Amcor Portable AC in the Test Lab
Rating: Weak Recommend*
AC sellers will tell you not to go with a portable unit because they have traditionally underperformed window units and they cost more. Amcor attempts to challenge this notion with their Plasma series of portable AC units. These units are easily installed, more energy efficient and have the look and feel of a cool piece of a/v equipment. However, while the unit impresses on some counts, it hasn’t changed our mind about portable units.
The Amcor 14,000 is a sleek, large object (75 lbs) and we were able to get it going in about five minutes. With wheels at bottom, it easily slid over to our window and we had no trouble figuring out how to snake the exhaust hose to the window. Turning it on, it instantly began cooling the room, and it required no addition of water at all.
We tested the Amcor 14,000 in our offices against our old window unit, a Panasonic 10,000 btu unit that costs @ $350. It was boiling hot outside. Our office is almost exactly 400 s/f. While the Panasonic was easily able to cool the office, when we turned it off and turned on the Amcor, the room began to warm up. We turned the Amcor up to high fan (noisy) and hoped it would succeed to keep the temperature down. It finally succeeded, but only on high fan. We did note that the air coming out of the Amcor unit was NOT as cool as that coming out of our Panasonic unit, so it wasn’t surprising to us that it had to work harder.
A client of ours also tested this machine in her studio apartment and noted the same thing. The Amcor 14,000 did not have a great deal of cooling power.
AC units produce heat while cooling and part of the problem with portable units is that that heat can never be as efficiently ducted out of your room like a window mount can. The Amcor has an exhaust hose out the back and ours was extremely hot when the machine was running. Some of this heat was being added back into the room.
The portability and attractiveness of the Amcor 14,000 make this machine a good choice for a very small room (under 400 s/f), when window mount conditions are prohibitive. In the long run, however, you will be cooler and save money with a smaller window mount AC unit.