Single Hose vs Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioners

There may come a time when you want to compare single hose vs dual hose portable air conditioners to see which is most effective and best to suit your needs.

The more common single-hose free standing AC units tend to come with a lower cost price ticket and can be found in greater variety of sizes, power outputs and features from a number of different manufacturers.

single hose vs dual hose portable air conditionersHowever, there are a number of advantages to the dual-hose equipped portable AC units that can make the extra cost worthwhile.

Let's take a look at both types of cooling unit to see their pros and cons and assess which may be the best fit for your needs, budget and circumstances.

Single-Hose Portable Air Conditioners

This type of free standing cooling unit is the most common and most widely recognized configuration of portable coolers.

As it's descriptive name suggests, it has a single exhaust vent hose that attaches to the rear of the unit on one end and to a window fixing kit installed on a suitable window on the other.

Since all air conditioners produce hot air as well as cold air, it is important that the cold air be circulated throughout the room to be cooled and the hot air be exhausted out of the room to prevent reheating it.

This is achieved with the vent hose connecting the unit's hot air output vent and an external vent opening, which is usually a window.

When operating, the unit draws air from the room, conditions it internally by chilling and drying the air, then returns the cold, dry air into the room via vents on the front of the unit. The hot, moist air that is unwanted is vented out the back.

Pros of Single-Hose Portable AC Units

The main advantages of single-hose portable air conditioners is that they generally come with a lower purchase cost and can be found in most hardware stores as well as online.

Having only a single hose to hook up to a window makes installation easier and more straight forward for people with minimal handyman skills to accomplish.

This advantage is amplified when it is necessary to vent a portable AC through a wall when no window is available as only one hole needs to be drilled in the wall.

While not many people like the look of the hose trailing from the unit to a window, it serves its purpose and can be cleverly camouflaged by careful use of furniture placement or with house plants.

Cons of Single-Hose Portable AC Units

By drawing air from the room to condition and cool, then venting hot air out of the room, a negative air pressure is created inside the room, especially if doors and windows are all closed as recommended by the manufacturer.

This negative pressure will cause nature to try to re-balance that pressure with the outside by trying to suck outside air in through cracks or crevices in masonry or window frames, essentially drawing hot air back into the room.

This effectively lowers the unit's cooling efficiency and causes it to work harder to maintain the low temperature in the room. The extra mechanical work uses more energy, resulting in higher electricity bills.

Dual-Hose Portable Air Conditioners

Free standing air conditioners with a double hose configuration are less common with fewer models, output ratings and manufacturers to choose from.

These units are characterized by having two flexible corrugated hoses connecting them to a suitable window fixing kit. So why have two hoses when one will do?

While a single hose configuration is an acceptable method of venting hot air out of the building, there are some advantages to working with two, as I will explain below.

Pros of Dual-Hose Portable AC Units

The main advantage of portable air conditioners with double hose exhaust systems is their improved efficiency and economy in operation.

This occurs because fresh air is drawn into the unit from outside to be conditioned and cooled using one hose, while the hot, moist exhaust air is pumped out of the unit with the second hose.

This set up eliminates any air pressure variance between inside and outside. It prevents the problem of warm air from outside being sucked in through small openings in walls and door and window frames experienced by single-hose units.

The unit therefore does not need to work as hard to keep the room cool and thus uses less electricity, saving money on utility bills.

Also, self evaporating portable air conditioners make good use of the dedicated exhaust hose to further improve their efficiency and ability to remove most, if not all the moisture accumulating inside the unit.

Cons of Dual-Hose Portable AC Units

The dual hose setup means increased manufacturing costs which are passed on to the consumer in a slightly higher purchase price. However, it should be noted that this additional cost is recouped in lower operating costs over the lifetime of the unit.

Two hoses are generally uglier to look at than one and a lot of people simply do not like the look of them! However, two hoses can be disguised the same way one can, by use of house plants or camouflaging furniture placement.


The choice of whether to opt for a single or dual hose portable air conditioner is down to personal preference when it comes to how each type of air conditioning unit looks.

Likewise, the ease of installation of single-hose models appeals to those not wanting the extra hassle of fitting a two-hose window kit hooked up to two unsightly flexible hoses!

However, that choice becomes a little more important when considering economy and operating efficiency. Dual-hose models win in this department and the saving in electricity bills soon offsets the higher price tag when purchasing the unit.

Likewise, the faster cooling time afforded dual-hose models thanks to greater efficiency will appeal to those that like to have their room cooled down faster so they can get comfortable more quickly, especially after coming home from a hard day's work.

Ultimately, the final choice will come down to what you can reasonably afford, what you need the unit to achieve in terms of cooling capacity and economy of operation.

Date Posted: March 29, 2022