Best Window Air Conditioners of 2018

John Carlsen ·
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

We've reviewed in-window air conditioners since 2013. In that time, we've spent over 150 hours gathering manufacturer specifications for more than 20 models and researching what makes an excellent air conditioner. We focused on power, energy efficiency, warranties and convenience features to reach our conclusions and found that the Frigidaire FFRE0633Q1 is the best option for most rooms. It strikes a good balance between affordability, cooling power, energy efficiency and warranty coverage, which helps it outperform the competition.

Editor's Note: Our pick for Best Energy Efficiency is no longer available, so links on this page point instead to the LG LW8017ERSM, a model with similar energy-saving features. We'll update our picks later this year.
    

Best Overall

Frigidaire FFRE0633Q1

The Frigidaire FFRE0633Q1 is a lightweight, compact window air conditioner that is energy efficient, has convenient cooling settings and is powerful enough for small and medium rooms.
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Best Value for Small Rooms

Keystone KSTAW05B

The Keystone KSTAW05B is the most affordable window air conditioner we looked at and is a good option if you only need to cool a small room since it isn’t as powerful as bigger, more expensive units.
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Best Energy Efficiency

LG LW8015ER

The LG LW8015ER window air conditioner has an energy efficiency ratio of 11.3, and it draws the most moisture from the air of any model we reviewed.
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Product
Price
$240.82Amazon
$174.99Amazon
$279.99Amazon
$249.99Amazon
$155.99Amazon
$314.19Amazon
$160.03Amazon
$174.07CJ
Overall Rating
9.1
9
8.7
8.4
8.1
7.8
6.8
6.3
Efficiency
9.5
9.6
9.8
7.5
7.6
8.5
6.7
6.8
Convenience
8.7
9.3
8.7
8
10
8.7
10
1.3
Design
8.3
8.1
7.2
9.2
8.6
5.8
5.8
8.4
Help & Support
10
8.7
8.7
10
5.3
8.3
3.3
10
Room Size (square feet)
250
250
340
250
250
250
150
250
Btu
6,000
6,000
8,000
6,000
6,000
6,000
5,000
6,000
Estimated Annual Energy Cost
$46.31
$42.34
$60.48
$46.66
$46.29
$46.29
$38.53
$53.48
Maximum Window Kit Width (inches)
36
36
36
36
36
36
36
36
Minimum Window Height (inches)
14
14
13
14
14
14 1/8
13
14
Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)
11.2
12.1
11.3
11.1
11.2
11.2
11.2
9.7
Maximum Air Flow (CFM)
152
143.3
250
101
153
200
129
176
Moisture Removal (pints/hour)
1.3
Not Specified
2.2
1.3
0.7
1.8
1.3
1.3
Energy Star Qualified
-
-
-
3 Fan Speeds
-
AHAM Certified
-
-
UL Listed
Chlorine-Free Refrigerant
Not Specified
Not Specified
Remote Control
-
Programmable Timer
-
Auto Mode
-
Fan Only
Dehumidify Only
-
-
-
Sleep Mode
-
-
-
Energy Saver Mode
-
Auto Restart
-
-
-
Air Filter
4-Way Directional Louvers
-
Noise Level (dB)
54.5
51.9
54
51
53
Not Specified
55
52
Weight (pounds)
44
53.57
57
44
45
70
40
50
Height (inches)
13 2/5
13 39/100
12 3/8
14 3/4
13 2/5
14
12
13 7/16
Width (inches)
18 1/2
18 1/2
19 9/16
21 7/8
18 3/4
18 3/5
16
18 1/2
Depth (inches)
15 1/2
15 3/4
19 3/8
18 1/8
15 3/4
20 8/9
15 3/4
15 1/2
Appliance Warranty
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
Compressor Warranty
5 Years
1 Year
1 Year
5 years
1 Year
5 Years
5 Years
5 Year
Email & Telephone
-
FAQs
-
-
Live Chat
-
-
-
Best Overall
The Frigidaire FFRE0633Q1 is an excellent window AC unit for most small and medium rooms; since it’s rated at 6,000 Btu, it can cool rooms up to 250 square feet.
It has a good airflow rating of 152 CFM, which is average among window air conditioners, though more powerful units exist. We were impressed by the Frigidaire's excellent EER rating of 11.2, which means it’s more efficient than typical units on the market, though it is on the low end compared to the other models we reviewed. This unit is more compact than most window air conditioners with the same Btu ratings. It's also the second lightest model we reviewed, only weighing 44 pounds, so it’s easy to lift into a window during installation. The warranty on the compressor is five years, which is the longest available on window AC units – most only have a one-year compressor warranty. This window air conditioner comes with most of the features we looked for, including a remote control, which lets you adjust the cooling settings and fan speeds as well as set the timer and the sleep mode. Although it lacks a dedicated dehumidifier mode, this Frigidaire unit can remove up to 1.3 pints of water from the air per hour, which is average. If you use it in a bedroom while you sleep, be aware that its highest cooling setting produces around 54.5 decibels of noise, making it the second loudest model we looked at.
Pros
  • Excellent energy efficiency.
  • Lightweight and easy to install.
  • Five-year compressor warranty.
Cons
  • Second loudest model we reviewed.
  • Average airflow.
  • No dehumidifier mode.
$257.56Amazon
Read the full review
Best Value for Small Rooms
The Keystone KSTAW05B has 5,000 Btu of cooling power, which makes it ideal for small rooms and most bedrooms up to 150 square feet, though it isn't powerful enough for a typical master bedroom or larger rooms.
This is the most compact and lightest window AC we reviewed – it only weighs 40 pounds, which makes it easy to install in most windows. The unit’s smaller size and lower power consumption mean it costs less to run than the other models we reviewed. It is Energy Star certified and has an EER rating of 11.2, which makes it an energy efficient option. We were surprised to see that this Keystone AC is one of only two models that has every convenience feature we looked for, including a remote control, programmable timer and an auto mode. It even has less-common features like a dehumidifier mode and a sleep mode. The five-year compressor warranty is much better than the one-year coverage similarly priced models carry. Because this unit is more affordable than other window air conditioners we evaluated, it has some limitations. In particular, it has a low airflow, 129 CFM, which is another reason the unit is only suitable for small rooms. It's also the loudest model we reviewed, registering at 55 decibels, which can affect sleep if you use it in a bedroom and prefer a quiet environment.
Pros
  • Affordable.
  • Five-year compressor warranty.
  • Lightest model we reviewed.
Cons
  • Can't cool medium and large rooms.
  • Low maximum airflow.
  • Loudest model we reviewed.
$171.21Amazon
Read the full review
Best Energy Efficiency
For cooling a large room, LG LW8015ER is and energy-efficient choice. It cools 350 square feet down quickly, which is much more efficient than most window air conditioners that only cool about 200 square feet.
Plus, it has an 11.3 energy efficiency ratio, which is 15 percent higher than the required standard for air conditioners and 5 percent higher than what is required to be ENERGY STAR compliant. It does come at a cost, though. The LG LW8015ER is more expensive than other units we reviewed. It is also heavy, nearly 60 pounds. The energy saver setting of this air conditioner keeps tabs on the temperature of your room and shuts off in three-minute intervals, so you’re not cooling an already cooled room. It also uses the internal fan to circulate the cool air from the compressor, so this important part of the unit isn’t overworked (which can make it burn out more quickly. And while the LG LW8015ER doesn’t have an automatic shut off, it does have a timer so you can control how long it runs. The LG LW8015ER is also a good choice for humid climate because it can efficiently pull moisture out of the air. It pulls 2.2 pints of moisture per hour, significantly more than any other model we researched. And switching to dehumidify mode lets you draw out the moisture without changing the temperature of the air.
Pros
  • Energy efficiency ratio of 11.3
  • Removes 2.2 pints of moisture per hour
  • Cools up to 350 square feet
Cons
  • No sleep mode
  • Weighs 57 pounds
  • More expensive than most models
$279.99Amazon
Read the full review

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 window 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

During our evaluations, we relied on manufacturer specifications as we considered each unit’s cooling ability and energy efficiency. We weighted each air conditioner's ability to move air through a room, operate in different modes and cool effectively more heavily than other features.

We also considered each unit's energy efficiency rating and calculated the estimated annual cost to operate it. We used an industry-standard formula to estimate the annual energy cost based on someone using the unit eight hours a day for three months out of the year. Your actual cost depends on how often you use the air conditioner and the cost of electricity in your area – the national average is 12 cents per kilowatt – so your actual energy cost may vary from our estimate.

Ease of use is also important, so we looked for features that contribute to it such as modes of operation. For example, nearly every unit we reviewed includes a remote control and a programmable timer, which let you control the air conditioner from across the room and set it to turn on or off at specific times.

Although they may not be the most maneuverable AC units available, in-window air conditioners shouldn't be too heavy to lift into the windowsill, and they should be easy to install. Also, consider how much noise the AC makes as it runs – on average, window air conditioners make about 54 decibels of noise, which is about as loud as a conversation between two people. Look for a model with a sound output around this average, if not lower, if you plan on using it while you sleep.

Things to Consider When Choosing an In-Window Air Conditioner

Room Size & Cooling Performance
Air conditioners use British thermal units (Btu) to indicate the size of the room they can cool. Using a calculation from the Energy Star organization, an air conditioner rated at 5,000 Btu can cool rooms up to 150 square feet, whereas a unit with 7,000 Btu can cool rooms up to 300 square feet.

The next thing to consider is the model's maximum airflow, measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). A higher CFM means better airflow in a room, which helps improve cooling performance.

Efficiency Ratings & Certification

Every air conditioner has an energy efficiency ratio (EER), and the higher the EER, the more efficient the air conditioner is. The average EER of the window air conditioners we compared is 11.24, though the most efficient units have EER ratings over 12. Typically, appliances that are Energy Star certified are 20 to 30 percent more efficient than minimum requirements.

UL Listed products have been tested by Underwriters Laboratories, which is a safety and consulting company. AHAM-certified units have passed performance evaluations by Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

Installation

Setting up a window AC unit should take a matter of minutes and shouldn't be a headache or a serious workout, so look for one that is lightweight and easy to install. We found that the average weight of window air conditioners is about 60 pounds, which can make them difficult to install without help.

These AC units also include a window kit that seals open spaces the unit itself does not cover. The kits tend to be the weak point in these systems, as improper installation allows cool air to escape the room and hot air to enter the house. Make sure you buy a unit with a kit that fits your window with a proper seal.

Operation Modes
Regardless of which air conditioner you purchase, you want one with customizable modes you can match to your preferences. Choose a unit with cooling modes, fan-only modes and adjustable fan speeds. If you live in a humid environment, look for one with a dehumidifying mode that pulls excess moisture out of the air. If you plan to use the air conditioner while you sleep, consider a model with a sleep mode, which gradually raises the temperature during the night, helping save energy while keeping you comfortable.

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