn’t carry out on the app for the Whynter. It was also quieter than every other portable air conditioner I tested, with the exception of the Midea Duo. While you’ll pay for this cooling power, its superior performance makes it worth the spend.
I tested the Whynter ARC-1230WN alongside six other portable air conditioners. Every model, including this one, was run through a 24-hour test to find out how much (and how quickly) the air conditioner could cool down a 400-square-foot room. After two hours of tracking the temperature every 15 minutes, I ran the air conditioner for another 22 hours, using it as I would in everyday conditions. I adjusted settings like the fan speed or target temperature to see what effect these adjustments had on the unit’s ability to make the room more comfortable.
In addition, I tested the volume of the air conditioner on high and low fan speed settings with a decibel meter, measured how much condensation was collected by the machine after 24 hours of use, and recorded the air conditioner’s total energy usage with a kilowatt meter. Since the Whynter ARC-1230WN is a smart portable air conditioner, I also connected it to my home’s Wi-Fi network, downloaded its companion app and tested the features available in the app.
I’m a product researcher, tester and writer who specializes in large and small home appliances. I’ve written extensively about cooling devices, including fans, air conditioners and evaporative coolers. I live in Florida, where there is no shortage of sunshine, heat and humidity. Over the years, I have used window air conditioners, portable air conditioners and whole home central air conditioning systems to keep my space a bearable temperature. As a result, I know firsthand how important it is that an air conditioner be effective, quiet and user-friendly.
The Whynter ARC-1230WN is mounted on four swiveling caster wheels, which makes it easy to wheel into position or turn to provide more direct airflow where needed. The biggest limitation to moving this portable air conditioner around is its weight; with just two small, recessed handles on the side, it’s challenging to lift or carry its 75 pounds up a flight of stairs.
Like any portable air conditioner, you can expect to hear the Whynter ARC-1230WN while it’s running. The compressor and fan contribute some ambient noise to the room, but it’s not an overly noisy machine. The manufacturer rates the noise level at 57 decibels, although in my testing, it registered at a more conservative 54 decibels at the highest fan speed. On the lowest fan speed, I recorded noise levels as low as 41 decibels, or about as quiet as the ambient noise level in a library.
How frequently you need to empty the drain pan of the Whynter ARC-1230WN depends on the humidity in the environment. In air conditioner or dehumidifier mode, a drain pan collects moisture extracted from the air. When that becomes full, the unit beeps eight times and shuts off to avoid overflowing. At the end of 24 hours and starting with a 56 percent humidity level, the air conditioner operated as normal and I only collected 1 tablespoon of condensation from the drain port on the back of the unit.


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