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When it comes to the best air conditioners, BTUs (British thermal units) are the first and last word in how effective a unit will be at cooling a room and how quickly it will do so. This is why most manufacturers feature the BTUs of a unit prominently. In terms of power, 5000 BTUs is the lowest stationary air conditioners can generally go. The EPA’s minimal standard of “20 BTU per square feet” means that even the best 5000 BTU air conditioner effectively cools a room no larger than 250 feet square feet.
As such, a 5000 BTU unit is a good choice for small and medium-sized rooms for most homeowners. For the most part, though, rooms no bigger than 200 square feet will benefit the most from them.
However, there are several important factors you should consider when shopping for an AC unit in this BTU range. Efficiency is key when keeping power bills down during the summer, and features like remote control and programmable timed modes make an AC easier to use and more flexible for changing air conditioning needs. If you’re using the AC in a room where you entertain or watch tv, you may want to consider how noisy a unit is as well.
Keep reading our buying guide to learn more about the best 5000 BTU air conditioners and what they offer.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This great air conditioner with impressive cooling performance and operates quietly, making it an ideal choice for homes and offices. It has a versatile design that’s suitable for smaller and larger windows.
The Midea EasyCool 5000 BTU air conditioner is a window-mounted model that effectively operates in rooms of up to 150 square feet. Equipped with seven different temperature settings and two fan speeds, this air conditioner enables precise customization and is suitable for both cold and warmer months. This air conditioner has reliable mechanical controls that allow changing the fan speed and temperature settings easily. It has adjustable louvers that support two-way air direction. However, this device lacks a remote control.
This window-mounted model is ideal for installing on a huge selection of windows as high as 13 inches, ranging in width from 23” through 36” wide. The air conditioner has a combined energy efficiency rate (CEER) of 11.0, so it keeps energy costs down. Midea includes all of the mounting accessories with this device, so installation is hassle-free. It also features reusable, washable mesh filters that simplify maintenance.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This air condition has a stylish design that differs from the typical AC. It has a freestanding construction with wheels, allowing users to move it from room to room easily.
The Black+Decker BP05PWA 5000 BTU air conditioner has a stylish white design that will raise the aesthetics in any room. This air conditioner is a great windowless model, so it doesn’t require a permanent mounting on the window. With built-in wheels, this air conditioner lets users move it from one room to another easily. It has adjustable fan speeds and temperature settings, allowing easy customization. However, this device is not recommended for spaces of more than 150 sq. ft. and is not suitable for large rooms. Yet, it makes for a great, ventless portable air conditioner.
This Black+Decker BP05PWA 5000 BTU air conditioner has a freestanding vertical design ideal for installation in small rooms. This air conditioner has a sleep mode that will suit installation in bedrooms and study rooms. It comes with a 4-foot hose and window adapter for hassle-free installation. An included remote control and top-facing LED display enables changing settings easily. This device has a 24-hour delay time for automatic operation.
Award: BEST FOR OFFICES
WHY WE LIKE IT: This air conditioner is compatible with a broad range of double-hung windows, enabling installation in apartments, offices, and bedrooms. A slide-out washable filter enables easy maintenance.
The GE Window Air AHEC05AC 5000 BTU air conditioner is recommended for rooms of up to 150 sq. ft. This device is quite efficient, featuring numerous louvers and vents. It has a fixed chassis which installs easily in a variety of double-hung windows. The device includes an EZ mounting kit, providing the necessary hardware for installation on the window. However, with just two cooling modes and two fan speeds, this model has limited customization options.
This GE Window Air AHEC05AC 5000 BTU air conditioner has mechanical dials for changing the fan speed and cooling and temperature easily. It has a washable filter, allowing for cost-saving maintenance. The chassis offers fast access to the slide-out filter for cleaning and the device comes with a standard three-prong plug, simplifying installation in wall outlets. With two-way adjustable louvers, this device offers control over the airflow direction. It fits on windows ranging in size from 21” through 36” wide.
Award: BEST FOR SMART HOMES
WHY WE LIKE IT: This air conditioner features a Wi-Fi tech that enables conveniently adjusting settings via voice control or a mobile app. It performs quietly, making it a good choice for bedrooms
The LG LW5016 5000 BTU air conditioner offers smart features that simplify operation. This device is Wi-Fi-enabled, allowing monitoring and changing settings remotely via a mobile app. The AC works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control services for convenient customization. This air conditioner is ENERGY STAR-certified for efficient performance. It also comes with a remote control, so users can change settings from afar. However, this device struggles to cool moderately sized.
This LG LW5016 5000 BTU air conditioner comes with washable, reusable filters, keeping maintenance costs down. It has a 24-hour on/off delay timer to enable effortless operation. A filter check indicator reminds users to wash the filter. This model comes with all the hardware needed for mounting it in the window. It’s recommended for rooms of up to 150 sq. ft. With low noise levels as low as 52 dB, this device is suitable for bedrooms and study rooms.
Award: BEST FOR BEDROOMS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This air conditioner operates quietly, so it’s unlikely to cause any distractions in offices and bedrooms. It has an adjustable control panel that provides flexibility.
This AmazonBasics MWHUK-05CMN8-BCK0 5000 BTU air conditioner cools rooms as large as 150 square feet. This device has an efficient design that saves power. With seven temperature settings, dual cooling settings, and various fan speeds, this device offers a broad range of custom options. It has adequate power to cool small rooms fast. However, the rotary temperature and fan speed controls have issues and the device only functions in the high setting.
The AmazonBasics MWHUK-05CMN8-BCK0 5000 BTU air conditioner comes with a mounting kit that enables fixing this air conditioner to the window with ease. It has adjustable side panels that allow installation on up to 13-inch high windows ranging in width from 23 to 36 inches. It has a built-in air filter for cleaning up the air in the room. The filter is washable and reusable to keep maintenance costs down.
Award: BEST FOR SMALL WINDOWS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This air conditioner has decent cooling abilities that are ideal for places with hot weather. It has eight-way directional louvers that offer a lot of control over the airflow direction.
The Emerson Quiet Kool EARC5MD1 5000 BTU air conditioner is a window-mounted model recommended for small rooms of 100 to 150 sq. ft. It features an excess moisture removal cup, which eliminates up to 1.3 pints of water per hour. This device performs quietly in the low-speed setting, with a noise rating of about 50 dB. However, with just two fan speeds and two cooling levels, this device offers little in terms of customization options.
This Emerson Quiet Kool EARC5MD1 5000 BUT air conditioner has flexible panels that fit rooms ranging in width from 23 inches to 26 inches wide. The manual rotary dials do a good job of adjusting the settings on this device. We love its extremely flexible eight-way directional adjustable louvers that enable precisely directing airflow to specific parts of the room. It’s suitable for sturdy rooms, offices, and bedrooms.
A 5000 BTU air conditioner is generally a window air conditioner for cooling small rooms. Most models in this class can reliably cool a room of 100-150 square feet. However, most are actually rated for rooms up to 250 square feet.
5000 BTUs is, for the most part, the lowest BTU rating available in air conditioners, but they also tend to be the most efficient. Most need less than 500 watts of power to make 5000 BTU of cold air output, which is why they’re really the best option for small rooms.
While the best 6000 BTU air conditioner will cool a small room more quickly, it will show up on your power bill, which leads us to the main differences between 5000 BTU units and others.
The primary difference between a 5000 BTU air conditioner and other models is the cooling output, which determines how large a space it can effectively cool without wasting energy. An air conditioner model with 8000 BTUs, for example, should be able to cool a 350 square foot room and use about 15 amps of power. Conversely, a 5000 BTU model uses roughly ten amps and cools about 200 to 250 square feet.
Though 5000 BTU air conditioners are the lowest-output conventional models, there are newer battery-powered units on the market rated at as low as 2300 BTU. Of course, their efficiency is questionable for anything but very small spaces.
It might be tempting to opt for one of these models to save on energy consumption. However, just as larger units with higher BTUs suffer in efficiency past 5000 BTUs, diminishing returns appear with units below 5000 BTUs. Instead of bigger power bills, you’ll wind up spending a lot on batteries or on recharging them.
Like other models, you’ll find that many 5000 BTU air conditioners come with remote controls, variable fan speeds, digital controls, sleep mode, and oscillating vents. Some may even have a “check filter” light that will let you know it’s time to swap out your unit’s filter. Models that use smart technology feature an app that lets you control the unit from your phone.
5000 BTU Air conditioners work the same way most other window AC units work — by removing heat and humidity from a room and replacing it with cold air. A standard air conditioning system uses a refrigerant chemical and is designed with three primary mechanical components: a compressor, a condenser, and an evaporator coil.
These three parts rapidly change the refrigerant from a gas to a liquid, then back into a gas. The compressor increases the pressure and heat of the refrigerant and funnels it into the condenser coil, where it’s turned into liquid form and sent outside. The refrigerant is then sent back into the room and converted back to gas, cooling the evaporator coil.
The fan blows indoor air into the cooled evaporator coil. Then, the cold air is sent back into the room. Finally, the heated and evaporated refrigerant gas is directed through the compressor, and the refrigerant returns to a liquid state. This cycle continues until the indoor room air reaches the temperature selected.
While it’s tempting to purchase a higher BTU window unit to cool rooms in your house more quickly, if you’re cooling rooms smaller than 250 square feet, something like an 8000 BTU unit is more powerful than you need to get the job done.
While more powerful models may work a little faster and can sometimes cool rooms to lower temperatures, a 5000 BTU unit will be far more energy-efficient. This is especially true for older homes, as more powerful air conditioners can draw more power than the outlets can handle, which can cause brownouts or blown fuses.
The average window AC unit has a functional lifespan of around ten years before components fail or begin to wear out. Many manufacturers offer warranties of up to five years, but beyond that, you should be aware of the factors that affect how long you can expect your unit to last.
For starters, a unit that’s only used for a few weeks each year will have a longer life than one used for several months each year. A unit that’s used continuously for many hours during a period of use will similarly have a short life span.
Keeping your AC unit clean and regularly maintaining it will also extend its life considerably. Filters clogged with dirt, grease, and dust won’t allow air to flow through them properly, making all the components work more to cycle air and cool a room.
Furthermore, the air passes through dirt or pollutants and will carry them to the evaporator coil, making it harder for it to absorb heat. Cleaning your filters regularly or replacing them if they’re disposable will help to prevent malfunction and maintain optimal performance.
It’s an overlooked factor a lot of the time, but continuous exposure to direct sunlight can increase wear on the unit’s components. It will also make it have to work harder to cool a room, decreasing efficiency and increasing its carbon footprint.
For these reasons, it’s best to install your AC unit in a north-facing window with as much shade as possible. Some direct sunlight won’t do much harm, but if it’s getting direct sunlight all day, every day, you’re going to notice the effects.
Simply put, trying to cool a room that’s too large for the amount of cooling power your unit provides will significantly increase wear and decrease efficiency. Not only will that mean a shorter life for your unit, but it’ll take longer for your unit to cool a room.
5000 BTU units are generally rated for rooms 250 square feet or smaller. Though, in practical terms, they’re really meant to perform optimally for spaces 150 square feet and smaller. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s specifications for your unit when deciding where to install it.
Now that you’ve decided to purchase a 5000 BTU air conditioner, you can look at the factors and features that will help you choose the right model for you.
The size of the space or room you’ll be cooling is the first thing you need to consider when purchasing a 5000 BTU air conditioner. The largest space a 5000 BTU unit is designed to cool is generally 250 square feet.
If the space is larger than this, you’ll need a more powerful unit. Otherwise, you’ll risk shortening the life of the unit by overworking it, and it’ll take far longer to get the job done.
You need to consider where you’re going to be installing the unit and find a compatible model. While the small majority of 5000 BTU models are designed to be installed into windows, some are designed to be wall-mounted and require a hole to be cut into your wall to cycle air and refrigerant.
Some models can be installed either way. Make sure the model you choose is compatible with your intended install location.
Window air conditioners generally use a lot more power than other home appliances, and this goes for 5000 BTU units as much as more powerful units. To avoid serious electrical issues, you need to make sure the outlet and breaker you’ll be using for your unit can handle its power requirements.
A 5000 BTU unit is designed to run on a standard residential 115-125 volt circuit, so you usually won’t have an issue in a modern home, especially if you make sure the unit doesn’t share a circuit with any other major appliance. Some older homes may have non-standard, lower-voltage circuits, however, so be sure to find out that your outlets match up with the unit you purchase.
5000 BTU models are far more efficient than higher BTU units, but their efficiency can still vary quite a bit from model to model. There are two features in a model that will indicate its efficiency:
If it’s within your budget, you may want to choose a model with quality of life features such as remote control, mobile device integration, and extensive programming options. Features that make maintenance easier like replaceable features, easy-access filter trays for easier cleaning, and innovative features, like insect traps that allow free airflow without letting insects in, are all worth looking for.