Toyotomi is a Japanese company, started in 1952 as a manufacturer of kerosene heaters for home use.1 Since then, they’ve expanded into several areas, including air conditioners, water heaters, air purification units and supplies for industrial equipment manufacturers.2 In both 2010 and 2011, they won supplier of the year awards from Toyota for “exceeding a 95% level of excellence in quality, cost and delivery.”3 So the company has a good reputation.
Currently, Toyotomi portable air conditioning units are manufactured in Japan through a subsidiary, Toyotomi USA, located in Brookfield, Connecticut. They list several partners on their website, including Sears Catalog, Sylvane and Concept Equipment.4 However, it appears both the depth of their distribution network is poor and the partners listed are currently out of stock of portable air conditioners (see below).
Toyotomi Portable Air Conditioner Offerings
Two models are featured from Toyotomi, the TAD-T32-JW and the TAD30K.
TAD-30K is a portable air conditioner rated at 10,000 BTU. It comes with a dual hose arrangement. This allows one hose to vent warm air outside (along with any moisture built up) and take in fresh air. Dual hose units are more efficient than single hose portable air conditioners and this product rates a 10.5 EER,5 which is quite good for a portable. The weight (72lbs) and the hose range (4ft) make it less than ideal when moving it around, but at a retail of about $480, it is a solid performer.6
TAD-T32-JW is both an air conditioner and a heater. As a heat pump, it provides 12,000 BTU/hr in either mode. Like the TAD-30K, it is tankless and sends humid air out one of the dual exhaust hoses. It has a double filtering system for room air, both charcoal (for odor removal) and fiber (for dust removal). EER rating is 10.9.7 Weight is 84lbs and the hose and window kit is the same as the TAD-30K. It retails for $500.
Both units have wireless remotes and 12 hour timers included. Humidity control is rated at about ½ gallon per hour of water removed, which is very good and comparable to a standalone dehumidifier. Because high humidity affects our perception of temperature, this is an advantage that allows the air conditioner to run less than it otherwise would.
Warranty and availability
Products are warrantied for one year parts and labor, unless they are purchased directly from the Toyotomi website directly, in which case they come with a five year warranty on the compressor, evaporator and condenser as well.
Warrantees may also be available through their distributors as well. The distributors in any state can be found with a clickable map on their site.8
There may be an issue with product availability for the portable air conditioners. The partner sites list both types as out of stock with expected inventory not due until the spring of 2012. The outlet store (connected to the website) also doesn’t offer either model currently, although accessories are still available. For this reason, it may be difficult to find these units new. They may be available as back-stock at the dealer level or as refurbished units through Amazon or Ebay.
The US branch of the company is actively seeking dealerships9 and in most states, they only have one distributor with none at all in many states. This is a concern, not only for those wishing to obtain the products, but also for getting any repairs.
Reviews for Toyotomi portable air conditioner models are quite positive overall. Features that ranked highly were the low noise level, remote control (RF, so it works through walls), and very high cooling capacity. The price for a portable is higher than a window unit, but consumers pointed out they were able to move the unit easily, despite the weight, from room to room as needed.10
Like all portable air conditioners, these units need to run hoses to the outside. The hoses are large diameter (4 inches each) but flexible. The larger hoses help produce the high efficiencies because they can move more air, more quickly. Larger hoses also help remove moisture more easily and run quieter than smaller hoses do. The length can be an issue in some applications, but extensions are sold on the website (these may reduce efficiency).
The unit has to set away from the wall it is venting out of, simply because of how the hoses bend to reach the window. This is normal and having the unit deeper in the room also helps with cooling.11 The window kit (for running the hoses) is straightforward and relatively easy to install or move to another window.
The price is not as attractive as a window unit, but the quality more than makes up for it. An example is the rotary style compressor which is less noisy and more efficient than other options.
For a portable air conditioner, the features are good and the prices are within reason. Toyotomi is a reputable company, but there is a concern about their commitment to the US market. Product shortages and few distributors might become an issue if repairs are needed.
Although these units are “tankless” and do not store the water collected, in high humidity environments, they will have to be drained occasionally. Weight may also be an issue if the unit will be moved often or if floor surfaces prevent easy rolling – at more than 70lbs, you wouldn’t want to have to carry these up or down stairs.
One unit is enough to cool a medium sized apartment quite well and the best application may be a situation where a window unit isn’t allowed. The higher capacity unit should serve an area up to 500 square feet. Fan speeds (4 total speeds) and directional cooling can extend the effective area. For instance, pointing the outflow toward a bedroom in the evening and the living spaces during the daylight hours (without changing the venting).