Whynter ARC-08WB 8000 BTU Review

Whynter ARC-08WB 8000 BTU Portable AC ReviewTouted as a “Green/Eco-Friendly” option, the Whynter ARC-08WB is reported to be a highly energy efficient and effective portable air conditioner. However, does this newer model live up to these claims? And how does it stack up to the competition in terms of value?

For answers to these questions and our own unbiased thoughts and recommendations on theĀ ARC-08WB, please keep reading.

Key Specifications and Features

*Coverage Area

The ARC-08WB a a compact 8,000 BTU portable air conditioner designed to cool off rooms, offices or other spaces up to approximately 250 square feet in area. Bear in mind, however, that this does not contemplate various heat factors that could reduce the effectiveness of this unit, like sunny windows (especially south/west-facing), thin or no insulation, and vaulted ceilings, for example. If any of these apply to you, it would be better to purchase a 10,000 BTU model for the space.

*Condensate Removal System

All air conditioners will create condensate, water that forms when warm room air comes into contact with the unit’s the cooling coils. In the case of portable models, this must be removed in one of a couple ways – either by draining a catch-pan manually (some come with a a gravity/other drain hose) or by drying up the water before it accumulates. The later method, known as self or auto-evaporation, is intended to obviate the need for manual draining by using the exhaust air stream to blow off the water faster than it can accumulate. This is the system that the ARC-08WB employs.

A word of caution though: while the vast majority of users should never need to deal with condensate in light of this technology, there are situations where it may still accumulate and need draining. Primarily, this may occur in very high-humidity environments, where the air is simply to laden with water vapor already to dry the condensate quickly enough.

The Whynter ARC-08WB rear view showing hookup for single exhuast hose.*Exhaust/Vent Hose Configuration

In case you aren’t already aware, just about every portable AC unit needs to vent to the outdoors. We are always surprised to hear people give various models bad reviews because the manufacturer did not “tell” them this. And not only is the venting apparatus critical to proper functioning, the configuration matters.

The ARC-08WB, like many affordable portable air conditioners, uses a single exhaust hose. These one-way systems are inexpensive and get the job done, but are slightly less efficient than otherwise similar models fitted with dual exhaust hoses. Why? The single hose model pulls indoor air that is then directed over the compressor to cool it; this air is then ejected outside. But because indoor air is used for this, there is a loss of efficiency. Likewise, this unidirectional flow creates a weak vacuum in the room, which necessarily means that some outdoor air will creep in through cracks/gaps to equalize pressure. This also adds additional load to the unit.

Dual hose models, by comparison, pull outdoor air from one of the hoses to cool the compressor and then exhausts this warm air outside – in other words, this is a closed cooling loop that totally avoids tapping indoor air. The result is that dual hose units cool faster and don’t have to work as hard. On the other hand, they tend to be considerably more expensive, which may offset this benefit for many consumers.

*Energy Efficiency Ratio (“EER”)

A model’s energy efficiency ratio, or “EER” as it’s typically referred to, is probably the most important metric (besides exhaust hose configuration) for determining how efficiently a particular model works. You can calculate this yourself by simply dividing the unit’s BTUs by its total wattage. In this case, the ARC-08WB is reported to draw a maximum of 910 watts. So, 8000 divided by 910 gives us an EER of 8.8. Frankly, we were a bit disappointed by this, as we usually like to see scores of at least 9.0 or, better yet, 10.0 or more. Consequently, we don’t think this unit is quite as “Green” as it claims to be.

*Noise Levels

With so many people complaining about how loud their portable is, manufacturers have really tried to dampen/minimize sound. Here, the ARC-08WB does fairly well, coming in with a noise rating of about 54 db. Although this is a good score, we always caution people to take these figures with a grain of salt, particularly since sound is such a subjective thing to evaluate.

The ARC-08WB features modern digital thermostatic controls.*Size/Weight & Portability

For those looking for a small and compact unit, they will be pleased. The ARC-08WB presents a small footprint compared to many other models in its BTU class, with measurements of 28.9″ in height, 13.2″ in depth, and 13.7″ in overall width. As far as heft, it is more typical, coming in at roughly 58 pounds (gross weight).

*Other Features

While not blowing us away in terms of its EER, the ARC-08WB does come with a solid set of other features and design elements that we appreciate. For example, this model is equipped with a digital thermostat; full function remote control; and has a dehumidify function that can remove up to 45.6 pints of water per day.

We also like the washable air filter, 3 fan speeds (many small models come only with 2), auto restart, and 24-hour programmable timer.

User Reviews & Satisfaction Ratings

Here are the actual reviews for the ARC-08WB, courtesy of amazon.com:

Warranty Information

According to the manufacturer, this unit is backed by one year warranty, with a three year warranty on the compressor unit.

Price and Value

At the time of this writing, this model is selling for around $300-350 shipped, give or take. While not the cheapest 8,000 BTU portable air conditioner out there, this is still good overall. Nevertheless, we can’t say it offers quite the same level of value as some other compact models we’ve reviewed, such as the NewAir AC-10100E.

Concluding Thoughts & Impressions

The Whynter ARC-08WB brings a solid set of features in a nice, compact unit that is capable of cooling off typical rooms up to 250 square feet in size. However, while we are big fans of Whynter models generally, we were a bit underwhelmed by its lackluster EER, especially for a reportedly “high efficiency” model. Moreover, at its current sales point, there are other units out there that offer comparable quality and even better efficiency scores, like the NewAir AC-10100E, which has an EER of 11.0 and comes with an additional 2,000 BTUs of cooling power.

Having said all that, fans of Whynter models are unlikely to be disappointed with the ARC-08WB or its performance, and it still represents a relatively good buy in terms of its feature set and overall contemporary design.


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