There are two main temperature adjustments you’ll probably make to your AC unit. In the spring, you’ll lower the air conditioner settings to make it cooler. In the fall, you’ll raise your central heating temp to make your home warmer. These are preparatory maintenance steps for summer heat and winter cold.
When your unit isn’t in use (e.g. the AC during winter or the heater during summer), you should invest in a cover. Your AC can withstand harsh weather conditions including rain, sleet, and snow, but they’re not built keep out things like leaves, nuts, and seeds.
This is why covering your AC during fall is essential. It prevents damage from shedding trees, fallen twigs, dried out shrubs, and wind-swept plant parts.
At a Glance: Our Top Picks for Window AC Covers
- OUR TOP PICK: Sturdy Covers AC Defender
- RUNNER-UP: A/C Safe AC-511
- BEST BUDGET OPTION: Duck Brand Standard Window AC Cover
Comparison of the Best Window Air Conditioner (AC) Covers
Our Top Pick
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Best Budget Option
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How to Choose a Cover For Your Air Conditioner
If you’ve never purchased an AC cover before, here are a few things to look out for.
Measure the height, width, and depth of your AC unit. (Or check your instruction booklet.) Compare these measurements with your intended cover’s dimensions to ensure it fits.
Alternatively, opt for a one-size-fits-all option, or one that can be adjusted via straps or drawstrings.
Indoor and outdoor AC units have different needs when it comes to covers. Outdoor units – for instance – will prioritize water resistance and ease of cleaning, while for indoor units, insulation is more important.
Outdoor unit covers are generally made from harder, more durable materials that can bear the brunt of the elements. These are mainly derivatives of plastic or polyethylene. Indoor covers use of some type of cloth as the main base, ranging from nylon to cotton.
Review of the Best Indoor and Outdoor AC Covers
There are many options for AC unit covers in the market today, but not all of them are quality products and you can’t always tell by looking. It’s even harder if you’re buying online and can’t touch or feel the product to verify its build. This is why we’ve curated a list of our top picks to help you out.
Sturdy Covers AC Defender
Dimensions: 15 x 21 x 16 inches (small)
Weight: 1.06 lbs
Sizes: Small, medium, large
This window air conditioner cover provides excellent defense against bad weather, including rain and snow. There are two straps included that’ll keep it in place when there are strong winds, while it also prevents any wind from entering your home.
While it does have a sturdy fit for an AC with the right dimensions, you may need to trim the bottom slightly. Also, ensure that the cover doesn’t create a trough at the top that collects debris.
The material consists of a strong, durable 600D polyester that will last you several seasons. If anything should go wrong in the first three years, the manufacturer does cover it with a warranty depending on the situation.
You’ll find three sizes available for your window AC. No matter which one you select, it’ll deliver a robust performance even in the worst seasons, ensuring that the device remains protected.
While you might need to make some adjustments, you’ll love that it seals any gaps to stop the wind from blowing into your house. Overall, you shouldn’t have any issues installing it on your air conditioner with the buckle straps.
A/C Safe AC-511
Made in the United States, this is an AC cover that suits the 12-14”×18-21”×14” range, which is typically between 5,000 and 8,000 BTUs. Its stand-out feature is build quality, made from automotive-grade vinyl exteriors with a pure fleece lining on the inside. The fleece provides added padding during the cold season and eliminates cold drafts, lowering your heating costs.
The fabric is well-stitched, with quality workmanship all around. Seams are fully welted, giving a custom-made appearance without compromising on neatness. This is also backed by a ten-year limited warranty.
The straps could use a little more work; strong winds do tend to blow them open, and people in windy places (such as Colorado and Chicago for instance) will need to tighten them at least once a day.
It’s washable, so getting rid of any dirt, dust, and animal droppings is easy. Being well-stitched, it folds easily to allow for tight-quarters storage when not in use. Apart from being water-resistant, this cover also protects against sunlight, mold, mildew, and extreme temperature. It’s one of the few products on the market where the manufacturer guarantees resistance to sub-zero weather, offering ‘cover’ from ice and frost.
That said, be careful when putting away your AC. Why? For people that remove their AC unit and lock it away until summer, the cover only protects the area that sticks out when the AC is installed. It only fits the extruding bits of your AC, because it doesn’t have a bottom layer of fabric, so dirt and moisture can slip in from below.
There are many good talking points about the A/C Safe AC-511 Air Conditioner Exterior Cover. The combination of the waterproof vinyl and fleece padding seem to work well. However, you shouldn’t use this product while the AC is on.
Best for the Money:
Duck Brand Standard Window AC Cover
The Duck Brand is well known for its affordable, high-quality products and this AC cover is no exception. It’s made from heavy-duty reusable plastic, ensuring continued service for a long time. It protects your AC from dirt, ice, leaves, and various other debris, like hair and fur. The material is easy to clean and doesn’t take up any space in storage.
The Duck Brand Standard Window Air Conditioner Cover comes with straps and fasteners attached. The straps securely wrap around the AC cover, pulling from different directions. And its installation process is a fun DIY endeavor for a lazy weekend. Simply remove the worn out plastic sides from the unit using common household tools. In most cases, you’ll only need screwdrivers to take the AC plastic covers apart.
You then cut the hard side panels, which you’ll attach to your AC. Use sheet metal scissors for best results. The cover’s side panels are made to fit your AC’s foam panels, and should, therefore, be cut exactly to the height of the unit.
Don’t make any alterations to the width of the panels during the sizing process. The product’s peel-back adhesive sticks strongly to the foam. This is designed to be compatible with other Duck Brand weatherization merchandise, such as AC replacement filters and insulating seals.
Some people may not appreciate the do-it-yourself aspect of this cover, but the functionality for its price point make it the best value for money.
Best Indoor Cover:
Endcraft Indoor AC Cover
When you open this box, you find a sheet of foam, a beige cover, and white tape. The installation process is pretty easy and requires no specialized equipment.
Take the foam sheet and place it over your AC unit. Then, hold it down and secure it using the white tape. This will insulate your unit from cold during winter and prevent a cold draft. You then place the cover over the unit and your work is done.
It is held in place by a strong elastic band that keeps dust, seeds, nuts, and leaves, as well as hair, fur, and moisture from attacking the AC. This is washable and both the foam and the cover are durable and reusable. The entire ensemble is quite pleasant to look at once installed.
That said, there have been a couple of concerns about the installation process. The white tape sometimes leaves a residue when it’s time to remove it. This residue is hard to get rid of, so you may want to look for substitute tape. The second concern is the foam sheet and the cover don’t come in matching dimensions.
This cover has minimal moving parts and its combination of simplicity and functionality make it the best indoor option.
5. Jeacent Innovations ACC41CSA-1
Dimensions: 15 x 21 x 16 inches (small)
Weight: 0.30 lbs
Sizes: Small, medium, large
The Jeacent cover is suitable for BTUs ranging from 3,000 to 7,000 BTU window air conditioners. It fits neatly onto the front and blocks any wind entering your home through the device’s vents or louvers.
If you prefer covering the air conditioner from the outside, the depth isn’t long enough to protect it. Since you’ll have it installed on the inside, there’s a greater chance of it falling off if someone knocks into it.
The material is stitched with a quilting machine, with the poly-cotton cover stitched with polyester. It provides double insulation on both sides, while the elastic straps make it easy to slip onto the air conditioner.
You can buy this window AC cover in three different sizes, making it easy to adjust for your device’s dimensions. There’s also an elastic strap to help you get everything into place.
While it only covers the inside, it does an excellent job of keeping the wind out of your home. You may need to buy a different product to protect the outside, though.
Best Outdoor Option:
BNYD Outdoor Air Conditioner Cover
One of the most important qualities of a good AC cover is how it fits. BNYD has solved this problem by including an elastic strap which allows you to securely slip it onto your unit. The strap keeps the product from being ripped off by strong winds and its elastic band allows it to fit over different AC sizes, ranging from 10,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units) to 15,000 BTUs (medium to large air conditioners).
This measures 18×27×16 inches. The band also makes it easy to remove it when needed. The BNYD Outdoor Air Conditioner Cover comes in colors that easily blend into the surroundings. It doesn’t distort the color scheme of your home, whether outside or indoors. BNYD’s cover is made from durable, reinforced polyethylene, a lightweight material that’s easy to clean.
This product protects your AC from seeds, nuts, bugs, leaves, hair, fur, and cold air. It also prevents heat loss during the winter. This saves you money on heating bills, by reducing energy requirements for the unit. The cover is waterproof and crack-resistant, offering additional protection from rain, sleet, and snow. To store the cover, just fold it over. It occupies minimal space in this way.
If you’re looking for a window AC cover that does the job with minimal fuss, this is it. The elastic band is a big selling point, as it allows you to give it a snug, custom fit.
Runner-up Indoor Option:
Twin Draft Guard Air Conditioner Cover
This indoor AC cover is made from a soft, yet durable, polyester-cotton blend. It’s easy to clean, reusable, and washing machine safe. It doesn't need any tools to install – simply yank the fabric over the AC unit and pull on the drawstring.
Drawstrings do sometimes result in a poor fit, especially over smaller units, since some of the fabric stays unused. The unit comes with clasps, but they’re still not helpful for smaller AC units.
The cover comes in beige, which blends nicely with its surroundings. It’s a color choice doesn’t show dirt as plainly as brighter shades (such as white). This, however, limits people who like a splash of color in their homes. For them, a flamboyant AC cover would work better.
There have been some complaints about the product staying on during strong gales. Sometimes, even with the drawstring pulled tight, the cover slips off.
During these strong winds, chilly air passes through the fabric and introduces unwelcome drafts into your home. Some customers have tried adding a strip of rubber around the inner edge of the cover, to help with the fitting problem. A bit more elasticity in the drawstring would also be good, especially when fitting onto smaller units
This is a product designed purely for simplicity. It works fine for the most part, although there are some kinks that need ironing out. For example, it’s pushed as an anti-draft cover, but it can’t effectively withstand strong winds.
Are All Air Conditioner Covers The Same?
The simple answer is, no. AC covers come in different sizes and are made from different materials. They’re also made to suit different needs. Versions made for indoor AC units can’t be used outside and won’t have the same qualities. Outdoor models, for instance, should be waterproof, which isn’t necessarily a requirement indoors.
Outdoor AC covers are weather-resistant. They’re made from hard durable plastic or reinforced polyethylene. Indoor unit covers – on the other hand – can be made from different fabrics, such as cotton. Styles will be different depending on the manufacturer as well. Some manufactures will emphasize design over functionality, while others will go for a more reasonable balance.
Are Covers Essential For AC Units?
Yes, they are. They help protect your unit from heavy debris such as leaves, small branches, ice, sticks, nuts, and seeds. Most standard AC units offer some protection against the elements, but during winter and fall, windy conditions push these bits of dirt at higher speeds and with greater force. Meaning, they could still cause harm.
AC covers, especially during winter, help protect your inner AC components from excess moisture. If water gets into the unit, it could damage your coils by rusting or freezing them, which could render the unit unusable. These also protect against the growth of harmful mildew and mold inside your air conditioning unit.
These products lower your power bill by protecting your home from a draft and reducing your heating expenses. That said, AC covers are pointless if they’re not properly installed. Follow instructions carefully or watch a video tutorial. Alternatively, have your supplier send a technician to install the cover. This prevents you from voiding any warranties.
When Should You Cover Your Window AC Unit?
Many people believe that you should use window AC covers in the Fall, but that’s not the only time you should consider doing so. There are plenty of other hazards, some of which your air conditioner might have protection against. Let’s have a look at when you should cover your device.
Most air conditioners have insulation against heavy rain and snow. The problem is that excess water, ice, or hail can cause long-term damage to the metal casing. It’s best to rather cover up the rear of the device anyway, even if merely to prolong its life and shield any vents.
Leaves, debris, and animal droppings love to collect on air conditioners that aren’t being used regularly. When seeds and other materials enter your device, it causes moisture to collect. It’ll eventually lead to corrosion, which will affect the AC’s performance.
Closing the Gaps
Sometimes, the air conditioner doesn’t seal gaps along the window frame properly. In other cases, the louvers or vents provide a way for strong, cold winds to enter your home. AC covers do an excellent job of sealing these gaps and keep the house insulated.
Window Air Conditioner Cover vs Taking Out
Some experts advise removing a window air conditioner completely, while others indicate that covering it is enough. Which is the better option and why? We’ll quickly compare the two for you to make an informed decision.
Natural Light and Heat
When the cold Fall and Winter months approach, you’ll want as much natural light and heat as possible to help reduce electrical costs during the day. If you have plenty of windows, it shouldn’t be a problem. However, the air conditioner could block out most of the sunlight if you only have a few.
Uninstall and Reinstall
The one aspect that counts in a window AC cover’s favor is the hassle of uninstalling and reinstalling the device. Sure, you’ll only have to do it a few times, but it may require some professional assistance. If the device has adequate protection, you can save yourself the trouble.
If you have a small home or apartment, finding a place to store the bulky air conditioner can be a problem. You don’t want to resort to stashing it in a corner with a sheet and pretend it’s a coffee table. Buy a strong AC cover, and you can keep it stored in the window frame.
Here’s another element that counts against leaving the air conditioner in the window. If there are gaps between the frame and device, or open vents in the AC, any heat from inside your house will escape quickly. Of course, purchasing the right cover can seal these openings and prevent this from happening.
Price Points of Window AC Cover
We’ve shared our reviews of the best window AC covers, which revealed that there are different price ranges. While you can expect to pay more for popular name brands and quality, you’ll generally find the same costs for various features. Let’s take a look to see how they compare:
$5 - $15
The most basic AC covers enter in this bracket, which protects the inside, front part of the device. Primary characteristics are affordable material, short width, and low practicality. There might be a strap or two to hold it in place.
$15 - $30
These covers are more durable, while you can apply them to the rear of the air conditioner. You’ll find it sturdier and can withstand most outdoor elements. Features are limited, but they’ll do the job.
The top brands and functionality are available in this range. You’ll find robust locking mechanisms, superior material, and longer lifespans. There may even be flaps to act as vents when you need them and braces to seal any gaps in the window frame.
It’s evident that AC covers are important and they help prolong the life of your AC unit. They keep out leaves, nuts, and seeds, and add a layer of protection against moisture and cold. Your choice of cover will depend on the type of unit you have, your insulation needs, and your budget.
Make sure that the product you select is reusable and resistant to moisture, especially if it’s being used as an outside cover. With all those conditions in mind, we recommend BNYD’s cover as your safest bet.
People Also Ask
Below are a few more window AC cover remote-related questions that you might be asking.
Can You Run a Window AC With a Cover On?
This action is an incredibly bad idea. Air conditioners perform effectively by exchanging condensation with heat, emitting the latter through vents. You need optimal internal airflow, which a cover compromises. You run the risk of overheating the device.
Should a Window AC Cover Be Waterproof?
Manufacturers generally make window air conditioners waterproof to withstand any Summer rain. However, winter rain may remain stagnant on the metal and cause rust or corrosion to appear. It can also seep in through any small holes. It’s better to have a waterproof cover so that the material doesn’t form mold.
Can I Leave My AC in the Window Year-Round?
If you have the right protection in place, then you can. AC covers not only protect the device from adverse weather, but it also blocks leaves, debris, and droppings from affecting it. The right cover can prevent heat from escaping the interior and the cold wind from entering.