Portable Air Conditioners: Single Hose vs Dual Hose

In case you wanted to know which configuration of portable air conditioner, single hose vs dual hose, is more effective for your specific needs, this guide may help.

The commoner single-hose AC units have a lower price tag and can be found in larger sizes, power outputs, or features from several manufacturers.

portable ac dual hose single hoseThere are two options for portable AC units: single hose or dual-hose.

However, the additional cost can be justified by the many advantages of dual-hose AC units.

Let's take a look both types of cooling units to find out their pros and cons, and then decide which unit will best suit your budget, needs and circumstances.

Single-Hose Portable Air Conditioning Models

This type of portable cooler is the most recognized and common.

It has a single exhaust hose as its name suggests. It attaches on one end to the unit's rear and on the other to a window fitting kit.

Hot air is produced by all air conditioners. To prevent it from heating up the room with hot air that is ejected from the back of the unit, the hose must be connected to a window outlet.

This is done with the venting hose connecting to the unit's hot air output vent and an opening for the external vent, usually a fixing kit for a window.

When the unit is in operation, it draws air from a room, chills and conditions it internally, then returns the chilled, dry air to the room via the vents on the front. The back vents hot, moist and unwelcome air to the outside.

Single-Hose Portable AC Unit Pros

One of the major advantages of single-hose portable AC conditioners is that they are typically cheaper to purchase and can be found on sale in most hardware shops as well as online.

Installation is much simpler for those with less handyman skills because they only need one hose to connect to the window.

This advantage is magnified if a portable AC needs to be vented through the wall, as only one hole needs to be drilled if installing a new wall vent.

While many people don't like the sight of the hose leading from the unit into a window, they serve their purpose and can be cleverly disguised using furniture placement or houseplants.

Single-Hose Portable AC Unit Cons

You can create a negative atmosphere inside the room by drawing in air from the area to condition and cool it, then venting out hot air.

Nature will respond to this negative pressure by trying the draw outside air back into the room via cracks or crevices.

This actually lowers the unit’s cooling efficiency and makes it more difficult to maintain a room temperature of 0°C. The increased mechanical work results in higher electricity consumption.

Dual-Hose Portable Air Conditioning Models

The availability of free standing air conditioners with double hose configurations is not as widespread as the single-hose alternative.

Also, the number of models, output ratings, manufacturers and options available are more limited, but there are still sufficient to provide a reasonable choice of size and output.

These units are identified by having two flexible, corrugated plastic hoses connecting them with a suitable window fixing installation.

Although one hose configuration may be sufficient to vent hot air out the building as required, there are advantages to having two vent hoses, as I will explain below.

Dual-Hose Portable AC Unit Pros

Portable air conditioners with double hose exhaust systems have the main advantage of being more efficient and economically-friendly.

This is because fresh outside air is drawn in to the unit to be conditioned, cooled, and then the chilled air is circulated into the room from the unit's front vents.

This arrangement eliminates air pressure variation between the inside and the outside. This setup prevents warm air outside from getting through tiny openings in walls, door and window frames.

This model requires less power to cool the room and therefore uses less electricity. This can help you save money on your electricity bills.

To further increase the efficiency, there are self-evaporating portable air conditioners where the exhaust hose is used to remove most of the moisture that accumulates inside the unit, meaning these AC models do not need to be drained very often.

Dual-Hose Portable AC Unit Cons

Due to the dual-hose setup, manufacturing costs are higher which is passed on as a higher price to the consumer. The added cost of dual hoses is offset by lower operating fees over the unit's life.

A double hose setup is often less visually appealing than a single hose appliance. And many people just don't like the look of it!

Two hoses don't have to cause any problems, though. You can hide them by siting your furniture strategically along with house plants and camouflaging it.


Personal preference dictates which self contained portable air conditioner model you prefer.

For those who do not want to put together a two-hose installation kit, which connects up with two unsightly flexible pipes, the simplicity of single-hose models appeals.

This is especially important when you consider efficiency and economy. Dual-hose models do well in this category, and the lower electricity bills will soon make up for the higher purchase price.

People who prefer to have their room cool faster to keep cool during the hot summer months, will doubtless prefer dual-hose models.

The final choice comes down ultimately to personal preference, your budget, your requirements for cooling capacity and efficiency of operation.