If you’re in a hurry and just want to know our top pick for the best small window AC, then check out the Frigidaire FFRE0533S1 5,000 BTU Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner.
With spring and summer temperatures going up, you want to make sure you have the right small window air conditioner installed. A window unit is great when you live in an apartment, a single-story house, or when you spend most of your time in one area of your home. It’s also good for when your central AC doesn’t function well enough to cool your entire house.
Window ACs are much more cost friendly than central ACs and you can usually find a quality one that meets your needs for a reasonable price. Plus, installation is usually do-it-yourself, so you won’t have to worry about professional installation costs.
What Size Window AC Should I Buy?
There are a few important things to keep in mind while shopping for a window AC, such as the size of your room, room qualities like how many people usually occupy it, and AC energy efficiency.
Room Size and BTU
A window AC’s capacity to cool your room is measured in BTUs/hour. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit and it is a measurement of energy. First, find the area in square footage of the room by measuring (in feet) the length and width and multiplying the two numbers. Then look at the table below to see how many BTUs you should be aiming for.
|Area of Room in Square Feet||Capacity Needed (BTUs/Hour)|
|100 – 150 ft||5,000|
|150 – 250 ft||6,000|
|250 – 300 ft||7,000|
|300 – 350 ft||8,000|
|350 – 400 ft||9,000|
|400 – 450 ft||10,000|
|450 – 550 ft||12,000|
You can be rest assured that these numbers are energy efficient because they’re sourced from Energy Star. If your room is larger than the square feet in the table, you can find more measurements at the Energy Star webpage.
Adjustments for Room Activity
Although the table above is clear-cut about what capacity you’ll need for your window AC, you’ll need to make some Energy Star-suggested adjustments before you buy:
- If the room is sunny, then increase capacity by 10%.
- If the room is dark or in the shade, then reduce capacity by 10%.
- If there are regularly more than 2 people in the room, then for each additional person, add 600 BTUs.
- If the AC is being used in the kitchen, add 4,000 BTU.
Once you’ve adjusted your BTU value for the items above, take a look at the table and round down to the nearest thousand. For example, if you have a requirement of 5,478 BTUs, then round down to 5,000 BTUs.
Why Should I Estimate Lower for BTUs?
You might be thinking that more BTUs equals more efficiency, but that’s not the case. You want to round down because an oversized AC will not remove humidity efficiently, leading to a too-humid room.
Example BTU Calculation
Suppose you have a living room which is 16 feet x 22 feet. That’s 352 square feet. According to the table above, you would need 9,000 BTU. But remember the adjustments we have to make? Since the room is facing east, it’s quite sunny which means you can add 10% to the BTU calculation. There are regularly three people in the room, so you want to add 600 BTU for that extra person. Overall, your total BTU capacity requirement is 10,500. We’ll round down to and our final number is 10,000 BTUs.
If you’re all about reducing your electricity bill, be sure to check the EER number on the AC you purchase. EER stands for energy efficiency rating and is a number that divides the BTU measurement by the power consumption. You want to choose an AC with a higher EER number because this will increase efficiency.
Reviews of the Best Small Window Air Conditioners of 2020
We’ve reviewed 5 small window air conditioners below, with our favorite being the Friedrich CP08G10B 8,000 BTU window AC. Keep reading to see why that is.
Also, here’s a easy-access list of the window ACs we reviewed:
- Frigidaire FFRE0533S1 5,000 BTU Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner
- Tosot 8,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner
- Frigidaire 8,000 BTU Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner
- Friedrich CP08G10B Air Conditioner, 8,000 BTU
- LG, LW1019IVSM 9,500 BTU Dual Inverter Window Air Conditioner
The 5,000 BTU Frigidaire mini-compact AC is a window AC. Its estimated cost is around $37/year in energy and its EER is 12.2. It’s also Energy Star certified. Its cooling capacity is a room up to 150 square feet.
It comes with a digital display and remote control, so changing settings is a breeze—you can set a timer and change the fan speed along with changing the temperature. It also comes with a washable mesh filter which helps filter out bacteria, odor, and airborne particles.
One of the major downsides to this AC is that it is loud.
This Tosot 8,000 BTU window AC is Energy Star approved and is advertised to cool up to 350 square feet. It has a modern look and minimalistic design with a digital display. It cools based on the thermostat located in the remote, which means you get a better experience since the remote will likely be closer to you. It also has an oscillating top panel, which helps circulate cool air better.
This 8,000 BTU Frigidaire window AC has an EER of 12.0 and is advertised to cool an area of up to 350 square feet. It is Energy Star approved as well. It comes with a digital display and remote control, which controls the multi-speed fan. This model also comes with a washable mesh filter which will keep the air in your room clean by decreasing airborne particles, bacteria, and odors.
The con with this window AC is that it is also quite loud to some customers.
The Friedrich 8,000 BTU window AC is estimated to cost about $62/year and has an EER of 11.2, which is very good. It’s also Energy Star certified. It comes with a digital display and remote control. Its modern design makes it a natural part of your living space. This is a very quiet AC and it uses automatic oscillation during cooling.
You can also program this with the 24-hour timer, saving you time and hassle. It’s advertised to cool rooms up to 350 square feet and has an auto air sweep feature, meaning that your room will get a consistent air flow. It comes with a washable antimicrobial air filter as well.
This LG 9,500 BTU window AC has Wi-Fi control, which makes it even easier to control through your phone. It’s Energy Star approved and has an EER of 13. 8, which is better than some other units we’ve mentioned so far. This AC is very quiet and has a decibel score of 44 dB on low.
Our Favorite Small Window Air Conditioner
We’ve reviewed five really great small window air conditioners and we hope that you found something that suits your needs. These are Energy Star approved, have a high EER, and are designed for low-cost, efficient cooling. Our favorite from this list is the Friedrich CP08G10B 8,000 BTU window AC. It’s really quiet and effectively cools your space, which is exactly what you want.
For further reading, check out our other cooling articles: