Which Is Better: A Single- Or Dual-Hose Portable Air Conditioner?

A portable air conditioner can make a huge difference on summer days when it feels like there’s no escape from the sweltering heat outside. But when it comes to picking out the best one for you and your home, should you opt for a single- or dual-hose unit?  

A dual-hose portable air conditioner is superior to a single portable air conditioner in terms of investment and features. The dual-hose unit is quieter, cools the room faster, is more energy-efficient, and can cool larger spaces. However, it’s also more expensive and requires more space.

Both the single- and dual-hose portable AC units serve a purpose in different situations. Let’s look at both features so that you can decide with confidence.

How Do Single-Hose Portable Air Conditioners Work?

Unboxing of new portable air conditioner unit AC

Single-hose portable air conditioners, like this one from BLACK + DECKER (on Amazon), are often used for temporary purposes. Thanks to its movability, you can transport the unit from place to place with ease and comfort. You’re all set as long as the desired location has an accessible window to connect the unit properly!

Usually, the single-hose unit is used for smaller rooms. A single-hose portable air conditioner works by sucking in hot and moist air from the room, cooling it, and dumping it out through the exhaust. As part of this process, the air inside needs to be replaced to avoid negative pressure inside the room. 

In this sense, opening up any window or door from time to time will be helpful for unity to replace the missing air. On the other hand, using a single-hose AC and microwave or mini-fridge will give the conditioner a hard time cooling the room because these appliances simultaneously give off hot air. 

How Do Dual-Hose Portable Air Conditioners Work?

On the other hand, dual-hose portable air conditioners like the Whynter ARC-14S (on Amazon) work with two hoses, making them more efficient for larger rooms. Thanks to the two hoses, there’s a faster exchange process, and the space can be cooled more quickly. 

One of the hoses works as the exhaust while the other takes in the air. This process usually heats the machine. Too much heat from the device will make it hard for it to cool the air and might damage the device in the long run. But the great thing about this option is that one of the hoses takes in air from outside to cool the compressor and condenser units. 

Because of its dual-hose system, the unit is less portable, however. In addition, it is also louder than the single hose unit. But if you have the time to install and reinstall two hoses each time you move the conditioner, it won’t be a big problem on your end. In addition, more users prefer this option as an investment because you can use it either in a small or relatively large room. 

Dual-Hose vs. Single-Hose Portable AC Units

Portable Window Air Conditioner Unit

The market offers a variety of AC units to choose from, and you’ve got several factors at play when it comes to picking the best one for your home.

Power and Cooling Area

In terms of how large a room it can cool, a single-hose unit can cool about 425 square feet while the dual-hose option can cool 525. Consider your home and the various spaces you might want to use the conditioner in.

BTU, or British Thermal Unit, measures the cooling power of a portable air conditioner. The higher the power, the faster it can cool hot air. A single-hose portable air conditioner has a cooling capacity of 5,200, while the dual-hose option packs 86,00 BTU. 


A single-hose portable air conditioner generally costs less than a dual-hose air conditioner. A single-hose unit starts at around $300 and goes up from there, while the dual-hose units start at around $450. 

Before you base your purchase on the price, consider the other factors carefully, especially the area of your room or the climate in your area. This is to avoid having problems with your purchase.

Also, you need to check which brand matches your preferences. There are times when a cheaper brand can provide the same quality as the expensive ones. 


Noise level is of great concern when purchasing any air conditioner. The less noise, the better. In this case, the dual-hose portable AC is quieter than the single-hose portable AC. Double-hose units emit 51-52 dB, while the single-hose unit gives off 52-54 dB. 

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is measured using the Energy Efficiency Ratio, or EER. The watts consumption of the portable AC is compared to the BTU it generates. In this sense, 1 watt of a single-hose portable air conditioner has a cooling effect of 10 BTU. 

Meanwhile, the dual-hose unit has 11.6 BTU for every 1 watt. This means that it’s more efficient to have a double-hose unit. The more efficient the appliance, the less energy consumption it will need. 

Another thing that can affect the cooling speed of the air conditioner is the appliances you have inside the area where it’s installed. Say, for example, you have a mini-fridge or a microwave in the same room. This will significantly affect the cooling speed and efficiency of the portable AC, whether it’s a single- or dual-hose unit. 

Appliances like these emit hot air as long as they’re plugged in or when in use. If they keep emitting hot air while the air conditioner is cooling the room, it will put an extra strain on the unit.

Size and Dimensions

If you’ve got limited space in your home, it’s crucial to think about the size of your air conditioner. Portable air conditioners are pretty bulky for small areas. Also, the hose installed in the window can eat up a fair amount of space.

A single-hose portable air conditioner is usually smaller, so be sure to consider this as you make your decision.