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The best quiet window air conditioners deliver high cooling capacity, performance, and energy efficiency at noise levels that won’t disturb work, sleep, and any other activity that requires a certain amount of quiet. The best air conditioners may be powerful, feature-rich, and efficient, but they aren’t necessarily the quietest.
Window air conditioners designed for low-noise operation are a superb choice for a small home office where you need as few distractions and extraneous noise as possible. Like quiet portable air conditioners, they’re also a great option for recording studios, baby rooms, and entertaining rooms where a noisy air conditioning unit will affect the basic function the space is designed for.
While the quietness of a window air conditioner unit is measured in terms of decibels, there are other factors to consider when choosing a model, including efficiency (based on EER rating and Energy Star certification), cooling power in BTUs, extra features like a 24-hour timer, remote control, and WiFi connectivity, as well as design aspects that could affect noise levels regardless of decibel ratings.
Keep reading our buying guide to learn more about the best quiet window air conditioners and what they offer.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is ideal for users that value convenience of use. It is hushed and has WiFi connectivity for both voice and app control.
The Midea U inverter is a popular 8000 BTU window air conditioner that comes with some pretty exciting smart features and a design that allows for full window closure. Since the AC unit is Wifi enabled, those that wish to control it by voice will be able to hook it up to either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, and those that would rather not also have the option of using the included remote or just controlling it through the Alexa or Google Assistant app. With a relatively low quiet noise output of only 42 decibels, most should be able to enjoy their sleep, however, some previous users have complained that the unit was pretty challenging to install.
With a capacity to cool up to 550 square feet, the Midea U inverter is a reliable unit for medium to large spaces, and its U shape design is also very efficient at blocking noise from outside. It also has a 24-hour timer that owners can use to program its functioning. The AC unit can be set to four different working modes, which include auto, cool, dry, and fan. Users will also be able to switch it to eco mode to keep energy costs from inflating.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is ideal for small spaces and has a very low noise operation. It has an easily removable filter and is also easy to install.
This GE Electronic window air conditioner has a 6000 BTU rating, making it ideal for cooling spaces of up to 250 square feet. It has a compact design, and since it produces up to 43 decibels, it is quiet enough to ensure a peaceful night’s rest. The AC unit can be set to cool, fan, or dehumidify, and it also has an energy saver mode where it can be set to operate in a way that conserves electricity. It has a pretty sleek control panel that includes an LCD display and offers three different fan and cooling settings. Unfortunately, it does not have any smart features and is not WiFi enabled.
Installing this window conditioner is very easy to do since it comes with a fixed chassis and an EZ mount installation kit. It also comes with a remote for convenient use and can be set to sleep mode, where it gradually increases temperature during sleep for a more restful night. The AC unit also comes with a removable filter and a check filter indicator to notify users whenever its filters need to be changed.
Award: BEST FOR LOW NOISE
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is ideal for small spaces and produces very low noise. It is energy efficient, well designed, and has a filter cleaning indicator.
The Tosot Tranquility 8000 BTU window air conditioner is a modern-looking, quiet and efficient air conditioner that guarantees silent operation and has an energy star rating for its energy efficiency. The AC unit comes with slanted louvers that can direct airflow up to 20 feet away and also comes with a remote control for convenient operation. Its remote features a sensor that allows it to pick up on the exact temperature where the owner is seated and send a reading to the AC unit for it to adjust its functioning. Unfortunately, the AC unit does not have any smart features.
With a noise output of between 42 to 49 decibels, this AC unit is perfect for users who prioritize silence and comfort during their sleep. It is ideal for cooling areas up to 350 Sq ft in size and has a 6 ft long power cord that allows for some flexibility during placement. Besides cooling, the AC unit can also be used to fan or dehumidify, and since it also comes with a change filter indicator, users will always be notified whenever it needs to be changed.
Award: BEST FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is ideal for its energy efficiency and features a remote for convenient operation. It comes with a 24-hour timer and an 8-way louvers for good air circulation.
The Emerson Quiet Kool window air conditioner has a high 10,000 BTU rating and is ideal for users that would want to place it in a room that is 350 to 450 Sq ft in size. It was awarded an energy star rating in 2017 for its energy efficiency and has 8-way airflow louvers that are ideal for efficient air circulation. It comes with a 24-hour timer for scheduled functioning and can be switched between cool, dry, fan, and auto mode. It has up to three different fan speed settings to choose from, but some users might not like its outdated design.
To save up on electricity, users will have the option to switch to an energy saver mode. It also comes with a large digital display for easy readability. Users will be able to use its remote to avoid walking up to it when changing its settings. The air conditioner is also easy to operate as it is to install and has an auto-restart feature that allows it to restart with its previous settings in the event of a power outage.
Award: BEST FOR EASE OF USE
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is very easy to use and install. It has two adjustable knobs that control temperature and fan speed and a long power cord for more convenient placement.
This HomeLabs 5000 BTU window-mounted air conditioner is excellent for anyone who might need to cool down their 150 Sq ft space. It has two easily-adjustable knobs used to separately regulate temperature and fan speed. It also has an extended 6 ft power cord that allows for more convenient placing and up to 7 different temperature settings for users to choose from. The unit also comes with a washable filter that can be reused, but unfortunately, it does not have a dehumidifying function.
This AC unit is 16 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 15.4 inches high. It is also pretty easy to install and has full-width two-way airflow louvers for good air circulation. Users will also appreciate its low noise level, as it will probably not create any disruptions at night and allow for a peaceful sleep.
Award: BEST FOR INNOVATIVE DESIGN
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is ideal for not obstructing the field of vision, and its sensor comes with a remote for more accurate temperature adjustment. It is easy to install and operate.
The Soleus 6000 BTU Saddle AC unit is designed as a mini-split hybrid that is very easy to install on a window. It does not require any window brackets, and it also has a super low noise output of only 38 decibels. The AC unit is perfect for a 275 Sq ft space and features an easy-to-use remote with a sensor that picks up on the temperature in any part of the room. The unit is perfect for anyone who would want to maintain a good outside view, however, some have complained that its 80-pound weight may make it challenging to move around.
The AC unit has a very sleek control panel, where users can have it cool, fan, or dehumidify a space. The unit offers three fan speeds to choose from and comes with an energy saver mode to keep costs manageable. It’ll work well for a window that has up to 11’’ of clearance and has a washable filter that is very easy to remove.
A quiet window air conditioner is a window-installed air conditioner designed to operate at the lowest noise levels possible while still delivering maximum cooling power (rated by British Thermal Units or BTUs) and optimal efficiency (measured by Energy Efficiency Ratio and Energy Star status.)
Generally, any window AC unit that runs at noise levels below 60 decibels is considered a “quiet” model. While not every AC unit will have its noise rating listed in its product description, quiet units usually will, since it’s a major feature for any such model.
Decibel levels aren’t the only measure of how much noise an AC unit will make. The quality and construct of a unit’s chassis, its components (with the compressor being the noisiest component), and the BTU rating will all factor into some degree. But these are harder to quantify from model to model, especially since conditions of use will vary from user to user. For this reason, a unit’s listed noise level in decibels is going to be the most reliable indicator.
Similarly, the quietest through-the-wall air conditioners and quiet portable AC units need to run below 60 decibels to be considered low-noise units.
While the quietest window AC units are fairly similar to comparable models not designed for ultra-quiet operation, there are a couple of differences with models built with this feature in mind.
First, it may seem counterintuitive, but lower BTU ratings mean a noisier unit for almost all air conditioners. There are several reasons this can be true, but a major reason is that the smaller, more compact chassis or casing of less powerful models means that its components are more likely to create noise by rattling or resonating against each other and the chassis. Lower BTU models are often (but not always) less expensive relative to cooling power, meaning the quality of construction is often lower.
The second major difference between quiet AC models and standard ones is in price. Low-noise operation is considered a major feature in an AC unit, and requires specific design choices and often higher quality components than in comparable, meaning such units have a slightly higher price point. A quiet 15000 BTU window unit will therefore be more expensive than a 15000 BTU window unit with otherwise similar features.
The efficiency of quiet models compared to standard ones isn’t necessarily better or worse. Here you can rely on EER ratings and Energy Star status to determine if a unit is efficient enough for you.
Quiet window air conditioners work the same way that all vented AC systems work- they remove heat and moisture from a room and replace it with cooled, dehumidified air.
The primary components — a compressor, a condenser, and an evaporator coil — convert a refrigerant gas to a liquid and back to a gas. First, the compressor pressurizes and heats the refrigerant and sends it to the condenser. There, the gas is converted into a liquid and sent to the evaporator coil, where it’s then changed again to gas, cooling the coil. Indoor air is blown across the cooled evaporator by the fan and is then sent back into the room.
Finally, the heated evaporated refrigerant returns into the compressor and is changed again into a gas state, and the entire cycle is repeated until the desired ambient air temperature is reached.
The quietest window air conditioner will be a good choice for you if you’ve got a home office where distractions like excessive appliance noise need to be eliminated. These units are also a splendid choice for a recording studio, podcast studio, or radio station where ambient noise can ruin work. Lastly, a quiet running unit is a good choice for a baby room or if you have sleep issues such as insomnia.
Most window air conditioner units, regardless of BTU class, have a lifespan of around 10 years, with most manufacturers offering warranties for up to five years covering repairs and replacements during that time with normal use.
That said, this lifespan can be shortened or lengthened depending on a few key factors:
Air conditioners used everyday or throughout the year will have a shorter lifespan than one used only seasonally or occasionally. Quiet running units follow this rule as well. A unit used constantly in a warm climate will have a shorter life than one used only during the summer in a temperate one.
A regularly maintained and cleaned air conditioner will last longer than one that’s neglected. Clogged filters make an AC unit work harder to cool the evaporator coil and cycle air, increasing wear and tear on all components. Upkeep and maintenance when needed is key to keeping your AC unit running for a long time.
Regular exposure to direct sunlight for hours at a time can overheat an AC’s chassis and make the components work harder to cool a room, increasing wear and tear and decreasing a unit’s lifespan.
If at all possible, try to install your AC unit in a north-facing window that gets as much shade as possible.
Now that you’ve decided to purchase a quiet window air conditioner, consider a few additional factors and features that will help you choose the right model for you.
Quiet window air conditioners are at least somewhat more expensive than comparable models and can be less energy efficient. Therefore, it’s worth thinking about how much noise levels matter to you if you’ve got a strict budget. While a baby’s room or bedroom is somewhere you might need an ultra-quiet air conditioner, other spaces, especially larger ones, don’t necessarily need one, especially if they face noisy areas, like streets or schools.
The price of a quiet running air conditioner tends to increase exponentially with its BTU output. This means that the difference in price between a quiet-running 5000 BTU model- which is good for a room of up to 150 square feet- isn’t going to be significantly more than the price of a standard 5000 BTU model (though it will be at least slightly more expensive.)
If you have a room larger than 600 square feet or so, you’re going to be looking at 15000 BTU models, and the difference in price between a quiet-running 15000 BTU and a standard one in that BTU class can be significant. In that case, if you’ve got a very large space to cool on a limited budget, you may want to consider how important low-noise operation is to you.
While the differences aren’t always that significant, window air conditioners designed for low noise (under 60 decibels) operation tend to be less energy efficient than comparable standard units in their BTU class. However, if you’re on a very tight budget and/or you’re trying to minimize your carbon footprint wherever possible, you may want to decide if quiet operation is enough of a priority to take an extra hit to your power bill on a slightly less eco-friendly appliance.
Nearly all home air conditioning units — including quiet window air conditioner units — measure energy efficiency with ratings created and enforced by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy. The following will tell you how models within the same BTU class differ in terms of efficiency:
A "quiet" or "silent" window air conditioner is one that has an operational noise level of 60 decibels or fewer. The primary factors that contribute to a unit's noise level are the size of its chassis (which is largely determined by its BTU class; higher BTU classes have larger chassis, meaning quieter operation), and the quality and construction of its three primary components- its compressor, evaporator coil, and condenser.
Quiet window air conditioners are as reliable as comparable models in their respective BTU class and price point. With regular cleaning of filters and proper maintenance when needed, the average lifespan of a window AC unit under normal use is about 10 years, with most manufacturers offering warranties of up to five years to cover repairs and replacements.
For a window air conditioner to be considered "quiet," it must have a decibel level of no more than 60 decibels during normal operation. The average quiet AC unit, however, will have a decibel level of between 42 and 54 decibels.