Best Energy-Efficient Air Conditioners 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks
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An energy-efficient air conditioner can save you between 20% and 50% on energy costs, according to an estimate from The Department of Energy. That’s big savings and the benefits don’t stop there.
When you buy an energy-efficient air conditioner, you’re helping the environment by reducing your carbon footprint. Plus, these units come with innovative smart features to better cool your home.
As you search to find your next energy-efficient air conditioner, you’ll need to sort through units with a variety of features, from smart technology to different energy-efficiency levels. Our reviews of the top 10 energy-efficient air conditioners can help you find the best unit to cool your home. Each review includes a quick checklist of pros and cons, then continue to the buyer’s guide to learn the most important factors to consider before making a purchase.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 10 Best Energy-Efficient Air Conditioners
1. Koldfront Window Air Conditioner – Best Overall
The Energy Star-rated Koldfront window air conditioner is our choice for best overall in performance and value. With a high EER of 12.1, this compact air 6050 BTU window air conditioner can create a cool and comfortable space in smaller rooms ranging in size from 150 to 250 square feet.
Earning its place as our top pick, this unit has many energy-saving features. Sleep mode adjusts the temperature at intervals to keep you comfortable while reducing energy consumption. The dehumidifying function helps keep rooms dry on cooler days.
The control panel’s digital display allows you to choose your desired airflow with three fan speeds. You can control it manually or with a remote. However, we learned that the remote may not work as well as intended.
This unit comes with all the hardware and supplies that you’ll need to install it, though some purchasers encountered difficulties with adhesive on the foam installation.
2. ARCTIC Wind Window Air Conditioner – Best Value
Our pick for the best energy-efficient air conditioner for the money goes to the Arctic Wind. We found that for the lower price, you still get energy-saver functions that work well to save you money while keeping your room a comfortable temperature.
At a high 12.1 EER, this 2016 Energy Star-certified, 6,000 BTU air conditioner has the ability to cool a small room up to 260 square feet. With a remote included, the LED display control panel gives you the option of energy-saving mode or temperature control on a 24-hour timer. We discovered that the fan speeds do not vary much in speed.
Other features include a washable mesh air filter accessible via the front panel, which comes with a “clean filter” indicator light and an auto-restart that saves your settings in the event of a power outage.
Although this unit is on the heavier side, we learned that installation is a fairly easy process. However, we discovered the Arctic Wind runs louder than other models.
3. Friedrich Window Air Conditioner – Premium Choice
For its superior comfort, performance, and a stylish design, the Friedrich Chill window air conditioner is our premium choice. You’ll enjoy the designer white look as much as the Energy Star-qualified efficiency. This unit installs in a window or through walls up to 7 1/2″ deep and has a power cord that can run either to the left or to the right.
The Friedrich Chill can evenly cool rooms up to 250 square feet with three cooling and fan-only speeds, and a 24-hour timer gives you the option to program on/off times. The Chill can circulate air at a rate of up to 200 cubic feet per minute through Auto Air Sweep swing louvers for even air distribution. Also, this unit includes a digital remote control.
The Friedrich AC does drop to our third-place position partially for its moderately loud noise level, as well as for its poor customer service for honoring its warranty.
4. COSTWAY Portable Air Conditioner
If you’re looking for a portable air conditioner that effectively cools and dehumidifies your space for a reasonable price, then the Costway may be for you. It has the capability to provide cooling relief up to 450 square feet, and the dehumidifier can remove up to 1.3L of moisture an hour. Plus, its four all-direction casters allow for easy transport, so you can position it where you need it most.
The Costway saves energy through its fan-only mode of three fan speeds. While you have the option to read the temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius, you won’t be able to set it. A remote is provided to control a 24-hour timer, which includes a power outage reset feature.
We discovered some issues with compatibility with the exhaust hose and various window sizes. Keep in mind that even though it’s portable, you’ll need the hose and its components to fit.
5. MIDEA Window Air Conditioner
Ideal for rooms up to 350 square feet, the Midea window air conditioner uses three-in-one technology. This 8000 BTU model combines cooling air conditioning, a dehumidifier to control moisture, and a fan-only mode for energy efficiency. We found that the Midea can take only 10 to 15 minutes to cool your room to a comfortable level.
This unit is easy to install, requiring only a screwdriver, and includes extra features. Once you’re ready to run it, use either the remote or access the LED display to choose timer mode, energy saver mode, or sleep mode.
The Midea does have issues with durability and effectiveness. We learned that the unit worked best on its highest setting, though it may run loudly and produce a clicking noise. Although a warranty is offered, we discovered that this unit does tend to break down after only a month of use and you may not be satisfied with the customer service.
6. Haier ESAQ406T Window Air Conditioner
The quietest window unit on our list, the Haier reduces noises by providing a compressor blanket made of foam. In most cases, we found that this unit does live up to its “ultra-quiet” claim. Be aware that the noise level rises with higher settings, when the condenser is running, or if the air filter clogs.
With a 12.2 energy-efficiency rating and being 2016 Energy Star certified, this 6,000 BTU room air conditioner states that it can cool up to a 250-square-foot room. However, we discovered its cooling output to be quite less. Considering the higher price point, you could purchase a less expensive model that’s louder but more effective.
The Haier offers several convenient features. Using either the remote or the LED display, you can choose between auto cool, energy save, fan, and dehumidify. Or you can set the 24-hour timer to match your schedule. In addition, the window-mounted installation fits most windows, with some exceptions.
7. TOSOT Window Air Conditioner
The modern design, the energy efficiency, and the effective cooling of the Tosot window air conditioner earns it a place on our list. Ideal for a larger room of up to 450 square feet, this 10,000 BTU window air conditioner both looks nice and works well.
Energy Star rated, the Tosot offers three modes: air conditioning, fan only, and dehumidifying. It also comes with a batteries-included smart remote that gauges the air temperature around the remote.
You may be wondering why we placed such a high-functioning unit seventh on our list. Unfortunately, it has a high noise level. We found that the loudness made it difficult for sleeping, watching TV, or holding conversations. The smart remote does not come with adequate user instructions. Finally, the operating lights are too bright if you’re using this unit in a bedroom.
8. LG Dual Window Air Conditioner
If you’re looking for smart technology in a window air conditioner that operates quietly, you may want to go with LG’s model. This 9,500 BTU unit greatly reduces noise through its dual inverter compressor. Its claims to save you up to 15% energy savings is backed by Energy Star with a high energy-efficiency ratio of 13.8. Also, we found that it can cool a larger room of up to 450 square feet.
This LG unit comes with SmartThinQ technology that can be controlled through your smart phone or paired with Alexa and Google Assistant. Unfortunately, many owners have difficulty getting this to work. All this extra tech comes with a higher price, which may or may not be worth your time to set it up.
9. GE Profile Window Air Conditioner
The GE Profile is one of the larger units on our list, with a width of 21.25″, a height of 12.4375″, and a depth of 18.125″, so be sure to measure your window size for this GE Profile window air conditioner. If it fits, you’ll be investing in an effective and efficient model with a sleek design.
This Energy Star-qualified, 6,000 BTU room air conditioner offers three fan speeds and a 24-hour timer to match your schedule, as well as built-in Wi-Fi.
The GE Profile falls to second to last on our list for its sound volume and Wi-Fi connectivity difficulties. We found that while the fan operates at a quiet level, the compressor is too loud for comfort. At a higher price than other quieter models that also offer extra functions, such as a dehumidifier, this unit may not be worth the cost.
10. Danby Window Air Conditioner
The Danby Energy Star-compliant, 10,000 BTU air conditioner can cool a room in your house up to 250 square feet. It comes with an expandable window installation kit that can be placed in windows between 23 inches high and 36 inches wide. The Danby also has a remote and a LED display for ease-of-use.
The noise level and lack cooling power of this window air conditioner cause it to drop to last place on our list. We learned that while both the sleep mode and the energy-saving mode work to make this air conditioner more efficient, they operate loudly. You may find your sleep to be disturbed by this unit switching from the fan to the compressor. Also, for the price, you may not notice that your room is as cool compared to models with similar and lower BTUs.
Before you make your purchase, be sure to consider these few factors. First, look for an Energy Star rating and a high energy efficiency ratio (EER). It’s the best indicator that you’re buying a unit that performs well. Next, consider the noise level, especially if you’re planning on installing it in a bedroom. Finally, smart technology may be convenient, but only if it’s compatible with your devices and doesn’t significantly raise the price.
At the top of our list, the Koldfront WAC6002WCO Window Air Conditioner is our choice for the best overall in efficiency, value, and effectiveness. This Energy Star-rated unit has a high energy-efficiency ratio of 12.1. Plus, it offers sleep mode for enhanced energy saving, an effective dehumidifying function, and three fan speeds for airflow control. Installation comes with everything you need. Its only drawbacks are that the remote may not function well and the materials for installation may not be top quality.
For the best value for the money, the ARCTIC Wind AW6005E Window Air Conditioner has a high energy-efficiency ratio of 12.1 and is 2016 Energy Star certified. It comes with high-quality energy saving functions, a washable mesh filter with indicator lights, and an auto-restart for power outages. However, this unit runs louder than other models, and we found that the fan speeds do not vary by a noticeable amount.
Our premium choice, the Friedrich Chill CP06G10B Window Air Conditioneroffers comfort and performance with a stylish design. This Energy Star-qualified unit can evenly cool a room of up to 250 square feet and comes with a digital remote control. While the moderately loud noise level may not be a deterrent, you should be aware of the poor customer service for honoring its warranty.
Hopefully, our reviews, along with the pros and cons lists, have helped you find an energy-efficient air conditioner to cool your bedroom or smaller room. With the right unit, you can enjoy cool comfort while cutting costs and helping reduce your carbon footprint.
Featured image credit: Daitsu airconditioner by Tiia Monto licensed by CC 3.0.