Holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and is keen on her own home’s climate. Sometimes we think that Carolina owns every single product she writes about – that’s how profound and insightful her reviews always are.
For 8 years, Richard had been working as an HVAC specialist and AC unit installer since his student years. Now, he’s our main consultant on every technical aspect that may arise during our tests and research.
Last updated: September 25, 2021
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Getting through those stifling hot summer months without relief—from the comfort of your own home—can be brutal, especially when the installation of an air conditioning unit is much simpler than you could ever imagine. In our guide today, we’re going to help you sort through the ins and outs of suitable units on the market—and even give you insight on what we think is the best air conditioner. Period.
Since there’s such a variety of different types of AC units, we’ve taken the best and highlighted them right here—side-by-side—to help you choose. From our Editor’s Choice, the Friedrich Chill Series EP18G33B, the 5-year backed unit with various additional features like its 24-hour timer, automatic air sweep, automatic restart, washable antimicrobial filter, and remote control to set it apart to our Budget Pick, we can help you choose the right one for you.
As you move downward in our guide today, you’ll note that we’ve highlighted the most important features out there that can dictate which best for you and your situation (as well as measured space and installation circumstance). From the various dimensions to the warranty, from the BTUs rate to the working space, from settings variety to SEER rate, we’ve got it all covered to help you decide which are the most important for you. As always, we’ve outlined the comparison table, in-detail reviews of each product, and buying guide to help you secure the best choice!
As one of the best working air conditioners on the market, the Friedrich Chill Series EP18G33B was designed to simplify expert cooling. Adaptable for both residential and commercial spaces, the unit can help cool the room with just a touch of a button.
With three fan speeds to choose, this unit also has multiple features that set it apart from the rest, like a fan-only option, 24-hour programmable timer, washable air filter, and automatic restart.
Designed with heavy 20-gauge steel and aluminum, the unit lasts longer because of its rust-resist properties. It also is finished with a solid sleeve top that protects the fan from debris.
If you’re looking to reduce energy intake, you can also use the MoneySaver cooling mode, which helps reduce operating costs.
You can install the Friedrich Chill Series EP18G33B either through a wall or window.
Some additional features that set this unit apart from others on the market are also the washable filter, moisture removal, anti-Intrusion protection, Auto Restart, and run by remote control with push-button controls on the panel.
What makes it stand out?
This model has three different modes for cooling, heating, and fan
It is eco-and-money-friendly
Backed by a 5-year warranty
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
The window size installation is unique: opening widths can only be between 27” and 39” and requires a 16” vertical window opening.
The PIONEER Air Conditioner Mini Split Heatpump is our Best Commercial Unit—especially because of its power and extensive area coverage.
Designed with the latest technologies in mind, this unit has placed efficiency, comfort, and performance, at the forefront of its mission. Reaching 12,000 BTUs, this light commercial unit comes not only capable of cooling your business but also comes with a ductless indoor unit, an outdoor unit, a 16′ installation kit, and a remote control.
If you’re looking to install a unit with an attractive flat front panel and a dimmable LED display, the PIONEER Air Conditioner Mini Split Heatpump is for you. It also features additional details like an automatic swing air discharge louver, permanent washable air filters, a multi-speed fan motor, and a whisper-quiet operation, which customers seem to love!
If you want to take the installation process in your own hands, this easy-to-use system comes with a 16-foot Installation Kit, including a pair of insulated copper tubing with flare connections, interconnecting signal wiring, a wall sleeve liner and cap, putty, wrapping tape, and a drain line extension.
Why is it special?
You can order the same model in various sizes
Included with a heat pump for heating function
One of the quietest models out there
Backed by 5- and 2-year warranty
What are the flaws?
May be complicated to install
A bit of an in-between when it comes to choosing either a window unit or full AC system
The LG LW1016ER, our Best Value unit has a heavy weight of 74 lbs—which means that it’s not one of the lightest on the market—but it does have a few features going for it!
The indoor noise level of 52 dBA makes this unit one of the quietest on the market, which is a nice change for owners of previous air conditioner units who might have struggled with the noise before. We can easily argue that the LG LW1016ER is going to be much quieter than many of its competitors.
The LG LW1016ER is also quite powerful, with a cooling power reaching up to 10,000 BTUs. Reaching up to 450 square feet, it also gets the job done effectively. You can also rest assured that you’ll be surrounded by a less dry environment since this unit doubles the removal of humidity in the air as an effective dehumidifier.
Run with a wireless remote control, the LG LW1016ER is a simple appliance to use—without being attached to the corner of the room. Although you might not think much of this detail, it is one that sets it apart from the rest of the units, easily.
You can also enjoy features like a built-in 24-hour programmable timer, a washable filter, and three fan speeds.
The Koldfront WAC25001W, although has to be installed only in a window with a minimum height of 19.5 inches, does have its perks. For one, unlike other window units, this air conditioner actually doesn’t require a wall sleeve in its build.
Especially since it’s not seen as a split-system, you don’t have one clunky piece of it jutting out your window and one on the inside. Instead, it’s simply one larger piece where it reaches both areas perfectly to function.
You can access control to the temperature with the Koldfront WAC25001W through its digital display and electronic thermostat. You can also control it using a wireless remote control. You can also have access to the multiple types of settings—such as energy-saver mode, the three fan speeds, 4-way air deflector, and sleep mode.
The 24-hour timer and energy saver mode not only helps save you money, but it’s also great for the environment (the world and the one around you).
You can also easily and automatically switch from cooling to heating. The Koldfront WAC25001W is backed by a 2-year warranty.
What makes it stand out?
You can choose from various settings
Has energy-saving modes to help save you money
Comes with a remote control and is easy-to-use
Backed by a 2-year warranty
Quite powerful with 25,000 BTUs of cooling power and 16,000 BTUs of heating power
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
The unit is a bit louder since it’s a split-system unit
The Whynter ARC-14SH is rated as our Best Portable AC Unit because of its lightweight build and power-packing punch. If you’re looking for solid cooling power, this quiet model can get the job done without letting out a ruckus.
Since it’s so easy to move, you can easily install it in your home. One of the only downsides? It seems to consume much more energy than other units in its price range—so if saving money on your energy bill hits that top priority space, you might want to skip this one out.
However, it’s not an energy-spender for nothing—it can actually drop the temperature as quickly as 12 degrees in as little as an hour—which is measured as one of the fastest ones in its class.
The Whynter ARC-14SH, the portable air conditioner can even reach 8 degrees in as little as 20 minutes.
This 3-year backed unit can also reach pretty high in power with 14,000 BTUs reaching up to a working area of 500 square feet.
What makes this 77 lb machine portable? The wheels.
It’s also quite quiet when it comes to operation, rated as being one of the least intrusive air conditioners when it comes to sleeping with the unit nearby.
The Senville SENL-09CD is another great option on the market to help give you the best performance under a budget.
Working with a variable inverter compressor, this efficient cooling unit can also heat the room around it—giving you optimal control, no matter the environment.
The Senville SENL-09CD also boasts easy installation, making the entire process simple to work with. Senville has spared no expense with implementing the newest technology to the game and bringing it to your living room. You’ll be able to get optimal power—from 9,000 BTUs for cooling and 10,000 for heating—and a CEER of 19, for an affordable price.
This environmentally-friendly unit also uses minimal energy to get the job done, meeting manufacturing maximum international standards.
The Senville SENL-09CD works with Inverter technology, which helps bring it to the top of its class, keeping you cool in the summer and warm during those harsh winter months.
The Frigidaire FFRH1822R2 meets your needs at three different fan speeds. Backed by a 5-year limited warranty, this unit also features distinct details that set it apart in its class.
From sleep mode to a programmable 24-Hour On/Off Timer, this unit helps save you money and leaves you in optimal control. You can also simply preset the unit to turn on and off in half-hour increments to help set it and forget it throughout your day.
The anti-bacterial filter works double as an air filter, helping you bring clean air into your home and around your family and reducing bacteria and odors from inside the room. The remote control also helps keep you wire-free, giving you control even from across the room.
You can also keep warm in the summer with a heating function and 2-in-1 Air Conditioner, with comfortable temperatures—no matter what the weather is like outside.
The installation is also simple, with a slide-out chassis, which can be done even on your own.
The Frigidaire FFRH1822R2 also comes with its own extendable power cord, making the need for an extension cord completely obsolete.
With effective features and an even more control-centered remote control, the Koldfront WTC8001W is an effective unit for your home or office.
Able to effectively cool with 8,000 cooling power and heat your home with 4,2000 heating power, this dual air conditioner is not only optimal in control, but it’s also powerful.
As an affordable unit, the Koldfront WTC8001W is designed to reach up to 350 square feet and can be set for three different fan speeds. Not only is it inexpensive in the upfront cost, but it is also estimated at a low cost for operation—especially since it reaches a smaller space.
The Koldfront WTC8001W is also Energy Star certified and thoroughly meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s conservation requirement.
Even though it doesn’t work as effectively as a dehumidifier as other models on the market, it can still keep the operating costs low.
Why are we impressed?
Has additional features like 24-hour timer, sleep mode, etc.
The SereneLife SLPAC8, although backed only by a 1-year warranty, has other features that have boosted it up onto our list today.
Rated as one of the most portable air conditioning units on the market and on our list today, this unit also comes with a built-in dehumidifier to help keep your home or office area dry. The air conditioner unit also includes a window mount kit, which makes it relatively easy to set up and get working.
Run by a remote control, the Compact Room Air Conditioner unit also runs on three different operation modes, including a dehumidifier and fan unit. The SereneLife SLPAC8 is also easy to maintain by simply removing and washing the air filter screen to keep everything healthy and dust-free.
The unit is also run through a Touch Button Control Panel, which displays the time, temperature and fan speed adjustment settings.
The MIDEA MAW08R1BWT has various features that also set it apart in its class. From its 3-in-1 Functionality, with air conditioning, dehumidification, and fan-only modes available, you can truly have control over the environment around you through one unit.
The MIDEA MAW08R1BWT is also extremely fast cooling, which makes it efficient with 8,000 BTUs of power. If you have a room that is around 350 square feet, this can absolutely come in handy!
Some other advanced, innovative features also include a clear LED display on the front panel, a timer mode, energy saver mode, and a sleep mode.
The MIDEA MAW08R1BWT can be easily installed as a window unit on an existing window frame—all the accessories and tools needed for the process are actually included.
Even though the unit is only backed for a year, the warranty is recognized worldwide.
What stands out?
Has an ECO Energy Saver
Has various additional features for different modes
The Arctic King WWK05CM91N is built with a special design to help heat up or cool a small room. Even though it only comes backed by a 5,000 BTU power design and can cool 150 square feet, if that’s all you need, it can be quite effective!
The 11.0 combined energy efficiency rate can help reduce energy costs in your home and office.
The Arctic King WWK05CM91N is also backed by various additional features like seven temperature settings, two cooling and fan settings, and a two-way air direction.
The installation process is also simple and requires only a screwdriver (as well as the instruction manual). The one-year warranty is a smaller guarantee but is recognized worldwide for labor and parts.
Backed by 450 watts of power, the Arctic King WWK05CM91N can be the perfect solution for a smaller home or office space. Run quickly, quietly, and efficiently, the unit can be a great choice.
As we mentioned earlier on, there are so many different air conditioning units out there—a ton more than just the ones highlighted on our list.
So, to help you choose the best, we’ve created this guide to help you work through your buying decision.
As the heat goes up, your price of the best air conditioner shouldn’t have to. These appliances can be an inexpensive and energy-efficient alternative to keeping you cool, even during the hottest days.
Benefits of an ac unit at home
If you’re still on the fence about investing and installing an air conditioner in your home, we want to introduce you to a few benefits that come along with keeping it cool during the summer months.
Especially if you live in a hot state like Florida, you really shouldn’t give air conditioning installment a second thought—this type of investment should really be a no-brainer.
If the heat isn’t persuasive enough, here are some more benefits of having AC in your home (or workplace):
It can be a major benefit to your health—in so many different ways. Whether you’re worried about ousting bugs, insects, and parasites in your home or you’re preoccupied with breathing quality for your family, an AC unit can help get rid of those pesky creatures as well as provide fresh air to help reduce the possibility of asthma attacks.
Instead of paying for a gym membership, installing AC in your home can give you a cool environment (literally) to work out in. Instead of trying to beat the heat in the great outdoors, an indoor workout with AC can not only help you stay comfortable while exercising, but it will also make the process that much more pleasant.
It helps improve sleep. Falling under the category of being a health benefit, getting a good night’s sleep can lead to several other health improvements. Sleeping in a cooler environment can help increase the quality of your sleep, which can do wonders for you in general.
If you have an at-home office, it can help improve your work performance and prevent electronics from dangerously overheating. Getting work done can already be hard with all the distractions from family to household chores (or even entertainment options with more fun things to do with your time)—so, why make it harder on yourself? Installing AC in your home can help keep the comfort to a maximum and your productivity, as well.
How does an air conditioner work?
Think learning about how an AC works is way too complicated for you? To help break the process down into simpler, easy-to-follow steps, we would advise you to watch the following video:
Know your air conditioner brand
When it comes to most products that have a longer warranty and can affect the health of your family, paying a bit more of a premium for a higher-quality brand can benefit you more than it can hurt you financially.
Features to consider while buying the best air conditioner
Having the right air conditioning unit, however, is just as important as installing one in the first place. To help you find the proper size, type, and other details, this guide should be thorough enough to breeze you through the process.
Choose the type you need
One of the first steps in the buying (and choosing) process of finding an adequate air conditioning unit for not only your budget but also your home (or workplace) is going to be figuring out the type of air conditioning unit you need.
Although you might have heard of quite a few options out there on the market, two of the most common options of air conditioners are going to be portable and window—less popular types are also through-the-wall and built-in air conditioners.
If you simply need air condition in one direction, window air conditioners work best! There are also other options that do a great job of having the air on a swivel to help circulate it throughout the room.
You’re also going to have to make the educated decision to choose from various air conditioning systems, from ductless mini-split systems to central air systems.
Consider the room space
To help you choose, you need to consider the room and home space to best define what kind of type you need.
Depending on the size of your room or area—whether it’s as small as 100 square feet to as large as 1,000 square feet, you’ll need to choose a unit that has as little as 5,000 BTUs (which can help you save spending money on unnecessary power) like the Arctic King WWK05CM91N or has as many as 20,000 BTUs and up, like the Koldfront WAC25001W, which has 25,000 BTUs.
The location of the room, as well as the size, is also extremely important—which will dictate how many BTUs you need.
For example, if your room or area is sitting in the sunlight, you’ll need to have an increase of BTUs for your desired unit—like the 25,000 BTU-powered Koldfront WAC25001W.
The last thing you would want after you’ve invested time, research, and money into the installment of an air conditioning unit is to have one that simply makes a ruckus (even if you have a cool environment now to sleep in—the sound can possibly keep you up).
Generally, the generation of noise typically comes from the type or number of fans. If you need help choosing an air conditioning unit based on the noise level, check out the reviews and comments on the product (do a bit of research) to help see which brands and models keep it quiet—even if set on high.
The ability to control the temperature—as well as additional other features that can provide an overall beneficial experience—are also important to see before you buy.
Some models, like the SereneLife SLPAC8, come with additional features that can not only give you optimal control but also keep it comfortable in the comfort of your own home.
Some additional controls, like the one featured with this unit, include a built-in dehumidifier, digital touch button control panel, remote control, 24-hour timer, and a very generous seven feet in power cord length.
What is CEER?
You might have heard of this term before. Although you might know that it’s a good thing, you might not be exactly crystal clear on what it means—we’re here to help.
The “CEER”, the “Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio”, is a set standard that has recently upgraded the air conditioning market that has been officially stated by the Department of Energy.
The CEER is important when it comes to energy efficiency, measuring the energy it takes the air conditioning unit to use while it’s on as well as while it’s on standby.
The units featured on this guide go all the way up to 22.5.
As we already mentioned previously on our guide, the issued size of the air conditioner can play a major role in how efficient it will be when working in your home or space. It can also have a direct impact on how well it actually even fits into your home.
After you’ve done all that research, investment in time, and in money, the last thing you would also want is to have a difficult time with installation.
If you’re not planning on hiring a professional to install the air conditioner for you, you need to be aware that the various styles, types, and sizes of units will come with a different type of installation process.
Most units—especially when sold from the manufacturer will come with an instruction manual to help ease the process. However, if needed, you can also look up how-to videos to have a more visual learning tool.
Making the investment of cool air in your home goes a long way—hopefully.
Taking the warranty or guarantee into account can also play a huge role in the buying process. When ordering directly from the manufacturer, you’ll 100 percent have access to a guarantee or warranty for the unit.
Maintaining your unit has a crucial impact on the lifetime of your unit—no matter what the warranty says. There’s no use of having a longer warranty if you’re not keeping up with maintenance.
It’s advised to regularly clean and maintain your unit based on the manufacturer’s advice to help keep it in working order and pristine condition.
Depending on your budget, you will still have pristine air conditioner units available to you in your price range.
Even our most budget-friendly options still have the features that you would find in the most premium of choices, which makes the appliances quite accessible to the everyday user.
If you’re investing in an appliance like this one, you’ll definitely want one that can withstand time as well as use. Let’s face it—especially during those summer months, you’re going to be using it excessively!
If you have a question about the durability of your air conditioner appliance that you may think can only be answered with time, take a closer look at the manufacturer and if they’ve done a “durability test”. Most will have that labeled on their site that they’ve done long-term tests. These experiments are done normally under stronger and more straining conditions which will never be the case in a normal situation.
There are three major durability tests. They are:
The Continuous Operation Test
The Compressor Reliability Test
The Waterproofing Test
Although cleaning might not be your favorite thing in the world—yes, there are some people out there who love it—this task and responsibility can help with the maintenance of your air conditioning unit and getting the best years of it as possible.
Depending on the type of unit you have, the cleaning process may change quite a bit.
Central Air Unit
You need to make sure the power is completely turned off.
After doing so, you can begin with the air conditioner condenser using a vacuum and soft bristle.
Your AC Unit interior is next—which can also be cleaned with the vacuum hose.
Finally, remove and replace the air filter. Once all is thoroughly cleaned, you can then put all the parts back in and turn the power back on.
Again, make sure the power is completely turned off.
Front plate removal goes first—followed then by a thorough vacuuming near the coils.
You should then check the drain pan—which is located at the base of the unit. You might need to clean or replace them depending on the rust or blockage.
Next (and finally), check the filter to see if it needs to either be cleaned or replaced.
Before you buy—and definitely before you think about installing an air conditioning unit, you should make sure you read the answers to these most frequently asked questions.
You either might have had these questions before or you never knew you needed them answered before you read them!
Although we definitely suggest consulting an expert when it comes to installing a central air conditioner, here are a few tips to help you out with the process.
You’ll first need to check out if your local government actually needs you to have a permit because of HVAC work. This can be done through a contractor but can also be done on your own.
Once approved (if it was required), you’ll then have the contractor or installer take the old air conditioner apart and remove it (if you have one).
Once the old is out of the way, new duct systems need to be installed or older ones need to be repaired to ensure optimal function.
Before installation begins, you need to prepare the area in which you’re going to be installing the unit. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions on whether or not you’ll need a concrete pad or rooftop supports. This might be different depending on each air conditioning unit.
You also should check with a professional about whether or not you need to install or replace your outdoor AND an indoor unit. Once this is done, you should connect both units. This will involve the refrigerant and electrical lines as well as the drain piping.
Once everything is done, connect a new or existing thermostat to your unit.
After everything is installed and ready, you might be curious as to how long a unit will last. Although each unit is different, most units will generally last up to 15 years. However, if maintenance is not cared for regularly, this can be drastically reduced.
To have your air conditioning unit work as effectively as possible, you should try and inform yourself about how it works—even to the most intricate of parts.
If you’re wondering about the HVAC system, which stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, which are all functions of an air conditioner unit. This combination of systems helps you control various indoor settings to help regulate the environment and temperature to give you the best comfort possible.
The four different parts of the unit work together—from the air conditioner cooling the air found outside the home or area to the ventilation system, which replaces and exchanges the air within a space. It is a sort of purifier, which of air indoors and involves the removal of moisture, smoke, odors, heat, dust, airborne bacteria, carbon dioxide, and other gases.
In case you don’t feel like reading the entire guide, we’ve created a short summary for you to quickly view our top three best choices:
The Friedrich Chill Series EP18G33B, rated 9.9, is our Editor’s Choice for the best choice air conditioner. Although it’s not the most powerful with only 7,500 BTUs, it comes backed with a 5-year warranty and additional features like a 24-hour timer, an automatic air sweep, and an automatic restart.
The PIONEER Air Conditioner Mini Split Heatpump, rated 9.7, is our Runner’s Up and Best Commercial Choice. With the power of 12,000 BTUs, it also has a 2 to 5 year warranty and extra features, like the speed DC inverter, sleep mode, refrigerant leakage detect, and wireless control, which set it apart.
The LG LW1016ER, rated 9.6, is our Best Value Pick if you’re looking for quality at an affordable price. Although it only has a one-year warranty, it runs with 10,000 BTUs and features various additional details that not just any budget pick would have.
If you’re looking for the best air conditioner that your budget can buy, we hope that this article has helped you out!