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Generally speaking, window air conditioners are meant for the summer months and heaters for the winter. They both take up real estate in your home, but the best window air conditioners with heat will take care of both jobs effectively.
Like the best air conditioners, AC units with heat have equal cooling (BTU) and heating capacities without sacrificing the performance of either. They’re also designed for maximum efficiency and lower energy costs. Additional features such as remote control, voice control, sleep mode, automatic variable fan speeds, 24-hour timer, digital display, and other settings are also important factors, as well as low-noise operation, an Energy Star certification, and a high EER rating.
Using a window air conditioner with heat can save you money despite their higher initial cost simply because they eliminate the need for buying two separate appliances and paying separate repair and maintenance costs on both. More importantly, they save you the hassle of installing and uninstalling each unit in the offseason, and they have a small footprint which is excellent for use in a small garage or workshop that doesn’t have central air or heat installed.
Keep reading our buying guide to learn more about the best window air conditioners with heat and what they offer.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is great for small-sized rooms and has an energy saver function to keep electricity costs manageable. It also has 4-way directional louvers for good circulation and an auto mode to acquire the desired temperature.
The Koldfront WAC12001W is an 84-pound window air conditioner that is ideal for an area of about 450 to 550 Sq ft in size. It comes with a remote for operational convenience and has four different modes to choose from. Similar to the Cooper & Hunter mini split, it boasts 12000 BTUs of cooling power, while its heating capacity averages around 11000 BTUs. It also comes with an energy saver mode to save on electricity costs and a sleep mode for regulated functioning at night. Still, some might have an issue with its plug type as it is not standard.
Its 4-way air directional louvers ensure whole-room air circulation, and with three fan speeds to choose from, owners will remain in complete control of how fast air is being circulated on their premises. The AC unit also comes with a dehumidify option that can reduce the amount of moisture in the air. Its eco-friendly refrigerant is also designed not to cause any harm to the ozone layer, and since it comes with an auto function, owners will have the option to set a designated temperature and have the unit switch between its heating and cooling function to attain it.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has a very low noise output and is ideal for small rooms of up to 320 Sq ft. It also comes with multiple fan speeds and an auto-restart function that’ll have it start back up after a power outage with the same previous settings.
The LG LW8016HR is a compact window-mounted air conditioner that can either cool or heat a small 320 Sq ft room without much noise. When set to low mode, it has a super low sound output of 50 dB, and since it also comes with two cooling, heating, and fan speeds, users will be able to accurately customize its functioning. The AC unit weighs about 69 pounds and is pretty easy to install, and comes with an auto-restart feature where it should be able to get back to its original settings even after a power outage. However, some have complained that the unit does not have a hole at its bottom or back for accumulated water to escape.
With a cooling capacity of 7500 BTU and a heating capacity of 3850 BTU, this AC unit can be set to oscillate between heating and cooling to maintain the room temperature at a certain point. Since it also comes with a remote, users will be able to make changes without walking up to it. The unit also has a window installation unit and includes a 24-hour timer for scheduled functioning.
Award: BEST FOR SMALL ROOMS
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is ideal for rooms no larger than 320 Sq ft and also comes with a reasonably long 6.5 ft extension cord for convenient placement. Its 8-way air louvers guarantee widespread air circulation, and users can rely on its remote to set all its functions.
The Frigidaire FFRH0822R1 is a compact 80-pound window air conditioner ideal for a room size of up to 350 Sq ft and can dehumidify up to 1.5 pints per hour. The AC unit has an 8000 BTU cooling capacity, a 7000 BTU heat pump, and a 3500 BTU supplemental heating capacity. Its 24-hour timer allows owners to decide when exactly they would want to have it automatically stop functioning, and since it comes with a window mounting kit, users will also be able to install it easily. Still, some might find it challenging to handle because of its 80-pound weight.
This AC unit comes with a check filter indicator to have owners reminded to replace the filters when a filter change is due, and since it also features an extra-long 6.5 ft power cord, users will have a bit of added flexibility during placement. Its auto restart feature will have it start back up after a power outage with the same previous settings, and since it also has an energy saver mode, it is not likely to cause any rapid increases in electricity costs. The unit has 8-way air directional louvers for efficient circulation and a washable filter that is easy to access.
Award: BEST FOR LARGE ROOMS
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is powerful enough to serve rooms of up to 1000 Square feet and comes with multiple cooling and fan speeds for owners to adjust to their specific preferences. Its removable chassis allows for installation either through the wall or a window.
This KeyStone air conditioning unit boasts a cooling capacity of up to 18500 BTU and a supplemental heating capacity of 16000 BTU, making it a relatively powerful unit ideal for large rooms of up to 1000 Sq ft. It features three cooling speeds, three fan speeds, and one heat speed for multi-seasonal use and also includes a dehumidifying mode where it can eradicate up to 3.8 pints of moisture from the air per hour. The unit has 4-way air directional louvers for expanded air circulation and a removable chassis for easy installation through a window or an exterior wall. Unfortunately, its dated design might put off some would-be customers. In this case, you might want to look at the leading ductless mini-split air conditioners.
This AC unit also has a 24-hour timer for programmed shut-off and a sleep mode that limits its noise output. Its auto-restart feature ensures that it resumes functioning after a power outage with the same settings, and when set to energy saver mode, it utilizes the lowest amount of electricity possible to keep energy costs down.
Award: BEST FOR PORTABILITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has caster wheels that allow users to shift it between rooms and also has a relatively modern design. Its remote features an LCD display that will enable owners to quickly check the room temperature.
This portable air conditioner from Della has an impressive 13000 BTU cooling capacity with a heating function and is ideal for rooms up to 700 Sq ft in size. It has a relatively modern design, and since it does not need to be installed on a window or through a wall, owners have the liberty to move it around from room to room as they would please. The AC unit features a neat LED display with soft-touch controls and can be set to either cool, fan, heat, or automated functioning. It also has three fan speeds and a filter reset indicator that lights up whenever its filters are due for a change. However, two people will be required to set it up.
The AC unit also boasts self-evaporation technology, and this is convenient because it means that there’s no water collected and, therefore, no bucket to empty. It has a 24-hour timer for programmed functioning, and since it also comes with a remote, users will also be able to change its settings without having to walk up to it. The remote also has an LCD display, so owners will always be able to check on the current room temperature. The filters are easily accessible and washable. And, with a noise output of between 49 to 52 decibels, the AC unit is also relatively quiet, making it a quiet air conditioner.
Award: BEST FOR EASY CONNECTIVITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: It can be controlled through an app, voice, or its included remote and can also be installed in a window or a wall. Its louvers allow for eight-way air circulation, and its remote has an LCD display for viewing the current room temperature.
The Friedrich CEW24B33A is a smart window air conditioner that can be controlled through an app or voice thanks to its support for WiFi connectivity. The AC unit has an impressive cooling capacity of 24,000 BTU and an equally remarkable heating capacity of 10,600 BTU. It has three heating, cooling, and fan-only speeds and comes with a remote with an LCD display that indicates the current room temperature and allows for an easy change of settings. The AC unit also boasts very quick installation, though its large size may be problematic to deal with.
Ideal for rooms of up to 1500 Sq ft in size, this Friedrich AC unit is designed with a slide-out chassis to make it easier to install and can also be mounted through a wall or on a window. It has a washable filter that is easy to access and has a check filter indicator for whenever filter replacement is due. The AC unit also boasts eight-way louvers for enhanced air circulation and has reasonably good looks thanks to its black and white color aesthetic.
A window air conditioner with heat is, much as you’d suspect, a window-installed air conditioner that doubles as a heater during cooler weather. There are two main design options when it comes to such units:
Air conditioner/heat pump varieties are more efficient than supplemental heat units but tend to be significantly more expensive. If you’re new to these types of models, we recommend you learn more about a heat pump VS AC unit before you make a purchase. However, the higher price tag is more than made up for with their lower energy costs, somewhat the reverse of the best portable air conditioners.
Supplemental units generally come at a lower price but are less efficient, which will increase your power bill despite inferior performance. They’re often smaller, however, which means their main benefits are space-saving and lower initial costs.
The most obvious difference between window air conditioners with heat and other window air conditioners is that they combine an air conditioning function with some sort of heating capability. This is what you’d find with the best portable air conditioners with a heater. The design of the heating component also comes in two basic types. One uses the standard refrigerant-cycling method for both heating and cooling, and the other uses a separate heating element to blow hot air into a room.
The dual functionality and the differences in design also introduce other differences. These units are often less efficient for cooling compared to standard models with the same BTU output, EER rating, and Energy Star status. However, their overall efficiency as appliances is often superior when it comes to the combined overall energy costs of using a separate heater and air conditioner throughout the year.
Finally, they’re generally more expensive and have fewer special features, like Wi-Fi connectivity, than comparable (in terms of British Thermal Units or BTUs) AC-only models. Again, however, the increased upfront cost is offset by the overall energy savings you’ll see using a combination unit rather than two dedicated appliances, like a basic air conditioner and a space heater, but that also depends somewhat on the amount of use they get.
Window air conditioners with heat can work in one of two possible ways. Air conditioner/heat pump combination models use the refrigerant cycling method of standard air conditioner models for both their cooling and heating functions. To cool air, indoor air is pulled into the unit, while outdoor air is blown inside. The air passes through refrigerant-cooled components and is continuously recycled. For the heating function, a heat pump uses the refrigerant and essentially reverses the process to heat the air.
In supplemental heating models, the refrigerant-cycling method is used only for the cooling function. The heating function is performed by a strip containing an electric heating element, which warms the air the unit’s fan blows across it, somewhat like in portable ventless air conditioners. These often have lower heating speeds than heat pump models.
If you live in a climate with both cold and hot seasons and you have a small garage, workshop, or other space without central air conditioning or heating, a combination model is a wise investment. It eliminates the need to install and uninstall a window AC unit every fall season and saves floor space by removing the need for a portable radiator-style heating unit.
If you have the budget for a high-quality, high-BTU model (with a cooling capacity matched to your room’s square footage) but would like to save on energy costs throughout the year, these models are a great pick. Similarly, if you’re concerned about your carbon footprint, these types of units will lower your overall energy costs. Some units thankfully come with window fitting kits like the one in our Friedrich Chill CP06G10B 6000 BTU review so installation is easier.
Lastly, if you live in a mild climate without extreme changes in temperature and humidity or have a space that generally doesn’t need a lot of air conditioning or heating throughout the year, a combination model can be a good all-purpose option that’s efficient and easy to install. For this specific purpose, a supplemental heat model may be a better choice since they’re generally less expensive than the AC/heat pump variety and will perform both functions sufficiently.
Window air conditioners with heat have similar lifespans (10 years) to their single-purpose counterparts. But it really depends on how often they’re used, along with a few other factors:
Year-long seasonal temperature extremes (where both a hot summer day and below-freezing weather are seasonal possibilities) usually mean more frequent and heavy use for such models. This creates more wear-and-tear, both from increased use and increased temperature changes to the chassis and components.
Just as it does with standard single-purpose models, regular or year-long exposure to direct sunlight can shorten the lifespan of combination models. It will consistently heat the chassis and components, making the unit work harder to perform efficiently and effectively, thus increasing wear and tear.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Regularly cleaning or replacing your filter and other components (if possible) will allow the unit to work more effectively since it won’t have clogged filters. Similarly, performing regular maintenance and repairs when necessary means the unit will run smoother, reducing wear and tear.
Now that you’ve decided to purchase a window air conditioner with heat, you should consider a few additional factors and features that will help you choose the right model for you.
Combination models are often a great product for a small to medium-sized room in areas with mild climates where neither cooling nor heating is needed regularly. They can also be a good backup option if an AC or heating unit fails.
Combination models are generally more expensive than single-use models with comparable BTU output or heating/cooling capabilities. So, a tight budget may make them an impractical option, despite the lower overall energy costs. Keep in mind, though, that supplemental models are usually the cheaper option when it comes to combination units. Though if you up your budget, you can get some useful features with your unit like the smart home integration you can get out of the best 12000 BTU air conditioner.
One of the benefits of a combination model is that they can save on floor space in rooms where a portable heater would often be used alongside a window-install air conditioner. Just be sure you get the right style of AC for your specific window, like a side sliding window air conditioner if the window opens sideways. You can read about this one with our Black and Decker portable air conditioner and heater review.
Very often, the overall energy costs of using a combination model throughout the year are lower than using two dedicated units (a standard AC and a heater, respectively.) With those lower energy costs also comes a smaller carbon footprint, making them a good option overall for the eco-minded consumer. Like standard units, many also have an eco mode or energy-saving mode for increased power savings.