There are many reasons to invest in a compact window air conditioner. Perhaps you only want to cool a small room and don’t want it “freezing” like Antarctica. Whatever your reasons may be, mini air conditioners are an energy-efficient and inexpensive alternative for cooling down a room or even two small rooms when the weather gets hot.
There are a number of compact air conditioners available online for purchase. But how do you find one that’s suitable for you? We understand that it can be challenging to pick the right unit considering the fact that there are a variety of options and you need to be able to spot the subtle differences between them in order to get the best model for your needs.
In today’s article, we provide a complete guide and all the information you need to know to help you make a better decision when purchasing a compact window air conditioner. We have also included our top recommendations that you can get your hands on now.
We are confident that you’ll be in a good position to pick out the best air conditioner for your needs once you are done going through the article. Soon, you’ll have a compact window air conditioner that works great, is reliable, and energy-efficient.
Factors to Consider before Buying a Small WIndow Air Conditioner
The best air conditioners should be efficient and offer the right level of comfort for the user. Here are a few key aspects you can keep in mind and consider when evaluating different options on the market.
Room Size and Cooling Performance
Small window air conditioners come in various sizes and different cooling powers. However, your choice will fully depend on your room size. A 100 to 200 square-foot room will need a unit with around 6,000BTU. For every 100 additional square-feet, you have to add 1000BTU. For example, you will need a unit with 8,000BTU to properly cool and dehumidify a 350-square foot room.
If you’re very busy and require user-friendly maintenance, you should consider units with washable filters and a filter alert, such as a light indicator that will notify you when it’s time to change or clean the filter.
Note the Noise
Nobody wants to stay in a room that’s loud and noisy. Units that make noise, even if it’s at a fair level, will still cause some disturbance, especially for light sleepers, and can even be extremely distracting to everyone when used at high speed.
Hence, it is very important to find a good unit that’s also quiet. The only sound that you should be able to hear when it’s on is the fan running. It should be even quieter if you’re planning to use it while you sleep at night.
Ease of Use
It’s always better to go for a small window air conditioner that has user-friendly controls so that you don’t spend time and effort trying to figure out how to operate it. Whether you’re going for digital controls or the old-fashioned analog knobs, it should always be easy to operate the machine.
Setting up or installing a mini air conditioner shouldn’t take up too much of your time. Neither should it be strenuous, cause a headache, or even feel like a serious workout. Therefore, you should look for something that’s lightweight and won’t give you any trouble when installing it.
Pros and Cons of Small Window Air Conditioners
Despite the smaller size, small air conditioners have a great edge over larger air conditioners, mainly because they tend to cost less and are extremely suitable for smaller spaces. Hence, people who do not live in large apartments prefer investing and spending their money on smaller air conditioners rather than on big ones. But to ensure fairness, we will talk about some of the top pros and cons of window air conditioners.
Obviously, the biggest advantage of getting a quality small window air conditioner is lower cost. Unlike other models, window air conditioners aren’t as expensive since they do not come with a huge battery. Considering the fact they only need to cool smaller spaces, these units do not require large batteries. Moreover, once bought, these also tend to lower the electricity bills of your house, thus, adding to their appeal.
Since these small window air conditioners are designed with a need to cool smaller spaces, they often tend to provide very consistent airflow. This means that your room gets evenly cooled and everyone gets to enjoy the same level of air regardless of which corner they’re sitting in.
Small air conditioners are not only cost-effective, but they’re also extremely convenient. Plus, they don’t require much time to install. Their small size also makes them versatile and can be installed in a range of places, thus reducing the limitations of users. Moreover, you won’t even need to rely on the help of a professional or any unnecessary tools for installation.
These are smaller models and have smaller fans, hence they do some with limited efficiency. The proof of this is the relatively lower BTU rating associated with such models. These small window air conditioners not only take longer to cool down larger rooms, but they also do so with less efficiency.
Limitations of Windows
Though they’re called window air conditioners, they often cannot be installed inside a range of windows that include fixed windows, gliders, or casement windows. Once installed, these units will even restrict the windows as you won’t be able to use them for ventilation anymore.
Top 7 Best Compact Window Air Conditioners in 2021
Now that we’ve gone through a few notable aspects related to buying the best small window air conditioner, let’s dive straight in to see which models have made it to our list.
1. Midea MAW06R1BWT
Among the plethora of reasons why this Midea model stands out to us, the one that we really love is its 24-hour timer setting that makes your life all the more easier since you don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night just to stop the air conditioner now. This 24-hour timer is automatically synced with your phone and lets you control and change the settings whenever you want without getting off the bed.
This Midea window air conditioner is perfect for any person living in a small compartment or bedroom. It features 3 different settings to give you more control over fan speeds. Other than that, it also comes with a remote control to ensure easier operations, especially from afar.
It also has a compact size, which allows for easy installation. So if you’re looking for window air conditioners that have both convenience and consistency in one single unit, then you need not look further than this model.
Pleasing buyers and convincing them of the quality of the product is no easy feat, and this is exactly what the Midea window air conditioner has successfully done with ease. With its inclusion of a fantastic digital display and a large remote control, this window air conditioner provides users the comfort they deserve.
Not only that, but the model is also loved by many for its consistent airflow that ensures every person, regardless of the corner they’re sitting in, gets to enjoy the same level of comfort and coolness.
The bottom line of this 3 in 1 Midea air conditioner model is that it is winning hearts big-time. Its functions include dehumidification, cooling, and fan-only settings, all in one single unit. Aside from that, it is also extremely fast and efficient that makes cooling much easier for smaller rooms.
This Midea window unit is also suitable for smaller spaces such as bedrooms, offices, and even RVs. It’s also extremely compact, making installation super easy. All these features are what make this model one of the best ones available in the market.
You would like this if:
- You want an air conditioner that comes with an easy-to-use remote control
- You want fast and extremely efficient cooling air conditioners
- You prefer a unit that offers a range of different modes for added versatility
- You want an easy installation that does not require a professional
- You want a 3-in-1 model that combines dehumidification, air conditioning, and fan-only mode to increase diversity
You might not like this if:
- You have a large room as this can only cool rooms that are 250 sq. gt. or smaller
- You have smaller windows and cavements
2. Frigidaire FFRA0511R1
The Frigidaire air conditioner unit is a solid, simple model that strikes a good balance between price and quality of performance. It gets solid marks for its size, effectiveness, ease of use, and comfortable noise level.
One thing to like about this unit is its simplicity. The 5,000 BTU window air conditioner features straightforward controls that allow users to adjust the motor speed of either the air conditioner or the fan with just one knob and another to set the temperature. That’s all the control you have and frankly, those are the only settings on an air conditioner that you need to adjust anyway.
The Frigidaire is a compact air conditioner that works very well in a smaller space or room, preferably one that is 150 square feet or less. The 5,000 BTU cooling power ensures the room cools quickly and keeps it nice and cold, even at low settings.
An interesting highlight to point out is that this Frigidaire model also does well in terms of getting rid of odors. It also has an antibacterial filter included in the system to help clean the air and remove harmful bacteria. The filter is also washable, so you don’t have to worry about spending a bomb to frequently change it.
As for the noise performance, you will certainly appreciate the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1’s very low noise levels at all fan speeds. It operates very quietly for you to enjoy a peaceful night of sleep. On the flip side, it comes with a short power cord. You will need to get an extension cord should you choose to install it near the window. Other than that, everything else about this model is great!
The bottom line is that the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 is an awesome little air conditioning machine that is very basic in terms of operations and controls, but still equally effective when it comes to performance. It fits well in any small room and works to keep it cool and comfortable without much fuss.
With regards to installation, this is fairly easy to install and it can be set up by one person without any problems. While this unit does not look sleek nor sexy, it is an AC that will definitely get the job done and very well.
You would like this if:
- You want an AC unit that cools the air quickly and efficiently
- You want a 5,000 BTU window unit that operates fairly quietly at all speeds
- You prefer air conditioners with a compact size that’s ideal for smaller spaces
- You want an antibacterial filter to help keep the air clean
- You prefer easy operation with straightforward controls
You might not like this if:
- You want to install it near a window without using an extension cord as this has a short power cord
- You want one with a pre-programmed timer
Best for the Money
3. LG LW6017R Air Conditioner
LG Electronics is a popular brand and is a top player in the air conditioning market with a great reputation for producing high-quality products. This LG LW6017R model is no different. In fact, it’s a low-cost investment that comes with the performance you are certainly going to appreciate.
This LG air conditioner features a cooling power of 6,000 BTUs, which gives it plenty of power compared to the other options on this list. The air conditioner is able to effectively cool small to medium rooms with a size of up to 260 square feet.
Similar to the Frigidaire model, this LG product also features the dehumidifier function for your home. It is capable of removing up to 1.8 pints of moisture from the air each hour. It is also worth noting that the vent points upwards, which is a big plus point. It’s been proven that cold air blown upwards will cool the room more efficiently as it can get circulated quickly by the ceiling fan.
Additionally, the air conditioner unit gives you complete control over the cooling speeds and the airflow in the room. With three cooling speeds as well as three different fan speeds, you’ll be able to customize the settings to achieve your desired level of comfort. This window unit also allows you to set an auto cool function, making it even more convenient to use.
Another great feature of this air conditioner is the auto shut-off function. You can set the system such that it will automatically shut off both the fan and cool air once your desired temperature is reached. The system will also automatically restart once it senses that the temperature has risen.
The air conditioner also has an air filter positioned on the front right behind the grille to clean up the air easily. The unit also has an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 11.5, meaning it will not enormously affect your electricity bill. The auto shut-off feature will even help you conserve more energy and reduce the power cost.
When it comes to installing the LG LW6017R, it is super easy as it comes with an installation kit and weighs around 40 pounds. This will depend on your body strength, but otherwise, one person should be able to set it up without much trouble. With a 52 dB noise level, this air conditioner unit will not make much noise to distract you while sleeping.
Overall, the LG LW6017R might be the perfect option for those with a medium-sized room. With 6,000 BTUs and a built-in humidifier, this is one of the smallest window air conditioners available on the market that offers great value for money. It will also no doubt give you a cool and comfortable environment during hot summer days.
You would like this if:
- You want an air conditioner that’s relatively easy to install
- You want an air conditioner unit that also serves as a dehumidifier
- You want air conditioners with efficient cooling performance with an energy-saving function
- You want a machine with a one-year limited warranty
- You want to be able to customize the fan and cooling speed
You might not like this if:
- You’re not strong as this air conditioner might be a bit heavy to install alone
4. hOmeLabs Window-Mounted Air Conditioner
Although this model will not be winning the prize for the most sophisticated design, this hOmeLabs air conditioner is one of the most effective and affordable ways to help you keep a small room cool on days when the temperatures are scorchingly high.
For such a compact unit, this hOmeLabs air conditioner certainly features an impressive cooling strength. It comes with 5,000 BTU of cooling power, which is more than sufficient for cooling small living spaces, such as an average-sized bedroom. It will work best in spaces that are 150 square feet or less.
This air conditioner features seven temperature settings with two fan speed settings, high or low to help you achieve your desired temperature within your living space. This unit will not only ensure you get to enjoy a cool and comfortable environment, but it will also ensure you take in nice, clean air with its antibacterial filter that eliminates dust, bacteria, and any room odor.
This air conditioner model also has a full-width, two-way airflow that helps redirect the refreshing, clean, cold air to wherever you need it to go. Therefore, you will not only enjoy optimum cooling but also get to breathe comfortably. This efficient AC has an 11.1 EER rating, hence you won’t have to worry about it raising your energy bill to an exorbitant amount, especially during hot weather months. It’s relatively quiet too, generating about 60.4 decibels of white noise on the highest settings.
This 5,000 BTU air conditioner is also fairly easy to install with no professional assistance required. It also comes with a complete start-up kit and a helpful user guide to help you along the way. The window unit also features backflow drainage that will help prevent water from getting inside the house and risk soaking the motor.
In general, this hOmeLabs model offers a full air conditioning kit that’s ideal for small living spaces. Though it’s not the most sophisticated unit, you can definitely count on it to deliver in terms of performance.
The bottom line is that this is one of the best air conditioners you can get your hands on if you’re on a budget and in need of a reliable model that can effectively stir up a cool breeze in a small room. This is a quiet, power-efficient system that works well and can serve you for several years without any issues.
You would like this if:
- You want a window unit that’s fairly energy efficient
- You want a model that comes with a decent two-year warranty
- You prefer a filter that can slide out for easy removal and cleaning
- You want an air conditioner with mechanical controls that are simple to operate
- You want to be able to adjust both temperature and fan speeds
- You want an air conditioner that’s easy to install and is relatively quiet when running
You might not like this if:
- You don’t want a unit with significant gaps in the accordion flaps. You may need extra sealing for larger windows
5. Frigidaire FFRA0511U1 Window-Mounted Air Conditioner
The Frigidaire FFRA0511U1 is a basic unit that’s capable of keeping you cool without needing you to dig deep into your pockets. It’s essentially a low-cost investment with plenty of power to keep you cool and comfortable.
Featuring 5,000 BTU of cooling power, the Frigidaire FFRA0511U1 air conditioner is powerful enough to comfortably cool a small size room up to 150 square feet. It will even cool the space quickly and maintain very low humidity. The unit’s dehumidifier is able to remove 1.1 pints of moisture every hour, giving you cooler, drier air.
The Frigidaire small window air conditioner also lets you adjust the cooling speed as well as the fan speed. The airflow is also adjustable in two different directions. However, you’re not able to adjust the temperature to a set number of degrees. Nonetheless, the unit does offer six different temperature ratings, hence you’re still able to customize it to meet your comfort level.
Frigidaire has proven to put a lot of thought into the design of their air conditioners as this unit features an auto-restart function that will automatically resume cooling at its previous setting as soon as the power is restored in case of an outage. Aside from that, the filter also slides out for easy access and it’s washable to make sure that maintenance isn’t a hard task.
This is also a fairly quiet model. The only noise you’ll hear from this air conditioner is the sound of rushing air coming from the unit, making it an excellent choice for sleeping spaces. In terms of using the system, you’ll be glad to know that it has a very simple operation with mechanical rotary dial controls. It also has an energy efficiency rating EER of 11.1 and a low power startup to help you conserve energy and save you from exorbitant electric bills.
Installing this air conditioner is really simple too. Plus the unit even comes with an installation kit to help you in the process. While this Frigidaire unit is one of the smallest window air conditioners around, it weighs 41 pounds, making it amongst the highest weight on our list but definitely not heavy enough to make it hard to carry around.
The bottom line is that this Frigidaire 5,000 BTU window air conditioner is constructed with several useful features within a durable build to be worthy of the price. It does a great job at cooling the air and getting rid of excess humidity. Plus, it’s actually quite affordable.
You would like this if:
- You want a unit that’s simple to install
- You want user-friendly controls and relatively quiet operation
- You prefer air conditioners with a washable filter that slides out easily
- You want air conditioners that keep your room cool and reduce humidity
You might not like this if:
- You want a lighter unit as this might be a bit heavy for some people
6. Frigidaire FFRE0533Q1
The Frigidaire FFRE0533Q1 is a small window AC that can operate efficiently without generating any noise issues at all. The AC unit also provides up to 5,000 BTU of cooling capacity, and like the rest of the other units on our list, this Frigidaire AC is able to keep your room cool during hotter days, provided the room is not more than 150 sq ft.
This AC unit also features a built-in dehumidifier capable of clearing up to 1.1 pints of excess moisture per hour. This means that the AC unit will keep the humidity inside your rooms at a balanced level. It also comes with a washable mesh filter too to help clear up bacteria and airborne particles from the air. Combining that with the built-in dehumidifier, you can expect to receive constant cool, good quality air.
On top of that, you can even customize the system according to your preferences or comfort level as this AC unit lets you adjust the temperature and fan speed easily via a full-function remote control that’s convenient and fast. The 5,000 BTU air conditioner even features a four-way airflow, meaning you can direct the air anywhere you want it.
Now, the best part about this Frigidaire AC unit is the fact that it’s almost soundless while running on either a high or low setting. Not only that, but it also comes with an Energy Saver mode as one of the control options to use less energy both to start and operate it.
However, this AC unit weighs about 40 pounds, which is a tad bit on the heavy side and some people may have difficulty maneuvering it into the window. But once you get it there, it is easy to set up.
All-in-all, the Frigidaire AC unit is a good small window AC to get if you have a small room and are struggling to keep it cool with the central AC. Though it does not come with fancy features, this basic unit will certainly keep you comfortable on hot days.
You would like this if:
- You want a 5,000 BTU window AC that’s easy to operate
- You want multidirectional vents on your air conditioner
- You require efficient cooling power and a dehumidifier
- You want to be able to set the temperature and fan speed you desire
- You want a window AC that is simple to install and comes with a washable mesh filter
You might not like this if:
- You want a small window AC unit that has auto features
- You want a lighter AC unit as this might be a bit heavy compared to other models in its class
7. Frigidaire FFRE0533S1
Last on the list is the Frigidaire FFRE0533S1 Window AC Unit that’s also one of the smallest window air conditioners on the market that offers both convenience and great performance for cooling down smaller rooms. This AC unit features a cooling power of 5,000 BTU and is designed to cool small rooms that are less than 150 sq. ft. in size.
The best part about this small window AC is that it doubles as a dehumidifier with a moisture rate of up to 1.1 pints per hour. Therefore, keeping your living space cool while also maintaining a healthy and comfortable humidity level.
This air conditioner also features a four-way airflow, which is another great addition as it lets you direct the cooled air right where you want it easily. Plus, it has a maximum airflow rate of 140 cubic ft per minute, meaning it will efficiently circulate the cool air around whatever room you install it in.
The small window AC has a filter mesh that’s antibacterial to help reduce bacteria, airborne particles, and even room odors for a cool, comfortable environment. For easy maintenance, the mesh is also washable and slides out for quick and easy cleaning.
We like that Frigidaire has made operating this window AC unit quite convenient by providing a full-function remote control. With this device, you’ll be able to modify both the fan speed and temperature of the air conditioner from the comfort of your couch or even anywhere in the room, depending on your preference.
The small window AC even includes a programmable timer to further enhance its convenience, enabling you to set your desired cooling duration. In other words, you get to enjoy a high degree of customization with this cooler compared to other window AC models within this range.
The AC unit also has a low power start-up and operation with an impressive 12.2 energy efficiency ratio (EER), which means that it will conserve energy and even save you money in the process. Even better, the maximum noise level of this air conditioner is 54.5 dB, so that you get to rest peacefully as it operates fairly quietly.
This air conditioner also weighs around 42 pounds, so it’s pretty heavy, but you shouldn’t have a problem installing it alone. Overall, this is a high-performance cooler that’s super user friendly and is designed to provide the best cooling experience in any room.
The bottom line is that the Frigidaire FFRE05331S1 is a wonderful choice for anyone looking for an affordable AC unit that’s more than just a room cooler. This small window AC is well-built and features several convenience-enhancing functionalities that are generally available only on high-end units to make this an investment that guarantees value for your money.
You would like this if:
- You want an air conditioner with highly convenient operation
- You want air conditioners with a one-year full warranty
- You prefer air conditioners with washable and easily accessible filter
- You want a small window AC unit that is relatively quiet even at high fan speed
- You want efficient air circulation with multidirectional vents
- You want an efficient cooling system that doubles up as a humidifier
You might not like this if:
- You want a lighter small window AC unit as this might be a bit heavy compared to other models in its class
How to Clean Small AC Window Units
In order to ensure your AC unit continues operating efficiently and with durability, you need to clean it regularly. But, how do you clean an AC unit such as the models above? Here are a few necessary steps that you need to follow:
- Turn off the AC unit and move it outside to a place where you can work and reach with a water hose.
- Remove the filter and set it aside. Several models have filters that can slide out so that it won’t be hard to remove them.
- Remove the front panel in order to access the front coils, then remove the top case cover to access the rest of the unit such as the fan and the back of the coils.
- Fill a spray bottle with some cleaning solution and thoroughly spray the front coils. Leave them to soak for about five minutes.
- Move to the inside of the unit and spray the back of the coils and fan thoroughly until the whole coil is soaked well and leave it for five minutes.
- Take the filter and spray it off with a water hose and set it aside to dry. Take the cover and spray it down with water as well. You can also choose to use a brush to get it a little bit cleaner.
- Next, we will move on to the main unit. Here, you’ll want to also make sure you thoroughly hose down the unit. However, do make sure you do not wet the electrical parts where the knobs are when spraying with water.
- Begin lightly from the front coils before moving to the back parts. You’ll also want to spray the backside (back coils and fan) really well, as that’s where most dirt will be trapped at.
- Once you’re done, dump the water out of the pan and let the unit sit and air dry overnight or for at least 24 hours before assembling them back together and starting to use it.
Do note that cleaning the air conditioner regularly is vital. Otherwise, a thick layer of dust will begin to settle and hinder the AC unit’s cooling capabilities or even cause it to stop working.
How to Install Small Window AC Units in a Small Room
Window AC units are simple to install and most of the time does not require professionals to do so since it’s not a big job. One good example of an easy-to-install unit is the LG LW6017R model. Armed with the correct information and tools, anyone should be able to install a small AC unit in their rooms. Here is a step-by-step guide to simplifying your window AC installation.
Before you begin the installation, make sure that:
- You read the manufacturer’s instructions for exact details on features, installation, and maintenance since every AC unit is different.
- You have a grounded three-prong outlet. If you don’t, you may consider hiring an electrician to install one for you. Do make sure that you never use an adapter plug or extension cord connected to your electrical outlet to install your AC units.
- The window frame should be in good condition with nothing outside the window that will obstruct or inhibit airflow.
Note: Before getting a window AC unit, check the size of your window opening and know the square footage of the room you want to cool down.
- After purchasing your portable AC unit, thoroughly wash the windows on both sides (inside and outside). Remove the unit from the packaging material and make sure you save the box for storage in the offseason.
- Align the holes on the unit with the top rail on top of the AC cabinet and secure the screws included with each unit.
Attach the side panels. Find the correct panel for each side, carefully extend the panel and push the end all the way into the track. Insert the ends of the frame into the rails and repeat the same steps on the other side.
- Set the AC on the window and ensure the bottom rail is flush against the edge of the frame or window seal.
- Lower the sash behind the top rail and adhere the side panels to the frame. With the frames in their extended position, drill a pilot hole and set the frame locks with a screw.
- Continue to drill until you can easily drive the screws into the frame and secure the AC along the sash line.
- Lock the lower sash with a sash lock. Drill another pilot hole and use a screw to secure it. Measure and cut a foam window seal to the correct size and insert it between the two sashes.
- Note: you can also angle the unit backwards a bit to ensure it can drain properly.
Finally, use a weather sealant to fill and plug any gaps. Once you’re done, plug in the unit and press the restart button to power it up and you’re all set.
Installing Window AC Units are a pretty simple project and doing it correctly will ensure your AC works safely the way it should.
Before shopping, you need to ensure that you take all the right factors into consideration in order to pick the best unit that suits your room and budget. A good reliable air conditioner will ensure a cool and comfortable environment while saving you money as well.
All the units on our list do an exemplary job when it comes to cooling small rooms, plus they’re also well built. Some models may come with several convenient functionalities such as built-in timers, remote controls, and auto-shutoff functions.
To sum it all up, do look for AC units that offer great performance and efficiency to ensure you get maximum value for your money, otherwise, you may just end up needing to invest in a new AC every other summer.
Frequently Asked Questions
How big of a generator is needed to power small window AC units?
The size of the generator will hugely depend on the size of the AC that you end up buying. Larger air conditioners will require a big generator. Similarly, smaller air conditioners do not require that much power. For an AC with 5,000 BTU cooling capacity, you’ll want to get a 2000 series inverter generator. This should ideally run on a 1500 watt open frame.
Is it cheaper to run a window AC or central air?
A central air conditioning system is cheaper to run if you want to cool three or more rooms. However, if you plan to cool only one or two rooms, then the compact window AC units would be much cheaper than installing a central home AC system.