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 between 5,000 and 12,000 BTUs to accommodate rooms ranging from 150 to 550 square feet. After BTUs, other features we prioritized included energy efficiency, temperature controls, and dimensions.

Because of these factors, we selected the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1E 5,000 BTU Mini-Compact Air Conditioner as the best window air conditioner in 2021. 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 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, included 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. If you also want block the sunlight from entering your space, take a look at the best window shades too.

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. For an RV you want to check out the best RV air conditioner.

 #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 that 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, quiet operation and 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. Pair an air unit with the best modern ceiling fan and you will be cool as ice.

 #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. The best ventilation fans also help to keep you cool.

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 a space 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 energy saver, sleep mode, 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 your 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 for 230 volts. Another great option is the best portable air conditioner.

 #7  Arctic King WWK05CM91N Window Air Conditioner – Best Budget

WHY WE LIKE IT: An easy installation process combines with 5,000 BTUs and a high EER of 11 to create an energy efficient and budget-friendly window window ac unit. The simplified control panel allows you to customize air flow with seven temperature settings, and two cooling and fan settings, and adjustable air vents to control air flow 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. It ticks all of the boxes for what we like in the best air conditioners.

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 your 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. So, we included the Frigidaire FFRS1022R110,000 BTU 115-volt Slider Air Conditioner because it’s specifically designed for slider windows where the panes move horizontally in a right to left direction.

Product Category Buying Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. BTU Rating
    When you’re in the market for a window air conditioning unit, the most important factor to consider is its BTU rating. That is the cooling power. BTU units stands 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. 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 expenses 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. These days you can save some money on your heating and cooling with the right unit.
  3. Dimensions
    Understandably, not every window air conditioning unit is going to fit in every window. 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.
  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.
  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.
  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 to not just cool the air but make it more comfortable and healthier.

Window Air Conditioners FAQs

I’m concerned that my window air conditioner might not sit safely in the window?

A common issue with installing a window air conditioner is that the back of the portable air conditioner doesn’t naturally rest on your window sill. This can cause the window unit to sag and pose a safety hazard — especially if you’re installing a window acs on a higher floor. Eliminate this hazard by using a window installation kit that comes with the necessary brackets to safely keep your window unit level.

I’m concerned about energy consumption. What can I do to reduce my usage?

First, look for window air conditioner units that are programmable. These models can let you program them to automatically reduce temperatures overnight when the weather is typically coolest and room occupants are sleeping or less likely to feel overly warm. Consider relying on settings that remove humidity from the air — allowing you to set your system on a higher temperature. Additionally, try to avoid using appliances during the day that commonly release heat such as ranges, dryers, and dishwashers.

How can I determine how many BTUs I need?

First, you need to determine the square footage of the room where you plan to install your window air conditioner. Calculate the square footage by measuring the length and width and multiplying those two figures. Once you have this information, you can check with a BTU chart to confirm the range that is best suited for your needs. However, keep in mind that other factors besides the general square footage will impact your selection. Rooms with high ceilings may need more BTUs. Or a room that is always in the shade may need fewer BTUs to effectively cool the space. And rooms like kitchens which tend to run hotter because of the appliances should always have an additional 4,000 BTUs above the recommended square foot to BTU rate.

Dorian Smith-Garcia

Dorian Smith-Garcia is a bridal and beauty expert/influencer and the creative director behind The Anti Bridezilla. She is a diverse writer across beauty, fashion, travel, consumer goods, and tech. She also writes for Inverse, Glowsly, and The Drive along with a variety of other publications. When Dorian's not writing she's collecting stamps in her passport, learning new languages, or spending time with her husband and daughter.

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