What Are The Best Window Air Conditioners?

Depending on where you are in the country, or the world, air conditioning may be an after thought or it may be an absolute necessity. Where I am from, here in Kansas City, it is an absolute necessity especially in the months of July and August. While we’re not as hot as Florida or Phoenix we do get weeks of one-hundred plus degree heat without break. On top of that the humidity here makes it that much worse. At times you step outside and it nearly feels like you can swim through the air. Most people escape this heat by their central air conditioning system in their office or their home, but what should you do if your home doesn’t support a central air system?

Many of the older homes out there going back forty, fifty, or even sixty years ago weren’t outfitted with ducts. These homeowners are either faced with the expensive cost to retrofit their home for a central air system or find an alternative solution. The same can be said for those of you who do not own a home but are living in an apartment or condominium. Most of the time in these situations the landlord won’t let you make any changes to the domicile and if your apartment doesn’t have a central air system you are going to be sweating through those summer months unless you find that alternative solution.

The most affordable and easiest solution that millions of people use around the world are window air conditioners. With a window air conditioner you get the benefits of having a cooled room without having to go through the cost and fuss of having a central air system installed. While a window unit is not a fix all solution it can provide much needed relief for those people suffering through the summer. Personally, I can’t sleep in a hot room. I have to have the temperature down low or I am going to be tossing and turning all night. Even if I have to put up with the heat during the day at least I can get that relief during the night with my window unit.

If you are looking to purchase a window air conditioner for your home or if you are just shopping then I can already imagine that you have been overwhelmed by the amount of choices that are out there. Heck, if you just google window air conditioner you are going to see tons of products thrown at you. Each one of these products will most likely have a different brand name, a different BTU size, a different unit size, and on and on. It can be a little intimidating especially if you haven’t bought one of these products before. Not to mention, if you do decide on one how do you know what you are getting? Did you settle on the best product, or did you make a mistake?

Here at RefrigerantHQ we are going to make that choice a whole lot easier for you when it comes to purchasing your new air conditioner.

Choosing Between 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 RefrigerantHQ’s guide on ‘What are the Best Window Air Conditioners,’ by clicking here.

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.
  • For RefrigerantHQ’s guide on ‘What are the Best Portable Air Conditioners,’ by clicking here.

Considerations

First thing’s first. Before we can get into the best of section I want to point out that in order to buy a window air conditioner you have to take in a variety of factors and considerations before you can purchase. Now, I don’t want this article to be extremely long so I am not going to get into all of the different categories and considerations when shopping for a window air conditioner. Instead, I am going to link you to our official RefrigerantHQ Window Air Conditioner Buyer’s Guide. This guide goes into what size of air conditioner you need, how much power you need, and any and all other factors to consider before purchasing. Any question that you possibly had will be answered in this guide.

Alright, now ladies and gentlemen onto the best of!

What Are The Best Window Air Conditioners?

I am a big believer in giving consumers choice, but a limited choice. Instead of offering you fifty or even one-hundred different options for your new window air conditioner we are going to offer you three products in each category. The thinking behind this model is giving the consumer a Good, Better, Best option. This methodology of selling was taught  to me nearly ten years ago from a former supervisor. The concept behind it is we give an option to the price conscious customer: Good, an option to the middle of the road customer: Better, and an option for the premium customer: Best. So, once you recognize what kind of customer you are and what your budget is we can begin to narrow down your selection.

The last thing that I am going to mention before getting into the products is that a Good ranked product is not a bad product by any measure. They are a perfectly good product they just not may have all of the bells and whistles that a Better or Best rated product may have. Think of it as a bare bones car compared to a sports edition. The bare bones vehicle will still service it’s function getting you from point A to point B but it will not have all of the features that a sports edition will.

Alright folks, so I am assuming that you have either read our window air conditioner buyer’s guide or you already have an idea of what size air conditioner that you need. I am going to suggest you air conditoners based on BTU range. Let’s take a look:

5,000-6,000 BTU Range

The 5,000-6,000 BTU range are meant to cool a one-hundred to two-hundred and fifty square foot room. These sized rooms are your typical bedrooms or offices that you would find in most standard homes or apartments. These are the kind of window units to cool your bedroom for sleeping or for a refuge away from the heat in the rest of your home.

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

  • Good – Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5, 000 BTU
    • The Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 is a great and easy buy for people who just want relief from the summer’s heat. This is a cheaper and rather simple unit but I can assure you that it gets the job done. With over two-thousand reviews on Amazon.com and an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars you cannot go wrong with this unit.
  • Better – Frigidaire FFRE0533Q1 5,000 BTU
    • The Frigidaire FFRE0533Q1 is a bit higher in price then our previous model but with that higher price you get a lot more features that simply just weren’t there on the Good choice. With this product you get an electronic display and controls that displays the temperature of the room real time. Along with that you get a fully functional remote control.

      Friedrich Chill CP06G10B 6000 BTU Window Air Conditioner
      Friedrich Chill CP06G10B 6000 BTU Window Air Conditioner
  • Best – Friedrich Chill CP06G10B 6,000 BTU
    • The Friedrich Chill CP06G10B is quite a bit more expensive then our previous choices, but remember folks this is our Best option in this BTU range. This unit comes in at 6,000 BTUs which is a whole another 1,000 BTUs higher than the previous choices. This unit is Energy Star certified by the EPA. (Which means it is very efficient and comes with a low energy bill.) Along with a remote control and a digital display you also get a twenty-four hour timer that lets you program on and off times as well as a auto-restart feature in case the power is lost during the day or night. The last thing that I’ll mention is something that I hadn’t even thought about. The CP06G10B comes with a anti-intrusion feature that secures the actual unit to the side sleeves. This prevents someone from kicking in the unit and breaking into your home. This is a high quality and premium product.

7,000-8,000 BTU Range

The 7,000-8,000 BTU range window units are meant to cool rooms at around two-hundred and fifty square feet upwards to three-hundred and fifty square feet. These sized rooms are your typical master bedrooms or living rooms. In my home our master bedroom sits above our garage. While this makes for a larger than usual master bedroom it also makes for atrocious heating and cooling. We have a window unit right in this range for our bedroom and it works quite well.

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

  • Good – GE AHM08LW  8,000 BTU
    • GE’s AHM08LW is a low priced option for those of you who need more power but don’t want to spend a fortune on a new window unit. This product comes with a digital temperature display and is Energy Star certified with the EPA. (Remember, Energy Star certified means that it is more efficient and will cost less per month to run.) The big selling point on this unit is the price. It is not easy to find an 8,000 BTU at this price point.
  • Better – LG LW8016ER 8,000 BTU
    • The LG LW8016ER unit is a step up from our previous but still comes in at a great price point for an 8,000 BTU system. This system is also Energy Star certified with the EPA. You get the digital temperature display, a remote, and a 24 hour on/off timer that allows you to program the air conditioner in advance. A big selling point here is that this unit is rated at 12.1 in Energy Efficiency Ratio. The EPA’s baseline is 10.0 and most other air conditioners fall in line at 10.0 or 11.0. This is the first 12.1 unit I have come across.

      Frigidaire FFRH0822R1 8000 BTU
      Frigidaire FFRH0822R1 8000 BTU
  • Best – Frigidaire FFRH0822R1 8000 BTU
    • The Frigidaire FFRH0822R1 is substantially more in price then our other two models. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again though folks, remember that we are looking at the best of category now and with quality comes a higher price. The big thing that jumps out to me with this unit is that it comes with a heat pump as well. What that means is that you actually get a heater along with your air conditioner. All built into one. Along with the heat option you get all of the other standard options such as digital temperature display, eight way comfort control design, three cooling speeds, twenty-four on and off timer, and a whole lot more. Just be wary folks of the price on this unit. Yes, it is expensive but again, you are paying for top quality as well as paying for a heater.

9,000-10,000 BTU Range

The 9,000-10,000 BTU ranges are intended to cool rooms between three-hundred and fifty square feet to four-hundred and fifty square feet. Again, these are your living rooms or larger master bedrooms. Depending on where you live in the world this could be a small studio apartment as well. These sized window units are good for cooling that one or two room situation but if you are looking to cool an entire floor or a higher square footage area then you should be looking at the next size up. Otherwise, if you feel this size is the right fit for you then go for it!

Our Good, Better, and Best products are featured below:

  • Good – LG LW1016ER 10,000 BTU
    • The LG LW1016ER is a great priced unit in the 10,000 BTU range. With this product you get a lot of the features that we have already mentioned from previous products. This unit is also Energy Star certified with an energy efficient ratio rating of 12.1. Lastly, this takes a standard 115 volt outlet, which is rare with these larger BTU units. This is a solid buy and will keep your home cool.
  • Better – Frigidaire FFRE1033S1 10,000 BTU
    • I’ll be honest with you folks there wasn’t too much difference between the LG LW1016ER and this Frigidaire FFRE1033S1. Sometimes that is the case when comparing Good and Better categories. Like before this unit is Energy Star certified with the EPA and is rated at 12.0 in Energy Efficiency Ratio. You get the usual controls of that we have come to recognize from other units. Another feature on this unit is that it runs quieter than others out there. While that may not seem like a big deal I can assure you that if you are a light sleeper like my wife is then you will wake up to a loud window unit. While the price on this unit and the LG are pretty much on par I would suggest going with this one over the LG model.

      Frigidaire FFRE1033Q1 10,000 BTU
      Frigidaire FFRE1033Q1 10,000 BTU
  • Best – Frigidaire FFRE1033Q1 10,000 BTU
    • The Frigidaire FFRE1033Q1 is our pick for the best category. This category was tough determining a Good, Better, Best approach. This was mainly due to so many of the appliances closely resembling each other. There was very little that set them apart from each other. The FFRE1033Q1 has many of the features that we mentioned with the above product picks in this category. I picked this to be our best for one main reason and that is customer feedback and reviews. With the other units there were some reviews out there but there was nothing like the volume that I saw on this product. It is always a safe bet to purchase when there was numerous reviews with an average rating of four out of five stars.

11,000-12,000 BTU Range

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.

13,000-15,000 BTU Range

Onward and upwards. The next range we have is 13,000-15,000 BTUs. These units are designed to cool rooms ranging between five-hundred and fifty to seven-hundred square feet. Here is where we really begin to get into apartment or condominium living. There could also be a scenario where you are looking to cool a few bedrooms on the second story of your home. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to buy something with too little power as then your unit will be running constantly day and night and end up costing you higher energy bills. Please follow our square footage guidelines so that you can get the best fit.

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

  • Good – Frigidaire FFRE1533S1 15,100 BTU
    • The Frigidaire FFRE1533S1 is our pick for the good category. While the price may seem high for an entry level air conditioner you should know that the higher the BTUs the higher the cost will be. This unit is Energy Star certified with the EPA and has a energy efficiency ratio of 11.8. You get a digital temperature display, a remote control, even a clean air ionizer that removes pollen and other impurities from the room.
  • Better – LG LW1516ER 15,000 BTU
    • The LG LW1516ER is our pick for better. In fact, there isn’t too much of a difference between this unit and the Frigidaire that we just previewed. The LG is Energy Star certified, like the other. It has an energy efficiency ratio of 11.9, a full .1 higher than the good model. Besides that folks the Frigidiare FFRE1533S1 and the LG LW1516ER are very similar. The LG is slightly more expensive and comes with slightly better features but to be honest I would go with the Frigidaire in this lineup. You save some money and get pretty much the same thing. One last thing to mention is that this unit uses a standard one-hundred and fifteen volt outlet instead of a special two-hundred and twenty.

      LG LW1516ER 15,000 BTU
      LG LW1516ER 15,000 BTU
  • Best – Friedrich CP15G10B 15,500 BTU
    • If you haven’t noticed by now the Friedrich brand is the maker of premium window units. So, I wasn’t surprised to see this name come up again for our best category. Friedrich’s CP15G10B is Energy Star certified with the EPA, has an energy efficiency ratio of 11.9, has a digital temperature display, and comes with a fully functional remote. There are many other features with this unit as well, but I won’t get into every little thing. The reason this product is at such a higher price than the Frigidaire and the LG models is that the Friedrich brand name brings quality and workmanship. The best way I can describe it is by using a car analogy. Frigidaire/LG are the Ford models and Friedrich is the Mercury. It basically boils down to what kind of consumer do you want to be? Do you want a Ford or a Mercury? The last thing that I’ll mention on this unit is that it comes with a one-hundred and fifteen plug/outlet. That means it’ll fit your standard plug-in, which is rare for these larger BTU units.

16,000-18,000 BTU Range

Now we are at the 16,000 to 18,000 BTU range. These window units are designed to cool seven-hundred square feet all the way up to one-thousand square feet. Again, this is your apartment/condominium living solution. This could also give you a great solution to cooling an entire floor of your home. As an example, if you had the first floor remain uncooled during the summer but you wanted the bedrooms, which were located upstairs, to stay nice and cool for sleeping then this would be a good fit.

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

  • Good – Frigidaire FFRE1833Q2 18,000 BTU
    • Frigidaire’s FFRE1833Q2 is our pick for the good category. This unit comes with all of the features that we are very familiar with such as digital temperature display, remote control, and a clean air ionizer. This unit will cool one-thousand square feet without a problem. Please be warned that this unit requires a two-hundred and thirty volt outlet.
  • Better – Frigidaire FFRH1822R2 18500 BTU
    • The Frigidaire FFRH1822R2 is fairly similar to the previous model we just viewed. However, a few things stand out from this unit that made me put it in the better category. The first is that we have an extra 500 BTUs with this unit. That means more power and more ability to cool. The next thing is that this unit has a built in heater that comes with 16,000 BTUs of power. (It is worth noting that this heater will only work with temperatures at or above forty-five degrees.) The point here folks is that you get all of the features as the previous model along with the extra BTUs and the heat function. Like before, this unit requires a two-hundred and thirty volt outlet to operate.

      Friedrich EP18G33B 18000 BTU
      Friedrich EP18G33B 18000 BTU
  • Best – Friedrich EP18G33B 18000 BTU 
    • Again folks we are looking at the Friedrich brand name for our best pick. This time it is the EP18G33B model. Like the previous model this unit comes with a built in electric heater. What I really like about this unit is that once you program a set temperature the unit will cool OR heat to get you to that desired temperature. That means it is literally a set and forget temperature. I am a big fan of the easy button and this product does just that. You also get the great Friedrich brand name and quality that comes with the name. Like all of the other models out there this unit takes a two-hundred and thirty volt outlet. 

19,000-21,000 BTU Range

The 19,000-21,000 BTU range is a bit of an odder size and to be honest there weren’t many products choices to choose from. In this BTU range we are looking to cool between one-thousand square feet upwards to twelve-hundred square feet. Again, this covers the entirety of an apartment or condo as well as most first or second floors. Depending on the size of your house these units could even cool your entire home.

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

  • Good – N/A
    • Well folks, I searched and searched for more options in this BTU range and frankly there just isn’t any. As we go up in BTU sizes the amount of options and choices dwindles and dwindles. In this case there was only one window air conditioner that I found which is featured in our best category below.
  • Better – N/A
    • See notes above.
  • Best – Friedrich CP18G30B 19,000 BTU
    • Surprise surprise! It is Friedrich again to the rescue. Our pick for the best category in this range is Friedrich’s CP18G30B. This product comes with the quality that we have come to love with the Freidrich name. Along with that it is Energy Star certified, comes with a programmable remote control, and a host of other features. I can go on about this product but truth be told though folks, if I was to recommend you a direction to go in I would either go down a size and look at the 18,000 BTU range or go up a section and look at the 22,000 BTU range if you are looking to cool a very large space. This 19,000 BTU is an odd size and if it was me I would want something more uniform.

22,000-25,000 BTU range

Alright, we’ve saved the biggest for last folks. The 22,000-25,000 BTU range are the biggest out there before you start moving to a traditional split/central air conditioning system. These units are rated to cool rooms ranging from twelve-hundred square feet all the way up to fourteen-hundred square feet. These products will cool most homes just by themselves. My home is just a hair over fourteen-hundred square feet. These units would be perfect for me. If you do have a larger home, say over fifteen hundred, then you may need to look at a different solution. Some folks will buy one of these products for their main floor and then buy a smaller unit, say 10,000 BTU, and place the smaller one upstairs to cool the bedrooms. The combination of the two units working in tandem with each other results in a nice cool home even during the hottest summer months.

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

  • Good – LG LW2516ER 24,500 BTU
    • LG’s LW2516ER is our good pick. It is Energy Star certified but only comes in at 10.3 for energy efficiency ratio. (Remember, the guideline from the EPA is 10.0) The unit is rated to cool a room up to 1,560 square feet. That right there is a whole lot of power and could cool a lot of homes just by itself. You get the usual features as well such as twenty-four hour on/off cycle, handheld remote, and a digital temperature display. As with all air conditioners this big this unit requires a two-hundred and thirty volt outlet to operate.
  • Better – Friedrich CP24G30B 24,000 BTU
    • And we’re back to the Friedrich models! Our pick for better is Friedrich’s CP24G30B window unit. This unit is rated to cool fourteen-hundred square feet of space. It is Energy Star certified but again only has an Energy Efficiency ration of 10.4 (These larger units are not near as efficient as the smaller ones.) Be aware that this unit will need a two-hundred and thirty volt outlet to operate.

      Friedrich EP24G33B 23000 BTU
      Friedrich EP24G33B 23000 BTU
  • Best – Friedrich EP24G33B 23000 BTU 
    • Our last pick and bets pick is Friedrich’s EP24G33B window air conditioner. First thing’s first. This unit is not Energy Star certified with the EPA and it’s energy efficiency ratio is 9.8. This is not the most efficient unit out there, but what you do get is a powerful air conditioner able to cool fourteen-hundred square feet as well as an electric heater rated at 12,000 BTUs. You also get all of the other features that such as digital display, remote control, twenty-four hour on/off timer, and the premium quality that comes from the Friedrich brand name. All of these factors combined made me chose this unit in our best of category. Lastly, please remember that this unit requires a two-hundred and thirty volt outlet in order for it to operate.

Conclusion

Well folks I hope that this best of article was able to not only answer your questions but to also provide you with the right sized air conditioner as well as a suitable choice for a product to cool your home. I appreciate your viewership and if you have anything you would like to contribute or add please do not hesitate to reach out to me by clicking here. Remember to stay cool folks, and if your air conditioner is out go jump in the pool and cool off!

Also, check out a few more articles that we have done on the topic of window air conditioners:

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

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