If you live in a small apartment without central air, then you know how harsh summer temperature can be. Or if you want to cool your bedroom during those hot summer nights, but the central unit is not a viable option, then a small window air conditioner would be a great option.
An air conditioner for small window not only keeps your room cool, but they also saves you floor space and don’t require a vent hose from where the air conditioner is installed to the outdoors. More importantly, they tend to be more energy efficient and quieter than portable air conditioners.
If you’re looking for the best small window air conditioner, you have to make sure you know your window size and the how much heat you have to remove from the room. Most mini window air conditioners offer about 5000 to 6000 BTUs, so it’s important to make sure to choose the right cooling capacity.
Top 6 Smallest Window Air Conditioner Reviews
Coming from a reputable and one of the best home appliance manufacturers, the Friedrich CP05G10B Air Conditioner undeniably does a great job in the summer despite its size. It’s a great value for money and comes with all the features you can ever want from a window AC.
The unit measures 12 x 18.5 x 15 inches and fits windows between 23 inches to 36 inches (width). It comes with an installation kit and only weighs around 46 pounds which makes it easy to install as well as carry from one room to another.
Even with such a small size, the air conditioner can cool rooms up to 150 square feet. It is equipped with auto air sweep louvers to provide consistent cooling across the room.
Furthermore, this tiny window air conditioner is packed with a lot of features including a digital display, automatic 24-hour timer, remote control, and money-saving settings. If power is interrupted, you don’t have to worry about going back and resetting it again thanks to the auto-restart feature.
Despite the incredible features and being one of the quietest window air conditioners, some customers have complained about a fan that gets loose over time making it noisy. While this might not be a big problem especially during the day, it can ruin a good sleep at night when not addressed as soon as possible.
- Top of the line quality
- Ultra-quiet operation
- Continuous auto air sweep louvers
- Power cord flexibility
- Very light unit
- More expensive than other brands
- Some fan rattling complaints
- Risk of damage from the carrier when buying online
The Amana 6,000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Air Conditioner is a powerful unit with the ability to cool and dehumidify rooms up to 250 square feet. It has three cooling speeds and an auto option that allows you to customize your cooling needs just the way you want it.
With an Energy Efficiency Ratio of 12.2, this is one of the smallest and energy efficient window air conditioners on the market. It comes with other energy-saving features such as an Eco Mode that maintains your set temperature without consuming a lot of energy and a programmable timer that allows you set the unit to turn off automatically up to 24 hours ahead of time.
This AC measures 15.6 x 18.6 x 13.3 inches and weighs 44.1 pounds. It fits in windows in between 23 to 36 inches. It’s designed for quick set up and comes with all the necessary installation materials.
It’s always important to consider the features you’d like your AC to have. This unit is simple to operate thanks to both the onboard and remote control. The auto-restart is another great feature as it enables the unit to resume operation in its previous settings automatically.
Maintenance is a huge factor when selecting an air conditioner. This model comes with washable filters that not only reduces your maintenance cost but also remove indoor allergens that might get into the AC.
- Easy to install
- Comes with a programmable timer
- Have a removable and washable air filter
- Flexible comfort features
- Some crackling noises complaints
- Some complaints that the unit does not cool
The Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5, 000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner measures 15 x 16 x 12 inches and weighs 41 pounds. It accommodates windows with a minimum height of 13 inches and width of 23 inches to 36 inches. It’s very affordable ad a good cooling alternative to central units especially if you want to cool a small room up to 150 square feet.
Using this unit is easy thanks to the mechanical controls that allow you to customize your cooling and fan speed. Once you’ve installed the AC, take advantage of the two-way air direction control to ensure that every part of the room is cooled evenly.
Small window air conditioners should be easy to set up, especially if you’ll be using it in different rooms. That’s what the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 offers. It comes with a pleated quick mount window kit, which helps to form a proper seal and improve the unit’s efficiency when installed in smaller windows.
Apart from cooling, this AC can also remove up to 1.1 pints per hour, ensuring that your space is safe from excess humidity. The included filter is an antibacterial mesh with side, slide-out access, and it reduces bacteria, odors, and other airborne particles.
- Energy efficient
- Affordable than other brands
- Low power start-up
- Antibacterial mesh filter
- Mechanical rotary controls
- Easy installation
- Not fitted for large spaces
- Not Energy Star Certified by EPA
- Some noise complaints
This is another cheap window air conditioner for small rooms such as bedrooms, living rooms, dorm rooms or small apartments. It’s a great alternative to cooling your entire home as the 5000 BTUs can only supply rooms up to 150 square feet.
The unit measures 16 x 15.4 x 12 inches and weighs 36.5 pounds which makes it one of the lightest window air conditioners. Before installing the AC, make sure your window is between 23 – 36 inches wide and at least 13 inches high. It comes with the installation kit including support brackets, leaf guards, window seal foam, and even a handy drip-free installation guide.
Apart from the small size, hOmeLabs 5000 BTU Window-Mounted Air Conditioner is a feature-packed unit. First, you’ll notice the easy-to-use, mechanical rotary controls. These controls will allow you to customize your cooling needs from the seven different temperature settings or the dual cooling and fan settings. The AC can also direct the refreshing, cold air wherever you need it the most if you use the full-width, two-way airflow.
If you purchase the hOmeLabs 5000 BTU Window-Mounted Air Conditioner, you won’t have to worry about energy bills because it’s energy efficient (EER of 11.1) and features a low power start-up. You’ll breathe easy and worry less about bacteria and odor in your room as the AC features a reusable antibacterial filter.
- Comes with an air mounting kit
- Super fast cool time
- Reusable filter
- Energy efficient
- Easy to install
- Cheaper than other brands
- Does not have a dedicated water drain hole
- No energy saver mood
- No remote control
- No digital display
Frigidaire’s FFRE0533Q1 5,000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner is the perfect air conditioner for rooms up to 150 square feet and whose window measures around 23 to 36 inches. The dimensions of this unit are 15.2 x 16 x 12 inches and only weighs 41 pounds.
While this unit is one of the affordable window air conditioners by Frigidaire, it’s also one of the quietest producing 54 dBA on the maximum fan setting and 50 dBA on the minimum fan setting. That means you’ll have a quiet sleep at night even when you leave it on.
It’s always important to look for other extra features when shopping for a small window AC. One of the features you’ll love about the Frigidaire FFRE0533Q1 is its ability to dehumidify up to 1.1 pints per hour. When there is a power outage, the Effortless Restart feature resumes the unit to its previous settings when power is restored.
The device is also equipped with ready-select electronic control that allows you to customize the temperature the way you need it. Its temperature-readout displays the set temperature while the remote allows you to control the temperature and other modes.
- Affordable price
- Easy to install
- Comes with digital display
- High Energy Efficiency Ration
- Fan rattling complaint
- Not Energy Star Certified
You may have realized that most small window air conditioners have very low cooling capacity, and the Haier ESA405R is no difference. That’s because they are intended to cool small confined spaces. In this case, the Haier ESA405R’s 5000 BTU is ideal for rooms up to 150 square feet.
When it comes to installing the unit, first, make sure your window is 24-36 inches wide and 13.5 inches high. The window kit is easy to assemble, and the unit requires a standard 115V electrical outlet as a power source.
Some of the best features of the Haier ESA405R include three cooling setting, three fan speeds, and auto cool feature. All these allow you to customize your cooling as you desire.
It comes with a full function remote, time and temperature display and digital temperature adjust. Overall, you can definitely tell that the Haier ESA405R is a pretty basic unit that should perform efficiently if used correctly.
- Energy efficient
- 3 Cooling / 3 fan speeds plus auto cool
- 4 -way air direction
- Easy-to-install window kit
Smallest Window Air Conditioner Buying Guide
In the summer, elevated air temperatures and high relative humidity often combine to create an uncomfortable indoor environment that even open windows and fans do little to improve. It is times like these that air conditioning becomes an absolute must-have. A suitable air conditioner provides comfort in closed doors by lowering temperature and humidity levels.
If you are in the market for the best window ac brand, you will be greeted with numerous options, ranging from central air conditioners for the entire home to conveniently portable window air conditioning units.
Central air conditioning systems give homeowners cooling for the whole house through a dwelling-wide system of ducts and vents, but they can be expensive and complicated to install.
For renters, splurging on a centralized system is usually not even an option. And, although wall units are less expensive and much easier to install, it is not always possible to perform the necessary permanent alterations to fit it in a building.
Thankfully, window air conditioners exist to address your cooling needs without a lengthy, complicated, and expensive buying and installation process. Some compact models only require to be close to an open window, and they will do the rest.
Window air conditioners are popular among people that are ideally interested in cooling small rooms. However, choosing the best window air conditioner for your space requires more than just picking the most popular model on the market. Window conditioners may seem relatively simple, but choosing the right one for your home means carefully considering several crucial factors.
Read on for a deep dive into how window air conditioners work and how to get yourself the smallest and most convenient unit.
How Does A Window Air Conditioner Work?
Window air conditioners are self-contained cooling units designed to cool a single room with the possibility of cooling adjacent spaces depending on the layout of the house and the capacity of the conditioner.
Traditionally, these units can be placed temporarily on top of a flat surface, semi-permanently inside a vertical sash or double-hung windows, or permanently in an accurately prepared wall fitting.
A window air conditioning unit is an assembly of three basic parts; a compressor, a condenser coil, and an evaporator coil. A standard AC also features two fans, an expansion valve, an air filter, a thermostat, and a control panel. To cool your room, these units use a refrigerant, the same kind of chemical used in other cooling devices like refrigerators to absorb heat from their surroundings.
When installed in living spaces, all models cool by sucking in hot air from a room, cooling it, and then returning it into the room. The warm air created by the heat exchange is expelled to the outside, typically through the back of the air conditioner.
Window air conditioners vary in design and applications, and the modes available depend on the model you choose. When in cooling mode, an air conditioner will take in room air, cool it, and then direct it back into the room.
However, some models allow you to choose from several preset cooling levels, while others let you set the temperature you want the unit to maintain. The conditioner operates until it senses that the room is at the desired temperature and then turns off, turning back on when the temperature rises above the setting.
Most window air conditioners also have an energy-efficient fan-only mode, which sucks in air, filters it, and blows it back out without cooling it. If you land a model with a heating mode, you can set it at a higher temperature relative to the ambient environment, and the unit will cycle on and off to maintain it.
When Would You Need A Small Window Air Conditioner?
The two most significant benefits that inspire buyers to choose a compact window air conditioner are affordability and simplicity. A central air conditioning system is a huge commitment in cost, both when buying and installing it. In comparison, the smallest window air conditioners can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, and you can install one without hiring a professional.
Central air conditioners are also demanding to maintain, and ductwork is known to develop leaks that cause significant energy waste. If you are tired of paying heavy fees to keep your system running, you can select some of the rooms that need air conditioning and get a few window conditioners as a more convenient replacement.
Besides cost and ease of installation, you might want to get a window air conditioner if you need to or can do with cooling one room at a time, or if you are renting and would like to be able to carry the unit with you when you move.
How To Choose A Window Air Conditioner
If you have already decided that a window air conditioner is the best choice for your space, you are ready for the next step, figuring out which unit to buy. The options are abundant, but knowing the main factors to consider will likely ease your search.
Window air conditioners vary significantly in price, from as little as $100 to over $2,000 (here are the cheapest window air conditioners reviewed). As expected, the lower end of the range tends to have pretty basic options in what they offer and are only effective when deployed in small spaces. If your wallet is more flexible, you can get a unit that can cool a much larger room and also has other useful features and functions.
In addition to the upfront cost, it is also important to consider the amount of money your unit will cost you over time. Air conditioners are typically energy guzzlers.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that more than half of all the energy used in households across the country is for heating and air conditioning. Therefore, spending more upfront for a model with an Energy Star rating may end up saving you a great deal of money over the years.
The smallest air conditioning unit in the store will likely be among the cheapest, but it won’t cool adequately unless your room corresponds in size. On the other hand, if you use large room window air conditioner in a small space, it will remove less humidity, leaving the air feeling damp and clammy.
Cooling capacity is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units) per hour, which indicates the amount of heat an air conditioner can remove from a room in one hour. As a general rule of thumb, an air conditioner requires 20 BTU for every square foot of living space. For maximum efficiency, choose a window air conditioner whose BTU level matches the square footage of your room.
Your dealer of choice will very likely have a chart you can use as a guide, but to determine the most accurate BTU estimate, consider these factors as well.
– Natural light
If your room is heavily shaded by surrounding trees or buildings, often kept curtained, or just has a single window that lets in little sunlight, reduce the BTU corresponding to the size of the space by 10 percent. If natural light is abundant, on the other hand, target a window air conditioner with a BTU that is 10 percent higher than the number matching your room size.
– Ceiling Height
A high ceiling means more room volume, and consequently, more air to cool. Choose a conditioner whose capacity is on the higher side of the suggested BTU range. If your room has a low-hanging ceiling, reduce your BTU target accordingly.
– Other Appliances
For rooms that have heat-generating appliances, such as cooking devices and computers, Energy Star recommends increasing the target capacity of an air conditioner by as much as 4,000 BTUs over another in a similarly sized room. Consult a professional for advice if you are buying an air conditioner for a kitchen, office, or computer server room.
If the room you want to condition often hosts more than one person whenever it is used, such as a family living room or dining room, increase your BTU target by 600 for each additional person.
– Adjacent rooms
Is there a room with a permanently open doorway adjacent to your target room? Well, you will need to add the square footage of both rooms together to determine the window air conditioner size you require for effective cooling.
Choosing an energy-efficient window air conditioner pays in the long run, so how do you ensure you get one? The answer is to keep a close eye on the product labels.
Today, all the window units you will find in the market come with an EnerGuide label, which tells a buyer how much energy the model uses. The most efficient air conditioners will also brandish an Energy Star symbol.
On average, a window air conditioner with an Energy Star rating uses 10 percent less energy than a conventional model. Such a unit will likely come with features that give you greater temperature control, making it much easier to manage energy consumption.
For the most savings in energy bills, pick a conditioner with a digital thermostat, programmable timer, automatic cooling, and multiple speeds.
Energy Efficient Ratio, or EER, is also a reliable efficiency indicator. This ratio tells you how many BTUs of heat energy your window air conditioner will use for each watt of power. Typically, a 0.1 EER increase translates to a 1 percent drop in your electrical usage. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests going with models that have an EER of at least 10.
Because of the relative ease of installing a window air conditioner, buyers hardly ever think about where a unit will go and how it will fit before they buy one. The most popular windows ACs are designed to fit inside vertically opening – or double-hung – windows, which means you will need to precisely measure the dimensions inside the window frame, paying close attention to the width, before going out to hunt for a conditioner.
Look for the unit whose recommended minimum and maximum window width dimensions are as close a match to your window size as possible. Don’t worry if the model you settle on is a bit too small for your window frame. All modern windows air conditioners come with installation kits that include adjustable size curtains to seal the extra space on each side of the window.
Some window air conditioners can also be installed through the wall and are great alternatives for rooms with small, poorly positioned windows. If you would like a wall-mounted AC, start by checking the specifications to see if the unit has this installation option, then use the dimensions listed in the owner’s manual to size your wall opening.
Keep in mind that not all window are created for double hung windows. For casement, horizontal, sliding and vertical windows, you should choose a casement window air conditioner.
Whether you choose the window or the wall, make sure the conditioner sits level in the opening, with the exhaust system facing outside and the return system inside the room. Some models come with rugged mounting sleeves and a slide-out chassis for added stability and easy maintenance.
Small window ACs vary in power requirements, but if you are looking to cool a sizeable room, the chances are high that you will get a unit that is needier than your other household appliances. Therefore, your existing electrical system must be ready to meet the needs of your new unit.
A unit with a BTU above 15,000 will likely require you to install special electrical wiring. Electrical measurements will be listed in the specifications section of your AC’s manual, and the right plug face type may also be pictured.
Window air conditioners are typically installed in rooms where people spend the most time. It, therefore, makes sense to want a model that causes minimal disturbance. An air conditioner that makes it hard to sleep or work will likely not feel like a significant improvement in comfort.
If a handful of models all seem to tick all the boxes, check their reviews for noise output online and let your findings guide you towards making the right choice. Or check our quietest window air conditioners reviews.
The factors you have gone through so far may be the primary considerations, but as you peruse window air conditioning units, you will probably be wooed by some nice-to-have features as well. Modern models come with extra functionalities to offer their owners more control and energy efficiency.
For starters, many window ACs have additional operating modes, which you can toggle on when you need specific service from your unit. These modes can include fan only, heating, dehumidifying, and air purification. For all year round comfort, a window ac with heat would be a great purchase.
Virtually all window air conditioners today come with an air filtration system to remove large particles and bugs from incoming air before they enter the system. These filters get more advanced as the price goes up, and filters in some high-end models also remove smoke, odors, and airborne germs.
For more control over the air circulation in your room, you can choose a window air conditioner with adjustable louvers, such as the Friedrich Chill CP10G10A. You can adjust the louvers horizontally and vertically so that air flows in multiple directions.
Other features you may want to consider are programmable timers that enable a unit to turn on and off to maintain your desired temperature automatically. And a sleep mode to gradually reduce air conditioner use as the night progresses so that you are comfortable when falling asleep.
Still, you do not pay for more cooling than you need when you are sleeping. Remote control can also come in handy if you want to change settings without having to walk to your AC, and some newer models even have apps that enable you to adjust remotely with your smartphone.
A central air conditioning system may be out of reach, but that doesn’t mean you are out of options. The right window air conditioner can be just what you need to beat the heat. Keep this guide in mind when you are out shopping so that you can get the model that is best for your home.
Ronald Watford, the owner of Quality Home Air Care, is a qualified HVACR technician and manages the team of expert writers on this site. He believes that educating homeowners about HVAC systems is one of the most impactful aspects of his job.