5 of the Best Window Air Conditioners for Your Budget

If you don’t have central air conditioning, staying cool can be a struggle — however a window air conditioner can make all the difference.

It’s a uniquely unpleasant experience to leave your air-conditioned office, drive home in your air-conditioned car, open your front door, and immediately get hit with a blast of hot air. Being in a home that is not sufficiently cooled can sap your energy, make it difficult to sleep, and potentially pose a threat to your health if temperatures are high enough.

Installing central air conditioning can be costly, and for renters, it’s probably not even an option. This is why so many people turn to window air conditioners to keep cool during the sweltering summer months or even year-round in places like California.

These units present a middle ground between central air conditioners and fans and purchasing one won’t break the bank.

Comparison Table

In this article, we will be talking in a bit more detail about the benefits of window air conditioners and providing you with a shortlist of units that won’t break the bank.

What Is a Window Air Conditioner?

Drawing of a man holding a remote control onto the air conditioner

Photo by: Pixabay

A window air conditioner (or window A/C) is a unit designed to efficiently cool a single room. There are a few different types of window A/C units, but most of them work by taking in air from the surrounding room, cooling it down to the desired temperature, and recirculating it with a fan.

They are placed in windows to vent the heat they produce to the outside instead of into the room. Almost all window A/C units run on electricity and need to be plugged into an outlet to work, meaning that using one may cause a slight bump in your energy bill. Nevertheless, they are still very affordable.

How Do I Know Which Window Air Conditioner Is Right for Me?

Window A/C units come in all different shapes and sizes and perusing all of the different options out there can quickly become overwhelming. Of course, you want to be an informed buyer, and it’s important to understand what you’re looking for so you can make the right decision.

It’s also important that you know exactly what your cooling needs are, otherwise, you may end up with an A/C unit that isn’t capable of cooling your home adequately. Let’s spend some time looking at how A/C units are classified.

Understanding BTU

The standard power measurement for window A/C units is the BTU or British Thermal Unit. A higher number of BTUs means a more powerful air conditioner capable of cooling a larger room. Here is a rough guide to what BTU level you need to cool differently sized rooms:

  • Up to 150 square feet – 5000 BTU
  • 150 to 200 square feet – 6000 BTU
  • 200 to 250 square feet – 7000 BTU
  • 250 to 300 square feet – 8000 BTU

In addition to square footage, there are a few other factors to consider. If you’re cooling a kitchen, you’ll want to punch a few thousand BTUs higher in order to offset the heat generated by appliances.

If you’re cooling a bedroom with more than one occupant, you’ll want to increase the BTUs by about 500. Direct sunlight and humidity are also factors that can increase the cooling level you need, but they are a bit more difficult to quantify.

So, with this information in mind, whip out a tape measure and figure out how approximately how many BTUs you need to cool your living space.

What Are the Benefits of Window Air Conditioners?

building with window air conditioning units
Image via Unsplash

Ok, with all of the technical stuff out of the way, let’s take a moment to look at some of the tangible benefits of window air conditioners and see why they are such a great option to consider for cooling your home.

Once more, it’s great to be an informed buyer, and understanding the product is important in making the best decision possible. Here are the greatest benefits of using a window air conditioner to cool your home:

Keep Your Room Cool

The biggest benefit of a window air conditioner is a cool room. Even if it’s sweltering outside, you’ll be able to remain comfortable in your room if you have a window air conditioner. Not only will you be more comfortable but also safer.

Living with improper cooling is a serious health risk — you never know when the next heatwave will hit and having a window A/C unit is a great way to be prepared.


While window air conditioners can be quite heavy, they do not take up very much space. It’s easy to store a window A/C when you are not using it and transporting it between different rooms is a breeze. There are standalone A/C units that don’t need to be placed in windows, but these are typically much larger and harder to transport.

Easy Installation

Installing a window air conditioner is relatively simple, and you won’t need professional help or any specialized tools to get the job done. However, it is important to make sure that any unit you purchase will actually fit in your window before you purchase it. Make sure that you know the exact measurements of the window you would like to install your unit in beforehand to avoid potential frustration down the road.

5 Top Window Air Conditioner Options To Fit Your Budget

Now that you have an understanding of how window air conditioners work and how to determine what your needs are, let’s take a look at some great products you can purchase.

If it wasn’t already clear, we’d like to quickly remind you that the measuring tape is your friend, especially if you’re going to be purchasing an A/C unit online. Make sure you’re buying a product that will fit in your window, and that it is powerful enough to cool the room you want it to.

More powerful units tend to be pricier, so these products might not cut it if you need to a cool a huge wide open space. But if you just want to cool your bedroom and be able to sleep comfortably in piping hot weather, these are the best you can buy.


Danby DAC050BAUWDB Air Conditioner, 5000 BTU, White
  • 5, 000 btu cooling capacity
  • Cools areas up to 150 sq. ft.

This 5000 BTU air conditioner is a basic, no-frills model that is great for small spaces (under 150 square feet). It features an electronic temperature display as well as a remote control. It has three cooling speeds, a programmable timer, a remote control, and even an indicator that lets you know when the filter needs to be cleaned.

Frigidaire FFRA0511R1

This 5000 BTU window air conditioner from Frigidaire may be basic, but it’s highly reputable. It’s a reliable product that is rated to cool rooms that are up to 150 square feet in size.

Whirlpool 5,000 BTU

Danby DAC050BAUWDB Air Conditioner, 5000 BTU, White
  • 5, 000 btu cooling capacity
  • Cools areas up to 150 sq. ft.

This 5000 BTU model from GE boasts a small size in addition to a relatively small price tag. Its biggest selling point is an included EZ-install kit that guarantees a painless setup process.

Frigidaire FFRE0533Q1

No products found.

Although it has the same voltage and BTU as the R1, this juiced up model from Frigidaire has quite a few extra features. In addition to being smaller than the R1, its display allows you to see the temperature of the room in real time, and a remote control allows you to tweak the settings at the touch of a button.

Keystone 5,000 BTU

This air conditioner from the highly reputable GE has 6050 BTU and packs a bigger punch than the others on this list. It’s one of only a few air conditioners that can cool a room up to 200 square feet in size with efficiency. It has a few neat features as well, such as an indicator for when its filter needs to be cleaned.

Drawing of an air conditioner

Photo by: Pixabay


Before closing, there are just a few things we would like to remind you of when purchasing a window air conditioner. Once more, make absolutely sure you know both the size of your window and your room before purchasing a window air conditioner. Keep in mind that the units on this list are best for small rooms, and will not be able to cool large open spaces. Hopefully, with the information we have provided, you will find it easier to find the perfect AC for your home. So, good luck, and stay cool!

Last update on 2021-08-05 at 07:36 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API