Whynter ARC-12SD Portable Air Conditioner Review

Vital Statistics

  • Environmentally friendly R410A refrigerant gives the ozone a break.
  • 12,000 BTUs of cooling power for your mid-sized rooms.
  • Operate via the easy to understand control panel or convenient remote.
  • Ventilation kit fits windows up to 46” wide.
  • Fully programmable out to 24 hours.

This is a 12,000 BTU unit that’s intended for rooms up to a maximum of about 400 square feet so it should be fine in the standard sized rooms of older homes. It has a slightly different look from the other Whynter portable ACs and we have to say we prefer the aesthetic at work here over that of their other air conditioners. This one has nice clean lines, releases the cool air from the top where it’s most effective and displays information in a narrow band across the front. It also tapers inward from bottom to top. If you’re in search of a portable air conditioner that’s a step above some of the discount models out there you can’t lose with the ARC 12SD.

Go Green with this Whynter

Whynter puts a lot of thought and effort into creating portable air conditioners that don’t look upon the earth as an enemy. Their units are all well-considered and make use of leading edge innovations to provide the cool while preserving the planet for the kids. All components of the ARC 12SD are lead free and the unit employs CFC-free, R410A refrigerant to turn your hot sticky rooms into dry comfortable living quarters. They also employ evaporative technology that lets the unit redirect condensation to the evaporator where it helps cool the air more effectively while reducing how frequently you have to empty the drip pan.


  • 12,000 BTUs of raw cooling power – Somehow Whynter manages to make their 12,000 BTUs seem much more effective than other manufacturer’s 12,000 BTUs. While we’re pretty sure that’s scientifically impossible it’s a neat trick nonetheless. This unit makes short work out of the hottest, stuffiest space and even though it’s rated for (and can handle) rooms as large as 400 square feet it’s really at its best in rooms of about 350 square feet. Rooms like that will cool off to a livable temperature in just a few minutes and the unit will have no problem maintaining a comfortable environment no matter how hot it gets outside.
  • Dehumidifier mode – The ARC 12SD offers a separate dehumidifier mode that can remove a pretty incredible 96 pints of water a day from the air – that’s 12 gallons every 24 hours! Of course the odds that your 400 square foot room will have 12 gallons of moisture that need removing are pretty remote, but if it does for some reason, the ARC 12SD can handle it. It’s likely that some days all you’ll need is the dehumidifier to make your room livable.
  • Portability – Make no mistake; the 12SD is a heavy piece of equipment. Thankfully, it’s beautifully balanced and in possession of first class casters that make moving its 71 pounds from room to room a relative breeze. As it tapers outward toward the bottom it’s also unlikely to tip over while you’re moving it. A big plus if you have young kids in the house. Moving it from floor to floor however is another matter and one you’ll want help with for sure.
  • Additional pros – For such a large and relatively powerful unit the 12SD is actually pretty quiet. It reaches a max operational noise level of 56 decibels which means that while it’s not exactly Ninja quiet it’s not going to interfere with your TV shows or dinner conversations. The ventilation kit is also easy to set up and will fit any window up to 46”. Lastly the 12SD comes with smart restart technology which saves your settings in case the power goes out and then restarts the machine at those settings when power comes back online.


  • Auto evaporator not all it’s cracked up to be – While the auto evaporative technology certainly seems to take care of some condensation it clearly can’t handle it all, which means that once or twice a day you’re going to have to empty the pan and that’s always a drag.
  • Dual hose design is cumbersome – The unit employs a dual hose design that is supposed to help it do its job more efficiently but looks like hell and detracts from the look of the unit itself. The two hoses also limit how close you can get the unit to your venting window meaning it’s sometimes going to be further out in the room than you want it to be.

Check out our full review guide here: https://www.gearhungry.com/home/best-portable-air-conditioner/