At extremes, sound can be dangerous. At lesser levels, it can just be an annoyance. Sadly, that’s often the case with air conditioners. In order to have our homes at a comfortable temperature, we put up with a bothersome level of noise from our units.
A noisy air conditioner may not be a near-death experience, but it can be super annoying to be around one. That’s especially true if that noisy AC unit is installed in conference room, bedroom or any such environment that demands quietness.
With 6.5 million AC units being sold every year, there are definitely some quiet ones available. In this article, we’ll help you understand why you should avoid a noisy air conditioner and discuss the technical aspects that make it noisy. Then we’ll present some of the best AC models that are recognized for running quietly.
At a Glance: Our Top Picks for Quiet Window Air Conditioners
- OUR TOP PICK: Friedrich Chill Premier CCF05A10A
- RUNNER-UP: Emerson EARC6RE1
- BEST BUDGET OPTION: MIDEA MAW06R1BWT
Comparison of the Best Quiet Window Air Conditioners
Our Top Pick
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Best Budget Option
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Features of a Good Quiet AC
There are plenty of features that make your product less noisy. The following features are all things that you should be looking out for when looking for your next air conditioner. It’s important that you pay close attention to these features as these will directly affect the noise level of your AC.
Insulation is more commonly found in window air conditioners as they have more room to install decent insulation. This insulation acts as a soundproofing material between you and the internal components. You can find insulation in all kinds of air conditioners.
Dual Hose System
You have two different types of hose systems; a single and dual system. The main difference being, most portable air conditioners use the single hose system which extracts cold air from outside and also releases any hot air through the same hose into the outside.
The dual hose system has a separate hose for each process. The single hose system uses up more power and tends to struggle with higher levels, therefore makes more noise.
The dual hose system doesn’t have this problem.
Full Window Mounting Kit
Similar to what we mentioned earlier, ensuring that your product has been installed properly and you use a window that is stable will help significantly in noise reduction. If your product comes as part of a kit with a full window bracket and window sealant, you’ll have plenty of options to secure and proof your product.
Reviews of the Best Quiet Air Conditioners
We’ve looked at many of the factors that cause noise in air conditioners - and compiled a list with reviews of the top 5 quiet ones. Of course we only want quality cooling units, but we look at those in terms of how quiet they can be.
Decibel levels between 37 and 80 would be a good buy in terms of reduced noise.
Friedrich Chill Premier CCF05A10A
Dimensions: 18.625 x 15.875 x 13.83 inches
Cooling Capacity: 5,000 BTU
Weight: 44 lbs
Volts: 120 V
Floor Area: 150 sq. ft.
This quiet window air conditioner has a cooling capacity of 5,000 BTU that’s ideal for small spaces up to 150 sq. ft. You can also enjoy ventilation by switching on the fan mode, with two louver sets providing 8-way directional airflow.
The device works via Wi-Fi with an app on your phone, which syncs perfectly. However, the remote control takes a while to update the details. You’ll also have to work your way around the back of the air conditioners to get to the thermostat.
If you’re worried about dust and allergens, you’ll be happy to know that it has a washable filter to clear the air for you. The compressor also has an automatic function that drops to a lower setting when needed to save you electricity.
While this air conditioner may be inadequate for large rooms, it packs a punch for small spaces with a purification included. You’ll enjoy operating it with your phone as needed, while you can also assess its performance while you’re in another area of the house.
What Recent Buyers Report
Recent buyers had a great time using this Emerson air conditioner. They liked its energy efficiency and area coverage the most. The energy efficiency of 12.2 SEER helped them save a lot on their electricity bills. The buyers liked its energy consumption rate of 6,000 BTU as well.
Why it Stands Out to Us
This air conditioner stands out to us with its 3-speed settings. It lets the users set the fan and cooling speed according to their needs. Its side panels to seal the windows are also great as they prevent extra dust from entering the air conditioner.
Who Will Use This Most
This air conditioner is most useful for people who have a small to medium-sized room. As it can cool an area of up to 150 to 250 square feet, it is great for medium-sized rooms. You can pair it with another similar model if you have a larger room.
The bottom line on this is that it is one of our favorite air conditioners in the market at present. It has the right price and all the right features that modern users look up to. So, investing in this air conditioner will help you maintain a more comfortable environment inside your room.
Best for the Money:
LG Energy Star Window Air Conditioner
This 6000 BTU-rated air conditioner will cool sufficient air for a room up to 260 sq. ft. The multiple features included are three cooling and fan speeds that you can control from the included remote control. Both the speed control and the remote just spell convenience for the user.
This AC also comes as part of a full kit which makes it faster to set up. There are multiple modes and added features including the energy saving mode which has an EER of 11.5, as well as a dehumidifier that can extract around 1.8 pints per hour.
A plethora of benefits come with this product, like the multiple cooling and fan speeds which allow you to fully customize how long it takes to cool your room. Other features like the dehumidifier are great additions that help limit any hard air from becoming stagnant in your home. The energy efficiency is another must-have feature that will save you plenty of money and energy over time while in use.
All of this comes as part of a kit that makes it easier to install. All of these features can be controlled using the remote that’s provided. The only downside to using this product is that, overall, it weighs over 80 pounds which is a lot of weight for your window to hold. You’ll need to ensure that there aren’t any cracks or weak points on your window, as the weight could take advantage of the weak points and cause further damage to your window.
4. MIDEA MAW06R1BWT
What Recent Buyers Report
The people who bought this MIDEA air conditioner lately have given very positive feedback about it. They loved it for being so compact and easy to install. The buyers also appreciated this air conditioner because of the remote control settings of temperature and air modes.
Why it Stands Out to Us
It catches our eye with the range of features that it offers. The warning to clean the filter pops up when it is full of dust. This lets you maintain cleaner air and an optimally functioning air conditioner. The timer mode helps in saving electricity and excessive usage when you have to leave or sleep.
Who Will Use This Most
This is going to suit your needs the best if you have very humid air at home. It works as both an air conditioner and a dehumidifier. So, it takes out excess moisture from the air and leaves it fresh and clean to breathe.
All in all, this is a nice air conditioning unit which comes with easy installation and even easier use. The LED display lets you track all the settings that you changed with your remote control. The warranty of 1 year makes this air conditioner even more likable to the clients and us.
5. Frigidaire Cool Connect
Frigidaire, a well-known AC manufacturer, provides one of its most aesthetic AC with 10,000 BTUs. It has a 2017 Energy Star rating and a 12.0 Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER), which is a decent level.
This unit is tech-savvy! It’s Wi-Fi ready with a Frigidaire smart app for mobile operation. You can use your smart device to turn the unit on or off, change the temperature, control modes and adjust fan speeds.
The clean air ionizer removes pollen and impurities from the air to provide relief for allergy sufferers
6. LG LW1216ER
This LG unit is a 12,000 BTU window-mounted air conditioner. It has three cooling & fan speeds with auto cool and 4-way air direction.
It also allows auto restart after a power failure. It’s easy to slide out the washable filter and not have to worry about replacing it. The unit has an energy saver function, 24-hour on/off timer and remote control. The EER rating is 12.1.
7. Frigidaire FFRA0511R1
This air conditioner’s rating is 5000 BTUs and can cover an area of around 150 sq. ft. This area is evenly covered and cooled at the same time with thanks to the two-way air directional controls and multiple cooling and fan speeds which can all be customized via the control panel. The most convenient part about this product is that the kit comes with all needed parts to successfully set up the device.
Along with the cooling and fan speeds, there are plenty of other helpful additions like the dehumidifier that will extract around 1.1 pints of moisture from the air per hour. Another extra would be the EER of 11.1 which helps save on energy costs and maximizes the potential of your product.
All of the common features that you see on your average air conditioner are built into this AC and they all work like they should. Such as, the dehumidifier that extracts 1.1 pints per hour and the EER of 11.1, which are all very common features. However, what isn’t common is what this AC does best and that’s the smart restart for when power accidently shuts off because of a storm or power outage.
The device also has a two-way air flow directional control that helps disperse the cool air evenly around the room. The only downside is that there isn’t a continuous hose for the dehumidifier. It also takes longer to cool the room than other air conditioners as most other ACs have a four-way air flow system.
8. Friedrich Chill CP06G10B 6000 BTU
A 6000 BTU, Energy Star-qualified AC unit, this model from Friedrich can be used for windows or as a through-the-wall unit for walls up to 7.5” thick.
It has a three-speed fan that works for cooling or fan-only modes and auto air sweep swing louvers. For control, it has a 24-hour timer and digital readout on both the unit and the remote control. Its “Auto-Restart” will resume the last settings if power was lost. It can also be set to operate the fan only when cooling.
EntryGard Anti-Intrusion secures the chassis to the sleeve to prevent kick-in intrusion.
9. Haier Serenity Series
This Haier Serenity model is a 6050 BTU wall-mounted air conditioner with an EER of 11.2. It has 4 modes that include cool, fan, energy saver, and dehumidify. Other features of this model include a cross-flow fan for stronger, smoother airflow and dual motor design for greater air control. The remote control has an LED readout.
What Determines a “Quiet” AC?
Firstly, you’ll need to understand how quiet is measured. When you’re describing the level of noise coming from a machine or device, you’d use the unit, decibels. Explaining and understanding the increase of this sound unit is far different from that of the actual size of something.
The unit works on a logarithmic scale which works differently from that of a linear scale.
If you want to put it into perspective, the noise that comes from rustling leaves is around 20 decibels (dBA). You’d notice a huge difference if this level were to increase by just ten, which is the same noise that comes from a quiet rural area. The recommended dBA level for an air conditioner would be anything under 50 dBA.
Things to Consider When Looking For a Quiet AC
There are a few aspects to consider when looking for a quiet air conditioner. While there are a plethora of devices out there that offer a quiet experience, this couldn’t be further from the truth for other devices. The following things are points you should be considering during this process.
Find the Correct BTUs
When you’re shopping for an air conditioner, you’ll soon realize the term BTU being used frequently. This term stands for British Thermal Unit, it measures the rate at which a pound of water can be heated up by one degree.
The higher the BTU rating, the larger the area this device can cool. However, if you get an AC at 5000 BTUs and expect it to cover an area double than what it’s made for, you’ll soon be deafened by the noise.
If you have a room that’s more than what the AC can handle, it’ll take a lot longer to cool and will even shorten the life of the device by overworking it. The same goes for too powerful of an AC for a small room as it would mean your AC will just be constantly shut itself down and restart continuously until breaking the system.
Using a Suitable Window
When choosing your next air conditioner, if you decide to go for a window AC, you’ll need to measure the dimensions of your window so that your AC can fit. However, you’ll need to make sure that the window is fully operational and if repairs are needed, do so before purchasing an AC unit. The reason why it has to be perfect is because if there are any weaknesses, the instability will cause your AC to rattle.
Type of AC
The type of air conditioner you choose will be a huge factor in how loud your AC will be. There are three types of ACs.
The first type is the portable kind. These can be the quietest, while window kits are some of the loudest on the market as they house both the compressor and the motor in the same unit. The third type is the wall AC. They’re not the most popular due to the long installation process and because they’re fairly loud. The best and most widely used ACs are either the window or portable kits.
How to Choose the Correct Size AC Unit
You could be talking about a few things when you mention size. If you want to know if your AC will fit into your window, you can easily just measure the size of your window frames and read the dimensions of the air conditioner. The other thing you could be talking about is the BTU size. You should always make sure you have the correct size for the room that you’re wanting to cool.
Most 5,000 - 6,000 BTU ACs will cover between 100-300 sq ft. Larger 8,000- 10,000 BTU ACs can cover between 350-450 sq ft.
Problems AC Noise Can Cause
Some people will say that the fans running in air conditioners create “white noise” that helps you fall and stay asleep. But when that noise surpasses a certain threshold, you can end up with a sleepless night.
At the office, air conditioners always helped control the temperature. But with the proliferation of computers, they’ve become even more important for controlling the temperature and keeping workers and machines at peak efficiency. But installing noisy air conditioners in conference and private meeting rooms defeats the objectives of seclusion, tranquility and professionalism. The noise will not allow you to hear conversations, defeating the whole purpose of the room.
These might seem like basic problems, but when it’s stacked on top of other noises, it can be unbearable. The last thing you need at home is competition with your music or TV - or a quality family conversation. It’s a similar situation in the workplace. The competition to hear and be heard can lead to unbearable decibel levels.
So while you need to check the unit’s BTUs to be sure it’ll keep your space cool, you’ll also want to check how many decibels it emits to make sure it’ll preserve peace in your house.
What Makes Window Air Conditioners So Noisy?
An air conditioner can get noisy if it’s a poorly-made product, but also due to a temporary or permanent malfunction of one of its parts. Each noise that your AC makes signifies a different type of problem. These noises could either occur due to a faulty piece or wear and tear.
Banging occurs due to two reasons - when there is something wrong with the compressor or due to an unbalanced indoor blower. When the connecting rod, piston pin or crankshaft is loose or broken inside the compressor, then you hear the banging sound. It may also indicate that your compressor needs to be replaced.
Clanking indicates something is out of balance. It could be due to a failed compressor that needs to be replaced or when the indoor blower or outdoor fan or its blades are out of balance.
Clicking is what you hear when there is a defective control, a failing thermostat or any other electrical unit malfunction.
Buzzing is a sound that occurs due to many different reasons and the cause is hard to detect. These reasons include loose parts, debris inside or outside the unit, or the outdoor fan is about to fail. Other reasons could include copper lines that are rubbing against each other, a condenser coil that needs to be cleaned, an air filter needs changing, the blower is going out of balance or there is a refrigerant leak.
Squealing, rattling or a squeaking sound is too common in a few models when they are switched on. You need to figure out whether the AC unit produces the noise by itself or if it is due to a malfunction in the outdoor fan motors or indoor blower motor.
Humming may not seem serious but can be symptomatic of bigger issues that may come up in the future. Loose parts or vibrating refrigerant pipes may be the cause. It might often come from a compressor that tries to come on but just can’t turn over.
A loud, offensive “screaming” noise is something no one can stand. The reasons an air conditioner screaming like this could be a refrigerant leak or internal pressure within the compressor.
Keep reading below for individual reviews on each of the models mentioned above plus more models.
Top AC Brands With Quiet Units
The market is saturated with manufacturers promising the best in heating and cooling for your home or office. While it may be challenging to find decent brands, a few of them stand out above the rest. Here are a few that we recommend you look at for their reputation and excellent products.
Considered one of the top HVAC leaders in the industry, Honeywell’s history goes as far back as 1885. It’s become a household name in countries worldwide, specializing in every air conditioner type available. The brand uses research and innovation to expand its offering, winning contracts with some of the most prominent commercial names.
This brand has been around since 1883, producing quality air conditioners for rooms in homes and offices. What sets it apart from other HVAC companies is how much it invests in intelligent technology instead of being another standard AC manufacturer. It thrives on the innovation it brings to the industry and how much it influences the competition.
Black & Decker
This company has a hand in several sectors in the building industry, such as power tools, hardware, and electrical appliances. Like Honeywell, it produces various air conditioner types for residential and commercial properties. Its range spans from small to large ACs, purifiers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and more.
Today’s technology offers highly-efficient air conditioners that come with sound dampening technology and two-stage variable speed compressors to keep the decibel level below 55. Noise can’t be avoided when your AC unit malfunctions, but at least you can avoid purchasing one that does not provide a quiet atmosphere.
People Also Ask
These air conditioners have definitely impressed a lot of people. So, naturally, they become more curious about different aspects of these air conditioners. Keeping their curiosity in mind, we have answered the most frequently asked questions here.
How Do I Make My Window Air Conditioner Less Noisy?
If you find that your window air conditioner is making too much noise, you may want to assess the internal parts to see if anything is loose. It may also be rattling against the frame; tighten all connections, or you can buy vibration absorbers or weatherseal to soften the sound.
Are Window Air Conditioners Quiet Enough to Run While You Sleep?
Even the quietest window air conditioner makes some noise from the movement of the internal components. One of the lowest noise levels produced by window ACs is 25 decibels. You might notice the slight hum when you go to bed, but it shouldn’t be enough to keep you awake.
Are Quiet ACs More Energy Efficient?
The noise level isn’t a direct indication of power consumption. Some silent models are so powerful, they need a chunk of electricity to perform.
However, if your AC is making sound due to faulty parts, the chances are that it’s using more power. Furthermore, the latest compressor technology makes these devices quieter and energy-efficient these days.
How Many Decibels is a Quiet Air Conditioner?
A quiet air conditioner creates about 25 decibels of sound. It is really quiet and merges well with the background noise. On exceeding this level of decibels, the amount of noise generation increases as well. So, you should go for an air conditioner with noise below 30 decibels to avoid any disruption.
Why Does My Window AC Make So Much Noise?
Window ACs are quite loud because of their heat index of 105. They also have stronger vibrations when they are operating, which sometimes makes the screws loosen up. These screws add up to the noise level, and the working of window ACs gets disturbing as a result.
Are Portable Air Conditioners Quieter Than Window Units?
No, portable air conditioners are not quieter than Window units. In fact, they create 70 decibels of noise on average. Meanwhile, the maximum noise level for most window air conditioners is 50 decibels only.