Most window air conditioners are meant to cool a single room. But if you have an open floor plan, vaulted ceilings or a one-room building like a shop, the 15,100-BTU Frigidaire FRA156MT1 is designed to cool 900 square feet. Owners are overwhelmingly satisfied with its performance, and several appreciate that it runs on a regular 120-volt outlet so they don't have to install a special circuit. The unit is Energy Star-rated and includes the usual features of all but the most basic air conditioners -- remote control, three-speed fan, 24-hour timer, sleep mode that gradually raises the room temperature to save energy and automatic restart after a power outage. It also alerts you when it's time to clean the antibacterial filter.
However, this big AC might not fit in all windows; it's more than 23 inches wide and almost 18 inches tall, and weighs 100 pounds. It does have a slide-in chassis, however, so you install a lightweight sleeve first and then slide the heavy unit in. It can also be installed through the wall. Some owners say the FRA156MT1 is quiet, but others find it loud and don't recommend putting it in a bedroom or TV room. Overall, this big, heavy, pricey unit would be overkill in most rooms. If you don't need quite as much cooling power, the 12,000-BTU LG LW1212ER (*Est. $320) costs much less and is appropriate for spaces of about 550 square feet.
Most of the user feedback for this air conditioner comes from Lowes.com, which sells the Lowe's-exclusive but essentially identical LRA157MT1 (*Est. $400). Other sites with owner reviews include Walmart.com, Amazon.com and Overstock.com. We spotted no professional evaluations.
Customers here almost unanimously praise the Frigidaire LRA157MT1, giving it a score of 4.8 out of 5 stars after more than 80 reviews. Nearly all say it cools very large spaces with ease, and most call it surprisingly quiet. About 97 percent would recommend this unit to a friend.
Review: Frigidaire 15,100-BTU Window Room Air Conditioner (Energy Star), Contributors to Lowes.com, As of April 2012
Almost all of these 18 owner reviews give the Frigidaire FRA156MT1 4 out of 5 or a perfect 5 stars. Several mention that it's easy to install. One user, however, gives it 1 star because she doesn't like the way the vents are slanted.
Review: Frigidaire 15,100-BTU Energy Star Window Air Conditioner with Remote, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of April 2012
Only a handful of owners review the Frigidaire FRA156MT1 here, and about half are very pleased with its cooling ability. But the remaining users downgrade it to average or worse: One says this big unit trips the circuit breaker, while another says it's just too big for many windows. Still another says his unit stopped working after about six months of use.
Review: Frigidaire FRA156MT1 15,100 BTU Window-Mounted Median Room Air Conditioner, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2012
Even though just a few owners comment on the Frigidaire FRA156MT1 here, all give it 4 out of 5 or a perfect 5 stars. They all say it cools well, although one doesn't like the extra slide-in chassis installation step.
Review: Frigidaire FRA156MT1 15,100 BTU Window-Mounted Median Room Air Conditioner, Contributors to Overstock.com, As of April 2012