Best small air conditioners

Are you looking for the best air conditioner for small room but don’t know which one to buy?

Do you want a good AC unit for small spaces like a bedroom, office, spare room, or apartment?

If so, this free guide is for you.

Below, you’ll find out what the best small room air conditioner is for a variety of budgets and needs.

In particular, you’ll discover what the best small AC unit is in three versions: a portable air conditioner, a window mounted unit, and a personal air cooler.

This guide is meant to be a top resource for finding the best AC for small room purposes and covers everything you need to make the right decision.

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Small Room Air Conditioners Reviewed in This Guide

Here’s a quick comparison chart showing the top air conditioners for small rooms and spaces. We’ll cover each aspect of these units in the reviews section below, but this gives you an idea of what’s available and an easy way to compare them.

ImageAir Conditioner DetailsPrice
Black + Decker BPACT10WT Air Conditioner
  • Another top AC unit for small rooms
  • Type: Portable
  • Coverage: 250-300 sq. ft.
Check Price
MIDEA MAW05M1BWT Compact Air Conditioner
  • Classic air conditoner unit
  • Type: Window
  • Coverage: 150 sq. ft.
Check Price
LG LW8016ER Small Room Air Conditioner
  • Another classic AC unit that includes digital controls
  • Type: Window
  • Coverage: 340 sq. ft.
Check Price
Ontel Arctic Mini Air Conditioner
  • Best for personal use
  • Type: Portable
  • Coverage: N/A
Check Price
Breezewell Evaporative Air Conditioner
  • New type of small room cooler
  • Type: Portable
  • Coverage: 150 square feet
Check Price
LG LP0817WS Air Conditioner (Portable)

Best Small Room Air Conditioners List

Black + Decker BPACT10WT Air Conditioner (Portable)

1. Black + Decker BPACT10WT Small Portable Air Conditioner

This is another good portable air conditioner for small rooms.

In many ways, it’s almost identical to our #1 top pick:

  • It includes an automatic self-evaporation system that gets rid of the water for you during the dehumidification process.
  • It comes with a remote.
  • And has a programmable 24-hour timer.

The notable differences include:

  • More size choices: This 10,000 BTU model cools a room up to 250 square feet. An 8,000 BTU version air conditioner is for small spaces up to 150 square feet and a 12,000 BTU version is good for 300 square feet.
  • Smaller design: It has a slightly more compact design with dimensions of 26″ H x 16.5″ W x 11.5″ D
  • One color choice: white

Truth be told, you can’t go wrong with either of these two best small room air conditioner units. Just choose the one that looks good to you (or has the best deal) and can cool the size of the room you need.

Check Price and Reviews

2. MIDEA MAW05M1BWT Small Window Air Conditioner

If you’re looking for the best small room air conditioner that fits inside a window, then this is it.

This 5,000 BTU model is one of the highest quality small room coolers you can buy for a low price that can handle spaces up to 150 square feet.

A 6,000 BTU version is also available that covers 250 square feet and includes digital controls.

This unit uses rotary dials for temperature control and fan speed settings. The airflow direction can be adjusted in two ways through the vents.

Another good feature is the washable air filter.

This filter helps to clean your indoor air by removing pollutants like dust, allergens, and dirt particles while also delivering ice cold air.

All-in-all there’s not much else you can ask for in a high-quality small air conditioner for a bedroom, living room, or other areas in the home.

Check Price and Reviews

LG LW8016ER Small Window Air Conditioner

3. LG LW8016ER Small Window Air Conditioner

Here’s another top option for a window air conditioner for small spaces.

This 8,000 BTU model gives you more room coverage up to 340 square feet. (That’s more than double our #3 top pick. )

But if you want to go smaller, then you could always get the 6,000 BTU version that covers small rooms up to 260 square feet.

A strong benefit of this air conditioner is that it has digital controls, so you can choose the precise temperature you want to cool down your room, like 68 degrees Fahrenheit. 

You also get a remote control.

Airflow can be controlled in four directions with the vents: up, down, left, and right.

It has 3 cooling speeds and 3 fan speeds so you can get the exact comfort level for your cooling needs.

For a little bit more money, this small room cooler offers some nice additional features that make it a great long-term investment for anyone looking for a seasonal air conditioner for a small bedroom or living room.

Check Price and Reviews

Breezewell Small Evaporative Air Cooler

4. Breezewell Small Room Cooler

This next best air conditioner for small spaces is truly one-of-a-kind as you’ll find out below.

It’s an evaporative air cooler that mixes the cooling power of water and a fan to lower the temperature in a room around 150 square feet.

All you do is fill up the 1-gallon water tank, turn it on, and enjoy up to 8 hours of cool mist air conditioning. You can even add ice cubes or ice packs to the tank to make the air even colder.

It has a modern bladeless fan, like the one you find in high-end Dyson products, so it’s much safer to use if you have children or pets. Additionally, the fan oscillates on a 40-degree radius to project cool air around the room more efficiently.

What’s even better is the space-saving design; it was built specifically for small rooms and tight spaces. It measures 35.51″ (H) x 14.41″ (W) x 10.5″ (D) which means it just a bit wider than a sheet of paper.

A few other things worth mentioning are the included remote control, 3 fan speeds, built-in handle for transport, and a 15-hour timer.

A 43″ tower model is also available if you prefer a more classic design in a small air conditioner. It gives you 70-degrees of fan oscillation for a wider cooling effect but all other features are the same.

Check Price and Reviews

5. Ontel Arctic Small Personal Air Cooler

Arctic Small Personal Air Cooler

If all you need is a compact personal air cooler, this is a great choice.

Its small footprint (11″ H x 10″ W x 13″ D) allows you to take it anywhere and place it comfortably on any counter, desk, or tabletop surface.

Plus, it has a whisper-quiet fan that won’t disturb you no matter how close you place it.

The best part of this small air conditioner; however, is all it requires is a simple fill of water to enjoy up to 8 hours of cool air around you.

You can also add ice to the tank for even colder air.

A final standout feature of this particular air cooler is that it includes a soothing night light. This makes it a pleasant air conditioner for a small bedroom for a comfortable night’s sleep.

Check Price and Reviews

Small Room Air Conditioner Buying Guide

If you’re looking for more information on how to choose a small room air conditioner, this buying guide section can help.

It answers the top questions people have about AC units for small rooms.

Types of Small Room Air Conditioners

One of the major advantages of buying an air conditioner for a small room is that you have more options than if you were trying to cool a larger space.

That’s because cooling a smaller space doesn’t require a complex air conditioning system.

It’s also good to go small because you can get a more cost-effective room cooler.

When you’re shopping for a small room air conditioner, you’ll find that there are three main AC types to choose between.

  • Portable AC Unit
  • Window AC Unit
  • Personal Air Cooler

Obviously, each one of these air conditioners has with their own benefits.

But the type of AC unit for small room that you pick will largely depend on the factors that are most important to you.

This includes things like your budget, how comfortable you are at installing it, and which device best meets your cooling needs.

Next, we’ll go over what each of those types of small air conditioners are as well as the pros and cons that come with each one so you can feel more confident knowing how to choose an air conditioner that’s right for you.

Portable AC Unit

Best air conditioner for small room

First up is the portable air conditioner.

This AC unit comes in the form of a rectangular shape that sits near a window.

Some models include wheels for you to easily roll it from room to room. Others do not and require you to lift up the machine if you want to take it to another room.

(Our top two recommendations above includes wheels for easy mobility.)

How a portable air conditioner works is by sucking hot air out of a room and depositing it outdoors. It does this through the use of a hose that comes out the back of the unit and leads to a window.

A window venting kit is included with portable AC units that allow you to crack the window just enough to accept the diameter of the exhaust hose.

Portable AC units also act as dehumidifiers.

These machines remove moisture from the air and either collect it in a drip pan, expel it out a small hose that leads to a drain, or uses automatic self-evaporation.

Small room portable air conditioners are very easy to install.

Just position the unit next to a window, connect the window venting kit and hose, and you’re done.

If you don’t have a window available, there are some other options for venting a portable air conditioner that requires some tools and a bit of ingenuity.

The convenience of a portable AC unit for small room does come with a price; however, and this is the most expensive option out of the three different types of small room air conditioners.

But most people prefer this model though because of low portable AC maintenance, the simplicity of installation, the fact that nothing sticks out of the window, and that it can be easily moved from room to room.

Also, apartment complexes usually accept these air conditioners without any issue because there’s nothing protruding out of the window.

If you like the idea of this type of AC unit, then the products reviewed above are the top air conditioner for small bedroom options. However, you visit this link to see the complete list of portable air conditioner reviews that are good for every room in the home.

Pros of Portable AC Units

  • Very easy to move from room to room.
  • Installation is simple.
  • Most attractive option. Doesn’t create an unsightly eyesore in your window.
  • Approved by most apartment complexes.

Cons of Portable AC Units

  • Most expensive option to buy.
  • Not every unit includes wheels which could make it more difficult to move to another room.
  • Uses the most energy.

(Our review of the best portable air conditioner for small rooms above is a good option for anyone who likes this style of AC. You can also see more options on our cheapest portable air conditioner page.)

Window AC Unit

Best bedroom air conditioner

Your next option for a small room is a window air conditioner.

You’ve most likely seen or had one of these AC units in your house when you were growing up.

How a window air conditioner works is drawing hot air out of the room and exhausting it outside. It does this through front and back air vents.

When it comes to window AC installation, the unit is placed halfway in and halfway out of a window by resting it on the sill.

The (ugly) backside with the compressor sticks out the window while the cooling air vents and controls are located on the inside for ease of reach.

Installing a small air conditioner window unit can be somewhat of a pain and usually takes at least two people: one person to open the window while the other positions the unit correctly on the sill. But the smaller and lighter-weight units can be installed by one person.

(If you can lift 50 lbs., you’ll be able to install our top two recommendations above by yourself.)

While small window air conditioners are much cheaper than portable AC units, you don’t have the freedom to easily move it from room to room.

Once you install the best window air conditioner, the unit pretty much stays put until you decide to remove it. However, many people do consider this type to be the best bedroom air conditioner units because they don’t take up floor space.

Like portable air conditioners, small window AC units also act as dehumidifiers.

However, instead of self-evaporating or requiring you to drain the collected water, window units push the moisture out the back of the unit and let it drip outdoors.

This makes these air conditioners maintenance-free in this respect.

(If you want to read about more differences, visit our window AC vs portable AC page.)

If you live in a house, a small window air conditioner like this is a good option if you don’t mind the looking of it sticking out the window.

Unfortunately, this design is why many apartment complexes don’t allow you to install these types of units no matter the window AC size. They also don’t approve of the water dripping out of the back of these air conditioners.

Pros of Window AC Units

  • Cheaper to buy than a portable air conditioner.
  • Maintenance-free when it comes to dehumidification.
  • Uses less energy than a portable air conditioner for small spaces.

Cons of Window AC Units

  • More involved installation process.
  • Can’t easily be moved from room to room.
  • May not be able to be used in an apartment.

(Our review of the best window air conditioner for a small room is a good choice for anyone interested in this type of unit.)

Personal Air Cooler

The final type of air conditioner for a small room is a personal air cooler.

This is the best small AC unit for anyone who wants something that’s mobile or unobtrusive.

Some of these air conditioners are so small that you can easily carry them around with you or place on a tabletop surface. Other units are in the shape of a tower and can provide cooling for an entire room.

Personal evaporative coolers work by filling up a tank with water and then using the processes of evaporation to cool the air in your immediate vicinity. This process is referred to as evaporative cooling.

(If you want even colder air, our top recommendations above allow you to add ice to the tank.)

While mini personal air coolers are the cheapest air conditioners for small rooms, they’ve also got the most limited amount of coverage. They’re not meant to cool an entire room, but rather just the immediate space that’s around you.

But fortunately, there now exists taller air coolers that can elevate that same cooling efficiency to a larger scale. However, they’re still best used in small rooms.

One other thing to keep in mind is that personal air conditioners like these require some continual maintenance (refilling with water) to keep them working effectively.

The best part of these types of small air conditioners is that regardless of where you live or work a personal air cooler is a viable option.

There’s no complex installation, nothing hanging out a window, and they don’t require much energy at all to run.

Pros of Personal Air Coolers

  • Cheapest AC unit for small room to buy.
  • Most portable and lightweight.
  • Can be used anywhere; in any house, apartment, or office environment.
  • Can get several hours of cooling in one water tank fill.
  • Doesn’t use much energy.

Cons of Personal Air Coolers

  • The mini size is good for personal use only with very limited cooling space coverage. The taller units are best for small rooms.
  • Must keep it filled with water or ice for it to work properly.
  • Doesn’t act as a dehumidifier.

(If this sounds like what you’re looking for, consider our top recommendations for a personal air cooler above. Or check out our portable air conditioner without window access guide for more options.)

Benefits of Going with a Small AC Unit

If you’re not already convinced about the advantages that a small room air conditioner can give you, here are some of the top benefits you’ll enjoy by using one of these recommended machines.

Higher Efficiency

You may be surprised to learn that larger air conditioners are actually less efficient for smaller rooms.

The reasoning behind this efficiency discrepancy is that a larger AC unit will cool a smaller room until it hits the set thermostat point without any respect to the humidity level.

This lack of dehumidification from cooling the room too fast can make it feel clammy and uncomfortable.

On the other hand, a smaller air conditioner that runs for a longer period of time is more efficient at dehumidifying the room because it won’t cycle on and off as much as a larger unit.

The best small AC unit that can achieve this will not only make you feel more comfortable but be more energy-efficient as well.

As a side note, mini split air conditioners are much more expensive than the small room cooler models listed on this page. They also require permanent instllation.

But something you may want to know is that the best split air conditioner unit provides 100% dehumidification because it runs at variable speeds (i.e. it never stops spinning). So if you’re trying to chill a small room that’s between 150 to 250 square feet, then your best choice is to aim for a cool room with low humidity. And if you’re in the market for a permanent solutoin like this, then give that page a look.

Cheaper to Run

A lot of people dread summer and the warmer weather because they know that it will cause a spike in their electricity bill.

However, it’s significantly cheaper to run the best small room air conditioner than it is to run a central air conditioner.

The reason being is that it all comes down to kilowatt-hour (kWh) and how much your electricity company charges per kWh to run. The national average for kWh cost is 13 cents.

Below is some quick math to show you the cost savings of a smaller air conditioner compared to a central AC unit. We used this calculator for the equation.

The average central cooling system uses 3,500 watts.

If you run a central air conditioner for eight hours per day, then it works out to be around $3.64 per day to operate the system.

This equals about $109 per month for air conditioning with a whole house HVAC system.

If you run a window air conditioner that tops out at around 450 watts for eight hours per day, then it only costs you around $0.47 per day to use it.

Therefore, the total window AC unit cost is around $14 per month to run this smaller unit.

As you can see, central air vs window unit electricity use is quite large and you can save a lot of money by choosing a single-room air conditioner.

Ideally, when you’re looking for a small AC unit, it’s because the room you’re going to use it in is between 150 and 250 square feet.

For that size, you only need a 5,000 to 8,000 BTU air conditioning unit.

These are the smallest sizes you can get for window and portable air units, and the average air conditioner wattage is around 350-450 watts.

This lower wattage use lets you enjoy cooler temperatures indoors and lower humidity levels without spiking your energy bill. So if you’re looking for the best bedroom air conditioner or a cheap unit for a small living room, then you now know what size to get.

Good Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)

When you’re shopping for an air conditioner, you’ll undoubtedly come across the term “Energy Efficiency Ratio” or EER which is a number that’s available on the energy guide label attached to the unit.

In short, this is a measurement of how energy efficient your air conditioner is at cooling a room and allows you to better compare similar products.

You get the EER by dividing the air conditioner’s cooling output (BTUs) by the energy usage in watt-hours.

For example, if your small air conditioner cooling output is 5,000 BTUs and it uses 500 watts of electricity to run, the EER is 10.

(5,000 ÷ 500 = 10).

The higher the EER number, the more energy-efficient your AC unit is.

In turn, if you were comparing two air conditioners and one had an EER of 10 and the other 12, the EER 12 model would cost less to operate.

Lighter Weight and Uses Less Space

Maybe you don’t have a lot of space available for an air conditioner or you’re not able to move around a full-size unit by yourself.

If that’s the case, the best AC for small rooms can help solve both of these problems in one go.

For starters, small window AC units can weigh as little as 35 lbs. and a majority of people are able to lift this weight without any problems.

When you compare that weight to larger units that weight up to 70 lbs. or more, you can quickly see why smaller models are more attractive to buyers.

There’s also the issue of floor space to consider.

No matter where you live, in an apartment or house, floor space is quite precious. The last thing you want is to take up floor space with a bulky AC unit for a small room.

Fortunately, most smaller portable air conditioners only take up a fraction of the floor space as their larger competitors and it’s the top reason why portable air conditioners are worth it for many people.

For example, our top recommendation above measures 23.7″ (H) x 18.7″ (W) x 16″ (D) which doesn’t take up much space at all.

Things get even lighter and smaller when you look at a personal air conditioner.

These small room cooler units often weigh less than two pounds and are around 8 inches wide and tall.

Quieter Than Larger AC Units

Noise levels can play a significant factor when you’re deciding between a large and small air conditioner.

You don’t want to spend money on a larger, louder AC unit that’s too noisy when you need it.

And because many people run their air conditioners at night, you’ll likely want something that’s going to run quietly in the background.

Smaller AC units don’t need as much power to cool a room as larger units do which means that they’re much quieter.

A personal air conditioner is the quietest option available. You’ll barely notice it when it’s running.

If you get a small portable air conditioner or window AC unit, the noise level will be around 55dB which is about the same volume as a quiet suburb.

Easier to Store When Not In Use

This one is pretty self-explanatory. But no matter which type of air conditioner you choose out of the three, you’ll have an easier time storing it when it’s not in use.

Obviously, the personal air conditioner will be the easiest to store and can go just about anywhere while a window or portable AC unit could go in a closet, basement, or attic until you need it next summer.

More Ways to Save with a Small Room Air Conditioner

The best AC for small room recommendations above are already great energy savers, however, you can cut your air conditioning costs even more by following the tips below.

Close the Blinds or Curtains

Having your curtains open and letting the sunlight stream in can quickly raise your indoor temperatures.

Therefore, you’ll want to maximize this barrier between the heat and sun and your indoor environment.

Ideally, you should have your curtains open in the cooler morning hours, closed through the hotter midday temperatures, and open again in the cool evening hours.

That way, it’s not dark and dreary all of the time, nor is it baking hot. Also, following this pattern means you won’t have to run your air conditioner on full blast all day.

Set the Temperature to 78 Degrees

Another thing you can do to lower your cooling costs is to set the thermostat on the AC unit to 78° degrees Fahrenheit.

This is the most efficient temperature setting for your air conditioner when it gets warm out.

Put it this way, if the average outdoor temperature is 90°, the cost to drop the indoor temperature to 76° instead of 78° is roughly 17% more.

If you aim for 72° instead of 78° it can increase your cooling costs by 50%. So, keep the thermostat at 78° if you can bear it for the most cost savings.

Additionally, don’t set your air conditioner’s temperature extremely low, thinking that it may cool down the room faster.

The temperature setting has no effect on the speed of cooling. All it does it set a limit for when the unit should turn itself off or switch to fan-only mode.

Keep the Air Filter Clean

The best portable air conditioner and window air conditioner models come with a filter to help screen the air as it passes through it.

Eventually, this air filter will start to get dirty due to the small contaminants it catches, and it will get dirty much faster if you run your AC for longer periods of time.

And surprisingly, it’s one of the top tricks for how to make an air conditioner run colder.

For that reason, it’s essential that you routinely clean your air filter to keep the AC unit running in top shape. All it takes is some soap and water. Not doing so can lower the efficiency of the unit by as much as 15%.

Make it a habit to check your air filter every two weeks during the hot summer season to see if it needs cleaning.

Use a Fan

Did you know that you can make a small room feel up to 5° just by turning on a ceiling or portable fan?

For example, combining a room fan with a new bedroom air conditioner can help circulate the cool air through the room more effectively.

It can also help spread this cool air to other rooms of your home if you leave the door open at night. So, give it a try.

Avoid Building Up Heat Indoors

Whenever the outdoor temperature is on the rise, avoid doing things that cause heat to build up inside your home.

This can include things like cooking, drying clothes, or running your dishwasher. Instead, choose to grill out, hang dry your clothes, and wash dishes by hand.

Another option is to just shift these chores to later in the day when it’s cooler out.

Which Type of AC for Small Room Should You Buy?

This is a common question, but the answer is quite simple.

Follow these suggestions below to help guide you on which small room air conditioner type to buy.

Buy a Portable Air Conditioner if:

  • You want the option to move the AC unit from room to room.
  • You want an easy installation.
  • You want the most attractive air conditioner for small spaces.
  • You live in an apartment that doesn’t allow window air conditioners.
  • You don’t mind emptying the dehumidification drip pan or you can route the water hose to a drain.

Buy a Window Air Conditioner if:

  • You don’t need to move the AC unit from room to room.
  • You have someone who can help you with the installation.
  • You don’t mind an AC unit sticking out both sides of a window.
  • You want to spend the least amount of money on a whole room air conditioner.
  • You want a maintenance free unit in regards to dehumidification.

Buy a Personal Air Conditioner if:

  • You want a portable AC unit that you can take with you anywhere.
  • You’re only concerned with cooling the immediate space around you and not an entire room.
  • You want to spend the least amount of money on an air conditioner for small room.
  • You don’t mind filling the water tank every few hours.

Enjoy Your New Air Conditioner for Small Spaces

Air conditioner for small spaces

Well, we hope you found this guide on the best small room air conditioner helpful.

As you learned, the best AC for small room purposes really depends on your desires, comfort, and budget.

Any of the top small air conditioner options mentioned above (portable, window, and air cooler) should suit your needs while keeping you cool all summer long.

So just pick the best small AC unit that’s right for you.

Avatar for Patrick Holmes

About Patrick Holmes

Patrick is a Senior Air Quality & Comfort Specialist. He conducts in-depth research and analysis for our product reviews and buying guides in order to offer expert recommendations for people who are seeking to improve their indoor air quality and comfort. (See Full Bio)