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#1 Midea U Inverter Windows Air Conditioner

The Midea MAW08V1QWT U Inverter Window Air Conditioner has a unique U-shaped design that offers more secure installation when combined with the included support bracket — hardware rarely included with AC units — and allows you to open and close the window to let in fresh air. 

It's the first window AC to receive the Energy Star “Most Efficient” certification, and it remains one of only four models to receive that designation — another is the LG Dual Inverter AC, our pick for the best AC for large rooms. 

The Midea U uses inverter technology to achieve such impressive efficiency numbers. Inverter compressors are equipped with variable-speed motors that can adjust to maintain the desired temperature. This constant low-level operation is more efficient than turning on and off high output like traditional units. My smart plug showed that the Midea U used 9.6 kWh in 24 hours, which is 0.4 kWh per hour.

Although the installation was fast, I could have been a little clearer with the instructions. The unit was up and running in less than 25 minutes after opening the box. Connecting to the smart app was also quick and let me control the Midea U with my voice using Alexa.

I was amazed at how quiet the AC ran. The AC ran at its maximum setting and registered 48 decibels. 

#2 GE AHY08LZ 8,000 BTU

The GE 8,000 BTU Smart Window Air Conditioner (model AHY08LZ) features a relatively light weight of 54 pounds and is simple to install. I was able to get it up and running in less than 20 minutes after opening the box. It also fit my slim 24-inch-wide window frame.

It is a workhorse, and that's even more important. In our test room of 650 square feet — nearly twice what the unit is rated for — the GE was able to decrease the temperature by more than 3 degrees F in an hour. It was quiet and able to reduce the temperature by only 55 decibels on high. This makes it ideal for bedrooms and home offices.

The control panel displays the temperature in large, easily-read numbers. It automatically dims to reduce light if it is being used in the bedroom at night. You can also adjust the louvers to direct cool air exactly where you want it. 

Although the GE has WiFi connectivity and can also be operated remotely from anywhere, I was unable to get it to connect with GE Comfort (available for iOS or Android). I couldn't use any smart features despite several attempts. Based on the 2.0-star rating in the Google Play store and 1.3-star rating in the App Store, I'm not alone. 

I reached out quickly to GE about the app problems. According to GE, the issue is known but not fixed in a timely manner. Despite the lack of smart features, this unit is still an excellent one.

#3 Haier Window Conditioner, 6,200 BTU

The Haier ESAQ406TZ Window Air Conditioner registered the lowest noise output of any of the units in our testing. Our sound meter measured 41.9 decibels on low, which is almost as quiet a library. It was still a bit louder than normal conversation at 51.4 decibels even when it was set to high. This unit is ideal for bedrooms and home offices due to its low Btu output.

Installing the Haier AC was relatively easy and didn't require any special steps. It took me approximately 25 minutes. It was surprising to me that such a low-Btu unit would need such a large window opening.

The Haier was at the top of the pack when it came to cooling. It brought the room's temperature down by around two degrees in just one hour. This is remarkable considering that it was one of two units that had less than 8,000 Btu. (The GE AHQ06LZ did a much worse job. Multi-directional vent adjustments are a plus. This allows you to direct cool air where you need it most.

I used a handheld monitor to test the air quality and it showed significant reductions in particulate matter, VOCs, and other pollutants.

Lastly, it's Energy Star-certified, and that lined up with my experience with it. It had consumed 0.3 kWh electricity within an hour. It has an estimated yearly energy cost of about $52 according to government data.

#4 LG LW8017ERSM 8,00 BTU

This 8,000BTU air conditioner can cool up to 340 square feet. Its high BTU rating means that it provides more cooling power. It can be controlled via the SmartThinQ app and its remote control. You can adjust the fan speed and cooling speed, set the timer and activate Auto Restart. This saves and restores air conditioner settings in the event of a power cut.  This unit weighs in at 57 pounds and can be installed on standard single or double-hung windows measuring 22 to 36 inches in width and 13 inches high. The unit will require a 115-volt outlet.

#5 Best compact – FRIGIDAIRE, 5,000 BTU

This air conditioner with 5,000 BTU can cool up to 150 square feet. You can choose from any one of the following fan speeds: low fan, high fan; low cool; high cool; or both. You can also set the device so that it turns on and off at half-hour intervals. The 41-pound unit comes with a pleated quick mount kit with extendable side panels. These can be attached to windows from 23 to 36 inches in width and up to 13 inches in height. To work, it requires a 115-volt power socket.

#6 Midea Window Air Conditioner – Best Budget

This fan-air conditioner with 5,000BTU has 7 temperature settings. They can be adjusted remotely for cooling rooms upto 150 square feet. To operate, it requires 110-volt power. It’s a 43-pound unit that can fit into windows that are 23 to 36 inches wide and up to 13 inches high.

#7 Friedrich Air Conditioning Co. Chill Series

This remote-controlled unit with 8,000 BTU can cool spaces up 350 square feet. The unit’s louvers can swing to and fro by themselves when you turn on Auto Air Sweep. The MoneySaver mode lets the device go into fan mode when the temperature or weather is cool. It also features a 24-hour timer, Auto-Restart and remote control to adjust settings. The air conditioner must only be plugged in to a 115-volt outlet. This unit weighs in at 63 pounds and can fit into windows up to 20 inches wide, 13 inches tall, and 36 inches deep. It also comes with a sleeve to allow for through-the wall mounting.

#8 TOSOT Window Air Conditioner 8,000 BTU 

This unit is visually striking and has a modern design. It can cool 350 square feet with its 8,000 BTUs. The remote has a smart thermostat and a touch panel.