When the weather forecast calls for high temperatures, you are going to want to have an air conditioner to keep things cool inside your home or office. With an air conditioner, you can be sure that the inside of your home or office will provide you with the cool relief that you need to beat the heat. While central air conditioning may be nice, it is downright expensive to install; not to mention the fact that the installation process can take a long time – not something you want when you are trying to cool off.

Fortunately, you don’t need to have central air conditioning to get the heat relief that you need; a window air conditioner unit will keep your home or office cool and comfortable, and it will provide you with the heat relief that you are seeking quickly, and it is much more affordable than a central air conditioning system. While a window air conditioner is certainly beneficial, finding the best one for your needs can be challenging. There are so many options to choose from, which can make finding the right one a difficult task. To help you on your quest for finding the best window air conditioner, we have put together this handy buyer’s guide. This guide contains all of the information you will need to find the best window air conditioner for your needs, including the different types, the factors to consider when choosing a window air conditioner, the features they can offer, and the best brands.

Types of Window Air Conditioners

In order to find the best window air conditioner for your needs, the first thing you need to do is understand the different types of units that are available. All window air conditioners serve the same purpose; they fit into a window and blow cooled air into your home or office. However, window air conditioners differ in the way that they are constructed. Not all windows are the same, and there are window air conditioners that are designed to fit in different windows. The type of unit you need will be directly determined by the type of window you have.

There are two different types of window air conditioners, which include:

Here is a detailed look at these two types of window air conditioners.

The Standard Window Air Conditioner

The standard window air conditioner is designed to be used with standard window. A standard window is a single or double hung window that slides up and down. These air conditioners are vertical, so to speak, in design, which allows them to fit into the shape of the standard window. It is placed in the lower portion of the window and rests on the ledge of the window. The bottom portion of the window is opened when the air conditioner is placed, and it sits on top of the window air conditioner.

The Casement Window Air Conditioner

The casement window air conditioner is taller and thinner, which allows it to fit into one side of a casement window or a slider window. A casement window is one that swings a pane of glass out to open, and a slider window slides one panel to the side, over another panel, to open. To install this type of air conditioner, the window needs to be opened, and the air conditioner fits into the location where the pane of glass that is opened would normally sit. The bottom of the air conditioning unit sits on the ledge of the window. In the case of a slider window, the pane that is opened is pressed up against the side of the air conditioning unit. If you have a casement window, the window pane will be closed as much as possible once the window is installed. With either type of window, a portion will be left opened, as the air conditioner does not cover the entire open space. To cover the opened portion, a piece of Plexiglass, wood or another type of filler will need to be installed in the open space that remains above the air conditioner.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Window Air Conditioner

There are a number of factors that you are going to want to take into consideration when choosing a window air conditioner. By taking these factors into consideration, you will be able to choose the best window air conditioner for your needs. Some of the most important factors to consider include the size of the window, the BTUs (British Thermal Units) and the cost of the air conditioner, among other things. To learn more about the factors that you should consider when choosing a window air conditioner, please keep on reading.

The BTUs (British Thermal Units) the Air Conditioner Offers

British Thermal Units, or BTUs, are the basic measure of thermal energy. The number of BTUs indicates the cooling capacity of the window air conditioner. The number of BTUs the window air conditioner offers is the first thing that you should consider when choosing a unit. For maximum efficiency and cooling power, choose a unit that offers a BTU level that is designed to be used in the size of your space. A window air conditioner that offers too little BTU power will run continuously to try to cool your space, which will, in turn, cause your energy bill to rise significantly. A window air conditioner that offers too many BTUs for your space will not cool and dehumidify your home or office evenly, leaving your room susceptible to hot and cold pockets, and making it uncomfortable. In order to determine the number of BTUs you need for your window air conditioner, calculate the size of the space you want the unit to cool in square feet, then use the following chart to find the right amount of BTUs

Area To Be Cooled (Sq. Ft.)

Cooling Capacity Needed

100 to 150 sq. ft.

5,000 BTUs

150 to 250 sq. ft.

6,000 BTUs

250 to 300 sq. ft.

7,000 BTUs

300 to 350 sq. ft.

8,000 BTUs

350 to 400 sq. ft.

9,000 BTUs

400 to 450 sq. ft.

10,000 BTUs

450 to 550 sq. ft.

12,000 BTUs

550 to 700 sq. ft.

14,000 BTUs

700 to 1,000 sq. ft.

18,000 BTUs

1,000 to 1,200 sq. ft.

21,000 BTUs

1,200 to 1,400 sq. ft.

23,000 BTUs


Also, it is important to remember that there are other factors that will impact the cooling capacity of the window air conditioner, including:

The Installation

One of the biggest benefits of window air conditioners is that they’re relatively easy to install. Some will still be more work than others though. One of the best ways to get a feel for how much work a window air conditioner will be to install is to see what reviews of the unit have to say. People are usually pretty quick to comment on it if they have a hard time with installation, and happy to praise the product if they find it easy.

Energy Consumption

Air conditioners use a lot of energy. This is true no matter what type of air conditioning you invest in. Window air conditioners are not your most efficient option, but since they’re designed to cool a specific space rather than the full house, they can end up using quite a bit less energy than central air. You can find Energy Star certified window air conditioners that are proven to use less energy than other models. Many models will also provide their Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) to give you an idea of what to expect. The higher the EER, the more energy saved.

The Electrical Requirements

You also need to consider the electrical requirements your window air conditioner will need. Because this appliance will use more power than many other household appliances, you need to make sure that your existing electrical system will meet the needs of the unit’s electrical requirements. The majority of window air conditioners operate on a 115-, 125-, or 220- volt circuit. Units that offer higher BTUs will need more volts to operate, so you may need to install special electrical wiring or have an electrician assist you. The electrical requirements a window air conditioner needs, including the voltage, the amps and the watts, will be listed on the specifications of the air conditioner.

The Noise

You will undoubtedly be purchasing a window air conditioner to use in a room that you spend a lot of time in, such as your bedroom, your living room or your office. Wherever you are going to be using the window air conditioner, you probably don’t want it to create a lot of noise. The more noise the air conditioner makes, the more it will impact your daily life. Some window air conditioners make a tremendous amount of noise, so make sure that you pay close attention to this when you are shopping if you don’t want the unit to make a lot of noise and impact your daily life.

Ease of Use

Generally, a window air conditioner shouldn’t be difficult to operate; however, some are designed to make operation as simple and straightforward as possible. Easy to operate controls and clearly visible settings are the hallmarks of a window air conditioning unit that is easy to use. Also, you want to make sure that the unit is easy to clean; filters should be able to come out with ease, as you will need to clean them periodically to ensure the optimal performance of your window air conditioner.

The Price

You also want to keep the cost of the window air conditioner in mind. They can vary widely in price, with larger units that offer higher BTUs and more features costing more.

Features Window Air Conditioners Can Offer

There are a number of features that window air conditioners can offer. Here is a look at some of the top features.

Heating Function

If you want your window AC to double as a heat source, look for one that features a heating function. This is an ideal feature if you want to cut down on your fuel consumption, or if you don’t have central heat.

Programmable Timer

With this feature, you can set the air conditioner to turn off when you aren’t home, or run at a higher temperature, and turn on, or run on a cooler temperature when you are home.

A Remote Control

With a remote control, you will be able to easily change the settings of the air conditioner from anywhere in your room.

A Dehumidifier

If you suffer from allergies, a window air conditioner that features a dehumidifier can be very useful.

Top Window Air Conditioner Brands

There are a number of manufacturers that make window air conditioners. Here is a look at some of the top brands.


Frigidaire is a highly trusted producer of window air conditioners. Their products are durably constructed and offer the latest technologies to keep things nice and cool.


Danby air conditioners are easy to install and easy to use, they operate quietly, they are relatively affordable, and they offer great cooling capacity.


This company’s window air conditioners are long lasting and provide excellent cooling capacity. They are easy to install and easy to operate and will last you a long time.


GE is a highly trusted manufacturer of appliances, including window air conditioners. Their units are easy to install, easy to operate, powerful and run quietly. They also offer a number of convenient features.