Window air conditioner review

When you consider the best window air conditioner for use in your home, many factors need to be checked out. Features, quality, and price (value) are the most obvious.




You also have to carefully determine the accurate cooling capacity for the size space you want to cool as well as any special installation requirements. Don’t worry, it’s not as daunting as it seems.

The information below covers how to choose and what to expect from the best window A/C for your needs as well as a comparison and review for some of the most highly regarded brands and models. This will help you make a smart buying decision so you can rest easy as you enjoy cooler rooms in your home.

Choosing the right window air conditioning unit

Let’s start by examining what you need to consider before making a purchase. This window air conditioner review covers window units that effectively cool small rooms or larger spaces up to 650 sq. ft. You’ll first need to determine the size you need, and from there pick the model that best suits your budget and any feature requirements or desires you have. The details covered below will help you to figure any special needs out if you don’t know yet. Before we begin, here’s how the best window air conditioners are reviewed:

  • Price (total price and value based on BTU ratings)
  • Brand (quality, durability, customer service)
  • Features (ease of use, extras)
  • Pros (what makes it great)
  • Cons (what people dislike)

Window air conditioner reviews

The following reviews highlight three of the most popular manufacturers of window AC units (Frigidaire, SPT – Sunpentown International, and Sharp).

Window Air Conditioner Revew Brands and Factors Frigidaire Window Air ConditionerFrigidaire SPT window air conditioner SPT Sharp Window Air Conditioner Sharp
Price $129-$249
Models: 5,000 BTU – 10,000 BTU
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$231-$591
Models: 6,000 BTU – 25,000 BTU
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$179-$299
Models: 5,000 BTU – 12,000 BTU
Buy here
Brand Qualities
  • sturdy parts and finish
  • attention to detail in design and looks
  • attention given to feature details
  • make very large capacity window units
  • caters well to consumers
  • get “more for the money” e.g. features
Features
  • comes w/ lots of extra foam and sealant tape
  • fan made to distribute collected water to pre-cool coils
  • multiple modes beyond standard, e.g. “dry” setting to function as a dehumidifier
  • horizontal and vertical air vent directions
  • can adjust air flow up/down, left/right
  • digital display on less expensive models
Why it’s Great
  • great prices for smaller units
  • extremely quiet
  • easy to install
  • “mini” units fit well in smaller window sizes (double hung)
  • cools well beyond its rating for both room size and air temperature
  • very noticeably dries room air
  • best window air conditioner value, especially in “mini” units that work well
  • remote has room temperature reading and is used to “auto-sense” changes and control unit at window
  • lower electric “pull” on start-up and compressor surge
  • runs very quietly depending on speed of fan
  • flexible side panels for good fit in larger windows
  • adjustable vents make it easy to direct air flow out of the unit
  • smaller units are very light-weight
  • very quiet while running i most modes
  • great manual and visual installation guide
  • very easy to install
  • sleek and clean appearance
  • easy install overall
Known Complaints
  • warranty on smaller units not handled by Frigidaire
  • directional air vents not versatile (makes it hard to control airflow)
  • packaging is good, but can be overkill with excessive plastic wrap
  • some models have excessively loud “beep” noise when pressing buttons
  • installation instructions could be better written
  • unknown brand makes some people hesitate
  • more difficult to install, especially side panels that block open window space
  • too many plastic parts, although rigid, cheapen quality
  • customer service may not be very helpful after owning product for a year or more
  • larger units can be heavy
  • can become slightly noisy over time (a “scratchy” sound can be heard from the fan
  • may not be manufacturered by Sharp (i.e. a Chinese company)
  • Low speed seems to have higher noise level than would expect
  • Loud during cycle-on moments, so may not work well in bedroom or near TV
  • Can’t use ion filtration during cooling (fan only)

 

Conclusion

With the three brands examined above, you really can’t go wrong. In all, they each offer equivalent features and performance. Where they differ is in the details. If want something that looks great, go for a Frigidaire or Sharp model. If you need a larger capacity, SPT has the extended line.

In the end, Frigidaire may be your best bet simply because of value and popularity. If something is sold to many more people, you’re in a good position – it tells you what most buyers just like you are regarding as the best window air conditioner for them.

For value, the 10,000BTU Frigidaire model is your best choice (unless you have a smaller space to cool, e.g. 10’x10′ room or so. If your size requirements put you on the line, spend a little extra for the 10,000BTU model. Cooling up to 500 sq. ft., it can bring down the temperature of a house or level much greater than that size or cool smaller spaces much more quickly and run less, saving energy and lasting much longer over time.

Buying on Amazon is nice because of the free shipping for most models. You’ll receive your unit in under a week, which is good if you’re anticipating a heat wave and need a good room A/C.

When buying any model, measure the actual dimensions of your window first then compare to listed measurements of the unit you’re considering. Note that most units under-list the dimensions. Plan on anywhere from 1/2″-1″ offset and allow for extra width and height.

What to expect from the best window air conditioners

If you’re new to window air conditioner reviewing game, it will help to become familiar with what to expect along with some of the most common features found on today’s best models. You will find:

  • Models are rated by BTU to cool up to specific room sizes. You can reasonably expect that the unit will go beyond this size provided temperatures are not extreme, e.g. above 95-100 degrees. This means places like adjoining rooms or hallways can benefit from a good room air conditioner.
  • Good energy efficiency, including Energy Star compliance or modes to help regulate the compressor going on/off.
  • Various controls with stepped settings such as temperature, fan speeds, fan modes, timers, etc.
  • Multiple running modes such as Cool, Econo or fan only operation.
  • Well-lit displays to easier read things like actual temp reading or timer count-downs.
  • Auto fan speeds to control flow of air based on cooling of room
  • Programming capability of 60-degrees to 90-degrees (although may actually drop your temp lower)
  • The best window air conditioner models will have air cleaners on them such as an ionizer or hepa filter.
  • Sleep modes to allow you to sleep comfortably while the A/C brings the temp up slightly during late hours, then back down when the sun comes back up
  • Included installation kits will have a good manual with various foam pieces and self-adhesive weather stripping to help seal the unit.
  • Warranties for both the A/C unit and the compressor.

A note on the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)

The best room air conditioners will have an EER number of 9 or higher. All this means, is the amount of electrical energy needed to run it is not as demanding as it could be. It is determined by dividing the unit’s capacity (BTUs) per hour by the numger of watts of electrical energy needed to run it.

The rub is that in order to gain higher EER ratings, manufacturers have add things like lighter fins in the heat exchanger. Since space is very tight in this area, it’s easy for dust and grime to collect here. Unfortunately, this area is not easily cleaned – a good vacuuming is about all you can do. Over time, the extra “stuff” on the fins can reduce the efficiency of even the best window air conditioner. This truly isn’t a big deal, but something to keep in mind as you expand your knowledge of these appliances.

 

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