Looking to cool down a room but don’t want to (or can’t) use a window air conditioner?

If so, you’re definitely not alone.

In fact, many people come to our website looking for alternatives to the best window air conditioner brands.

And thankfully, several good options do exist that can help you solve your cooling problems.

So keep reading to find out what alternatives to window AC units you can try today.

Photo of window air conitioner

The Top Alternatives to Window Air Conditioners

Out of all of the options listed on this page, we consider these to be your two best choices for alternative air conditioning:

  • Through the Wall Air Conditioner
  • Portable Air Conditioner

We’ll explain more about each type below as well as the major advantages of using them. 

After we discuss these top two solutions, we’ll then go over some additional alternatives to meet your cooling needs.

Through The Wall Air Conditioner

Perhaps you don’t like the look of an air conditioner sticking out your window.

Or maybe there’s a restriction on your property against using one.

Either way, a through the wall air conditioner is your next best option.

Through the wall AC units work in much the same way as window air conditioners do—and look almost identical—except that these units are installed inside a wall and not placed in a window.

They’re also similar to window AC units in the fact that you can get one for almost any size room.

Options exist for small, medium and even extra-large spaces.

Be sure to check out our guide on the best through the wall air conditioners available so you can find the perfect size for your needs.

You’ll also find models that include both cooling and heating, so you can benefit from the device all year round.

As for the advantages of using a through the wall air conditioner as an alternative to window AC, here are a few things you’ll enjoy:

  • Eliminate Drafts and Bugs — Through the wall air conditioners are installed with a tight seal around the unit, preventing any drafts from seeping into your space. It also stops bugs from invading your home, which is common around the edges of window AC units.
  • Energy Efficient and Cheap to Run — In comparison to other types of cooling systems, these devices are very energy efficient and one of the cheapest to operate.
  • Safer — When you have a window air conditioner, you put your house (and yourself) under some risk, especially from thieves. If someone’s smart enough, they can dislodge the window AC unit and push it inside the house, thus making it easy to enter your home. With through the wall air conditioners, they’re securely installed inside a wall sleeve and this makes it very difficult for someone to remove from the outside.
  • Guaranteed Comfort — With through-the-wall air conditioning, you’re guaranteed to have cooling throughout the year. Some models even include supplemental heat, so you can keep a space warm all winter long. With window air conditioning, it’s not good to keep these units installed during the colder months since they can allow cold air to seep inside.

See all of Amazon’s Best Selling Wall AC Units

Portable Air Conditioner

If you’re looking for something that can be installed in under 10 minutes and doesn’t require cutting a hole in your wall, portable air conditioners are great alternatives to window air conditioners.

Portable AC units are convenient in the sense that they’re standalone appliances, meaning you don’t have to perform any difficult installation.

You can also move them from room to room if you’d like.

We’ve got a great guide on the best standing air conditioner for you to check out if this sounds appealing.

It includes tips on how to find the right size unit so you save the most amount of money on your cooling needs.

Portable air conditioners are great alternatives for window air conditioning because they give you these benefits:

  • Save Money — If you don’t run a portable AC unit all day, it can cost you as little as $20 per month to operate, making them a cost-effective solution for indoor cooling.
  • No Heavy Lifting — These air conditioners don’t have to be hoisted into a window. Some models do use a hose to vent the hot air out of the room but easily connect to a window with an included kit. Other models don’t require any type of ventilation and can even cool a room without windows.
  • Install Anywhere — One of the biggest appeals with portable air conditioners is that they can be installed practically anywhere. While the most traditional method for some models is to connect the vent hose to a window, you can vent hot air into a ceiling, to another room, or through a hole in the wall that leads to the outside. As long as you can vent the hot air out of the room the machine is cooling, the device will work fine. Other models don’t require any ventilation.
  • Portable — As the name suggests, these units are a form of portable air conditioning. This means you can take cold air with you as you travel from room to room. Most models include wheels for easy transport.
  • Year-Round Cooling — These units allow you to cool your home any day of the year. Unlike window air conditioners that you take down and store, portable AC units can stay in place all year round. This is great for those random hot days that pop up during the colder months. It also makes them some of the best air conditioners for small spaces.

Another type of portable air conditioner is called a ventless AC unit and it’s the only type of portable air conditioner with no window necessary. If that interests you, then you’ll want to check out that post.

See all of Amazon’s Best Selling Wall AC Units

More Alternatives to Window AC Units

When it comes to finding alternatives to window AC units, portable and through the wall air conditioners are not the only options at your disposal.

Below are some other things you may want to consider.

Spot Cooler

One alternative is a small spot cooler for cooling down your personal space.

These units are a small cube around 8″ x 8″ x 8″ and require you to fill them with cold water or ice.

When running, they can provide cold air within a few feet radius, making them perfect to place on a table next to you.

To find out more about these spot coolers, take a look at our post on the best cheap portable air conditioners.

Ductless Mini Split System

If you want some more power out of an air conditioner, a ductless mini split system might just be your best alternative to window AC units.

These devices give you the added benefit of cooling multiple rooms at once by linking several units together.

You can also hang them on a wall or suspend them from a ceiling. A window is not required for ventilation either.

While they do cost a bit more than window AC units, ductless mini split system are a great long-term solution.

If you want the feel of a central air conditioning system without paying for the installation of ductwork, a ductless mini split system is the way to go.

To find out more about these systems, visit our best mini split AC units page.

Floor Fans

While a floor fan may seem like an obvious alternative to window air conditioning, the trick here is to use it in conjunction with one of the other types of air conditioners mentioned on this page.

In doing so, the fan can help circulate the cold air better and faster around your room.

This means that the alternative air conditioner you choose won’t have to work as hard and you can save even more money on your cooling costs.

Ceiling Fans

Installing a ceiling fan is another good option if you want a more permanent solution than floor fans.

One thing to keep in mind is that ceiling fans can spin both clockwise and counterclockwise.

During the hot months, you should set your ceiling fan to spin counterclockwise.

This will cause it to push the cold air down and around the room to help cool it.

During the colder months, it’s best to set the ceiling fan to spin clockwise.

That way, hot air will be drawn upwards and be better dispersed throughout the space to help regulate the heat inside a room.

Chilling Pads

If you’re looking for alternatives for a bedroom and don’t want to invest in an air conditioner or fans, a final option is to cool down your body temperature.

To do that, you can use chilling pads inside your pillow and under the sheets.

These pads use a special liquid technology that’s cool to the touch and don’t require any refrigeration.

Options, Options, Options

As you can see, there are a number of good alternatives to window air conditioners that you can try.

While this is not an exhaustive list of alternatives to window AC units, they are some of the best ways to keep yourself cool during the hotter months.

We consider through the wall air conditioners and portable air conditioners to be the top options for most people; however, a ductless mini split system is another great choice to consider if you’re willing to make the investment.

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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)