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MeacoCool MC 14000 portable air conditioner review: Did it help us battle the heatwave?

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As a record-breaking heatwave grips the UK, people are searching desperately for ways to cool down. Multiple fans are on, the curtains are drawn and yet we swelter inside our homes.

While fans are good, and we’ve got plenty to recommend, they tend to circulate hot air around the room when temperatures get this high, rather than delivering a Jetstream of arctic air to the face.

Portable air conditioners, on the other hand, work a little differently to fans. They siphon up all the hot air inside a room, dump it outside a window through a hose and then cool the air in the room, giving you that same cool room experience you get on holiday.

And while portable air conditioners aren’t cheap, often starting at the £250-mark for an air conditioner with a 7000 BTUs (British Thermal Unit) rating, they’re a cheaper option than fitting a fixed air conditioning unit in the home, plus they can be carted round to different rooms.  

The higher the BTU rating, the larger the space it can cool. An air conditioner with 7,000 BTUs – the generally accepted minimum BTUs for maximum efficiency – can cool rooms between 18 and 20 square metres.

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The MeacoCool MC 14000 is the largest portable conditioner in British company Meaco’s armoury. With 14,000 BTUs, it can cool rooms between 25 and 35 square metres.

We’ve been putting the machine to the test to see if it’s worth a buy during the British summer or whether it’s just a bulky bit of hot air.

How we tested

We’ve carted this air conditioner round to different rooms during the heatwave, measuring to see how long it took to cool each room down, how easy it was to set up and whether it helped us sleep at night. This is what we thought.

MeacoCool MC 14000 portable air conditioner: £479.99,

  • Rating: 9/10
  • BTU: 14,000
  • Dimensions: 76.2 x 35.3 x 47cm
  • Weight: 31.5kg
  • Speed settings: 3
  • Energy rating: A
  • Included remote? Yes

Design and installation

Portable air conditioners aren’t the prettiest things in the world, and while the MC 14000 isn’t going to win a spot in the Louvre any time soon, it’s also not the most hideous portable AC unit we’ve ever come across.

Still, this portable AC unit is a beastly thing. It’s large, extremely heavy and clinically white, meaning this thing is going to be an eyesore in any room. It looks a bit like a refrigerator, and is about the same size as one too. But it’s also got nice rounded corners, so it’s not just a big boxy-looking thing sat in front of the window.

It’s also a a little unwieldy to transport around on your own, mainly when it’s still boxed up, so watch out if you need to get it up to a top floor flat. Ensure you’ve got an extra pair of hands at your disposal or you’ll be dragging it on the floor, swivelling it from side to side as you try and make it to that front door.

Read more: My flat was hotter than the sun before I got this smart AC controller

Once you actually open it up, it’s a heck of a lot easier to move around thanks to the casters underneath, helping us wheel them around with ease – though they’re not very carpet-friendly. You have a litany of accessories in the box as well, from the hose pipe that needs to go out of the window to duct adapters and window seals.

It’s a doddle to set up, with the adapters clicking easily onto the hose and onto the back of the unit. The power cable isn’t super long, which can be an issue if your window isn’t located a metre away from the plug point, but it’s easy to extend the hose to a suitable length to compensate. This is also where the main annoyance of owning a portable air conditioner comes in – you need to thread a large hose pipe through a window for it to work.

As mentioned earlier, portable AC units need to suck the hot air out of your room and that hot air needs to go somewhere – that somewhere is outside the window. It adds another eye sore to your home aesthetic, and you need to attach a window seal to keep more hot air from drifting in as the room cools.

(Alex Lee)

These window seals work best for sash windows that open upwards and not outwards, so it can be tricky to velcro up your window around the hosepipe if you have a window that cracks open. Meaco does give you a bunch of window seal accessories to help make this process as easy as possible, however.

You can optionally drill a hole through your wall, but that’s a lot of effort for a portable air conditioner. If you don’t seal the hose through the window, it’ll take longer to cool your room and expel the heat. The system also has to work harder, meaning a higher energy bill. That’s the downside with all portable air conditioners, no matter which model or brand you buy.

Features and performance

The MC 14000 is packed with features that can be accessed via the included remote or from the top of the air conditioner itself, and as with installation, it’s incredibly simple to control, with clear, self-explanatory buttons.

There are three different modes – cool, dry and fan. You’ll be using the cool mode the most, and you can set this as low as 16C. Be warned though, this thing gets loud, and it also vibrates, like a constant roaring engine, but we did get used to it after a couple of hours. The sound plummets to a low hum when our room reached the desired temperature, then roars back up again when the temperature rises.

Read more: Duux’s IndyBest-approved fan has a cool £50 off

The fan slats on top also provide a lovely Jet-stream of cool air that can be set to swing mode, so that it oscillates between a vertical jet of air to a horizontal one. It doesn’t go very low though, so you won’t feel any air from the fan if you are below the air conditioner unit. It’s not a big deal if you’re using the cool mode either way, since the whole room will decrease in temperature.

When you turn on sleep mode, the sound of the air conditioner quietens and the touch-based interface on top dims. It can still pick up to a roar if the temperature rockets in the room even if sleep mode is turned on, however. You’ve also got settings to change the speed of the fan and a timer setting.

If you intend on using the dry mode, which basically turns your air conditioner into a dehumidifier, you’ll need to attach the drainage hose to the rear so that the water can drain out. Get a bucket for this or the water will go everywhere. The compressor draws moisture from the room, reducing the humidity to a more comfortable level. Lastly, you’ve got the fan mode, which essentially turns your air conditioner into a fan, without the heat extraction.

(Alex Lee)

With 14,000 BTUs, the MeacoCool MC 14000 is efficient enough to cool down large rooms, while making smaller rooms icy cold. Popping back into the air-conditioned room was like jumping out of a sauna. The room was immediately cold and a nice respite from the sweltering heat in the office.

Given how hot it was outdoors, our room never reached 16C, but it did fall from an unbearable 32C to just 25C in just 35 minutes. A whole 6C cooler is mighty impressive for a portable air conditioner threaded out of a window.

The verdict: MeacoCool MC 14000 portable air conditioner

Portable air conditioners aren’t a pretty sight. A chunky hose dangling out of a window, a bulky base unit and loud grunting noises aren’t all that appealing, but when you can cool your room down in less than an hour in this blistering heat, it’s a Godsend.

Yes, the MeacoCool does cost the most money at £479.99, but that is the average price for portable air conditioners with 14000 BTUs. It’s efficient with an A energy rating, it’s supposedly “kinder to the environment” with a new R290 refrigerant, and most of all, it works, and it’s the only thing that worked for us when it came to cooling down our home.

MeacoCool MC 14000

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