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Cooling a Garage Gym – Black and Decker Portable Unit Review
Okay, so this is going to be a quick review of this Black and Decker 14,000 DTU portable AC unit. And you guys are gonna have to forgive me because I lost a lot of the footage I shot of this. And all I have now is this head-on video. So there's not going to be a lot of you know, visual detail or showing other things about how it works in this video.
But let's go ahead and get into it. And so if you're wondering why I'm doing this, I live in Texas and in the garage, it was getting up to 100 degrees easily when I'm trying to work out. And I was kind of curious, I didn't expect to find a way to do this. But I was curious if I could get one of these portable AC units, cool the garage down just enough maybe a couple of hours before I wanted to work out. And if it could make the garage a lot more comfortable to work out in. So like I said, I'm in Texas and here it's hard enough to cool an insulated and sealed home much less a garage gym. So you have to keep that kind of in mind. In a more a cooler environment during the summer, this might be much, much more possible.
Now, this unit is rated up to 350 square feet and my garage is about 400 square feet so 50 square feet over. So already right there, it's got that working against it. So also keep that in mind.
And the unit did work great, it was easy enough to set up. One thing you have to remember is that if you just got it out of the box, and it says that you need to wait up to eight hours, I believe double-check the documentation, but you have to wait, allowing it to rest in the upright position so that something happens. I don't know exactly what that is, but just let it rest in the upright position before you start to use it.
And of course, the AC unit does need to exhaust the hot air out of whatever room you have it in. So you do have to connect it to a window. And connecting it to a window was fine, you just slide the metal piece they provide with the exhaust mechanism pipe attached to it and then you lower the window and it'll keep it in there. Now the key there is providing a good seal so they do provide some insulation tape, which helped quite a bit. But keep in mind that just out of the box, you're not going to get a fantastic seal, unless it just fits perfectly in your window. Or maybe you could possibly use some type of sealer if it's a more permanent, you know, set-up that you've got.
And just like most modern AC units, it was very easy to use. You just set it to the desired temperature, the unit turns on, and you're good to go and it starts trying to lower the air temperature at that point. As you can see, that it also comes with a remote. I have that on the stool there. So very, very easy to use nothing crazy different than a regular AC unit that you may be used to.
And let's talk now about the performance I was getting out of it. So I was only able to lower the garage temperature by about five degrees when starting it for about one to two hours before I wanted to work out. And ultimately, that was not worth it to me.
Now, I do think that if you're not using your garage or bringing a car in and out of it, that would make this a lot easier, right? Because the garage door would always be down, you would never raise it, you could probably seal your garage door even better than I had. And whenever you don't have a car going in and out to suck out all of the cool air that the AC unit has worked hard to put in there. So in that use case, if you're totally dedicating the garage to a home gym, I think it could work there. I don't know if it'd be able to cool it as low as I would want it to go, you know, you might want it to be from 70 to 75 degrees, right? I don't know if this thing could bring that space to that temperature.
But it's something that would be interesting to try. And certainly, some of the bigger wall-mounted AC units that you see in older homes that don't have central AC, that might be an even better use case if you're dedicating your garage down to the gym and not using it to also store your car.
So ultimately, let's talk about a rating for this thing. So if I was going to rate it for cooling a garage gym, my specific use case, I'm gonna have to give it a three out of five. So it can definitely do that with some caveats. You're going to have to keep the garage door down all the time and you're probably going to have to run it a significant amount of time to get it to cool down that room. Now, of course, if this was in a regular room in your house, I think this thing would perform much better. I was impressed with the amount of air it was pushing out and how cold the air was that was coming out of the unit. So for a regular application inside your house inside a room, this would probably work fantastically. But for cooling down a garage gym, especially doing so quickly, it failed at that task.
And at this point, I'm probably not going to be looking anymore in the future into cooling down a garage gym. I'm moving soon to a new area and with that house that I purchased in that area, it's going to be an inside gym. So it's going to be inside the house luckily, not having to worry about cooling down a garage gym or anything else like that. So at this point, I'm saying that cooling down a garage gym is going to be difficult to do unless you've dedicated that entire space simply to being your home gym.
Quick Review Summary
Features: effective for cooling 350 square feet area, comes a remote control, portable, has a self-evaporative design
Pros: comes with an insulation kit, easy to set up, has four modes of operation
Cons: Noisy for homes, ineffective for garages that are in use for storing the car, and for other poorly insulated areas
Our Rating: 3/5
Full Written Review:
Cooling a garage gym is a tricky thing because it is not as well-insulated as our homes.
In our previous article on Hessaire swamp cooler review, we had mentioned that most of the budget home cooling products such as desert coolers are meant for well-insulated areas with low humidity levels.
Hessaire portable evaporative cooler was one of the best-rated products on Amazon. We were quite hopeful that it would be effective enough to cool down our ‘temple of Steel'. Unfortunately, it didn't work for us. It is not designed to get rid of the humidity, which is a major issue in the area we live in.
So, we thought of trying this Black and Decker 14000 BTU portable AC, because air conditioners are not only good for bringing down the temperature but also for reducing the humidity level of the room. Unfortunately, we didn’t find it worth using in our garage gym.
Don’t get us wrong; the thousands of black and decker portable air conditioner reviews on Amazon aren’t fake. It is actually one of the best portable air conditioners that we have come across. But, it isn’t a good product for cooling garages or garage gyms that are still used for storing the car. It may work for a well-insulated garage where the door is hardly opened.
In this article, we will brief you more about Black and Decker air conditioner, its build quality, its effectiveness, etc. Plus, we will also explain to you why it didn’t work for us.
Before we begin, let's look at some of its key specifications:
Key features of Black and Decker 14000 BTU portable AC
- Dimension- 17.1 x 13.8 x 28.1 inches
- Weight- 68.3 Pounds
- Has handles and caster wheels so you can roll it around
- Cooling Capacity (BTU)- 14000
- It is a dual mode i.e. it can work as an air conditioner during summer and as a heater during winters
- Most effective for 350 sq. ft. area or less
- Has a built-in dehumidifier
- Comes with a remote control for easy operation
- Warranty- 1-year limited warranty
First hand review of Black and Decker 14000 BTU portable AC
Excellent cooling capacity
The size of this portable air conditioner is quite deceptive. You wouldn’t believe that it has a cooling power of 14000 BTU and a heating power of 11000 BTU. The other portable air conditioners in its price range have 12000 BTU capacity or even less. So, Black and Decker definitely provides a high value for money.
Although the manufacturer says that it is effective for 350 square feet area, according to Energy Star a program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy, 14000 BTU air conditioners can cool 550-700 square feet area.
The manufacturer claims that you can use it for dorms, apartments, cabins, campers, offices, bedrooms, living rooms, or garages. WE DO NOT AGREE THAT IT CAN BE USED FOR GARAGES UNLESS YOU RARELY OPEN IT TO TAKE YOUR CAR OUT.
Various modes of operation
Image source: Black and Decker
As expected, the Black and Decker air conditioner has 4 different modes:
- To operate it in a cool mode you need to select the snowflake one. To set the temperature, you can use the arrow buttons on the control panel or you can use the remote. The cool mode has a working range of 64F to 95F.
- As mentioned above this is a dual air conditioner which means you can use it as a room heater as well. The working range of the heating mode is 50F to 77F. To select the heating more you need to select the sun image.
- If you require very mild cooling or no cooling at all, you can use it in the fan mode.
- The last one is the dehumidifier mode, also known as dry mode. This mode is extremely helpful if you need to get rid of the humidity in the room without actually heating and cooling it.
We love the dehumidifier mode. Honestly, heat isn’t an issue while exercising in a garage; humidity is. Humidity can make it unbearable to complete your reps. Plus, humidity can cause rusting, which can damage your equipment and make them unsafe for use. You can get rid of the rust but why compromise with the safety and durability of your equipment.
Pro tip: If your barbell has already rusted, here is how you can quickly and easily remove the rust stains.
Easy to use
Image source: Amazon
In our Black and Decker 14000 BTU portable AC review video above, we have already explained how easy it is to install and use this portable air conditioner. It comes with a window kit, so you don't have to worry about buying the insulation stuff separately or hiring a professional to do it for you.
It fits all types of windows such as vertical, horizontal, casement windows, double hung Windows, etc. The kit is sufficient but in case your windows are larger, you can make some extra pieces at home using plastic sheets or word or any other type of insulation material that you might have at home or your local hardware store.
- You need to clean its filter every two weeks. The filter is at the back of the unit. You just have to slide it out, rinse it under the tap, and put it back.
- It has a self-evaporative design i.e. the moisture that it collects from the air gets exhausted outside instead of getting collected in an inbuilt tub. However, if there is too much humidity in the room the evaporator might not be able to handle the pressure. In that case, some of the moisture will start to accumulate in the drain. Thankfully, there is a built-in indicator that can alert you when the drain is full. All you need to do is to unplug the drain hole and drain the water manually.
What we don’t like about Black and Decker 14000 BTU portable AC
It is noisy
The max noise it makes is 75dB, which is not too loud to bother you. But, some buyers have stated that the noise can only be ignorable if you are exercising in your garage gym. You can’t watch TV or sleep undisturbed when this portable air conditioner is working. You can select the lowest fan speed to reduce the amount of noise it makes but then it will take a longer time to cool the room.
The blue display is really bright.
Image source: Amazon buyers’ review
It would bother you at night, especially if you are someone who loves to sleep in absolute darkness. Some people have mentioned that they had to cover the display with the magazine at night. Not a dea- breaker but you should know.
Is it effective?
As we have mentioned at the beginning of the article, the Black and Decker product is one of the best portable air conditioners that we have come across but it is not effective enough for cooling down a garage gym.
It took one hour to bring down the temperature by just 5 degrees. Our garage has a decent amount of insulation, so we were expecting a better performance. We didn't find it worthy enough.
But, as we mentioned, Black and Decker 14000 BTU portable AC is a good product. 83% of buyers have rated it 4 stars and above. Thousands of them have claimed that it is totally worth its price and we absolutely agree with them. It can work much better when you use it in your home, for cooling a room. But, if you want to cool a garage, it might not be that effective, unless you totally dedicate your garage for your gym, so you don’t have to move your car in and out of it.
Our Rating- 3/5
After trying a few products and some DIYs, we conclude that cooling a garage gym is not that easy, especially if you live in a hot and humid area. You have to keep your expectations low because, no matter which product you buy, it will only be able to bring the temperature down by just 4-5 degrees.
We haven’t so far tried any product for warming up the garage gym during winter but we recently wrote an article on ‘what temperature is too cold to workout in your garage gym or outside’. If you are someone who avoids stepping out for a jog or run during winter, you must read it to clear your misconceptions.
Also, do not forget to check out our recent articles on Titan T-3 Series Independent Squat review and Rogue S-4 Squat Stand 2.0 Review. Both of them are independent squat stands and are specially designed for garage gyms and small homes where you cannot accommodate a full-size squat stand.
Keep checking our website frequently for more helpful information, product reviews, etc.