Whynter ARC-14SH Portable Air Conditioner Review

 

Vital Statistics

  • 14,000 BTUs of cooling power make it one of the most powerful PACs around.
  • Cool down a room as large a 500 square feet.
  • 28 Fahrenheit degree temperature range will satisfy everyone.
  • Operate either by direct input control panel or the handy remote.
  • Fully programmable for a period of up to 24 hours at a time.

Currently there are only a few companies that produce 14,000 BTU portable air conditioners. Honeywell is one and Whynter is another notable company that has ventured into this part of the AC power range. As Whynter typically produces well engineered, well-built air conditioning units we went into the assessment period for this unit with high hopes. Thankfully the unit lived up to most of them. This appliance is an air conditioning Hulk that’s short on design and long on performance and may be one of the 2 or 3 best 14,000 BTU portable ACs on the market today. Let’s take a look at why that is.

Pros

  • 14,000 BTUs of cooling capacity – The number (14,000) pretty much sums it up when it comes to this particular “pro”. If you can’t cool your room with this much power you must be living on the sun. This unit and others like it were designed to provide a cooling solution for those modern homeowners whose kitchens and other main rooms were larger than the traditional size of around 400 square feet. Whynter advertise that this unit can handle a 500 square foot room but we’d be willing to be you could stretch that to 600 under certain circumstances.
  • Multiple operational modes – The ARC 14SH features “fan” mode with 3 speed settings, “dehumidifier” mode that can suck up to 101 pints of water a day out of the air in your room, “cooling” mode (61 – 89 degrees Fahrenheit) and “heating” mode (61 – 77 degrees Fahrenheit). This last item is included on far too few portable air conditioners and is a great way to help save the planet while keeping your room warm in an affordable manner.
  • Performance – Perhaps our favorite attribute of this particular portable air conditioner is the speed with which it does its job. Part of that is a matter of brute strength and part of that has to do with the fact that the unit throws the newly cooled air upwards so that it’s not blocked or diverted by furniture or other obstacles. In smaller rooms (although you don’t really want to get this for smaller rooms) the speed with which the room can go from sweltering to chilly is astonishing. Any objective measure of the unit’s performance also needs to take note of the dehumidifier and its aforementioned ability to free the air of up to 101 pints of moisture per day.
  • Easy to set up – The ARC 14SH requires virtually no assembly and is ready to go right out of the box. All you’ll need to do is determine which window you want to set up near and then use the ventilator kit to run the vent hose from the machine out the window. Setting up the window vent typically takes less than 5 minutes and once you get used to the process, considerably less. Once you have the unit set up kick back, relax and let the auto-evaporative feature take care of the moisture for you. No more pans to empty. Just be careful when pushing the ARC 14SH around as it’s heave and maybe not the best balanced unit we’ve ever seen.

Cons

  • Noise levels – This is perhaps the loudest 14,000 BTU portable air conditioner we tested but that shouldn’t be a deal breaker. That’s because, while it is relatively loud, it’s not so much that it’s a distraction while you’re watching TV or trying to sleep (unless of course you’re an extremely shallow sleeper”). And if it’s really bothering you in the bedroom at night our experience tells us a simple pair of foam earplugs should be plenty to keep the noise-bogeyman at bay.
  • Design – We tried to hold off criticizing the look of this unit but in the end decided to lay our feelings bare. The fact is, it looks like a big Lego air conditioner, that’s how blocky the design is. While we understand that the majority of people who buy this type of appliance are interested in performance first and looks second (if at all) we can’t help wondering why, at this price point, the company couldn’t have put a bit more thought into the design.