Buying a portable fishing boat was definitely one of your smartest decisions. But those hot, summer days spent cruising with the family made you realize that you still need one more thing for your precious investment – air conditioning. You’ll find several boat air conditioning options. Self-contained air conditioning units are mostly used by small and medium-sized boats as well as split air conditioning systems.
Chilled water air conditioning is also another great option, especially for yachts and larger boats. But if you’re working on a budget or you’re not using your boat as often and would want to cool only a small part of your cabin, a portable marine air conditioner is your best option because it is lightweight enough to be placed anywhere on the boat and gets the job done without breaking the bank.
The list of high-quality portable marine air conditioners and the comparison of their main characteristics:
Switchbox Control IceBox
|10 x 13 x 18 inches||10 pounds|
|exhaust hose, AC unit||See Best Price|
IcyBreeze V1 Cooler
|17 x 19 x 25 inches||22.65 pounds||12 V|
AC unit, power supply, hose
|See Best Price|
Mobile Air Conditioning Devices
|8.03 x 7.95 x 6.1 inches||2.03 pounds|
|AC unit||See Best Price|
|13.39 x 32.09 x 17.45 inches||55.1 pounds|
|AC unit, window mount kit, quick setup guide, remote control||See Best Price|
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Switchbox Control IceBox
The Switchbox Control IceBox is a perfect portable boat air conditioning system. By simply switching on the unit for a few minutes before you set off, your vehicle or boat will be nice and cool for when you are ready to go, without switching on the engine.
This means you and your passengers can start the journey in comfort rather than in scorching temperatures. It is powered by the 12V electrical outlet in your car or boat to make it as convenient as possible.
It could not be simpler to use the Switchbox Control IceBox. All you need to do is fill the reservoir with cold water and ice before switching it on with the wireless remote control.
Within a few seconds, you will experience the feeling of chilled air filling the inside of your car or boat, ready for your trip.
IcyBreeze V1 Cooler
The Icy Breeze is probably the most interesting portable marine air conditioner you can buy. It’s also a pretty versatile product since it is both a cooler and an air conditioner.
This actually makes it a great option for travel – it’s something that will not take up too much space in your car, and it actually works!
The IcyBreeze is a cooler that can hold 30 lbs of ice. It works really well as just a cooler – the ice takes a really long time to melt, especially if you use large frozen cubes. Don’t use the ice you put in your drink, but rather just freeze a big bottle or Tupperware dish of water.
And then it also has a fan in the hose on top. So, when you feel like you want to cool down (and not with an icy drink), you pick up the hose, turn on the fan and enjoy the icy air blowing in your face.
There are three fan speeds on this thing, and obviously the higher the speed you choose, the faster the ice inside the cooler will melt. For longevity, you want to use the IcyBreeze at lower speeds. And for a quick cooldown just load it up with ice and turn it on high.
This portable air conditioner comes only with a 12V car adapter, which is one downside. That’s okay if you want to use this in your car or boat, but not really if you want to use it at home or while you’re traveling. You can purchase a battery pack separately, and I recommend you do that for the full functionality of the IcyBreeze.
One thing to note is that there are other IcyBreeze units that have rechargeable batteries (The Flurry Package and The Frost Package), but they are more expensive than this unit, and they do not perform as well.
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Mobile Air Conditioning Devices
This unit is a great travel-friendly option. Thanks to the convenient top handle, it’s very easy to carry around. It is also a lightweight and fairly small portable air conditioner, so you can actually fit this in your bag.
It can easily cool down the area around you – some 40 square feet. But it won’t do much, in terms of cooling down an entire room. In addition to that, this portable air conditioner can reduce the temperature by some 12 degrees (Celsius), and even more if you put ice cubes in the water tank.
The design of the tank is really great – there’s a funnel inside the unit, so it’s super easy to fill this up and not spill a drop of water. Plus, there’s a water level scale on the back of this air conditioner, which helps you know when to stop adding water in this model.
This cooling unit also works as a humidifier and a fan, as well as a night light. It has an LED light with 7 different color options, which is pretty great. Additionally, the grill on the front of the device allows you to adjust the direction where the air is blowing. But, you can only adjust the grill up or down; you can’t move it to the side.
The Onxe portable air conditioner is pretty quiet, and it will not disturb your sleep. However, I’m not sure if it turns off automatically when it runs out of water. You should probably test that out before you let it work overnight.
SereneLife portable boat air conditioners are among the highest-rated units available and are renowned for their quality and performance. This model has four modes, AC, Dry/Dehumidify without cooling, and fan-only mode.
It very convenient, as it is an auto-evaporative unit, meaning it will rarely need to be emptied, as most of the moisture removed from the air is vented out of the attached hose to the atmosphere.
Included with this SereneLife portable air conditioner are a window Mount Kit, quick setup guide, and remote control.
The remote control makes it very easy to use, thanks to its digital touch button control panel. The remote allows you to switch it on and off, choose one of its four modes, and set the timer and temperature. You can also use the remote to adjust the fan speed settings to your preference.
This unit’s construction makes it very portable due to its lightweight, wheels, and sleek design. This means it is equally useful at home or on your boat.
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FAQ for portable marine air conditioners buyers:
How does AC work on a boat?
The refrigerant within it removes the heat. The compressor is the business end of the unit and keeps air circulating through the air conditioner. The condenser then cools the airflow and sends it back to the evaporator. A fan pumps the cooled air back into the cabin.
How do you size a Marine air conditioner?
The rule of thumb is to have 180 gallons per hour (3gpm) of water per ton of air conditioning (one ton is 12,000 Btu/hr). If more than one Marine Air System shares a common pump, you will also need a pump relay and manifold.
How do you prime a boat air conditioner?
To prime the pump, I close the thru-hull, attach a piece of clear hose from the galley facet to the hose barb. Open the ball valve, turn on the galley facet, hear water running out the AC discharge. Then close the ball valve, open the thru-hull and turn on the AC.
Can a marine air conditioner run on an inverter?
An inverter allows you to run a 120-volt load from a 12-volt battery. It doesn’t do this for free. To sum it all up, your inverter and batteries would likely be able to start and run a new efficient air conditioner, but not for very long. Your 600-amp-hour bank can efficiently supply maybe 400 amps of power.
What size generator do I need to run my marine air conditioner?
A 14-kilowatt standby generator could power a 4-ton central air conditioner. A 17-kilowatt model could run a 5-ton central air conditioner. Obviously, this all depends on what else is being powered. Use the standby generator sizing calculator to figure out the best size unit for your needs.
Is it cheaper to leave a boat air conditioner on all day?
In general, it is cheaper to leave the AC on all day during very hot temperatures. However, it’s not efficient to keep it on full blast all the time. This can take a long time and place too much strain on the system. For many systems, this can mean less efficient cooling, more frequent repairs, and higher energy bills.