You really do need an enclosed area for a portable air conditioner to be most effective. Otherwise that nice cold air drifts away and you don't get much cooling benefit from it. It also keeps the hot exhaust out of your nice, cooled space.
But that doesn't mean air conditioning has to be confined to the home or office.
Almost any enclosed structure that doesn't have access to conventional air conditioning can benefit from a portable unit.
Special events like weddings, parties and receptions use tents that benefit tremendously from portable air conditioning. Trade shows, conferences and temporary offices are often limited in terms of cooling, yet impressing clients and customers and providing for their comfort is often a sign of a company's care and attention to detail. Expectations of comfort are often high for these kinds of events and portable ac can meet those expectations.
Climate control is critical in the broadcast booths of sports and other events. The electronics can get so hot they'll stop working (and so can the technicians)! And maintaining an aircraft, or even a boat on a hot day can be a miserable task.
No other outdoor cooling method can protect electronic equipment in a booth, grounded aircraft or boat like a portable air conditioner because they can reduce humidity in the area they are cooling. Most other outdoor cooling solutions either can't provide enough cooling to combat the heat generated by electronics, or use evaporative cooling -- water -- that can damage electronics.
No other method will chill the air as well and keep humidity low, making conditions ideal for man and machine in even the muggiest of environments.
Add to that the facts that dry air feels cooler than humid air, inhibits mold growth and eases allergy symptoms.
Even a gardener's shed and a child's playhouse can get unbearable in hot weather, but a portable ac can make that shed comfortable and that playhouse fun again.
If you have a more open outdoor area that needs cooling, consider an outdoor fan, a misting system, outdoor shades, or even a combination of these. Take a look at our comparison page to get an idea of when and where to use each of these cooling methods and learn which is best for YOU.
In some ways portable air conditioners are the most extravagant of all outdoor cooling methods. The idea alone seems pretty extravagant. But their cooling is extravagant -- on average they can cool an area by 15 - 25°F / 8 - 14°C. Surprisingly they aren't always the most expensive way to cool an area. And their reliability in cooling an area so dramatically can make up for their cost.
Being cool feels so good we often forget it's more than a matter of comfort. It's also a matter of health and safety. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), air conditioners are the best protection against heat-related illnesses. Click here to read more about how outdoor cooling can help prevent heat stress and heat stroke.
If there are outdoor activities you've avoided because of hot weather, a portable air conditioner can make them safe and enjoyable.