Dual Hose Vs. Single Hose Portable Air Conditioner: Which Is Better?

Portable air conditioners can be categorized as single-hose or dual-hose models.Does the additional hose make a difference? Which portable air conditioner should you choose: dual-hose or single-hose?

This post will compare the advantages and disadvantages of these two models to assist you in making the best decision.

How does a single-hose portable ac work?

Before comparing the two types of portable AC, we should figure out how they function. Note that their working principles are quite similar.

Single-hose models dominated the market until dual-hose models appeared. It comes with one hose that is in charge of removing the hot and moist air produced by the machine.

It can draw room air into the machine by utilizing a built-in fan. The air will be cooled after passing through an evaporator coil, and some of it will return to the room.

Another portion of the cool air will be used to draw heat from the condenser coil before exiting through the exhaust hose. Meanwhile, depending on whether the air conditioner is fully self-evaporating, some or even all of the moisture will escape through the hose.

A portion of the room air was expelled outside during the cooling process, resulting in negative air pressure in the room. Negative pressure is bad for cooling because it constantly draws in hot outside air, canceling out the cold air produced by your portable air conditioner.

Benefits of single-hose portable ac

  • Affordable price. Single-hose air conditioner has simpler features and use less material to make, making it has a lower price tag. If you are on a tight budget and need something to cool the room, this one could be a suitable choice.
  • Easy to install and store. Single-hose unit is easier to set up, move and disassemble when you want to store it at the end of the season. 
  • Quiet. Since it only utilizes a fan to draw the air, it tends to make less noise.

Drawbacks of single-hose portable ac

  • Less energy-efficient. Because a part of the cooled air will be used to cool the condenser and expelled outside, the energy efficiency will decrease.
  • It can’t work well in larger spaces. The warm air outside will seep into the room constantly due to negative air pressure. The machine has to work very hard to deal with the added warm air. When the space gets larger, it loses the capacity to make your room cool.

How does a dual-hose portable ac work?

Dual-hose air conditioners are the upgraded version of single-hose units. Like the single-hose ones, they use an evaporator coil to cool the air.

However, rather than using a part of cool air to take away the heat in the condenser coil, the machine uses the air outside to do that, which is imported via an intake hose.

That is to say, the room air will turn back to the room after the condensation process but at a lower temperature. The air from the intake hose will exit through the outtake hose. 

Since the amount of room air is not reduced, it will not create negative air pressure, and less air will slip into the house through the cracks, doors, and windows.

Benefits of dual-hose portable AC

  • High energy efficiency. The primary function of any portable air conditioner unit is to cool the air. The dual hose model ensures that most cooled air will expel into the room again without going outside. 
  • Better cooling performance. As I mentioned above, dual-hose portable ac will not create negative air pressure. Therefore, it doesn’t require addressing the added warm air from the outside, allowing it to cool the space faster. It also means that it is a better choice for large rooms.

Drawbacks of dual-hose portable AC

  • Expensive. Because dual hose units use more parts, like the added hose and fan, they are more pricey than their counterparts. 
  • Hard to install. While it is still simple, it is harder than installing a single-hose AC because you need to set up two hoses separately.
  • Loud sound. To draw air from outside, the machine requires another fan. The machine will make more noise when two fans work together than the single hose unit. 
  • It may use more energy. While dual-hose models have better cooling performance, they may use more energy due to the fact it needs to operate more parts during the process. But it is decided by design and quality, which is hard to give a single clear-cut answer.

Dual hose vs. single-hose portable air conditioner: which one is the best for you?

Now that you have a basic understanding of these two types of portable air conditioners, it is time to determine which one is best for you.

A single-hose portable air conditioner is less expensive than a dual-hose model. A single-hose portable ac costs between $200 and $400, while a dual-hose model costs between $350 and $650 on average. You can save between $150 and $300 this way.

Dual hose air conditioners provide better cooling than single hose models. The cooled air will be returned to the room rather than being used to cool the condenser. It will also not create negative pressure, which can allow warm air from outside to enter the room. If you intend to use it in a large room, a dual-hose unit is a better choice.

However, if you have a small room or a relatively low local temperature, it makes little difference.

Single-hose portable air conditioners are quieter than dual-hose models. Some people are extremely sensitive to noise. If this is the case, single-hose portable air conditioners tend to be quieter. You should get tested at your local store to ensure you can sleep well at night.

So, have you decided between a dual hose portable conditioner and a single hose portable conditioner?

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Liz Yang is the founder of Airsmartly. She has been working at home for a few years and realizes that the performance of the HVAC system plays such an important role in our life. She has tested a lot of products in person, like humidifiers, air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and ACs, and wants to share tips about using or troubleshooting these products with you. Her uncle is an HVAC expert with over 30 years of experience in the field, and often offers assistance when she is unsure how to handle a situation. He is also in charge of reviewing the articles on this site.

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