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10 Best Air Conditioners of 2024

We've tested the best air conditioners from LG, Midea, SereneLife, and more
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Best Air Conditioner Review
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Our Top Picks

By Austin Palmer, Becca Glades, and David Wise  ⋅  Mar 13, 2024

The Best Air Conditioners for 2024

Need a new AC but not sure where to start? Our team has done dozens of hours of hands-on testing to find the best air conditioners on the market so that you don't have to. With plenty of options out there and temperatures hitting record highs, finding a quick cooling fix is more crucial than ever. Throughout our quest to find the solution, we tested over 30 options. First and foremost, we inspected how well each AC could cool a hot summer room. Then, we looked into each machine's energy consumption, noise level, portability, installation, and more. With that, we present our top air conditioners, including window and portable units.

Over the years, we've tested plenty of home appliances. In addition to an AC, you can keep the air moving with a top-notch fan. If you live in a dry climate, you might be interested in adding some moisture to the air with one of the best humidifiers. Whatever it might be, our team has likely spent the time to extensively research and test it.

Editors Note: Our air conditioner review was updated on March 13, 2024, to include more information on how we tested these products.

Best Overall Window AC

Midea U-Shaped MAW08V1QWT

BTU: 8,000 | Remote: Yes | App: Yes
Useful app
Lower energy use
The window is still useable
Cumbersome installation
Child lock is subpar
Large remote

The 8,000 BTU Midea U-Shaped MAW08V1QWT keeps small-to-medium spaces cool without running up the energy bill. The unit remains energy efficient thanks to its inverter technology. This allows the motor to run at various speeds. Whereas most simply turn on and off, which can consume quite a bit of energy. The U-shaped design places most of the loud mechanical parts on the window's exterior. Inside, the machine's noise is barely noticeable. The Midea also comes with a mobile app, and it is compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. However, if you don't have a smart home, it includes a traditional remote.

The Midea is split between the inside and outside. This allows the window to remain functional, but the initial installation can be a pain. The unit is over 50 pounds and requires a mounting bracket, so we recommend finding a friend to help out with the setup. Although this unit does include a child lock, we found it to be finicky and nearly non-functional. The Midea EasyCool MAW05M1BWT is another model by the same company with an especially energy-efficient build. It's one of the smallest in the lineup, and installation was a breeze.

Read more: Midea U-Shaped MAW08V1QWT review

The Midea U-Shaped MAW08V1QWT connects to your smart home for efficient and effective cooling.
Credit: Brian Walker

Best Value Window AC

LG LW6017R

BTU: 6 ,000 | Remote: Yes | App: No
Uses less energy
Useful remote
Digital display
Tedious installation

At just 6,000 BTU, the LG LW6017R held its own against some of the most powerful 12,000 BTU machines. For spaces up to 260 square feet, it'll have no trouble keeping things cool. Even though the LG doesn't incorporate the energy-saving inverter technology, it still proves to be quite efficient. We ran the machine on the highest cooling settings for our tests, and the energy consumption was still relatively low. Also, the AC has an 'eco' mode that works on a range of fan speeds. This straightforward and convenient unit can be controlled manually or via remote control. A well-lit screen displays the temperature and fan speed. Last but not least, the LG manages to do all of this at a modest price point.

Our main gripe with the LG is the noise it produces. It is one of the loudest window ACs in our lineup. The installation process isn't confusing, but it does entail a few extra steps compared to other contenders we tested. Small side curtains must be screwed in to help insulate the room, which was more tedious than we would've wanted. Fortunately, installation is only necessary once a year. We think the LG is an excellent budget-friendly option, but if you're looking to spend even less, the GE AHEC05AC is worth a look. It'll save you a few extra bucks upfront, but you shouldn't expect the same performance.

Read more: LG LW6017R review

The LG LW6017R includes a removable filter that can be cleaned and replaced.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Window AC on a Tight Budget


BTU: 5,050 | Remote: No | App: No
Simple design
Quick installation
Energy efficient
Lacks temperature indicator

The GE AHEC05AC strikes a balance between cost, performance, and efficiency. The window AC has large, easy-to-use knobs that adjust the cooling temperature and power. This 5,000 BTU unit cooled off our 140-square-foot test room in no time, dropping the temperature by 8.8 degrees in just an hour. Not only that, it does so while keeping the energy bill down. Even on the highest mode, it consumed less energy than the average window unit. The unit is lightweight and straightforward to install. This feature is especially nice if you plan on removing it during the colder months.

The GE lacks many of the bells and whistles that come along with more premium options. The dials are easy to operate but don't indicate the actual temperature setting. Rather, the dial is listed on a scale of 1-10. Additionally, smart options and mobile connectivity aren't included with this model. The overall noise it made wasn't unbearable, but it also wasn't necessarily quiet. If you're in need of silence, the Midea U-Shaped MAW08V1QWT is the best option, as it only produced 48 decibels compared to the GE, which produced 56.1 decibels on our sound meter. The Midea also has a considerable amount of extra features, though it isn't the most affordable.

Read more: GE AHEC05AC review

The GE AHEC05AC has simple-to-use knobs that adjust the temperature on a scale from 1-10.
Credit: Brian Walker

Best Window AC for Large Rooms

Midea U-Shaped MAW12V1QWT

BTU: 12,000 | Remote: Yes | App: Yes
Great features
Window remains functional
Ineffective child lock
Difficult installation

If you need to cool off a larger room, you'll want the Midea U-Shaped MAW12V1QWT on your side. This powerful 12,000 BTU machine can tackle just about any space, lowering the temp in our test room by 12.4 degrees in an hour, all while staying relatively quiet. This noise management is thanks to its U-shaped design, housing most of the loud mechanical parts out the window. This unique design also allows the window to still freely open and close. The Midea offers a wide variety of modes and settings, which can all be accessed by its remote or mobile app. In addition, the AC is controllable through Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Overall, we were impressed with the Midea U-Shaped, but it does have some downsides. Most notably, we found this machine cumbersome to install. At about 56 pounds, this machine isn't ideal to lift alone. Instead, we recommend finding an extra pair of hands to help out. With all its advanced features, we would've loved to see a functional child lock. Though it has one, we could not get it to work consistently. When it comes down to it, if you need to keep a large space cool on those hot days, the Midea is hard to beat. The Frigidaire FHWC124WB1 also does an excellent job rapidly cooling large spaces, as it lowered the temp in our test room by 14 degrees within the same amount of time, though it's not nearly as quiet or efficient.

Read more: Midea U-Shaped MAW12V1QWT review

The Midea U-Shaped MAW12V1QWT connects to a smart app or remote, so you can control it from a distance.
Credit: Brian Walker

Best Garage Window AC

Frigidaire FHWC124WB1

BTU: 12,000 | Remote: Yes | App: No
Quickly cools large spaces
Child lock
Doesn't remember previous settings

The Frigidaire FHWC124WB1 is a powerful 12,000 BTU unit that has no trouble cooling off spaces larger than 300 square feet. In just an hour, the AC managed to cool down our testing room by 14 degrees. The airflow can be adjusted horizontally and vertically to find the perfect angle for airflow. Meanwhile, there are multiple modes and speed settings to choose from. Most options can be controlled through its remote, though timers and the child lock need to be set directly on the machine.

Despite how well it cools large spaces, the Frigidaire isn't the machine you want in your living room or office. The AC is among the loudest we tested, far more than just background white noise. It's also large and bulky. As such, you will want to get help with the installation, and finding an appropriately sized window to fit it may be tricky. Nevertheless, this is a great unit for a home gym or garage. With that in mind, the machine won't remember the previously used settings, so you'll have to set them with each use. If you're looking for a 12,000 BTU unit but need something a little quieter, the Midea U-Shaped MAW12V1QWT will have you covered.

Read more: Frigidaire FHWC124WB1 review

The Frigidaire FHWC124WB1 does a great job cooling the room at the expense of its noise.
Credit: Brian Walker

Best Overall Portable AC

Whynter ARC-1230WN

BTU: 14,000 | Hose Configuration: Dual | App: Yes
Powerful cooling
Inverter technology
Great features
Difficult to move

When it comes to portable air conditioners, the Whynter ARC-1230WN is a stand-out option. The machine is capable of keeping large rooms cool without running up the energy bill. Even on its highest setting, the Whynter was among the quietest, with just a slight background white noise. The AC is equipped with an automatically swinging vent that helps push air evenly throughout the room. In addition, it includes multiple cooling modes, a timer, and a child lock. All of these features can be accessed through its mobile app or traditional remote. The hose itself is built into the machine. When it comes time for storage, the hose clicks out of the window mount and accordions into the machine.

Though we appreciate the built-in hose storage, the Whynter is not the easiest unit to transport. The heavy model isn't ideal for carrying up and down stairs or rolling on carpet. That said, we found it transports smoothly across hard floors. This shouldn't be too much of an issue if you plan on keeping it in one room. And yet, the overall weight can be challenging if you plan on storing the AC over the colder months or sharing it with another room. The window mount is also larger than average, so you'll just want to ensure your window is big enough. If you're shopping for an AC on a budget, the SereneLife SLPAC10 finds the balance between price, portability, and performance.

Read more: Whynter ARC-1230WN review

The Whynter ARC-1230WN has an automatically swinging vent to help push air throughout the entire room.
Credit: Brian Walker

Best Value Portable AC

SereneLife SLPAC10

BTU: 10,000 | Hose Configuration: Single | App: No
Easy to move
Simple setup
Remote control
Minimal features

Of all the units we've tested, the SereneLife SLPAC10 was the easiest to set up. This unit is on the lighter side at 52 pounds and glides effortlessly across hard floors. The installation itself only takes about five minutes, consisting of sliding and locking the window panel into place. When ready to store for the winter, the window kit and hose quickly unassemble. This feature also makes it easy to move from room to room. The SereneLife includes a convenient remote that gives control to the fan speed, temperature setting, vent swing, and adjustable timers.

The 10,000 BTU machine should be adequate for most small-to-medium-sized rooms. However, its cooling power didn't necessarily wow us, lowing the room temp by 6.3 degrees in an hour. The SereneLife is also on the louder side, though it wasn't horrible and can easily be passed off as white noise. This model doesn't have all the bells and whistles you might find on the Whynter ARC-1230WN, but its budget-friendly price point is hard to come by for such a solid option.

Read more: SereneLife SLPAC10 review

The SereneLife SLPAC10's window kit easily clips in and out of place.
Credit: Brian Walker

Best Silent Portable AC


BTU: 14,000 | Hose Configuration: Single | App: Yes
Great features
Very quiet
Easy storage
Poor display placement

If you need to keep your space cool but aren't thrilled about listening to an AC fan, the LG LP1022FVSM is worth your consideration. Our SPL meter measured only 56 decibels on this unit. The nearly silent 14,000 BTU machine is more than adequate for keeping most average-sized rooms cold. It's equipped with three fan speeds and three cooling settings, along with a dry option. Installation of the LG was a breeze, and we appreciate how easy it was to pack it all up at the end of the season. This was also one of the easiest models to move from room to room, thanks to its onboard storage for the hose and window kit. It also includes a useful remote and can be controlled through its accompanying mobile app. Here you'll be able to monitor energy use, air filter status, and run smart diagnostics remotely.

While it has more than enough cooling power for an average-sized room, we expected more from a 14,000 BTU unit. The LG is also about average when it comes to energy use. It won't keep your energy bill to a minimum like the Midea MAP08R1CWT. Further, the display placement is difficult to see from specific angles. All things considered, if silence is your priority and you're not trying to cool a massive room, you can't go wrong with the LP1022FVSM.

Read more: LG LP1022FVSM review

We love the integrated storage on the LG LP1022FVSM. This makes it easy to roll from room to room.
Credit: Brian Walker

How We Tested Air Conditioners

We've searched high and low to find the best air conditioners out there to keep you cool all summer long. Our search started with an in-depth look at the market. We then purchased the most promising models to evaluate back to back and set up trials to determine which could cool off our hot, summer-simulated testing rooms. During this, we measured the air conditioner's energy efficiency and noted any additional features. We also determined how easy it was to install and uninstall each unit, and tested for noise and portability, too. With all this in mind, we were able to find the best products on the market to present to you. For more information, see our articles on how we tested portable AC units and how we tested window AC units.

air conditioner - we measured the energy consumption of each and every model using a...
We measured the energy consumption of each and every model using a watt meter.
Credit: Brian Walker

Why Trust GearLab

Our experts have been testing home appliances for over a decade. Leading our air conditioning testing teams is Austin Palmer. As a Texas native, Austin is no stranger to the hottest summer days and knows the importance of a solid air conditioner. His analytical eye and vast experience of testing appliances bring great knowledge to this review. Ben Hickok, David Wise, and Becca Glades joined Austin in building this AC review. These three have been tinkering with electronics for many years. Rebecca and Ben are both well-versed in software development and working with technical interfaces. David is a mechanical engineer who has worked professionally building robotic systems. Together, this team of testers and reviewers was able to determine the best air conditioners on the market.

During our tests, we noted how easy the installation process was.
During our tests, we noted how easy the installation process was.
Measuring the overall noise the AC made.
Measuring the overall noise the AC made.
Most window ACs included a remote, so we made sure to test those out...
Most window ACs included a remote, so we made sure to test those out too.

How to Pick the Best Air Conditioner

With temperatures hitting record highs every year, the need to stay cool is becoming more and more prevalent. While central AC is common in houses in warmer areas, this hasn't been the standard for colder climates until recently. Where installing central AC isn't practical or economical, the need for a quick fix for those hot summer days is crucial. This is where options like window units and portable ACs come in handy. These units are comparatively inexpensive and easy to self-install.

air conditioner - with plenty of ac options out there, you can rest assured that we...
With plenty of AC options out there, you can rest assured that we did the testing, so you don't have to.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Window Air Conditioners

As the name suggests, window units sit in a window. They are designed to fit in both horizontally and vertically sliding windows. To keep the room insulated, they use a thick material that accordions across the gap. Often, they require some sort of exterior bracket to hold them in place. However, installation isn't too much of a headache and can often be done with one or two people. Depending on where you live, you might choose to keep the window AC installed year-round. For climates with cold winter months, we recommend removing the unit to keep the room better insulated. That said, installing and uninstalling a window unit every year isn't as easy as a portable AC. Additionally, you essentially lose the function of that window while the AC is in place.

We took the time to install and remove each unit individually. Some were easier than others, like the SereneLife.
Credit: Brian Walker

The chart below summarizes the overall performance scores from our window air conditioner review.

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners are freestanding units that can be rolled around from room to room. This makes winter storage quite easy. For these units, a hose is attached to a window bracket. Installation is a breeze, with the most complicated step being the bracket setup. Some use foam to help insulate, while others simply clip into the window pane. As opposed to a window AC, the window remains functional, and you won't have a bulky box sitting on the exterior of your home. While you won't notice them from the outside, they do take up interior floor space. Portable air conditioners vary in weight but typically land around 50-80 pounds. This can make transporting them a bit challenging, especially if stairs are involved. However, they often have wheels, so rolling them on hard surfaces shouldn't be a problem.

Many portable air conditioners tend to have a sleek design.
Credit: Austin Palmer

Our testing team made sure to find the best portable air conditioners through hands-on testing. The chart below represents the overall performance comparison from our evaluation.

Step 1: Window vs. Portable

The simplest and often most affordable options for cooling off a space are window and portable AC units. Neither need professional installation; they cause minimal wall damage and can be removed. While both are good options, there are a few extra factors worth considering before choosing a specific type.

We've tested over 30 air conditioners since 2018 to help you find the best.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Step 2: How Many BTUs?

BTU, which stands for British Thermal Unit, is a measurement that indicates the amount of hot air an AC can remove from a space. While its application goes slightly beyond measuring room cooling power, this is at least what it means regarding ACs. To put it simply, a larger BTU rating is needed for larger rooms. Likewise, smaller rooms can get away with an AC with a lower BTU. Most manufacturers indicate the square footage of a room best suited for the specific air conditioner, though we found this to vary throughout our testing. As a general guideline, 6,000-8,000 BTU machines work best in rooms up to 200 square feet, while 10,000 BTU machines are suited for rooms up to 300 square feet, and anything over a 12,000 BTU unit will be best for 300 square feet and above. Finally, you'll want to consider the room you plan on cooling down. If there are sources of heat, like sunny windows or an oven, you'll want to up the BTU to compensate.

air conditioner - choosing an ac with the right btu rating can help keep your space...
Choosing an AC with the right BTU rating can help keep your space cool and your energy bill down.
Credit: Brian Walker

Step 3: Consider Energy Efficiency

During our tests, we measured each unit's energy consumption with two main concerns in mind: your wallet and the environment. Some of the most efficient models are more expensive upfront, but the cost to run them each month is lower because they use less electricity. With enough time, the lower energy bill will offset the original price of the unit. Plus, these efficient models are kinder to the environment. So, you can comfortably leave the AC on throughout the hottest summer days without too much thought on how it'll impact your wallet or the climate.

air conditioner - measuring the energy consumption of all air conditioners.
Measuring the energy consumption of all air conditioners.
Credit: Brian Walker

Window units tend to be more energy-efficient than portable models. This is because they house the hot compressor outside the building rather than pumping out hot air through a hose. For the most efficient models, look for those with inverter technology. This adjusts the speed of the motor based on the ambient temperature. Non-inverter models cycle through powering the motor on and off, which can be far more energy-consuming.

Window units house the heat-producing mechanical parts on the outside of the house.
Credit: Brian Walker

Step 4: Features

Most appliances are becoming “smart,” and air conditioners are certainly a part of this trend. Many of these portable and window models have accompanying mobile apps. Depending on the machine and its capabilities, you can control your AC, set timers, access child locks, and more. Many also connect to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. If you don't have a smart home or aren't looking to build one, the ACs still have plenty of features available. Most have traditional remotes with the aforementioned setting controls.

air conditioner - most apps include the option to change temperature and fan settings...
Most apps include the option to change temperature and fan settings, though some have more advanced features like diagnostics.
Credit: Brian Walker


Being uncomfortably warm in your own home is a problem that no one wants to have, and not all houses have central AC. Most people aren't looking to start a major renovation to install central AC either, so it's important to have an alternative. This review of the best window and portable air conditioners should do the trick to keep you cool all summer long. With many options out there with seemingly complicated ratings, we understand how overwhelming it can be to select an AC. That's why we did all the testing for you, and we hope this review helps you find the perfect AC for your space.

Austin Palmer, Becca Glades, and David Wise