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A Buyer’s Guide To Garden Office Air Conditioning

When the weather gets hot and humid, an air conditioner will transform your shed and garden office from hot and sticky to cool and breezy. But how do you know which AC unit to buy? Buying a good quality and cost efficient air conditioning unit comes down to just few things. 

To buy the best air conditioner for your shed consider the type of system, size, energy consumption, cost, durability, and ease of installation. Then determine the best cooling unit for your shed based on these needs and install it.  

How To Create an Air Conditioned Shed

Before buying your air conditioner, here are the most important things you need to consider to get the best value for your money. 

Type of AC Unit

Window-Mounted Units

To save floor space, window-mounted ACs are really handy. Some models fit in a way that you can keep the window open, too. This is great to let the hot air out and get the cold air pumping, especially when you first get in.  It also connects to Alexa or Google Assistant and you can turn it on remotely while you’re still inside the nice cool house.  

Window-mounted units only work for double-hung windows (go up and down), not sliding windows. 

Portable Units

Portable units are self-contained and can be powered without installation. Just run th exhaust hose out of the window, plug it in, and you’re good to go. It pumps up cool air in the area and sucks out warm air via the exhaust funnel.

This model has a dehumidifier plus AC so you can keep the damp out of your shed during those humid summer months and keep it cool. 

Ductless Mini-Split Units

A ductless mini-split has to have a cooling unit in the shed and an exhaust hose pumping hot air out.  These usually go through the wall and require proper installation. The air will circulate from both components and be cooled down by a refrigerant which is installed in the tubing. But they are more efficient and cool better than a portable unit.

For hot and cold climates, this one does both heating and cooling but don’t try to install yourself unless you know what you’re doing.  

How to Choose An Office Air Conditioner


The size of your shed will determine how many BTU you need.  

Choose the Right Size AC Unit

  • 100 to 300 sq ft requires up to 5,000 BTU
  • 400 to 600 sq ft requires 9,000 to 12,000 BTU 
  • 600 to 800 sq ft requires 12,000 to 20,000 BTU
  • 800+ sq ft requires 20,000+ BTU

Energy Consumption and Efficiency

The more BTU an AC produces, the more energy it consumes, but efficiency helps offset this.  Check the Energy Star rating before you commit to an AC which gives you an idea of efficiency.

The great thing about sheds is that since they’re small the time you need them to run will be pretty short. This portable unit is one of the most energy efficient and it works really fast, which cuts down on run time, plus it filters the air with a carbon filter, and dehumidifies. The carbon filters improves indoor air quality, which is important for your health when living and breathing in a small space. 

Insulating your shed will reduce energy consumption and cost by keeping all that wonderful cold air in and the hot air out. Plus, you can do it yourself for not much money and the cost of insulating is offset by the money you save on energy. 

Cost vs Durability

In a perfect world, you’d know that if you buy the most expensive AC unit, it would last forever. But, sadly, a high price doesn’t guarantee durability or quality. Before buying, check out product reviews and go with brands that have a warranty. 

Ductless mini-split AC units have a lot of advantages, but the major drawback is cost and hassle of installing them. But, since most of them produce a lot of BTU, they’re great for larger sheds and the return on investment will be a perfectly cooled shed all year round with hassle of cheap portable units and window-mounted units. 

This Pioneer ductless mini-split is easy to install and comes with everything you need, plus offers free tech support and a warranty. 


For window-mounted and portable units, you should be able to install them yourself. Read reviews for other buyer’s experiences installing the AC unit and if there are pictures of the instructions. 

Ductless mini-splits, which go through the wall and are a little more complicated than window and portable units. If you don’t want to hire a professional, you can learn how to install one yourself. 


Final Thoughts

Finding the right AC unit for your shed or garden office comes down to just a handful of considerations. Be sure to get one that is the right size, insulate your shed if you haven’t already, find one you can install or have it installed, and go for some cool features. You’ll be enjoying your shed in a perfect climate soon!