Best smart air conditioners 2021: Energy-efficient portable AC units

If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.

When the weather warms up, the quickest way to cool your home is to install an air conditioner.

The unit is filled with non-toxic coolant, which is routed through a set of cooling coils by a compressor motor, before finally being blown by a fan. The result is a constant flow of maintenance-free fresh air. This is different from evaporative coolers, which require you to constantly fill a reservoir with water and rely on the natural evaporation of process water and a fan to cool your room.

How does a smart air conditioner work?

The only downside to air conditioners is that they are power-hungry, which can drive up your electricity bill during the summer. To save you the sticker shock, we’ve chosen ‘smart’ air conditioners for this guide, meaning they can be controlled via an app on your phone or by connecting them to a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo, from so you only run it when you absolutely need to.

The ability to turn your air conditioner on and off only when you need it instead of running it all the time can reduce your energy consumption and control your electricity bill. The best smart air conditioners also let you monitor your phone usage, so you never end up with a sticker shock at the end of the month.

What are the best smart air conditioners?

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best smart air conditioner for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while researching this list.

Blanket: An air conditioner’s cooling area (measured in square feet) is the most important feature to consider before making a decision. Our picks are rated for rooms between 350 and 500 square feet, so they’ll cover everything from an average-sized bedroom to a living room to a small studio.

Style: Smart air conditioners come in two basic styles: window units, which are slotted inside your window and hung over the side of your home, and portable units, which are larger and freestanding, but require you to hang a retractable vent by the window.

Noise level: Don’t give up your tranquility for a few degrees of freshness. Low noise is one of the most desirable features of a smart air conditioner, and while their fans are powerful, we picked dedicated picks for noise reduction.

Smart Settings: We’ve researched a wide range of temperature settings, fan speed modes and timers that you can set with an app (or via WiFi) to give you greater control over the atmosphere around you.

With that in mind, here are the top picks for smart air conditioners that will have you saying “goodbye” to bulky features and “hello” to controlled air conditioning whenever you want.

1. Midea U Inverter Window Air Conditioner

BEST OVERALL

Amazon

Midea’s U Inverter Window Air Conditioner has a unique design that helps it stay quiet even at full throttle.

The air conditioner gets its name from its U-shape: the front of the unit stays inside your home, while the back, which houses the compressor, stays outside. Your window fits into the space between the two parts of the air conditioner, creating a physical barrier between you and the compressor. This design also allows you to open the window slightly while the air conditioner is installed without risking it falling, so you can get some fresh air. Midea doesn’t list the cooling zone for this air conditioner, but does say that its powerful fans can push cool air up to 20 feet, so it’s quite powerful.

You can control Midea’s air conditioner by pressing the buttons on the front of the unit, via an app (iOS and Android) or by connecting it to an Amazon Echo. If paired with a smart speaker, you can control the room temperature using your voice. If you want a quiet air conditioner that’s still powerful enough to cool a larger room, Midea’s U Inverter Window Air Conditioner is the right choice. Bonus: you don’t have to call a repairman to install it; find an open window slot and it can be plugged in and ready to go in minutes.

To buy:
Midea U Inverter Window Air Conditioner
at
$359.00

2. GE Profile Window Air Conditioner

BETTER ENERGY SAVING

GE Profile Window Air Conditioner

Amazon

GE’s Profile window air conditioner has the right combination of features and power to make it a great choice for cooling a small room.

GE claims this air conditioner can cover an area of ​​up to 350 square feet and is 50% quieter than similar models in its portfolio. It also has a built-in dehumidification feature, which can help keep your room comfortable if you live in a humid climate. The main way this air conditioner stands out from our other recommendations is its focus on energy efficiency.

Its LED display, which shows the current temperature and other parameters, automatically dims if you don’t interact with it for a little while. The air conditioner’s delay feature lets you program when you want it to turn on, even if you’re not taking advantage of its smart features. And, finally, you can connect GE’s air conditioner to your Wi-Fi network and control it using your phone (iPhone or Android) or smart speaker.

Giving you a handful of ways to reduce its energy consumption, GE’s Profile window air conditioner is the right choice if you want to keep a small room cool without inflating your electricity costs.

To buy:
GE Profile Window Air Conditioner
at
$353.10

3. De’Longhi 3-in-1 Air Conditioner

BEST LAPTOP CHOICE

portable air conditioner

Amazon

The De’Longhi Portable Air Conditioner is a 3-in-1 unit that can do more than just keep your room cool. Besides providing a powerful blast of cold air, it also works to circulate air and dehumidify your space.

As an air conditioner, it’s designed to cool spaces up to 500 square feet, which is more than enough for a master bedroom or living room. This air conditioner doesn’t need to be stuck in a window, but you will need to pull out its built-in tube vent to keep water from leaking out. De’Longhi says it can automatically recycle some of the condensation, so leaks are much less likely to occur if you can’t use the vent all the time.

This air conditioner has three additional modes, which you can mix and match to save energy. Air conditioning is the most efficient cooling setting, but you can also use this unit as a dehumidifier, fan, or even a heater. It’s important to note that its heat setting isn’t powerful enough to compete with a space heater; De’Longhi says it’s to “dispel the chill of chilly nights and mornings.”

At 63 pounds, it’s not as light or tiny as some of the popular portable air conditioners on the market, and you won’t want to move this unit around much, but its casters and built-in handles make it easier. when you do. Instead, think of it as one powerful air conditioner that you can use to cool multiple rooms on one floor if needed. De’Longhi hasn’t built any non-smart energy-saving features into its air conditioner, but it can be connected to WiFi or controlled through a smart speaker.

If you need a big, powerful air conditioner and want to be able to move it to different parts of your home in a snap, this unit from De’Longhi will do the job.

To buy:
De’Longhi Portable Air Conditioner
at
$510.20

4. Frigidaire Cool Connect Smart Window Air Conditioner

BEST PROGRAMMABLE

Frigidaire Cool Connect Air Conditioner

Amazon

With great scheduling features, you can schedule the Frigidaire Cool Connect smart air conditioner to fill a room with cool air in advance.

It’s easy enough to develop a custom schedule for your air conditioner through the Frigidaire smart app, 24 hours a day. Set it to cool the room day and night, weekdays and weekends. This allows you to run the Cool Connect only when you need it, saving you energy costs. According to Frigidaire, it’s best to cool a room up to 550 square feet, so you know you’ll come home to a freezing living room. Bonus: your home won’t be stuffy either, as it dehumidifies at a rate of 3.8 pints per hour.

What we like: There are multiple ways to take control of your settings, from the sleek touch buttons on the device itself, to a separate remote, smart home compatibility and, of course, the app Fridge. But when the Cool Connect is connected to WiFi, the app gives you the ability to turn the device on or off and change the temperature, completely remotely. Control of the three different modes (Cool, Eco and Fan) and fan speeds can also be done from the app. Even if you’re on the go, it can send you alerts, like when to clean the filter.

Where you might struggle a bit is when using the Cool Connect with smart assistants like Google Home – if you tell it to adjust the temperature on the Frigidaire, for example, it still has to connect through the app, so you might as well customize settings on the app alone. That being said, if you want complete control over when, how much, and for how long the air cools in your space, the Frigidaire Cool Connect is a solid choice.

To buy:
Frigidaire Cool Connect Smart…
at
$739.80

Karl M. Bailey