Best Through-the-Wall Air Conditioners for 2020

If you’re in a hurry and just want to know our favorite best through-the wall AC recommendation, it’s the Friedrich CP08G10B 8,000 BTU Air Conditioner.

Through-the-wall air conditioners, also known as wall or wall sleeve ACs, are an efficient and space-saving solution to cooling a room. They look similar to window ACs but since they sit in a hole in the wall, you can still use your window without losing your window’s functionality. With a wall AC, one side of the AC faces outside of the house and brings cool air into the house through the back end that faces the room.   

When looking for a good through-the-wall AC, you want to choose a unit that is easy to install, is quiet, has a great energy efficiency rating, and an easy to clean filter. You might also want to choose something that has heating options if you live in an area where the seasons vary and the temperature gets low. A lot of wall ACs have remote control functionality, Wi-Fi connect-ability, and modern displays so they fit into your life easily.

Why Choose a Through-the-Wall AC over a Window AC?

Many people choose a wall AC rather than a window AC even though they are meant to cool the same type of rooms. There are a few key differences that make wall ACs more attractive than window ACs. For example, wall ACs offer a permanent cooling solution because they fit into a hole you cut into the wall and stay there. You don’t have to worry about it not being the right fit. However, with window ACs, you must make sure your windows fit the unit, and that there’s no air seepage after installation. Depending on where you live, you may have to remove and re-install your window AC when the seasons change.

A nice thing about through-the-wall ACs is that they are more energy-efficient than their counterparts. However, they are pricier, and you’ll likely want a professional to install it since it requires creating a hole in the wall. Wall ACs are a little less noisy than window ACs because they have more insulation surrounding them, which reduces noise output. Overall, when choosing whether to get a wall AC or a window AC, you’ll need to consider your energy bills, how much initial investment you can put into your cooling system, and which functionalities you prefer in a unit.

How to Choose a Through-the-Wall AC

Choosing the right unit can help you reduce energy bills and increase its lifespan. There are a few factors that you must consider before buying, such as cooling capacity.

Room Size

In order to buy a correct unit, you’ll need to figure out your room size and then your required cooling capacity. Cooling capacity in wall ACs is measured in British Thermal Units, or BTUs. First calculate the area of your room by multiplying the length by width of your room in feet. If you have a bedroom that is 12 feet by 10 feet, then your area is 120 feet. Use the table below to figure out how many BTU you’ll need:

Area of Room in Square FeetCapacity Needed (BTUs/Hour)
100 – 150 ft5,000
150 – 250 ft6,000
250 – 300 ft7,000
300 – 350 ft8,000
350 – 400 ft9,000
400 – 450 ft10,000
450 – 550 ft12,000

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 numbers provided in the table above, you can find more measurements at Energy Star’s related webpage. 

Sunlight & Room Activity

If the room is very sunny, faces east and has more than 2 occupants regularly, you’ll have to buy a unit with more BTUs. Also increase the BTUs if the room is continually warm, such as the kitchen.

Ceiling Height

The higher your ceiling, the more BTUs you will need to cool the room. If your ceiling is higher than the standard 9 feet, you will need to get a unit with more BTU capacity.

Wall Thickness & Measurement

Decide which wall you will install your unit in and measure the thickness. Keep in mind that the outside of the wall must have a good amount of clearance on all sides of the wall AC, since the AC vents are outside.

Voltage

Wall ACs come with an outlet requirement of 115 volts, but some units require a 208/230-volt outlet. Make sure you are equipped with the correct one when you choose your AC. If needed, you can always set one up with the help of an HVAC technician. 

Heating Feature

As we mentioned before, some wall ACs come with heating features. The heating feature may be electrical, but some units use the cooling method in reverse. You may want this feature if the weather is low enough to warrant it. Keep in mind that the heating will be sufficient for only the room that the unit is in.  

Additional Wall Sleeve

A wall sleeve is a metal box that’s open on two sides so that the wall AC can easily slide in and out. These are sold separately from the unit itself and they’re meant to hold the portion of the AC that sits on the exterior of the wall. If you’re interested in buying one, you’ll have to keep the brand and dimensions of your wall AC in mind.  

Noise Levels

Since an AC is meant to increase your comfort, be sure that it’s quiet enough to run without creating noise pollution. Most wall ACs will create some noise between 50-60 decibels (dB). Keep this in mind when reading labels. 

Remember, you can easily reduce a unit’s noise level by regularly cleaning the filter, ensuring the insulation surrounding the AC is sufficient, using sleep mode when you can, and getting an AC with the right number of BTUs—units that are too powerful will create more noise than necessary.

Energy Efficiency & EER Rating

You should check the EER rating if you are interested in reducing your electricity bill. 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 rating because it means higher efficiency. We also suggest buying an Energy Star certified AC.

Our Best Through-the-Wall AC Recommendations

Here we’ve reviewed our top five favorite through-the-wall ACs. Here’s a quick list with out favorite on top:

Friedrich CP08G10B 8,000 BTU Air Conditioner

This Friedrich CP08G10B wall AC has a cooling capacity of 8,000 BTU and is good for rooms up to 350 square feet. The EER rating is 11.2 and it has an estimated yearly energy cost of $62. It also has an energy efficiency money saver setting which operates the fan only when cooling. Below are some of its pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Has louvers that automatically oscillate, which helps circulate cool air better
  • An auto air sweep feature
  • Four-way air-flow control
  • Very quiet
  • Energy Star certified
  • 24-hour programmable timer
  • Remote control and digital display

Cons:

  • May get louder as the years go on
  • The warranty is not very useful

LG LT1016CER 9,800 BTU Through-The-Wall Air Conditioner

This LG LT1016CER wall AC has a cooling capacity of 9,800 BTU and is good for rooms up to 440 square feet. The EER rating is 10.7 and it has an estimated yearly energy cost of $83. It also has an energy saver mode that turns off the compressor but keeps the fan running. Below are some of the pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Uses R-32 refrigerant which is more earth-friendly than the common R410a refrigerant
  • Has 3 cooling speeds and 3 pre-programmed modes that use a turbo fan
  • Dehumidification of about 70 pints/day
  • Longer-lasting unit due to its protective gold fin anti-corrosion coating
  • Remote control and digital display
  • Easy installation
  • Very quiet

Cons:

  • The sleeve is sold separately, but not a required purchase
  • Electric cord could be longer

Friedrich Uni-Fit Series UCT12A10A in Wall Air Conditioner, 11,500 BTUs

This Friedrich Uni-Fit Series UCT12A10A has a cooling capacity of 11,500 BTUs and is good for rooms between 450-550 square feet. It is Energy Star certified with an EER of 10.6. It also has Uni-Fit Money Saver technology which operates the fan only when cooling. Conveniently, it fits into a 115-volt outlet and has these qualities:

Pros:

  • Six-way air flow control
  • Sleek and modern design
  • Up to 25% quieter than other brands because of high-density insulation sound absorption
  • Very easy installation due to the Uni-Fit quality
  • Wi-Fi compatible and has voice command

Cons:

  • It is higher on the price spectrum than the other wall ACs reviewed
  • Still slightly noisy

Koldfront WTC12001W 12,000 BTU Through the Wall Heat/Cool Air Conditioner

This Koldfront WTC12001W wall AC has a cooling capacity of 12,000 BTU and is good for 450-550 square feet area. The EER is 9.5 and it has an estimated yearly energy cost of $123. It also has an energy saver mode with a unique cycling feature. It fits into a 208/230-volt outlet and has these qualities:

Pros:

  • Three fan speeds
  • 24-hour timer
  • Four-way air directional louvers/shutters
  • Electrical heating of 10,600 BTUs
  • Electronic thermostat
  • Remote control and digital display
  • Sleep function
  • Dehumidification of 30 pints/day
  • Energy Star certified

Cons:

  • You must buy the sleeve and it’s sold separate from the unit
  • Some people have complained that this unit is noisy
  • Does not have great instructions but the installation is easy

Frigidaire 12,000 BTU Through-the-Wall Air Conditioner

This Frigidaire wall AC has a cooling capacity of 12,000 BTU and is good for rooms up to 550 square feet. The EER is 9.8 and it has an estimated yearly energy cost of $110, which is less than the Koldfront 12,000 BTU unit. It also has an energy efficiency money saver setting which operates the fan only when cooling. It fits into a 115-volt outlet which is convenient. Here are some of its pros and cons: 

Pros:

  • Three-speed fan
  • Four-way comfort control design to set the flow of air
  • Remote control and digital display
  • Dehumidifies about 80 pints/hour
  • Fits most wall sleeves

Cons:

  • Some people complain that this unit is noisy

Our Favorite Through-the-Wall AC

We hope this article helped you learn more about wall ACs. After reviewing so many ACs in detail, you probably have a good idea of what you’re looking for. If not, take another look at our favorite: Friedrich CP08G10B 8,000 BTU Air Conditioner. It has a very low estimated annual energy cost at $62. It’s very efficient with an EER of 11.2 and has Energy Star certification. Many customers have bought this wall AC and have been satisfied for years.

For further reading, check out our other cooling articles:

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