Best Room Air Conditioners

Are you looking for the best single room air conditioners? Well, you're in luck. We've compiled the best room air conditioners, some with heaters, for a wide range of budgets and needs. See our top picks below.

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Best Overall

LG LW1016ER 10,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner with Remote

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Our #1 pick that earns our ‘best overall’ rating is the LG LW1016ER 10,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner with Remote. This A/C window unit is Energy Star-certified, features an Energy Saver mode and it allows you to select from 1 of 3 cooling speeds. Some of the added features are dehumidification, a 24-hour timer, a remote control and it’s 100% ozone-free. The LG LW1016ER is suitable for rooms up to 450 square feet. There is also a 1-year manufacturer’s part & labor warranty.

Best A/C + Heater Combo

Senville SENL-09CD 9,000 BTU Air Conditioner + Heater

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The Senville SENL-09CD 9,000 BTU Air Conditioner + Heater comes in at #2 as the best option for A/C + heat mini split units. This unit may not be as easy to install and might require professional installation. For those looking for a heating unit, dehumidifier and fan as well, this is a great, relatively-affordable option. The Senville SENL-09CD offers a 2 Year (Parts) / 5 Year (Compressor) when purchased through a participating retailer. Recommended room size is 100-450 Sq. Ft.

Best Splurge

PIONEER WYS009AMFI17RL 9,000 BTU A/C + Heater

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Coming in at #3 is the PIONEER WYS009AMFI17RL 9,000 BTU A/C + Heater. This unit is AHRI-certified for energy efficiency and ETL tested and certified. It is suitable for areas between 250-350 Square feet, runs at a quiet 52 dBA and features a timer function. Like the Senville SENL-09CD, the PIONEER WYS009AMFI17RL the also provides cooling, heating, dehumidification and ventilation and comes with a 2 Year (Parts) / 5 Year (Compressor) warranty.

Best Portable Room A/C

Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Air Conditioner + Dehumidifier

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Out #4 pick is the Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner + Dehumidifier. While this unit does not include the heat function like the mini split units, the Whynter ARC-14S is the best option to cool, dehumidify and ventilate your room if portability is a concern. The Whynter ARC-14S is rated to cool rooms up to 500 square feet and comes with a 1 Year (Limited) / 3 Year (Compressor) warranty. This unit was also the 2019 “Best Overall” winner as well as the consumer reports 2019 highest score.

Best on a Budget

Frigidaire FFRA051WAE 5,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner

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Amazon

Our 5th selection is the Frigidaire FFRA051WAE 5,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner. It’s great for small rooms up to 150 sq. feet and is one of the lower-priced room A/Cs on the market. This unit does not come with a remote and requires the setting to be changed on the unit itself using the mechanical controls. Some of the added benefits of the Frigidaire FFRA051WAE are the quiet operating level of only 51.3 dBA and low power start-up which helps save on electric bills.


So you want air conditioning. You’re finally ready to escape the blazing heat and warm humidity by buying those magic boxes that fill rooms up with cold air. There are a few factors to consider to make sure you buy the right air conditioning unit for you.

First, a crucial unit of measurement to consider is the British thermal unit, or BTU, which is the unit measuring how much heat is required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

To build off of this, the BTU/hr, or British thermal unit hour, is the unit of heat that an air conditioning unit can remove from a room per hour. For example, an air conditioning unit rated at 1,000 BTU/hr can remove 1,000 British thermal units in one hour, or in other words, cool a pound of water by 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit in a single hour. All of the air conditioning units on this list utilize the BTU/hr unit of measurement, so it’s important to keep this information in mind when considering which air conditioner to buy.

The next topic to discuss is EER vs SEER ratings. To start off, EER is the Energy Efficiency Ratio, simply a numeric value ranging between 8 and 30 used to rate how efficient a particular air conditioner is when it comes to energy-saving. SEER is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio that works in the same way, but it is a rating that takes into account climate temperature changes caused by the change in seasons.

How do EER and SEER differ and why is this pertinent to this list and when purchasing an air conditioner in general? EER is an older metric, used since 1975, and is an objective measurement commonly used among engineers to determine the average measure of air conditioning efficiency without worrying about seasonal changes in your area. SEER estimates how much energy in the same manner, but factors in seasonal changes which may or may not be accurate to your particular residential area.

In conclusion, both ratings are good to look for, but we would recommend EER being the measure to focus on if you live in an area with a consistent temperature – areas that see little change in climate such as an area whose climate is always hot or always cold.

Both EER and SEER ratings are used in our list depending on what the retailer chose to go with, but for your intents, they can be considered one in the same and can be used as a general reference point for gauging an air conditioner’s energy efficiency.

The last tidbit you may need to know before shopping for your dream air conditioning unit is the concept of mini split units. These are heating AND cooling systems that consist of both outdoor compressors (or heat pump) and an indoor handling unit.

These combination units are great because they combine the ability to cool an indoor area in the summer and heat it in the winter, making mini split units a great option for buyers looking to buy an air conditioner and a space heater for their homes.

The catch here is that mini split units may require extensive installation steps as opposed to installing an air conditioning unit. Also, as you may imagine, this is a more expensive option, and may not be viable for buyers who only need their air conditioner to cool air.

That being said, our list contains a combination of both mini split units and standalone air conditioning units to please both types of buyers. In order to cover all bases, we will also cover buying options for energy-saving air conditioners, conditioners packed with lots of features, basic units, and budget buys.


LG LW1016ER 10,000 BTU LW Series Window-Mounted Air Conditioner with Remote Control

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4.5 out of 5 stars

Our Top Pick for Energy-Conservative Units: The LW series of air conditioners offered by LG are all 2016 Energy Star certified, meaning these products meet the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) requirements to be identified as energy efficient products that will cut costs on your utility bills while maintaining the same performance as their non-certified competitors.

These air conditioners are the only ones on this list to have Energy Star certifications, making them a great buy for anyone looking to save on energy costs while still having an air conditioner that performs up to par. To further add to the units’ energy-saving capabilities, they also feature an Energy Saver mode that acts in a similar manner to ECO modes with other appliances: the unit limits its energy consumption by restricting its performance in order to save on energy costs.

The LW series air conditioners also have 24-hour timers that allow you to set what time you want your air conditioning unit to turn on or off, providing great convenience for those in favor of automated air conditioning. Also included are three cooling speeds to choose from and a wireless easy-to-operate remote to cycle between these modes along with setting the timer.

Each air conditioner is retrofitted with an anti-corrosion coating that safeguards against the elements, including harmful sun rays that may enter your room.

On that note, we have noticed the LW series’ seemingly lacks technology that limits operation noise, a rather important feature for an indoor appliance that people regularly run in their bedrooms at night.

In conclusion, aside from the apparently lack of noise reduction technology, this is a great set of air conditioning units to consider with some neat features and great energy-saving capabilities.

LG LW1016ER Additional Features

Temperature change capacity: 10,000 – 24,500 BTU/hr

10.3 – 12.1 Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)

LG LW1016ER Pros

  • 2016 Energy Star certified by the EPA
  • 3 cooling speeds
  • Energy saver mode
  • 24-hour customizable on/off timer
  • 100% ozone-free. Prevents harm to children and people that suffer from asthma
  • Anti-corrosion coating

LG LW1016ER Cons

  • No noise reduction features that many other air conditioning units have

LG LW1016ER Additional Resources


Original Retail $359.99
UPC 00772454067150
Model LW1016ER
Brand LG
SKU LW1016ER

Senville SENL-09CD 9,000 BTU Mini Split Air Conditioner + Heater LETO Series

4.5 out of 5 stars

Back to Basics: This series of mini split air conditioners from Senville is intended for year-round heating and cooling, allowing full climate control of your indoor structures. Senville is a provider of ductless mini split air conditioners for homes and businesses since 2005.

These air conditioners come with remote controls that cycle between four modes: air conditioning, heating, dehumidifier, and fan.

The LETO air conditioners also feature “Whisper Technology”, which uses porous sheets made of acoustic insulation materials that are compressed during operation in order to increase sound absorption properties. With this in mind, the LETO air conditioners are a great fit for bedrooms, hotels, libraries, classrooms, and stores. This series also has earned our pick for best-designed air conditioner remote control. We found that the remote design and button layout is extremely clean and easy to use, outclassing the remote features of the other air conditioners and mini split air conditioners on this list.

In regards to the included installation kit for the LETO series, it does not appear as comprehensive as the kit included with the PIONEER mini split heat pump series. The online listing for the LETO series even reads “Please note professional installation is required”. This leads us to question whether the PIONEER mini split heat pump series is less difficult to install.

It is also unknown if the installation kit for the LETO series includes ALL components necessary for a complete installation. We’ve also noticed quite a lack of unique features in the LETO series, such as the on/off timer that we found in many other air conditioning units on this list. While these features are not crucial for a good air conditioning unit, we found them to be very useful perks to have that this series of mini split units unfortunately lacks.

For this reason, we consider the LETO series to be a pretty basic but overall good standard for air conditioning + heating units.

Senville SENL-09CD Additional Features

Temperature change capacity: 9,000 – 24,000 BTU/hr

17-19 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)

Room size: 100-450 Sq. Ft

Senville SENL-09CD Pros

  • Remote cycles between four modes
  • “Whisper Technology” that guarantees hushed operation
  • Features our top pick for best remote design

Senville SENL-09CD Cons

  • Installation kit appears to be a downgrade in comparison to the kit included with the PIONEER mini split series, with the listing even going as far as stating that professional installation is required
  • Lacking in unique features that other air conditioners have, such as an on/off timer setting for convenience

Senville SENL-09CD Additional Resources

Original Retail $728.00
UPC 00893088008026
Model SENL-09CD
Brand Senville
SKU SENL-09CD

PIONEER WYS009AMFI17RL 9,000 BTU Mini Split Air Conditioner + Heater

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4.5 out of 5 stars

Certified and Diversified with Features: Sold by PIONEER, a company responsible for developing and supplying ductless mini split air conditioning units in America since 1995. They would eventually expand into a global mini split provider with their series of mini split heat pumps includes both air conditioning and heating.

Included is the ductless wall mount, outdoor heat pump, and installation kit that contains all necessary components to successfully install your mini split unit, according to PIONEER.

This series of mini split units is AHRI certified, which indicates that these products perform efficiently and accurately to their manufacturer’s advertised claims, with the AHRI being a globally recognized certificate administrator in air-conditioning, heating, and refrigerator products.

A plethora of neat features are included with these mini split units: whisper quiet operation, remote with LCD backlit display that can cycle between four modes (cooling, heating, dehumidification, and ventilation), Night Mode which sets the unit to sync its temperature with your natural body temperature patterns at night time, timer function that allows you to set on/off times for operation, and Auto-Restart Function that stores your preferred settings in memory in the event of a power outage in order to easily resume operation with your settings after power is restored.

The outdoor heat pump has a variable speed setting that allows you to customize how much or how little you want your heat pump to work. Also, the outdoor heat pump’s galvanized metal construction equips it for outdoor placement; galvanized metal has been dipped into a bath of molten zinc and allowed to dry, giving it a protective zinc coating that will prevent rusting and corrosion. The heat pump’s layer of electrostatic epoxy paint also resists scratching and peeling more than normal paint products.

PIONEER WYS009AMFI17RL Additional Features

Temperature change capacity: 9,000 – 36,000 BTU/hr

16 – 19.5 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)

PIONEER WYS009AMFI17RL Pros

  • Heats and cools areas; more than just an air cooling unit
  • AHRI Product Performance Certification
  • Whisper-quiet ductless indoor unit
  • Outdoor heat pump features customizable variable speed, quiet performance, construction of galvanized metal parts, and painted with electrostatic epoxy paint
  • Included remote with LCD backlit display that can cycle between four modes
  • Complete installation kit included
  • Night mode tunes temperature to match your natural body temperature changes throughout the night
  • Auto-Restart Function memorizes settings in the case of a temporary power outage
  • Timer function

PIONEER WYS009AMFI17RL Cons

  • This unit is intended for people who want heating capabilities and a heat pump. This purchase would probably not be necessary for buyers who only need an air conditioning unit without heating capabilities

PIONEER WYS009AMFI17RL Additional Resources

Original Retail $728.00
UPC 00858132006076
Model WYS009AMFI17RL
Brand PIONEER
SKU WYS009AMFI17RL

Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner + Dehumidifier with Activated Carbon Filter

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4 out of 5 stars

A Unique Spin with Unique Additions: The ARC-14S from Whynter has the most unique color palette on this list, sporting a black and platinum paint color. The air conditioner has a remote included along with three different modes to cycle between: air conditioning, fan, and dehumidifier. This means that the ARC-14S does not come with any heating capabilities.

Also included is a unique auto drain feature that automatically absorbs and reuses condensate to reproduce clean, cool air. On the topic of cool air, the ARC-14S is also known for its dual hose that provides faster cooling than other air conditioners that only have a single hose. This air conditioner also offers a very convenient 24-hour on/off timer.

Another added feature is the eco-friendly refrigerant. Refrigerant is the fluid pumped repeatedly in the refrigeration cycle that transitions air to liquid and back. By using an eco-friendly refrigerant, the ARC-14S is guaranteed to be environmentally safe.

Award winner for Good Housekeeping’s “2019 Best Overall” and noted as being able to “cool down a room faster than other portable units”. Also won an award for Consumer Report’s 2019 Highest Score.

This air conditioning unit is floor-mounted, and thus shoots air in a straight horizontal line into a room. This is a departure from your conventional wall-mounted air conditioning unit that blows cool air into a room without bias in a certain direction. We decided that the conventional design is more preferable than that of the ARC-14S.

Whynter ARC-14S Additional Features

Temperature change capacity: 14,000 BTU/hr

11.2 Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)

Whynter ARC-14S Pros

  • Award winner for Good Housekeeping’s “2019 Best Overall” and Consumer Report’s 2019 Highest Score
  • Remote control cycles between 3 modes: air conditioning, fan, and dehumidifier
  • 24-hour on/off timer
  • Eco-friendly refrigerant
  • Auto drain technology
  • Installation kit included
  • 1-year warranty on unit, 3-year warranty on compressor

Whynter ARC-14S Cons

  • This air conditioning unit is floor-mounted, and blows air in a straight line, dispersing air in a strange fashion when compared to conventional air conditioners that blow cool air straight down

Whynter ARC-14S Additional Resources

Original Retail $599.99
UPC 00891207001545
Model ARC-14S
Brand Whynter
SKU ARC-14S

Frigidaire FFRA051WAE 5,000 BTU Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner

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4 out of 5 stars

The Best Budget Buy: Frigidaire developed the first self-contained refrigerator back in 1916. Today, they are known for offering high-quality, energy efficient kitchen and laundry appliances, and their Window-Mounted Mini-Compact air conditioner is no exception.

With this unit you get a moderately-powered air conditioner designed to save you money with its low-powered startup feature This acts as a temporary earth-friendly mode until the air conditioner is fully booted up for operation.

Another great thing about the Frigidaire air conditioner is its quiet operation. Running at 51.3 dBA, which approximates closely to the sound of a running refrigerator or electric fan. Also included are four different modes to choose from: Low Fan, High Fan, Low Cool, and High Cool. The temperature can also be adjusted via turn knob with settings at level 1-7.

This unit does not have a remote control. Instead, its settings can be changed on the unit itself. This is rather inconvenient and with so many modern air conditioning units including remote features, this unit seems outdated by comparison. Think of it as being similar to how you would have to get up and walk to an old antenna television to scan through the channels using buttons on the television.

This unit also has the lowest BTU/hr rating on this list. Whether the weak performance is worth the trade-off with its low price is up to the buyer. The LW series from LG is arguably a better buy, as it offers air conditioning units with at least double the power and a plethora of features despite its prices being higher than the Frigidaire unit.

Frigidaire FFRA051WAE Additional Features

Temperature change capacity: 5,000 BTU/hr

11 Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)

Frigidaire FFRA051WAE Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • Low-powered startup cuts costs on energy
  • Effortless Restart function remembers settings and resumes power outage after a power outage
  • 4 modes to choose from
  • Lowest price on this list

Frigidaire FFRA051WAE Cons

  • No remote, settings must be tuned to your desires on the air conditioner itself
  • Lowest BTU/hr rating on our list, but this is also the cheapest option and the best for buyers on a budget

Frigidaire FFRA051WAE Additional Resources

Original Retail $259.00
UPC 00012505282959
Model FFRA051WAE
Brand Frigidaire
SKU FFRA051WAE

Room Air Conditioner Buying Guide

What BTU is right for you?

What is BTU?

When making a decision on what room air conditioner to purchase, one of the most important factors is BTU (British Thermal Unit). BTU is a unit that measures how much heat is needed to raise 1 pound of water by 1 degree.

How Does BTU Apply to Air Conditioners?

The BTU/hr (British thermal unit hour) is used to measure how much heat can be removed from a room per hour. As an example, the LG LW1016ER listed above is rated at 10,000 BTU. This means that this room air conditioning can remove 10,000 BTUs per hour. This measurement is what you would typically use to determine what size A/C you would need when looking at room size. Energystra.gov has a easy breakdown:

Area To Be Cooled (square feet)Capacity Needed (BTUs per hour)
100 up to 1505,000
150 up to 2506,000
250 up to 3007,000
300 up to 3508,000
350 up to 4009,000
400 up to 45010,000
450 up to 55012,000
550 up to 70014,000
700 up to 1,00018,000
1,000 up to 1,20021,000
1,200 up to 1,40023,000
1,400 up to 1,50024,000
1,500 up to 2,00030,000
2,000 up to 2,50034,000

 

EER vs. SEER

What is EER?

EER stands for ‘Energy Efficiency Ratio’. Ranking from 8 to 30, the EER is used to determine how energy-efficient an air conditioning unit is. In short, the higher EER score, the lower the energy consumption requirement is. More info available at energy.gov.

What is SEER?

SEER stands for ‘Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio’. It’s works in a similar way to EER but it differs in that it applies to climate temperature changes caused by the change in seasons. SEER typically applies to central A/C units. Like EER, the higher the rating, the lower the energy consumption and, ultimately, the higher savings on energy bills. Energy.com has a great brochure breakdown on what to look for. If you decide to purchase a split-system heat pump unit, as of 2015, the minimum SEER should be at least 14.

Is EER or SEER more important?

This depends on where you live and what the climate is. If you live in an area where the climate tends to be relatively mild with little change in seasonal temperature, EER is a good indicator on whether the A/C unit is efficient. If you live in an area that sees larger fluctuations in temperature, SEER is a better way to gauge whether a specific A/C unit is right for you.

Both EER and SEER ratings are used in our list depending on what the retailer chose to go with, but for your intents, they can be considered one in the same and can be used as a general reference point for gauging an air conditioner’s energy efficiency.

Deciding what type of room air conditioner is right for you

In order to determine which room air conditioning unit is right for you, there are a few factors you would need to consider. Consider these questions:

Does your room A/C unit need to be portable? If so, a window or split-system are not the best options because the installation requirements would be too prohibitive.

Do you want to have one unit that cools, dehumidifies and heats or are you strictly looking to only cool your space? If you’re interested in heating your room as well, a split-system would be a great option for you. If you’re only looking to cool or dehumidify, a standard window unit or portable A/C unit would work.

Are you looking for a budget-friendly option? Typically, window units tend to be a lot more affordable than split-system or portable units. Although, there are a few portable room air conditioners that are budget-friendly.

Are you looking for easy installation? If you’re looking for something easy to install, don’t go with a split-system unit. Portable units tend to have the easiest set ups while window units are also relatively easy to install.

We hope this buying guide and list was helpful. If you have the time, please take a look at some of our other product reviews here.