You may live in a small home or apartment without central HVAC. Or, you could live in a large space with inadequate central HVAC. In either scenario, a window air conditioner might be a surprisingly effective and affordable choice.
Even though window ACs have been around for decades, time has brought many improvements to this niche within the world of small cooling systems. Many systems have manual and digital controls, dehumidifiers and fans built in, remotes, and sleek designs. Since window air conditioners are always venting with outdoor air, they are unaffected by the internal heating issue that plagues most portable air conditioners. As such, a window air conditioner with a comparable BTU rating to a portable air conditioner might be half the price with easier installation. Less electricity usage during cycles means lower energy costs over long periods of time.
The list below contains two window air conditioners for each of the four price points chosen. These eight machines reflect the wide variety of features and specifications that you can expect from a window AC, all varying based on how much you choose to spend.
- 5,000 BTU
- 150 sq.ft
The LG LW5016 is incredibly affordable at a $150 price point, managing 5,000 BTUs worth of cooling power in spaces as large as 150 square feet. It has manual controls with two cooling modes and two fan speeds. The vents can be moved in two different directions to accommodate your room setup.
While dehumidifying, the machine pulls up to 1.3 pints of water from your air per hour, conveniently draining out the back of the machine onto the ground outside. The device doesn’t come with a host of bells and whistles, giving you a functional machine at a small price.
- 5,000 BTU
- 150 sq. ft
The Frigidaire FFRA051ZA1 is a 17 inch window air conditioner with a cooling capacity of 5,000 BTUs. Although the specifications make it seem equal to the LG, this Frigidaire has a few tricks up its sleeves.
First, it comes with a quick cool mode to help drop the temperature faster in rooms full of hot or warm air. It also contains an antibacterial and antimicrobial Effortless™ Clean Filter that constantly reduces bacterial and fungal growth in the machine as it runs. This leads to cleaner indoor air with fewer sources of allergy symptoms and physical discomfort.
The air conditioner also contains an automatic restart feature to kick the machine back on if there is a power outage while you’re away or asleep. The machine automatically turns back on when power is restored.
- 6,000 BTU
- 250 sq. ft
The Frigidaire FFRE063WAE is a powerful and energy efficient machine that fits most budgets. It has a 12.1 energy star efficiency rating and cools spaces up to 250 square feet with 6,000 BTUs of cooling power.
It has a quiet operation mode that kicks the noise level down to 51 dBA, which is considerably quiet for a window air conditioner. The machine features manual digital controls with a full-function remote included. This allows you to control fan speed and cooling power from across the room.
It features a washable filter and a six-direction adjustable vent, giving you ample freedom with controlling where the air goes in your room. While dehumidifying your air, the machine pulls 1.3 pints of water out every hour.
- 8,000 BTU
- 350 sq. ft
The MIDEA MAW08R1BWT window air conditioner measures in at 8,000 BTUs. Working in spaces up to 350 square feet, this machine features three discrete modes. You can use it as just an air conditioner, as an electric fan, or as a dehumidifier.
It comes with a clear and easy-to-read LED display on the front panel. From here, as well as on the remote, you can also adjust the timer, energy saver mode, and sleep mode.
Installation is easy and comes without needing many modifications to your existing window frame. All of the mounting accessories to get a tight and insulated seal are included with the air conditioner. The only additional tool needed for set up is a screwdriver.
450 sq. ft
The Keystone KSTAW10B has a high efficiency rating of 11.3 EER while packing 10,000 BTUs worth of cooling force. It cools rooms up to 450 square feet while pulling roughly 2.3 liters of water from your indoor air every single hour.
Much like the others, this device features a digital LED display with full manual controls of cooling, fan, and dehumidifier modes. It also comes with a washable filter and a remote control.
- 12,000 BTU
- 550 sq. ft
This TOSOT window air conditioner is a 12,000 BTU machine that handles spaces as large as 550 square feet. Like the last few on the list, the TOSOT is a 3-in-1 machine with additional fan-only and dehumidifier modes.
What sets the TOSOT apart is its smart temperature control that adjusts its cooling power based on where the remote is located. This gives the user a degree of flexibility over the target temperature for the machine’s thermostat, which normally would read and adjust the temperature based on the degree of heat surrounding the machine itself.
- 15,000 BTU
- 700 sq. ft
The Amana AMAP151BW is a powerful air conditioner, pumping out 15,000 BTUs at just under $500. This makes it a contender with similarly priced portable air conditioners, especially when factoring in the 700 square feet cooling range.
It pulls a considerable amount of moisture from your air as well, dehumidifying the air by 3.52 liters per hour. The included filter is washable and the device has a programmable timer.
- 18,000 BTU
- 1020 sq. ft
Topping the list at a $600 price point, the Frigidaire FFRE183WAE is a cooling powerhouse. With an 11.8 EER rating and 18,000 BTUs of cooling power, this air conditioner will cool homes as large as 1020 square feet. Compared to portable air conditioners of the same price, the efficiency and power of this Frigidaire are hard to compete with.
Standard features include a remote control, 3-in-1 modes, automatic restart after electrical outages, and a built in timer and sleep mode.
There are countless options to fit every budget in the world of window air conditioners. Some just cool your air while others can be used separately as fans or as dehumidifiers with the cooling components turned off. Many of the machines offered come with full function remote controls and power outage auto-restart features.
Window air conditioners are notoriously tricky when it comes to installation. Rarely will you find two random people with windows that have exact matching dimensions. This means that the difficulty of installing a window air conditioner will depend entirely on the window you choose and how well the machine fits. Even though mounting hardware is always included with purchase, it’s wise to consult with a professional heating and cooling technician ahead of and during installation to ensure the machine is safely mounted and is not in danger of coming loose or starting a power short in a poorly grounded electrical outlet.