Those of us without central air know just how hot and sticky summer temperatures can feel. Avoid spending your days sweating it out thanks to these top-performing window air conditioners from the most reliable brands, hand-picked by our pros at the GolfHr Institute and grouped by room size, from 150 square feet to 450 square feet.
While you're shopping for the best window AC, keep these four questions top of mind:
Is a window air conditioner or a portable AC unit better? Window air conditioner units are the ideal pick for most rooms if you are able to physically install them on your windows. Unlike portable units, they won't take up space on the floor or require you to vent a long hose from the device to the outdoors. They tend to be quieter and cost less money for comparable capacity units. If you're unable to install a window unit or would prefer a portable one, check out our picks for the best portable air conditioners.
How do I find the right size unit? Most models list their cooling capacity on the box or website. This is a measurement in BTUs (British Thermal Units) that corresponds to the square footage of a room. Room units range from 4,000 to 20,000 or more, and in general, the larger the room, the more BTUs you will need. In general, you can go according to the square footage of the room you want to cool, but you should be mindful of things that may make you want to size up, such as high ceilings, location (e.g., you'll want to size up in the kitchen where it can get warmer), and how sunny the room gets. It's important to purchase the right size unit for your space, since getting too high of a capacity can mean you'll end up with excessive electricity bills on your hands. Meanwhile, a unit that is under-capacity will be inefficient. It's also important to measure the height and width of the window opening to ensure that the unit can properly be mounted inside it.
Are window AC units energy efficient? If you're all about energy savings, you can check an air conditioner's energy efficiency by looking at the EER rating (energy efficiency rating). It is derived by taking the BTU measurement and dividing that by the power consumption in watt-hours. The higher the efficiency rating, the less you’ll spend on home electricity bills. You can also opt for a device with an energy-saver switch, which will ensure that the fans don’t operate continuously. Likewise some have sleep modes that will raise the room temperature at night, which is more efficient (and means you won’t be freeze while you sleep).
What other air conditioner features should I consider? We find it helpful to have a “check filter” indicator which visually reminds you that you have to clean or change out the filter. Oscillating vents are another great attribute for helping move the unit's air flow from side to side for more efficient room cooling. Many AC units come with remotes, which are great for adjusting the temp without having to move. Some are even “smart-enabled” which mean you can operate the unit from your phone.
And now for the most important question: What are the best window air conditioners to keep you cool this summer? Overall, our top window AC unit recommendations for 2019 are:
This LG model comes with three cooling and fan speeds, including an energy-saver option that will help keep your electricity bills down. In includes a full-function remote so you can adjust the temp from bed, and since it can cover 340 square feet, it can easily be used in a large master bedroom (or small studio apartment!). For an 8000 BTU unit with sleep mode, twenty-four hour on/off timer, a remote, varying speeds and multiple modes, it's definitely a solid pick at this price.
Cooling Area: 340 square feet, 8,000 BTUs
Unit Dimensions: 19.6" x 19.4" x 12.4"
Weight: 58 pounds
This mini AC will cool down small rooms for a fraction of the price of larger units. It's a great pick for studio apartments or dorm rooms. Set it to one of two cool or fan modes and relax away. It's not very noisy, and the dial knobs are super easy to use. You can easily change the direction of airflow further left or right with the scroll knob.
Cooling Area: 150 square feet, 5,000 BTUs
Unit Dimensions: 15.25" x 16" x 12"
Weight: 40 pounds
This window mounted air conditioner is a top seller on Amazon for good reason. It's easy to install, requiring just a screwdriver with the included mounting kit. It is also a steal at only $150, when other comparable models can cost several hundred. And we love that it features intuitive controls.
Cooling Area: 150 square feet, 5,000 BTUs
Unit Dimensions: 16" x 15.25" x 12"
Weight: 41 pounds
This model boasts four modes (cool, fan, energy saver, and dehumidify), four speed settings, and a quiet setting that sounds like a whisper. You'll still be able to hear it running on quiet, but say it sounds about half as loud as a traditional unit. When we ran the unit in our tests, we did find it to be the quietest compared to similar sized units, living up to its name, Serenity Series.
Cooling Area: 250 square feet, 6,000 BTUs
Unit Dimensions: 21.2" x 9" x 12.4"
Weight: 55.6 pounds
This WiFi-enabled model features three fan settings and three modes. You can control it directly on the device, by using the remote control, or via your smartphone or your voice. It's also designed to work with Alexa, Apple Home Kit, and Google Assistant.
Cooling Area: 400 square feet, 8,000 BTUs
Unit Dimensions: 23.6" x 15.9" x 22.6"
Weight: 51 pounds
If you think most air conditioners are an eyesore, this Frigidaire offering is the one for you. More sleek than most, this modern-looking AC unit is also smart-enabled, so you can control it (change temp, turn the unit on/off, and create custom schedules) remotely. Bonus: It works with Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can also set it up to have control functionality via voice if you own devices that work with those platforms.
Cooling Area: 450 square feet, 10,000 BTUs
Unit Dimensions: 19.8" x 19" x 14.5"
Weight: 63 pounds