Best Air Conditioners

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Recent updates

Nothing will save you from a sweltering summer like a good working air conditioner; however an expensive portable fan is the next best thing. Check out: The Best Portable Fans Under $100 for Every Room

While we're always a fan of saving money here at Cheapism, it's important to know when to fork over the cash to save in the long run. AC repair is one task you should definitely leave to the professionals. Check out: DIY Disasters: 20 Repairs to Leave to the Pros

Our Picks

Frigidaire FFRA0511R1
Frigidaire FFRE0633U1
Frigidaire FFRE0833U1
LG LW1016ER
LG LW6017R
LG LW8016ER
GE AHS10AX
Friedrich Chill CP08G10B
Honeywell MN10CES
Frigidaire FGRC0844U1

Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 Review

From $136 Best

Best Cheap 5,000-BTU Air Conditioner

Pros:

  • Cools up to 150 square feet quickly and effectively for a unit with just 5,000 BTUs of cooling capacity, reviewers say.
  • 2 fan-only speeds in addition to high and low cooling modes.
  • 7 temperature settings and auto restart.
  • Very easy installation, users report; compact and relatively lightweight at 41 pounds.
  • Washable antibacterial mesh filter.
  • Generous warranty: 5 years on the sealed system and 1 year on parts and labor.

Cons:

  • Mechanical controls mean fewer features.
  • 2-way air direction control is slightly limited.
  • No Energy Star certification; energy-efficiency ratio (EER) of 11.1 falls short of some models in its class.
  • Scattered reports about short lifespan.

Takeaway: The relatively diminutive size of this Frigidaire air conditioner (16" W x 12" H x 15.3" D) is particularly well-suited for homes with tiny windows, a feature many reviewers mention with apparent relief. They say it cools smaller bedrooms, studios, and even workshops in a matter of minutes — and keeps them that way — without making a racket. Mechanical controls, rather than electronic controls, help keep the price in low-budget territory. Users also sacrifice popular features like a remote control, timer, energy-saver mode, and clean-filter alert, but few seem to mind. A digital version, the Frigidaire FFRA0522R1, is available for about $40 more.

Frigidaire FFRE0633U1 Review

From $190 Best

Best Air Conditioner for Small Rooms Under $300

Pros:

  • Runs quietly and delivers 6,000 BTUs to chill rooms up to 250 square feet, users report.
  • 3 cooling plus 3 fan-only speeds; auto, eco, and sleep modes.
  • Electronic controls with remote; 24-hour timer; auto restart.
  • 8-way air direction control beats competing models.
  • Washable antibacterial mesh filter; clean-filter alert; built-in ionizer.
  • Energy Star and 12.1 EER; very low cost to operate (estimated at $47 per year).
  • 5-year warranty on the sealed system; 1 year on parts and labor.

Cons:

  • At 18.5 inches wide and 45 pounds, it's slightly larger and heavier than the other compact, small-room ACs we recommend.
  • Newer model, so no information on longer-term performance and durability.

Takeaway: An enthusiastic testing-based endorsement from TopTenReviews, plus strong reviews for its predecessor, the FFRE0633S1, earn the Frigidaire FFRE06SSU1 a top spot on our list. This full-featured model comes in a relatively small package but manages to provide significant cooling relief on sweltering days. It's also easy to install, users say. Features like the 8-way airflow and sleep mode are unusual in this price bracket, as is the five-year warranty on the sealed system. The built-in ionizer, which catches airborne contaminants with positive and negative ions, is another extra that may appeal to allergy sufferers. Use of the ionizer is optional, which is good, as some experts aren't convinced of the efficacy or overall health safety of such devices.

Frigidaire FFRE0833U1 Review

From $240 Best

Best 8,000-BTU Air Conditioner Under $300

Pros:

  • 8,000 BTUs for coverage up to 350 square feet.
  • 3 fan-only speeds plus 3 cooling speeds; auto, eco, and sleep modes.
  • Electronic controls with remote; built-in thermostat and 24-hour timer; auto restart.
  • 6-way air direction control bests many other models.
  • Washable anti-bacterial filter; filter-change alert; optional ionizer.
  • Energy Star; 12.1 EER.
  • 5-year warranty on the sealed system; 1 year on parts and labor.
  • Weighs just 53 pounds, 5 pounds less than our other 8,000-BTU pick.

Cons:

  • Newer model with few reviews.
  • Scattered griping about excessive noise.

Takeaway: An updated model in a line of Frigidaire ACs that are longtime top sellers, the FFRE0833U1 seems on track to deliver the same high level of performance. It's also loaded with features while bearing a price tag well under $300. Users report that it cools bedrooms in a flash (even at the apex of an A-frame house) and performs well in large rooms even on eco-mode. It also removes more moisture from the air than its predecessor. The ionizer gives the filter a boost by actively pulling contaminants from the air, which may be a boon to allergy sufferers (although some doubt the claimed benefits of this technology). Durability is impossible to assess at this stage, so risk-averse shoppers may prefer to go with the earlier — although not quite as feature-rich — FFRE0833S1 (est. price: $249; buy it from Home Depot).

LG LW1016ER Review

From $299 Best

Best 10,000-BTU Air Conditioner Under $300

Pros:

  • Leaves a chill in the air even on low, and beats the competition for quiet operation, according to reviewers.
  • Cools rooms up to 450 square feet.
  • 3 cooling speeds and 3 fan-only speeds; auto-cool, dehumidify, and energy-saver modes.
  • 4-way air direction.
  • Electronic controls with remote; thermostat and 24-hour timer; auto restart.
  • Energy Star and 12.1 EER; comparatively low operating costs (estimated at $80 yearly).
  • Washable filter with light to alert when it needs cleaning.
  • Slide-out chassis to aid in installation and removal.

Cons:

  • Some owners gripe about unclear instructions presenting setup challenges.
  • Heavy, at 74 pounds.
  • Short 1-year warranty on parts and labor.

Takeaway: User reviews indicate that this 10,000-BTU LG window AC is the one to buy if relatively little noise from the fan and compressor is a high priority. Quick and effective cooling, coupled with low cost, are additional criteria that the LG LW1016ER satisfies. The few blemishes on an otherwise strong record involve installation struggles and spotty reports of a very short lifespan. For the most part, however, hundreds of owners have been more than happy with their purchases; 5-star ratings constitute more than half the responses across retailers.

LG LW6017R Review

From $179 Good

More Powerful Small Room Air Conditioner

Pros:

  • 6,000 BTUs provide coverage for up to 260 square feet.
  • 3 fan speeds and 3 cooling speeds; auto-cool, dehumidify, and energy-saver modes.
  • Electronic controls with remote; thermostat and 24-hour timer; auto restart.
  • Washable filter; clean-filter alert.
  • Sufficiently quiet for many reviewers.
  • Lightweight, at 39.6 pounds.

Cons:

  • Some grumbling about insufficient cold-air output.
  • Scattered complaints about the location of the display panel, which is hard to see if the unit is elevated.
  • Air output can be adjusted in only 2 directions.
  • No Energy Star; 11.5 EER is lower than some other models.
  • 1-year warranty on parts and labor is on the short side.

Takeaway: A solid majority of reviewers give this LG air conditioner a thumbs-up for discharging plenty of cold air to quickly chill a small or midsize room — even one with a wall of windows. Most users say they get their money's worth from this model, although some voice dissatisfaction with what they consider inadequate power or excessive noise. The LW6017R is a relatively new model from LG and has amassed just slightly more than 300 reviews. Based on those and the performance of predecessors, we feel confident recommending this iteration.

LG LW8016ER Review

From $219 Good

Good Cheap AC for Midsize Rooms

Pros:

  • Cools quickly, holds consistent temperature, pulls lots of moisture from the air, and runs efficiently, according to reviews.
  • 8,000 BTUs; coverage up to 340 square feet.
  • 3 fan speeds; cool, dehumidify, fan-only, and energy-saver modes.
  • Electronic controls with remote; built-in thermostat and 24-hour timer; auto restart.
  • 4-way air direction.
  • Washable filter; filter-check light.
  • Energy Star and 12.1 EER suggest a low operating cost.

Cons:

  • 4-foot power cord is 2 feet shorter than most competing models.
  • 1-year warranty on parts and labor is relatively short.
  • Some complaints about noise.

Takeaway: The LG LW8016ER has been kicking around for a few years and continues to claim strong support from users for overall performance. Once a room arrives at the desired comfort level — a state quickly reached — reviewers say it stays that way. For the price, the feature set on this LG AC is fairly generous, though standard for the category overall, and it includes a dehumidify function that users appreciate. About the only outstanding issue concerns the noise; some reviewers consider it fairly loud even as others assert that this model is the quietest ever. For those who want the very latest edition and 8,200 BTUs, you'll pay about $290 for the LW8018ER.

GE AHS10AX Review

From $299 Good

Good Cheap Large-Room Air Conditioner

Pros:

  • Blasts chilled air and pulls out plenty of moisture, leaving rooms feeling comfortably cool, reviews say.
  • 10,000 BTUs for coverage up to 450 square feet.
  • 3 speeds, with auto cool; 3 fan-only settings; energy-saver mode.
  • Electronic controls with remote; thermostat and 24-hour timer; auto restart.
  • 4-way air direction control.
  • Washable mesh filter; alert light signals filter should be changed.
  • Energy Star; 12.2 EER is the highest among our top picks.
  • Lightweight for a higher-capacity model (just 60 pounds).

Cons:

  • Too loud for some users.
  • Some reports suggest the thermostat is not entirely precise.
  • 1-year warranty.

Takeaway: The GE AHS10AX packs a surprising punch, many reviewers say, cooling off a large space with a force greater than its 10,000 BTUs would suggest. Some tell of saving on utility costs by running this unit rather than the whole-house AC. Others laud the efficiency of the energy-saver mode. Despite a bit of grousing about the noise level and a thermostat that doesn't always register the room temperature accurately, this new addition to the GE air conditioner lineup delivers solid performance at a value price. It's offered exclusively at Lowe's.

Where to buy

Purchasefrom Lowe's

Buying Guide

Choosing a Room Air Conditioner

If stuffy rooms are making you sweat, here's some news that might cool you off: There are plenty of highly rated and low-cost air conditioners out there. Prices for room air conditioners start around $100 and rise well beyond $2,000. The higher end of the market is populated mostly by built-in models that do double duty chilling and heating large spaces. But for less than $300, it's possible to buy a window air conditioner that's powerful enough to blast frigid air into a small, large, or mid-size room. Depending on the layout of the living space and its relation to the sun, a cheap air conditioner can cool an even larger area. Quite a number of reviewers note that, with a small window unit in a bedroom, they don't have to pay to run central air conditioning at night.

Brands that manufacture budget-friendly air conditioners include Frigidaire, Haier, LG, and GE. Frigidaire is the dominant budget label, followed by LG and GE. Carrier and Friedrich are best known for pricier and larger-capacity units.

The capacity of an air conditioner indicates the size of the area it can cool effectively. It's measured in BTUs, or British thermal units per hour. (A BTU is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit.) The more powerful the air conditioner, the larger the coverage area and the higher the price.

The cooling capacity of cheap air conditioners ranges from 5,000 BTUs, for small rooms up to 150 square feet, to 10,000 BTUs, for rooms measuring up to about 450 square feet. At 12,000 BTUs (which can cool 550 square feet), prices bust through the Cheapism ceiling.

Before you start shopping, measure the room and the window in which you plan to install the AC. Rooms with high ceilings, direct afternoon sun exposure, and/or minimal insulation may need the oomph of a few extra BTUs. It doesn't pay to buy an air conditioner with excess or insufficient capacity, experts say. A unit that doesn't match the space will perform poorly and inefficiently.

A couple of other things to keep in mind: Air conditioners from the same manufacturer often differ slightly in model number and features depending on the retailer. Be sure to check the specs carefully before buying one of these alternatives. Also, most cheap air conditioners are designed for double-hung windows; options are limited with casement or slider windows.

Portable vs. Window Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners are an option for buyers who have windows or landlords that won't allow a window air conditioner, are worried about installation headaches, or want the option of using a single unit across multiple rooms as needed. In general, users shouldn't expect the same cooling power they would get from an equivalent window unit. Portable air conditioners tend to draw frequent criticisms for being underpowered. Consumer Reports even suggests they should be a last resort, noting that they offer only marginally better performance than a fan. Keep in mind, also, that these units have an exhaust hose that still must be vented through a window.

Cheapism.com participates in affiliate marketing programs, which means we may earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product through a link on our site. This helps support our work and does not influence editorial content.

Features Comparison Buying Guide continues below table

(from $136.00)
Cooling Capacity 5,000 BTUs
Fan Speeds 2
Air Direction 2-way
Controls Manual dial: 7 temperature settings
Energy Star/Energy Efficiency Ratio No; 11.1 EER (est. avg. $44/year)
(from $190.00)
Cooling Capacity 6,000 BTUs
Fan Speeds 3
Air Direction 8-way
Controls Electronic: Remote, auto fan, 24-hr. timer, sleep mode, energy saver, ionizer
Energy Star/Energy Efficiency Ratio Yes; 12.1 EER (est. avg. $48/year)
(from $240.00)
Cooling Capacity 8,000 BTUs
Fan Speeds 3
Air Direction 6-way
Controls Electronic: Remote, auto fan, 24-hr. timer, sleep mode, energy saver, ionizer
Energy Star/Energy Efficiency Ratio Yes; 12.1 EER (est. avg. $65/year)
(from $299.00)
Cooling Capacity 10,000 BTUs
Fan Speeds 3
Air Direction 4-way
Controls Electronic: Remote, auto fan, 24-hr. timer, energy saver, dehumidify
Energy Star/Energy Efficiency Ratio Yes; 12.1 EER (est. avg. $80/year)
(from $179.00)
Cooling Capacity 6,000 BTUs
Fan Speeds 3
Air Direction 2-way
Controls Electronic: Remote, auto fan, 24-hr. timer, energy saver, dehumidify
Energy Star/Energy Efficiency Ratio No; 11.5 EER (est. avg. $51/year)
(from $219.00)
Cooling Capacity 8,000 BTUs
Fan Speeds 3
Air Direction 4-way
Controls Electronic: Remote, auto fan, 24-hr. timer, energy saver, dehumidify
Energy Star/Energy Efficiency Ratio Yes; 12.1 EER (est. avg. $65/year)
(from $299.00)
Cooling Capacity 10,000 BTUs
Fan Speeds 3
Air Direction 4-way
Controls Electronic: Remote, auto fan, 24-hr. timer, energy saver
Energy Star/Energy Efficiency Ratio Yes; 12.2 EER (est. avg. $80/year)
(from $349.00)
Cooling Capacity 10,000 BTUs
Fan Speeds 3
Air Direction 2-way
Controls Electronic: Portable, remote, auto fan, 24-hr. timer, dehumidify
Energy Star/Energy Efficiency Ratio No; exact specs unavailable
(from $369.00)
Cooling Capacity 8,000 BTUs
Fan Speeds 3
Air Direction 4-way; auto-swing louvers
Controls Electronic: Remote, auto fan, 24-hr. timer, energy saver, dehumidify
Energy Star/Energy Efficiency Ratio Yes; 12.2 EER (est. avg. $60/year)
(from $329.00)
Cooling Capacity 8,000 BTUs
Fan Speeds 3
Air Direction 4-way
Controls Electronic: Wi-Fi-enabled smart control, remote, auto fan, customizable 24-hr. timer, sleep mode, energy saver, ionizer
Energy Star/Energy Efficiency Ratio Yes; 12 EER (est. avg. $60/year)
(from $136.00)
Cooling Capacity 5,000 BTUs
Fan Speeds 2
Air Direction 2-way
Controls Manual dial: 7 temperature settings
Energy Star/Energy Efficiency Ratio No; 11.1 EER (est. avg. $44/year)
(from $190.00)
Cooling Capacity 6,000 BTUs
Fan Speeds 3
Air Direction 8-way
Controls Electronic: Remote, auto fan, 24-hr. timer, sleep mode, energy saver, ionizer
Energy Star/Energy Efficiency Ratio Yes; 12.1 EER (est. avg. $48/year)
(from $240.00)
Cooling Capacity 8,000 BTUs
Fan Speeds 3
Air Direction 6-way
Controls Electronic: Remote, auto fan, 24-hr. timer, sleep mode, energy saver, ionizer
Energy Star/Energy Efficiency Ratio Yes; 12.1 EER (est. avg. $65/year)
(from $299.00)
Cooling Capacity 10,000 BTUs
Fan Speeds 3
Air Direction 4-way
Controls Electronic: Remote, auto fan, 24-hr. timer, energy saver, dehumidify
Energy Star/Energy Efficiency Ratio Yes; 12.1 EER (est. avg. $80/year)
(from $179.00)
Cooling Capacity 6,000 BTUs
Fan Speeds 3
Air Direction 2-way
Controls Electronic: Remote, auto fan, 24-hr. timer, energy saver, dehumidify
Energy Star/Energy Efficiency Ratio No; 11.5 EER (est. avg. $51/year)
(from $219.00)
Cooling Capacity 8,000 BTUs
Fan Speeds 3
Air Direction 4-way
Controls Electronic: Remote, auto fan, 24-hr. timer, energy saver, dehumidify
Energy Star/Energy Efficiency Ratio Yes; 12.1 EER (est. avg. $65/year)
(from $299.00)
Cooling Capacity 10,000 BTUs
Fan Speeds 3
Air Direction 4-way
Controls Electronic: Remote, auto fan, 24-hr. timer, energy saver
Energy Star/Energy Efficiency Ratio Yes; 12.2 EER (est. avg. $80/year)

Air Conditioner Reviews: What We Considered

Air conditioners are especially susceptible to a problem that plagues appliance reviews: Once they receive a large amount of feedback, manufacturers tend to discontinue them in favor of newer models. Some manufacturers release new models every year, although the updates are relatively minor. There is less expert commentary in this category that applies to current models. The most helpful assessments come courtesy of consumers reviewing their purchases on retailer websites including Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe's, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Abt, AJ Madison, and manufacturers' web pages. We also considered applicable expert feedback from Consumer Reports, Wirecutter, TopTenReviews, and The Spruce.

Above all else, buyers are looking for air conditioners that effectively cool whatever space they've been assigned. There are concerns about noise, an irritant that plagues even the best room air conditioners. Consumers also want units that are simple to install and have some extra features that make them easy to use. Other considerations include efficiency and durability. Some air conditioners cater to allergy sufferers by including an ionizer, which claims to help clear the air of irritants like pollen. But we turned up little consumer commentary on their effectiveness, so this feature did not factor into our choices.

Cooling Performance

Our research found that among cheap air conditioners, low price is no bar to effective cooling. The occasional lemon aside, users seem more than satisfied with the performance of the budget ACs on our list. Some reviewers even say the air conditioners cool spaces much larger than expected, especially with an assist from well-placed fans. In general, though, buyers are likely to be happiest if they follow the sizing guidelines.

Installation

Cost-conscious consumers often undertake DIY installation rather than pay a professional. Although users' experiences vary, reviews often say it's easy to install the models we favor in less than 30 minutes. Note that the higher the capacity, the heavier the unit. A 10,000-BTU window air conditioner might weigh 75 pounds, while a 5,000-BTU model might be closer to 40 pounds. Although many reviewers say they managed to install a bigger unit just fine on their own, a second set of hands might ease the process.

Reviews indicate a few other ways manufacturers can ensure smooth installation. One feature buyers appreciate is a slide-out chassis, which lets them install the frame for the AC before sliding it inside. Side curtains that slide in instead of screwing on save a few more minutes of labor. Many consumers appreciate GE's EZ Mount system, which includes flexible panels that extend to fit a variety of windows, making the company's air conditioners easy for do-it-yourselfers to handle. All the models on our list come with an installation kit.

Noise

No window air conditioner is immune to complaints about noise. Some reviews and owner's manuals caution that improper installation may cause vibration, rattling, and other annoying sounds. However, the design and engineering of a given model, as well as new energy-efficient technology, are also partly to blame. Some manufacturers specify common noises in their manuals, but consumers still complain about rushing air, the thwack of a fan splashing against water in the drip pan, or the thunk and click of the compressor cycling on and off.

Of course, whether a particular air conditioner is "noisy" is notoriously subjective, but some models are described by a critical mass of reviewers as too loud to tolerate, with excessive vibration and sounds likened to "the lowest note of a contrabassoon." We rejected air conditioners with excessive noise complaints. If noise concerns are truly paramount -- say, if you're a light sleeper choosing an air conditioner for a bedroom -- it may be worth splurging on a more expensive model designed to run quietly.

Energy Efficiency

All air conditioners these days incorporate energy-efficient technology and many have Energy Star certification, which requires that they use at least 10 percent less energy than comparable models. It's worth noting, however, that the efficiency of any given window air conditioner also depends on factors such as capacity, how much it's used, and whether it's exposed to a lot of sun. For instance, an air conditioner that's too big won't be as efficient because it will cool the space before it can remove the humidity, leaving the air feeling clammy.

While the Energy Star label offers reassurance, another number to note is the energy efficiency ratio, or EER, which takes into account the air conditioner's capacity and the amount of electrical power it requires. The higher the EER, the more efficient the unit. The government estimates that you can save about $9 a year by running an Energy Star-certified air conditioner with an EER of 12.1 instead of a non-Energy Star model with a 10.9 EER. A 5,000-BTU air conditioner with an EER of 12.2 costs only about $37 a year to run, according to government estimates.

Energy Star-certified units also must provide a visual reminder to check, clean, or replace the air filter. This generally takes the form of an LED light labeled "filter reset" or "clean filter." An AC can't operate efficiently if the air filter is clogged with dust, dirt, and soot, so the filter must be rinsed or vacuumed and reinserted periodically. If there is no filter-life indicator, users must remember to clean the filter at least every 30 days, or as the owner's manual instructs.

Controls

Buyers don't expect many other bells and whistles on inexpensive air conditioners, but they do appreciate controls that make it easier to keep the room temperature comfortable. Nice-to-have features include a digital display and thermostat that maintains a precise temperature. Manufacturers still make a few air conditioners with mechanical controls, which cost less but provide less functionality. Reviews indicate that many users actually like the simplicity of old-school dial controls and appreciate the lower price.

Most of our picks have a 24-hour timer, which lets frugal consumers avoid wasting energy by waiting to cool their space until right before they come home. Buyers looking for even more control over a window AC unit may want to consider a "smart" air conditioner that connects to a home Wi-Fi network for remote operation with a smartphone or tablet. This allows detailed custom scheduling that is worth a premium to many users.

A remote control is increasingly standard issue and often hailed in consumer reviews as a big plus. Users like being able to adjust the AC at night without getting out of bed or while lounging on the couch. Remote functions vary by model; in addition to a power button, options may include time delay, fan speed, and cooling mode. Some remotes are even equipped with a thermostat that can sense the temperature in another part of the room and signal the AC to adjust accordingly, although testers sometimes question their efficacy.

The best inexpensive air conditioners feature three fan speeds (low, medium, and high), but two speeds are common on smaller units. Reviewers note that there's a tradeoff with fan speeds: A higher speed cools a larger area, but a lower speed produces less noise.

In addition to cooling and fan-only modes, all the best cheap air conditioners include an energy-saver mode, in which the compressor cycles on intermittently, only as needed. Most reviewers appreciate this feature, but some note that it allows a room to become too warm. Less common is a sleep mode, in which the temperature rises automatically and incrementally, and then holds steady until morning. Frigidaire is notable for including this feature even on low-cost air conditioners.

Durability

According to most experts, the average life expectancy of an air conditioner is about 10 years -- with proper maintenance. Most budget-priced window air conditioners come with a one-year warranty, and a few brands offer up to five years for the sealed system in addition to one year for parts and labor. For the most part, all but a handful of users seem satisfied that their air conditioners are working as they should. Longevity issues crop up mainly in reviews of the cheapest models with the lowest capacities. One easy way to avoid a headache may be to buy a model that's available in a bricks-and-mortar store. Consumers who purchase window ACs online often report that they arrive with dents sustained during shipping or bent or broken parts.

Additional Products We Considered

Friedrich Chill CP08G10B Review

From $369

Bonus: Good Cheap Wall Air Conditioner

Pros:

  • 8,000 BTUs provide very cool and efficient chilling for midsize rooms (up to 325 square feet), reviewers write.
  • 3 fan speeds; cool, dehumidify, fan-only, and money-saver modes.
  • Electronic controls with full-function remote; thermostat and 24-hour timer; auto restart.
  • 4-way air direction control, with auto-swing louvers for even better circulation.
  • Slide-out chassis with anti-intrusion design (unit cannot be kicked in); easy installation in window or wall (comes with wall sleeve), reviews say.
  • Washable anti-microbial filter.
  • Energy Star; 12.2 EER is among the best in class.
  • Quieter than many other ACs, according to users.
  • 5-year warranty on the sealed system; 1-year limited warranty on parts.

Cons:

  • Scattered reports of malfunctions, most dating back several years.
  • Lots of exclusion clauses and caveats in the warranty, and some owners have found manufacturer support lacking.

Takeaway: This 8,000-BTU Friedrich air conditioner stands out for unusual versatility, at least for the price. The Friedrich Chill can be mounted in a window or set up as a through-the-wall air conditioner and features a power cord that runs out of either side, an arrangement that overcomes outlet location constraints. Reviewers also welcome the anti-intrusion design and the option of using this model as a dehumidifier. Quiet operation and effective cooling are performance highlights and hallmarks of the Friedrich brand, while the build quality merits special mention in many users' reviews.

Honeywell MN10CES Review

From $349

Bonus: Good Cheap Portable Air Conditioner

Pros:

  • Provides good, fast, and relatively quiet cooling on hot days, users say.
  • 10,000 BTUs for coverage up to 450 square feet.
  • 3-in-1 functionality: air condition, dehumidify, and fan-only settings (3 speeds).
  • Continuous drain option for the dehumidifier and auto evaporation — no drip pan or water tank required.
  • Electronic controls with remote; thermostat and 24-hour timer.
  • Washable filter; filter-check light.
  • Mounted on caster wheels and weighing 66 pounds, it's fairly easy to maneuver.
  • 5-year warranty on the sealed system; 1 year on parts and labor.

Cons:

  • Scattered complaints about product failure after a couple of seasons.
  • Lacks some desirable features for the price, including sleep mode, energy-saver mode, and auto-restart.
  • No Energy Star certification or energy guide documentation; portable air conditioners tend to be much less energy efficient than window units.

Takeaway: Convenience and a user-friendly design are the greatest strengths of this Honeywell portable air conditioner, along with its chilling chops. Setting up the Honeywell MN10CES (which comes with a window venting kit and hose) is a breeze, reviewers say, and doesn't deter them from moving the unit into and out of rooms or storage as needed. They also report that large rooms cool down without a struggle. The MN10CES is cool on style, too, and available in a variety of colors, including white, black, and black/silver. But, buyer be warned: While most owners award points for dependability, some tell of breakdowns after just a few years of service.

Frigidaire FGRC0844U1 Review

From $329

Bonus: Good Cheap Smart Air Conditioner

Pros:

  • 8,000 BTUs for cooling up to 350 square feet.
  • Wi-Fi enabled for control with mobile devices and Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, in addition to a remote.
  • Programmable and customizable for individual scheduling.
  • 3 cooling speeds and 3 fan-only settings; auto-cool, eco, and sleep modes.
  • 4-way airflow with slanted louvers (for circular direction).
  • Washable antibacterial mesh filter with filter-check light; built-in optional ionizer.
  • Energy Star and 12.0 EER; comes with insulated side panels for greater energy conservation.
  • Comparatively lightweight, at 53 pounds.
  • 5-year warranty on the sealed system; 1 year on parts and labor.

Cons:

  • New model with limited reviews.
  • Complaints about inaccurate thermostat and temperature display in reviews of this model's predecessor.
  • Scattered reports about a weak wireless receiver.

Takeaway: Users say it's hard to resist the stylish, svelte appeal of the Frigidaire FGRC0844U1, especially when coupled with smart functionality. Although a few users report that connectivity may be hit or miss, most say the ability to program this Wi-Fi AC to suit their needs and control it from afar makes warm-weather days so much more tolerable — as does strong, quick, and quiet cooling. Because reviews for this new model are sparse, it's hard to know whether the wonky thermostat that was an issue with the previous model has been improved, but shoppers keen to build out their homes' smart capabilities while sticking to a budget might give Frigidaire's Cool Connect smart AC serious consideration.