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Air conditioners are typically considered an essential feature of the home. They account for around 6 percent of all electricity used in the United States. Each year, homeowners spend approximately $29 billion on proper air conditioning. It’s true that air conditioners can get pricey, but energy waste is also a growing concern among consumers. Shopping smartly means taking multiple factors into account to find the best air conditioner for your individual cooling needs.
In this guide, we’ll share with you our top picks for the best air conditioners of 2018. After much research, including reviewing customer testimonials and unit specifications, we’re confident that the window air conditioners on this list are up to the task of keeping your house cool and comfortable.
The Best Air Conditioners of 2019
Editor’s Pick – Friedrich Air Conditioner
Best for Bedroom – GE Energy Star Room Air Conditioner
Best Value (affordable cooling) – Frigidaire Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner
Best for Large Spaces – LG Window-Mounted Air Conditioner With Remote Control
The Friedrich Air Conditioner is our choice for editor’s pick because it’s efficiently built to meet the needs of a wide variety of customers. If you’re worried about loud noises, the Friedrich is a window air conditioner designed to fit seamlessly, reducing noise as much as possible. For those who want to save money and energy, it’s possible to continue to cool your space by only running the fan. Additionally, it comes with a remote and 24-hour timer that lets you decide when to turn the unit on or off. The power cord is flexible and you can run it out of either side of the unit’s front. The Friedrich Air Conditioner offers a 4-way cooling option and comes with a washable, antimicrobial filter.
It’s available in unit sizes ranging from 5,400 BTU to 24,000 BTU, allowing customers the option to buy the right size air conditioner for their cooling needs. The Friedrich is currently available in designer white.
Customers seeking to cool a much smaller space will want to avoid overspending on significantly bulkier products. Instead, we recommend the GE Energy Star Room Air Conditioner to quickly bring down the temperature in your room or office. This window air conditioner is currently available in 5,500, 6,500, and 11,500 BTU; size wise, they are most ideal for spaces ranging from 100 to 550 square feet.
The GE air conditioner operates three fan speeds and three cooling speeds, which allow you to keep the air flow and temperature within a room to your personal preference and avoid getting too cold. The unit is also quieter, which makes it ideal for use in the bedroom, especially if loud noises can interfere with your ability to sleep comfortably.
For bargain-conscious shoppers, we strongly recommend the Frigidaire Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner. It’s not overly priced, and because of its features, this unit can help you save money over time.
The A/C unit quickly cools rooms up to 150 square feet in diameter. In addition two operating two fans at two different air circulation speeds, it also runs quietly, making it a perfect fit for the bedroom and any sleeper who can’t get any rest if their window air conditioner is too noisy. The installment is a breeze thanks to the included window installation kit and an extra long power cord. The Frigidaire includes a dehumidifier that takes in up to 1.1 pints per hour.
The Frigidaire is energy efficient; it has an EER score of 11.1 and doesn’t use much power when starting up. Its filter is an antimicrobial mesh that comes with a side, slide-out access; it works to remove harmful bacteria from the air while the unit cools your room.
With a larger room to cool, you want to make sure you purchase a powerful unit that can easily circulate air through a large space. This task isn’t a problem for the LG Window-Mounted Air Conditioner. This 12,000 BTU window air conditioner is capable of cooling rooms up to about 550 square feet.
Though the LG unit is very powerful, it’s also highly energy efficient, with a 12.1 EER Score. It also has a 24-hour timer, which saves energy by allowing you to pre-plan when the air conditioner turns on and when it stops.
The air conditioner comes with three cooling and fan speeds, and four-way air direction capabilities. There’s a slide-out filter that’s washable, and the white unit has a patented gold fin anti-corrosion coating, which provides a layer of protection that helps the air conditioner last longer. Should there be a power failure, the LG unit has an auto-start feature, allowing it to safely repower itself.
Worried about installation? For an additional charge, you have the option of first-time expert installation.
Before buying any air conditioner, it’s vital to have a few considerations in mind. Will your window accommodate air conditioner units beyond a certain size? How large a room or open space do you need to cool? Would you prefer a remote control or are you okay with routinely making manual adjustments?
Besides questions like these, you’ll also likely want to consider the long-term cost of the product. It does no good to bargain shop for an A/C unit, only to buy one that uses a lot of electricity. Energy efficiency is essential for avoiding waste and saving money.
This guide will address many of the most common terms and concerns about buying a window air conditioner. Read on to learn more information that will help you better settle on the right unit for your home.
How Powerful The Unit Is – One of the first and most important things to keep in mind when shopping for an air conditioner is the room where you’ll likely put it. Too powerful an air conditioner can waste energy and money. A smaller air conditioner unit stops being a bargain when it struggles to cool a room four times larger than the size it’s built for. Before buying an air conditioner, you should take measurements of the space you need to cool.
Factor in room shape, because square foot coverage will change according to the shape of the room. You’ll need to use certain calculations to determine the total square feet in the space, so you’ll know how powerful the air conditioner you need to buy must be in order to cool the entire room.
Air conditioner power is measured by the British Thermal Unit (BTU). The larger the room space, the greater the unit’s BTU must be to effectively cool it. For instance, the best air conditioner for rooms with 150 to 250 square feet of space would generate about 6,000 BTUs per hour. For an area of around 1,500 square space, the BTU number jumps to 30,000.
In addition to power, you should also consider efficiency. For air conditioners, this is measured by an energy efficiency rating or EER. The EER is the ratio of a unit’s cooling capacity (BTU) over the power input, measured in watts (W). The higher the EER number, the more energy efficient the air conditioner.
Settings & Personalization – No customer is alike, and so it’s only natural for you to shop for the best air conditioner suited for your personal preferences. If you’re buying an A/C unit for the bedroom, you want a product that’s robust enough to cool your space, but one that won’t make you feel like you’re sleeping outside in the dead of winter. There are certain settings and add-ons that you should look for before committing to a product.
Will It Fit Your Space – Air conditioners come in different sizes, and before settling on one, you’ll want to make sure it will fit the intended window. Before wasting money on a unit that won’t fit, make sure you carefully measure your window; you’ll want to be sure the product you’re interested in is the right size. Many units have easy install window kits, making it a quick and straightforward task to adjust the A/C unit so it fits the unique dimensions of your window. Additionally, the side panels in window air conditioners not only help keep the unit in place, but they also prevent excess air from escaping.
Return Policy – Make sure that you have options if you decide your air conditioner isn’t right for you. Check to see if the store or manufacturer has a trial period available. If you’re able to test the product for a few weeks, you’ll feel more secure about the amount of time available for deciding if the product is money well spent or if you should send it back immediately for a refund or alternate item.
Make sure you hold onto any receipt, as it’s common for stores or manufacturers to demand proof of purchase before issuing any kind of refund.
Warranty – It’s possible to initially be very happy with your air conditioner, only to experience problems from several months to a couple of years later. As A/C units can get very expensive, you’ll want to check if the product is covered by a warranty that will allow you to repair or replace it at little or no cost. Read the warranty, because it’s possible that conditions might change as time passes. For example, it’s possible that any defects found within the first year get paid for, but after two years of ownership, the manufacturer will only claim responsibility for specific issues.
Shipping – If not purchasing your unit in person, you’ll want to double-check that it can be shipped to your location. There’s nothing like having your heart set on the perfect window air conditioner only to find the company can’t ship its products to your location. Have answers to a few basic questions about shipping options: Do they ship to non-contiguous states? Is international shipping available, and if so, to which countries? Is free shipping available? Can you pay extra to get your air conditioner delivered faster? You can avoid costly complications by doing as much research as possible before making an order.
If you’d like to read more about air conditioners, and ways to keep your bedroom cool, then please check out these other Tuck resources for more information.