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Mini air conditioners are an energy-efficient and inexpensive alternative for cooling a room or two when the weather heats up. The only challenge is finding that right unit. There are a variety of options and you need to be able to spot the subtle differences between them and pick the best model.
Below, we provide a complete guide and all you need to know in regard to purchasing the smallest air conditioner. We’ve also included our top recommendations.
Once you are done going through the article, you will be in a good position to pick the best air conditioner for your needs. A unit that works great, is reliable, and energy efficient. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Comparison Chart of the Smallest Window Air Conditioners
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hOmeLabs 5000 BTU Window Mounted Air Conditioner
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LG LW6017R 6,000 BTU
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Frigidaire FFRA0511U1 115V Window-Mounted Mini-Compact
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Aspects to Consider Before Buying a Small Air Conditioner
The best product should be efficient and offer the right level of comfort. Here are some key things you should keep an eye on when you evaluate different options.
Room Size and Cooling Performance
Small air conditioners come in various sizes and with different cooling powers. However, your choice will depend on your room size. You need a unit with around 6,000BTU for a 100 to 200 square-foot room.
However, for every 100 additional square-feet, you have to add 1000BTU. So, for a 350-square foot room, you will need a unit with 8,000BTU to properly cool and dehumidify the space.
For user-friendly maintenance, consider units that have washable filters with a filter alert, like a light indicator that will let you know when it’s time to change or clean the filter.
Note the Noise
Units that make noise, even if it’s at a fair level, could cause some disturbance, especially for light sleepers and can also be distracting to everyone when used on high speed.
Therefore, a good unit is one that’s quiet. The only sound you should be able to hear is the fan running. It should be even quieter if you are planning to use it while you sleep.
Ease of Use
You want to go for a small air conditioner that has user-friendly controls. Whether it’s digital controls or the old-fashioned analog knobs, it should be easy to operate the machine.
Setting up a mini air conditioner shouldn’t take much time. It should not be strenuous, cause a headache, or feel like a serious workout. Therefore, look for something that’s lightweight and won’t give you any trouble when installing it.
Pros and Cons of Small Window Air Conditioners
Small air conditioners have a great edge over larger air conditioners, mainly because they tend to cost less and are extremely suitable for smaller spaces. Hence, people who do not live in large apartments prefer spending on smaller air conditioners rather than on big ones. But to ensure fairness, we will be discussing some of the top pros as well as cons of window air conditioners.
On investing in a small air conditioner, you get to enjoy the following:
The biggest advantage of investing in a quality window air conditioner is the lowered cost. Unlike other models, this isn’t expensive as it doesn’t come with a huge battery. It only needs to cool smaller spaces; hence it does not require very large batteries. Moreover, once bought, these tend to lower the electricity bills of your house, too, thus adding to their appeal.
Since these air conditioners need to cool smaller spaces, they often tend to provide very consistent airflow. This ensures that the room is evenly cooled and everyone, regardless of what corner they are sitting in, enjoy the same level of air.
These smaller air conditioners aren’t only cost-effective, but they also tend to be extremely convenient. They don’t require much time to install these. They can also be installed in a range of places, thus reducing the limitations of users. Moreover, they don’t require the help of a professional or any unnecessary tools for installation.
On the other hand, you will come across these limitations:
The models are smaller; hence they also come with limited efficiency. The proof of this is the relatively lower rating of BTU that is associated with these models. These not only take longer to cool rooms but also do that less efficiently.
Limitations of Windows
These models cannot be installed inside a range of windows that include fixed windows, gliders, or casement windows. Moreover, once installed, these make windows restricted as you won’t be able to use them for ventilation.
Review of the Best Small Window Air Conditioners
Now that we've covered some of the notable aspects related to buying, let's see which models made our list.
What Recent Buyers Report
It’s hard pleasing recent buyers and convincing them of the quality of the product, but this air conditioner has done it with ease.
With its inclusion of a fantastic digital display and its large remote control, it is already providing users with the comfort they deserve. Not only this, but buyers also love the model for its consistent airflow that ensures that every person, regardless of the corner they are sitting in, gets to enjoy the same level of coolness.
Why it Stands Out to Us
Among the plethora of reasons, to us, this model stands out primarily because of its 24-hour timer setting. This helps make your life easier as you don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to stop the air conditioner. This 24-hour timer is automatically synced with your phone and hence allows you to change settings whenever you want.
Who Will Use This Most
Any person living in a small compartment or bedroom is bound to love this product. It comes with 3 different settings, which give you more control over fan speeds. It also comes with remote control, which makes operations easier, especially from afar.
It is also compact in size, which allows for easy installation. So any person looking for convenience and consistency in a single model will find this product very helpful.
With 3 functions in 1 model, this model is winning hearts and big-time too. It allows for dehumidification, cooling, and fan-only settings in a single unit. It is also extremely fast and efficient that makes cooling easier for smaller rooms.
It is also suitable for smaller spaces like bedrooms, offices, and RVs. It’s extremely compact as well, which makes installation super easy. All these features make this model one of the best ones in the market.
The Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 is a solid, simple air conditioner. It strikes a good balance between price and quality of performance. It gets solid marks for its size, effectiveness, ease of use, and noise level.
One thing to like about this unit is its simplicity. The controls are straightforward. You have one knob that can adjust the motor speed of either the air conditioner or the fan, and another that sets the temperature, that’s it.
It’s compact and works very well in a smaller space or room, preferably 150 square-feet or less. The 5,000BTU cooling power will quickly cool the room and keep it nice and cold, even at low setting.
The unit also does well in terms of getting rid of odors. An antibacterial filter is included in the system which cleans the air and helps remove harmful bacteria. The filter is washable, so you can easily clean it.
As for the noise performance, you will certainly appreciate the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1. Noise level at all speeds is very low. It operates quite quietly. On the flip side, the power cord is short. You will need an extension cord, should you choose to install it near the window. Other than that, everything else is great.
The Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 is an awesome little machine. Very basic in terms of operation and controls, but equally effective when it comes to performance. It will fit well in any small room and keep it cool and comfortable without much fuss.
With regards to installation, it’s fairly easy to install and one person can set it up without any problems. To sum it all, it doesn’t look sleek nor sexy, but it’s an AC that will get the job done and very well.
While it may not have a very sophisticated design, this hOmeLabs air conditioner is one of the most effective affordable ways of keeping a small room cool when the temperatures are high.
For such a compact unit, this hOmeLabs air conditioner has impressive cooling strength. It provides 5000BTUs of cooling power, which is sufficient for cooling small living spaces like an average-sized bedroom. It will work best in spaces that are 150 square-feet or less.
It features seven temperature settings, coupled up with two fan speed settings, high or low. Therefore, you will be able to adjust both the fan’s speed and airflow to achieve your desired temperature within your living space. The unit will keep you cool and comfortable, as well as ensure you get to inhale nice, clean air. It has an antibacterial filter that eliminates, dust, bacteria, and any room odors.
There’s also full-width, two-way airflow that helps direct the refreshing, clean, cold air to wherever it’s needed. Therefore, you will not only enjoy optimum cooling but also get to breathe comfortably. With an 11.1 EER rating, this AC unit is quite efficient, hence it will not raise your energy bill to an exorbitant amount especially during hot weather months. It’s relatively quiet too, generating around 60.4 decibels of white noise while running on the highest settings.
It’s fairly easy to install. No professional assistance is required. It comes with a complete start-up kit and a helpful user guide. Plus, it features backflow drainage which will help prevent water from getting inside the house and soaking the motor. In general, this hOmeLabs model offers a full air conditioning kit ideal for small living spaces. It’s not the most sophisticated unit, but in terms of performance, it will definitely deliver.
If you are on a budget and are looking for an air conditioner that’s reliable and can effectively stir up a cool breeze in a small room, then this hOmeLabs model is a great option. It’s a quiet, power-efficient system that works well and can serve you for several years without any issues.
The Frigidaire FFRE0533S1 is one of the smallest, feature-rich air conditioners on the market that offers both convenience and great performance when it comes to cooling small rooms.
With cooling power of 5,000 BTUs, this Frigidaire air conditioner is designed for cooling small rooms that are less than 150 sq. ft. in size. The best part is that it doubles as a dehumidifier with a moisture rate of up to 1.1 pints per house. Therefore, it will cool your living space and maintain a healthy and comfortable humidity level.
The unit features a four-way air flow, which is another great addition as it will allow you to easily direct the cooled air where you want it. Plus, with a maximum airflow rate of 140 cubic ft. per minute, this unit will efficiently circulate the cool air around whatever room you install it in.
The filter is made of mesh and it is anti-bacterial. It will help reduce bacteria, airborne particles, and room odors for a cool, comfortable environment. The filter is washable and slides out for quick and easy cleaning.
Frigidaire has made operating this unit quite convenient by providing a full-function remote control. You will be able to modify both the fan speed and temperature from the comfort of your couch, depending on your preference.
The inclusion of a programmable timer further enhances the convenience of this unit, as it enables you to set your desired cooling duration. In other words, you will enjoy a high degree of customization with this cooler compared to other models within this range.
The AC has a low power start-up and operation with an impressive 12.2 energy efficiency ratio, which means it will conserve energy and in the process, save you money. Even better, the maximum noise level of this unit is 54.5 dB, so it will operate fairly quietly.
It weighs around 42 pounds, so it’s pretty heavy, but you will have no problem installing it alone. Overall, this is a high-performance cooler that’s very user-friendly and is designed to offer the best cooling experience in any room it’s installed.
The Frigidaire FFRE05331S1 is a wonderful choice for anyone looking for an affordable AC unit that offers more than just a room cooler. It’s well-built and has several convenience-enhancing features that are generally available only on high-end units. It’s an investment that guarantees value for your money.
LG Electronics is a top player in the air conditioning market with a great reputation for producing high-quality products. This LG LW6017R model is no different. It’s a low-cost investment with the performance that you are certainly going to appreciate.
The LG LW6017R has a cooling power of 6,000 BTUs, which gives plenty of power compared to the other options in this list. It will effectively cool small to medium rooms up to 260 square feet.
Like the Frigidaire FFRE0533S1, this LG product can also dehumidify your home. It is capable of removing about 1.8 pints of excess moisture each hour. The vent points upward which is a big plus because cold air blown upwards cools the room more efficiently as it can get circulated quickly by the ceiling fan.
The unit gives you complete control over the cooling speeds and the air flow in the room. It features three cooling speeds as well as three different fan speeds, allowing you to customize the settings to your comfort. The unit also allows you to set an auto cool function making it even more convenient to use it.
Another great feature is the auto shut-off function. You can set the system such that when the desired temperature is reached, it shuts off both the fan and the cool air and auto restarts as soon as the temperature rises.
There’s an air filter positioned on the front behind the grille, so it will clean up the air easily. The unit as an Energy Efficiency Ratio of 11.5, so it will not enormously affect your power bill. You can even use an auto shut-off feature to help conserve energy and reduce the power cost.
Installing the LG LW6017R is easy. It comes with an installation kit and weighs around 40 pounds, so it will depend on your strength, otherwise, one person should be able to set it up. With a 52 dB noise level, this unit will not make much noise to distract you when sleeping.
If you have a medium sized room, the LG LW6017R might be the perfect option for you. With 6,000 BTUs and a built-in humidifier, this is one of the smallest AC units on the market that actually offers great value for the money. It will no doubt give you a cool and comfortable environment during hot days.
Closing our list is the Frigidaire FFRA0511U1 which is also a basic unit that’s capable of keeping you cool without you having to dig deep in your pocket. It’s a low-cost investment with plenty of power.
Having 5000 BTUs of cooling power, the FFRA0511U1 is powerful enough to comfortably cool a small size room up to 150 square feet. It will cool the space quickly and maintain very low humidity. The unit’s dehumidifier will remove 1.1 pints of moisture every hour, giving you cooler, drier air.
You can adjust the cooling speed, as well as the fan speed. The air flow is also adjustable in two different directions. You can’t adjust the temperature to a set number of degrees. Nonetheless, it does offer six different temperature ratings, hence, you are still able to customize it to meet your comfort level.
The unit features an auto restart function which is quite thoughtful as it means it will automatically resume cooling at its previous setting as soon as the power is restored in case of an outage.
The filter slides out for easy access and it’s washable so that maintaining it won’t be a hard task. The only noise you will hear is the sound of rushing air coming from the unit. It’s fairly quiet like the other models on our list, so it’s a good choice for sleeping spaces.
In terms of using the system, it’s very simple. It has mechanical rotary-dial controls which shouldn’t pose any challenge when it comes to operating the unit. With an energy efficiency rating of 11.1 and a low power startup, this Frigidaire AC will conserve energy and save you from exorbitant electric bills.
As for installation, it’s really simple, plus the unit even comes with an installation kit to aid you in the process. It weighs 41 pounds which is amongst the highest weight on our list but not heavy enough to make it had to carry it around.
Constructed with several useful features and a durable build, this Frigidaire FFRA0511U1 air conditioner is well worth the price. It does a great job as far as cooling the air and getting rid of humidity. Plus, it’s quite affordable.
Taking the 5th position is another Frigidaire AC, the FFRE0533Q1. If you are looking for a unit that can operate efficiently without causing any noise issues at all, this is a great choice.
The FFRE0533Q provides up to 5,000 BTUs of cooling power, hence like the rest of the other units on our list, it effectively keeps your room cool during hot days provided that it’s not more than 150 square feet.
The unit features a built-in dehumidifier capable of clearing up 1.1 pints of moisture every hour. Therefore, it will keep the humidity inside your house at a balanced level. There’s a washable mesh filter too, which clears up bacteria and airborne particles from the air. Combined with the built-in dehumidifier, you can expect to get constant cool, good quality air.
You can customize the system according to your preferences or comfort level. The unit allows you to adjust the temperature and fan speed easily and quickly via a full-function remote control.
It also has a four-way air flow, which means you can direct the air anywhere you want it.
Now the best part about this Frigidaire AC is the fact that it’s almost soundless while running on either the high or low setting. Not only that, it has an Energy Saver mode as one of the control options. With the mode on, the unit uses less energy both to start and operate hence, it is quite efficient.
It weighs about 40 pounds, which is a bit heavy. Some people might have difficulty maneuvering it into the window but it’s easy to set up once you get it there.
If you have a small room and are struggling to keep it cool even with the central AC, I would recommend getting this FFRE0533Q. It has no fancy features. It’s very basic but it will certainly keep you comfortable on hot days.
How to Clean a Small Window Air Conditioner
In order to ensure the continued efficiency and durability of an air conditioner unit, you need to clean it regularly. But how do you get to clean an AC unit like the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 above? Well, to help you get it right, here are all the necessary steps you need to follow.
1. Turn off the AC and move it outside to a place where you can easily work and reach it with a water hose.
2. Remove the filter and set it aside. In the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 it slides out, so it shouldn’t be hard to remove it.
3. Remove the front panel to access the front coils, then remove the top case cover to access the rest of the unit including the fan and the back coils.
4. Fill a spray bottle with some cleaning solution and spray the front coils really well and leave them to soak for about five minutes.
5. Move to the inside of the unit and spray the back coils and the fan really well until the whole coil is soaked well then leave it for five more minutes.
6. Take the filter and, using a water hose, spray it off very well and set it aside to dry. Take the cover and spray it as well. You can even use a brush to get it a little bit cleaner.
7. Move to the main unit. Here, you want to make sure you hose it down very well. You should try not to wet the electrical parts where the knobs are when spraying.
8. Start lightly from the front coils moving to the back parts. You’ll want to spray the back side (back coils and fan) really well, as that’s where there is the most dirt.
9. Once you are done, dump the water out of the pan and let the unit sit overnight or for at least 24 hours before putting it back together and starting to use it.
Cleaning the air conditioner regularly is vital because if you don’t, the layers of dust can become thick enough to hinder its cooling capabilities or even cause it to stop working. Make sure to check out the video below for a full overview of how to properly clean an AC unit.
How to Install a Small Air Conditioner
Window air conditioner units are simple to install and most of the time it’s not a big job. The LG LW6017R model is a perfect example. Armed with the correct information and tools, you can easily install this unit. Here is a step-by-step guide to simplify your window AC installation.
1. Before starting, make sure that:
- You read the manufacturer’s instructions for exact details on features, installation, and maintenance.
- You have a grounded three-prong outlet. If you don’t, you can hire an electrician to install one for you. Never use an adapter plug or extension cord.
- The window frame is in good condition and nothing outside the window will obstruct or inhibit airflow.
Note: before getting a window AC unit, check the size of your window opening and know the square footage of the room that you plan to cool.
2. After purchasing your unit, thoroughly wash the window on both sides. Remove the unit from the packaging material making sure to save the box for storage in the offseason.
3. On the top of the AC cabinet, align the holes on the unit with the top rail and secure with the screws that are included with each unit.
4. Attach the side panels. Find the correct panel for each side, carefully extend the panel, and then push the end all the way into the track. Insert the ends of the frame into the rails and do the same on the other side.
5. Set the AC unit on the window ensuring that the bottom rail is flush against the edge of the frame or window seal.
6. Lower the sash behind the top rail. Now adhere the side panels to the frame. With the frames in their extended position, drill a pilot hole and set the frame locks with a screw.
7. Continue to drill until you can easily drive the screws into the frame and along the sash line to secure the AC.
8. Lock the lower sash using the sash lock. Drill another pilot hole and use a screw to secure. Measure and cut a foam window seal to the correct size and insert it between the two sashes.
Note: Angle the unit backward a bit to ensure it can drain properly.
9. Finally, use a weather sealant to plug any gaps. Once you are done, plug in the unit and press the restart button to power it up.
Installing a window air conditioner is a pretty simple project and doing it correctly will ensure that your AC is safe and works the way it should. These steps work for most types of windows but you may want to check the video below for a more comprehensive overview of the installation process.
You need to ensure you take all the right factors into consideration when looking at air conditioner units so that you are able to pick the best unit that suits your room and can save you money.
All of the units on our list do an exemplary job when it comes to cooling and are well built. Some also come with several convenient features, such as built-in timers, remote controls, and auto-shut off functions.
To sum it all up, when choosing your AC, look for one that offers great performance and efficiency to ensure value for your money, otherwise, you may end up having to invest in an AC every other summer.
People Also Ask
In a bid to help you learn more about window air conditioners we attempt to answer a few frequently asked questions, which we believe will help clear any doubts or questions that you may have.
People have long believed that the bigger the air conditioner, the more power it will have, but that myth is debunked as there are countless very effective and efficient smaller models in the industry now. This new revelation has confused people and has compelled them to ask multiple questions on the internet. This is our attempt at answering all of them.
What Happens if Your Window Air Conditioner is Too Small?
This doesn’t normally happen as you are mostly required to measure your room size as well as your window sizes before you make an investment. However, if you still get your hands on a smaller air conditioner, you can always replace it with a slightly larger one. Most models come with an exchange policy and a warranty that might come handy during such time.
How Big of a Generator Needed to Power Small Window Air Conditioner?
This hugely depends on the size of the air conditioner that you end up buying. Larger air conditioners will require a big generator. Similarly, smaller air conditioners will not require that much power. For an air conditioner with a 5000 BTU, you will want a 2000 series inverter generator. This should ideally run on an 1500 watt open frame.
How to Dispose of a Small Window Air Conditioner?
The steps that you need to follow in order to dispose of a small air conditioner are pretty simple. You have to first remove the doors and then carefully drain the refrigerator. Next, you need to dispose of any hazardous waste that you might see inside. If you think it’s difficult for you to control, then you might ask for help.
What Size Window Air Conditioner Should I Get For a Small Apartment?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions, and also one of the most difficult to answer. This is because people can have different definitions of a small apartment. For an apartment that is at least 250 sq. feet, you will need an air conditioner with a BTU between 5000 and 6000.
Is a Small Air Conditioner Energy Efficient?
Most small air conditioners are designed to be energy efficient and some. like the Frigidaire FFRA0511U1 and LG LW6017R even come with energy-saving features that help them conserve energy when in operation.
However, you can determine the efficiency of a room air conditioner by its energy efficiency ratio (EER). This is the basic ratio of the cooling capacity to the power input. The higher the rating, the more efficient an air conditioner is.
Is it Cheaper to Run a Window Air Conditioner or Central Air?
If you want to cool three or more rooms, then a central air conditioning system is much more efficient and cheaper to run than having a window AC in each room. However, if you plan to cool only one or two rooms, then running one or two window AC units would be much cheaper than installing a central home AC system.
How Many Watts Does a Small Window Air Conditioner Use?
The number of watts used by small window air conditioners like 5,000 BTU air conditioners depends on the number of amps it has and how many volts the outlet has.
Most 5,000 BTU conditioners use five amps and when you plug them into a 110-volt outlet, the unit uses around 450–550 volts. So, depending on the cooling capacity of the unit, the wattage of most small air conditioners would range between 450 to 1440 watts.