You might not realize it if you live in a hot climate where central air is common, but room air conditioners are the most popular type of cooling system in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Room air conditioners (aka window air conditioners) are great if you’re really frugal. It’s possible to skip the central air altogether and only run a window air conditioner if you’re concerned with keeping your energy bill low. Just be sure to zone off rooms in your home that don’t need cooling to get the most bang for your buck.
With that in mind, Consumer Reports recently took a look at the best air conditioners for your money.
These window air conditioners are recommended buys
5,000 to 6,500 BTU/hr. (Cools rooms that are 100-300 sq. ft.)
One of the highest rated models of all, this SPT is also among the cheapest of the bunch!
This model gets excellent marks on both comfort and brownout. The latter is a measure of the unit’s ability to run and restart during periods of extreme heat and low voltage.
This model gets an excellent mark on brownout, but only average marks on noise level when running on high and overall ease of use.
Excellent marks on comfort and brownout. But this model is only average when it comes to noise level when running the unit on high and on overall ease of use.
7,000 to 8,500 BTU/hr. (Cools rooms that are 250-400 sq. ft.)
Like the other Kenmore on this list, this model gets an excellent mark on brownout. But this particular model is likely to be noisier than most; it gets average marks when running on both high and low.
Plus, it’s only average when it comes to overall ease of use.
This Walmart exclusive offers excellent performance on comfort and brownout.
It has middling performance on indoor noise low and ease of use.
Watch out for indoor noise when running on high; it’s only rated fair on that metric.
This particular GE model is a carbon copy of the last one: Excellent performance on comfort and brownout; average performance with indoor noise when on low and ease of use; and only fair performance on indoor noise when running on high.
9,800 to 12,500 BTU/hr. (Cools rooms that are 350-650 sq. ft.)
This LG is unlike any other model on this list of recommended buys. That’s because it was the only room air conditioner to get Consumer Reports’ vaunted Best Buy mark, which is an indication of a supreme deal for the price!
The LW1216ER1 was also the highest scorer on the magazine’s tally. It offers excellent performance on comfort and brownout; very good performance on indoor noise low; and average performance on indoor noise high and ease of use.
For just a few bucks less than the best-in-class LG LW1216ER1, you can get this Haier that offers excellent performance on comfort and brownout, along with good performance on indoor noise low and ease of use.
But watch out for indoor noise when running on high; it only got a rating of fair on that metric.