Choosing the best heating and cooling equipment could mean the difference between cold, shivering nights and comfortable nights out on the patio. Most of our products are recommended based on their ability to cool, heat, purify, or dehumidify with respect to room size. Our evaluation focused on BTU output (measurement of energy), installation, safety, and number & type of industry certifications focused on manufacturing and safety standards.
After more than 17 hours of research and testing, our top pick goes to the SereneLife 8,000 BTU Portable 3-in-1 Air Conditioner. It is an absolute workhorse, providing up to 800 BTU of cooling power which provides enough coverage for rooms up to 215 square feet. It also incorporates a built-in dehumidifier and fan to condition your air just the way you want it. Keep reading to learn more about the SereneLife 8,000 BTU Portable 3-in-1 Air Conditioner and six others that met our strict grading criteria.
Top 7 Best Heating and Cooling
#1 SereneLife 8,000 BTU Portable 3-in-1 Air Conditioner
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This is the best portable air conditioner, thanks to three operating modes (fan, dehumidifier, and cooling) and 800 BTU of cooling power, which is good to cover small rooms and offices (up to 215 square feet).
Read Full Review: SereneLife 8,000 BTU Portable 3-in-1 Air Conditioner
- Great coverage for small living areas
- Compact and slim, standing profile
- Portable (uses rolling wheels) & quiet operation
- High cost compared to some picks
- Ventilation hose could be longer
Our favorite feature is its three-in-one functionality, with a built-in dehumidifier and fan added to the mix. The SereneLife 8,000 BTU Portable 3-in-1 Air Conditioner‘s cooling power is rated at 8000 BTU for up to 215 square feet of coverage, which works well with small home offices and kitchens. It also has four rolling wheels, making it easy to move from room to room.
Installation takes less than a minute. Simply plug the unit in and set your temperature settings using an intuitive digital control panel with an easy to read LED display. It can also be configured to change airflow direction (up, down, or straight). Its dehumidifier is really strong, removing 1.2 liters of moisture from the air per hour, ideal for smaller rooms. While testing, its fan also did some amazing work, dropping room temperature by roughly 10 degrees. This will soon become one of the best fans you own.
#2 Homech Quiet Ultrasonic Humidifier
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: We like this humidifier thanks to its 360° rotating nozzle and large 4-liter water capacity, making it a great choice for mid to large-sized rooms (up to 500 square feet).
Read Full Review: Homech Quiet Ultrasonic Humidifier
- Best on a budget
- 360° rotating nozzle for a nice even spray
- Powerful fan & simple plug-in installation
- No lighting (buttons not as visible in the dark)
- Cleaning tank can take up to 10 minutes
Using Smart-Air technology, this humidifier releases moisture with top “speeds” of 300ml per hour, which can easily bring a room up to 500 square feet to a 30 to 50 percent humidity level, which is a recommendation provided by Energy Star as a safe range. A 360° rotating nozzle helps evenly disperse moisture up to 2 feet high and mist particles are thin enough to feel super comfortable.
We like this humidifier’s capacity, providing more than 60 hours of continuous use with only 4 liters of water. Reservoirs should be replaced no more than once a week, which only takes seconds to do. It is also compact (14.5″ by 11.3″ by 7.5″) and very quiet (operating at 26 dB), which is very easy to sleep the night through. You won’t realize how badly you needed the best humidifier until you’ve got this one.
#3 Honeywell HPA300 True HEPA Air Purifier
Award: BEST FOR ALLERGIES
WHY WE LIKE IT: This air purifier features a HEPA filter, removing up to 99.97% of airborne particles, which is great for those suffering from allergies or in households with heavy smokers
Read Full Review: Honeywell HPA300 True HEPA Air Purifier Review
- Recirculates up to five times per hour
- Four cleaning levels (germ, allergen, general clean, and turbo)
- Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers-certified
- Somewhat noisy on high settings
This 9.25″ by 20″ by 22.25″ air purifier is powerful enough to recirculate air five times per hour in rooms up to 465 square feet. Each pass removes particles as small as 0.3 microns, easily covering pet dander, allergens, smoke, food odors, and other irritants. Kudos for the four cleaning levels (germ, allergen, general clean, and turbo), which adjust circulation speed based on the demand. While testing, we immediately noticed the difference in air quality within 30 minutes.
Aside from the Honeywell name, we like how easy it is to use this air purifier. It uses intuitive top-panel controls with an auto-off timer option to set it for a limited period, helping save on electric bills. As our #2 pick Homech Quiet Ultrasonic Humidifier, installation is non-existent, only needing a simple plug into the wall. Kudos for its AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers) Verifide certification, a certification that vouches for its ability to clear smoke, dust, and pollen from the air.
#4 Vornado 660 Large Whole Room Air Circulator
Award: BEST NATURAL COOLING
WHY WE LIKE IT: This air circulator fan comes with a powerful motor and 4-speed controls, working great for people who want to control airflow anywhere they need it.
Read Full Review: Vornado 660 Review
- Drops room temperature quickly
- Pushes air up to 100 feet out
- 4-speed settings for optimal comfort
- Not Energy Star certified
- A little difficult to assemble after cleaning
This air circulator fan is very powerful, pushing air as far out as 100 feet. Four different speed settings allow users to find their comfort level and a spiral, multi-directional pivot head evenly distributes air throughout the room. This makes it noticeably felt no matter where you are sitting in the room. While testing, we noticed a 10° drop in air temperature within minutes, so we can vouch for its ability to cool off a room quickly.
We like this portable fan’s safety. All blades are enclosed, so it is very safe for children to be around. Thanks to 43-watt consumption at low speeds and up to 53 watts at high speeds, it also helps save on energy costs. The combination of a compact size (11.75″ by 13.5″ by 15″) and quiet operation (at low settings) makes it ideal for bedrooms and small offices. Note, although it saves energy, it is not Energy Star-certified. For another portable option, take a look at the best portable air conditioner too.
#5 Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX 4000-9000 BTU Propane Radiant Heater
Award: BEST FOR CAMPING
WHY WE LIKE IT: This radiant heater comes with a carry handle and offers a 4000 to 9000 BTU range, making it a nice option as a portable heater for your next outdoor adventure or while working in the garage.
Read Full Review: Mr. Heater MH9BX
- Powerful temperature control
- Ergonomic handle and lightweight (only 9 pounds)
- Solid run time on low and high settings
- Does not circulate heat
- Tipping sensors may engage prematurely upon slightly touch
This radiant heater is very intuitively designed. Installation is a breeze, only requiring a swivel of the built-in regulators to screw one or two 1-liter liquid propane tanks on each side. One tank is good for 6 hours of run time (low setting) and two tanks are good for 3 hours of run time (high setting). It is also lightweight (only 9 pounds) and a portable carry handle offers a nice ergonomic grip.
A 4000 to 9000 BTU is good enough to heat enclosed spaces up to 200 square feet, which is within range for large tents, sheds, and small rooms. We also love this radiant heater’s focus on safety with an auto-shutoff function upon if the unit is tipped over or pilot light goes out. This makes it a good choice when exposed to heavy wear and tear on the trails. If you’re looking for the best indoor heater, this may be your pick.
#6 Hunter Fan Company Hunter 53091 Transitional 52“Ceiling Fan
Award: BEST FOR VENTILATION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This 52″ ceiling fan comes with adjustable fan speeds and ETL-certification, working very well for small to large-sized rooms.
Read Full Review: Hunter Fan Company Hunter 53091 Transitional 52“Ceiling Fan
- Reversible and quiet operation
- Adjustable fan speeds for comfort
- Very quiet operation & ETL-certified
- Professional installation or strong electric expertise required
- Flimsy light pullet
- Philips screws could be better quality
This 52″ by 52″ by 16.77″ ceiling fan cools very efficiently. An intuitive pull chain control allows users to adjust fan speeds with the choice of downdraft mode for summer and updraft mode for winter. Air is forceful and strong and the entire structure is wobble-free and pretty quiet so as to not disturb sleep. We were very impressed with this ceiling fan’s overall build quality.
On the installation side, professional installation is recommended, as this ceiling fan requires wiring and electrical experience. For higher ceilings (9+ feet), downloads are also included to help fans circulate from a safe distance, helping to maximize airflow. Bonus points for being ETL-certified, a distinction awarded by Intertek’s Electrical Testing Labs for its adherence to electrical safety standards. You might want to compare this to the best wifi smart air conditioner to determine which is best to cool your home.
#7 AmazonBasics Commercial Propane 46,000 BTU
Award: BEST FOR BACK YARDS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This commercial propane heater delivers a whopping 46,000 BTUs of heat output and comes with a wheel assembly, making it a great choice for heating up patios during those starry evening nights.
Read Full Review: AmazonBasics 46,000 BTU Review
- Powerful heating
- Covers up to 1,300 square feet
- Easy installation
- A little heavy (40 pounds) and bulky (33″ by 18″ by 89″)
This commercial-grade patio heater is very powerful. 46,000 BTUs is strong enough to heat areas up to 1,300 square feet, which should comfortably accommodate most home patios, front porches, or other outdoor seating areas. Installation is not that difficult. It uses a 20-pound liquid propane gas cylinder which is integrated into the base. A full tank can easily last more than 12 hours on its low setting and roughly 8 hours on its medium setting.
The safety is pretty good with this unit. A tilt shut-off switch activates when tipping over and a weighted, wide base keeps it well planted, more than enough to withstand the occasional knock from a running child. Two wheels also make it easy to move from place to place, which is great if you have multiple seating areas.
How We Decided
In determining the best heating and cooling systems to buy, we explored BTU output, installation, safety, and number/type of industry certifications.
BTU output is clearly the most important criterion, factoring in heating power and how fast it can heat. BTU is a measure of energy. The higher the BTUs, the more energy is released. BTUs translates to square footage. As a base rule, 400 square foot rooms should be heated or cooled with a 9000 BTU unit. There are plenty of online charts available offering guidance on appropriate BTU range based on room size.
Installation is very important. At most, we prefer a liquid propane container to be inserted into a heater’s capsule. For our #4 pick Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX 4000-9000 BTU Propane Radiant Heater, users only have to screw in one or two 1-liter liquid propane tanks to built-in regulators, which takes less than a minute to complete. All take less than a minute to install or set up except the Hunter Fan Company Hunter 53091 Transitional 52“Ceiling Fan, which may need professional installation.
Our lone humidifier and purifier are the easiest to install. No air ducts or liquid propane canisters. Just a simple plug-in and a few digital controls to reach the most comfortable setting.
Safety is very important. We like heaters and coolers with auto shut off features that activate when tipped over or if a pilot light shuts off. Our #2 pick Homech Quiet Ultrasonic Humidifier is a dynamo in this aspect, offering auto-shut off when the tank is lifted or when water is drained, helping to prevent dry burn. This makes it a little safer, especially in households with children that are known to run amok from time to time.
The number and type of industry certifications are very important. Accreditations may include ETL, UL, and a host of others that vouch for a product’s adherence to strict safety and manufacturing standards. This gives us all the confidence in the world a product will work as intended.
Best Heating and Cooling Buyer’s Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
- BTU Output
BTU is a measure of heat energy. The higher the BTU, the more the output. Go for 9000+ BTU for 400 square foot rooms and 18000 BTU for double the size. There are many BTU charts online that offer a recommended BTU with respect to room size.
Except for the Hunter Fan Company Hunter 53091 Transitional 52“Ceiling Fan, all only require a simple plugin or liquid propane canister mounting to work. These generally take less than a minute to get up and running out of the box.
Go for heating and coolers that come with safety in mind. Kudos for sturdy, wide bases and auto shut off functions to turn the power off in the event of tipping over or if a pilot light malfunctions. This also has the added benefit of saving on your energy bill.
- Number/type of industry Certifications
Look for heating and cooling accessories that have to achieve one or numerous certifications that vouch for their safety. For example, our #6 pick Hunter Fan Company Hunter 53091 Transitional 52“Ceiling Fan is ETL-certified. This nationally recognized testing laboratory looks into everything from factory compliance to meeting safety standards.
Heating and Cooling FAQs
What are the most essential pieces for heating and cooling?
In our opinion, the most essential heating and cooling products are air conditioners and heaters. Humidifiers and air purifiers are essential at cutting down air pollutants but are not must-haves unless you or a loved one suffer from severe allergies, own pets, and/or exposed to heavy smokers.
What type of heating and cooling accessories do I need?
If you are an avid camper or outdoors person, portable outdoor heaters like the #5 pick Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX 4000-9000 BTU Propane Radiant Heater and the #7 pick AmazonBasics Commercial Propane 46,000 BTU can work very well. The former heats up enclosed spaces up to 200 square feet and the latter can cover up to 1,300 square feet. If you are looking for improved air circulation and stay cool, our #6 pick Hunter Fan Company Hunter 53091 Transitional 52``Ceiling Fan will more than come in handy. It all depends on your preference and room size.
What upgrades should I do to my outdoor tent?
Our #5 pick Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX 4000-9000 BTU Propane Radiant Heater does an excellent job. It uses a small liquid propane cylinder, good to heat up to 200 square feet with a 6-hour run time on its low setting and a 3-hour run time on its high setting.
Who are the best manufacturers of heating and cooling equipment?
In our opinion, the big names in the industry belong to home and commercial central air conditioner manufacurers. Names like Goodman, Trane, and Rheem come to mind. We are also big fans of Vornado for portable fans. Vornado is especially known for its powerful blades that circulate throughout a room and drop room temperature a lot quicker than simple oscillating fans.