Are you looking to get relief from the heat but don’t want to spend a ton of money on air conditioning bills?
If so, you’ve landed on the right page.
Below, you’ll discover everything you need to know about getting the best window air conditioner for your home so you can stay cool—and save money—all summer long.
In this free guide, we’ll show you the most important things to look for when making a purchase as well as what the best window AC unit is for every size room.
The truth is that there are many options out there to choose from and if you don’t know how to spot the subtle differences between each unit, you could end up wasting a lot of money buying a significantly under- or overpowered device.
So, keep reading to find out what the top rated window air conditioner is for your home.
Use these links below to jump to a specific section of the page:
- How to Choose The Right Size Air Conditioner
- List of the Best Window AC Units (Product Reviews and Ratings)
- What’s More Efficient: Window Air Conditioners or Central Air Conditioning?
- Additional Features to Look For in an AC Unit
The Best Window Air Conditioners
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.
Window AC Unit Buying Guide
How to Choose the Right Size Window Air Conditioner
Some people think they can just buy the best rated window air conditioner on the market and they’ll be happy.
But that’s often not the case.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when buying a window AC unit is getting one that’s not properly sized for the room you want to cool.
It’s fairly common for people to unexpectedly buy an air conditioner that’s under- or overpowered for the intended use.
- An underpowered unit may seem like a better deal because of its lower sticker price, but it actually costs you a lot more to operate each month. Not adequately cooling a larger room means that the AC unit will run more often which increases your monthly energy costs.
- An overpowered device will cost you more to purchase up front than you really need to spend. It will also cycle on and off too much, which also wastes energy, increases electric bills and strains the unit.
The most cost-effective and efficient thing you can do is get the best window AC unit that’s designed for the size of the space you plan to use it in.
And here’s how to do that:
First, Measure the Square Footage of the Room
Take a tape measure and measure the length and width of the room you want to put a window air conditioner in. For odd lengths, round up or down to the nearest whole foot number.
Then, multiply these two numbers together to get the square footage of the room.
Here’s an example:
For a room that is 12 ft. 6 in. long by 11 ft. 2 in. wide, we would round these two lengths to 13 ft. by 11 ft., and then multiply them together.
13 x 11 = 143 sq. ft.
Next, Find the Correct Cooling Capacity for the AC Unit
Once you have the square footage for a room, you can easily figure out what the proper cooling capacity is for a window air conditioner.
All you need to do is match the square footage up with a BTU (British Thermal Unit) measurement which is the international standard for energy.
Here’s how it works:
If you take our previous example of a 143 sq. ft. room, the correct air conditioner would be one with a 5,000 BTU rating. (Our #1 recommendation lower on this page is the best AC unit in this class.)
To make things easy for you, we’ve included a general cooling capacity chart below from Energy Star; the top resource for energy efficiency product information.
|Room Area To Be Cooled (square feet)||Capacity Needed (BTUs per hour)|
|100 up to 150 sq. ft.||5,000 BTU|
|150 up to 250 sq. ft.||6,000 BTU|
|250 up to 300 sq. ft.||7,000 BTU|
|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|
Note: If a wall divides two adjacent rooms then they’re thermally separated. Buying a more powerful machine and expecting it to efficiently cool side-by-side rooms will not work. When cooling multiple rooms like this, you’ll want a separate unit for each room.
For example, a 14,000 BTU window air conditioner can cover 700 sq. ft., but it won’t work for a 500 sq. ft. living room and a 200 sq. ft. bedroom that are next to each other; even though these two rooms combined equal 700 sq. ft.
You would want to buy a 12,000 BTU air conditioner for the living room and a 6,000 BTU unit for the bedroom in order to maximize cooling (and energy) efficiency and have the lowest monthly electricity costs.
The 8 Best Window AC Units You Can Buy Today
So, what is the perfect window air conditioner for your own house or apartment?
You’ll find out below.
Here are the top window air conditioners for each size room: small, medium, large, and even extra large spaces.
Just choose the one that’s right for you.
Best Window Air Conditioners for Small Rooms
If you’re looking to get the most affordable and efficient window AC unit on the market, then this is it.
Not only has it received more than 2,600 positive reviews, but it’s one of the highest quality devices in its class.
With 5,000 BTUs, it can handle a space up to 150 sq. ft. and is perfect for many home applications.
The rotary dials, two cooling speeds, and 2-way air direction control are standard features at this level. (If you want digital controls and a remote, check out our next recommendation.)
The most amazing feature, however, is the washable antibacterial filter. This filter cleans the air by removing harmful bacteria and odor particles while you enjoy cooling comfort.
If you want a window air conditioner that includes a full-function remote and digital touch controls, this is a better option for you.
It’s one of the most top rated window AC units for small rooms and covers the same amount of space as our first recommendation—150 sq. ft.
You also get the luxury of a washable antibacterial filter to help purify the air while also cooling it.
If you want a window AC unit that has the most features at this price point and enough power for a small room, this is your best bet.
Best Window Air Conditioners for Medium Size Rooms
If you want to cool down a space like a living room or large bedroom, then this is the product that you want to get.
It’s rated to handle a space up to 350 sq. ft. and has the most versatile features out of any other 8,000 BTU product on the market.
With this device, you get precise control over the temperature degree setting as well as three fan speeds, 8-way air direction control, and a handy timer function. It even comes with a remote so you can make adjustments from anywhere in the room.
Similar to our first two recommendations, this unit also has powerful air cleaning capabilities. However, instead of using a filter to remove impurities from the air, like pollen, dust, and bacteria, it has the upgraded feature of using an air ionizer.
The ionizer makes it a great investment for anyone who suffers from allergies and wants to breathe cleaner, fresher air while also enjoying a cooler room.
Perhaps you want a window AC unit that you can control with a smartphone or other mobile device.
If so, this top rated window air conditioner is the one you want.
This unit includes a Wi-Fi app to cool your room from anywhere, at any time. (A standard remote is also included if you feel the need to use it.)
You get 350 sq. ft. of cooling coverage and 4-way air direction control.
A mesh antibacterial air filter is also included for air purification while cooling.
And finally, since this is a smart room air conditioner, you can control it with your voice by speaking to it through Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant—making the top rated window AC unit in its class.
Best Window Air Conditioners for Large Rooms
Out of all of the products on the market that are made for large sized rooms, this is the best rated window air conditioner without Wi-Fi control.
It has everything you would ever need in an air conditioner, including an LCD screen with precise temperature control buttons, three cooling speeds, an automatic timer, remote control, and 8-way air direction control.
Additionally, it has both an air ionizer and washable filter to strip the air of as many harmful particles as possible.
It’s a dream come true for asthma and allergy sufferers who require the freshest, coolest air they can get up to 550 sq. ft.
You won’t find anything else that can beat this window AC unit in this price class.
Now, if you want a smart room air conditioner for large rooms, you’ll want to invest in this window AC unit right here.
It offers all of the same advantages as the previous recommendation but gives you the added benefit of controlling your air conditioning with a Wi-Fi app.
It too includes an air ionizer and washable filter to clean the air while also chilling it, and can handle big rooms up to 550 sq. ft.
If you want the best of the best in window air conditioners, this is your top choice.
Best Window Air Conditioners for Even Larger Spaces
If you need a window AC unit for a very large space, you’re going to want to go with either this product here or our next recommendation.
This model is good for areas up to 850 sq. ft.
It also includes all of the standard features for a window air conditioner, including an LCD screen, temperature control buttons, three cooling speeds, a timer, remote control, and 4-way air direction control.
Finally, it has a washable antibacterial filter to reduce odors, bacteria, and other airborne pollutants while also delivering cold air.
Our final recommendation for the top window air conditioner handles the larges amount of space up to 1,050 sq. ft.
It’s a true beast of a machine and gives you everything you need to cool an extremely large space. It also includes a supplemental heat function if you want to warm up an area too.
You get all of the same functions as our previous recommendation except this window AC unit allows 8-way air direction control.
It would be nice if this air conditioner included Wi-Fi controls, but unfortunately, no window air conditioner of this size has that capability yet. However, a remote is included for easier control.
Why is Every Top Rated Window Air Conditioner on This List a Frigidaire?
If you made it this far in this post, you may be wondering why all of the top recommended products are Frigidaire models and not a mix of something else.
Are we biased? Of course not.
The truth is that there are many other manufacturers of window AC units, including Emerson, Friedrich, GE, LG, Kenmore, SPT, Whirlpool, etc.
But, when it comes down to the customer reviews, price, value, and available features, Frigidaire is the clear winner on every front.
We’d love to recommend other manufacturers for having the best window air conditioner; however, at this time we can’t.
Other models may have the same exact features as a Frigidaire but come with a higher price tag. Or the price may be the same, but they lack something that Frigidaire includes, like the air ionizer feature.
You won’t go wrong by getting any of these Frigidaire models we recommend above. They truly do make the best window AC unit for every size room.
Feel free to look at the reviews yourself and choose the one that’s best for your needs.
What’s More Efficient: Window Air Conditioners or Central Air Conditioning?
Will a window air conditioner actually reduce your monthly energy bills or is central air conditioning better for the long haul?
This is probably the most commonly asked question by homeowners (and renters) when they’re considering the purchase of a window AC unit.
The short answer is yes, window air conditioners do come out on top.
Window AC Units Use Less Energy
If you were to look at the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) for the top-selling whole-house air conditioners, you’d probably find an EER rating between 14-16 which is really great.
In contrast, the top rated window air conditioners have an EER range of 11-12.
While a lower EER rating technically means that an AC unit is less energy efficient, you can’t look at this number in isolation when comparing these two types of cooling systems.
In fact, even though window air conditioner units have lower EER ratings, they actually cost less to operate and use less energy.
On a per cooling degree and per square footage basis it’s a factor of 1.75.
How can this be?
There are several reasons:
- People who use window AC units often cool down just one or two rooms in a house, while those with central AC must cool down all rooms at once (even the ones that are unoccupied).
- Many central AC units have ducts in unconditioned attics which can result in a loss of about 20% of the cooling output.
- Central AC often gets left running by mistake because it’s out of sight and out of mind. Window AC units are always visible; therefore, we’re much more conscious to turn them off when they’re not in use.
Actual Cost Savings of Window Air Conditioners
So, how does this all stack up in regards to monthly savings on your energy bills?
A central air conditioner costs between $100-200 per month depending on the amount of use.
You can expect to pay about $20-30 per month when using any one of the best rated window AC units recommended above at a rate of eight hours per day.
As you can see, window air conditioners offer substantial cost savings for homeowners and renters alike.
Additional Features to Look for in the Best Window AC Units
When shopping for the best window air conditioner for your house or apartment, you’ll find a variety of features included with each particular device.
Some of these options will matter a great deal to you, while others won’t.
Obviously, the more features a product has, the more expensive it will cost. However, just keep in mind that as long as the BTU capacity is sized correctly for the room you want to use it in, then you’ll achieve maximum efficiency no matter what other perks it may have.
With that being said, here are the top features you’ll find in window air conditioners.
Best Window Air Conditioners Checklist
This is the most basic feature on all air conditioners but different manufacturers choose to include a variety of cooling speeds.
Most commonly, you’ll find AC units that have either two or three cooling speeds. These come in high, medium, and low settings.
Some window units may also include an automatic fan speed setting if it has a digital thermostat to regulate the room temperature.
Temperature Control Options
Although we live in the digital age, there are still many window AC units that use a rotary dial for controlling the temperature.
You’ll see these dials labeled with numbers like 1-7, with the highest number being the coldest setting.
With a dial style unit, you won’t be able to choose a specific degree setting; instead, you must rotate the dial until it feels like the right temperature in the room. (Our #1 best rated window air conditioner above uses this type.)
The more advanced units include electronic push buttons and an LCD screen to gives you precision control over the temperature.
Those handy features allow you to set the air conditioner to a specific cooling degree (i.e. 72 degrees Fahrenheit) and have the temperature be maintained by the device. (Recommendations #2 through #8 above come with this option.)
Air Direction Control
When you’re looking at window AC units, you’ll find a range of options for how much control you have over the direction of the air stream.
The most common setups include:
- 2-way air direction control (left to right with one vent)
- 4-way air direction control (left to right and up to down with one vent)
- 8-way direction control (left to right and up to down with two separate vents)
Although 8-way control may sound like the best version to get, it’s actually one of the last things you should worry about when comparing window air conditioners.
The truth is that once a room is cooled down by the AC unit, it doesn’t really matter which direction the air is entering into the room; at that point, it’s already cold and the temperature is just being maintained.
The air direction control feature becomes more important when the air conditioner is blowing air in a certain direction that may become an annoyance, such as toward a dinner table or directly on you while you sleep.
If you want to save the most money while keeping your rooms cool, an automatic timer is a must-have feature for your window air conditioner.
Automatic timers allow you to control when the window AC unit turns on and off without having to manually do it yourself.
For example, you can set the air conditioner to turn off automatically after three hours of continuous use or between specific hours like 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Some timers even let you turn the device on at a certain time of day, such as one hour before you get home from work, so that the room is nice and cool before you arrive.
(#2 through #8 window AC units above include this feature.)
Air Cleaning Functions
All rooms have impurities floating around in them. The most common pollutants include dust, mold, bacteria, pollen, smoke, and odor producing particles.
Since air quality is a concern for many people, some of the top rated window air conditioners are now being outfitted with air cleaning technologies to remove these contaminants from the room.
Air cleaning features on air conditioners include:
- Washable antibacterial air filter that traps airborne pollutants on the surface
- Air ionizer that sends negatively charged ions into the air to neutralize harmful contaminants.
While the air ionizer is the much better option of the two, you’ll often find that a window air conditioner that includes this feature will also have a washable antibacterial filter as well.
So, if you want cleaner, fresher air while cooling it at the same time, air purification is a great feature to look for in a device. (All of the products recommended above include this benefit.)
Enjoy Your New Window AC Unit
We hope this guide on how to find the best window air conditioner for your house or apartment has given you the confidence to go out and purchase the best window AC unit for your needs.
Our goal was to give you enough information to make the right decision on your own; however, you can’t go wrong with any of the top rated window air conditioners recommended on this page.
So start there.
Then, if you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, feel free to check out other products and compare them to the top window AC units we outlined above.