Shopping for a garage air conditioner?
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The garage is one of the hottest places inside any house, especially without windows. Working on projects in such conditions can make you miserable.
A good AC can help maintain a relaxed and comfortable environment in this scenario.
Garage air conditioners have been around for many years and vary widely in efficiency, power output, and size.
You can choose between portable, window, ductless mini-split, and evaporative coolers, to name a few.
Let’s look at some of the best in the market
What's in This Guide
In this buying guide, we recommend and review the best garage air conditioner systems sold today for a variety of garage sizes and situations.
After our reviews, we provide a brief buying guide to help you find the right model for your garage.
Best Garage Air Conditioner Units
Disclaimer: All links below go to Amazon.com
- 1Best Overall: Senville SENL-24CD Mini-Split 24,000 BTU
- 2Best For a 1-Car Garage: Shinco 8,000 BTU
- 3Best For a 2-Car Garage: Hessaire MC37M Evaporative Cooler
- 4Best Air Conditioner + Heater Unit: Rosewill 12,000 BTU
- 5Best Smart/Connected Garage AC: MIDEA 3-in-1
- 6Best Portable AC for a Garage: Whynter ARC-14S
- 7Best Window AC for a Garage: MIDEA U Inverter
- 8Best Mini Split AC for Any Size Garage: Pioneer WYS018G-19
- 9Best Blower Fan: STANLEY 655704
- 10Best For a Garage with No Windows: Portacool Jetstream
Senville SENL-24CD Mini-Split 24,000 BTU
- Best Overall
Up to 450 square feet
Shinco 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
- Best For a 1-Car Garage
Up to 200 square feet
Hessaire MC37M Evaporative Cooler
- Best For a 2-Car Garage
Up to 950 square feet
Rosewill 12,000 BTU Portable AC+Heater Combo
- Best Air Conditioner + Heater Unit
Up to 300 square feet
MIDEA 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner
- Best Smart/Connected Garage AC
Up to 200 square feet
- Best Portable AC for a Garage
Up to 500 square feet
MIDEA U Inverter
- Best Window AC for a Garage
Up to 350 square feet
- Best Mini Split AC for Any Size Garage
Up to 450 square feet
- Best Blower Fan
- Best For a Garage with No Windows
1,125 Square feet
1. Best Overall: Senville SENL-24CD Mini-Split 24,000 BTU
The Senville SENL-24CD Mini-Split is a powerful air conditioning device for your garage. It produces 24,000 BTUs of cooling power for garage spaces of up to 450 square feet.
In a stretch, it can do more. It boasts 4-in-1 functionality, including cooling, heating, dehumidifying, and air circulation modes.
BTUs and Coverage Area
This mini-split from Senville is a sleek and powerful air conditioner. The SENL-24CD incorporates a compressor design that is engineered for powerful performance. It generates up to 24,000 BTUs per hour, which can cool a garage as large as 450 square feet.
The SENL-24CD also stands out for its 4-in-1 functionality. You can reverse its operation for heating during the cold winter months. Plus, there are dehumidifier and fan-only modes for versatile use.
We also liked this mini-split model for its quiet and noiseless operation. It emits about 34 decibels of noise at its lowest speed which is even less than whispering. It produces about 48 decibels of noise at its highest speed, which is negligible.
Limitations and Issues
This mini-split AC may not be the right choice for every buyer because of its higher cost. Not only does it carry a high price tag, but there are also installation costs to keep in mind as well.
2. Best For a 1-Car Garage: Shinco 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
This Shinco portable AC is an excellent choice for any 1 car garage because of its high cooling output. It produces about 8,000 BTUs to keep a single-space garage of 200 square feet cool.
The multi-directional vents spread the cool air in every direction, ensuring that your garage is cool in as little as 8 minutes.
It features a bucketless design, so all the condensate it extracts is evaporated again and used to cool the system. The leftover moisture is then expelled outside, and the system-generated heat is let out through the vent hose. There is no need for manual draining.
This Shinco AC boasts a quiet operation. It emits less than 55 decibels of noise at its highest speed, making it the right choice for a garage.
Limitations and Issues
The most common complaint about this Shinco unit is that its operation is limited to two fan speeds only. There is a high and a low, no in-between.
3. Best For a 2-Car Garage: Hessaire MC37M Evaporative Cooler
Here is an evaporative cooler model for you to check out for your 2-Car garage. The Hessaire MC37M is a powerful unit with 3,100 CFM airflow and 950 square feet area coverage.
It supports manual and continuous fill and operates on three different fan speeds.
High Airflow and Coverage Area
This evaporative cooler from Hessaire is the right choice for people with 2-car garages because of its wide-area coverage. It produces about 3,100 CFM airflow to cover areas as big as 950 square feet. The oscillating louvers help in covering such a vast area quietly and efficiently.
Weight and Portability
We also like this air cooling unit for its extreme portability. It weighs around 40 pounds and is equipped with heavy-duty, 360°caster wheels that make it very simple to move around. Plus, the top cup holder is a great resting place for drinks.
The MC37M supports two modes of water filling. You can manually fill its built-in 10.3 gallons water reservoir with water. You can also provide a continuous water supply using the garden hose attachment.
Limitations and Issues
The most significant limitation of this device is its inevitable humidification. The unit uses evaporative technology for cooling; hence the air blowing out is cool and humid.
4. Best Air Conditioner + Heater Unit: Rosewill 12,000 BTU Portable AC+Heater Combo
This compact portable AC from Rosewill is a powerful device for year-round usage.
It can cool, heat, dehumidify, and circulate the air around your garage to create a comfortable environment. It produces about 12,000 BTUs that can cover up to 300 square feet.
Multiple operation modes
The best thing about this unit is its various modes of operation. You can use it to cool, heat, dehumidify, or simply circulate air as well. Plus, there is an energy-efficient sleep mode that ensures quiet operation during the night.
Leakage-Current Detection and Interruption (LCDI) feature
This model has a Leakage-Current Detection and Interruption feature. This safety feature detects any leaks and automatically cuts off the power supply to prevent fire risks.
Limitations and Issues
Despite being a compact device, this unit weighs a lot. At 71.4 pounds, some users found it difficult to lift and move around.
5. Best Smart/Connected Garage AC: MIDEA 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner
The Midea 3-in-1 air conditioner is a Wi-Fi-enabled device that you can easily integrate into your smart home network. It has a high cooling output of 10,000 BTUs and can cool a garage of up to 300 square feet.
This smart air conditioner supports Wi-Fi connectivity for simple and convenient operation. You can pair it with the MideaAir app on your phone or use voice commands to adjust its settings. It works with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Another notable feature of this device is its air filtration feature. It is equipped with a reusable filter that you can wash and reinstall. It filters out major air pollutants from the air creating a healthier indoor environment for you to breathe in.
Multiple Operation Modes
It can operate in five different modes. These include the three basic - cooling, air circulation, and dehumidifier modes, and advanced modes like sleep and eco modes. These modes help maintain a comfortable temperature while cutting down on electricity bills.
Limitations and Issues
The biggest limitation users have experienced with this appliance is the connectivity of the MideaAir app. Customers have complained that the app keeps losing track of the device, reporting it as offline.
6. Best Portable AC for a Garage: Whynter ARC-14S
Here is another portable AC model for your garage. The Whynter ARC-14S is a powerful cooling device with 14,000 BTU output, dual hose design, and self-evaporating function. It also comes with an activated carbon filter to ensure better air quality.
Dual Hose Design
Unlike most portable ACs, the Whynter ARC-14S boasts a dual hose design. One of the hoses brings in the cool air from outside, which the system uses to cool down the coils.
The resulting hot air is then exhausted outside via the second hose. Doing so improves both its performance and cooling speed.
Activated Carbon Filter
This garage AC has a two-stage air filtration system to maintain a healthy garage environment. The washable pre-filter is designed to prevent various air pollutants from entering.
Meanwhile, the activated carbon filter absorbs smaller particles to eliminate lingering odor from your garage.
Limitations and Issues
The most common complaint surrounding Whynter ARC-14S is the close placement of its hose outlets.
Since there is no barrier between them, some hot air may find its way back inside, compromising the system's efficiency.
7. Best Window AC for a Garage: MIDEA U Inverter
The Midea U Inverter AC came as a game-changer in the window AC market. It is suitable for a standard window. It boasts a noiseless operation producing about 8,000 cooling BTUs per hour.
The best thing about this Midea window air conditioner is its innovative U-shaped design. It features a notch in the center to fit window panes and effectively keep the compressor noise outside. This gives you more freedom to open the window whenever you want.
This unit is thoughtfully equipped with an inverter for more energy-saving and whisper-quiet operation. This inverter converts the AC supplied to the unit into DC. Using this current, the device runs on more variable speeds than regular on and off modes, resulting in efficient and smooth operation.
The inverter technology and its U-shaped design work very well to create a seal that keeps the compressor sounds from making their way into the garage. At the lowest speed, it emits only 42 decibels of noise.
Limitations and Issues
Despite being uber attractive and stylish, this Midea unit lies on the heavier side. At 80 pounds, with most of the weight towards the backside, you will need an extra pair of hands for lifting and installation.
8. Best Mini Split AC for Any Size Garage: Pioneer WYS018G-19
If you are after a mini-split AC to cool your garage, the WYS018G-19 from Pioneer is a powerful unit for any garage size. It has a high BTU output producing about 18,000 cooling and heating BTUs. It can heat and cool any area measuring up to 450 square feet in size.
The Pioneer WYS018G-19 is a sleek and stylish air conditioning unit. Being wall-mounted, it saves a lot of your valuable floor space. Plus, the slim and stylish appearance looks great just about anywhere.
Dual Function Support
The unit is a feature-rich device with dual-function support. It can also heat your garage to keep it cozy during winters. You can set it to operate over dehumidifier and ventilation modes for added comfort.
Limitations and Issues
It requires professional installation. That means extra costs for most buyers as not everyone is very handy with tools and electricals.
9. Best Blower Fan: STANLEY 655704
If your garage is not suitable for housing the traditional air conditioning models, the Stanley 655704 blower fan can also keep you cool for long working hours.
It has an air delivery rate of 289 CFM. Plus, it also doubles as an extension cord to power small appliances.
The Stanley 655704 boasts a unique pivoting head. You can adjust it at various angles to blow cold air towards the desired area. You can use it to cool a garage, ventilate it, exhaust hot air out, or dry any wet spots.
Doubles as an Extension Cord
With this fan at hand, you don't have to worry about getting a separate extension cord. It has two 10 ampere AC sockets on the side that you can use for various purposes such as phone charging or powering light tools.
Limitations and Issues
While this Stanley blower fan is undoubtedly a powerful performer, it has cheap plastic construction. This means less durability, which makes the unit susceptible to damage.
10. Best For a Garage with No Windows: Portacool Jetstream
The Portacool Jetstream is a powerful evaporative cooler option to keep your garage cool and humidified.
It produces about 4,500 CFM of cold air with its Kul Comfort evaporative media that keeps areas up to 1,125 square feet cool.
Powerful Cooling Performance
This evaporative cooler is a powerful device that can cover garage areas of any size. It has a high 4,500 CFM air delivery rate that cools and humidifies areas as big as 1,125 square feet easily.
This Portacool cooler is equipped with Kul Comfort evaporative media, the highest-quality evaporative media available and made in the USA.
It has a larger drain for easy and effective maintenance. Plus, the liquid level Indicator with automatic pump shutoff helps protect against leaks and malfunctioning.
Limitations and Issues
The most common issues reported about this device are its noise output and bulkiness.
At 155 pounds, it is one of the heaviest units on this list. Plus, the 65 - 76 decibels noise output can be too much for some buyers.
Buying Guide: Garage Air Conditioners
Sizing A Garage Air Conditioners
For proper sizing of a garage AC, you first have to find out your garage area. Here is a quick reference guide to help you find the correctly-sized garage AC:
Types of Garage Air Conditioner Units
Garage ACs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Below we have rounded up the ACs most commonly used for cooling a garage.
Window Air Conditioner
Window air conditioners are permanent devices installed over the window in your garage. They are more suitable for a garage with full-size windows but can also be installed through the wall.
Portable Air Conditioner
Portable air conditioners are not fixed in their installation. Instead, you can place them anywhere around the house.
Evaporative coolers use water evaporation to cool down the area they are operated in. They use a powerful fan to blow hot air through water-soaked pads. The water evaporates, making the air cooler which the device then blows into the garage.
Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner
These are the most popular types of garage ACs. They come as a pair of evaporative and condenser split into two parts for convenient installation and venting.
A blower is the most robust garage cooling option. It is a small portable device that blows a powerful airstream to keep you cool and comfortable.
Features That Matter
Since the range of garage ACs is quite vast, here are some features that you should prioritize during your purchase:
BTUs / Room Size
The BTU output of an air conditioner is directly proportional to the size of your garage. So you should first measure its area. Find its length and width and multiply them with each other.
The value you obtain is the square footage of your garage. Now use this estimate to find the corresponding BTU-rated unit.
Type of Unit
There are various types of garage air conditioners available. Think carefully about your application and ventilation options and choose a unit that best suits your situation.
Since most garages are poorly ventilated, their atmosphere tends to be more polluted than the rest of the house. Choose a unit with good air filtration properties to improve its air quality.
Weather protection is an essential consideration in window and mini-split ACs. Since a part of the unit sits outside the garage, you should make sure it is sturdy enough to survive various weather elements without incurring damage.
Weight & Portability
Weight and portability matter for portable ACs, evaporative coolers, or blower fans. Since these devices are not fixed in their installation, you can easily use them in the other parts of your house. Lightweight units are also easier to install.
Ensure you have a proper ventilation setup before investing in these because inadequate ventilation can reduce efficiency. Or choose a mini-split AC for its convenience.
Not all garage ACs are capable of dehumidifying the space. If you choose an evaporative cooler, it will increase the moisture content in your garage's atmosphere.
If high humidity levels are an issue in your garage, steer clear away from evaporative coolers. Opt for window, mini-split, or portable ACs instead, as they have higher dehumidifying capacity.
Dual Function (Heat + Cool)
If your garage becomes uncomfortably hot or cold during various times of the year, an AC with dual function - heating and cooling capacity should be your choice. It will maintain an ambient garage atmosphere throughout the year.
Different garage ACs emit different levels of noise. If the humming of the compressor is irritating for you, look into getting an AC with low noise output. The noise level is rated in decibels in the specification list of the unit. Your target should be a model with around 50 decibels.
Remote Control & Apps
If you want to operate your garage air conditioner remotely from within the garage, a remote-controlled unit should be your choice.
But if you want to adjust its settings even when you are away from the house, a smart air conditioner with mobile app support is what you need.
Programmability & Other Features
Other valuable features in a garage AC include timer function, eco-mode, safety auto-shutoff, adjustable fan speeds, and Wi-Fi connectivity. The more features your unit has, the more convenient it will be to use.
Properly Ventilating a Garage AC
Inadequate ventilation options are why most people refrain from installing a garage air conditioner altogether.
However, if your garage tends to become very hot and you spend a good chunk of your day there, a garage air conditioner is inevitable. So what are the venting options you have for various garage ACs? Have a look!
Mini-split ACs are generally considered the best choice for any garage mainly because of their hassle-free venting. They come with dedicated exhaust units that you can install outside your garage for adequate ventilation.
Portable ACs come with a mounting kit and exhaust hose that you can mount over a window for installation.
Since most garages don't have a full-sized window, you can use an exterior wall, the garage door, or small glass windows to vent the unit.
A window AC should be your choice if you have a full-sized window in your garage or are willing to cut a hole for through-the-wall installation.
In either case, the exhaust side of the AC will sit towards the outside, so you won't have to make any special efforts to vent it.
How to Increase Garage Air Conditioner Efficiency
If your garage is insulated, your garage air conditioner will do a fantastic job of cooling it down.
But if it is not insulated, you will need to prevent efficiency hindrances. Here is what you can do to increase the efficiency of your garage air conditioner:
Garage doors tend to absorb the most heat during the day, forcing the AC to overwork to keep the temperature down.
Go for insulated garage doors to reduce heat in your garage. It is also a great idea to install insulating strips around garage doors to improve your AC's efficiency.
Heat can also find its way inside through the ceiling. You should install some rolled insulation over the garage to prevent this from happening. It will keep the excess heat out, ensuring that your garage remains cool.
Insulating the garage walls is also a great technique to improve the performance of your air cooling unit.
Since it can be costly, start with the walls that receive the most sunlight and target the shaded walls later. This will limit the amount of heat entering your garage, allowing your garage AC to function efficiently at all times.
Take note; windows contribute to only a tiny percentage of the heat entering the garage. You can consider using blackout curtains or a sheet of plywood to cover it. Doing so will block the light and prevent the accompanying heat from penetrating.
Garage Air Conditioner Maintenance
The most important maintenance task to ensure efficient AC performance is to clean or replace the filter regularly. A clogged filter will restrict airflow to the coils resulting in reduced efficiency.
The next thing you should do is clean its coils. Both the evaporator and condenser coils tend to collect dirt.
If left unclean, this dirt will insulate the coil and reduce its ability to absorb heat. Carefully clean the dirt around the coils to allow adequate airflow.
You should also check the aluminum fins on the coils to bend and block the airflow. Use a fur comb to comb them back into their original position.
Sometimes, dirt can also accumulate inside the drain channels. When this happens, the unit fails to reduce humidity. Occasionally inserting a stiff wire inside the drain channels helps prevent clogging.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of air conditioner is best for a garage?
We believe mini-split ACs are the best air conditioner type for a garage.
They are convenient, ductless, and powerful enough to generate up to 30,000 BTUs, which is more than enough for a large space.
Are portable air conditioners good for a garage?
Technically, you can use a portable air conditioner in a garage, but the cooling performance might suffer since it requires you to vent outside. It might work poorly, and you'll be disappointed with the results.
What size AC unit do I need for a 2 car garage?
A typical 2 car garage measures around 500 square feet in size. To cool such a space, you'll need powerful units to generate up to 1,2000 BTUs.
How much does it cost to install an air conditioner in a garage?
That depends upon the type of garage air conditioner you are looking to get. Most window ACs and portable ones are easy enough to install yourself.
But if you decide to get a ductless air conditioner, be prepared to pay anywhere from $250 to $750 to the handyman you hire.
How to vent a portable air conditioner in the garage?
If you have a standard sliding window in your garage, venting a portable AC won't be much of a problem. But if you don't, venting through the roof or wall would be good alternatives.
Is Cooling Your Garage with Air Conditioning Expensive?
The total cost of cooling your garage with an AC depends upon its size, the level of insulation, and the unit's efficiency.
So, while the actual cost varies from place to place, running an air conditioner generally costs between $0.06 and $0.88 per hour to run.
Do You Even Need An Air Conditioner In Your Garage?
If you spend considerable time in the garage and treat it as another room, it makes complete sense to have an air conditioner installed there.
How Many BTUs To Cool A Garage?
Determining the proper BTUs starts with measuring the size of your garage.
A typical two-car garage should measure somewhere around 20 × 20 feet. According to Energy Star, a 400 square feet space requires a 9,000 to 10,000 BTU generating air conditioner.
Best Garage Air Conditioners – should you get a portable AC or mini-split?
When it comes to performance and appearance, mini-split ACs have the upper hand over portable ACs.
Portable ACs not only occupy valuable floor space, but they also need a dedicated window for ventilation. On the other hand, mini-splits may have a high upfront cost; but their convenience justifies the cost.
Final Verdict: What is the Best Garage Air Conditioner?
Working in a hot garage can be a tough job. A good garage AC can keep you cool and comfortable. After carefully surveying the market, we believe the Senville SENL-24CD Mini-Split 24,000 BTU to be the best garage AC. It is a mini-split with powerful cooling output and additional heating functions.
If you own a 2-car garage, the Shinco 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner is the most suitable option. It is a portable AC with self evaporating technology, so you don't have to worry about its ventilation.
Lastly, if your garage is bigger, go for the Hessaire MC37M Evaporative Cooler. This evaporative cooler can easily cover areas as big as 950 square feet, providing cool, moist air to fend off the dry heat.