The 6 Best Garage Air Conditioners – Window, Portable and Mini Splits

The hot summer months can quickly bring your garage up to unbearable temperatures. And if you’re a handyman like me, you spend a lot of time in your garage working on projects. Instead of sweating it out and dealing with the heat, you can add an air conditioner to make your garage cool and comfortable.

You can use a window AC unit, portable air conditioner, or a ductless mini-split unit. But which one is right for your garage?

Well, you’re in luck! We’ve got all the tips and information you need to pick the best air conditioner for your garage. So, let’s dive in!

a technician installing an AC in the garage

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Garage Air Conditioners Quick Comparison Table

ProductDetailsWhere to Buy

Midea 5,000 BTU EasyCool Window Air Conditioner and Fan
midea easycool air conditioner and fan

Type: Window AC unit
Coverage: 150 square feet
BTUs: 5,000
Best for: 1-car garages

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hOmeLabs 10,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner
hOmeLabs window air conditioner

Type: Window AC unit
Coverage: 450 square feet
BTUs: 10,000
Best for: 1 or 2-car garages

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Frigidaire 14000 BTU Wi-Fi Connected Portable Air Conditioner
Frigidaire 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

Type: Portable air conditioner
Coverage: 700 square feet
BTUs: 14,000
Best for: 2 or 3-car garages

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Honeywell 14000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
Honeywell 14000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

Type: Portable air conditioner
Coverage: 700 square feet
BTUs: 14,000
Best for: 2 or 3-car garages

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Senville LETO Series Mini Split Air Conditioner Heat Pump
senville leto air conditioner

Type: Ductless mini-split AC unit
Coverage: 400 to 1,500 square feet (depending on model)
BTUs: 9,000 to 36,000
Best for: Any size garage (depending on mode)

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MRCOOL - DIY-12-HP-115B25 DIY 12k BTU 22 SEER Ductless Heat Pump Split System
mrcool DIY-12-HP-115B25 DIY

Type: Ductless mini-split AC unit
Coverage: 700 to 1,500 square feet (depending on model)
BTUs: 12,000 to 36,000 (depending on model)
Best for: 3-car garages or larger

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What Sort Of Air Conditioner Should You Use in a Garage?

a technician using a remote control to operate a ductless mini-split AC

Garages come in all shapes and sizes. Some are big enough to house multiple large cars, while others barely fit a single small sedan. No matter the size of your garage, you’ll want to make sure it’s comfortable – and that means having the right air conditioner.

There are a few things to consider when choosing an air conditioner for your garage. The first is the size of the unit. You’ll want to get an air conditioner that’s big enough to cool your entire garage. The second one you should consider is the type of air conditioner.

There are three main types of air conditioners that work well in garages:

  • Portable air conditioners
  • Window AC units
  • Ductless mini-splits

You might be thinking, “Why don’t I just use my central AC unit for my garage?” However, you should never use a ducted central AC unit in your garage and share it with your house.

Just think about it – your cars, lawnmowers, etc., all produce CO2 and other toxic gases when they run. And if your ducts connect to your house and garage, you would circulate these gases inside your home. Obviously, this isn’t ideal.

Ductless Mini Splits

man fixing a ductless mini split

Ductless mini splits are one of the newer types of air conditioners on the market. And while they’re still more expensive than the other two options, they offer many benefits, especially for people with larger garages.

First, ductless mini splits are very efficient. They don’t use much energy, so you can save money on your electric bill. Second, they’re so quiet that you won’t even know they’re running.

Like a central AC unit, they have two primary components – an indoor unit that mounts high up on a wall and an outdoor compressor unit that sits outside your garage. But unlike a central AC unit, there’s no ductwork required.

The two units are connected by a small conduit that runs through an opening in your garage wall. And since there’s no ductwork, there’s no worry about circulating dangerous gases inside your home.

Another benefit is that ductless mini splits can cool multiple rooms or zones. So if you have an oversized garage with a workshop in one corner and a man cave in another, you can easily cool both areas with two indoor units without buying two separate outdoor units.

Portable AC Units

Portable air conditioners are a great option if you need to cool a small area or don’t want to spend much money. They’re also easy to move from one room to another, so you can use them in your garage during the summer and then move them into your house when the weather gets cooler.

Portable air conditioners work by drawing in hot air from your garage, cooling it, and then circulating the cool air back into the room. They have a hose that vents the hot air outside, so you’ll need to make sure you have a window, door, or exhaust vent that you can use.

One downside of portable air conditioners is that they’re not as efficient as other types of air conditioners. They also tend to be noisier. But they’re a good option if you’re on a budget and need to cool a small area.

Window Air Conditioners

picture of a window ac showing its back vent

Just like portable AC units, window air conditioners are great for small to medium-sized garages. They work by drawing in hot air from your garage and circulating the cool air back into the room, exactly like portable AC units. But you need a window to mount it in.

Window air conditioners come in various sizes, so you can choose one that’s big enough to cool your entire garage. However, they’re not as efficient as other types of air conditioners, and they tend to be noisier.

They’re a great option to keep small to medium size garages cool, but they can look like an eyesore from the outside.

How Many BTUs Are Needed To Cool a Garage?

The size of your garage will determine how many BTUs (British Thermal Units) you need to cool it. A general rule of thumb is that you need about 25 BTUs for every square foot of space.

So, if your garage is 400 square feet, you would need a 10,000 BTU air conditioner. But if your garage is 800 square feet, you would need a 20,000 BTU air conditioner.

Of course, other factors can affect how many BTUs you need. If your garage is poorly insulated or gets a lot of direct sunlight, you’ll need more BTUs to cool it.

Garage Size (Sq Ft)Recommended BTUs
0-1505,000
150-2006,000
250-3008,000
300-35010,000
350-40012,000
400-45014,000
450-50015,000
500-60018,000
600-70020,000
700-80022,000
800-90025,000

What We Look For in a Garage Air Conditioner

man turning on the AC in the garage

Getting an air conditioner that can adequately cool your garage and keep you comfortable is essential. When we evaluated AC units for garages, we looked for the following features:

Coverage Area

Of course, we want an air conditioner that can cool the entire space without leaving it too hot. That would be a waste of time, energy, and money. If the AC unit’s coverage area is too small for a garage, it will never reach the temperatures you need.

Cooling Performance

Not all air conditioners are created equal. Some do a better job of cooling than others. We want an AC unit that can quickly and efficiently lower your garage’s temperature. If it has a weak fan, it won’t be able to circulate the air properly. And if it doesn’t have enough BTUs, it won’t be able to cool the space adequately.

BTUs

As we mentioned before, the size of your garage will determine how many BTUs you need. But it’s not just the square footage that matters. If your garage is poorly insulated or gets a lot of sunlight, you’ll need more BTUs to cool it.

Still, you need around 25 BTUs for every square foot of space. If you have a one-car garage, you will need fewer BTUs than, say, a four-car garage.

Ease of Installation

man installing a mini split ac in the garage

Installing an AC unit in your garage can be a bit tricky. If it’s not easy to install, it will take you longer to get it up and running, and you might even have to pay someone to do it for you. So, we want an AC unit that’s easy to install and doesn’t require any special tools or knowledge.

Noise Level

We don’t want an AC unit that’s so loud it drowns out our music or makes it difficult to have a conversation. A little bit of noise is expected, but we want an AC unit that runs quietly and doesn’t disrupt our lives.

Warranty

Finally, we want an AC unit that comes with a good warranty. That way, if something goes wrong, you can get it fixed or replaced without paying for it ourselves.

Or Favorite Garage Air Conditioner Reviews

You can use a window AC unit, portable air conditioner, or ductless mini-split to cool a garage. But which one is best for you? Let’s take a look at two great options in each category.

Midea 5,000 BTU EasyCool Window Air Conditioner and Fan

midea easycool air conditioner and fan

Key Specifications

  • 5,000 BTUs
  • Simple knob operations
  • Works with windows 23”-36” wide and minimum 13” high

The Midea 5,000 BTU EasyCool Window Air Conditioner and Fan is one of the best window air conditioners on the market. It’s perfect for small to medium size garages, with a coverage area of up to 150 square feet.

It has two cooling speeds and two fan speeds, so you can adjust it to your needs. One downside is that it doesn’t have a remote control, like many air conditioners these days.

It’s also easy to install, with no special tools or knowledge required. However, you will need a window in your garage for this one. Plus, it’s relatively quiet and won’t disrupt you as you work or hang out in your garage. And it comes with a one-year warranty on parts and labor, so you’re covered if something goes wrong.

Pros

  • Low cost
  • Easy to use
  • Reusable filter

Cons

  • No remote control
  • Only suitable for small garages

hOmeLabs 10,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner

hOmeLabs window air conditioner

Key Specifications

  • 10,000 BTUs
  • Digital thermostat

The hOmeLabs 10,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner is another excellent option for cooling a garage. It’s perfect for medium to large garages, with a coverage area of up to 350 square feet.

It is plenty powerful and good enough to cool a regular size 2-car garage. Like the Midea AC unit, you need a window to mount it in. Even if you’re pretty strong, this window air conditioner will be challenging to install in a window by yourself. It weighs over 60 pounds and is unwieldy.

But once you get it in the window, it’s smooth (and cool) sailing from there. The hOmeLabs window AC unit has multiple cooling functions, including cool, dry, fan, ECO, and sleep mode. You can quickly change settings with the included remote or the onboard digital thermostat.

Compared to other window AC units, this one is pretty quiet at just 54 to 59 dB (about as loud as a whisper).

Pros

  • Low 54 – 59 dB sound level 
  • Easy-to-use remote control
  • Flexible mounting – includes installation kit

Cons

  • Higher price
  • Heavy (63.9 pounds)

Frigidaire 14000 BTU Wi-Fi Connected Portable Air Conditioner

Frigidaire Portable Air Conditioner

Key Specifications

  • 14,000 BTUs
  • Wi-Fi controlled
  • Dehumidifying dry mode

The Frigidaire 14000 BTU Wi-Fi Connected Portable Air Conditioner is one of the best portable air conditioners around. It can cool up to 700 square feet, enough to cool most 3-car garages.

A great feature of this portable Frigidaire unit is its Wi-Fi connectivity. You can control it from your phone, tablet, or laptop. So, you can adjust the temperature or turn it on or off without having to get up.

It also has a built-in dehumidifier, so it can remove up to 79 pints of moisture from the air per day. And it comes with a remote control, so you can adjust the temperature from anywhere in the garage.

One downside of this Frigidaire portable AC unit is that it will take up some space – about 19 inches wide, 16 inches deep, and 31 inches tall.  And while it isn’t massive, it will take up some floor space. If you have a crowded garage, this could be an issue.

It’s easy to install and includes a window adapter, hose, and tubing to vent it properly. But, it is a little loud compared to a window AC unit. However, it isn’t loud enough that it would disrupt you as you’re working on your car or building a desk.

Like most AC units, it comes with a one-year warranty, so you’re covered if it fails.

Pros

  • Window adapter and trim kit included
  • Remote included 
  • Controllable with an app

Cons

  • Slightly loud 
  • Takes up space

Also Available on Amazon


Honeywell 14000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

Honeywell 14000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

Key Specifications

  • 14,000 BTUs
  • Dual hose
  • Remote control

The Honeywell 14000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner is another great option. It is a portable AC unit with a dual hose, which is better than single-hose units. Dual hose units are more efficient because they don’t have to work as hard to cool the air.

This Honeywell unit can cover up to 700 square feet, enough for large 3-car garages. Plus, it includes a remote control to adjust the temperature from anywhere in the garage. But, you can’t control it with an app since it doesn’t have Wi-Fi.

It’s easy to install with the included installation kit. Plus, it has a much sleeker look than most portable AC units with its black and silver finish. Besides cooling your garage, you can also run it as a dehumidifier and remove up to 51 pints of water per day.

One minor setback is that this Honeywell portable AC unit is quite heavy, almost 71-pounds. If you only plan on using it in your garage, this won’t be an issue as you can easily roll it around. But you might struggle if you want to bring it to your basement or 2nd floor.

Pros

  • Window venting kit included
  • Dehumidification mode

Cons

  • Heavy (70.5 pounds)

Also Available on Amazon


Senville LETO Series Mini Split Air Conditioner Heat Pump

senville leto air conditioner

Key Specifications

  • Wi-Fi Enabled
  • 4-in-1 system– cool, heat, dehumidifier, fan
  • High-efficiency

The Senville LETO Series Mini Split Air Conditioner Heat Pump is one of the best ductless mini-splits and somewhat easy to set up. However, compared to a window AC unit and portable air conditioner, a ductless mini split is much more involved.

You have to know your way around power tools and have 3-4 hours set aside to get this unit up and running. But, once installed, it will provide much more cooling capacity than a portable or window AC unit can.

The indoor unit is ultra-quiet and mounts high up on a wall, completely out of the way. The outdoor unit sits on a pad and releases the hot air from your garage outdoors.

Its best advantages are the included remote control and the Wi-Fi features. You can connect it with Alexa and use voice commands to control it. Plus, you can get various capacities from 9,000 up to 36,000 BTUs. That’s enough to cool 400 to 1550 square feet, perfect for small garages up to large 4-car+ ones.

Pros

  • Smart enabled, works with Alexa
  • Remote control
  • Heats and cools

Cons

  • Difficult installation

MRCOOL – DIY-12-HP-115B25 DIY 12k BTU 22 SEER Ductless Heat Pump Split System

mrcool DIY-12-HP-115B25

Key Specifications

  • 12,000 to 36,000 BTUs
  • Wi-Fi enabled
  • Low Ambient Cooling down to 5°F

MRCOOL DIY is known for making some of the best ductless mini-splits around, and the DIY-12-HP-115B25 is no exception.

MRCOOL’s ductless mini-split unit is the easiest to install on your own. They are experts in making their products DIY ready with easy-to-follow instructions, mounting templates, all the hardware you need,  and support available seven days a week.

The MRCOOL DIY mini-split is one of the most powerful units on our list, providing 12000 up to 36,000 BTUs of cooling and heating power. That’s enough to cover 1,500 square feet with the largest model, making it great for 4-car and larger garages.

The unit itself is super efficient and won’t spike your energy bills too much. Plus, you can control it from anywhere with MRCOOL’s mobile app or with voice commands with Alexa or Google Assistant.

And just like the Senville mini-split, this MRCOOL unit can heat, cool, and dehumidify too.

Pros

  • Cools, heats, and dehumidifies
  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Easy DIY setup and installation

Cons

  • DIY installation isn’t for everyone

Other Tips For Keeping a Garage Cool

Besides cooling your garage with an AC unit, you can do a few other things to keep your garage cool in the summer.

Here are a few tips:

Insulation

Adding insulation to your garage door will help keep the cool air in and the hot air out. You should insulate the exterior walls and attic space above the garage. And for best results, insulate the garage doors as well.

You can use reflective insulation, which reflects heat away from the garage. You can also have a standard insulation that traps cool air inside, keeping your garage cooler.

Shade

If your garage gets to direct sunlight, you can create shade by adding awnings or planting trees. Of course, growing a tree to shade your garage isn’t an immediate solution. But, as the old saying goes, “the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the second best time is today.”

Ventilation

technician adding ventilation in a garage

Good ventilation will help circulate the air and keep the garage cooler. You can install fans or open the windows to let in a breeze. If you have an exhaust fan, make sure it’s vented to the outside, so it doesn’t just circulate the hot air around.

Keep Doors Closed

This one seems obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. To keep the cool air in and the hot air out, keep the doors to your garage closed as much as possible. Don’t open the bay door if you’re leaving for a walk. Instead, use a service door or the front door of your home.

Don’t Let Cars Idle

If you have to wait in your car for a few minutes, turn off the engine. Letting your car idle in the garage will just add to the heat.

Make a Cool Garage

As you can see, there are a few different ways to keep your garage cool in the summer. Using an AC unit is the best method. But by adding insulation, creating shade, and increasing ventilation, you can keep your garage comfortable all season long.

About The Author

Jonathon is a mechanical engineer with over ten years of experience in the HVAC industry. He has hands-on experience with all types of HVAC systems.

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