Window AC units are designed to cool a specific room. Because of that, their installation is more permanent than.
We tested five window air conditioners -- two small and three large -- to see which ones stood out the most. Below we recommend three models that impressed us during testing. Keep scrolling past our list of favorites to learn more about each unit we tested, how we assessed their performance and how well each one did. (You can also check out our guide for.)
The GE Profile AHTT08BC stood out the most during our testing. We'll delve more into performance below, but this window AC unit dominated. It both maintained a set temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit for the longest period of time, and maintained its lowest temperature for the longest period of time among the models we tested.
This window air conditioner has 8,300 BTUs and costs $506. It's designed to cool up to a 350-square-foot space, so it's best suited for small- to medium-size rooms. Take a look at the table below for direct comparisons between this unit and the others we tested.
Overall, the GE Profile AHTT08BC impressed us with its performance and value. For $506, you can have a unit that consistently cools a medium sized space and also works with the SmartHQ app so you can manage it remotely from your phone.
The Keystone KSTAW15CE is a great option if you need a powerful air conditioner to cool a larger space. With 15,000 BTUs, this model can cool up to a 700-square-foot room.
It did well in our performance testing, too. It came in first place among the three larger units we tested for maintaining a 68-degree set point the longest. It also came in a close second for maintaining its lowest temperature the longest.
This Keystone unit costs $546, which is pretty reasonable considering its powerful cooling capacity. It doesn't offer an app, voice control or any other connected features. However, if you're in the market for a window AC unit that does a good job maintaining its temperature and cooling large spaces, the KSTAW15CE is well worth considering.
GE's AHEC05AC is a window AC unit made for small spaces. With 5,000 BTUs, this window air conditioner can cool up to a 150-square-foot room. It also costs just $189, making it the most affordable model of the pack.
While it lagged behind the GE AHTT08BC when it came to maintaining a 68-degree temperature, it did a solid job maintaining its lowest temperature in our testing.
This model doesn't offer any fancy features like an app or voice control, but is a great overall value if you're in search of a budget window air conditioner that does a good job cooling a small space. If you need a unit for a large room, consider Keystone's KSTAW15CE. And for a window air conditioner that's best for small- to medium-size rooms -- that also won all our performance tests -- look to the GE Profile AHTT08BC.
We tested five window air conditioners: the GE AHEC05AC, the GE Profile AHTT08BC, the, the and the Keystone KSTAW15CE. We'll compare each unit side-by-side in the table below:
Window air conditioners
||GE AHEC05AC||GE Profile AHTT08BC||Frigidaire FHWW103WBE||Toshiba RAC-WK1212ESCWR||Keystone KSTAW15CE|
|Area it covers (in square feet)||150||350||450||550||700|
|Dimensions (HxWxD, in inches)||12.6 x 16.4 x 15||12.8 x 19.6 x 28||14.5 x 19 x 21.5||14.6 x 19 x 22.2||17.9 x 23.6 x 25.4|
|Special features||N/A||App-enabled, works with Alexa, Google Assistant and HomeKit||App-enabled, works with Alexa and Google Assistant, remote control||App-enabled, works with Alexa, remote control||Remote control|
The models we tested cover a range of prices, Btus, recommended room sizes and features. Costs vary from $189 to over $500. Similarly, BTU ratings range from 5,000 to 15,000. Some models have apps and work with voice commands, while others are more basic, offering only a remote control or no extra options at all (like the GE AHEC05AC).
By testing a variety of different models, we were able to identify strong-performing window AC units that suit different needs. So, whether you're looking for a window AC unit on a budget, for large rooms or for small-to-medium rooms, we have a pick for you.
Testing window air conditioners
Now, let's talk testing. The process of testing window air conditioners is identical to how we tested. First, we heated a climate-controlled room to 92 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, we turned off the heat and turned on the window air conditioner to cool mode with an auto or medium fan speed (depending on the options available) and a temperature set point of 68 F.
We let the unit run for 2 hours and 30 minutes and repeated these steps twice to confirm our results. With the data we gathered, we looked at two main things -- how consistently the AC unit maintained a temperature within 5% of 68 Fahrenheit and how consistently it kept the room within 5% of the AC unit's lowest temperature (which may or may not be 68 F).
We then used this information to determine which units held both a 68-degree set point and their lowest temperature the longest. The second test -- which window air conditioners kept their lowest temperature the longest -- is useful in the event that a model doesn't get to 68 F in the 2 hour, 30 minute test window. That way, we can still assess how consistently it maintained whatever lowest temperature it did reach. A higher percentage means better performance.
Keep in mind that we didn't directly compare the performance results of the small and large units, such as the 5,000-Btu GE AHEC05AC against the 15,000-Btu Keystone KSTAW15CE. Instead, we assessed them in two categories -- the two small models against one another (the GE AHEC05AC and the GE Profile AHTT08BC) and the three larger ones against one another (the Frigidaire FHWW103WBE, the Toshiba RAC-WK1212ESCWR and the Keystone KSTAW15CE).
In addition to performance, we also looked at other factors when arriving at our list of favorites. These included a model's features, price and other options that might add value -- or otherwise make them stand out -- beyond the test results alone.
So, how did these window air conditioners compare?
We put together some performance charts to make it easier to see exactly how each unit held up to our testing. Since we're comparing the two smaller GE units to each other and three larger units to one another, we used different colors in the charts to more easily differentiate among them. In the chart below, the larger units appear in blue on the top of the chart and the smaller units appear in purple below.
As you can see above, the Keystone unit came in first for the larger units, maintaining a set point of 68 F for 54.3% of its run time. That result was followed by the Toshiba with 35.1% and finally the Frigidaire with 26.5%.
The GE Profile AHTT08BC dominated this test, coming in first among the smaller units with a whopping 94.7%, while the other GE unit maintained 68 degrees F for 32.5% of its run time. While we aren't directly comparing the performance of the larger and smaller units, it's worth noting that the AHTT08BC came in first overall, blowing away all of the other units with its ability to maintain a set temperature of 68 F.
In the second test -- how well each unit maintained its lowest temperature -- you'll see the larger units in green and the smaller units in yellow. Here, the results were much closer together. Among the larger units, the Frigidaire came in first with 58.9%, followed by the Keystone with 54.3% and the Toshiba with 43.7%.
The GE Profile AHTT08BC maintained its lowest temperature 61.6% of the time, while the GE AHEC05AC maintained its lowest temperature 53.6% of its runtime.
For the next set of charts, we looked at each unit's temperature changes over time. This time, we separated the charts into large and small units. First we'll look at the large units.
The Frigidaire, Toshiba and Keystone units followed very similar patterns as they worked toward the 68-degree set temperature. The chart below is more interesting, showing the GE Profile AHTT08BC getting cooler much more quickly than the AHEC05AC. While the AHTT08BC got cooler faster, it had more dramatic temperature changes. The AHEC05AC cooled more slowly, but showed less overall variation.
Window air conditioner FAQs
How long do window air conditioners last?
Window AC units have a lifespan of about 10 years. However, how long your air conditioner lasts can vary widely based on how often you maintain it. Check the use and care guide for your machine to make sure you're cleaning it regularly and addressing any maintenance issues or other concerns to extend its longevity. And check out our tips on how to clean your window air conditioner, how to fix a noisy air conditioner and how to tell if it's time to replace your AC.
How much does it cost to run a window AC unit?
How much it costs to run a window air conditioner depends on a number of factors, including the unit's cooling capacity, how often you run it, what setting you use, the weather conditions outside and whether your utility company follows a time-of-use plan.
With a time-of-use plan, electricity has different costs at different times of day and will cost more during peak hours and less during off-peak hours.
How do you install a window AC unit?
As the name suggests, all window air conditioners are mounted to a window and follow a similar installation process. Still, it's best to consult the use and care guide for your particular unit to ensure you're following the correct steps for your model. As always, consult a qualified professional installer if you have questions about your specific unit and its set up requirements.