What Are The Best 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioners?

Window air conditioners can be a lifesaver in the middle of summer. Sure, I am writing this article in February but I can assure you ladies and gentlemen that I can remember the heat of July and August. You see, I am from Kansas and if you didn’t know it gets pretty darn hot here during the summer. On some of the more severe summers we get four, five, or even six weeks straight of one-hundred degree temperatures. Don’t worry though, at night it falls down to a balmy eighty-five degrees.

Here in Kansas, and I can imagine elsewhere, there is a huge market for air conditioning. I don’t care if it’s in your car, your office, your home, or even your tractor. (Yes, they have that in tractors.) The need for air conditioning is crucial but what do you do if you move into a new home or a apartment that does not support air conditioning? What if the home is so old that there are no central ducts routed in the walls? How do you stay cool then? Well in this particular scenario you have two choices and almost everyone chooses option B.

A) Pay a contractor to retrofit your entire home so that it can handle a central air conditioning system. This involves not only installing inbound ducts but also outbound. They tear apart your walls and make one hell of a mess.

B) The other option is window air conditioners. They’re simple and most of the time they’re cheap, at least when compared to the big central air systems out there. All you have to do is buy the unit, pop it in your window, secure it, plug it in, and presto! You now have cold air and relief from the summer’s sun.

Choosing a Window or a Portable Air Conditioner

Before you make your decision on rather or not you will be buying a portable air conditioner or a window air conditioner you should first consider the differences between the two types of products. What product are you leaning towards? Which one should you actually get? To be honest folks, these products are really very similar and there are only a few key differences that you will need to think about before making your buying decision. Let’s take a look:

Window Units

  •  Window air conditioners have to be mounted either through your window or through a make-shift hole in your wall. Once mounted correctly they provide a stable and reliable cooling source. Some people may struggle mounting these units, especially if it is a higher BTU model and is a heavier unit. Depending on the size a proper mounting job may require two people.
  • Generally, window units are more efficient then a portable unit. That means that you get more cooling power per BTU and also save on energy bills when compared to portable air conditioners.
  • Another benefit to them is that you don’t have to worry about where to vent the exhaust. Window units are designed to be halfway in and out of your house so that there is a space for the exhaust to go right away. The downside here, which I’ll mention further below, is that mounted window units are sometimes seen as an eyesore and depending on where you live you may get complaints.
  • If you have decided on a window unit then check out our Best Window Air Conditioners guide.

Portable Units

  • Portable air conditioners are just that, portable. That means they are easy to move around your home or to even pack in your truck and take somewhere else. The versatility of this adds a lot of favor to the portable air conditioner side of things.
  • A portable air conditioner is much much easier to install. There is no mounting required, no support brackets, none of the hassle that comes with installing a window unit into your home, garage, or office. These units are all about the ‘easy’ button.
  • While portable air conditioners are easy to install they also prevent any potential squabble with your home owner’s association. Most HOAs do not allow a window unit hanging out of a home. They see it as an eye sore and will tolerate it. A portable air conditioner can give you a work around as the worst anyone is going to see is a small exhaust tube.
  • Also check our Best Portable Air Conditioners guide.


Now when you decide to buy a window unit and you begin looking at the different brands and sizes out there you may begin to feel overwhelmed. There are SO many choices out there. How can you be sure that you pick the right one?

I’m not going to get into every little consideration to make when buying a window unit in this article. Instead, I wrote a window air conditioner buyer’s guide that takes you through the steps of what to look for and how to prepare to buy a window air conditioner. This buyer’s guide can be found by clicking here. This guide should answer any question that you would have on air conditioner. If you feel like I missed something please feel free to reach out to me by clicking here to let me know.

The Best 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioners

The next step up in size are the 11,000 to 12,000 BTU range. These sized window units are designed to cool rooms ranging from four-hundred and fifty square feet upwards to five-hundred and fifty square feet. These sized rooms are getting into your very large living rooms or smaller sized apartments or condominiums. It is very important to note that as we go up in sizes here that you will start running into products only taking two-hundred and twenty volts rather than a standard one-hundred and fifteen to one-hundred and twenty volt. What that means is that you will have to have an appropriate sized outlet in order to plugin one of these units in. Keep that in mind before purchasing one of these units.

Our Good, Better, Best picks for this BTU range are as follows:

  • Good – Frigidaire FFRA1222R1 12000 BTU

    • The Frigidaire FFRA1222R1 is our pick for the Good category. This product again has features we come to recognize by now including twenty-four hour on and off switch and auto-cool. The downside here is that this unit is only rated at 10.9 for Energy Efficiency. That is substantially lower than the other products out there that were at 11 or even 12. You also do not get a digital display and are stuck with turn knob dials. The last thing I’ll mention on this unit is that it only needs a one-hundred and fifteen volt outlet. This is the pick if you don’t have a two-hundred and twenty volt outlet or don’t want to bother with differing outlets and electrical.
  • Better – Koldfront WAC12001W 12,000 BTU
    • Our better pick is the Koldfron WAC12001W. This is a large improvement from our good pick. With this unit you get your digital display as well as easy to use controls. The energy efficiency is on par with the previous pick at 10.9. The reason I picked this one as a better category is that it also contains 11,000 BTUs of electric heat. So, you have an air conditioner and a heater for both seasons. I’m a fan of the all in one solution and this product does just that. I can picture this unit being installed in a detached garage. Be aware that you need a two-hundred and twenty volt outlet to plug this unit in.
      LG LW1216HR 12,000 BTU
      LG LW1216HR 12,000 BTU
  • Best – LG LW1216HR 12,000 BTU
    • The LG LW1216HR unit is the best in class for the 12,000 BTU range. Right off the bat you can see that the energy efficiency ratio is higher at 11.3. Like before you also get the heater functionality with this unit. (11,200 heater BTUs.) Along with that this unit has been reviewed over and over again to be a very quiet unit. As I have said before having a quiet unit, especially at night, is an essential for a lot of people. This product is a definite buy if you are looking for top quality to heat and cool a room or garage. I will warn you that you will need a two-hundred and thirty volt electrical outlet for this unit to work properly.


If you find that the 12,000 BTU size isn’t the right size for you then I would highly suggest you visit our latest article titled, “What Are The Best Window Air Conditioners.” This article is similar to the one you are reading now except that it shows suggestions and input for all window air conditioner sizes. Yes, that includes 5,000 BTUs all the way up to 24,000 BTUs. By reading through this article you will get a feel for exactly what sized air conditioner you need.

I hope this article was helpful and thanks for reading folks. Remember to stay cool!