Best Window Air Conditioner

Updated: Feb 7, 2024 10:53 AM
best window air conditioner featured image that shows the top three best air conditioner models

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To select the best window air conditioner, we began by looking at cooling capacity. With air conditioners, capacity is determined by the BTUs. While BTUs can range from 5,000 to 25,000 we centered the bulk of our research on 12,000 BTUs to accommodate rooms ranging from 150 to 550 square feet. Although, we presently avoided the best mini split air conditioners for this list. After BTUs, other features we prioritized included energy efficiency, temperature controls, and dimensions. These are features that can also be found in some of the most popular air conditioners.

Because of these factors, we selected the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1E 5,000 BTU Mini-Compact Air Conditioner as the best window air conditioner. This easy-to-install air conditioner comes with a window mounting kit and is ideal for smaller spaces up to 150 square feet. With an EER of 11.1, you’ll appreciate the increased energy efficiency when it’s time to pay your utility bills. A simplified control panel, a built-in dehumidifier, and multiple cooling and fan settings help to highlight this air conditioner’s benefits. It will keep you cool this summer, which is also when you need the best WiFi smart air conditioner.

Top 7 Best Window Air Conditioners Compared

 #1  Frigidaire FFRA0511R1E 5,000 BTU Mini-Compact Air Conditioner – Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: This Frigidaire 5,000 BTU mini-compact window air conditioner is perfect for cooling small spaces — making it our Top Pick thanks to the 11.1 Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). Quiet operation, including a window mounting kit, and easy to use control panel that includes options like dehumidification, and two cooling and fan speed settings round out some of the top features. It is the best air conditioner you can buy.

  • 5,000 BTU (150 sq ft)
  • Easy installation with included window mounting kit
  • 11.1 energy efficiency ratio
  • Operation can be loud
  • Not ideal for use in larger spaces

It’s wasteful to use an air conditioner with a higher BTU rating in small spaces. So, if you’re trying to cool a small room of 150 square feet or less, this Frigidaire FFRA0511R1E 5,000 BTU 115V Mini-Compact Air Conditioner is the perfect match. A simple installation process and included window mounting kit make set up a breeze. And the simplified control panel makes it easy for even the most tech-averse individual to use this air conditioner. Best of all, this model has an EER of 11.1 to keep your energy consumption at a minimum.

Other core features that we found useful included the dehumidifying mode which removes up to 1.1 pints of moisture from the air per hour as it cools a room. You’ll also like that there are two cooling settings and two fan speeds for easy customization. The removable filter is antibacterial to help maintain cleaner air. And pleated side panels help to create a secure fit and prevent air from leaking out of your window. Keep in mind the noise level of this unit, for it’s not the quietest model on the market, unfortunately. For an RV you want to check out the best portable AC for RV.

Related: The best ventless air conditioner will offer an excellent BTU rating.

 #2  LG LW8016ER 8,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner – Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: A window air conditioner with a 12.1 EER that’s designed for larger rooms thanks to an 8,000 BTU rating. This unit can cool rooms up to 340 sq ft, and whether with the remote or control panel you can cycle between three cooling and fan speeds, and activate the dehumidifying function.

  • 8,000 BTUs (340 sq ft)
  • Included remote control
  • 12.1 energy efficiency ratio
  • Customer service can be inconsistent depending on where sold
  • Operation may be loud

LG is an established brand for appliances and their 8,000 BTU LW8016ER Window-Mounted Air Conditioner is our Honorable Mention because of its increased cooling capacity and easy to use control panel. With an EER rating of 12.1, you can quickly and efficiently cool rooms up to 340 square feet.

Another important aspect that caught our eye was the dehumidifying feature that removes up to 2.2 pints of moisture from the air per hour as it cools. Plus, with three cooling settings and three fan speeds, and the ability to precisely set the temperature, you can customize this air conditioning unit to create the perfect environment. You’ll also love the included remote that gives you the freedom to control the temperature from across the room or use the control panel on the unit. If you have a small area, read the best small portable air conditioner.

 #3  Friedrich Chill CP06G10B 6,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner – Best Air Conditioner for Programming

WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re focused on keeping energy bills low, programming is the way to go. With a 24-hour timer option, this 6,000 BTU window air conditioner can cool rooms up to 250 square feet. An 11.2 EER rating along with three cooling and fan settings, and quiet operation. A slide-out chassis that works for window or wall installation makes this unit a great option.

  • 6,000 BTUs (250 sq ft)
  • 11.2 energy efficiency ratio
  • 24-hour programmability
  • Customer service can be inconsistent depending on location
  • Lacks a dehumidifier feature

There’s no point in cooling a room that’s empty or during times of the day when you could just as easily open a window. The Friedrich Chill CP06G10B 6,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner gives you the freedom to program up to 24 hours of preset cooling to automatically raise or lower the temperature while you’re away or just before you return for a comfortable environment.

With 6,000 BTUs, this 11.2EER rated unit can cool rooms up to 250 square feet in size. And you’ll also like that you can choose from three cooling settings and three fan speeds. Plus the quiet operation keeps this appliance in the background — where it belongs.

 #4  MIDEA MAW06R1BWT 6000 BTU Easycool Window Air Conditioner – Best Value

WHY WE LIKE IT: A modest price combines with enhanced functionality to create a window air conditioner that’s ideal for smaller rooms to create a perfectly customized cool environment. 6,000 BTUs cool up to 250 square feet and with the LED panel and included remote you can program cooling settings, fan speeds, and additional features like the dehumidifier.

  • 6,000 BTUs (250 sq ft)
  • 24-hour programmable system
  • Remote included and LED control panel
  • Fan blows softly on highest setting

You want your room to be cold, but you also don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it. With this Midea 6,000 BTU air conditioner, you’ll enjoy the fact that you can program up to 24 hours of temperature settings to save money while you’re away or while you’re sleeping. The sleep mode feature also ensures that your room stays comfortable but raises the temperature to reduce energy consumption.

This easy-to-install air conditioner is rated for rooms up to 250 square feet and is also designed to act as a dehumidifier, or fan-only to help with air circulation. You’ll also like the EcoSaver setting which automatically shuts the unit off when it reaches the preset desired temperature.

 #5  Frigidaire FFRS1022R1 10,000 BTU 115-volt Slider Air Conditioner – Best for Sliding Windows

WHY WE LIKE IT: A high-capacity window air conditioner with a 10.4 EER that’s specifically designed for slider windows. 10,000 BTUs for up to 450 square feet, a 24-hour programmable option, dehumidifier up to 3.4 pints per hour, and added features like Energy Saver mode, sleep, and auto cool mode enhance the functionality of this window air conditioner unit.

  • 10,000 BTUs (450 sq ft & 10.4 EER)
  • Designed for sliding windows
  • 24-hour programmable feature
  • Installation can be difficult
  • Can ship damaged

If you have sliding windows, you know that the average window air conditioner unit isn’t compatible with your type of window. This Frigidaire model is ideal for those with sliding windows as it features a vertical design for a perfect fit. With 10,000 BTUs and an EER of 10.4, it’s rated to cool rooms up to 450 square feet. Best of all, it comes with the ability to program up to 24 hours of temperatures so you can reduce energy consumption during times when you’re not home or overnight.

Other key features we liked included a large-capacity dehumidifier that can remove up to 3.4 pints of moisture from the air per hour. Auto cool and energy saver modes help you quickly cool spaces and reduce consumption. And a sleep mode shuts off the air conditioner when your desired temperature is reached. Plus the included remote makes it easier to control this unit or you can opt to use the control panel to manually change the temperature and settings. You may also want to think about the best space heater for a large room.

 #6  Koldfront WAC12001W 12,000 BTU Heat/Cool Window Air Conditioner – Best for Large-capacity Rooms/Best for Heating & Cooling

WHY WE LIKE IT: This 10.9 EER window air conditioner has 12,000 BTUs making it perfect for rooms up to 550 square feet and has additional features like an energy saver, sleep mode, and 24-hour programmable timer, and a remote add functionality. And as long as you have a 230-volt outlet, you can use this unit as a supplemental heater.

  • 12,000 BTU cooling + 11,000 BTU heating
  • 24-hour programmable timer
  • Supports rooms up to 550 square feet
  • Voltage requirements can be an issue
  • Installation can be difficult

A common complaint with window air conditioners is that they’re pretty useless in cold weather. But not everyone wants to keep installing and removing a unit as the seasons change. This Koldfront air conditioner unit pulls double duty since it cools in hot weather and can double as a supplemental heater when the weather turns cold. The unit is rated for 12,000 BTUs for cooling and 11,000 BTUs for heating. Use this unit in a room up to 550 square feet.

Additional features such as 24-hour programmability ensure that you’re maximizing energy efficiency. Options such as sleep mode, a dehumidifier, four fan speeds, and a remote give you added functionality. Note that to use this air conditioner as a supplemental heater, you need to have an electrical outlet rated at 230 volts. Other great options are the best portable air conditioners.

 #7  Arctic King WWK05CM91N Window Air Conditioner – Best Budget

WHY WE LIKE IT: An easy installation process combined with 5,000 BTUs and a high EER of 11 to create an energy-efficient and budget-friendly window ac unit. The simplified control panel allows you to customize airflow with seven temperature settings, two cooling and fan settings, and adjustable air vents to control airflow direction.

  • 5,000 BTU rating
  • 11 EER for improved energy efficiency
  • 7 temperature, 2 cooling, and 2 fan settings
  • No built-in mechanism to drain excess water
  • Operation can be loud

We’re rounding out our list with the budget-focused entry, the Arctic King WWK05CM91N Window Air Conditioner. This 5,000 BTU air conditioner is ideal for small spaces up to 150 square feet and features an EER of 11 which is optimal if you’re trying to keep your energy consumption to a minimum.

If you’re the type who loses remotes or struggles with complicated control panels, you’ll like that this model features straightforward manual controls. With two knobs, you can control the temperature, cooling, and fan speed. Choose between seven temperatures, two cooling options, and two fan speeds. This window air conditioner comes with a complete installation kit for easy setup.

How We Decided

If you’re in the market for a window air conditioning unit, there are going to be multiple factors that you must consider so that you get the right product to meet your needs. With this in mind, we started by reviewing the BTU rating. This outlines how much space a unit can efficiently cool. Since window air conditioners can come in a range of capacities, we focused on options that were between 5,000 and 12,000 BTUs. The bulk of our options are between 5,000 to 6,000 but we did include a few high-capacity options with BTUs that ranged between 10,000 and 12,000.

After BTUs, we looked at energy efficiency. Of all the ways that you can cool a room with air conditioning, window models tend to be the least efficient options. So we looked for models that featured Energy Star window units and, where possible, listed their energy efficiency rating (EER) to help you make an informed decision.

While it isn’t a requirement, we focused on window air conditioner units that offered enhanced functionality that make them more efficient and help reduce energy consumption. These features ranged from preset options such as sleep, auto cool, and energy saver modes as well as programmable capabilities. In particular, models with programming capabilities allow you to set up to 24 hours of temperature controls so that you aren’t wasting energy cooling an empty room during the day or running a temperature too low while you’re sleeping. And added functionality like a remote control makes operation easier and more convenient versus having to cross a room and manually using the control panel.

And finally, we kept in mind that not everyone’s home features hanging windows where the window panes slide vertically up and down. However, most window air conditioner models are designed for these types of windows.

Product Category Buying Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. BTU Rating
    When you’re choosing a window air conditioning unit, the most important factor to consider is its BTU rating. That is the cooling power. BTU units stand for “British Thermal Unit,” and it represents how much heat ac units can remove from a room.
    • Your target BTU rate is going to be dependent upon the size of the room that you’re trying to cool.
    • Smaller rooms don’t require as many BTUs as a larger space.
    • BTU rates usually range from 5,000 to 25,000. However, some higher BTU units can’t effectively reduce larger amounts of decibels of noise, making them not ideal for already loud areas. Knowing this makes it easier to determine the decibel level you need to achieve at an affordable price.
    • But additional factors can impact which BTU rate you should pick beyond the size of the room. If a room is always exposed to direct sunlight, you might need more BTUs than typically recommended for the room’s size to compensate for the increased heat.
  2. Energy Efficiency Rating
    Energy bills are usually your next largest expense after a mortgage or rent.
    • So, looking for efficient window cold air conditioners that feature an Energy Star can help you save money in the long run with lower electric bills. In particular, look for the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) to help determine how efficiently a unit will perform so you can gauge your future energy savings.
    • But if you’re looking for air cooler principles, this is not the right article.
    • These days you can save some money on your heating and cooling by investing in a window air conditioner with heat.
    • Energy Star’s offers a variety of energy-efficient ACs, which can reduce your energy usage and costs. Many of them are also easy to install, making it even easier to save money and energy. Thus, opting for an Energy Star-certified air conditioner is the best way to ensure you’re getting maximum efficiency out of your heating and cooling system.
  3. Dimensions
    Understandably, not every window air conditioning unit is going to fit in every window. Casement windows, for example, require a different type of window frame than standard windows and therefore are not compatible with a standard window air conditioner.
    • A window unit with a higher BTU rate will typically be larger than one with a low rating. But you should always confirm that your window is designed to work with a window air conditioning unit.
    • Most portable air units are designed to work with a double-hung window where the upper window sash sits firmly on top of the unit to be safely positioned in a window.
    • Vertical window air conditioners, however, can be used with most types of windows (e.g. double hung, casement, and sliding), in addition to window sills.
    • Consider the ease of installation before purchasing or plan accordingly.
  4. Programmability
    More modern window air conditioners often come with a remote and programming features that allow you to automatically turn your unit on or off at preset times or activate a sleep setting to help slowly increase or decrease the temperature to minimize energy consumption. A 24-hour timer function is a useful feature as well, which can be found on both window and portable units.
    • A smart window air conditioner with smart features can also be a great addition to your home if you already own smart devices.
    • It can not only be integrated with your home’s Wi-Fi connectivity, but it also has a powerful air conditioner, digital controls, and many more features to help you stay comfortable.
    • It can add convenience to using the AC unit as well, like using voice control with Amazon Alexa on your smart model to operate the unit.
  5. Manual Controls
    In addition to a remote with programmable features, always check that a manual panel is present and that you can easily raise or lower the temperature or adjust the vent direction and flow to create a comfortable environment. Moreover, you’ll also want to keep the air conditioner vents clean, to prevent any potential damage to the unit.
  6. Upgrade Options
    Not all window air conditioner units will feature these additional options, but they can help to increase your unit’s versatility and functionality. Concepts such as an ionizer to help purify the air, venting controls to choose between recirculating air or using outside air, and dehumidification can help not just cool the air but make it more comfortable and healthier.

Best Window Air Conditioner Questions (FAQ)

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