The MeacoCool MC Series 14000 could be your favourite purchase of the year, depending on just how hot and sweltering the weather gets. When things really start cooking, no simple cooling fan will ever be sufficient enough to keep you cool unless you soak yourself first and sit directly in front of the spinning blades. You'll need one of the best portable air conditioners instead.
In countries such as the UK and Europe, as well as some areas of North America, a full-blown AC system either isn't needed often enough to be worth the expense, or may just be too much trouble to have fitted. A portable air conditioner is the most powerful cooling option in that case.
The MeacoCool MC Series 14000 is designed to cool rooms from 25m² to 35m² in swift shrift and the 14000 number in its title applies to its output in British Thermal Units (or BTUs). You can read more about BTU’s and air-con in general in our Portable Air Conditioner vs Evaporative Cooler guide but in a brief nutshell, a BTU is an international measurement used to illustrate the cooling capacity of an air-con appliance, so the more BTUs the unit has the more efficient it will be at cooling a room.
Most portable air-con suppliers will suggest a minimum of 7,000 BTUs for a small room of around 18m² and a BTU of 10,000 for a medium sized room of 24m². So you can rest assured that this beast will be more than a match for the majority of larger rooms while turning smaller rooms positively Arctic.
Yes, there are a few caveats attached to portable air conditioning which we’ll get to below, but in the main they are amazingly efficient at cooling the size of rooms they were designed for much better than even the best fans ever could.
MeacoCool MC Series 14000 review: Price & design
The MeacoCool MC Series 14000 costs £449, which is right in line with the competition overall. Meaco's range starts from just over £300, but there are option nearing the four-figures mark, so this is at the more affordable end of the market overall.
Meaco is a popular British company that specialises in air cooling and air treatment appliances for the home and office. You can read more about the company and some of its products by zipping over to our Dyson vs Meaco guide. The company has produced quite a few portable air-con appliances to date, but this model is its most powerful, and that makes it a shoo-in for keeping you chilled while all around you melt in the furnace.
Basic physics dictates that portable air conditioners must be quite large, a bit noisy and not the prettiest appliances to have in the household. At 76.2cm in height, 47cm in width and 35.3cm in depth, the MeacoCool MC Series 14000 occupies the upper level of largeness.
However, when it comes to portable air-con, size most definitely matters. And besides, in the pantheon of household and office coolers it’s actually not that bad a looker. Yes it comes in hospital white livery, but it’s also aesthetically simple with rounded corners and therefore slightly inconspicuous – if you don’t glance in its direction. What I’m trying to say is that there are much uglier looking units out there.
The biggest issue with portable air-con units is the installation process required for efficient cooling. As the law of conservation of energy states, energy (in this case heat) can only be transformed or transferred from one form to another. Hence, you will need to vent the heated air generated by the AC out of the home using the supplied concertina hose and pile of window fittings. But more on that below.
MeacoCool MC Series 14000 review: Features
The first item of note is how easy this model is to use. There are no unfathomable icons to get your head around because all controls on top of the unit are written in plain English. Starting on the left there’s a timer, followed by a Speed button: the Low setting is surprisingly quiet; Medium produces more clout without excessive noise and High belts out a mini gale that thankfully still isn’t loud enough to irritate.
Just to the right is the Swing button. This operates the top-mounted louvre which oscillates from a near full vertical 90˚ to about 20˚ horizontal. It can also be stopped in any position by tapping the Swing button again. It’s a shame the louvre doesn’t go lower so you can sit in front of the air flow to keep extra cool. Instead, the air passes above the head when seated. Sleep mode keeps the AC ticking over at a low fan speed and with a dimmed LED display.
Finally, over to the far right you’ll find the all-important Mode button where you have four options: Cool, Dry, Fan and Heat. Cool is the main air-con setting and, as is the case the majority of portable AC, the lowest temperature that can be set is 16˚C. Believe me, this is properly cold, almost like opening a freezer door. However, once the compressor kicks in, the noise reaches a higher level, especially with the fan on full blast. It’s this constant growling that most people have issue with when running portable air-con units. You get used to it, mind, but it’s always there in the background – at least until the built-in thermostat detects the room has reached the required temperature. In the Meaco’s favour, it is definitely quieter than other models I’ve tested.
The Dry setting uses the room’s ambient temperature to run the compressor and it behaves a bit like a dehumidifier, drawing moisture from the room. You can’t select a temperature in this mode because it’s all controlled by a processor. You will also need to fit the supplied drainage hose to the rear of the unit when in Dry mode so excess water can drain away.
The Fan mode is the next in sequence and that’s self explanatory, which leaves one more option: Heat. This is a strange one because it seems to follow the same parameters as the Cool mode, with a temperature range from 16˚C to 32˚C. I set it to 32˚C and it didn’t seem to do anything more than blow air that was roughly the same temperature as the room, about 21˚C. The upshot is that if you want to keep warm, buy a proper blow heater.
For added convenience, the whole shebang can also be operated using the supplied remote control which mirrors the controls on the unit.
The MeacoCool MC Series 14000 has an A energy rating which is good for one’s bills. Its new R290 refrigerant is said to be kinder to the environment, too, and it comes with two-year parts and labour warranty.
MeacoCool MC Series 14000 review: Performance
Portable AC machines are rarely as efficient as their built-in brethren, which usually involve having a much bigger main unit positioned outside and the cool air ducted through a series of hidden pipes. Nevertheless, if the doors and windows are closed and the portable AC unit is of the correct BTU, a portable model should efficiently cool the room over a period of time.
The MeacoCool MC Series 14000 certainly brought the temperature in our test room down to more manageable levels pretty rapidly. Sadly I wasn’t able to test it during the very peak of a summer heatwave but in my simulated test using a centrally heated room, the Meaco reduced the temperature from 26˚C to 20˚C in about 60 minutes. And that’s good enough for me.
MeacoCool MC Series 14000 review: How to use this machine without any ugly ducting accessories
All portable air conditioners – this one included – come with a pile of ugly accessories comprising a concertina tube and various window kits through which the hot air coming out of the back must be ported. This is the single worst aspect of portable air con systems because that dirty great pipe and hideous plastic window fittings instantly turn a stylish room into one that is anything but stylish.
The trouble is that if you don’t expel the hot air, the machine’s efficiency will be cancelled out and it will struggle to lower the temperature in the room. It will also have to work harder for longer and therefore use more energy which will be more easily understood when you receive your electricity bill.
The neatest but most expensive option is to have a hole punched through the room’s wall and a good sealing cap fitted to close the gap when you’re not using any air-con. But there is another way, though unfortunately it only applies to houses fitted with a working fireplace chimney. You see, the humble chimney was designed to port hot smoke out of the house, and it works brilliantly with air conditioners, too.
Simply place the rear of the Meaco MC Series 14000 in front of the fireplace – or wood burner with the door open – and the heat expelled from the rear port will shoot straight up the flue You won’t even need to use the big pipe if the appliance is placed close enough. However, make doubly sure that you’ve removed as much soot as possible from the fireplace first or it’ll initially be blown all over your furnishings. This is the method I use every time and it’s not only neater but when I’ve finished cooling the room, I simply wheel the unit away and everything is back as it was.
If you can't do this, you'll have to use the supplied window ducts. You need to open a window, find the right fitting, and then attach the hose to it, dumping all that heat out where it's not bothering you any more.
MeacoCool MC Series 14000 review: Verdict
If you’re in the market for a really efficient portable air-con unit that doesn’t cost a bomb, then the MeacoCool MC Series 14000 is a damn good bet. Yes, it’s large and heavy – the casters help make it easy to push around – and yes it’s noisier than a normal fan. But when the summer heat is on, a standalone product like this is the only thing that actually makes a difference. Great value.