Before central air systems became a popular method to heat and cool homes in North America, the window-mounted air conditioner reigned supreme. While the window-mounted air conditioner might not be the most aesthetically pleasing way to cool (or heat) your home, the fact remains that window-mounted air conditioners give homeowners the most control over their individual rooms’ temperatures.
A window-mounted air conditioner in every room means that each room can be the perfect temperature. Likewise, you can turn off your air conditioner in rooms that are not in use to save money on the electric bill. Some may also prefer window-mounted air conditioners for their ease of use and easy installation in homes that may not have ducts installed.
For the fans of the window-mounted air conditioner, this article reviews the top four best models in the market today. After going over each, we’ll be taking the time to break down what you need to know before committing to an air conditioner before finally crowning the best window-mounted air conditioner for you.
- Kenmore Elite 77107
- This Kenmore unit packs 21st-century technology into a tried and true design by marrying smart controls with easy operation, dehumidification capability, and Energy Star certification. Boasting the highest BTU rating and a small frame, this window-mounted AC is one of the best for the price.
- LG LW8016ER
- While this unit’s aesthetic design won’t turn any heads, the raw BTU output and excellent dehumidification certainly will. LG’s window-mounted air conditioner comes in at a price that’s hard to beat, and while it’s a bit of a drain on power, it’s more than capable of cooling most rooms.
- Haier Serenity ESAQ406T
- Offering multiple features, a quiet mode, and a dedicated dehumidifier, this Haier unit is designed to please. While we wish you could get more raw power out of this unit, there’s no denying that this unit packs a lot into one of the smallest air conditioners on our list.
- Friedrich Kühl SQ06N10C
- Friedrich certainly deserves recognition for their eye-catching window-mounted air conditioner design. Lots of smart functionality and some impressive programming features are built right into the unit. While this unit gets quieter than any other on our list, it will struggle to cool larger rooms.
- Window Mounted Air Conditioner Buyers Guide
- BTU Explained
- Volume & Features
- Final Thoughts
Window-Mounted | 10,000 BTU | 2.11 pts/hr | 15 X 23.6 X 22.2 | < 52 dB
This Kenmore unit packs 21st-century technology into a tried and true design by marrying smart controls with easy operation, dehumidification capability, and Energy Star certification. Boasting the highest BTU rating and a small frame, this window-mounted AC is one of the best for the price.
- Alexa and application-based controls
- Small and lightweight design
- High BTU rating for its category
- Good dehumidification
- Easy manual controls
- Could be quieter
- Spotty smart functionality
- Some quality control issues
- Temperature control can be finicky
- Connect Now functionality works with Alexa and the Kenmore Smart App
- 3 fan speeds and washable filter
- Energy Star Certified
- Warranty: 1-year Limited
Kenmore’s Elite Smart window-mounted air conditioner checks all of the right boxes while still providing a consistent operation, relatively simple installation, and a simple white square design that will easily blend into lighter rooms.
The powerful fan, combined with excellent cooling capability, means that this air conditioner is good for rooms up to 500 square feet. While there are some quality control issues and the volume isn’t preferable, we think having smart functionality was a great choice for this unit. Being able to control the unit even from other rooms in your home using a connected Alexa system can make it easy to prepare a room long before you’ll need to enter it. The bottom line: if you’re looking for a powerful window-mounted air conditioner that blends ease of use with technology, this is the unit you need.
Window-Mounted | 8,000 BTU | 2.2 pts/hr | 19.6 X 19.4 X 12.4 | < 54 dB
While this unit’s aesthetic design won’t turn any heads, the raw BTU output and excellent dehumidification certainly will. LG’s window-mounted air conditioner comes in at a price that’s hard to beat, and while it’s a bit of a drain on power, it’s more than capable of cooling most rooms.
- Excellent dehumidification
- Smaller size
- Very energy efficient
- Variable fan speeds
- Compressor puts a strain on a home’s power grid
- Vibrations and rattling reported for some units
- Lackluster remote operation
- Includes patented gold fin anti-corrosion for protection against the elements
- Uses standard 115V outlet
- Warranty: 1-year Limited
LG is certainly known for its sleek, modern design across many of its home appliances, but this LG LW8015ER trades aesthetics for wallet appeal with a unit that is both simple and easy to operate.
LG’s focus here is on functionality, and at 8,000 BTU, this unit packs a serious punch for the price. Likewise, we appreciate the use of a standard outlet, although you may notice your lights dimming when the compressor kicks on. Otherwise, the three fan settings and quick operation of this unit should help you get through the summer months without breaking a sweat. We think this LG unit is good for budget seekers who don’t want to compromise on power.
Window-Mounted | 6,000 BTU | 1.5 pts/hr | 18.1 x 21.2 x 12.4 | < 44 dB
Offering multiple features, a quiet mode, and a dedicated dehumidifier, this Haier unit is designed to please. While we wish you could get more raw power out of this unit, there’s no denying that this unit packs a lot into one of the smallest air conditioners on our list.
- Small size
- Lots of great and useful features
- Dedicated quiet mode
- 4-way air intake
- Lower BTU rating
- Faster fan settings can be quite loud
- Can struggle in extreme heat conditions
- Includes dedicated cool, energy save, fan, and dehumidify modes
- Full-function remote control with LED display
- Warranty: 1-year parts, 5-year compressor
The Haier Serenity ESAQ406T quiet window-mounted air conditioner unit hits the mark on many metrics and manages to do so with a relatively small footprint. It offers the same sort of variable-fan operation that our last two picks have but adds a few more perks.
Dedicated modes for specific functionality like dehumidification are great for those who want to run the unit but not necessarily at full power. We’re also big fans of the fully-realized remote, which can cover almost everything that you could access on the unit itself and present the information on a clear LED screen.
Unfortunately, the quiet operation and low decibel score are achieved with only one operational mode: if you need to run the unit at maximum capacity, quiet wouldn’t be the first word that came to mind. Likewise, those in tropical climates might struggle to cool rooms. We still need to give credit where credit is due, and Haier was able to produce an adjustable unit that can work for many. We recommend this unit for those with smaller rooms to cool and who need lots of features built into the unit.
Window-Mounted | 5,800 BTU | 1.2 pts/hr | 21.4 x 19.8 x 14 | < 43 dB
Friedrich certainly deserves recognition for their eye-catching window-mounted air conditioner design. Lots of smart functionality and some impressive programming features are built right into the unit. While this unit gets quieter than any other on our list, it will struggle to cool larger rooms.
- Elegant and customizable design
- Smart control functionality
- Detailed schedule setting
- Very durable
- Very quiet operation
- No remote control
- Unintuitive onboard controls
- Can struggle to cool large spaces
- Control your unit from a smartphone, tablet, or phone
- 7-day programmability
- Warranty: 1-year parts, 5-year compressor
If this were a competition of design, the Friedrich Kühl Series SQ06N10C would certainly come out on top. Their eye-catching and elegant design makes this window-mounted unit fit in with any modern home. This model is a smart window-mounted air conditioner that’s built with durability and ease of use in mind. And while there is no questioning the quality of the steel and other materials that make up the unit, functionality can be a little hit or miss.
For example, there is no dedicated remote control, and changing settings from a serious lack of dedicated buttons isn’t easy. If you purchase the separate attachment, control over these different features and fan speeds can be a breeze, but this mean the added expense of an additional purchase.
Still, when Haier says this unit gets quiet, they mean it. The Kühl series is not only the quietest unit on this list; it is also one of the quietest units available in the market today. This air conditioner isn’t for everyone, but provided you have an eye for aesthetics and need something that’s quiet and simple, this unit should serve you well.
Window Mounted Air Conditioner Buyers Guide
While we certainly believe each of these units has something for everyone, picking between any of these four window-mounted air conditioning units is going to require a little more information about how air conditioners operate in your home. If you’re not quite sure about aspects such as BTU ratings, dehumidification capabilities, or how to install your unit once you’ve purchased it, consider the following before buying your new air conditioner:
Each of our four picks, as well as most other window-mounted air conditioning units, will be focused on their BTU rating. BTU, or British Thermal Units, are a measurement of how much energy it takes to raise a pound of water one degree in temperature. An air conditioner’s BTU rating is a clear indication of its cooling power because the more BTU a unit has, the more capable it will be to cool a room.
Keep in mind that more BTU doesn’t always mean a better unit. A high BTU model in a small room, for instance, might cause that space to cool too quickly, forcing you to turn the air conditioner on and off more times than you would like. Likewise, a unit with too little BTU is going to struggle to cool a larger room, especially in the dead of summer. We recommend considering your square footage and other features when trying to leverage BTU ratings to find the right air conditioner for you.
Volume & Features
We’ve also made a note of the volume and features of each of these units; let’s consider both with a bit more depth. First, let’s think about decibel rating, which is a measurement of how quiet an air conditioner can operate when on its lowest setting. That’s why we’ve mentioned in a few of our product overviews how an air conditioner may be louder than the initial number. It is also important to note that decibel numbers are logarithmic, not linear. This means that a difference of 10 decibels means that noise is twice as loud. Therefore, a unit listed at 50 decibels is half as loud as a unit listed at 60 decibels.
Aside from volume, one of the primary ways to distinguish air conditioners from each other is their features. While we recognize that smart controls are becoming increasingly popular and valuable to the modern consumer, we still believe that focusing on functionality is more important than features. For instance, being able to program an air conditioning unit will take away the small annoyance of needing to turn the unit on and off manually. In the summer months or in climates that cool significantly at night, this can be more frustrating than you’d expect. We also find that remote controls make it far easier for homeowners to adjust their air conditioners without needing to pull out the phone and open the application. A simple air conditioner with a dedicated, easy-to-use remote control is a powerful combination, and one worth considering.
We’ve also noted dehumidification when possible, and for those of you that live in the American southeast, you may already know why dehumidification is important. Dehumidification is measured in pints of condensation removed from the air in an hour; the higher the number, the less humid you can expect your home to be.
Regardless of your region, maintaining some humidity in your home is important for an air conditioning unit. Otherwise, excess moisture in your home can cause food to spoil quickly, air quality to drop, and bacteria to grow. While those in more humid climates need to pay special attention to high dehumidification on an air conditioning unit, for most other regions it’s simply important to have the option.
Of course, when you’ve finally settled on your window-mounted air conditioning and receive your new unit, there is the final issue of installation to manage. Installation of a window-mounted air conditioning unit can be done either by yourself or by professionals. While paying professionals is certainly easier on the mind, the costs can equal half of the expense of the air conditioner itself, if not more.
Installation by yourself is usually not difficult if you have a helping hand and can pay close attention to the instruction manual. While units can have specific installation requirements unique to each model, let’s walk you through the basics of DIY installation of a window-mounted air conditioner:
1. Locate your outlet: You will first need to make sure that you’re near an outlet. While this may seem self-evident, it’s important to double check the length of your air conditioner’s outlet before committing a specific window to avoid a headache.
2. Unpack unit and prepare window space: Carefully remove your new unit from the packaging and install the side filler panels to the unit. These are to fill in the horizontal space left over from the gaps between the air conditioner and the sides of your window. They are often marked specifically for the left or right-hand side, so be sure to double check.
3. Install unit: Open the window you need to install your unit into and place the unit in, first ensuring that the bottom rail is on the outside of the windowsill. You may want to use a second person to ensure that there are no unfortunate accidents or broken air conditioning units during the process.
4. Close window to secure unit: Close the window on top of the unit and secure the side filler panels by screwing them into the window frame itself using included attachments. You may also need to check your instruction manual to make sure that you don’t need to run any tubing for the dehumidifier. Fill in any final gaps with included weather sealant, and you should be good to go.
Of course, we know that window-mounted air conditioners are not for everyone. In some homes, windows may be too small to fit properly. In these cases, you may want to consider a portable unit with smaller intake and exhaust hoses for window installation. Likewise, multi-split and mini-split air conditioners are also available. These usually require lots of work to install and cost a good bit more but can be more powerful and feature better functionality.
As for window-mounted air conditioners? We think that these systems provide a great way to cool a room either seasonally or year-round. Plus, they’re relatively affordable in comparison to many other air conditioning categories available today. If you’re still unsure of whether a window-mounted air conditioner is right for you, consider the following quick guide:
Regardless of which window-mounted air conditioner unit you’ve picked out, we hope that we’ve helped you uncover which features you need in a unit and how to get your system up and running in no time. With the right system, any room in your home can be cool no matter the season or weather.