It doesn’t matter if it’s an apartment, bedroom, office, garage, or classroom — sometimes you have a space that you really, really need to cool down, and that old desk fan just isn’t cutting it anymore. It’s time to upgrade to a window air conditioner…but what kind? Luckily, today’s window-based AC units are smarter and more efficient than ever, and we’ve collected the best of the best for you to choose between. Now, we didn’t just search for the best units, we also searched for units that provide the best bang for your buck. And, we picked out units in all price ranges.
Note on BTUs: BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. If your chemistry lessons are a little hazy, BTUs are used as shorthand for describing how much heat energy is being moved around. For reference, one BTU is roughly the same energy as lighting a single match. The higher the number of BTUs on an air conditioner rating, the more easily it can cool a space by moving that heat elsewhere. As a result, higher BTU units can cool larger spaces. However, moving a lot of BTUs requires a lot of electrical energy as well, so higher BTU numbers mean higher power bills. AC manufacturers skip the science lesson and just recommend square feet of a room, but this is only a guess. If you want to know how many BTUs to look for, you can find your cubic space and learn the required rating with this handy calculator.
Friedrich Chill 6000 BTU
If you have a large master bedroom, this Friedrich Chill window air conditioner can handle it — the 8,000 BTU model can cool down rooms up to 350 square feet. Light sleepers will enjoy how quietly this conditioner operates, with minimal noise so you won’t be kept awake all night by a whirring sound. The unit also oscillates left and right as it cools the space, so your entire room will get an even cool.
Trying to save on your electricity bill? You’ll be happy to hear that this model is Energy Star rated, so you won’t have to keep cool at the expense of sky-high energy costs. The unit can be installed easily in a window, or in a wall up to 7.5 inches deep, and the power cord can run to the left or right, depending on where the outlet is located in your space, giving you added flexibility.
LG LW8016ER 8,000 BTU
This powerful LG model has a 12.1 efficiency ratio according to the Energy Star guidelines, a rating that should guarantee you some energy savings if you are switching from an older model. This window unit is rated for up to 340 square feet, and includes three cooling modes and three fan speeds. It can also provide two-directional air currents and allows you to set a time or use a remote control — not exactly smart tech, but still nice when it comes to programming.
The unit requires a 115-volt outlet, a common requirement for window units, which means that any average North American wall outlet will work fine. This isn’t an issue for any of our chosen units, just make sure there’s an outlet near the window you want to use.
RCA 5,000 BTU 115V Window Air Conditioner
This extremely affordable air conditioner hits a sweet spot when it comes to price and usability. It’s rated for a 150-square-foot space, and it has 360-degree airflow control, so you can direct the cool air right where you want it. The filter is easy to clean, which makes the system easy to maintain. The package includes a window mounting kit, too.
There aren’t quite as many customization features as some of our other models, but you still get three cooling speeds and three fan speeds. It’s a solid set of features in a compact package that can work great in many “I need to get this room cooler now” situations.
Haier ESAQ406P Serenity 6,050 BTU
This is one of the more expensive AC units on our list, and not just because it can cool an area up to 250 square feet. It also includes more modes than most units — four different settings for 1) cooling, 2) using only the fan, 3) saving as much energy as possible, and 4) dehumidifying.
There is a dual motor and cross-flow design for more accurate air control, and a timer for schedules throughout the day. If noise bothers you a lot when trying to sleep, consider this model; it has been rated as one of the quietest AC units around.
LG Energy Star Window Air Conditioner With Wi-Fi 8,000 BTU
This unit can handle a decent-sized room — up to 340 square feet of space, making it ideal if you want to cool down the main area in an apartment or a large bedroom. It has a 12.1 Energy Efficiency Ratio, and Wi-Fi connectivity. You can connect it to the LG ThinQ app (available for iOs or Android), and voice-control the unit with your Alexa or Google Assistant device.
There are three fan speeds and several modes to choose from, as well as an auto-cool setting and four-way air deflection to direct the air where you want it. Other cool features like digital touch controls and automatic restart after a power failure make this air conditioner even more user-friendly. Plus, there’s a washable and reusable filter, which can save you money on filter replacements.