Are you looking for an energy-efficient air conditioner but don’t want to lose access to a window?
Or maybe you need air conditioning in a room that doesn’t even have windows?
Either way, you’ve landed on the right page.
In this free guide, we’ll show you how to find the best through the wall air conditioner so you can enjoy icy cold AC on a permanent basis.
If a space-saving cooling system is your top concern, the information below on the best through the wall AC unit is what you need.
Use these links below to jump to a specific section of the page:
In a hurry? Here’s a glimpse of the two best products you can get.
If you’ve got a bit more time you can find the detailed reviews and buying guide below.
What is a Through the Wall Air Conditioner?
If you already know what a through the wall air conditioner is, and how it works, you can skip this section.
If not, read on to discover what these AC units do and the advantages they can offer.
A through the wall air conditioner is also known as a “wall mounted AC unit” or “wall air conditioner” because it’s installed inside the wall of a house. The front of the unit faces inside the home, while the back is exposed to the outside.
Wall air conditioners work just like window-mounted air conditioners, except for the fact that they’re installed inside a wall, and not in a window.
A through the wall AC unit is used to isolate cooling to one room as opposed to a central air conditioner that pumps cold air throughout an entire house. That makes wall mounted air conditioners very efficient and inexpensive to operate.
Advantages of Through the Wall Air Conditioners
Before we get into our reviews of the top through the wall air conditioners, we wanted to point out some of the benefits you’ll enjoy by investing in one of these units.
A few of these advantages below may not have even crossed your mind:
- Year-round comfort — With a through the wall AC unit, you can enjoy cool air any time of year. Even in the colder months when hot days pop up, you won’t have to worry about suffering through the heat. If you had a window-mounted air conditioner, it would already be stored away.
- Can double as a heater — Some through the wall air conditioners offer both cooling and heating functions. Therefore, this single device can cool you down in the summer and warm you up in the winter. That’s much cheaper than buying two separate appliances for indoor comfort.
- No drafts — These units slide into a sleeve that’s inside your wall, giving them a tight fit. This design prevents unwanted drafts from creeping in.
- Less obtrusive — With one of these units, you won’t have to sacrifice a window in your house. That means you can still enjoy the views and open your window to get fresh air without any problems.
- Safer — Many people don’t know this but a window-mounted air conditioner can easily be dislodged and pushed inside the house. This can make it easier for a burglar to break in. Through the wall air conditioners are safer to have because they’re secured tight. And even if the unit was pushed through, it would still be hard for the average size person to fit through the sleeve hole.
- Energy efficient — Through the wall AC units are much more efficient than central air conditioners because you can cool a specific room independently from the rest of the home. They’re also more efficient than window-mounted units because they have a tighter seal around the unit which prevents cold air from escaping.
- Cheap to run — The average through the wall air conditioner costs less than $30 per month to run 8 hours per day.
How to Choose the Right Size AC Unit
Buying the best through the wall air conditioner won’t do you much good if it’s not sized correctly for the room you want to cool.
In fact, this is one of the biggest mistakes people make when buying these devices.
What you want to avoid is buying an underpowered or overpowered unit.
- An overpowered unit wastes money on the initial cost since you don’t need all of that power. Also, it will cycle on and off too much, which will increase your electric bill.
- An underpowered unit may have a cheaper price tag, but it will cost you more to operate each month. Underpowered AC units run more often, which increases your monthly energy bills.
The most cost-effective solution is to get the best through the wall AC unit that has the correct cooling capacity for the size of the room you plan to use it in.
Here’s how to get a perfectly sized air conditioner:
Step 1: Measure the Square Footage of the Room
- Using a tape measure, measure the length and width of the room—round each number up or down to the nearest whole foot.
- Multiply those two numbers together to get the total square footage (sq. ft.)
- A room that’s 16 ft. 6 in. in length by 19 ft. 2 in. wide would round out to be 17 ft. by 19 ft.
- Multiplying those two numbers together gives us: 13 x 11 = 323 sq. ft.
Step 2: Match the Square Footage to the AC Unit’s BTU Number
After you have the square footage for a room, you can quickly figure out what the correct cooling capacity is for a through the wall air conditioner.
All you do is match the square footage with the air conditioner’s BTU (British Thermal Unit) measurement—the international standard for energy.
- Our example above resulted in a 323 sq. ft. room.
- 323 sq. ft. requires a through the wall air conditioner with a 8,000 BTU cooling capacity.
To take all of the guesswork out of finding the right size AC unit, we’ve included a general cooling capacity chart below for you to match up your room size to the correct BTU number.
BTU Reference Chart for Through the Wall Air Conditioners
|Room Area To Be Cooled (square feet)||Capacity Needed (BTUs per hour)|
|300 up to 350 sq. ft.||8,000 BTU|
|350 up to 400 sq. ft.||9,000 BTU|
|400 up to 450 sq. ft.||10,000 BTU|
|450 up to 550 sq. ft.||12,000 BTU|
|550 up to 700 sq. ft.||14,000 BTU|
|700 up to 1,000 sq. ft.||18,000 BTU|
Note: If you’re trying to cool down two connected rooms, like a living room that flows into a kitchen, you’ll want to measure both rooms and combine their square footage together. That way, you can get a through the wall air conditioner that has enough cooling capacity for the entire space.
- A 300 sq. ft. living room + 200 sq. ft. kitchen = 500 total sq. ft.
- 500 sq. ft. requires an AC unit with 12,000 BTUs.
A final thing you should know before making a purchase is that through the wall air conditioners come in two types: 115 volts and 230 volts.
With 115V, you can plug the unit into a standard wall outlet. With 230V, you’ll need a special outlet to power the device; the plug won’t fit in a standard outlet. If you don’t have a 230V outlet, an electrician can add one to your house in about an hour.
The 8 Best Through the Wall Air Conditioners
Now that you know how to get the right size air conditioner, you can go find the right device for your needs.
To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of the best through the wall AC units for each size room. You’ll find both cooling only air conditioners and cooling/heating combination units.
The guide below will save you countless hours of research and comparison shopping because we’ve already done that for you. No matter which air conditioner you choose below, you can feel confident that you’re getting a high-quality device at an affordable price.
Cooling Only (for Small Rooms)
If you’re looking the best through the wall air conditioner for the most affordable price, this is it.
The digital controls and thermostat allow you to dial in the temperature between 62° F – 86° F. Plus, it has the added bonus of a remote control.
With 8,000 BTUs, it can handle a space up to 350 sq. ft., which makes it perfect for smaller rooms in your house, like a bedroom, office, or sunroom.
With a special dehumidifying function, it can reduce the humidity indoors, making the air around you less sticky and uncomfortable. A sleep mode and 24-hour timer are also included.
But, the best part is that it uses 115 volts, so it can be plugged into any standard electrical outlet.
Cooling and Heating (for Small Rooms)
If you’re looking for a through the wall air conditioner for a small room that also gives you supplemental heat, this is your best option.
This AC unit has all of the same features as our #1 review but also doubles as a heater.
However, the heating function doesn’t span 350 sq. ft. like the cooling capacity—it only provides enough output for 100 sq. ft. to warm you up, but not make you sweat.
Regardless, this is an exceptional air conditioner that can serve you well in a small room.
Cooling Only (for Medium Size Rooms)
We consider this to be the best through the wall AC for several reasons.
First, it has 9,800 BTUs and covers up to 450 sq. ft., which makes it perfect for many home applications.
Second, it has digital controls and a remote for fine-tuned comfort. Temperature can be set between 60° F – 86° F.
Third, it has three comfort modes: Cool (for air conditioning), Fan Only (for air circulation), and Dry (for dehumidification).
Additionally, LG’s patented gold fin anti-corrosion coating also provides a protective shielding against rust, water, salt, and acid on the condenser coils so the unit lasts longer.
Finally, it uses 115 volts, so it can easily work in any room of your house.
Cooling and Heating (for Medium Size Rooms)
If you need a through the wall air conditioner that can heat up a room in addition to cooling it, this model is a great choice.
However, it does require a special 230-volt outlet to operate the unit since the dual function requires more electrical power. But, that’s a relatively small hurdle to get over for the luxury of enjoying air conditioning and heat all year round.
This unit uses 10,000 BTUs and covers up to 450 sq. ft.
It also includes a special energy saver mode, convenient sleep mode, and auto cooling function.
An added bonus to all of this is an antibacterial air filter, which captures airborne pollutants and prevents the spread of microbes.
Cooling Only (for Large Rooms)
Koldfront is one of the top through the wall air conditioner brands and what’s nice about this model is that it comes in two versions: 115 volts and 230 volts.
For a standard electrical outlet, you would want to choose the 115V version.
For a dedicated high voltage outlet, you would want to choose the 230V version.
The cooling capacity of this air conditioner is 12,000 BTUs and handles up to 550 sq. ft. That’s a great size for any large room in your home.
Additional benefits include a dehumidifier mode for reducing humidity, sleep mode for quiet operation, 24-hour timer, digital controls, and a remote.
Temperature ranges between 62° F – 86° F so you can find your perfect cooling degree.
Cooling and Heating (for Large Rooms)
This is the upgraded model to our #5 review which also includes heat.
However, this through the wall AC unit only comes in a 230-volt model, so you’ll need a special outlet to power it.
The cooling capacity is the same as our #5 review at 12,000 BTUs and covers up to 550 sq. ft., but, the heating function is only 10,600 BTUs which drops the supplemental heat coverage down to about 450 sq. ft.
If you need a single system for both cooling and heating in a large size room, this is going to be your best choice. The price is also much more affordable than other brands (about $100 cheaper).
Cooling (for Very Large Spaces)
If you need a through the wall air conditioner that can handle a very large space, up to 1,000 sq. ft., then look no further than this 19,000 BTU unit.
This model is the best in its class, and even though it has a lot of power, it’s built to be ultra quiet.
One of the nicest features is the automatic air sweeping louvers (vents) that oscillate cold air from left and right during cooling. This means you won’t get isolated cooling spots directly in front of the unit.
A remote and 24-hour timer are also included for complete control, as well as an antibacterial air filter for reducing the spread of airborne pollutants like mold and bacteria.
A final standout feature is that this unit can also be installed in a window—something that’s rare with through the wall AC units.
Cooling and Heating (for Very Large Spaces)
Do you like the looks of our #7 review but need both heating and cooling for an oversized space?
If so, this air conditioner and heater combo has you covered.
The 18,000 BTU air conditioning function can cool a room up to 1,000 sq. ft. while the 12,000 BTU heater cuts the coverage in half to about 550 sq. ft. If you use this as a supplemental heater, you shouldn’t have any problem with the level of warmth.
Everything else about this through the wall air conditioner is identical to our #7 review. So, you know you’re getting a high-quality product with some useful features.
Through the Wall Air Conditioner vs Window-Mounted Air Conditioner
People often wonder what the differences are between through the wall air conditioners and window-mounted air conditioners.
These cooling units look identical, so they should offer the same things, right?
That’s partly true, but here are the key differences:
|Through the Wall Air Conditioners||Window-Mounted Air Conditioners|
|Long-term solution||Short term solution|
|Unlimited options for placement||Requires a window|
|Involved installation||Simple installation|
|Tight seal around unit; no drafts||Loose seal around unit; expect drafts|
|Available in 8,000 to 18,000 BTUs||Available in 5,000 t0 36,000 BTUs|
|Covers 300 to 1,000 sq. ft.||Covers 100 to 2,500 sq. ft.|
Available Features in Through the Wall Air Conditioners
A very popular feature people look for in a through the wall AC unit. Heat mode gives you supplemental heat in addition to cooling, making the device a better year-round solution.
Dehumidify Mode (or Dry Mode)
Ideal for humid climates. Switches the air conditioner from lowering the temperature to lowering the humidity inside a room. The fan runs at a low speed and the compressor only turns on for short bursts of time.
Turns the air conditioner into a fan to circulate air without cooling it down. Consumers less power because the compressor is turned off.
A mode that uses less energy, reduces noise, and allows the inside temperature to rise a bit during the cooler nights.
Allows you to change the unit’s settings through buttons and gives you the ability to set a specific temperature.
Allows you to control the air conditioner from a distance without having to physically touch the appliance.
Adjustable Louvers (Vents)
Lets you direct the airflow up and down or side to side so it reaches the desired location in a room. Some models have automatic-swing louvers that continually move the cold air around the room.
Gives you the ability to program your air conditioner to turn on or off after a set number of hours. Good for when you’re not home to manually adjust the unit. Most through the wall air conditioners offer up to 24-hours of advanced control.
Antibacterial Air Filter
All through the wall AC units include an air filter to trap particles from damaging the internal components. However, an antibacterial air filter goes one step further by inhibiting the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, mold spores, and other airborne contaminants.
Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)
One of the top benefits of through the wall air conditioners is their energy efficiency, making them very cost-effective for home cooling.
However, if you want to maximize your cost-savings when shopping for the best through the wall AC unit, you can compare the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) between two products to see which one is cheaper to run over the long term.
The EER is determined by dividing the AC unit’s watts (kW) by the cooling capacity (BTU).
The higher the EER, the greater the energy efficiency.
Fortunately, most through the wall air conditioners provide the EER number on the Energy Guide Label, which is a snapshot of energy-related information. So, you don’t have to do the calculation.
How to Install a Through the Wall AC Unit
Installing a through the wall air conditioner does take a bit of work, but if you’re handy with tools and enjoy DIY projects, then you shouldn’t have any trouble with the installation.
If cutting a hole in a wall that leads to the exterior is scary for you, we recommend that you hire a professional to perform this task for you.
Regardless if you install the unit yourself or hire it out, here’s the process to for getting the job done:
- Choose a wall space. Underneath a window is a good spot since it usually doesn’t have plumbing, electrical, or any other household wires or ducts. But, any wall space should do as long as you look out for those things.
- Mark an outline on the wall. Your through the wall AC unit should come with a wall installation template. Hang this guide on the wall to mark the outline for the installation sleeve.
- Cut the opening in the drywall. If you run into wall studs, remove them, but replace with supporting 2×4 studs that frame the perimeter of the opening.
- Drill guide holes in the exterior wall. Depending on the material, siding or brick, this process may be more involved. The end result is cutting an opening that mirrors the interior opening.
- Put the sleeve in. Attach the sleeve inside the wall opening. Detailed instructions will come with the purchase of your AC unit.
- Apply surrounding insulation. This keeps draft out.
- Finish the frame around the AC unit. Patch the drywall and repaint the surrounding area so the job looks seamless.
Enjoy Your Through the Wall Air Conditioner
We hope you found this guide useful and now feel better equipped to find the best through the wall air conditioner for your home.
By using an air conditioner such as this, you can enjoy a much more comfortable living space without spending a lot of money each month to cool it.
The products reviewed above truly are the best of the best when it comes to through the wall AC units. So, give the one that meets the square footage requirements a try.