How Effective is the Whynter ARC-14S Portable Air Conditioner?

Posted by: Mas Broto
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How Effective is the Whynter ARC-14S Portable Air Conditioner?

When it comes to portable air conditioners, the Whynter ARC-14S is often highlighted as a strong contender, marketed as a 14,000 BTU unit. However, the real performance can sometimes tell a different story. This review examines the cooling capacity, energy efficiency, pros and cons, and overall value of the Whynter ARC-14S to determine if it truly stands out in a crowded market.

The Whynter ARC-14S Portable Air Conditioner is advertised as having a cooling capacity of 14,000 BTUs. However, this figure doesn’t always translate directly to real-time performance due to several factors.

Whynter ARC-14S

Under the new Seasonally Adjusted Cooling Capacity (SACC) standard by Department of Energy (DOE), which tests units at higher, more realistic outdoor temperatures, the Whynter ARC-14S has an SACC of only 9,500 BTUs. This significant drop from the advertised 14,000 BTUs highlights the disparity between claimed and actual performance.

In comparison, the Midea Duo, another 14,000 BTU unit, boasts a SACC of 12,000 BTUs, making it more efficient in the same conditions.

Whynter ARC-14SH Demonstrates Strong Cooling Performance but Falls Short on Energy Efficiency

In a recent series of tests, the Whynter ARC-14SH portable air conditioner showcased impressive cooling capabilities, distinguishing itself from its competitors. The evaluation involved setting up the unit in a 14×10 ft room with 12 ft ceilings, totaling 1,680 cubic feet. The testing environment simulated outdoor summer conditions by routing the hose through provided window kits into a section of the warehouse, which was heated accordingly. The indoor space was consistently maintained at a starting temperature between 82 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

The ARC-14SH was then operated at its maximum cooling setting for a duration of 60 minutes. Temperature changes were meticulously recorded using four temperature-sensing dataloggers placed at different points within the room. The results were noteworthy: the ARC-14SH successfully reduced the room temperature from an average of 83.3 degrees to 75.2 degrees Fahrenheit. This 8.1-degree drop was among the most significant observed in the group, markedly enhancing the room’s comfort level.

However, the ARC-14SH’s performance in energy efficiency was less impressive. Energy efficiency accounted for 15% of the overall score in the portable AC tests, highlighting the importance of reducing strain on the power grid, minimizing environmental impact, and lowering operating costs. The 14,000 BTU Whynter ARC-14SH, despite its powerful cooling performance, fell below average in this critical area.

The unit consumed 4.9 kWh of energy during the testing phase. Projecting this usage over a typical summer period of 12 hours per day for 90 days, the ARC-14SH would consume approximately 1,382.4 kWh, leading to an estimated electricity cost of $223.12. This consumption rate indicates that while the ARC-14SH is effective at cooling, it operates at a higher cost compared to more energy-efficient models.

Installation Challenges

The installation process for the Whynter ARC-14SH portable air conditioner has proven to be a mixed experience, affecting its overall rating in portability and installation. This metric, which accounts for 25% of the total score, evaluated the ease of moving the unit, carrying it, and setting up and removing the exhaust hose and window insert.

The Whynter ARC-14SH performs decently in terms of portability. It is relatively easy to roll around various flat surfaces, including wood, carpet, and concrete, thanks to its minimal rolling resistance. However, users may encounter occasional steering issues, as the unit tends to pull to one side intermittently. Despite these minor quirks, it remains one of the better units for maneuvering across different types of flooring.

However, its weight is a significant drawback. Weighing just over 74 pounds, it is one of the heaviest units tested, making it cumbersome to carry. The small and shallow handles exacerbate this issue, creating substantial pressure on the hands and making it particularly challenging to transport up or down stairs. This makes the ARC-14SH less ideal for situations where frequent lifting and moving are required.

Setting up the Whynter ARC-14SH with its window kit can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the window type. The initial installation process has been found to be more cumbersome than with most other units.

The included instruction sheet notes that modifications to the window kit’s duct interface panel may be necessary if the window is too narrow or wide. In our case, the window was too narrow, requiring us to cut the panel to size. This task was particularly tedious and time-consuming, made more difficult by the need to work around the large dual hoses to ensure everything was properly fitted and secured.

Whynter ARC-14S Pros and Cons


  • Affordability: Generally, the Whynter ARC-14S is one of the more affordable 14,000 BTU units available.
  • Extras: Comes with caps for the window bracket holes (allowing you to keep the bracket installed even when the hoses are disconnected) and a storage cover.


  • Lower SACC: The actual cooling capacity is significantly lower than advertised.
  • Energy Efficiency: Less efficient compared to top-rated units.
  • Complex Installation: Dual hoses require more effort to install and provide less flexibility for adjusting the window bracket.
  • Size and Weight: At nearly 3 feet tall and over 80 pounds, it is larger and heavier than many other portable AC units, making it less convenient to move.

Features and Specifications

Coverage Sq. Ft.500 sq. ft.
Dehumidifying Capacity71 pints/day
Exhaust Hose LengthMax. 60″
Window Kit Length6.5″ W x 20″ (min) / 46″ (max) L
Fan Speed3 speed
Filter TypeCarbon air filter and washable pre-filter (compatible with 3M filter)
Heat ModeNo
Hose SystemDual Hose
Maximum Power Consumption1300 Watts / 11.6 Amps
Noise Level (dBA)<51 low / <56 high
Pump FeatureNo
Temperature Range61°F – 89°F
Unit Dimensions16″ W x 19″ D x 35.5″ H


When compared to top-rated Portable AC units, the Whynter ARC-14S Portable Air Conditioner falls short in several areas, including actual cooling capacity (SACC) and energy efficiency. However, the ARC-14S still has its merits, particularly for those on a budget or when other units are unavailable.

Despite the slightly tricky setup and higher running costs, the Whynter ARC-14SH is an excellent choice for people living in super hot areas. This unit really kicks it up a notch when it comes to providing powerful cooling, making it perfect for places where dealing with intense heat is a daily struggle. Its knack for significantly bringing down room temperatures makes it a reliable cooling solution.

Recognizing its amazing performance, Good Housekeeping has given the Whynter ARC-14SH the title of BEST OVERALL portable air conditioner. This award highlights its superior cooling abilities, making it a top choice for those looking for efficient and effective temperature control.

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Mas Broto

Have been in the heating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry for over 20 years. He is person that will grow and thrive to learn more about the HVAC industry throughout his career. Mas Broto is also a blogger, who's dedicated to bringing you the best knowledge to get ahead in the game of life.

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