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Updated March 2017

Best Air Conditioners

Updated March 2017
SPT
12,000 BTU Window
Frigidaire
115 V Window-Mounted, Mini-Compact
Keystone
5,000 BTU w/ "Follow Me" LCD Remote
Whirlpool
12,000 BTU Window w/3 Cool Speeds
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Bottom Line

Without question the best air conditioner on the market right now.

Very simple and easy to navigate, but it’s not the right choice for those looking for an air conditioner with a timer.

The best value for your money. An incredibly solid bargain for the quality and performance that this air conditioner offers.

A relatively expensive unit that has the range to cool down large rooms quickly and efficiently.

Good

Offers an energy saver mode, a sleep mode, and even a timer. Large 12,000 BTU capacity cools air faster than most other models.

Is extremely portable, easy to set up, and very user-friendly.

Extremely quiet. Strongly recommended for bedrooms because it will not disturb noise-conscious sleepers.

Offers a dehumidification mode which helps dry the air, making this unit more than just your average air conditioner.

Bad

On the more expensive side, but it's durability may end up saving you money in the long run.

On the lower side in terms of capacity. Lacks the fancy bells and whistles of most other models.

Vents don’t adjust vertically as easily as on those of other competitors.

Expect the Whirlpool to take up a large portion of your window - make sure you take some measurements before purchasing.

Best of the Best
SPT
12,000 BTU Window
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Bottom Line
Without question the best air conditioner on the market right now.

Bad
On the more expensive side, but it's durability may end up saving you money in the long run.

Good
Offers an energy saver mode, a sleep mode, and even a timer. Large 12,000 BTU capacity cools air faster than most other models.
Best Bang for the Buck
Frigidaire
115 V Window-Mounted, Mini-Compact
Check Price

Bottom Line
Very simple and easy to navigate, but it’s not the right choice for those looking for an air conditioner with a timer.

Bad
On the lower side in terms of capacity. Lacks the fancy bells and whistles of most other models.

Good
Is extremely portable, easy to set up, and very user-friendly.
Keystone
5,000 BTU w/ "Follow Me" LCD Remote
Check Price

Bottom Line
The best value for your money. An incredibly solid bargain for the quality and performance that this air conditioner offers.

Bad
Vents don’t adjust vertically as easily as on those of other competitors.

Good
Extremely quiet. Strongly recommended for bedrooms because it will not disturb noise-conscious sleepers.
Whirlpool
12,000 BTU Window w/3 Cool Speeds
Check Price

Bottom Line
A relatively expensive unit that has the range to cool down large rooms quickly and efficiently.

Bad
Expect the Whirlpool to take up a large portion of your window - make sure you take some measurements before purchasing.

Good
Offers a dehumidification mode which helps dry the air, making this unit more than just your average air conditioner.
How We Decided
  • 51 Models Considered
  • 31 Hours Spent
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 151 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Best Air Conditioners

    There are hundreds of choices when it comes to window air conditioners, so we focused on narrowing down the field to the best four options.

    Products we Considered

    • SPT
      12,000 BTU Window
    • Frigidaire
      115 V Window-Mounted, Mini-Compact
    • Keystone
      5,000 BTU w/ "Follow Me" LCD Remote
    • Whirlpool
      12,000 BTU Window w/3 Cool Speeds

    Considerations

    Performance

    The main purpose of an air conditioner is to cool down a room. One of the most important things to look for is the BTU number, which determines the amount of energy exerted by the device. BTU is the amount of energy needed to change the temperature by one degree — so the higher the BTU, the cooler and more powerful the air conditioner. That being said, the amount of BTU necessary is dependent on the size of the room you are attempting to cool down.

    Features

    While every air conditioner will cool down a room to some extent, some units come along with extra bells and whistles that can offer you more options. These include timers, filtration systems, and remotes. We'll tell you which features are important and which are not worth the extra money.

    Capacity

    Air conditioners come in various sizes to fit all windows, so it’s important to purchase one that is the size that you’re looking for. Additionally, the size of the unit can determine the difficulty of the installation and whether another person will be needed to help.

    Price

    With prices ranging anywhere from a little over $100 up to $500, you should expect to pay up for the more powerful air conditioners. While it’s always nice to save money, when it comes to something as important as the temperature of the room, it may be worth the extra cost.

    Considerations

    Performance

    Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5,000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Air Conditioner

    As you can see from the name, this Frigidaire’s BTU count is 5,000, which is meant for a room roughly 150-200 square feet. This Frigidaire isn’t the best choice to try and cool down a whole apartment or house, but for closed off rooms, it gets the job done quickly and efficiently. Also, this unit is relatively quiet, so it shouldn’t affect sleeping or force you to yell when trying to talk to others in the room.

    SPT 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner WA-1211S

    This SPT air conditioner is the right purchase for cooling down large rooms quickly. At 12,000 BTU, this unit cools air faster than most in its field. While it can be used for larger rooms, don’t let the high BTU count scare you away from putting in a small room—it will simply cool it down much faster and quicker.

    Keystone KSTAW05B Energy Star 5,000 BTU Window

    This Keystone model, at 5,000 BTU, is a solid choice for a room. The main upside of this unit is it the fact that it is very quiet. It is strongly recommended for bedrooms because it will not disturb noise-conscious sleepers. A few owners we talked to said that this was the only model that allowed them to sleep in the same room as an air conditioner.

    Whirlpool 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner

    This Whirlpool, also at 12,000 BTU, is another powerhouse in the field. The general consensus amongst buyers is that this product does its job. The difference is noticeable from a 5,000 BTU unit, and it can be used to help cool down larger areas.

    A few owners we talked to said that the Keystone was the only model that allowed them to sleep in the same room as an air conditioner.
    Considerations

    Features

    This unit isn’t overly flashy. It has two notches—one for temperature and one for mode. It is very simple and easy to navigate, but it’s not the right choice for those looking for an air conditioner with a timer.

    SPT 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner WA-1211S

    With a fancier appearance, this air cooler offers an energy saver mode, a sleep mode, and even a timer. These amenities can be beneficial for people who don’t want to have to keep turning their air conditioner on and off — it basically has a mind of its own.

    Keystone KSTAW05B Energy Star 5,000 BTU Window

    The Keystone’s main feature is the fact it comes with a remote control, so you don’t even have to move to get the airflow going. This product, too, has energy saver, sleep, and timer modes that can be easily navigated. Also, the Keystone has an easy–to–clean tilt out mesh filtration system.

    Along with its cool air, the Whirlpool offers a dehumidification mode which helps dry the air, making this unit more than just your average air conditioner. All of these functions can be controlled with the remote that comes along with the purchase, making your life easier from the couch or kitchen.

    The amenities on the SPT can be beneficial for people who don’t want to have to keep turning their air conditioner on and off - it basically has a mind of its own.
    Bill
    Expert Consultant

    Bill has been a hardware store owner, locksmith, and general home repair guru for over 40 years. His ability to solve problems and repair every item in every situation is a true gift. In his spare time, you may find Bill working in his garden, tending to his perfectly manicured lawn, or riding his bike.


    Bill  |  Engineer, Do-It-Yourself Guru
    Considerations

    Capacity

    Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5,000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Air Conditioner

    Made for smaller rooms, the Frigidaire FRA052XT7 is on the lower side in terms of capacity. The nice thing is that it is extremely portable and easy to set up. It doesn't require more than one person to carry it up a flight of stairs or install it, and it is extremely easy to move around from room to room based on your needs.

    SPT 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner WA-1211S

    Although this air conditioner may not be the easiest to carry by yourself, it is only around 20 inches wide, so it can fit in a variety of different windows. For such a strong and powerful unit, we were pleasantly surprised by how little space it takes up.

    Keystone KSTAW05B Energy Star 5,000 BTU Window

    The majority of owners that we surveyed were in agreement that the Keystone KSTAW05B is incredibly easy to transport and install into your window. If you are planning on carrying and setting up the unit by yourself, this is a good choice.

    Whirlpool 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner

    Though durable, the Whirlpool is definitely on the larger side when it comes to window units. This air conditioner will most likely take a few people to get into to your window. Also, expect the Whirlpool to take up a large portion of your window — therefore, make sure you measure your window before purchasing this air conditioner.

    The SPT 12000 takes up minimal space for such a strong unit.
    Considerations

    Price

    Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5,000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Air Conditioner

    At $140, this air conditioner is the least expensive of the bunch, making it a solid purchase for a smaller room. If you are on a tight budget, this may be the best option for you.

    SPT 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner WA-1211S

    For $399, the SPT is on the more expensive side but for good reason. Its power and efficiency make it a solid purchase, and owners find it to be well worth the extra hundred dollar price tag. Many customers we surveyed told us that they actually ended up saving money with this purchase given's the unit's durability and longevity.

    Keystone KSTAW05B Energy Star 5,000 BTU Window

    The Keystone goes for $148, which is an incredibly solid bargain for the quality and performance that this air conditioner offers. While it may be tempting to pay slightly more and take a step up to a higher BTU rating, we don't recommend it unless you are looking to cool down an exceptionally large room or office space.

    Whirlpool 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner

    The Whirlpool is the most expensive of the bunch. However, while some 12,000 BTU units can get up to $500, this model is priced much more reasonably among its peer group. If you’re looking to cool down a large space, you may end up having to pay more money.

    Many customers told us that they actually ended up saving money with the SPT given's the unit's durability and longevity.

    Best of the Best

    The purpose of an air conditioner is to cool down a room, and the SPT 12,000 BTU accomplishes the task as well as any of its peers. Although it is certainly a bit more expensive than many of the other models, the unit will do its job year in and year out and may end up saving you money in the long run. With features such as a remote control, a timer to set the unit to turn off after a certain amount of time, and a variety of modes for your convenience — including SLEEP mode, ENERGY SAVER mode, and DRY mode — this air conditioner will end up being well worth the purchase, especially on those sticky summer days. While the unit can be a bit on the noisier side, its high-powered motor makes it possible to place it far away from common areas while still being extremely effective. All in all, given its combination of performance, power and its feature set, this air conditioner beats out the rest of its competitors.

    Best of the Best
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    Although it is certainly a bit more expensive than many of the other models, the SPT 12,000 BTU will do its job year in and year out and may end up saving you money in the long run.

    Best Bang for your Buck

    If you’re looking to save some cash to put towards other appliances, the Frigidaire may be the right choice for you. While it may not cool a room as quickly as a 12,000 BTU, this unit will get the job done in bedrooms and closed areas. As an added bonus, the timer adds a unique function that many other 5,000 BTU air coolers don’t offer. This feature, along with its easily installation and its relative quietness, makes the Frigidaire a solid purchase. While some people have noted that the vents don’t adjust vertically as easily as on those of other competitors, we found this to be a very small price to pay given the its outstanding qualities and relatively inexpensive price. Overall, it is the best value for your money among a crowded field of air conditioners on the market.

    Best Bang for your Buck
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    • Michael
      Michael
      Creative Lead
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Editor
    • Jasmin
      Jasmin
      Operations
    • Jimi
      Jimi
      Product Analyst
    • Ben
      Ben
      COO