These are good days for A/C; We’re seeing the rise of some of the top rated WiFi smart air conditioners in years, models that are starting to shake off the issues that prevented smart AC units from taking off in the past (generally shoddy quality, confusing apps, and noisy fans were among their numerous issues).
However, now that WiFi air conditioners are showing up in force and destined to become commonplace in houses and apartments, a new and interesting trend is emerging: smart AC conversion kits.
You see, many people with window/portable air conditioners like their current model are just fine, and don’t want to pay a couple hundred dollars (at minimum) for a new model. However, consumers do like the idea of smart features and controlling their A/C via their phones, especially if they can pick up some extra abilities as well.
That’s why ThinkEco’s WiFi SmartAC kit ($140) exists: this simple kit turns any plug-in AC unit into a smart device, allowing you to control it with your phone or computer. Once set up, the kit can help you set schedules, control temperatures from your mobile device no matter where you are at, and measure how much electricity your AC unit is using (and how you can cut back).
ThinkEco isn’t the only conversion kit on the market, nor the least expensive, but it does have one of the simplest setup procedures, a boon to those who don’t have much experience with smart devices.
The model also comes with a variety of plug types for various voltage requirements, which means you can also use the SmartAC kit on larger air conditioners or units with more unique power needs (international units, etc.). It adds welcome clarity to an AC market that can get overly complex at times, but it also means that you’ll need to carefully pick the right voltage numbers for your unit, or otherwise deal with major problems.
Note, however, that this is a plug-based WiFi model. That means it works primarily by controlling power to and from the AC unit. It’s a very direct method, but it tends to have unpredictable effects on various air conditioners. You may not be able to control all advanced settings with the app, so some manual adjustments may be necessary. That being said, ThinkEco comes with a wireless remote for temperature control, so your hands won’t be entirely tied.