image of a hand feeling cool air from an air conditioner

As the weather heats up, we’re all looking for ways to stay cool and comfortable. Unless you enjoy stewing in your own sweat, you’ve probably thought about getting an air conditioner. If you need some convincing, read on to see how air conditioners work, what type might be right for you, and all the benefits of having one in your home. Spoiler alert: it’s about a lot more than just keeping you cool.

How do air conditioners work?

image of a portable air conditioner with hose attached to a window

To understand the benefits of AC, we need to know how it works. To oversimplify it, an air conditioner is almost like a vacuum with a mini fridge inside.

First, a typical air conditioner will pull the hot air in your home inside the machine. The air then passes through the unit’s filter, removing a lot of those unwanted particles like dust or pollen. Once inside, a coil full of liquid refrigerant pulls the heat right out of the air. This is the same technology used in your fridge, and also has the effect of removing moisture from the air.

Finally, the air conditioner will blow the cleaner, cooler air back into your home, while venting the heat back outside. Exactly how the heat gets vented out will depend on the kind of AC unit you want for your home, so let’s move right into the different kinds of air conditioners.

Window vs. portable air conditioners

There are two kinds of air conditioners that are super easy to install: window air conditioners and portable air conditioners.

Window air conditioners

image of the TCL Window Air Conditioner

Window air conditioners are exactly what they sound like. They sit in a window to let heat vent back outside, and usually include panels to block any gaps left to the sides. Window units, like this ENERGY STAR rated unit from TCL, are generally more efficient than portable ones and don’t take up your valuable floor space.

The downsides are that they instead take up a window, blocking your view outside. The other potential pitfall is that you’ll need sliding windows. If you have awning or casement windows like me, it just won’t work.

Portable air conditioners

image of the Toscot Portable Air Conditioner

As their name implies, portable air conditioners can be moved to different rooms as needed, bringing your AC where you need it most. They’re still quite large, but most of them, like this one from Toscot, have wheels for easy mobility.

Most portable units will still need to vent outside through a tube, and have similar panels to place it in a window. But the good news is they are a bit more flexible in that they can vent out a sliding door if you don’t have compatible windows. The downside is the floor space they take up and lower power efficiency.

But there’s a lot more to air conditioners than this. Make sure you choose the right one for your home to reap the maximum benefits, and check out our Air Conditioner Buying Guide for all the info you need.

5 reasons to get air conditioning (beyond cooling)

image of a window air conditioner sitting in a window

The benefits of AC go far beyond just keeping you cool in hot weather. From improving your health to keeping you productive, here are just 5 ways that a cooler home can improve your life.

1. Better air quality

Remember when I said the air passes through a filter? With AC, you won’t just have cooler air in your home, you’ll have better, healthier air with fewer dust particles, allergens, and more.

2. Boost your productivity

Even the best of us start to feel a little lazy on those hotter days. It’s no character flaw—it’s a fact that hot weather makes us get tired faster. With a little AC, you can stay cool, comfortable, and productive all year ’round.

3. Stay hydrated

Being overheated inevitably leads to sweating. Not only is it gross, but losing all that water can dehydrate you. Staying cool can mitigate your body’s need to self-cool and keep you hydrated (though you should still drink enough water every day!)

4. Better sleep

If you’ve ever tossed and turned in the summer months, you know heat affects your sleep, too. An air conditioner can prevent too much hot air from getting trapped in your home during the day, ensuring a cooler, peaceful slumber at night.

5. Dehumidify

AC doesn’t just cool your air, it dehumidifies it. When an air conditioner rapidly cools your air, it also causes condensation to form, removing moisture from the air. Drier air isn’t just easier to breathe, but it’s less likely to contribute to the formation of mold in your home. Double win!

Chill out this summer

image of an air conditioner close up

There you have it: a rundown on the basics of AC, plus 5 awesome benefits that you probably didn’t know about. Ready to bring them into your home? Start with our Air Conditioner Buying Guide to find the specs for your perfect AC, and check out the selection of air conditioners on Either way, you’re in for your most comfortable summer yet!

As a card-carrying 90’s kid, I’m a lifelong tech enthusiast and Pokémon fan. I’m also on the eCommerce team at Best Buy Canada. I love shopping and hunting down the perfect product, whether it’s tech, fashion, cookware, or beyond. When I’m not blogging, you can find me listening to true crime podcasts, relaxing with my Switch, or kicking butt at the kickboxing gym.