8 Best Room Air Conditioners
We examine the best single-room air conditioners for surviving sweltering temperatures. This collection promises less sweaty days and more sleep-filled nights.
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.
rd.com, via homelabs.com, via homedepot.com, via frigidaire.com
How To Choose a Room Air Conditioner
Today’s cooling technology has come a long way, making it easy to beat the heat without the expense of central air conditioning.
When choosing a room air conditioner, you first should determine the square footage of the space you’re cooling; calculate by multiplying the length by width. Next, decide between a floor-standing, wall- or window-mounted model. Also consider options like timers, night settings, lighted display, oscillation, remote controls, etc.
Here are the most essential figures to consider when buying a single-room air conditioner:
- Btu (British thermal unit): Figure around 20 to 30 Btu per square foot of living space. Add 10 percent for kitchens and sunny rooms.
- Noise score: For low-noise levels, stay below 55 on the decibel (dB) scale.
- Energy savings: Look for the Energy Star label and an energy-efficiency ratio (EER) of 10 or above.
- Cost: Generally, the higher the Btu, the more you’ll pay.
Best Small Room Air Conditioner
Compact in size and cooling capacity, this window air conditioner by Homelabs is one of the company’s most popular units. It delivers 5,000 Btu, enough to keep home offices and small bedrooms up to 250 square feet comfortable, night and day.
Super easy to install, it fits windows 23 to 36 inches wide and 13 inches high. And it comes with a reusable filter, support brackets, leaf guards, window seal foam and a handy drip-free installation guide.
Best Large Capacity Room Air Conditioner
With the biggest cooling capacity on our list at an impressive 14,000 Btu, the Whynter portable air conditioner can bring down the temperature in a 500 square foot space. A dual hose drains the exhaust condensation automatically, and it pulls up to 91 pints of moisture from the air each day. It’s powerful enough to cool the biggest room in your home.
Best Standalone Room Air Conditioner
Ideal for places where window air conditioners are not allowed, the SereneLife freestanding portable air conditioner is a godsend during unexpected heat waves. This go-anywhere air conditioner on wheels can be transported easily from room to room — to the nursery for baby’s nap time, your office for a Zoom meeting or the living room for entertaining friends.
This unit comes with a universal window mount exhaust kit for venting outdoors. Available in 8,000, 10,000 and 12,000 Btu sizes, with or without a heat mode.
Quietest Room Air Conditioner
Boasting a decibel rating of 49 to 52 — similar to the sound of a fan or refrigerator motor — the unit features customizable extras such as a multi-speed fan, a programmable 24-hour timer, sleep mode and an easy-to-clean filter. One five-star reviewer on frigidaire.com writes, “It’s nice to not have to turn up the TV to hear over the AC.”
Best Traveling Room Air Conditioner
Using a micro compressor to cool the air, the Zero Breeze Mark 2 is not just a fan calling itself an air conditioner, but the real thing. With 2,300 Btu, it has about one-fourth the cooling capacity of a car air conditioner, consumes less electricity than a conventional AC unit or swamp cooler and runs on a 24-volt direct-current power adapter or battery.
Like most air conditioners, a certain amount of condensation happens, which can easily be directed to a container through the drainage pipe (included). Weighing less than 17 pounds and sized smaller than a bread box, the Mark 2 is especially popular with those living a nomadic lifestyle.
Best Smart Room Air Conditioner
Simplify your life when you sync to your home’s indoor environment with the LG Energy Star 12,000 Btu window-mounted air conditioner.
Set the temperature, change modes and start and stop cooling from anywhere with a swipe of your smartphone. Connect to the LG ThinQ app that works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. A top performer, the LG shows it has the brains to manage your comfort and your energy bills.
Best DIY Installed Room Air Conditioner
Want to save bundles on costly professional installation? The MrCool do-it-yourself ductless mini-split air conditioner and heat pump comes pre-charged and ready to mount and hook up, all without special tools or training.
The unit features a split system for ambient cooling and heating, smartphone app controls and built-in leakage protection that sends an alerts if it detects low refrigerant levels.
Best Personal Room Air Conditioner
One of the tiniest air conditioners you’ll ever come across, the evaChill four-speed portable evaporative cooler air conditioner chills 45 square feet of space. Placed on your desk or nightstand, this personal evaporative air-cooling device creates a refreshing breeze, much like nature does.
An eco-friendly solution, the evaChill doesn’t contain toxic Freon or other coolants. Here’s how it works: Pour water into the tank and plug it into any regular electrical wall outlet. It consumes no more power than a standard fan.