Best window air conditioners of 2021

All window air conditioners from Consumer Reports’ latest tests do a pretty good job of keeping you cool. What sets them apart is how quickly and quietly a room cools down and how easy it is to use.

And you don’t have to pay a lot for heat relief.

Window air conditioners in our tests range from $ 150 to $ 580, with prices increasing as size and capacity (Btu) increase. (An outlier is the mid-sized Friedrich Kuhl, which typically costs $ 870.)

To help a window unit perform more efficiently, look for a model with insulation panels. “Most new window air conditioners come with panels that you place over the adjustable plastic side panels to increase efficiency,” says Chris Regan, CR’s senior test engineer for air conditioners. Adding weatherstripping around the perimeter will also prevent air from entering or exiting.

It’s also important from an energy standpoint to get the right size AC power for the space you want to cool. For help, check out our guide on how to size a window air conditioner.

How we test window air conditioners
After installing the unit in a double hung window in our test chamber, we raise the air temperature to 90 ° F, then measure how long it takes for the air conditioning to cool the room by 10 ° F The best units hit the target in less than 15 minutes. We also assess how accurately the air conditioner reaches its set temperature, whether it can recover from a simulated voltage drop, the intuitiveness of the controls and the sound level of each unit when operating on low and high.

Read on for CR’s take on our top three picks for each room size, based on our latest testing. CR members can see even more choices in our comprehensive air conditioner reviews. For more information on your options outside of central air conditioning, check out our air conditioner buying guide, which also covers portable and ductless split air conditioners.

Below, details on nine of the top window air conditioners in our tests.


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Karl M. Bailey

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