Best Wall Air Conditioners of 2018

John Carlsen ·
Updated
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We've reviewed in-wall air conditioners since 2014, spending over 40 hours researching and evaluating more than 10 models from nine manufacturers. While our evaluation focused mostly on cooling power and energy efficiency, we also looked at each unit's features and warranty. We chose the Frigidaire FFTA1233Q1 as the best wall air conditioner for most homes because it's powerful enough to handle any room, particularly large rooms.   

Best Overall

Frigidaire FFTA1233Q1

The Frigidaire FFTA1233Q1 is more powerful than most wall air conditioners, though this power means it's not the most efficient model we reviewed.
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Best Value

Koldfront WTC8001W

The Koldfront WTC8001W is more affordable than the other wall AC models we looked at, though this also means it isn’t as powerful or efficient as its competition.
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Most Efficient

GE AJCQ10ACG

The GE AJCQ10ACG is more efficient than any other wall air conditioner we looked at, and it doesn’t sacrifice too much cooling power.
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Product
Price
$597.00Amazon
$579.99Amazon
$1192.00Amazon
$733.60Amazon
$715.00Amazon
$519.99CJ
Check Price
$579.99Amazon
$449.00Amazon
Overall Rating
9.8
9.8
9.3
8.7
8.3
8.3
7.8
7.7
7.3
Efficiency
10
10
10
10
9.8
7.3
7
7.8
6.5
Convenience
10
10
9
7.3
6
10
8.8
7.8
8.3
Design
8.3
7.5
6
7
6.5
7.5
10
6
9
Warranty & Support
10
10
10
8.5
10
8.5
7
8.8
6.5
Btu
12,000
12,000
12,000
12,000
10,200
12,000
8,000
11,500
10,000
Optimal Room Size (Square feet)
550
550
550
550
450
550
350
530
450
Estimated Annual Energy Cost
$109.73
$98.50
$102.00
$101.09
$86.00
$109.73
$75.00
$100.00
$85.00
Moisture Removal (pints/hour)
3.3
3.3
3.4
3.8
2.7
3.5
1.8
3.9
2.3
Maximum Airflow (cfm)
305
286
270
290
270
286
N/A
265
N/A
AHAM Certified
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Chlorine-Free Refrigerant
Not Specified
3 Fan Speeds
Energy Star Qualified
Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)
9.8
10.5
10.6
9.8
10.7
10.5
9.6
10.6
10.6
UL Listed
N/A
Remote Control
Sleep Mode
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Dehumidify Mode
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Auto Restart
N/A
N/A
N/A
Programmable Timer
Fan Mode
Energy Saver Mode
Auto Mode
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Width (inches)
24
24
24 13/16
24
24 13/16
24
24 1/5
24
24 1/5
Depth (inches)
20 1/2
20 1/2
19 29/32
18 1/2
19 29/32
20 1/2
20 3/10
20 3/32
20 3/10
4-Way Directional Louvers
Air Filter
Height (inches)
14 1/2
14 1/2
14 7/8
14 3/8
14 7/8
14 1/2
14 1/2
14 13/32
14 1/2
Weight (pounds)
72
76
82
78
80
76
65
82
69.3
Appliance Warranty
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
2 Years
1 Year
1 Year
Live Chat
N/A
N/A
N/A
FAQs
N/A
Email
Compressor Warranty
5 Years
5 Years
5 Years
5 Years
5 Years
5 Years
2 Years
1 Year
4 Years
Best Overall

Frigidaire FFTA1233Q1

The Frigidaire FFTA1233Q1 is the best wall air conditioner we reviewed because it's the most powerful.
This is mostly due to its unmatched maximum airflow of 305 CFM, which helps it circulate and cool air more effectively than its competitors. As such, this unit is an excellent option for large rooms up to 550 square feet. This Frigidaire model also has many of the convenience features you find on most AC units, though its sleep mode is useful because it helps you save energy while you sleep by adjusting the temperature automatically. The unit can remove up to 3.3 pints of water from the air per hour, which is one of the ways it cools your home. This is a respectable amount of moisture removal but not the highest we've seen. Because this wall AC unit is so powerful, it's not as efficient as most of the other models we looked at. However, it still has an Energy Star certification and an EER of 9.8, which is better than average for the wall-mounted air conditioners on the market. We calculated the average annual cost of running this unit at around $109.73 – the highest operating cost of the models we reviewed. The compressor on this model carries a five-year warranty, the longest among wall AC units.
Pros
  • Highest airflow among models we reviewed
  • Good for large rooms
  • Energy Star Qualified
Cons
  • Relatively low energy efficiency
  • Can be expensive to run
  • Just decent moisture removal
$597.00Amazon
Best Value

Koldfront WTC8001W

The Koldfront WTC8001W is the best value of the AC units we reviewed because it’s the cheapest – it's the only model that costs less than $400. For comparison, the average cost of the in-wall air conditioners we reviewed is $584.
This unit isn't very powerful, though it can comfortably cool rooms up to 350 square feet, larger than most master bedrooms. However, it might struggle with larger rooms. It also has a heating function you can use during the winter. This lack of power means it uses less energy overall to cool a room than any other model we looked at. We estimate that it only costs around $75 per year to run this unit, which is $20 lower than the $99 average of the competition. It has an EER rating of 9.6, making it the least efficient model we looked at, though this is still high enough to garner an Energy Star certification. A two-year appliance warranty covers all the Koldfront’s parts. Every other wall AC unit we looked at only offers one year of coverage, so it is the best warranty. In contrast, the unit’s two-year compressor warranty doesn't quite match the industry average coverage of four years.
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Low operating costs
  • Good for small and medium rooms
Cons
  • Two-year compressor warranty
  • Not powerful enough for large rooms
  • Least efficient model we reviewed
$359.20Living Direct
Most Efficient

GE AJCQ10ACG

The GE AJCQ10ACG strikes an excellent balance between power and efficiency. It is the most efficient wall air conditioner we reviewed, with an EER rating of 10.7. It also has an Energy Star certification.
This unit has a relatively low airflow rating of 270 CFM, though that’s enough to cool rooms up to 450 square feet. This is good coverage for most medium and large rooms in your home, though it's not powerful enough to handle the largest of rooms. We estimate that it costs around $86 to run this air conditioner per year, which is less than the majority of wall air conditioners. Some weaker units we evaluated have lower operating costs but are less capable in rooms over 350 square feet. This GE unit can also remove a respectable 2.7 pints of moisture from the air per hour. Among the GE AJCQ10ACG's features is an energy saving mode that turns off the compressor while the fans still run. This keeps air moving in the room and makes you feel cooler, though the compressor turns back on if the room gets too warm. Its other convenience features include adjustable fan speeds, timers and a remote control. However, this unit lacks both a sleep mode and an automatic restart, which aren't strictly necessary but make it easier to use. GE provides a five-year warranty on the compressor, which is the longest in the industry.
Pros
  • Most efficient model we reviewed
  • Good for most medium and large rooms
  • Five-year compressor warranty
Cons
  • Relatively low airflow
  • No sleep mode
  • No automatic restart
$715.00Amazon

Why Trust Us
Since 2016, we've tested programmable thermostats and fans in-house at Top Ten Reviews. This experience has helped inform many of our conclusions relating to other heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment. We apply exacting standards to each product we test, primarily focusing on performance and user-friendliness. We design our tests to simulate typical consumer experiences.

When, as in the case of in-wall air conditioners, we cannot test the physical product ourselves, we apply the same due diligence to make sure our information and conclusions reflect the mission of Top Ten Reviews.

How We Tested
As we evaluated wall-mounted air conditioning units, we weighed cooling ability and energy efficiency more heavily than other features. Since air conditioners are used first and foremost to regulate the temperature and keep you comfortable, we considered how well each unit circulates air, what modes it has and if it works effectively.

We looked at each unit's energy efficiency and estimated how much it costs to operate per year based on a three-month period of use with it running eight hours per day. High energy efficiency is vital to lowering your electric bills each month and reducing energy use.

We also considered ease of use, noting each unit's modes of operation. Every in-wall AC we reviewed includes a remote control and a programmable timer, convenient features that allow you to control the air conditioner from across the room and set it to turn on and off at specific times.

Even though in-wall air conditioners are permanent fixtures and not meant to be moved around, it's a good idea to look at how heavy a unit is before installing it. The average weight of the wall air conditioners we reviewed is about 80 pounds, which makes them difficult to install by yourself.

Things to Consider When Buying a Wall Air Conditioner

A Professional Should Install New Wall Air Conditioners

If you aren’t replacing an existing wall air conditioner unit, you must cut a hole in a wall, which can be challenging. As such, you may want to find a local contractor to install the unit for you. Installation costs can be quite high, though not as pricey as for installing a whole-house system.

However, it you're replacing an existing wall air conditioner, you can probably install it yourself, though you might want a friend to help lift the replacement unit in place. If you want an alternative to a wall air conditioner that’s easier to install, consider a portable AC unit or a window air conditioner.

Room Size & Cooling Performance

It’s important to consider the size of the room you want to cool as you look for an air conditioner, and Energy Star’s room size guide is a useful tool – it calculates maximum room size using a unit's power as rated in British thermal units (Btu). For example, an 8,000-Btu AC unit can cool rooms up to 350 square feet, while a 15,000-Btu unit can handle up to 900 square feet. Essentially, you want a wall air conditioner with an output that closely matches the room's size.

The next thing to consider is how much air an AC unit can more through the room. This is indicated by the model's maximum airflow, measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). The higher the airflow, the more air is pushed through the unit into the room.

Some cooling capabilities are related to maintenance and proper use, especially as time goes on. Running the unit when the air outside is already cool can cause a through-wall air conditioner to freeze up as can a dirty filter. Furniture can impact cooling capabilities too, so position the unit to allow air to flow freely. If you need to cool your entire home, consider a central air system.

Efficiency Ratings
Energy efficiency indicates how much you can expect to spend on electricity while running the air conditioner. You can use each unit's Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER), as provided by the manufacturer, to learn how efficient it is. The higher the EER, the more efficient the air conditioner – though units with high EERs are often more expensive. The average EER rating of the wall air conditioners we looked at is 10.3, and the highest score we've seen is 10.7. In general, wall AC units aren't as efficient as mini-split and central air conditioners.

We also calculated each wall air conditioner’s estimated annual energy cost based on the unit running eight hours a day for three months. Although this is a useful way to estimate long-term costs, it differs from the EER because weaker units sometimes cost less to run than more efficient units that are also more powerful.

Convenience
Look for a wall-mounted air conditioner with multiple operation modes, including cooling and fan-only modes. If you live in a humid environment, you should buy a unit with a dehumidifying mode, which pulls excess moisture out of the air. Also, if you plan to run the air conditioner while you sleep, choose a model with a sleep mode, which gradually raises the temperature during the night to keep you comfortable and help you conserve energy.

Contributing Writer: Linda Thomson

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