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What makes a great air conditioner? No matter if you’re looking to cool the room you’re in or control the temperature of the entire home, a great air conditioner is one that does the job, efficiently and reliably. We looked up and down the aisle, and saw a bunch of fantastic air conditioners. In the end, we chose the chose the Boreal 12,000 BTU Seer Solstand Split Air Conditioner as the Best Overall Air Conditioner.
The Solstand is a split AC, which means the main condenser unit mounts outdoors, and inside the house there’s little more than a subtle rectangular box mounted high up on the wall. While such as set-up might not be ideal for apartment dwellers, it’s perfect for homeowners. And it’s packed with so many features we just couldn’t keep it from the top of our list.
And not just because it’s discreet. It’s perfect because it’s high-tech—you can control it with an app on your phone—energy efficient, and dependable. Best of all, in the winter months, it serves as a heater. All due respect to purists, but a traditional AC unit just can’t compete with that kind of year-round functionality.
In putting together this list, we cover the gamut, from small, one-room window units to portable ACs you can take wherever you need it. We included some large units for big-room cooling, and even a “swamp cooler” on wheels that you can roll from room to room.
Some of Our Favorite Air Conditioners:
- NewAir Portable Evaporative Cooler—We loved it because it’s most energy-efficient AC unit on the list, using about the same energy as a 100-watt light bulb;
- Arctic King 10,000 BTU—Around 8-10k BTUs is the ideal mid-range to cool beyond an average-sized living room, especially when you use a fan to help circulate the cool air around the house. Any lower, and you’ll cool only the room the unit is in; any higher, and you might just be a penguin;
- LG 12,000 BTU Portable—Our favorite portable air conditioner lets you roll it from room to room with ease. Best of all, the internal dehumidifier can suck 2.6 pints of water per hour out of the air;
- Frigidaire 5,000 BTU—This was our favorite Small But Mighty room air conditioner, and it’s also the favorite of more than 1,700 users who reviewed it; simple and super-affordable.
When shopping for an AC unit, it’s critical to measure the space you want to cool, and get a unit that’s the appropriate size. A good rule of thumb is an air conditioner generally needs 20 BTU for each square foot of space it needs to cool. Get too small an AC, and the room will never really get cool; too big, and you’re wasting energy—and money. In fact, an air conditioner that’s too big for the area it is supposed to cool will perform less efficiently and less effectively than a properly sized unit. A small unit running for an extended period operates more efficiently, and is more effective at dehumidifying, than a large unit that cycles on and off too frequently.
Other features to look for include:
- Washable, reusable filter
- Digital thermostat
- Built-in timer
- Energy Saver mode
Here are 11 amazing air conditioners to keep you cool when the heat is on.