The Best Air Conditioners of 2020

When the mercury rises, installing an air conditioner can help to keep you feeling cool and comfortable in your home. Finding the best air conditioner for your home means reading reviews, studying product features, and diving into the ins and outs of available sizes and configurations. With the right air conditioner, staying cool when the temperatures soar can become a quick, over-and-done-with task.

We reviewed dozens of air conditioners to identify the best of the best, based on Amazon reviews, how well they performed in tests, cost, and other considerations. We narrowed our search down to 5 of the top-rated air conditioners homeowners can purchase to ensure a cool and comfortable home.

Top Pick
MIDEA MAW06R1BWT Window Air Conditioner
3-in-1 technology increases the comfort of your home.

We’ve identified MIDEA MAW06R1BWT Window Air Conditioner as the best air conditioner out there. With 3-in-1 technology that helps to increase the comfort of your home, this air conditioner is one that will keep you feeling in tip-top shape, no matter the weather outside.

The 5 Top-Rated Air Conditioners

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Top PickMIDEA MAW06R1BWT Window Air Conditioner4.0
Runner UpLG LW1016ER Air Conditioner3.8
Best for BudgetFRIGIDAIRE Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner4.0
Best Portable Air ConditionerWhynter ARC-14S Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner3.8
Best Compact Window Air ConditionerFRIGIDAIRE FFRE083WAE Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner4.2

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: MIDEA MAW06R1BWT Window Air Conditioner

The MIDEA MAW06R1BWT Window Air Conditioner took the top spot on our list of the best air conditioners, and boasts 3-in-1 technology that helps to increase the comfort of your home no matter the weather. It is available in BTU options from 6,000 to 12,000, which is suitable for cooling spaces from 250 up to 550 square feet in size. The clear LED display on the front panel makes it easy to see current settings, and choose from one of 4 program modes including: timer, energy saver, and sleep.

Those who purchased and reviewed this air conditioner appreciated that it came with all required mounting hardware, which makes installation a cinch. People found it simple and intuitive to operate, and said it was very quiet while in use.

With a price tag starting at about $200, it’s not outrageously expensive, though still an investment. The quality craftsmanship associated with the brand, as well as the ease of setup and use more than justifies that price. It has a rating of 4.0 on Amazon with more than 250 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing homeowners to make the investment.

MIDEA MAW06R1BWT Window Air Conditioner Key Features: 

  • Remote control included
  • Choice of three fan speeds
  • Includes a 1-year warranty on parts and labor

Our Runner Up Pick: LG LW1016ER Air Conditioner

Runner Up
LG LW1016ER Air Conditioner
3 cooling speeds and 3 fan speeds offer cooling flexibility.

The LG LW1016ER Air Conditioner took the runner-up spot on our list of the best air conditioners, and offers 10,000 BTUs of cooling power. It features a selection of three cooling speeds and three fan speeds for cooling flexibility, and is suitable for use in spaces up to 450 square feet. It comes complete with a full function remote control for ease of operation, and features a 24-hour on/off timer for energy savings.

Those who purchased and reviewed this air conditioner appreciated that it was easy to install with the included mounting hardware, and commented that it was quiet while in use. People did note that it was heavy, so ensure you have another person to help with lifting it into place. Many reviews mentioned how quick and efficient this air conditioner was at cooling their space.

At a cost of around $304, it doesn’t come cheap, but the quality craftsmanship associated with the brand, as well as the ease of setup and use more than justifies that price. It has a rating of 3.8 on Amazon with more than 1,100 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing homeowners to make the investment.

LG LW1016ER Air Conditioner Key Features: 

  • Available from 6,000 BTU to 24,500 BTU options
  • Dehumidification up to 2.7 pints per hour
  • Energy Star certified

Best Budget Pick: FRIGIDAIRE Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner

Best for Budget
FRIGIDAIRE Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner
A budget-friendly option with simple mechanical controls.

The FRIGIDAIRE Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner is an excellent choice for those looking for an air conditioner that won’t break the bank. It provides 5,000 BTUs of cooling power, enough to quickly cool a space up to 150 square feet with dehumidification up to 1. 1 pints per hour. It is designed for window-mounted applications and features basic mechanical rotary controls with a choice of seven temperature settings.

Those who purchased and reviewed this air conditioner appreciated that it cooled their space efficiently, and found it quiet enough to sleep through. People said that it was easy enough to install, although some commented that the window fitment wasn’t the greatest for sealing.

With a cost of approximately $155, this air conditioner is a solid choice for those looking for an air conditioner option on a budget. It has a rating of 4.0 on Amazon with more than 100 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing homeowners that this budget-friendly pick is just as good at keeping their space cool as its more expensive counterparts.

FRIGIDAIRE Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner Key Features: 

  • Washable, antimicrobial filter
  • Low power start-up, and quiet operation
  • Full-width, 2-way air direction control

Best Portable Air Conditioner: Whynter ARC-14S Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner

Best Portable Air Conditioner
Whynter ARC-14S Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner
Specifically designed to be mobile and powerful.

The Whynter ARC-14S Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner is a great option for those looking for a portable air conditioner. It has been specifically designed to be mobile, without sacrificing cooling power. It provides 14,000 BTUs of power, which is suitable for use in rooms of up to 500 square feet in size. It comes complete with an activated carbon filter for cleaner air, along with a washable pre-filter. It offers full thermostatic control (61°F – 89°F) with digital readout, and features a 24-hour programmable timer for added convenience.

Those who purchased and reviewed this air conditioner appreciated that it came complete with an extendable exhaust and intake hose for up to 60″, and window kit for up to 46″. People said the unit has no problems reaching and maintaining the desired temperature, and commented on its quiet operation.

With a price tag of about $349, it doesn’t come cheap, but the quality craftsmanship associated with the brand, as well as the ease of setup and use more than justifies that price. It has a rating of 3.8 on Amazon with more than 2,100 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing homeowners to make the investment.

Whynter ARC-14S Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner Key Features: 

  • Choice of three operational modes
  • Patented auto drain function
  • Uses eco-friendly CFC-free R-410A refrigerant

Best Compact Window Air Conditioner: FRIGIDAIRE FFRE083WAE Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner

Best Compact Window Air Conditioner

The FRIGIDAIRE FFRE083WAE Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner is an excellent choice for those who are looking for an air conditioner to fit in a small space. It provides 8,000 BTUs of cooling power, which is suitable for use in spaces of up to 350 square feet in size. It is Energy Star rated to help conserve power and cut down on energy costs, and boasts dehumidification of up to 1.7 pints per hour. It comes complete with a full function, temperature sensing remote control for added convenience, and a washable mesh filter with front, tilt-out access.

Those who purchased and reviewed this air conditioner appreciated that it was compact, lightweight, and easy to install. People also commented on the cooling efficiency of this unit, and liked having the ability to control where the air goes via the 6-way comfort control design.

At a cost of around $274, it doesn’t come cheap, but the quality craftsmanship associated with the brand, as well as the ease of setup and use more than justifies that price. It has a rating of 4.2 on Amazon with nearly 50 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing homeowners to make the investment.

FRIGIDAIRE FFRE083WAE Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner Key Features:

  • Uses a standard 115V electrical outlet
  • Low power start-up
  • Ready-select electronic controls

Who Should Buy an Air Conditioner

An air conditioner is an ideal choice for those who live in climates where the temperature gets hot — above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. While not a necessity for day-to-day living, they certainly make the environment in the home much more comfortable. They can also help to prevent medical emergencies such as heat stroke.

An air conditioner is a must-have item, however, for those with certain medical conditions. Some people (and even pets!) have trouble managing their body temperature, while others have breathing conditions that make it essential that the air in their environment remain at a consistent temperature and humidity level. An air conditioner can be a great tool for achieving this consistency.

An air conditioning unit is also a great choice for people who cannot install a central air conditioning system, whether due to space or budgetary constraints. Portable and window AC units can make adding an air conditioner to a difficult or complicated space a cinch.

Finally, for those who don’t require central AC and simply want to cool one or two rooms, a window or portable AC unit makes an inexpensive and energy efficient choice.

Top Pick
MIDEA MAW06R1BWT Window Air Conditioner
3-in-1 technology increases the comfort of your home.

Important Features to Consider

Not all air conditioners are created equal. An air conditioner should cool quickly and be easy to set up. Here’s what to consider when evaluating the options in search of the best air conditioner for your space:

  • BTUs. Arguably the most important thing to consider when buying an air conditioner are how many BTUs of power it has. BTU stands for British thermal units, and is a measure of how much heat a conditioning unit can remove from a room per hour. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want an air conditioner with about 20 BTUs for every square foot of living space. Energy Star has a helpful chart for standard size air conditioners for different sized spaces, along with considerations and allowances for other factors that will affect how many BTUs you want.
  • Type. After you’ve decided how many BTUs your air conditioner needs, you’ll want to consider the type of air conditioner. There are through-the-wall units which mount through a hole in the wall, those that are window-mounted and easily removed or installed for the season, portable units (with or without venting hoses), and personal sized portable units for use in very small spaces or while on the go.
  • Measurements. Another important factor when picking the best air conditioner for your needs are the measurements of the unit. You want one that will require the least amount of modification to make fit into your space. The larger the window, the larger a unit you can accommodate. Be mindful of any gaps that any included coverage fins don’t cover, and have a plan for sealing those in order to maximize the cooling efficacy of the air conditioner.
  • Noise levels. While no air conditioner is going to be whisper quiet, they also don’t have to be as loud as a train. On average, an air conditioner will emit between 37 and 82 decibels, depending on the model. If noise is a concern, look for those at the lower end of this scale for best results.
  • Controls. Most air conditioners these days feature digital controls, however, there are still many budget-friendly models that feature rotary mechanical controls.
  • Special features. After power, size, and type, other things to consider when shopping for an air conditioner include special features such as energy saving modes or certification, timers, ultra quiet operation, WiFi connectivity, and whether or not it has a remote control. All of these things make it easy to use and control your air conditioner.
  • Filters. While there are still a few air conditioner units out there that require the use of disposable air filters, the majority now include a washable, reusable filter. You’ll want to factor in the cost of any filter when shopping for an air conditioner. Be sure to clean and replace filters as necessary and vacuum coils and fins at least once a season when the unit is in use. A clean air conditioner is an efficient air conditioner.
  • Price point. Finally, consider how much you are willing to spend on an air conditioner. Air conditioners vary in price from $100-$700 or more. You can sometimes find discounts at the end of the summer season that can make buying an air conditioner more affordable.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do air conditioners work?

An air conditioner works by using a refrigerant contained within a network of coils, combined with a fan, to help blow cool air into a certain area. This refrigerant switches back and forth between a liquid and a gas as it’s heated and cooled within the system. On the indoor side, there are cold, low-pressure evaporator coils, where the refrigerant absorbs heat as it changes from a liquid to a gaseous state. The fan blows air over these cold coils, cooling the room. While this is happening, the compressor inside the air conditioner puts the gas under high pressure, moving heat to the condenser coils, which is then blown outside via a second fan.

What size air conditioner do I need?

The size of air conditioner you’ll need will depend on a number of factors, including the size and shape of the room it’s being installed in, number of windows, and how many people live in the home. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want an air conditioner with about 20 BTUs for every square foot of living space. BTU is short for British thermal units, and is a measure of how much heat a conditioning unit can remove from a room per hour. Energy Star has a helpful chart for standard size air conditioners for different sized spaces, along with considerations and allowances for other factors that will affect what size air conditioner is best for your needs.

How fast should an AC cool a room?

When an air conditioner is sized correctly for a room and is working at peak efficiency, it should be able to cool a room in as little as 15 minutes. Some units may take a little longer than this to cool, but nearly any portable or window AC unit should be able to cool a room for which it is sized in under an hour.

Will a bigger AC unit cool my house better?

No, a bigger AC unit will not cool your house better. In fact, an AC unit that is too big for the space it’s installed in is actually less effective. This is because air conditioners not only remove heat, but also humidity from the air. When an AC unit is too big for a space, it will cool the room before removing the humidity, making for a damp and clammy feeling that is not comfortable to spend time in.

Other Air Conditioners We Reviewed

Top Pick
MIDEA MAW06R1BWT Window Air Conditioner
3-in-1 technology increases the comfort of your home.

We looked at 20 other air conditioners. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best air conditioners list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for keeping your space cool and comfortable. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Portable Air Conditioners

Silini Mini Air Conditioner

Silini Mini Air Conditioner

This portable air conditioner boasts a lightweight and compact design that makes it ideal for use at the office or on a bedroom nightstand.

Key Features: 

  • Built-in, soft light lamp
  • Three adjustable speeds
  • USB cable power supply

Cost: $33

BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner

BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner

This portable air conditioner boasts 8,000 BTUs of cooling power, and is compatible for use in double hung or sliding windows.

Key Features: 

  • Integrated caster wheels for ease of portability
  • Choice of three modes
  • Remote control included

Cost: $220

Evapolar evaCHILL Personal Evaporative Air Cooler

Evapolar evaCHILL Personal Evaporative Air Cooler

This portable air conditioner boasts a lightweight and compact design that is suitable for cooling an area in front of the device of approximately 45 square feet.

Key Features: 

  • Available in a choice of colors
  • Leak-proof design
  • Provides up to 9 hours runtime

Cost: $79

Shinco SPF2 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

Shinco SPF2 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

This portable air conditioner boasts 8,000 BTUs of cooling power, and is suitable for cooling spaces of approximately 200-350 square feet in size.

Key Features: 

  • Integrated caster wheels for ease of portability
  • 24-hour timer
  • Remote control included

Cost: $220

Honeywell MO08CESWK Compact Portable Air Conditioner 

Honeywell MO08CESWK Compact Portable Air Conditioner 

This portable air conditioner boasts a lightweight design with integrated caster wheels, and is suitable for use cooling spaces up to 350 square feet in size.

Key Features: 

  • Digital LED display with soft touch controls
  • Washable dust filter
  • Remote control included

Cost: $330

Remote Control Air Conditioners

Honeywell MN10CESBB 10000 BTU Portable Conditioner

Honeywell MN10CESBB 10000 BTU Portable Conditioner

This remote control air conditioner boasts 10,000 BTUs of power to quickly and easily cool rooms up to 400 square feet in size and features an auto-evaporation system with a no-bucket, no-drip design.

Key Features: 

  • Available in a choice of three colors
  • Full function remote control included
  • Window venting kit included

Cost: $400

MIDEA MAP08S1BWT Portable Air Conditioner

MIDEA MAP08S1BWT Portable Air Conditioner

This remote control air conditioner boasts 8,000 BTUs of power, and is suitable for cooling rooms up to about 100 square feet in size.

Key Features: 

  • WiFi enabled for remote access
  • Easy-to-read digital LED control panel
  • Compatible with both hung and sliding windows

Cost: $309

LG LP0817WSR 115V Portable Air Conditioner

LG LP0817WSR 115V Portable Air Conditioner

This remote control air conditioner boasts 8,000 BTUs of cooling power, and is suitable for use in spaces of up to about 200 square feet.

Key Features: 

  • Window installation kit included
  • Water full indicator
  • Auto-swing air vent reduces hot spots

Cost: $299

Frigidaire FFRH0822R1 Compact Slide-Out Chassis Air Conditioner

Frigidaire FFRH0822R1 Compact Slide-Out Chassis Air Conditioner

This remote control air conditioner boasts a compact design and a slide-out chassis which offers the option of either window or through-the-wall installation.

Key Features: 

  • 8,000 BTUs suitable for spaces up to 350 square feet
  • 24-hour on/off timer
  • Energy Star certified

Cost: $435

LG LW8016HR Window-Mounted Air Conditioner

LG LW8016HR Window-Mounted Air Conditioner

This remote control air conditioner boasts a window-mounted design, and is available in a choice of BTU options for cooling spaces from 320-1420 square feet in size.

Key Features: 

  • Choice of two cooling and two fan speeds
  • Also offers supplemental heat in two temperature options
  • 24-hour on/off timer

Cost: $368

TOSOT 8,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner

TOSOT 8,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner

This remote control air conditioner boasts a window-mounted design and is available in a choice of 8,000 or 10,000 BTU models, or cooling spaces from 350-450 square feet.

Key Features: 

  • Sleek, modern design
  • Energy Star certified
  • Reusable, washable filter

Cost: $260

Window Air Conditioners

Koldfront WAC12001W Window Air Conditioner

Koldfront WAC12001W Window Air Conditioner

This window air conditioner boasts 12,000 BTUs of cooling power, and is suitable for use in spaces of approximately 450- 550 square feet in size.

Key Features: 

  • Option for supplemental heat
  • Installation hardware and weather seals included
  • Eco-friendly R-410 refrigerant

Cost: $479

Emerson EARC6RE1 Quiet Kool Window Air Conditioner

Emerson EARC6RE1 Quiet Kool Window Air Conditioner

This window air conditioner boosts 6,000 BTUs of cooling power, and is suitable for use in rooms from 150-250 square feet in size.

Key Features: 

  • Louvers allow for 8-way airflow control
  • Remote control is included
  • Includes a 1-2-5 year warranty on labor, parts, and compressor, respectively

Cost: $200

Frigidaire FFRH1822R2 Air Conditioner

Frigidaire FFRH1822R2 Air Conditioner

This window air conditioner boasts a slide-out chassis which offers the option of either window or through-the-wall installation, and features 18,500 BTUs of cooling power.

Key Features: 

  • Option to use for supplemental heat
  • Suitable for rooms up to 1,050 square feet
  • Remote control included

Cost: $677

Keystone Window-Mounted Air Conditioner

Keystone Window-Mounted Air Conditioner

This window air conditioner unit is suitable for rooms up to 250 sq. ft. in size and features an easy-to-clean mesh filter that tilts out from the front of the unit.

Key Features: 

  • Easy to use electronic controls
  • 1 year warranty
  • Choose from various energy saving modes

Cost: $210

LG LW1019IVSM Window Air Conditioner

LG LW1019IVSM Window Air Conditioner

This window air conditioner boasts 9,500 BTUs of power, and features a sleek, modern design. It offers WiFi control that is compatible with both Google and Amazon assistants.

Key Features: 

  • Energy Star certified
  • Quiet operation
  • Choice of 3 cooling and fan speeds

Cost: $448

Compact Window Air Conditioners

Frigidaire FFRA0511R1E Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner

Frigidaire FFRA0511R1E Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner

This compact air conditioner boasts 5,000 BTUs of cooling power and is suitable for use in spaces up to 150 square feet.

Key Features: 

  • Mechanical rotary controls
  • Low power start-up with quiet operation
  • Slide-out, washable mesh filter

Cost: $110

FRIGIDAIRE Cool Connect FGRC0644U1 Window Air Conditioner

FRIGIDAIRE Cool Connect FGRC0644U1 Window Air Conditioner

This compact air conditioner boasts 6,000 BTUs of cooling power, ideal for spaces up to 250 square feet in size. It features a sleek, modern mesh grille that seamlessly blends with any decor.

Key Features: 

  • Ready-select electronic controls
  • Washable, mesh antibacterial filter
  • Energy Star certified

Cost: $400

Arctic King WWK05CM91N Window Air Conditioner

Arctic King WWK05CM91N Window Air Conditioner

This compact air conditioner boasts 5,000 BTUs of cooling power, ideal for spaces up to 150 square feet in size. Mechanical rotary controls are easy to operate.

Key Features: 

  • Choice of 7 temperature settings
  • Fits windows 23”-36” wide
  • Includes a 1-year warranty

Cost: $139

FRIGIDAIRE FFRA122WAE Window-Mounted Compact Air Conditioner

FRIGIDAIRE FFRA122WAE Window-Mounted Compact Air Conditioner

This compact air conditioner boasts 12,000 BTUs of power, and is ideal for cooling spaces up to 550 square feet. A full function remote control is included.

Key Features: 

  • Low power start-up
  • Ready-select electronic controls
  • Washable mesh filter with front, tilt-out access

Cost: $400

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