Portable air conditioners are quite expensive, especially those at the larger end of the spectrum – like 14000 BTU models. However, there are some larger models that cool very well and are priced slightly under the market. One such example we like is the Koldfront PAC1401W Ultracool 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner.
For more information about this model and what we think about its performance and value, please keep reading.
The Koldfront PAC1401W is a big, powerful portable unit that packs 14000 BTUs, enough to cool a room or space up to 700 square feet, if optimal conditions are present. If you are cooling a very sunny room, a room with higher ceilings, areas adjacent to cooking areas, or a poorly insulated area, then you can expect this coverage area to drop anywhere from 10-50%, depending on how many of these additional “heat factors” are present.
This model uses a single exhaust hose. A single hose system operates slightly less efficiency than a dual hose, all other things being equal, because it relies on using indoor air to cool the unit’s compressor. This results in a small amount of cooled indoor air being lost, and also creates a slight negative room pressure, which has the effect of drawing some warm air in from the outdoors (through cracks/gaps around windows, doors, vents, etc.).
This does not mean that single hose systems are ineffective, however. They essentially do the same job as dual hose systems and are usually more affordable. Further, any inherent inefficiency compared to a dual hose unit may be offset, or nullified, depending on whether the unit has an overall high Energy Efficiency Ratio (“EER”) – as we discuss more below.
The PAC1401W comes with a modern self-evaporating drain system that, in most cases, means you don’t have to ever drain the condensate manually. This is a very handy feature that lets the unit run virtually unmonitored. However, we always suggest checking the drainpan periodically because significant condensate may accumulate at times with any auto-evaporating unit, especially when ambient humidity is very high.
Size & Portability
This unit measures 19 inches wide, 16 inches deep, and 32 inches in height, and weighs approximately 75 pounds– these are fairly normal specs for a portable AC unit with its power rating. Like most units with this many BTUs, you will be happy it’s equipped with rolling casters – unless you need to carry it up or downstairs!
The PAC1401W produces 47 decibels on its lowest setting, 50 decibels on its medium setting, and 53 decibels on its high setting. These are great noise specs- as a result you can expect relatively quiet operation compared to the average AC unit. This also makes it a great choice for use in bedrooms, where silence is of particular concern.
Energy Efficiency Ratios – the standard measure for gauging an air conditioner’s efficiency – generally range anywhere from 8 to 11, with most models falling on the lower end of this range. Thus, any EER of 10.0 or better is very good. The PAC1401W’s EER is 9.5 – not the best out there, but still a very respectable score that to some extent makes up for the slight loss of efficiency due to its single hose design.
The Window Kit included with this model can fit window openings between 20 and 48.5 inches. It also comes with a vent/exhaust hose that expands to 49 inches in length.
- 3 fan speeds
- Adjustable thermostat with range of 62 – 88 deg. F
- A 70 pint/day dehumidifier
- CFC-free refrigerants
- Rolling casters
- Auto restart
- 24 hour programmable timer
- Fully functional remote
- Washable filter and carbon media for odor control
- 3-year limited warranty
Koldfront PAC1401W Ultracool Reviews
This model has been well-received by users, as reflected by its average consumer rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars based on 39 reviews on amazon.com. The following excerpts from actual reviews typify the praise this model generally receives:
- The Koldfront was easy to install. it is quiet and effective.
- My main room is combination Living / Dining with an open Kitchen (approx 700 sq ft) and the AC cools it down to 72 degrees within 5 minutes.
- I Love this Air Conditioner…..very quiet, Powerfull, Easy to set up and use!!!!
However, there were a relatively small number of negative reviews. These mainly consisted of some reported issues concerning the vent hookup (which is fairly typical with portable ACs generally); some people reported that it produced significant condensate that needed draining during very humid days; and some commented that it did not cool sufficiently, although, for example, one user such user admitted to using it for a large room with vaulted ceilings – remember that high ceilings will dramatically reduce the coverage area of any air conditioner!
Price & Value
Currently selling for about $449 at the time of this writing, the PAC1401W Ultracool is pretty affordable for a 14000 BTU portable air conditioner – we figure it’s about $75 less than most other models in its spec range.
Accordingly, unless its price goes up, the PAC1401W is a fairly good deal at this price – but you don’t have to take our word for it, see for yourself by comparing the Ultracool to other 14000 BTU options by using our Portable AC Comparison Guide.
Pros & Cons
- lots of BTUs and power
- decent EER of 9.5
- newer model with modern features
- runs quietly
- good dehumidifier
- solid user reviews
- inexpensive for its cooling power
- 3-year warranty
- single hose design
- window kit was touchy for some
Concluding Thoughts & Opinions
For most users, we think the Koldfront PAC1401W Ultracool checks all of the boxes – it’s very powerful, cooling a room up to 700 square feet under ideal conditions; it produces relatively little noise, especially at the low fan setting; comes with a good array of modern controls and features; and it’s about $75 bucks less than other comparable 14000 BTU portable air conditioners. Moreover, it has a pretty respectable EER and has earned a good track record among actual users, who generally confirm that this model cools effectively and runs fairly quietly. As a result, we think it’s a solid buy for anyone looking for a simple, yet powerful portable air conditioner.
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