Best Wall Air Conditioners of 2018

Noel Case ·
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-wall air conditioners since 2014. During each update, we spent more than 40 hours evaluating 10 air conditioners to find the best out there. 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. While it’s not the most energy efficient machine we reviewed, it is relatively affordable and has a great feature package.
View on Amazon
Best Value for Small Rooms
Koldfront WTC8001W
The Koldfront WTC8001W is more affordable than the other wall AC models we looked at, and it’s the least expensive to operate. It also has some nice convenience features like an energy saver mode.
View on Amazon
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.
View on Amazon
Product
Price
OVERALL RATING
Pricing
Convenience
Design & Warranty
Energy Efficiency Ratio
Maximum Airflow
Moisture Removal
Energy Star Qualified
AHAM Certified
UL Listed
Price
Estimated Annual Energy Cost
Auto Restart
Energy Saver Mode
Sleep Mode
Auto Mode
Dehumidify Mode
Optimal Room Size
BTU
4-Way Directional Louvers
Unit Warranty
Compressor Warranty
Weight
Height
Width
Depth
$518.99 Overstock
4.5 5 5
9.8 EER
305
3.3
$594
$110
550 square feet
12000
1 Year
5 Years
72 Pounds
14.5 Inches
24 Inches
20.5 Inches
$441.99 Sears
4.9 3.8 3.4
10.5 EER
286
3.5
$519.99
$103
550 square feet
12000
1 Year
5 Years
76 Pounds
14.5 Inches
24 Inches
20.5 Inches
$526.35 Amazon
5 3.8 4.4
10.6 EER
265
3.9
$503.99
$100
530 square feet
11500
1 Year
1 Year
82 Pounds
14.4 Inches
24 Inches
20.09 Inches
$653.48 Wal-Mart
4.3 2.5 5
10.5 EER
290
3.8
$759
$99
550 square feet
11800
1 Year
5 Years
80 Pounds
14.37 Inches
24.62 Inches
18.5 Inches
$730 Amazon Marketplace
3.3 3.8 5
10.6 EER
270
3.4
$1028.67
$102
550 square feet
12000
1 Year
5 Years
82 Pounds
14.9 Inches
24.81 Inches
19.9 Inches
$654.97 PC Richard and Son
4.8 1.3 4.5
10.7 EER
270
2.7
$715
$86
450 square feet
10200
1 Year
5 Years
80 Pounds
14.9 Inches
24.81 Inches
19.9 Inches
$399 Wal-Mart
3 3.8 4.5
9.6 EER
Not Stated
1.8
$409
$75
350 square feet
8000
2 Years
2 Years
65 Pounds
14.5 Inches
24.2 Inches
20.3 Inches
$449.99 Sears
3 3.8 3.8
10.6 EER
Not Stated
2.3
$423.40
$85
450 square feet
10000
1 Year
4 Years
69.3 Pounds
14.5 Inches
24.2 Inches
20.3 Inches
Best Overall
The Frigidaire FFTA1233Q1 is the best wall air conditioner we reviewed because it's the most powerful and it has most of the features we look for like auto restart, sleep mode and energy saver mode.
This Frigidaire unit has 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’ll 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 it’s not the highest we've seen. This wall AC unit is powerful; it just isn’t as efficient as many of the other models we looked at, though it’s still quite efficient. It has an Energy Star certification and a better-than-average energy efficiency ratio of 9.8. The estimated annual energy cost is about $110 – the highest operating cost of the models we reviewed. The compressor on this model carries a five-year warranty, the longest we saw among wall AC units.
Pros
  • Highest airflow among models we reviewed
  • Good for large rooms
  • Has sleep mode and auto restart settings
Cons
  • Relatively low energy efficiency
  • Can be expensive to run
  • No dehumidify mode
$597.00Amazon
Read the full review
Best Value for Small Rooms
The Koldfront WTC8001W is the best value of the AC units we reviewed in part because it is the least expensive, priced at around $400. In contrast, the average cost of the in-wall air conditioners we reviewed is $584. It also has some versatility.
This unit isn't very powerful, though it can comfortably cool rooms up to 350 square feet. This is larger than most master bedrooms, but 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 energy efficiency rating of 9.6, making it the least efficient model we looked at, though it’s still good when compared with the overall market. It is still high enough to garner an Energy Star certification. A two-year appliance warranty covers all the Koldfront’s parts except for the compressor, which is the cooling component. Every other wall AC unit we looked at only offers one year of coverage, so it is the best appliance warranty we saw. However, the unit’s two-year compressor warranty doesn't quite match the industry average coverage of about four years.
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Low operating costs
  • Good for small and medium-size rooms
Cons
  • Two-year compressor warranty
  • Not powerful enough for large rooms
  • Least efficient model we reviewed
$409.00Amazon
Read the full review
Most Efficient
The GE AJCQ10ACG strikes an excellent balance between power and efficiency. It is the most efficient wall air conditioner we reviewed, with an energy efficiency 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. That is a good-size room, but the most powerful in-wall ACs can cool a room of 550 square feet. The estimated annual energy costs are around $86, 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 remove a respectable 2.7 pints of moisture from the air per hour. Among this GE unit’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. The auto restart will restore all of the unit’s original settings if there is a power outage. 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
Read the full review
Best Circulation
The Fredrich Uni-Fit US12D10C has a solid package of features that make it an effective wall AC that will cool a room of up to 550 square feet.
It has not only a strong maximum airflow of 290 cubic feet but the unusual six-way directional louvers to distribute air more effectively. Most ACs have only four-way directional louvers. It also removes an impressive 3.8 pints of moisture from the air per hour. It is lacking in a few convenience features, like sleep mode, which would make it even more efficient, but overall this is a solid, effective air conditioner.
Pros
  • This AC circulates air with unique six-way directional louvers.
Cons
  • Its lack of sleep mode makes it less efficient at night.
$729.00Amazon
Read the full review
Best for Humid Climates
The LG LT1236CER is an energy efficient wall-mounted AC that does a great job of removing moisture from the air.
It pulls 3.9 pints of water from the air per hour, which is more than any of the wall ACs in our reviews. The less moisture in the air in your room, the cooler you will feel. The LG’s uncommon dehumidify mode setting is a big reason why it can extract extra moisture. This AC’s airflow is on the low side, moving at 265 cubic feet per minute, which is lower than other units we reviewed, but its stellar moisture removal capabilities make it a good choice for humid climates.
Pros
  • It removes more moisture from the air than any other AC in our lineup.
Cons
  • It has the lowest airflow among the units we reviewed.
$549.95Amazon
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 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 Evaluated

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 Choosing an In-Wall 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 10.3, with the most efficient unit having an EER rating over 10.7. Typically, appliances that are Energy Star certified are 20 to 30 percent more efficient than the minimum requirements.

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

Pricing
Cost is another important consideration. The wall ACs in our comparison range between about $400 and $800. Our best overall, the Frigidaire FFTA1233Q1, has a great feature package and is economically priced in the midrange at $600. The most affordable unit, the Koldfront WTC8001W, has some nice convenience features like sleep and auto mode and is priced at about $400. The most expensive unit is the GE AJCQ12DCG at about $800, which is an efficient, well-made unit, but its features don’t necessarily stand out enough to justify the extra expense. Our side-by-side comparison will help you find the unit with the features you need at the most reasonable price. 

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.

id:1174