Whynter ARC-12SD Review

Whynter ARC-12SD ReviewA portable air conditioner should not be a seasonal purchase. And as such, it pays to not only consider the upfront cost of the unit, but the cost-savings you can expect based on energy efficiency and reliability. Among those 12000 BTU units on the market that should give you both is the Whynter ARC-12SD. For more details on this unit and our thoughts about its value, please keep reading.

Cooling Power

With a total of 12000 BTUs of cooling power, the Whynter ARC-12SD should suffice for a 400 square foot room nicely. Just be sure to account for additional heat factors that could reduce this figure, such as high ceilings, lots of sunny windows, poor insulations, etc.

Hose Design

The ARC-12SD uses a dual hose exhaust system, the most efficient there is. With a dedicated cooling loop that does not require loss of cooled indoor air or the negative room pressure associated with single-hose systems, this model can give you additional cooling efficiency relative to other similarly-rated single hose air conditioners.


Whynter ARC-12SD Rear ViewDrain System

Similar to many other new portable air conditioners, this one is equipped with auto-evaporation technology, which means that it will blow off condensate and send this humid air outside with the exhaust stream, so you should never need to drain the water pan manually under normal conditions. But as we always say, even the best auto-evaporation systems will typically result in condensate accumulation that requires manual draining in high-humidity environments.

Size & Portability

Coming in with dimensions of 20″ W x 16.5″ D x 34″ H and a net weight of 71pounds, the ARC-12SD is just about average in terms of size/weight.

Noise Level

This model is reported to produce less than 56 dB of noise. Not the quietest model we’ve reviewed, but this is a decent score for any portable unit, but some people are much more sensitive to noise than others. For most users, however, this model will produce tolerable operational noise.

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To really understand efficiency, you need the unit’s EER score – the product of its BTUs dividied by its maximum wattage consumption. Any score above 10.0 is very good, with the higher the number the better. In this particular case, the ARC-12SD scores an EER of 10.9 – which is an outstanding EER that means that you can expect greater cooling efficiency – and a lower energy bill – compared to most other portable AC units.

Whynter ARC-12SD Other Features

  • 96 pint/day humidifier
  • Full function remote control
  • Eco-responsible refrigerants
  • 3 fan speeds
  • Rolling casters
  • Auto restart
  • Leak detection and control
  • Air filter included
  • Digital thermostat with range of 61F – 89F
  • 24h programmable timer
  • Window kit

Whynter ARC-12SD Reviews

Portable air conditioners are often poorly rated, because people have varying expectations and often buy underpowered units – or underestimate how high their ceilings are or the size of their rooms. Nevertheless, the ARC-12SD has earned a very respectable user satisfaction rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars on amazon.com. Among these reviews, typical comments made included:

  • “This is the simply the best portable AC there is”
  • “Helped made the summer bearable”
  • “Cools our huge room nicely”

Indeed, these comments were common, and the vast majority of purchasers reported great satisfaction with this unit’s cooling power, reliability and value. The relatively few negative comments, however, seemed to center on things like vent installation (always an issue with portable units); noise, price, and the fact that the unit required manual draining in some cases. These are all fairly standard gripes with portable units in our experience.

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Price & Value

At its current selling price of $464, the Whynter ARC-12SD is definitely not the cheapest option in the 12,000 BTU range (see our Comparison Guide to compare price/BTUs). However, this model does come with relatively premium features that somewhat justify its higher price, namely its dual hose design; leakage detection/control; high EER and good digital controls. In fact, its higher EER alone would probably result in greater cost-savings over the life of the unit when compared to the up-front savings of buying a cheaper but less efficient 12000 BTU model.

Whynter ARC-12SD Pros & Cons


  • Dual hose system
  • Very high EER
  • Great features and digital controls
  • 4 & 5-star user reviews


  • A bit pricey for a 12K BTU model
  • Some users needed to drain condensate manually

Whynter ARC-12SD Concluding Thoughts & Opinions

Overall, if you are looking for a 12000 BTU air conditioner that will pay off in the long run, we think the Whynter ARC-12SD is a great choice. While there are certainly cheaper options out there, the combination of a dual hose exhaust and a very high EER means that you can expect a lower monthly cost with this unit relative to most others. In addition, with its generous array of modern controls and features, we think that any additional upfront cost is well worth it.

However, just be aware of this model’s limitations, which are not really any different than any other portable air conditioner. For example, despite its auto-evaporation feature, routinely check for condensate accumulation (especially in high humidity areas) and make sure to take care when installing the vent so it’s done properly. Besides those considerations, this model should easily get the job done for most users with rooms up to 400 square feet – and quiet efficiently at that!

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