My office is a room that was built on the back of our house. The only issue that we ran into when adding it was that there was no affordable way to tie that room into our central heat and air. An effective and convenient solution for situations like mine is the RolliBot RolliCool Cool 100H Portable AC with Heater.
Let me say this upfront: window unit air conditioners are generally less expensive than portable air conditioners; they can also be more energy-efficient. If you have a room that needs cooling, getting a window unit might be your best option. With that said, while there are plenty of times when a window unit air conditioner would make more sense than buying a portable one, a window unit isn’t always feasible.
Let’s say that you live on the bottom story of an urban apartment that doesn’t have central heat or air; you’ll probably have decorative security bars on your windows. Adding a window unit would mean the extra expense of a steel cage to contain your AC unit’s compressor on the outside of the window since that’s where the bulk of its body would be.
Window units leak water on hot and humid days; over time, that water can stain your home’s paint or wear away on the finish. On the plus side, if you have a flower garden under your window the water might come in handy. 😉
Portable air conditioners fit all of the AC’s components into a compact unit that can be rolled into different rooms as needed. Even if you have central heat and air, you might have a room that never seems cold enough — that’s where a portable AC can help. The word ‘portable’ might seem like a misnomer when you consider that a hose and vent holder must be installed in a window (or possibly a sliding exterior door with the right accessories) of whatever room your using the air conditioner in, but in the grand scheme of things, doing this as needed when moving the AC is infinitely easier than moving a window unit from one room to another.
What sets the RolliCool Cool 100H apart from many other portable ACs is that it is smart; the 100H can be connected to Amazon Alexa for easy on and off or temperature control, and it also has a standalone app that can be used from anywhere with your Android or iOS device.
So let’s take a look at the RolliBot RolliCool Cool 100H Portable AC with Heater. As the name implies, it can operate as an air conditioner or as a heater, but it can also function as a dehumidifier or fan. The RolliCool Cool 100 is rated at 14,000 BTU, so it can cool or heat up to a 500 square foot room. My office is about 200 square feet, so the RolliCool Cool 100H is more than capable.
Included in the large shipping box are the RolliCool 100 portable air conditioner, a remote control, a power cord, a drain hose, a universal window kit, a heat exhaust pipe, three installed filters, a user manual, and other miscellaneous parts you’ll need.
The first thing I did after unboxing was to take a look at the window vent kit. I have 35″ wide windows in my office, and the window kit with both sliding pieces installed was actually a little long. You can see in the third picture that to make the slider fit, the second piece would block part of the vent. Kev did me a favor and cut a little more than an inch off the second slider piece so that everything would correctly fit inside my open window. There is a small screw that will attach the AC vent to the corresponding hole on the window piece so it can’t be accidentally knocked off. The vent is important to install if you are using the AC function because the RolliCool needs somewhere to expel all of the hot air it produces while cooling. I should note that if you need to install this in a sliding door, the window kit is not long enough; you can get something like this for the extra area that will need to be covered.
I found that there was a bit of a gap once the window kit was correctly installed which makes sense because the right pice of the kit is narrower than the left (I had the same issue with my previous portable AC’s window kit), so I solved this problem by adding a couple of layers of foam insulation tape to the top and bottom of the right side. This solution isn’t elegant (but it also isn’t unsightly), and it will keep rain or outside air from getting in. You can also buy an inexpensive window security bar if you need to make sure that burglars can’t raise the “open” window.
This is the RolliBot RolliCool Cool 100H. It is approximately 28″ tall by 15.5″ wide by 15″ deep (all measurements taken at widest points); there are built-in handles on the sides if you ever need to pick it up. The RolliCool is sleek, attractive, and un-obnoxious. After you’ve unpacked it and before you use it for the first time, you should make sure that the place you put it will allow the unit to stand in an upright position and on a flat surface. If there is any chance that the box was tilted or laid on its back, after unpacking the unit, you should let the AC stand unplugged for a couple of hours to make sure the refrigerant inside settles where it is supposed to be.
On the right side of the RolliCool Cool 100H, there is a hot air vent that will be attached to the exhaust hose that vents out of the window kit.
The left side has air vents for sucking air from the room before cooling it.
On the back, there is a slot for stowing the remote control built into the top filter panel; there are also screw top drain plugs. I had a leak issue with my old AC because I didn’t make sure that the bottom drain was tight enough when I started using it, and then I ended up with a nasty leak under the unit that I didn’t notice for a few days. So I checked these plugs on arrival — sure enough, they were a little loose. Go ahead and finger tighten them before you use the RolliCool just to give yourself peace of mind and prevent possible leaks.
Because the RolliCool Cool 100H uses air in the room for cooling, it has several filters built-in to help cut down on recycling dust and pet hair. It’s not an air purifier, necessarily, but it does help a bit. You should check the filters at least twice a month during heavy usage periods to make sure they aren’t clogged with whatever floats around in your room’s air. The filters can easily be cleaned with the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner, but if necessary, the top one can be soaked with a mild detergent. Once it is fully dry, you can reinstall it.
The remote (batteries not included) is handy if you don’t want to install the app or connect the AC to Alexa; I’m not using it, though, so it’s parked on the back of the AC.
On the top, there are the following buttons: the Timer button, which allows you to set a time for shutoff or turn on; the Fan button, which cycles through three fan speeds when pressed; an Up button for raising the temperature, a Down button for lowering the temperature; a Mode button that when pressed cycles through Cool, Dehumidify, Heat, and Fan modes; and a Power button to turn the unit on or off.
In the center of the buttons, there is an LCD display which will light up to show you the mode being used, the temperature, that the AC is connected to WiFi, and if there are any errors — like when the dehumidifier has been running and the water tank is full and now needs to be emptied.
Everything is very straightforward so far, so let’s look at the app. You’ll need to create an account (based on your phone number), give it some location permissions, connect it to your network. Once you’ve done that, the AC is now controllable by the app. You can also connect it to Alexa and do it either verbally or through the Alexa app.
Connecting to Alexa is easy; download the RolliCool skill, and follow the directions.
In the Amazon Alexa app, you can go to your connected home devices to adjust the temperature if needed. this is perfect if you’ve been traveling and want to make sure that your room is cool before you return home.
Inside the RolliCool app, you can change the name of your unit (which will also be the name you need to say when talking to Alexa); the opening page shows you all of your RolliCool units and their current status.
Tapping on the device you want to access, you can turn the unit on or off, and specify how you want the RolliCool Cool 100H to function — as an AC, heater, fan, or dehumidifier. You can set a schedule for the unit to run from, set it to sleep after a certain amount of time, and you can set it to oscillate — which makes the two vents on the top wave.
The AC might run for months on end and never need draining, however, we’ve had some unseasonably humid days. Having the dehumidifier feature has been nice, but it didn’t take long for the water reservoir to fill. When the unit needs emptying, it will shut off, send a notification to your app, and then it will display this on the LCD.
To drain the AC, you need to unplug it, then move it to a convenient spot. You can either attach the drainage hose to the top drainage pipe and drain into a container, or if it’s easy to roll your AC outside, you can unscrew the bottom drainage cap and let it run onto your deck like I did. Be careful, though; if you tilt the unit while rolling it, you may leave a little puddle. After draining is done, RolliBot recommends turning the RolliCool on and letting it run in fan mode for two hours to ensure the drainage pipe fully dries.
The RolliBot RolliCool Cool 100H Portable AC is super easy to operate, and man — can it cool or heat a room! Because my office is only 200 square feet or so, I haven’t had to run it on anything but the lowest fan level but once — I did run it on high when I first got it to cool my office quickly (it was 100º outside and 88º in my office; ick). RolliBot says that it operates at about 56 dB; I have no way of measuring this, but I do find it to be quieter than the unit it replaced. But honestly — you’re going to notice the noise. If you’ve got central heat and air, then you are used to something much quieter, but if you are used to a window unit then you’ll find the noise levels are about the same. In a room as small as mine, one with no carpet (so there isn’t any kind of noise dampener), you may find the noise levels obnoxious when you are watching TV or trying to listen to music. I’m used to a louder unit, so while I do hear the AC’s noise, I hardly notice it.
If you are considering a portable air conditioner for a detached room or to use in a home without central heat and air, the RolliBot RolliCool Cool 100H is an excellent choice. It is affordable, easy to operate, includes a heater for year-round use (which means one less freestanding device in my office), and it’s relatively quiet.
You can learn more about the RolliBot RolliCool Cool 100H Portable AC with Heater in the website.
Update 06/05/19: After working very well last summer, I wound up unplugging, detaching from the window, and emptying the RolliCool of any water for storage over the winter months. I kept the portable AC in my office over the winter, basically where it had sat when it was being used. When I tried to use it again this summer, as the temperatures started soaring, I found that it no longer cooled even though it appeared to be working properly otherwise. I sent an email to RolliBot’s customer service explaining the problem, and I received this email back from them:
Thank you for contacting us. We are very sorry to hear that your unit is not working properly. Yes, if the unit is under a year the warranty would still be valid. You would need to fill out the short form located at rollibot.com/returns and attach your proof of purchase to start the repair process. Our techs are happy to take a look to figure out what is causing these issues.
We look forward to receiving the form and getting your unit repaired!
Rollibot Customer Support
The RMA form included this caveat:
Returned products must be undamaged, clean, and in otherwise new condition with all original materials. (i.e. original packaging, manuals and accessories, and must be accompanied by the original invoice.)
I didn’t have an original invoice because this was a review unit (although I offered the emails with their rep as proof), and I no longer had the large original box because I had had nowhere to store it. Case closed — no repair. So if you do take a chance on this portable AC, be sure to keep your receipt and the original packing materials just in case you later need service.
The RolliBot RolliCool Cool 100H Portable AC with Heater retails for $529, but you can get one for substantially less from Amazon [affiliate link].
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Sleek, attractive, and relatively compact unit; The Exhaust hose is long enough so that you can move the portable AC out as much as 6′ or so from the window; Easy to install the window kit — or remove it, if you need to move the AC to another room; Heating, AC, dehumidifier, and fan — all in one unit; Powerful; Easy to drain if/when needed
What Needs Improvement: You can not get service on the AC within the warranty service period if you haven’t got an original receipt and the original packing materials — so hold onto them!