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Should I buy a portable air conditioner today?

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As South Australia, Victoria, NSW and Queensland are bracing for severe heatwaves over the weekend, buying a portable air conditioner sounds like a quick fix - but is it the right answer?

Here are some things to consider when you're thinking about buying one:

Who does portable aircon suit?

- Renters or flatsharers who want their own cooling machine in their own room.

- If you do not have the cash for a fixed air conditioner.

- Those who do not have the right window or location to install the other air conditioner - for example, short windows in some basement apartment, or a full size bay windows.



- Effectiveness and efficiency - The portable air conditioner condenses water from the air and collects it in a tank.

- This means you will need to empty the water tank regularly, or drain it away through a tube.

- Venting the hot air outside through the duct results in a net air pressure reduction, so more warm air is drawn into the room from the rest of the house. So it faces continual struggle to cool the air.

- Noise - they can often be more noisy than many other cooling systems.

Should I buy a portable aircon? Which one is best?

If the drawbacks above don't deter you, here are some good guides to help you weigh up the best options:

- Chris Barnes' article Portable air conditioner buying guide on the Choice website.

The Best Portable Air Conditioner reviews more than 50 different portable air conditioners—including seven hours  testing a handful of the top-selling units.

- And more comparable review from