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The 7 Best Window Air Conditioners, After a Year of Testing by Editors

Mar 05, 2024

Our product picks are editor-tested, expert-approved. We may earn a commission through links on our site. Why Trust Us?

It's time to keep cool—very cool—and carry on.

We’re barely halfway through summer, and most Americans have already had to brave record-setting high temps with no end in sight. Sure, you can pile on your best cooling sheets on top of your next-gen cooling mattress with an industrial-sized fan in the corner of your bedroom. But let’s be honest: That’s only going to take you so far. You need a legit air conditioner.

Maybe you don’t (or can’t) have a fancy AC setup like central air or even a “mini split.” But as long as you have a window, you can seriously upgrade your living situation with the best window air conditioner you can afford. The best budget models we tested are barely north of $200, while even the best of the best air conditioners on the market today top out a little north of $500. Sure, they’re not exactly cheap. But can you really put a price on crisp, cool, breathable air in the dead of summer? We argue that you cannot.

Our team of editors and tech writers put dozens of air conditioners to the test over the last year. We researched and personally compared every feature and spec, from overall size and ease of installation to price and, most importantly, how well they actually worked to cool our digs. The final list below represents our honest picks for the very best window air conditioners of 2023. Keep cool and carry on, gents.

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We don’t ask much of our window air conditioner units. Namely, we want them to be quiet, energy-efficient, and, most importantly, to be able to cool a small or medium-sized room quickly and easily. This 8,000-BTU in-window unit ticks all those boxes. It’s also among the quietest ACs on the market, in fact, even quieter than pricier brand-name models from Frigidaire and GE. Because this Energy Star-certified AC relies on the latest inverter technology (compared to “old-school” air conditioners), it’s also significantly more energy efficient, requiring only about half as much electricity. Over time, that can add up to serious savings, especially if you live somewhere very hot in the summer.

Our testers agreed that this is arguably the quietest (or at least second-quietest) window unit we tested over the last year. Even the light sleepers on our panel—notoriously picky about air conditioner noise—loved how effortlessly this unit chugged along throughout the night.

One feature we had mixed feelings about is the U-shaped design. Unlike most boxy air conditioners that hog the entire window, this model allows you to pull the window down into the middle of the unit. This way, your window is more usable than with a traditional window AC. The downside is that the unique design makes the initial setup tricky, to say the least. Some of our reviewers gave up on it entirely. But those who stuck with it agreed that this is still the best window air conditioner overall.

At around $400, it’s squarely in the midrange of all of the units we tested this year. It’s certainly not the cheapest, but we think it’s well worth the splurge, especially if you happen to be a little more patient than most.

Let’s be honest, old-school window air conditioners are ugly. Traditionally, they’ve always been big, white, clunky boxes that seemed like they never passed the desk of a design team. Windmill upended the ordinary with its aptly named Medium AC with WhisperTech. It’s sleek and minimalist with rounded edges and a vaguely Scandinavian-inspired aesthetic. The front LED display panel has a simple, retro-modern feel, too, that adds a dash of “cool” (pun intended) to any space.

It’s one of the easiest-to-install models, too. Many on our team were actually surprised at just how easy the setup was. Straight out of the box, the preassembled kit is ready to drop into your window space. With a few minor tweaks for the perfect, you’ll be chilling in minutes.

Thanks to an inverter compressor under the hood, it achieves an energy-efficiency rating of 15—the highest score possible for a window-mounted air conditioner. For tech geeks, the companion app allows you to track your energy “spend” so you can see how much energy you’re saving.

Lastly, it’s almost as quiet as our top pick above (the Midea 8,000-BTU) at around 45 decibels. It’s noticeably quieter than almost every other air conditioner we tested over the last year. That and the fact that it cools a 300-square-foot room fast and easy made it a winner among our staff. “This is hands-down my favorite for bedtime cooling, even over the July,” said one of our light-sleeping testers.

Our only minor gripe is that the fan direction isn’t adjustable. It’s “up only” with this model, which may or may not be an issue, depending on your personal preference.

Like the Windmill AC, the July Air Conditioner Medium is design-forward with an aesthetic that’s ultra-minimalist and Euro-cool. It’s also the only model we’ve seen that features customizable covers, so you can decide whether the front is simple (matte Sky Blue, for example) or flashy (Ash Wood and even Moss are options). It’s certainly the most customizable window air conditioner, and we also love that its side panels can be transparent for a more visually appealing look.

But it’s not just a pretty face. “For a small-ish AC, this thing actually cools really well,” said one of editors. We credit that partly to the fact that because it doesn’t look like a traditional AC, we might have been biased in assuming that it didn’t perform like one. But the 8,000-BTU output of the July Medium is more than capable of chilling rooms up to 350 square feet. That’s more than enough for most bedrooms and even some slightly larger rooms. Every unit comes standard with a washable air filter. But we like the option ($10 per month) to buy an air-purifying filter that helps weed out pollen, mold, pet dander, dust mites, and more.

It’s priced right around $425, making this a solid midrange option. But July offers a 30-day trial and easy returns—easier than most—so there’s almost zero pressure, and you can try it before you decide to keep it. If 8,000 BTUs is a bit much for your needs, the 6,000-BTU option cools up to 250-square-foot rooms and is available for $50 less.

Read more: Best Air Purifiers

Another alternative to traditional “big, white, clunky boxes” is GE Profile’s ClearView Inverter Window AC line. The unique design sits down and into the window, draped directly over the windowsill. This allows you to maintain full (or nearly full) view through the window, unlike most ACs that can take up to one-third of the view.

The flagship, 10,300-BTU model is beefy enough to cool rooms up to 450 square feet, making this one of the best window air conditioner units for everything from large master bedrooms to whole living rooms. Even with all that power, our staff was surprised to measure the noise level at between 42-45 dB, making this one of the quietest options in our roundup. “I honestly thought this was going to run like a jet engine when I saw how big it was,” said one of our gear editors. “My girlfriend was shocked at how quiet it was!” The clever design allows your window to buffer some of the noise.

Equally as surprising: It’s very energy-efficient with a rating of 14.7—almost as high as the smaller, energy-sipping Windmill above. That’s honestly shocking given its size.

Our main gripe is the size, which isn’t a surprise given it’s 10,000+ BTU output. At more than 75 pounds and more than two feet deep, installing this beast is no easy feat. You’re going to want an extra set of hands (or two) to wrangle it in place. Although, we found that, once it’s lined up over the windowsill, the rest of the setup process is smooth sailing.

We’re not going to lie: 10,000 BTUs is more than most people need. But, if you’re looking to cool an oversized room (think a basement or a combined living room/kitchen space), this premium model from LG will easily get the job done. The dual inverter design ensures that it’ll chill rooms up to 450 square feet fast and, even more importantly, quietly. It’s rated at 58 dB, but as low as 44 dB in Sleep Mode. We ran this in a large game room and found that it worked faster and more efficiently than most, although it is a bit louder during normal operation.

Like some of the pricier models we tested, the LG LW1022IVSM is smart home compatible courtesy of LG’s ThinQ technology. The mode, temperature, and most of the settings are controllable via Amazon Alexa or Hey Google from anywhere with an Internet connection. In its most energy efficient mode, it offer 25% more energy savings than traditional models—surprising given its size and capability.

Our test panel was hard-pressed to find much to dislike about this window air conditioner. At more than 60 pounds, the heft can make it difficult to install without two people. And, at roughly $450, it’s one of the priciest in our roundup, but we think the long list of excellent features makes it worth the spend. LG’s own LW8017ERSM AC is a smaller option with “only” 8,000 BTUs of output but a more wallet-friendly price tag around $300.

For smaller rooms like bedrooms, guest rooms, and dorm rooms, a 6,000-BTU model is more than capable. These compact ACs are also cheaper and easier to install. If you’re looking for a wallet-friendly alternative to some of the larger, premium options above, GE’s entry-level AHEE06AC is your man.

The compact size and sub-40-pound construction make this one of the easiest models in our roundup to install. Our testers had no problem wrangling it into place for a one-person setup with no extra hands necessary. Even with the lowest output in this year’s list, our testers were also pleasantly surprised at how well it cooled most small spaces.

The most common gripe among our test panel, however, was the noise level. On its lowest setting, it’s rated at roughly 52-55 dBA—noticeably louder than even the larger options we tested. “During the day, I was able to tune it out while working from home,” said one of our writers. “But I’m a light sleeper, and, at night, I found the noise distracting, even on Low.” We found that it also tends to kick on and off more than most, almost as though it were “hunting” for the right room temperature.

The design is what you’d expect in a budget window air conditioner. It won’t win any awards. But it is straightforward and simple, and gets the job done for most small rooms up to about 250 square feet. We also like that it’s available in white or black, so you can better dial in the look to match your décor. The best part? It’s available for around $200 with the option for an even smaller and more compact 5,000-BTU alternative.

Frigidaire’s FHWC104WB1 is a #1 Best Seller on Amazon, and our team agrees that it’s worth a look if you’re looking to cool an oversized room. The 10,000-BTU output of this window air conditioner is enough to cool everything from basements to master bedrooms to most living rooms.

Our testers immediately noticed the larger size and heft of this model. It’s not surprising, given its higher-than-average output. Still, at almost 60 pounds, it’s a struggle to wrangle into place safely on your own. The almost two-foot-deep footprint also makes for a significant overhang outside the window, so you’ll almost definitely want extra support on the outside of your installation.

At 54 dBA, it’s relatively quiet (about as loud as “light traffic,” according to Frigidaire), but definitely louder than most other upmarket ACs we tested this year (like the Windmill and July). What sets this model apart from those, however, is the long list of five-star reviews. There are more than 10,000 on Amazon alone. Plus, at less than $350, it’s a fantastic “bang for your buck,” with one of the highest output-to-price ratios of any model we tested this year. We like that it’s available in a variety of other outputs, too, if 10,000 BTUs is too much (or too little) for your needs.

Shopping for the best air conditioners (window-mounted and otherwise) might seem complicated, but we promise it’s easier than it looks. Here are the main points to consider when trying to find the right AC for you:


British Thermal Units. It’s by no means the only number to consider when shopping for ACs, but it’s arguably the most important. Under the hood, the figure measures how efficiently the compressor can remove heat from a room. Practically speaking, it’s an easy way to compare “apples to apples” when looking at different units. To keep things simple, measure the square footage (length times width) of the room(s) you’re looking to cool. Then, check the U.S. Department of Energy’s Buying Guidance section to figure out what BTU rating you’ll need. For example, a 300-square-foot room will likely need at least an 8,000-BTU air conditioner.

Combined Energy-Efficiency Rating (CEER)

The CEER is similar to a vehicle’s MPG rating. It’s a measure of how energy-efficient (or not) a particular air conditioner is. The number for most modern window units is between 9 and 15. Higher numbers are better and indicate more energy-efficient models. A small difference might not seem like much, but it can add up to big cost savings over the life of your new air conditioner.

Consult your local laws

Suburban dwellers probably don’t need to worry much about the legalities of installing a new window air conditioner. But many cities (like New York City, for example) have safety laws in place to ensure that window-mounted units are secure. This may force you to buy a mounting bracket for your new unit. They’re readily available at most hardware stores and on Amazon for less than $30.

Measure twice, then measure again

The old carpenter’s adage is true here, too: Measure your window to make sure that any unit you buy will actually fit. You’ll also want to seal up any gaps with the foam that’s included with every modern window air conditioner.

Should I leave the window AC on all day?

It’s a common misconception that your AC will have to work doubly hard to cool off a hot room. Experts recommend simply turning the AC’s temperature up if you’re planning to be out for a few hours or more.

Should I unplug my AC when not in use?

With modern air conditioners, this isn’t necessary for any reason related to prolonging the life of your AC. However, you may want to unplug it and remove it from the window on days where the temperature outside is comfortable enough to cool your home naturally.

What are the disadvantages of window air conditioners?

The most obvious downside is that they occupy or block most of the view from the window in question. It can also be difficult to direct the flow of water that drains from the back of a window AC.

Over the last 12 months, our editors and writers tested dozens of window ACs. We considered options from mainstay brands like GE, LG, and Frigidaire and sleek alternatives from new, online-only shops like Windmill and July. We thoroughly researched and compared every last feature, paying close attention to user-friendliness, ease of setup, price, and (of course) how cool they were able to keep us. The list above represents our hard-fought-over picks for the very best window air conditioners of the year.

Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South Africa, and survived a near-miss great white shark attack in Mexico. His travel advice has appeared on the websites for Forbes, Travel + Leisure, CNET, and National Geographic. He loves the great outdoors and good bourbon, and (usually) calls Tulsa, Oklahoma home. Mike also enjoys speaking in the third person.

As Men's Health's Deputy Editor, Commerce, Christian Gollayan oversees all shopping content on He relocated back to New York by way of Portland, where he was the Associate Managing Editor at Christian's work has also been featured in InStyle, Food & Wine, the New York Post, and Tatler Asia.

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Best Portable Air Conditioners | Best Neck Air Conditioners | Best Cooling Towels | Best Cooling Mattress Toppers | Best Cooling Mattresses | Best Tower FansRead more: Best Air PurifiersBTUCombined Energy-Efficiency Rating (CEER)Consult your local lawsMeasure twice, then measure againShould I leave the window AC on all day?Should I unplug my AC when not in use?What are the disadvantages of window air conditioners?