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The following statements are meant to serve as generic recommendations. Consult a local HVAC professional for proper sizing the capacity recommendations based on where you live. 

If you are working on outfitting your garage with the best home gym equipment, cardio machines, and gadgets, why not outfit your gym with something to keep you cool and comfortable? In this roundup of the best AC for garage gyms, we’re going to give you our top picks for keeping things cool. 

When it comes to the summer heat, it can be mentally and physically exhausting to drag  yourself through a workout. Investing in an air conditioner can make your gym more comfortable and not only that, it may even make your training routine more manageable during the dog days of summer. 

Before we get into our top picks, I think it’s worth mentioning that before you dive into this type of investment, it will be worth making your gym as airtight as possible (like adding garage insulation) to minimize air leakage through uninsulated garage doors and old garage windows. 

Expert Testers for Everything in Your Garage Gym

Although the expert product testers here at GGR range from Olympic athletes to certified personal trainers, we know when we’re outside of our wheelhouse when it comes to heating and cooling. We have tried the best treadmills, barbells, and shoes for all sorts of activities, but when it comes to trying air conditioning units, we knew it would take more than just testing a unit to give you the full rundown on an AC. 

For this roundup featuring the five best AC units for your garage gym, I turned to a trusted resource I know very well: my husband, Matt Strong. He is a professional engineer who specializes in HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) design and equipment specification. 

Our team also resourced the Home Gym Community on Facebook for initial recommendations and insight on the community’s favorite products.

5 Best AC for Garage Gyms 

Best Overall AC for Garage Gyms: MR COOL Mini Split Heat Pump

Good for: Folks who want a ductless mini split that provides year round temperature control 

Best Overall AC

MRCOOL Mini-Split

GGR Score: 4.7 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 3rd generation with SmartHVAC Wi-Fi control system
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple, and android phones
  • AHRI-Certified, CSA-Listed, ETL-Listed, and UL-Listed
  • Environmentally friendly refrigerant
  • Free shipping and delivery options

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Wall-mounted
  • Wireless remote control
  • Installation kit included
  • 4-way air circulation
  • Reviews say the installation was semi-easy

Cons

  • Condenser weight of 66.8 lbs
  • Professional installation recommended
  • Reviewers say the 16-foot cord needs to be longer
  • Expensive

Bottom Line

MRCOOL is a well-known brand with high-quality products, such as this cooling and heating system. We recommend this product for its intelligent design, extended warranty, high level of compatibility, and customer satisfaction.

The MR COOL Mini Split Heat Pump is our top pick when it comes to the best garage cooling solutions. Bonus: it heats, too! It’s a wall-hung unit (with the air compressor installed outdoors) so you can maximize your floor space. And if you’re not thinking about getting the most of your square footage, GGR founder Coop Mitchell notes it can be one of the biggest home gym mistakes for newbies. 

That said, Coop has not one, but two MR COOL units in his garage gym. “Heating and cooling is essential in a space where you want to train comfortably,” says Coop. 

I think it’s also worth mentioning that this unit is often advertised as a DIY installation. However, in the product description you’ll find that the manufacturer’s recommendation is that this unit is meant to be installed by a HVAC technician. 

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Matt also notes that while “MR COOL is often advertised as DIY, there may be an electrician required depending on the size [of the unit] and there are some processes that are quite involved,” he says. 

If you are not convinced that this ductless mini split heat pump is the right option for you, we had several of our Facebook group members say installing a mini split was an excellent choice.

MR COOL Mini Split Heat Pump Facebook Review
MR COOL Mini Split Heat Pump Facebook Review

PriceAbout $900 on Amazon
BTU rating9,800 BTU
Voltage115v volts

Best Portable AC for Garage Gyms: Midea Portable Unit

Good for: Anyone looking for a portable air conditioner that is easy to order on Amazon

Best Portable AC

Midea Duo 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Can cool up to 450 sq ft space
  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Includes a remote control and window installation kit
  • Available in 2 color options
  • Engineered for extremely quiet operation

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 3-in-1 comfort unit
  • Provides 2x faster cooling for the entire room
  • Uses more than 40% less electricity than conventional units
  • Includes an innovative duo-hose design
  • Available in different BTU options, depending on your needs, with one that also includes heat

Cons

  • If running in dehumidifying mode, the unit can shut itself down, especially if not drained frequently
  • Some customers had issues with products arriving in flimsy packaging

Bottom Line

This unit is perfect for small spaces giving you a lot of bang for your buck. It includes a lot of impressive technology to make it efficient, cost-effective, and a great option for those looking to either lower their overall electric bills or keep small rooms or apartments cool. It even includes the flexibility to direct cold air out and have it disperse instead of having it blow directly in one spot.

If you’re looking for one of the best portable air conditioners that doesn’t require a full-blown installation, the Midea Portable AC Unit uses a small duct to draw hot air out of your garage. This unit requires a window so you can feed the hose out of the garage. 

In fact, one of our Facebook group members commented about portable units in general saying, “with air conditioning you’re not making an area cold–you’re moving hot air from one place to another place. You need to have the exhaust going outside so that it works. Otherwise, you’re actually making it hotter.” 

That said, this unit comes with a window slider to secure the duct hose and foam insulation to minimize window air leakage. We also appreciate the fact that the Midea is Wi-Fi enabled with app connectivity and voice control options for Alexa and Google Assistant. 

The 12,000 BTU rating is suitable for garages around 450-square feet and runs quietly at 42 decibels. 

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PriceAbout $530 on Amazon
BTU rating12,000
Voltage115 volts

Best Durable AC for Garage Gyms: LG Portable Air Conditioner

Good for: Folks looking for a energy efficient and portable air conditioner

Best Durable AC

LG Electronics 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

Product Highlights

  • Classic, modern design
  • Energy efficient
  • Wi-Fi w/ LCD remote capabilities
  • Ultra-quiet, low-decibel system
  • Multiple fan speed options

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Easy storage and installation
  • Simple, user-friendly LED display and control panel
  • Cools rooms up to 500 sq ft
  • Designed for low-noise performance
  • 3-in-1 system to meet all of your space’s needs

Cons

  • Some customers experienced issues with the drain
  • Over time there were some that felt the noise was louder than they preferred it to be

Bottom Line

This unit covers a lot of the basics of a 3-in-1 cooling machine, but it also adds some fun features that some competitors don’t have. These include a sleep mode that can be set to turn off the unit at a certain time, as well as an auto restart in case you were to lose power. The unit also comes with easy rolling casters, making it simple to move from one space to the other if needed, as well as easy to put away and store when no longer needed for the season

The LG Portable Air Conditioner is another portable garage air conditioner that will make an ideal addition to your garage if you’re looking for a durable solution. LG is known for long-lasting equipment and offers a one-year limited parts and labor warranty as well. 

We like the fact that this unit comes with a removable and washable air filter with a check filter alert—so you actually know when to change it! Plus you can run this LG unit in three different ways: cool air mode (air conditioning and dehumidification), dry mode (dehumidification only), and fan mode (circulating air). This unit also comes with three different fan speeds and can be run with a remote control. 

The 14,000 BTU rating is ideal for 500 square foot garages and runs quiet at 44 decibels. You’ll also like the fact this unit has an auto-swing air vent that helps direct the flow while running in either of the three modes. 

Window vent installation is included and is easy to do. This is another unit that will require it to be vented out a window. One Facebook group member commented reiterating that, “you can’t destroy heat—you can only move it from one place to another.”

PriceAbout $700
BTU rating14,000 
Voltage115 volt

Best AC for Humid Climates: Honeywell Portable AC

Good for: Anyone living in an area with hot, humid summer months  

Best AC for Humid Climates

Honeywell Classic Portable Air Conditioner

GGR Score: 4.0 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 24-hour energy-saving timer
  • Includes a dehumidifier
  • Smart thermostat
  • Cools a room up to 500 sq ft
  • Comes in 3 color options

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Convenient, digital controls with an easy-to-read display
  • Includes 3 fan speeds to meet your specific needs
  • 3-in-1 cooling, dehumidification, and fan abilities
  • Comes with thermal overload protection
  • Includes a washable dust filter

Cons

  • Could use a longer hose depending on where you live and if you need it to be installed as a window unit
  • Some users complained of the AC being loud

Bottom Line

You can use this unit as a window unit, or you can simply move it from room to room based on your needs throughout the seasons with no permanent installation involved. If you don’t want to use the cooling feature, simply use the fan mode to keep air circulating throughout your space.

We like this Honeywell Portable air conditioner for the easy draining solutions if you’re living in a humid part of the country. This Honeywell unit has an auto evaporation feature that allows you to run the air conditioner without the need to continuously empty the drain pan. The built-in dehumidifier removes up to 50 pints of water in 24 hours, which will work well for several workouts in a row. 

Plus, this unit offers an ample 11,000 BTU cooling capacity, this will take care of garage spaces up to 500 square feet. 

If you plan to run your air conditioner for longer durations (or roll into another room) there is a drain outlet that you can connect a hose to for continuous draining in super humid conditions (or long durations). I like that the drain outlet is set directly under the air filter, which is fairly high on the unit so it can drain into a bucket if needed rather than precariously setting up a hose from a low port (which is usually the case) into an oddly low bucket or pan. 

You’ll also like knowing this unit alerts you when the air filter needs to be cleaned, which is easy to do by raining under a faucet. Keeping up with the filter helps maintain maximum cooling power and protects your airflow from dust, hair, and allergens. 

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PriceAbout $500 on Amazon
BTU rating11,000 
VoltageN/A

Best AC for Dry Climates: Hupro Swamp Cooler

Good for: Folks who live in areas with dry, hot air and want to add moisture back into the air

Best AC for Dry Climates

HuPro Swamp Cooler

GGR Score: 4.0 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Smart humidity-control system to use with routine
  • 2-in-1 humidifier with cool and warm options
  • Soothing for babies, allergies, plants, and relaxation
  • Detachable tank is easy to fill and clean
  • Aroma oil tray included

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Quiet
  • 30 hours of runtime
  • Easy to fill
  • 5 speed levels
  • Up to a 12-hour timer
  • Remote controlled

Cons

  • Reaches up to 500 sq ft
  • Reviewers question the brand’s reliability

Bottom Line

Whether you want to moisturize skin, soothe a sore throat, or help your indoor plants grow, the HuPro humidifier is an affordable, stylish, and practical choice for any home.

The Hupro Swamp Cooler will be ideal for a very specific person living in a dry climate. This unit provides cool air and moisture, which is different from the other air conditioners on this list because most units draw out the moisture from the air in a collection tank. 

According to Matt, “These work by evaporating water, they are often called evaporative coolers, which adds humidity to the air,” he says. Where we live in New England, you’ll often hear people repeat the age old saying: it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. That said, this won’t be a unit for my fellow East-Coasters. 

This unit will require you to fill the humidifier tank, which is easy with a top-fill design so it can mist and cool your air. This unit is small and can be placed on a table in your gym and won’t interfere with your gym equipment. 

The top-fill tank is also easy to clean and big enough to reach in with a sponge or cloth, which will prevent mold build up. 

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PriceAbout $115
BTU ratingN/A
Voltage110 volt

Other AC for Garage Gyms We Researched

  • Senville Mini Split: This unit is essentially the same as MR COOL mini split air conditioner but it costs a few hundred dollars more. 
  • The Whynter ARC-14S: I own something very similar to this unit (mine has heating and cooling capabilities) and although it’s very good at keeping my house cool, it’s sort of a pain to drain when the machine has reached the 71 pints per day dehumidifying capacity. In the peak of summer New England heat, I have to drain it every single day.

How We Picked AC Units for Garage Gyms

Here are some of the factors we considered when choosing the best ACs for garage gyms: 

  • Size 
  • Capacity
  • Cooling
  • Energy-efficiency
  • Dehumidifying capabilities

We also turned to our Home Gym Community on Facebook for their favorites. Once we had a good list in place, I worked with Matt to determine which would be best in garage gyms.

Benefits of AC for Garage Gyms

If you are not yet convinced of the benefits of having an air conditioner in your home gym, I asked Coop what he thought the top three benefits are of working out with an AC: 

Temperature Control

Working out and moving your body inevitably raises your body temperature. So when it’s hot, it can be mentally and physically difficult to drag yourself through a workout knowing you’re going to be even warmer by then end. 

That’s when we cue the air conditioning for maximum comfort! “It’s nice waking up in the morning and heading out to the garage knowing the barbell won’t be literally freezing or so humid in the gym that I’m essentially swimming through my workout,” says Coop. 

I also think it’s worth noting that overall climate control can help you keep your equipment in tip-top shape. However, you’ll still need to perform regular maintenance on your equipment and clean your barbell once in a while, too. 

Improved Air Quality 

Air conditioners can help filter out dust and dirt, which can help give you cleaner air to breathe as your sucking wind through a metcon. The one thing Matt notes about air filtration is the fact that you might need to change filters frequently if you use a lot of chalk in your gym. 

Increased Workout Efficiency

With Coop’s first gym, it was too small to install any heating or cooling systems, so he essentially had to dress for the weather. “I bundled up and saw the mental difficulty of training in extreme heat and extreme cold as part of the workout,” says Coop. 

Although the mental toughness is not necessarily a bad thing to overcome, Coop admits he’s more mentally focused on training (not merely surviving a workout). 

I personally find when I’m too hot it can be distracting for me to train at the level of intensity I want and I’m more apt to cut it short. Honestly, air conditioning is part of my home gym essentials list and it’s up toward the top with my preferred lineup of dumbbells, kettlebells, and resistance bands.

What to Look for AC for Garage Gyms

Here are some things to consider when shopping for air conditioners for your home gym:

Cooling Capacity

When shopping for an air conditioner for your home gym, you will need to know the size of your space in addition to the cooling capacity of the machine you’re interested in. You certainly don’t want to end up with a machine that is not powerful enough to cool the size of your garage gym. 

According to Matt, cooling capacity is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour (or kilowatts for electric devices) and may be expressed in ‘tons of cooling’ or BTU/h 12,000 BTU/h is equal to 1-ton of cooling.

Matt’s general recommendation for the average garage gym owner is to seek out air conditioner size of 12,000 BTU/h (1-ton) or 9,000 BTU/h (3/4-ton). If you’re looking for more clarity on your specific space, there are online calculators or you can consult an HVAC professional to determine the cooling load of your space. 

Matt also notes that “When looking at heat pumps, remember that they can heat and cool, not just cool. Generally the heating value is higher than the cooling value. For example, a 12,000 BTU unit can do about 14,000 BTU of heating.” 

Energy Efficiency

Since air conditioners consume a significant amount of energy, you may want to consider the energy efficiency rating. Not all units disclose this information, but you’ll be looking for one of two things: Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating. Many ACs will be rated around 14 or 15 SEER, with some of the best and most efficient models ranging from 17 to 20 SEER. Higher ratings can help you save money on your electricity bills in the long run.

Noise Level

Depending on where you live, you may need to consider how much noise the type of air conditioner you’re considering will make. Some machines will give you a decibel rating while others will not mention it at all. 

Noise level might be important to some folks with young kids, close neighbors, or anyone concerned about being able to hear music while training.  Mini split air conditioners with the compressor outside will offer the most quiet option. 

Best AC for Garage Gyms FAQs

What is the disadvantage of an AC gym?

The benefits of having an AC in your home gym will likely outweigh the disadvantages, however there are a few things to consider including increased energy costs, additional maintenance, and they can be rather noisy.

What is the benefit of garage AC?

We think the top three benefits of having an AC in your home gym is having temperature control, improved air quality, and the ability to increase your workout efficiency.

What type of AC is best for a garage?

The best air conditioner for your home gym will depend on your unique situation including the size of your garage gym, climate, budget, and windows or wall space needed for the unit you’re looking at. Here are some of our top picks:

Best Overall AC for Garage Gyms: MR COOL Mini Split
Best Portable AC for Garage Gyms: Midea Portable Unit
Best Durable AC for Garage Gyms: LG Portable Air Conditioner
Best AC for Humid Climates: Honeywell Portable
Best AC for Dry Climates: Hupro Swamp Cooler

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