De’Longhi Pinguino 3-in-1 portable air conditioner review
Summer has arrived, and its scorching temperatures are here to stay for a while. If you lack central cooling, you might be looking for new ways to cool your space and considering a portable air conditioner -- but which one?
There are a ton on the market at different price points, but in the search to find the absolute best, we came across the De'Longhi Pinguino 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner, Dehumidifier & Fan.
De'Longhi has a solid reputation for manufacturing top-of-the-line small kitchen appliances and HVAC units, so our team was interested to see whether this updated model was worth the cost. And more importantly, we wanted to see if it offered relief from sweltering temperatures.
Here are our thoughts about how this unit's actual performance stacks up against the promises its manufacturer makes.
The new Pinguino is capable of cooling extra-large rooms and connected spaces as large as 600 to 700 square feet in total area to as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit (though, for context on how powerful it is, most users prefer a room temperature between 67 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit).
While cooling is, unsurprisingly, the unit's main feature, its secondary functions set it apart from other models in the De'Longhi line -- as well as those from other manufacturers. The De'Longhi Pinguino 3-in-1 costs $599.99 at Amazon, landing it in the mid- to upper-range price category of portable air conditioners.
Here are the features that De'Longhi advertises, along with our thoughts about how they function in real life:
Remote control: The De'Longhi's smart remote monitors the temperature and humidity around you (assuming the remote is next to you) and communicates with the unit via Bluetooth for constant monitoring.
The remote stood out to us as a component that set the Pinguino 3-in-1 apart from other portable air conditioners because it uses Bluetooth rather than an infrared beam to connect to the unit, so it doesn't need a clear path in order to stay connected. This made commanding the unit as easy as we've seen. But that wasn't the most interesting feature of the remote.
Rather than having to interact with the remote to keep the room at the desired temperature (as with most remote controls), the unit sensed the location of the remote in the room and made adjustments accordingly. It was pretty impressive in testing as we moved about the room and the unit adjusted to ensure the user was as comfortable as possible.
Overall, the remote sets the Pinguino 3-in-1 apart from other comparable portable AC models from different brands.
Dehumidifier: The new Pinguino is capable of dehumidifying, and with its Bio Silver Filter, the unit also keeps mold and mildew growth at bay. While you can't set it to a specific humidity level, the unit continuously absorbs moisture from the air on its own.
We found that the dehumidifying function (which works in tandem with the cooling, so you can't turn it off) is quite effective, best suited for more humid climates or those sensitive to humidity. On the other hand, if you're sensitive to dry air, the De'Longhi's intense dehumidifying might be too much for you.
Quiet Mode: The Pinguino places a high focus on low-noise operation. Simply press the button, either on the remote or control panel, to activate the Quiet Mode. In fact, this updated unit operates at half the volume of its predecessor -- and its fan mode is even quieter.
In our testing, the quiet mode was indeed quieter than normal operation (and quieter than other comparable portable AC models), though the sound can still overwhelm a smaller space. Quiet Mode seemed to be just about as effective as the standard mode in terms of cooling the room, though it was indeed operating at a hushed volume.
Fan mode: There's also a stand-alone fan setting to boost air circulation, even when heating or cooling modes are not in use. It also operates with much less noise than either of these modes and can run at various speeds.
We appreciated the fan mode because more functionality means fewer appliances, which is ideal since this AC is fairly large.
Real Feel Technology: In addition to cooling, the Pinguino 3-in-1 aids in overall temperature regulation. De'Longhi's "Real Feel Technology" is supposed to automatically adjust temperature and humidity levels to maintain a comfortable environment.
We loved this feature because it meant less effort on our part -- it turned the Pinguino 3-in-1 into a "set it and forget it" device, allowing us to stay comfortably cool without making constant adjustments.
Portability: The unit is equipped with castor wheels and handles, making it easy to roll between rooms. However, it is a relatively heavy machine. It's about 70 pounds, meaning it's quite a hassle to carry up and down stairs, so that's worth considering if you're hoping for a unit that you can transfer between multiple levels.
The hose is a modest four feet in length, which means you're able to make minor location adjustments if necessary, but we found that it did limit our room placement options considering that the unit has to be near an outlet (do not use an extension cord with this unit) as well as a window for venting while also needing a significant amount of space around it in order to function safely.
After testing the De'Longhi Pinguino in various environments, here are our thoughts about our user experience and the machine's performance.
Setup experience: Setting up the Pinguino was fairly straightforward, though you'll need access to a window for the vent and hose attachments. The unit is packaged with all window mounting accessories as well as a user-friendly quick-setup guide. All in all, installation took no more than about 10 minutes (after we were able to get it up the stairs, which was not an easy task).
Comfort: We typically rely on ceiling fans to cool the bedroom, so De'Longhi's Pinguino 3-in-1 portable air conditioner delivered a near-immediate improvement in coolness. It was easy to get the room, or any enclosed space for that matter, noticeably colder within minutes if the unit is running on full blast.
As far as dehumidifying goes, it performed beyond expectations in smaller, more humid spaces like bathrooms. It also worked decently in other humid areas of the home, such as the kitchen. But, since our test kitchen wasn't an enclosed space with a door, performance was less effective.
In terms of creating an overall comfortable space, we were pleased with the unit's quiet operation and capable fan function. The Pinguino was also effective at balancing temperature and humidity levels without the need for constant intervention and adjustments.
Use in different locations: While we had a successful experience with the Pinguino 3-in-1 in the bedroom with a closed door, we were curious to try running the unit in various spaces throughout the home.
For the most part, the unit performed consistently well in bedrooms and bathrooms. Success is largely attributable to the fact that these are all "sealed" rooms, which can be completely closed off. So, cooling and dehumidifying were effective since the cold air had no means of escaping from a closed environment.
We also tried the Pinguino across a larger area of connected, doorless spaces, including an entryway, kitchen, and living room. Cooled air didn't circulate as effectively, and humidity prevailed. It wasn't too surprising, though, as it's harder for cooled air to disperse across a larger space.
The Pinguino is undoubtedly capable at cooling as well as overall temperature regulation with its intuitive comfort engineering features. The unit is also efficient at cooling enclosed spaces in a remarkably short amount of time.
While dehumidifying is a secondary feature, its performance presents the unit as a cut above similarly priced portable air conditioners -- especially those without this feature. Another perk of dehumidifying is odor removal, which is particularly attractive if you intend to set up the Pinguino near a kitchen.
Like other units in the De'Longhi line of portable air conditioners, the Pinguino 3-in-1 is packaged with adaptable accessories to fit your window. It also comes with an end-of-season cover for convenient storage.
While the Pinguino 3-in-1 is indeed a portable unit, it weighs in at a whopping 70 pounds. Despite being on caster wheels and having handles, it's simply not designed to go up and down stairs with ease.
Overall, we are impressed with the performance and broad range of capabilities of the De'Longhi Pinguino 3-in-1. The success of the unit is largely dependent on your existing cooling or HVAC setup as well as the layout of your home. Even if your layout isn't conducive to multi-room cooling, you're likely to find success with the Pinguino in almost any enclosed space.
If you want your space to be cooled, and you love modern technology that allows machines to adjust to you -- this machine will be a great purchase for you.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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