For rooms that are up to about 200 square feet, a window air conditioner that is between 5,000 and 6,000 Btu will give you the best experience. These have enough power to cool your room, while staying on long enough to dehumidify and circulate. They're popular with people who like to keep their bedrooms cool at night, without having to cool the whole house.
GE is a leading brand of air conditioners, according to experts, and several of its window units score very well. One of their top models for small rooms is the GE AEL06LS (Est. $170) . It's recommended for up to 300 square feet, and owners say its three-speed fan and two-way adjustable louvers are more than capable of keeping a small area comfortable. At HomeDepot.com, one owner says it's so effective, "you can almost spit ice in my kids' room in the morning." Owners say installation is a breeze and call the 24-hour programmable timer and fully functional remote convenient extras. During a brownout, experts say the AEL06LS is excellent for running at low voltage, with a power interruption restart feature that returns the window air conditioner to its last settings. "I bought this air conditioner one year ago and it pumps out cold air like a champ. And the icing on the cake is it is very quiet," says an owner at HomeDepot.com. GE's one-year warranty is standard coverage for window air conditioners.
For smaller budgets, reviews say the Frigidaire FRA052XT7 (Est. $130) is a very good option. This basic air conditioner doesn't offer many of the convenient features that the GE has -- there's no programmable timer, no remote and no energy-saver mode. The simple controls consist of two knobs, one to set the motor speed for either the fan or the air conditioner, the other to select the temperature (with seven approximate settings). The Frigidaire does include one important feature that the GE lacks: an antibacterial filter that owners say removes odors well and is easy to clean. Plus, Frigidaire's warranty covers the sealed system for five years, in addition to the one-year warranty.
For a room between about 250 and 300 square feet, a medium window air conditioner is a good combination of cooling power and convenience. These range from 7,000 to 8,000 Btu and are ideal for larger bedrooms and open living spaces.
Owners say its impressive how quickly the LG LW8012ER (Est. $270) can cool down a room, lowering the temperature and cutting down the humidity in a matter of minutes. This 8,000-Btu window air conditioner is a great pick for muggy climates: It pulls 2.2 pints of moisture from the air every hour, which is outstanding for this size of window air conditioner. It also has a separate dry mode to run only the dehumidifier, which is great for clammy but cool weather. Plenty of reviews also praise the convenient features on the LW8012ER. An owner at HomeDepot.com says the "remote functions and controls on the unit itself are easy to understand and use." The fan is quieter than most, for comfortable sleeping or watching TV. To rein in the utility bill, the LW8012ER features a 24-hour programmable timer and separate energy-saver mode (which automatically turns the fan off with the compressor).
Another medium window air conditioner with excellent reviews is the Frigidaire FFRE0833Q1 (Est. $270) . As a new model, few owner reviews are available, but it gets the top pick after testing by Liam McCabe with TheSweethome.com. McCabe says, "The Frigidaire is a better air conditioner for three key reasons: it's more efficient, it has a sleep mode that keeps your bedroom comfortable while drawing less power overnight, and it has the ability to sense temperature through the remote control so it can judge temperature based on where you actually are." The remote also features separate buttons for most of the air conditioner's modes, letting users instantly set the unit instead of scrolling through different options. "This lets the unit gauge its on-off cycles based on the temperature near your couch or bed, instead of the temperature right next to the air conditioner," says McCabe. "This means more accurate readings and better comfort." Installation is straightforward and takes less than an hour.
Blending the extra power of a medium-sized unit with the price of a small unit is the 6,400-Btu GE AEZ06LS (Est. $160) . It gets high owner reviews, in part because of its excellent cooling performance. Owners also say it's easy to install and has a pretty quiet compressor. With a fully functional remote, a 24-hour timer and reliable reputation -- all for under $200 -- owners say the AEZ06LS is an exceptional value. GE includes a one-year replacement warranty.