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Best Window Air Conditioner

Do you spend your afternoons desperately trying to cool down your home? Is your house a heat trap? Do you find sunny days to be a blessing and a curse? If this sounds like you, you might benefit from something a little more powerful than your portable fan – a window mounted air conditioner.

The problem is that there are so many different brands and models on the market. It can be confusing to try and separate the good products from the bad, but luckily, we’ve stepped in and created this guide to help you find the best window air conditioner for your needs and budget.

Top 4 Window Air Conditioners 2018

In the table below, you’ll find the name of each air conditioner we’ll be discussing, as well as its BTU rating. This will give you a basic understanding of how powerful each model is, but we’ll be going more in-depth with them one by one shortly.

Air ConditionerBTU Rating
Frigidaire FFRA0511R15000
Friedrich Chill CP06G10B6000
LG LW1216ER Window-Mounted AIR Conditioner12000
Frigidaire FRA126CT112000

In the following reviews, we’ll be showing you that not only can you get a great product without breaking the bank, but also that every model, regardless of price range has its strengths and weaknesses. We’ll start by examining the least expensive air conditioner, the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1.

1

Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 – Best Budget Window Air Conditioner

This is the perfect model for someone looking to cool down a room on a budget. Whilst it has a fairly simplistic interface, it fits into the majority of windows and doesn’t even take up much space (it extends just two or three inches into your room).

This model is very inexpensive, retailing at a little over $130. Despite this, it’s pretty powerful, with a British Thermal Unit (BTU) rating of 5000. This means that it make a room of around 150 square feet nice and chilly in under half an hour. The controls are very simple: a temperature dial and one which allows you to choose between four different modes.

There are two fan speeds, low and high, as well as two cooling options. These modes allow you to customize your setup to suit your needs – if you find the AC to be too loud when you’re trying to sleep, you can always set it to use a lower fan speed. We found that at this setting, the unit was very quiet, although definitely noticeable. Over time, you’ll learn to ignore the sound, but it might be a slightly annoying first week or so. You can also choose the direction of air flow, so if it’s cool inside but hot indoors, you can bring in the warm air instead.

This unit measures 16” wide, 15.25” deep and 12” tall, so as far as air conditioners go, it’s pretty compact. That said, it’s pretty heavy, at 41 pounds. You will need a window that’s at least 13” tall and 23” wide to fit it, and you’ll also need 13” of clearance. This product includes a window mounting kit which has an adjustable width, so as long as your window is large enough, setting it all up is a breeze. Additionally, it has a 6.5-foot long power cord so you don’t have to mess around with extension cables, and it plugs into a standard 115V socket.

The air filter in this unit slides out of the side and is made of an antibacterial mesh. This can be vacuumed or even washed so you don’t have to worry about additional costs – all you have to pay for is the electricity, and even that isn’t much, with Frigidaire estimating this model uses around $41 a year.

As it’s such an inexpensive air conditioner, there really aren’t many advanced features. For example, you can’t connect this to a thermostat and have it turn on or off based on room temperature. However, for the price, it’s actually pretty good – it cools down hot rooms very quickly, and whilst it’s aimed more at smaller spaces, it’ll do a decent job in a medium room as well. This unit would be perfect for people who live in small apartments or who rent their home since it doesn’t require drilling into the window and can be taken with you when you move out.

PROS
  • Cools small rooms quickly
  • Washable filter
  • Very inexpensive
CONS
  • Limited functionality
2

Friedrich Chill CP06G10B – Best Mid-Budget Window Air Conditioner

When you increase the amount of money that you’re willing to spend, you open the door to a whole range of functionality that lower cost devices can’t hope to match. The Friedrich Chill CP06G10B illustrates this perfectly – packed with advanced features to help justify its higher price.

This unit retails for around $300 and has a number of quality of life improvements on the last model we covered. First and foremost, it can cool larger rooms. It has a BTU rating of 6000, meaning it can control the temperature of a room up to 250 square feet in size.

Secondly, the way in which you control the temperature has been improved. This unit has a 24-hour digital timer which allows you to start and stop it at specified times of the day. There’s also a remote control included for easier access when you’re not nearby. You can also tell it to stop when the room reaches a certain temperature, which is great since once your home is cool, it’ll turn off automatically, saving you money in the long term.

This air conditioner is 20.9” wide, 18.4” deep and 14” tall and weighs 60 pounds. Your window has to be at least 18.375” wide, 20.875” deep and 14” tall in order to this unit in. Installation takes around half an hour and is slightly more involved than you might be expecting. The reason for this is that you have to remove the back plate and secure it to the chassis from the outside. This prevents anyone from kicking your AC in and entering your home, so the additional time is worth it. We liked that the power cord can be fed from either the left or right side of the unit, as this lets you connect it to the nearest outlet without any extension cables.

The Friedrich Chill is Energy Star certified, so you know it’s energy efficient. There are three cooling and fan speed settings, and although the noise increases as the fans speed up, at their lowest setting, it’s ultra-quiet. We measured noise levels of around 48dB, which is about as loud as a refrigerator – easily quiet enough to run while you sleep. There’s an automatic restart ability to ensure your house doesn’t heat up after a power cut.

If you have the money to spare, we’d really recommend this product. It offers a level of versatility unheard of in less expensive models, and unlike those models, this one actively seeks to secure your home from burglars who might attempt to use it as an access point. It can save you money on your electricity bills AND it keeps you safe, so what more could you ask for?

PROS
  • Digital thermostat and remote conttrol
  • Energy efficient
  • Resistant to break-in attempts
CONS
  • Pretty pricey
3

LG LW1216ER Window-Mounted AIR Conditioner – Best Window Air Conditioner for Large Spaces

The LW1216ER from LG is another mid-budget model. It’s a little more versatile than the last model thanks to its ability to push air not just forwards and backward, but also left and right. It’s also more powerful, with a Btu rating of 12000. This means that even large rooms can be adequately cooled, as long as they’re 550 square feet or less.

There are three cooling and fan speeds to choose from, and you can even use the built-in thermostat to automatically cool the room to a certain temperature. You have access to a four-hour timer which can turn the unit on or off at a pre-set time, and even a remote control for cross-room use. This is another model which turns itself back on after a power cut, so you know you’re not going to wake up sweating one morning due to a split second outage in the night.

LG have added their patented gold fin coating to this model. This helps to prevent corrosion and increases the air conditioner’s resistance to scrapes, scratches and environmental damage, in turn, prolonging the life of the product. Also included is an installation kit which contains everything you’ll need to get this unit set up, although you’ll likely need some help since this is a very heavy AC, weighing 81 pounds.

This model has dimensions of 23.6×22.2×15”, and as long as your window is larger than this, you’ll be alright. It’s very energy efficient since it cuts the fans off when the room is cool, but due to the higher power requirements of the fans, it costs a little more to run. LG predict that you’ll use around $89 a year in electricity costs, but since the filter can be easily slid out and washed, there’s no need to spend any more money on replacements. There’s a handy little light on the front that shines when it’s time to give the filter a clean, too, so there’s no need to keep track of how long it’s been since last time.

The inside of the case has a large amount of insulation, and if you’ve screwed it in properly, there’s no vibration. These two factors make this one of the quietest air conditioners around, even at high fan speeds. Whilst the faster speeds might be a little loud for use at night, the lower ones are absolutely quiet enough for bedtime.

All things considered, this is a pretty great product. It’s powerful, quiet and offers a wide range of advanced functionality. The intelligent cooling option helps to keep your running costs down and since you can vent air from the sides, even if your window faces a brick wall, you can bring in fresh air. The only real issue is the weight, but once it’s installed, that’s no longer a problem.

PROS
  • Very powerful
  • Timer and auto-cooling function
  • Very quiet at low speeds
CONS
  • Very heavy
4

Frigidaire FRA126CT1 – Best High-End Window Air Conditioner

The Frigidaire FRA126CT1 is the most expensive product in this list, with a value of around $430. It justifies this higher cost by providing more advanced functionality, some of which is more often seen in a dehumidifier than an air conditioner. We’re big fans of anything that does two jobs in one, so to us, that’s already a bonus.

This unit has the same level of cooling power as the LG LW1216ER – 12000 BTU. This is enough to cool a room up to 550 square feet in size, however, this model has an eight-way air control, allowing you to send cool air to any location in the room that you like.

It has three fan and cooling settings, with the lowest temperature possible being 60°F (that’s 15°C). You can use the automatic cooling mode to target a specific temperature and once this has been reached, the fans will shut off, only turning on again as the room begins to heat up. You can also set a time for it to start or stop using the 24-hour clock, which is great if you have a set schedule – maybe you want to cool a room during the day but turn off the AC in the evening – that’s easy to do.

The remote control included with this model is a step up from that offered by the competition. It has a temperature sensor built in so you can monitor how hot your room is without getting up. You can also change fan speed and AC mode from here, and as an added bonus, the batteries are included.

Now we come to the real attraction of this model: it includes a clear air ionizer. This removes pollen and other harmful particles from the air which can really help if you suffer from hay fever or allergies. Whether it’s pet hair or dust that starts your sneezing fits, this will work and is sure to become invaluable to you. It also uses an anti-bacterial mesh filter to minimize the entry of pollutants from outside, which is nice.

This unit weighs 68 pounds and measures 21.5” wide, 14.5” deep and 19” thick. It comes with an installation kit for a quick and efficient setup, although as with all of the heavier air conditioners, you’ll likely need to recruit someone to help you maneuver it into position.

We really like this model. It’s not just a fantastically versatile AC system, but also a decent ionizer. The control you have over the airflow is unparalleled and the timer functions allow you to schedule cooling based on the way you live your life. The remote control is a marked upgrade from what you might be expecting too, which is a welcome surprise. If you don’t mind paying more money for the best of the best, this is the product for you.

PROS
  • Includes clean air ionizer
  • Remote control has temperature sensor
  • Eight-way airflow control
CONS
  • Very expensive

Best Window Air Conditioner - Buyer's Guide

Buying a window-mounted air conditioner doesn’t have to be difficult. There are a lot of different specifications, sure, but when you look into it, you’ll quickly find that only a handful of them are actually relevant. Don’t worry though – we’ve put together a short guide to help you choose the AC unit that best suits your needs to save you time in the short term, whilst preventing buyer’s remorse in the long term.

Physical Considerations

The first and arguably most important thing to consider is the size of your window. Air conditioners come in all shapes and sizes, as do windows, so you have to make sure the model you want will actually fit. It’s not such a big deal if your window is wider than the AC is, since they often come with accordion style spacers, but if it’s too small or not deep enough, you won’t be able to use your new purchase.

How big is the room that you’d like to cool? Low-cost models tend to be weaker, but are often enough for a very small room (150 square feet or less), whereas for a large space, you’ll need a larger, heavier, more expensive AC unit. The benefit of these models is that they generally have more advanced functionality and sometimes can even direct the cool air to a specific area of the room.

The amount of air that each model can cool is given in British Thermal Units (BTU). This gets very in-depth, but put simply, higher is generally better. Unfortunately, higher numbers usually also mean higher prices. If you’re interested in reading more about BTUs, there’s a great guide here that goes into a good level of detail.

Functionality

Some people will only need a very basic model, and that’s fine. People will a little more room in their budget will quickly find that the more high-end models have better functionality, though. Most units over $200 will have a timer at the very least, but some offer remote control support, variable fan speed settings, automatic start and stop functions, ionizers, multi-directional output, you name it.

Whether or not you need (or even want) these features is dependent on your situation. If you live on the ground floor, you’d do well to get a break-in resistant model, but someone on the top floor of an apartment building would have no use for this. Similarly, if you’re only home in the evenings, you likely won’t need a fancy setup – just turn it on when you leave and off when you get home.

Conclusion


Well, there you have it. Each product we’ve seen today has been a great performer in its own way, although one among them stands out to us. The Friedrich Chill CP06G10B is powerful enough to cool a medium-sized room, offers a good amount of control over your airflow. It’s also break-in resistant and not overly expensive, so you’re protected and your wallet is too.

With a bit of luck, you’ll have made a decision as to which window AC unit is best for you, and if so, we’d ask that you remember us the next time you need product buying advice. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this, and hopefully, we’ll see you again soon.