Photo of Air Conditioner Control Panel

Are you wondering what to look for in a window air conditioner?

If you are in the market for a new window AC unit, it is important to find the air conditioner that has the best set of options for your needs.

While the main goal of a window air conditioner is to cool down your home, you’ll find that there are many features that aid in your use of a new air conditioner.

Depending on your situation you may require more or fewer functions to make the air conditioner work best inside your home, so it is good to know what choices you have.

Some features even boost the efficiency of your window air conditioner which will keep your home cooler while saving money or your electric bill.

Below are some of the top features to look for when searching for your ideal air conditioner.

Once you are done looking it over, be sure to check out our free guide on the best window AC units to find one that is right for your needs.

Also, if you want a more permanent solution, then you can check out our best wall AC unit guide that includes the top models for in-wall installation. These units look similar to window air conditioners and have most, if not all, of the same features mentioned below,

Available Features on Window Air Conditioners


The thermostat is the most important part of the AC unit.

It gives you the ability to control the output temperature of your air conditioner. The lower you have the thermostat set, the cooler it will make the room.

Some lower cost window AC units will have a regular mechanical thermostat while the majority of other will have a digital thermostat.

Basic air conditioners with a mechanical thermostat will have a dial for you to rotate in order to set the desired temperature for the room. This dial has a number range such as 1 to 7 which pertains to the coldness setting as opposed to a certain degree.

Higher end models with a digital thermostat are more accurate and help to keep the temperature in your house consistent. With this version, you can actually choose a specific degree setting, like 72°. This will help you to save money in the long run since you can choose an ideal temperature degree and maintain it without guessing what it may be.

Fan Speed Adjustment

The fan speed on your air conditioner is what helps you set the rate your device will cool down your home.

Cheaper model air conditioners usually only have two fan speeds, low and high, while more expensive units offer three or four ( low, medium, high, and auto).

Keep in mind that the number of fan speeds becomes less important the longer the air conditioner is operating. Once the room is cooled down, a low setting is usually all that is needed to maintain a comfortable temperature. You may find that you rarely use the medium or high settings, except for when the unit is off for a lengthy period of time.

The auto fan speed function is a nice feature on some window air conditioners because it adjusts the fan speed for you to maintain the proper temperature. With this option, you can set it and forget, knowing that the unit is working as efficiently as possible to keep your room cool.

See all of Amazon's Best Selling Window AC Units

Remote Control

Like any electronic device around the home, a remote control is a nice feature to have.

A remote will allow you to control the various modes of the AC unit without having to walk up to it and push a series of buttons.

If you’re using the window air conditioner in a bedroom, then you may want to consider this as a must-have feature. That way, you can make any adjustments you need without getting up at night.

You can view our best bedroom air conditioners page to see the top units with a remote.

Automatic Timer

One of the most convenient options you can get in an air conditioner is a programmable timer.

Having a timer for your window AC unit will allow you to set a start and stop time for the device. This gives you the ability to conserve energy by shutting it off when nobody is around.

Some lower-end models only offer pre-set intervals for when the unit should turn off, such as 2, 4, 8 or 12 hours

Higher end products let you program specific start and stop times throughout the day for the air conditioner to operate. Many can be set up 24 hours in advance and include one-hour intervals.

Advanced timers are a great feature because if you turn your machine off, the timer can control when it will turn back on. It can also turn your machine off when you are not around.

Air Direction Control

Window air conditioners have a set of blades on the inside of the machine are able to be adjusted to different tilts.

These blades allow you to manipulate the direction of air coming out of the unit. This is a nice feature to have because you may not want the device blowing directly on to people or into objects that are in the room or blocking the cold air.

When shopping for a window air conditioner, you will find a range of how much you can control the direction of air, from two to eight ways (up and down only, up and down and left to right on a single vent, or up and down and left to right on two vents.)

Air Filter Type

Window AC units work by sucking in hot air from the room and blowing cold air back out into it.

Therefore, these machines must include an air filter.

This feature is necessary because it prevents large dust particles and other contaminants that are sucked in from the room from getting into the machine and ruining it.

You will find that air conditioners come with two types of filters, standard, and washable.

A standard filter will need to be replaced every so often to keep proper air flow and keep debris from damaging the unit.

A washable filter is a reusable filter that can be washed and put back into the air conditioner to avoid spending money on a replacement.

Energy Star Rating

Some window AC units are backed by an Energy Star certification.

This label means that the air conditioner will operate at the most energy efficient level. This feature saves you money on your monthly electric bill and conserves energy use.

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About David Morrison

David is an Air Quality & Comfort Technician. He has expert knowledge on the technology and design of air purification, air conditioning, and heating systems. His main role is to write content that helps people get the most value out of their air purifiers, air conditioners, and heating units. (See Full Bio)