According to Liam McCabe at TheSweetHome.com, 8,000 BTU air conditioners are the most popular size at retail. This size is ideal for cooling a room of up to 350 square feet, "roughly the size of a comfy living room or large master bedroom," he says.
In McCabe's testing, he chooses the LG LW8016ER ($240) as his top choice in mid-sized air conditioners, but we're sticking with its predecessor, and our top choice last year, the 8,000 BTU LG LW8015ER (Est. $250).
The LW8015ER, which was McCabe's runner up last year, remains current and is still widely available. The only difference between the two is that the LW8016ER is Energy Star Certified, with an energy efficiency rating (EER) of 12, compared to the 11.3 EER of the LW8015ER. Still, that is such an insignificant difference, you're unlikely to see much movement in your electric bill, but you might notice an uptick in the noise factor. Since this air conditioner is the ideal size for a bedroom, if that's the room you intend to use it in we highly recommend sticking with the LW8015ER. In addition, the LW8015ER has a LOT of user feedback to validate its performance, whereas the consumer-based jury's still out on the LW8016ER.
And those many users offering feedback on the LG LW8015ER are mostly very happy, although, like every single other window air conditioner we reviewed, the LG LW8015ER gets mixed reviews for noise from owners. Some say it makes a racket that could wake the dead, others say they barely notice it's on, or that they quickly get used to its hum. A few even say it lulls like "white noise" to help them sleep.
Even those who ding the LG LW8015ER for noise (and keep in mind that, as noted, the newer LG LW8016ER could be somewhat worse in that regard) say it's a top performer when it comes to cooling. Many say it quickly cools a room and keeps it at a stable temperature. It has a satisfactory number of features, too, with a 24-hour timer and a remote control.
Last, but not least, the LG LW8015ER is included in a professional test at one well-respected consumer testing organization, earning Excellent scores for comfort, and Very Good for ease of use and noise on the lowest setting; but only a Good for noise at the highest setting. In an article from ConsumerReports.org that is free to the public, Mary H.J. Farrell names the LW8015ER as one of the top performing medium-sized air conditioners for 2016.
We do agree with McCabe, however, on the runner up for this year, the 8,000 BTU Frigidaire FFRE0833S1 ($225). It's the Energy Star Certified version of our runner up last year, the Frigidaire FFRE0833Q1 ($240), which is still widely available and still a solid choice -- and probably a quieter one as well. McCabe, in fact, notes that this year's model is, indeed, louder than last years, probably due to the new energy standards. The FFRE0833Q1's EER rating is 11.3, the FFRE0833S1's is 12. McCabe suggests that, if you do opt for the newer model, it's best for use in a room where the noise won't matter, and we agree.
Still, we're seeing some really good feedback from consumers for the Frigidaire FFRE0833S1. Surprisingly, in spite of its perceived loudness in testing, in real world comments many note that this AC unit is plenty quiet enough to use in a bedroom. Of course, noise is always in the ear of the beholder, and we did see some complaints that the FFRE0833S1 is quite loud; several also complain that it cycles off and on quite frequently and that they find that more distracting than the noise when it's on.
There's no quibble on how well-featured the Frigidaire FFRE0833S1 is, though. That includes a thermostat on the remote and a programmable timer. There's also an ionizing filter that's supposed to help allergy sufferers, though its effectiveness isn't well addressed in any expert reviews we spotted. There are negatives, however, aside from noise. The vents have just basic adjustments -- blowing air only left, right and up -- and not very well in the case of that last direction. Still, it's easier to install than the LG, a bit less expensive, and is Energy Star Certified, making it a good choice if this is what's left when you turn up at the store during a heat wave.
If you love all things high-tech, you may want to take a look at the new Frigidaire Cool Connect FGRC0844S1 (Est. $300). While we didn't seen any specific recommendations for this unit, McCabe did include it in his testing. He notes that its companion app works, it has a pitch that is low enough to make up for the fact that it's rather noisy, and that it, "looks a hell of a lot more modern than most window air conditioners." Still, he does point out that it's brand new to the market and that software glitches tend to show up after they've been in place for a few months.
While there are relatively few owner reviews for the Frigidaire Cool Connect, many of the ones we spotted were actually quite complimentary, most rave about its modern looks, "cool" app features (pun intended) and say it does a good job cooling a room, although some say it's loud and a few complain about various features.