Home > Home & Garden > Air Conditioners > Best Air Conditioner for Medium Rooms

Best Air Conditioner for Medium Rooms

By: Carl Laron on May 14, 2018

The best medium air conditioners for large bedrooms and typical living rooms

According to Liam McCabe at Wirecutter, 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.

For this year's report, naming a Best Reviewed choice in this size range proved to be challenging. There are some sizable disconnects between testing results from experts we deem to be credible, and between what the experts say are the best choices, and what users say those are.

Clearing away the fog, we are going to maintain the 8,000 BTU Frigidaire FFRE0833S1 (Est. $240) as the top choice in this size range. Since last year, it's been tested by Consumer Reports but did not have a particularly stellar showing -- though the editors still assess that performance was "very good" overall. The only real issue raised was that noise was "mediocre" at high speed, though its official Good rating is better than that of air conditioners that rated higher -- albeit ones that score one step higher on the site's comfort scale, earning Excellent as opposed to Very Good marks in that regard.

Be that as it may, other experts seem to like it very much. The Frigidaire FFRE0833S1 is the runner up choice at Wirecutter and an alternate choice at Reviewed, finishing behind an LG air conditioner at both sites (and we have more about that model below). Of the FFRE0833S1, Reviewed's Kevin Oliver says that "This affordable air conditioner really has a lot going for it."

It's also been around long enough to rack up tons of feedback at retail sites across the internet. If we were only looking at ratings at Amazon, we might be steering you toward a different model. But digging into what's behind the lackluster feedback there, we see lots of complaints about units that were damaged in shipping, and that takes a chunk out of the satisfaction ratings. Elsewhere, users are generally well pleased. At Best Buy, the Frigidaire FFRE0833S1 earns a 4.5 star rating after nearly 850 reviews, with recommendations from 93 percent of owners. At Home Depot, we see the same scores, this time based on more than 400 reviews.

McCabe makes the Frigidaire FFRE0833S1 a runner up based on his measures of loudness, but loudness is a complaint we see across the board for nearly every air conditioner in this size and price category, especially those that are Energy Star qualified; while loudness is a common complaint (or at least comment), user feedback is neither better nor worse for the Frigidaire in that regard.

As alluded to above, the Frigidaire FFRE0833S1 is Energy Star qualified and meets the most recent standard. This air conditioner is also well featured. Pluses include a thermostat on the remote (so that temperatures are measured where you sit and/or sleep rather at the air conditioner itself, where temps tend to be cooler) 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. Installation is easy, and the warranty is good -- one year on the entire unit, and five years on the sealed refrigeration system. 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.

As noted, the Frigidaire is the runner up at Wirecutter, which names the 8,000 BTU LG LW8016ER (Est. $240) best overall. That recommendation largely hinges on McCabe's perception of the noise this air conditioner generates. He allows that it's not really all that quiet -- and in a review that's no longer on line, Consumer Reports rates noise levels as only Fair. However, McCabe says that the low frequencies it generates may be less objectionable than the noise from other options, and is largely free of sound spikes that can be hard to ignore. "That all adds up to mean this AC is easier on the ears than its closest-priced competitors—even if it's still a little louder overall than most of us would like," he concludes. Users that weigh in on noise aren't as sure however. Some find the noise acceptable or even pleasant, others rate noise as their number one complaint -- and, as we said earlier, that's typical for machines like these.

Putting aside the noise question, while we do like the Frigidaire a little bit better, the LG is a good second choice. It's a tiny bit cheaper (at least if you shop carefully, as prices can vary widely), though also a little less feature rich (there's no thermostat on the remote, for example). It is Energy Star qualified, and has the same CEER rating as the Frigidaire (12.0). User feedback is neither as plentiful nor as stellar as the Frigidaire, but isn't terrible either, including a 4.2 star rating based on nearly 330 reviews at Home Depot. The warranty is not quite as generous -- one year, with no extended coverage for the sealed refrigeration system.

If you are looking for an air conditioner in this capacity range on a budget, check out the Walmart-exclusive GE AEW08LX (Est. $200). At around $200, it and the similarly priced Costco-exclusive Danby DAC080BEUWDB (Est. $200) are the lowest priced 8,000 BTU air conditioners Consumer Reports recommends. There is little user feedback for either model, though the GE does get a perfect 5 stars in the five reviews that can be seen at Walmart's web site

Despite the low price, the performance of the GE AEW08LX looks to be excellent, though based on Consumer Reports' noise ratings, some might find the unit to be on the loud side, especially at high speeds. It's also not devoid of features, and you'll find such niceties as digital controls, a 24 hour timer, dirty filter alert and a remote. In testing, one plus that Consumer Reports found was that its thermostat was very accurate -- something that can't be said of some competing models, including ones that sell for more. The warranty is for one year.

One drawback is that with a CEER rating of 11.2, the GE AEW08LX is not Energy Star qualified. If that's a concern, and you're a Costco member, consider the equally liked Danby DAC080BEUWDB instead. It has a CEER of 12, which meets the minimum Energy Star guidelines. It's also more feature-rich than the GE, including an ionizer to remove odors and a thermostat on the remote. The warranty is for one year.

As noted, this Danby air conditioner has been tested by Consumer Reports. The overall score is the same as the GE's, but some differences in the individual test results are seen. Notably, the Danby scores a step lower than the GE in cooling performance (though it's still Very Good) but a step higher when it comes to ease of use.

Recently Updated
Air Conditioners buying guide

What every best Air Conditioners has:

  • Energy efficiency.
  • A programmable timer.
  • User-friendly controls.

Read More »

Learn More »