Cool Down: Window Air Conditioners for Every Budget

They’re about 10 times easier to install than central AC (and 10 times more affordable).

If a fan doesn’t sound cool enough and the idea of central air conditioning makes you fearful for your bank account, you don’t have to suffer silently in your sweat. A good window AC to the rescue! The main thing to consider when shopping for one is the size of the space in which you’ll be using it. A unit that’s too small won’t sufficiently cool a large room, while one that’s too big will leave a smaller room cold and clammy. For spaces of 100 to 300 square feet, an AC with a BTU capacity of 5,000 to 6,000 should work perfectly. Mid-size rooms of 250 to 400 square feet require an AC rated at between 7,000 and 8,500 BTU. Larger areas of 350 to 650 square feet will be best cooled with a 9,800 to 12,500 BTU unit.

Five Sizes

Change the setting from across the room. MIDEA

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If you’ve walked by brownstones or older apartment buildings in the big city on a sunny day and felt like raindrops were falling on your head, it was probably condensation from a window AC. They may not be able to cool a big house as efficiently as central air conditioning, but they’re cheaper to run, and unlike wall units, they’re relatively easy to install with just a few tools, and you can take them with you when you move.

Easy to Install

The antibacterial filter reduces odors and dust. Frigidaire

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The big benefit of a U-shaped unit is that it’s designed so that you don’t have to keep the window where it sits closed 24/7. On days when you don’t need to run the AC, you can open the window and let in fresh air without your unit tipping over and crashing to the ground below.

Subtle Design

No installation tools required! Soleus

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If you prefer your air conditioning with lots of sunshine, an over-the-sill unit is ideal because the upper part of the unit sits on the window sill, allowing more sunlight to enter the room. Plus, if you have a great view, you won’t have to block it with a big white box. Win-win!