The Whynter ARC-14SH is a high-quality AC unit that performed near the top of the pack in our portable AC test group. Cranking out 14,000 BTUs (British thermal unit), this appliance is capable of cooling large spaces with ease. Not only is it powerful, but it is also quiet, and its ergonomic design makes it easy to move. The main drawback is both the upfront cost of the unit and how much energy it consumes while in use. If you need a large space cooled and don't mind the extra cost, this AC unit is for you.Editor's Note: This review was updated on April 21, 2022, with additional comparison info and suggestions on what we would recommend to a friend.
Whynter ARC-14SH Review
Pros: Very quiet, exceptional cooling power
Cons: High energy consumption, expensive
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|Pros||Very quiet, exceptional cooling power||Great value, highly portable, performed well in our energy-efficiency test, solid cooling performance||Very quiet, decently portable, solid cooling performance||Energy efficient, easily portable||Easy to move, decent energy efficiency|
|Cons||High energy consumption, expensive||Runs on the louder side||Expensive, bulky window insert||Underwhelming cooling abilities||Poor cooling abilities, noisy|
|Bottom Line||This is a solid performer for large rooms and one of the quietest models we tested||You'll save cash and receive exceptional performance, though it does run a touch louder than others||If you live in a consistently hot climate, this is our favorite dual-hose portable AC||The lower cooling abilities do not quite make up for the energy-efficient capabilities||This is an expensive machine that is easy to move around but ultimately offers poor cooling abilities|
|Rating Categories||Whynter ARC-14SH||SereneLife SLPAC10||Whynter ARC-122DS E...||Airo Comfort||Midea 3-in-1|
|Cooling Power (40%)|
|Energy Cost (15%)|
|Specs||Whynter ARC-14SH||SereneLife SLPAC10||Whynter ARC-122DS E...||Airo Comfort||Midea 3-in-1|
|Modes||Cool, dry, fan, heat||Cool, dry, fan||Cool, dry, fan||Cool, dry, fan||Heat, auto, cool, dry, fan|
|Number of Fan Speeds||3||3||3||3||4|
|Measured Weight||77.2 lbs||54.7 lbs||60.4 lbs||51.5 lbs||56.2 lbs|
|Window Kit Length (without modification)||Min: 20"
Max: 50 1/8"
|Measured kWh on High (Average)||1.12 kWh||0.91 kWh||1.06 kWh||0.71 kWh||0.85 kWh|
|Measured dBa on High at 4'||56.5 dBa||62 dBa||57 dBa||58 dBa||60.5 dBa|
|Room Rating||500 sq ft||350 sq ft||400 sq ft||350 sq ft||200 sq ft|
|Single or Dual hose||Dual||Single||Dual||Single||Single|
|Projected Summer Cost||$159.06||$116.22||$131.61||$88.17||$122.60|
|Measured Temperature Drop After 60 Minutes||11.99°F||11ºF||10°F||6ºF||8ºF|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Cooling power represents 40% of each portable air conditioner's overall score, making our cooling capabilities test one of the most important ones that we conducted. We essentially heated a room as hot as we could in the middle of summer, then ran each air conditioner for 60 minutes and scored them based on the temperature drop. The ARC-14SH delivered one of the better performances of the group; it dropped the temperature by 11.99°F after 60 minutes — one of the largest drops of the group.
This portable air conditioner dropped the temperature quite quickly, achieving an 8.2°F drop after 20 minutes — expected, as our test room was only 161 square feet, and it has one of the highest BTU ratings of the bunch.
For the portability metric, we graded and scored how much effort it took to roll each unit around, carry them, and install and remove the exhaust hose and its window insert. The Whynter ARC-14SH is about average overall in these tests, which accounts for 25% of the total score.
This AC is quite easy to roll around, though there is a tiny bit of weirdness with its steering. It only has a small amount of rolling resistance but will pull to one side every so often. It is one of the heaviest units out of the entire group, weighing in at a little more than 77 lbs, making it horrendous to carry.
The handles are also on the small side, creating undue pressure on your hands and easily making this one of our least favorite air conditioners to carry up or down a flight of stairs. However, it is one of the easiest models to move when it comes to installing or removing the window insert. You need a screwdriver, but you can tighten the screws down wherever you want, affording you the entire range between 20" and 46".
Responsible for 20% of the total score, we next assessed how much noise each of these appliances generated and if any were particularly irritating. The Whynter ARC-14SH did very well in this metric for its almost silent operation — one of the highest scores of the group. We had a group of users rate the tone of each air conditioner and measure the audio level with an SPL meter to determine the scores. This meter was placed about 4' away and out of the direct line of the vents of the AC. Both our panel of judges and the SPL meter agreed that this was one of the quietest units we tested, measuring in at 54.8 dBa.
Additionally, all the judges noted that this is one of the least intrusive air conditioners sound-wise, making it a great option for lighter sleepers.
For the final 15% of the total score for each product, we scored each one on how much you can expect it to add to your energy bill with moderate use. We defined moderate use as running the A/C for 12 hours each day of the summer (90 days), with two hours on high to quickly cool the room upon your return and 10 hours on low to keep it cool. The ARC-14SH is a bit of an energy hog.
We measured the power draw of each portable AC on both low and high power modes, then used an average cost of electricity to project the additional added cost. With this amount of usage, the ARC-14SH would add about $160 to your power bill over that time period — quite a bit higher than most of the other portable AC units we tested.
Should You Buy the Whynter ARC-14SH?
Though it's pricey and costs quite a bit to run, if you live in a really hot climate, you're going to want a unit that can really crank out cold air. This machine does that better than the rest. It's also relatively quiet, which we appreciate.
What Other Portable Air Conditioners Should You Consider?
If you don't live in a climate with frequent triple-digit temps, you may not need this much cooling power. Check out the SereneLife SLPAC10, which is more affordable, energy-efficient, and portable.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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