If you’re on the lookout for an inexpensive, yet highly rated small room portable air conditioner, you can’t do better than the model KY-80, 8,000 BTU portable air conditioner.
The KY-80 model is manufactured by SoleusAir and sold under the SoleusAir and MobilComfort brand names and, in one instance, is sold under the generic name Evaporative Portable Air Conditioner by a little known online retailer.
For that matter, if you had the money you could probably contract with SoleusAir to have one named after you.
No matter what it’s called, they’re all the same KY-80 portable air conditioner – the only tangible difference is the price and cost of shipping. So if the following review leaves you favorably impressed, all you have to concentrate on is finding the retailer with the lowest priced KY-80.
Cooling Capacity The 8,000 BTU output is perfect for cooling rooms of 160 – 240 square feet such as medium to large size bedrooms or a home office. Using a small portable air conditioner like the KY-80 in an attempt to cool a portion of an open floor plan layout will have mixed results.
Noise Level The two biggest issues with this, and most other portable air conditioners, are noise and managing the water that accumulates from dehumidifying. If you read all the reviews for the KY-80 it’s described as both quiet and too loud. Noise is subjective. What is "white noise" to some is an unbearable distraction to others.
By way of comparison, the noise level of the KY-80 is 56 decibels at the high fan speed setting which is in the same ballpark as the 58 decibel noise level of a Frigidaire 8,000 BTU window air conditioner.
As with any fan driven apparatus, slower speed settings reduce the noise level.
Water Management The KY-80 employs auto evaporative technology which expels the compressor condensate out through the exhaust hose. When the system can’t keep up with extremely humid conditions the excess water is emptied into a back-up tank and, when full, the compressor shuts off and an alarm sounds.
This is a real convenience unless you live where the air is like soup and have to get out of bed every couple of hours to drain the back-up tank. One oft recommended solution to this problem is elevating the unit (keeping it level) so the hose at the bottom can drain continuously into a bucket or plastic jug.
When sizing your overflow receptacle it would be helpful to note that this unit has the capacity to remove 29 pints of moisture per day – or a little over 3 ½ gallons. This works out to slightly more than a gallon every 8 hours.
Energy Efficiency – Cost to Run With an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 8.6, the KY-80 is at the low end of the energy efficiency scale. But in spite of this, the cost to run is still a reasonable 11¢ per hour based on 935 watts of power input and an average electric rate of 12¢ per kWh.
Here are a few suggestions to promote energy efficiency:
1. Make sure you maintain at least 10" of clearance around this particular unit so it can breathe. For higher capacity units consult the owner’s manual for specific clearance requirements.
2. Keep the exhaust hose as short and straight as possible.
3. Remove and wash the air filter every two weeks.
Additional Features The KY-80 is a compact 31" tall and weighs in at a relatively light 52 pounds. It employs a set of 4 casters for mobility; (but it would be really helpful if manufacturers attached a handle or two for easier movement).
The programmable 24 hour timer and digital thermostat can be set manually or with the remote control. Four way louvers and 3 speed fan allow maximum coverage flexibility.
And last, but not least, the KY-80 uses environmentally friendly R-410A refrigerant.