If you’re searching for the best window air conditioners then you’re in the right place as we’ve compared hundreds of models to find you a selection that are efficient and offer great value for money.
These smaller cooling units are a much cheaper alternative to the best central air conditioners. They’re designed to cool down just one room at a time, making them a good choice if you don’t want to waste money cooling rooms down that you’re not using.
With so many window AC units on the market, knowing what to look for is key. Aside from deciding on your budget (you can expect to pay as little as $180 up to $1,400 for these units), a good place to start is considering each model’s British Thermal Units (BTU). This measure will be shown on each of the product descriptions below and the higher the BTU, the more power you can expect from the unit.
As well as power capabilities to cool down your space quickly, we’ve rated models with an Energy Star rating so you’re not paying stupidly high running costs, and considered which models offer extras such as WiFi capabilities, allowing you to turn the units on before you get home so the space is nice and cool.
With all this in mind, here are the best window air conditioners right now. Or alternatively, find our top tips on how to clean your air conditioner.
Best window air conditioner units
The Midea MAW08V1QWT is an energy efficient window air conditioner that has one of the most impressive Energy Star ratings we’ve seen on a model.
The Midea MAW08V1QWT has an average rating of 4.7 out of five stars on Home Depot’s website. There are many five star reviews where users praise how quiet this machine in and how easy it is to install. Reassuringly, many reviewers also add that this AC unit delivers well and is very cold. Some users report issues with the power of this unit and some find it frustrating that you have to create a login to use the app.
Its design means that it has a U shape and allows you to open and close your window while it’s in place. What’s more, the vents will be outside of your window, helping to keep noise as low as 42 decibels while it’s operating. That’s about the same volume level as a library.
If you’re looking to keep running costs as low as possible (aren’t we all these days?!), then this Midea window AC unit was awarded the Energy Star Most Efficient rating which promises the unit will provide 35% energy savings compared to other models.
Convenience is also a key aspect of this window air conditioner because this model is WiFi enabled. That means you’ll be able to control the temperature it operates at via the brand’s app. It’ll also work with voice assistants such as Alexa, or you can set the unit to turn on just before you get home so that your space is nice and cool when you return.
Simple but effective features such as sleep mode, filter light reminder, and digital controls make the Midea a good all round choice. This unit has three fan speeds and offers a BTU of 8,000 which is good but not the most powerful option on the market. It’s suitable for spaces up to 350 square feet so you’ll need to keep this in mind when deciding on whether it’s the right option for your space.
The LG Dual Inverter Window Air Conditioner is one of the best for low running costs. While there's plenty of power for larger rooms this is also at home quietly cooling smaller spaces. In terms of sound, you can expect 44 decibels in sleep mode from this LG unit and 59 decibels during the standard mode. That does make it louder than our first pick, the Midea MAW08V1QWT.
The LG Dual Inverter Window Air Conditioner has a respectable 4.5 out of five stars average rating on Amazon. Lots of reviews mention that this unit operates quietly and throws out a lot of cool air, as you’d hope. Many also mention lower running costs than their previous units. The main drawbacks for users are the weight of the unit and how challenging it can be to install because of the weight.
Thanks to LG app support there are plenty of scheduling options as well as smart assistant voice controls so you can control the unit from anywhere. The looks are great with a minimal finish and the slide-out chassis makes for simple installation.
The quiet running is thanks to a dual inverter which also means you can make energy savings of 25 per cent more than the Energy Star recommendation gets you on other models. Aside from the efficiency of this model, its other great benefit is that it’s suitable for large spaces of up 800 square feet - that’s more than double the size of the Midea unit we mentioned above but expect to pay more too!
Four different fan speeds and four cooling settings give you plenty of choice with this unit and if you’re not a fan of using apps, you can use the included remote control.
Naturally, a unit with 14,000 BTU will provide more power than the smaller units we’ve included in this guide so if you have a big space to cool, it’s essential to match the power to that. However, if the space you need to cool is smaller than 800 square feet, we’d recommend a smaller option so you can save costs.
- Read our LG Dual Inverter review
The Friedrich SH24N30A is a solid choice if you need to cool a big space and you need something pretty powerful to do so. With 24,000 BTU, this unit is the most powerful out of all the models we’ve rated, making it suitable for cooling spaces as big as 1,400 square feet. You’ll pay a pretty big price for the benefit though as this model is over $5,000!
User reviews are few and far between for the Friedrich SH24N30A, however, one user comments saying, ‘The air conditioner gives comfortable and excellent airflow’. We’ll be adding to these reviews as more real-life users add them.
This Friedrich model has been engineered with protection to prevent the coil in this unit from quickly deteriorating - a common issue with AC units - so while it may be a big expense to purchase initially, it’s set to last.
If you’re looking for a window air conditioner that can be controlled from your phone, then this model won’t deliver. It’s not smart-enabled and it’s lacking more simplistic features such as a night mode for quieter sleeping or even a remote control. Its standout feature is that it’s built to last but we were disappointed to find that this model is not Energy Star certified so it’s not the most efficient option if you’re looking to cut down on running costs.
What you’re getting with the Friedrich SH24N30A is power, however, and it’s a great option if you’ve got a big space to cool down in a hurry.
The Windmill W1W12 is an efficient unit that can cool spaces up to 250 square feet, making it an ideal choice if you don’t want to splash out on a product that is designed for huge apartments. Three fan speeds and a tilted air flow give you decent control over the intensity of this machine’s cooling power.
The Windmill W1W12 pulls in an average star rating of 4.7 out of five on Home Depot. Lots of users commend the ‘sleek’ design and quiet running noise. Others also note a simple installation process with one saying, ‘We installed it in 15 minutes!’. Despite many positive reviews, the main complaints in lower star ratings are that this unit isn’t ‘as quiet as the “other quiet” window AC units’.
We like that despite its relatively low price tag, this window air conditioner is WiFi-enabled so you can control it from anywhere. There’s an accompanying app, however, if that’s not your thing, you can use the included remote control - something we noticed not many models come with as standard.
Three fan speeds will keep your space cool and while this machine is hardly loud, it does measure 50 decibels which is slightly louder than our quieter products in this guide. There’s also not a dedicated night mode, but instead, the LED display will fade after one minute so that the lights don’t disturb your sleep.
This Windmill AC unit is just shy of the threshold to be regarded as Energy Star rated so your running costs may be higher than that of a model that has the rating. Other things to consider are maintaining your air conditioning unit and this model has an easy-to-remove filter that can be simply removed, washed, and put back into place.
The Haier Serenity ESAQ406T window air conditioner is the ideal unit if you’d like a model that runs quietly but you don't need all the extras that can push the price up.
Over at Amazon, the Haier Serenity ESAQ406T has an average rating of 4.3 out of five stars. Users commend how quiet this machine is and say that it’s affordable to run. Some users, however, find that it doesn’t cool as well as a dual inverter model and others report a rattling noise as the water condensates inside the unit.
You can expect a 24-hour timer and useful features like Night Mode and a remote control - something that might seem basic but isn’t included with all units on the market. We also like that the Haier Serenity ESAQ406T has a dehumidifier mode and an energy saving function so you can keep running costs as low as possible. What’s more, this model is Energy Star certified.
You do get super quiet running at 43 decibels, making it a quieter alternative to the Windmill W1W12 in this guide. What you won’t get with this model, however, is WiFi connectivity so you won’t be able to turn the unit on before you get home or have app support. There are three fan speeds and three cooling levels.
In terms of installation, like many units in our guide, this model can be installed without the help of a professional but it is fairly bulky so you may need some support getting it into place.
If you’re looking for a window air conditioner for under $300 and aren’t too worried about WiFi connectivity, then this Haier Serenity ESAQ406T could be the model for you. It’s efficient, has a night mode, and operates quietly. However, if you’re keen to have more control over your AC and need to cool a space larger than 250 square feet, we’d recommend a more powerful model such as the LG Dual Inverter Smart.
- Read our Haier Serenity ESAQ406T review
The LG LW8016ER window air conditioner is a great option for anyone that wants to efficiently cool a larger space without spending too much. The unit is decent enough looking, works powerfully with its 8,000 BTU but remains super affordable.
The LG LW8016ER scores an average of 4.4 out of five stars on Amazon. Many users say that despite the need for an outside support, this LG unit is ‘easy to install’ and great efficiency is also mentioned in lots of reviews. Some users find there is little difference between the fan speeds and others add that the front grill is made of ‘cheap plastic’ which is disappointing.
At 52dB in the low mode only, this air conditioner is not the quietest but you do get a 24-hour timer, remote control, and Energy Star efficiency for longer-term savings on electricity bills. The three fan speeds can be used in conjunction with the four way louvre to cool spaces as large as 300 square feet.
What this LG air conditioner is missing, however, is WiFi connectivity so you won’t be able to turn the unit on via an app but you can use the timer to set it to come on as and when you need. We like that this unit does have an auto restart mode which means if you have a power outage, the machine will resume what it was doing before as soon as the power is back on. That way, you won’t return to a boiling hot space.
It’s worth being aware of the weight of this hefty bit of kit. At 65 lbs, this model requires an exterior support which will be an added expense (or you’ll need to make something).
- Read our LG LW8016ER review
Not all of us want to spend thousands on a super fancy air conditioner unit and if that sounds like you then the Impecca IWA05-KM15 might just be what you need. It’s ideal for cooling smaller spaces around 150 square feet and at under $180, it’s not as big an expense as the other inclusions in our guide.
The Impecca IWA05-KM15 has an average star rating of 4.6 out of five stars on Home Depot’s website. There are plenty of five star reviews and many claim this model is ‘easy to install’ and one adds, ‘Gets my entire room cold in less than 10 minutes’. Lots of use praise how quietly this model operates too. Some users, however, don’t like that this AC unit only has two fan speeds and they’d like a medium speed. Others also would have liked to see a timer and a remote control.’
The Impecca IWA05-KM15 isn’t Energy Star certified but it does have a good energy rating along with two different fan speeds to adjust the power to suit your preference. We like that this Impecca model has an easy-to-remove filter that you can simply wash and put back in place, making maintenance a simple task.
At 5,000 BTU, the Impecca IWA05-KM15 doesn’t look like the most powerful window AC unit on the market, but since it’s only designed to cool spaces up to 150 square feet, that is an ample amount of the power to do the job.
In terms of the downsides, this Impecca model operates at around 52 decibels which is among the louder of the models we’ve rated in this guide. It also doesn’t have WiFi connectivity so you won’t be able to control it via an app, but given this unit’s low price, that seems a reasonable compromise.
Buying advice for the best window air conditioners
How much does a budget window air conditioner cost?
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For a budget-friendly and energy efficient window AC unit, you can expect to pay between $100 and $300. These units typically don’t have a lot of features and most won’t feature the ability to use multi-directional air streams. Always look for model that has at least a one-year warranty that covers the compressor.
Window air conditioners: Room size, cooling performance, and efficiency
When it comes to room size, the question is does your window AC unit have the extra oomph to handle your space? And by oomph, we mean power. As a rule of thumb, the larger the space, the greater cooling power and higher the BTU you’re going to need.
While a 100-square-foot room might need an AC unit with 5,000 BTU to cool off effectively, a much larger space such as a 200-square-foot room is going to need a bigger bang, most likely above 6,000 BTU.
Of course, there are other factors that come into play. If your room is a hotbox with high ceilings and sunlight, it will naturally be harder to cool off and you may want to use a BTU calculator to do the math and decide on how much power you need from a window AC unit.
Energy efficiency ratio (EER) is another important figure – and again, the higher, the better. Our lineup has an average rating of 11.7, but if you want to max out on efficiency, units with an EER above 12 will save you the most in the long run. Energy Star certified units are typically 20 to 30 percent more efficient too.
Which is better, a window air conditioner or a portable AC unit?
As long as you have a double-hung window in your room, you’ll be able to install a window air conditioner in your room. Unlike the freestanding portable AC units, window air conditioners slot into your window area, saving you space on the ground. They also come without the rather clunky long hose, which can be a hassle to vent air conditioner units outdoors.
If your main concern is your budget, window air conditioners tend to be cheaper and quieter to run as they’re slightly more efficient than a portable air conditioner unit.
However, some buildings and windows may not be compatible with a window air conditioner, so this may not be an option for you. Similarly, if you’re constantly on the move between rooms or houses, a portable air conditioner will be far easier to move around.
While the window air conditioner which would need to be carefully dismantled in the event of a move, portable air conditioners are easy to transport around the house or stash out of sight when the temperature drops down again.
Best window air conditioners: Care and maintenance tips
Keeping your window air conditioner in good working order is really as simple as cleaning it consistently. So, next time you plan to do your spring clean, remember to timetable in a slot to give your unit a good going over. It’s not tricky to do either: just run a vacuum hose over the air filter to drag out dust and debris build-up. Other cleaning methods that help include:
- Swiping away dirt and debris with a cloth wetted with water and dish detergent, before rinsing clean.
- Using a fin straightener tool to fix bent fins, or in less serious cases, inserting a credit card into the gap above the fin and sliding it down the fin to straighten it out.
- Fixing rattling window panes and uneven window sills with foam insulation strips or rubber sheeting.
- Removing other devices from the same circuit to prevent the circuit breaker from tripping.
Tips on installing a window air conditioning unit
Installing a window AC unit is a job for two people, due to the weight of the unit. 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. The average weight of window air conditioners in our lineup is about 48 pounds, which can make them difficult to install without help.
An air conditioner does not need to be the same size as a window. Window AC units 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.
Most air conditioners for windows are designed for double-hung windows, which means that you might have to get creative and so some DIY to get the AC unit to fit if you casement windows or sliding windows.
What functions do you need in a window air conditioner?
A thermostat is by far the most important function for your window air conditioner. However, it’s not quite that simple. Digital thermostats award you the most control, as you can select a number to the decimal point. Dial versions also do the job, just with less accuracy.
Many of the best window air conditioner features are all about having control over the temperature in your home. With fan speed adjustments, it’s simple to quickly increase or lower the intensity of the cool air. One or two speeds is the norm, but auto-speed functions will handle the decision-making for you instead. A timer is another adjustable feature that adds another level of control.
If you regard your naps highly, a quiet machine will also be very handy. Units with air filters will help to purify air that’s circulating around your home by passing the particles through a filter (that you just need to replace or wash at regular intervals). Tilted, adjustable blades also give you greater control over where exactly the air is being directed around your home.