Best Portable Air Conditioners for Cars

A portable ac for a car can magically turn your hot and sweaty car into a wonderfully cool environment even if it feels like the earth is on fire out there.

Here we bring you portable ac for car reviews to ease your search for the best portable ac for a car if your built-in car air conditioning system has finally capitulated.

Before that, we will explain why portable air conditioning for cars can be a lifesaver during hot weather and the different types of car air conditioners you can use to stay cool when driving across the country on a sun-baked day.

Finally, we will teach you how to approach the purchaseprocess.

Lets get down to business.

Types of car air conditioners

Four major types exist with each serving best in certainconditions.

Take a look:

Car summer cooling fans/vents

This is nothing else but a portable cooling fan- but couldbe added with water or ice (in buckets or reservoirs) to help cool the car duringsummers sweltering days.

Some come with ducts to help distribute cold air to the backseat.

This type uses the 12V DC power option (via a car cord or 12V accessory outlet ) for the most part and suits nearly all types of automobiles- family cars, delivery vans, tents, sleeper cabs, SUVs, RVs, ATVs, ….you name it.

Key winner: lowenergy consumption

Key weakness: notthe best if you want instant cooling.

Portable car ACs

These are mostly complete movable air cons forcar that you connect to a 12 volt source such as car receptacleor the battery pack (with a 12-volt receptacle).

There is a mammoth variety of them in the market these daysincluding variations that work from the USB port.

Key winner: anextremely quiet operation and low power draw.

Key weakness: Maynot cool (some) the entire car effectively.

Electric air conditioner for car

This is an elaborate AC powered unit and helps distributecool air powerfully and evenly for quick and consistent cooling.

It could have features you dont get in the rest such as overloadprotection on its compressor and motor to prolong its life.

Key winner: theybring excellent breeze all around.

Key weakness: generallypricier.

PS: There couldbe other types but these dominate the market and serve best as portable airconditioning unit for cars.

Why Buy One?

Its summer and its blazing hot.

Yet your vehicles built-in air-conditioning system has longshown the white flag.

Which means that you are vulnerable to the effects of the unforgivingheat including excessive sweating and other heat-related hostilities especiallywhen driving for many hours.

You are likely thinking: butI can repair or replace the cars original air conditioning system.

Well, its actually the best solution if you have thefinances.

But if youre still sorting out your finances or searching for an affordable substitute, then your best bet is a portable car ac - a good one that should rapidly get rid of the heat and vastly improve the humidity (and ventilation).

And what I love most about mini ac for cars is that they aresuper easy to mount and operate (thanks to the easy buttons and controls).

Of course, thats a much better idea than, lets say, rollingdown all the car windows (and risk suffocating from the dust storms andpollution) or accelerating (you cant always drive fast!).

Or even having a cooler (filled with icewater) in the car.

Portable air conditioners for cars Buying Guide

As promised, here is how to stay out of trouble whenshopping for an air conditioner for car:

Consider the cooling capacity and its physical Size

Cooling capacity relates to the space it caneffectively cool down and is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units).

As a rough guide, most portable air conditioners for cars start at 2000 BTUs but can soar to anything between 6000-8000 BTUs, enough to bring a faux sea breeze cool to a camper van during the hottest hours of the day.

Keep in mind that the recommended aircon size depends on myriad factors including how big is your vehicle - for example, you cant seriously expect a 50 passenger bus to be cooled by a mini air conditioner for a car).

Another thing you can consider is the physical size - a small air conditioning unit is more portable and can be moved to the corners where cooling is needed most.

Mounting and maintenance considerations

Most portable air con requires simplistic installation,with the exception of a couple of electrical units that are connected viaadapters.

Importantly, the model you pick needs to work with the powersources available in your car- 12v, USB port, cigarette lighters, etc.

If your choice is not install-ready, you might want toconsult with a professional.

Maintenance is seamless too. In fact, some have reminders tonotify you when its time to drain them. You want to pick such models ifsuitable.

Check the energy usage

Portable car cooling fan brands lead the pack when it comesto saving energy.

The good thing is that various models have their energyratings indicated on the package and its advisable to confirm before purchasethat you are ordering an energy-efficient portable ac for car.

Research its cooling performance

Regardless of the type of portable car air con, look for a swiftcooling effect, humidification, and air cleaning so you can enjoy the freshest,healthiest possible environment in your car.

Needless to say, bigger, more powerful units outperformtheir smaller competition when it comes to balanced air distribution and speedof cooling.

Additionally, they offer more operational flexibility(because of features such as the multiple fan speeds and multidirectionalairflow)

But you have to be worry about devices that make loud,annoying noises, which is common in larger machines because of thedistraction. 

Other factors to rope in

If you got a tie (you found that you liked two or moremachines equally), separate them by looking at the following issues:

  • Bells andwhistles- additions such as smart digital thermostat, soft touch controlpanels, and remote control make life easier for you.
  • Looks-a little bit more beauty wont hurt either.
  • Weight-the lighter, the better for portability.

Best Portable air conditioners for cars reviews

It turns out there are plenty of formidable options to help bufferyour car from the heat.

We focused on the very best.

Meet them below:

Honeywell 9000 BTUs Portable Air Conditioner

This portable car air conditioner whips off a nice blast of extra-chilled,conditioned air to keep your car at the ideal temperature all the time.

And its dual motor technology makes the air conditioner the quietest - 49 to 52 decibels (most conversations are within this range) - at this level (9000 BTUs).


Not only does this Honeywell freshen up theinteriors- the dual filtration nabs dust and other impurities- but is alsoa brilliant dehumidifier and will make your car more hospitable.

The fan (3 speeds) is solid and the automated vertical wind motion helps it circulate cool air to every corner consistently. This makes it one of the best portable air conditioners for cars.

This intelligent portable ac unit for a car also features nice digital controls, a power-saving timer (easy to set), and remote control (you can operate it from anywhere in the car).

The addition of overload protection -on the compressor andmotor -makes it safe to run while its self evaporating meaning you have no clumsybuckets to empty.


  • Stylish unit.
  • Powerful. Can work in bigger trucks.
  • Easy maintenance (filters cleans under a faucet).


  • Not the easiest to mount in a car.

Fan-Tastic Vent 01100WH-Endless Breeze

There are very few experiences worse than trying to remain sanein a hot, sweaty car.

But with this 12V portable fan, things can take a dramaticturn for the better thanks to the breeze effect it brings when it runs atits 10 mph wind speed.

Fan-Tastic Vent 01100WH Endless Breeze


This design isnt quite up there with fully-fledged promodels but it is far more affordable.

Plus, you can use it for a variety of cooling needs (hasfeet so you can easily place it where you want).

The hardier motor makes it move an astonishing amount of airwhile the low sounds mean its hardly detectable (and masks other road noises).

Crucially, even your passengers will feel the breeze. Yup,its that impressive.

And, of course, as expected, its unbeatable as far as power consumptiongoes.

A 5 cord is included in the package.


  • Keep things awesomely cool.
  • Super strong breeze.
  • Straightforward setup.


  • Suits small cars only.

Arctic Air Portable Airplane Air Conditioner

This 52 quart Arctic air conditioner works for airplanes baggage compartment but its built flexibly and serves well in cars too.

Its wind-chill breeze effect will help you relax despite theoutside feeling like hell.

Arctic Air Portable Airplane Air Conditioner


This comes with 2 removable ducts to give you the freedom toplace it where you feel it will be most efficient.

And because they are quite tall, your kids (or whoever is inthe back seat) will also be in for a refreshing treat.

In fact, the 2 fully adjust in all directions to supply chilledair maximally.

You get so much here including a pump out provision to allowyou to drain excess water effortlessly out of the cooler using a 6′ drain hose.

And its another power saver- the 12 volt one pulls just 10amps.

For durability, the manufacturer has used a ballistic nylonouter cover (with a hardened plastic inner shell).

The pump drain hose and power cord are packed when beingdelivered.


  • Superb cold air output.
  • Durable construction.
  • Multidirectional airflow.


  • You have to buy a louver vent separately (ifneeded).

Taotuo Car Cooling Air Fan

This 12V car cooling fan forces a perfect breeze in your cabinand you will breathe easier and stay cooler.

It comes with a cigarette-lighter plug to conveniently letyou power it from your cars lighter socket.

Taotuo Car Cooling Air Fan 12V Auto Vehicle Van SUV


Taotuo has ridiculously stringent standards and has onceagain released a topnotch car cooling fan in this item. 

The fan features an excellent set-up that includes 2settings to produce a high or low breeze depending on how brutal the heat feels.

A winning design it is considering that the fan rotates toany angle you wish.

The unit is additionally ultra-silent (just 42 decibels) forimproved concentration on the wheel.

That its bladeless makes it safe to have in the car evenwhen traveling with a toddler (no risk of him/her being cut).

And with the flat stand, you can position it anywhere.

  • Cute.
  • Lower energy usage.
  • Cage shape design.


  • Somewhat big.

MightyKool A Converter Bundle (12-Volt 120/12-volt)

There are many things to love in this unit but perhaps thegreatest of them all is that it runs on water- not Ice.

You will be shocked if you think that it may not cool youbecause of that.

Well-surprise, surprise- its one of the most efficient carcoolers on the market.


Straight out of the box, this MightyKool model is builtto cool you quickly and it can easily transform your car from feeling like a400-degree oven into a cocoon of comfort.

Its built powerful enough to cool you, your passenger orpet and will cycle and move hefty amounts of air to introduce a fresh breeze inno time.

The MightyKool aggressively releases 25 mph of chilled airthrough its air outlets hence the instant relief.

Besides, the unique wicking filter absorbs the water furtherboosting its cooling efficiency.

The model arrives with a 2V plug and you can opt to use it fromyour cars cigarette lighter if that suits you better.

Its a reliably engineered portable air conditioner thatwill handle rough handling and should surely outlast its peers.


  • Unmatched efficiency.
  • Energy saving.
  • Standout craftsmanship.


  • A bit loud (on higher settings).

Portable air conditioners for cars – Final words

Portable Air Conditioner for Car Reviews and Buying Guide

When the heatwave comes, you need to be prepared for alleventualities including the threat of punishing heat when driving from coast tocoast for your vacation (and the endless summertime fun).

A good ac for car should hence feature high in your list of things to carry in your car if your original air condition system failed or frequently malfunctions.

Implement what you have learned in this guide and getyourself a car air conditioner that will serve your cooling needs this summer.

You will be so glad you did.