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When it’s hot and humid outside (and you can’t escape to the beach), the quickest way to cool off is to retreat to an icy, air-conditioned room. Yes, fans can provide some relief, but for significant cooling power you’ll need an air conditioner – preferably a window unit, according to Jonathan Berkson, owner of air conditioning installation company Super Cool NYC, which says portable stand-alone models tend to be less efficient and noisier.
The exact window unit to buy, however, depends on several factors. More powerful air conditioners (measured in BTUs or UK thermal units) are needed to cool larger rooms, but that power often comes at a higher price. You can use this table to determine the level of BTUs you will need to cool your space, but keep in mind that if your home gets a lot of sunlight, you may need an air conditioner that is more powerful than your square footage. in square feet would otherwise be needed. Scott Needham, President of Princeton Air, says, âIf you’re only looking to cool a single room or a small area, window air conditioners will usually be the most cost effective option. But, he warns, the electricity required to run multiple air conditioners for an entire house will quickly become expensive. Joe Lakin, general manager of Brooklyn’s Best Air Conditioning, also points out that there is a shortage of air conditioners from manufacturers, so don’t be surprised if you see higher prices and limited inventory. Which also means: Don’t hang around. Buy your air conditioner before it gets too hot and before it gets more expensive or just sold out.
There are plenty of options to choose from, from basic units that get the job done, to models with timers, Wi-Fi compatibility, and more sophisticated cooling systems. To find the best air conditioner for your room size, budget, and preferences, we asked Berkson, Needham, Lakin and three other air conditioning experts to share their favorites with us.
Although this is a bit more expensive than some of the other recommended brands, three of our experts agreed that Friedrich makes the highest quality window air conditioners. Sylwia Dudek-Gorski, operations manager at Figlia & Sons air conditioning department, calls Friedrich “the king of air conditioners” and says “they make the best equipment”. According to Berkson, they’re extremely effective at handling the refrigerant gases responsible for creating cold air, so that “you get a little cooler air and a little more airflow.”
This is part of the company’s Chill Premier series (available in sizes ranging from 5,000 to 12,000 BTUs), which Lakin describes as a budget line that always lives up to Friedrich’s reputation for high quality. With the timer, you can schedule the air conditioner to turn off up to 24 hours in advance to save power, and there is also built-in Wi-Fi, so you can turn it on and off. turn it off from your phone. And once you have purchased and installed your air conditioner, Howard Lupowitz of Mike’s Air Conditioning asks you to clean the filter regularly so that the air conditioner can run efficiently.
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Berkson says Frigidaire’s 5,000 BTU standard model is “probably the most popular air conditioner” for people looking to cool a single room. Suitable for a 150 square foot bedroom, he calls it “super reliable” and reasonably priced. While you can find an off-brand model for less, he cautions that these are often âhit and missâ in terms of quality and lifespan. âThe great thing about Frigidaire is that they have a great warranty and are very helpful if something goes wrong,â he says. Lakin is also a fan and loves that basic Frigidaire models are affordable. âYou don’t have to spend and go crazy on the prices and the fancy stuff,â he says. Berkson agrees that this is a good option if you don’t need a Friedrich’s âbells and whistlesâ. For a little more, you can get a very similar model that comes with a remote control, which allows you to turn on the air without getting up from the sofa.
Shirley Hood, home appliance specialist at Abt Electronics and Appliances, says this Frigidaire mode will easily cool a 200 to 300 square foot room with its 6,000 BTUs. It comes with a remote control “which allows you to control the temperature and fan speed from across the room and has a sleep mode that gradually increases the temperature a few degrees overnight”.
Lakin calls the Midea air conditioner the “most user-friendly and easy to install air conditioner” available today. The unit comes with a simple safety bracket, and easy-to-follow video instructions are available free online to walk you through the installation process. Unlike traditional air conditioners, Midea’s U-shaped design allows you to open your window whenever you want to get some fresh air. And because the compressor is essentially sealed on the outside of the window, it’s much quieter than the other options, Lakin says. It is also Wi-Fi compatible.
The Soleus is also extremely easy to install, Lakin says, as the unit sits directly on the windowsill, although he says it may be slightly more difficult to drop off compared to the Midea. With its low profile design, you can open and close your window whenever you want, while your view and sunlight are virtually unobstructed. Lakin notes that since the air conditioner can only fit window sills up to 11 inches, be sure to measure the length of your window before purchasing. It is available in two sizes: 6000 and 8000 BTU.
This air conditioner is slightly larger than our best overall unit (it can be used in rooms up to 350 square feet) and also comes with built-in Wi-Fi. âThis is basically Friedrich’s line of smart air conditioners which is considered more affordable than the other units they have on the market,â says Lakin, who adds that if you have multiple Wi-Fi enabled Friedrich units, you can connect them via the Friedrich app for central-air type control.
For slightly larger rooms – or small rooms with plenty of sun – this Frigidaire offers a little more cooling power. Lakin says Gallery models in the line, like this one (which is available in 6,000 to 12,000 BTU versions), “install very easily” and run quietly. While it doesn’t have Wi-Fi, Berkson points out that “you can actually make just about any air conditioner Wi-Fi enabled with an outlet from Amazon, like a WeMo.” Once the AC power is connected to a smart outlet, you can control it from Siri or an app.
For a more affordable but just as powerful model, try LG, a brand whose air conditioners tend to be cheaper, according to Lakin, because they have a “fixed chassis, which means they don’t slip inside, they’re just a built-in part, âwhich makes repairs more difficult, he admits. However, if you’re only using the device for a year or two, or if you’re ready to replace it after a few summers, there’s nothing wrong with opting for a cheaper device.
Things get a bit tricky when looking for an AC for a studio. The space might be small, but you’ll want to get a more powerful model than the square footage requires. âYou would probably want to put a minimum of 10,000 BTUs in that 300 square foot studio,â says Lakin, âbecause you have a variety of things that give off more heat than just a standard bedroom,â like appliances. kitchen and electronics. Friedrich’s premium Kuhl air conditioner (available in sizes 6,000 to 35,000 BTUs) is Lakin’s choice for a unit that will essentially look like central air in your small space. Dudek-Gorski claims that compared to Friedrich’s Chill Premier range, his Kuhl air conditioners are quieter and last longer.
If you don’t need all of the Kuhl’s features (like Wi-Fi compatibility and the ability to schedule a daily schedule for up to seven days), this LG air conditioner would work in a studio, too, says Lakin. If you’re cooling an even larger space, LG makes affordable models up to 24,500 BTUs, like this one.
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âIt’s extremely quiet, very easy to use, and comes with a built-in Wi-Fi connection that lets you control your device remotely from an app on your smartphone,â says Hood. The Friedrich models were also highly regarded by Lakin, who ranked the brand as one of the best AC window manufacturers available. This unit has 10,000 BTUs and will cool a 400 to 500 square foot room. âThis is one of our top selling products, especially if noise is a big concern for you,â Hood says.
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