Air Conditioner Testing Methodology & Analysis

Updated: Jun 14, 2024 4:25 PM


Key Takeaways_

  • 66% of air conditioner reviewers are untrustworthy. That means only 34% of publications actually test!
  • 17 reviewers publish trusted air conditioner reviews, including Tech Gear Lab, Your Best Digs, and Modern Castle. These 17 reviewers’ trusted testing methodologies and reviews fuel our Performance Criteria indicators and True Scores.
  • We spent 35 hours total evaluating 50 air conditioner reviewers for thorough testing and transparency.

Air Conditioner Category Analysis

Air conditioners have become essential in both home and professional settings, yet finding thoroughly tested reviews online remains a challenge. After three years of research, our investigation has shown that 66% of air conditioner reviewers fail to properly test air conditioners, often lacking evidence of thorough testing.

How do we know what to test? Our process involves a meta-analysis of trusted expert testing methodologies, our own testing expertise, and real customer review pain points.

  1. First, we review existing methodologies from trusted experts and identify their important and frequently-tested Performance Criteria. Both quantitative and qualitative criteria are considered and collected.
  2. We leverage our testing expertise (we’ve tested and reviewed hundreds of products several years ago) to select the most important Performance Criteria for evaluating air conditioners.
  3. We then validate these Criteria by cross-referencing them with common pain points highlighted in real customer reviews.

This way, we ensure our evaluations are both rigorous and relevant.

Categories of Performance & Performance Criteria

We determined that the 4 Performance Criteria in 2 Categories of Performance below are the most important ones to test based on meta analysis of trusted criteria and expert testing methodologies, customer reviews, and our own testing expertise.

Cooling PerformanceCooling SpeedMinutes per DegreeHow much power the unit draws while under normal operation, measured in kilowatt-hours
Cooling PerformanceOperating NoiseDecibels (dB)How much noise the unit makes while it is under normal operation
Cooling PerformanceWind SpeedMiles per Hour (mph)The rate at which air is expelled from the unit
Energy ConsumptionPower DrawKilowatts (kWh)How much power the unit draws while under normal operation, measured in kilowatt hours

To evaluate all these criteria, you can use the following equipment:

thermostatThermometer/ThermostatCooling SpeedRegulates the temperature of a system, such as heating or cooling, by maintaining a desired temperature.$20 – $100
stopwatchStopwatchCooling SpeedMeasures how quickly the air conditioner can lower the temperature in a room.$10 – $50
anemometerAnemometerWind SpeedMeasures the rate at which air is expelled from the unit, affecting the distribution of cooled air throughout the room.$30 – $200
power meterPower MeterPower DrawAssesses the amount of electrical power consumed by the air conditioner during operation.$50 – $300
sound pressure level meterSound Level MeterOperating NoiseEvaluates the level of noise produced by the air conditioner while it is running.$30 – $200

What Tests are Quantitative and/or Qualitative? 

Quantitative tests feature something that is either measurable or binary in nature, which includes tests that measure recline angle and weight limit.

Qualitative tests, on the other hand, are based on things that can’t be properly measured or are a “feeling” someone gets. This includes things like setup and ergonomics.

When deciding the Performance Criteria, we looked at customer pain points we found in customer reviews and determined if they could be tested and if the tests are quantitative or qualitative.

Our Trusted Data Sources

Our Trusted Data Sources

We looked at 50 air conditioner reviewers and found that 17 are trustworthy (60%+ Trust Rating). The three we have listed below are our most trusted for air conditioners.

  1. Austin Palmer – TechGearLab, MuckRack
  2. Daniel Jackson – Your Best Digs
  3. Derek Hales – Modern Castle, LinkedIn

Interested in a comprehensive analysis of our data sources? We’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find a detailed list of every air conditioner review website we’ve identified, organized by their respective Trust Ratings from highest to lowest. But we didn’t stop there. We’ve meticulously reviewed each publication and verified the data by checking whether the authors have bio links to MuckRack or LinkedIn. We’re committed to not only checking the facts but ensuring their veracity.

Usage Cases

After identifying the most important Categories of Performance and Performance Criteria, we applied them to real-world applications.

Residential Cooling

  • Important Categories of Performance and Performance Criteria:
    • Cooling Performance (Cooling Speed, Wind Speed, Operating Noise)
    • Energy Consumption (Power Draw)
  • Reasoning: In residential settings, air conditioners need to cool rooms quickly and distribute cool air effectively. They should operate quietly to avoid disturbing household activities, and they should be energy efficient to keep electricity bills low.
  • Related Guides: Air Conditioners, Smart Air Conditioners, Window Air Conditioners, Portable Air Conditioners

Commercial/Office Cooling

  • Important Categories of Performance and Performance Criteria:
    • Cooling Performance (Cooling Speed, Wind Speed, Operating Noise)
    • Energy Consumption (Power Draw)
  • Reasoning: For commercial and office environments, rapid cooling and effective air distribution are essential to maintain a comfortable working atmosphere. Quiet operation is important to avoid disrupting work, and energy efficiency is crucial to manage operational costs.
  • Related Guides: Mini Splits

Industrial Cooling

  • Important Categories of Performance and Performance Criteria:
    • Cooling Performance (Cooling Speed, Wind Speed, Operating Noise)
    • Energy Consumption (Power Draw)
  • Reasoning: In industrial settings, air conditioners need to cool large areas quickly and maintain a consistent temperature. Energy efficiency is vital to manage high energy consumption, and durable, reliable operation is necessary to minimize maintenance and downtime.


Our Air Conditioner Testing Methodology underscores our unwavering commitment to transparency and accuracy in evaluating air conditioner performance. These Performance Criteria fuel our Trust Ratings that we calculate for each reviewer during our ongoing research, which we analyze further in our Air Conditioner Trust List. The crazy fact that 66% of air conditioner reviewers lack enough testing emphasizes the need for our meticulous approach.

The Trust Ratings are the bedrock of our Air Conditioner True Scores, which is the most accurate product score on the web. Below are our air conditioner reviews sorted by highest True Scores. We invite you to learn more about how we score products with True Scores and how they empower you to make informed buying decisions online.

We also invite expert reviewers to contribute to a more trustworthy and transparent review system. By adopting stringent testing standards and/or supporting our efforts, you help elevate the quality of air conditioner reviews and ensure that consumers can make informed choices based on reliable information.

Let’s commit to higher standards together. Together, we can transform the landscape of air conditioner reviews for the better.

Courtney Fraher Avatar

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