Home > Home & Garden > Air Conditioners > Best Small Air Conditioner

Best Small Air Conditioner

By: Carl Laron on June 02, 2017

Small bedrooms and spaces need a small air conditioner

For rooms that are up to about 250 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 -- or a small sitting room or office during the day -- without having to cool the whole house.

Finding a consensus between experts and users as to which air conditioners work great, are reliable, and are energy efficient can be a challenge, however among smaller air conditioners, the Kenmore 77060 (Est. $210) checks all the boxes. This 6,000 BTU window air conditioner is recommended for rooms of up to 250 square feet. It's a top finisher among air conditioners in its capacity class at ConsumerReports.org, and earns Recommended status there. In a free article, Mary H.J. Farrell notes that its cooling performance is very good, and that's it's pretty quiet on its low speed setting, but grouses that things get louder at high speeds, and that the controls "could be easier to use."

Features on the Kenmore 77060 are typical of what you can expect in this size and price category. There are three speeds, along with eight-way adjustable louvers to direct cooled air where you want it most. There's a programmable timer and a sleep mode that reduces energy consumption (by stepping down the temperature while you are asleep), too. A small remote control is included. The CEER rating is 12.1, which means that this air conditioner is Energy Star qualified and meets the most recent standards.

The Kenmore 77060 air conditioner is primarily sold at Sears, and while user feedback is certainly not extensive, the slightly less than 20 owners that have left reviews seem to be almost universally pleased. It earns a 4.5 star rating, and recommendations from all. The one owner (at the time of our visit) that leaves less than a 4 star score says that it is too loud for a bedroom, but still a good choice for any other room. The sealed refrigeration system is covered for five years, while the balance of the air conditioner has a one year warranty.

Our top pick from last year, the 6,000 BTU LG LW6016R (Est. $180) remains available, and is a few dollars cheaper than the Kenmore. But user reviews have begun to accumulate and while they are not extensive, and not terrible, they definitely don't show as high a level of owner satisfaction as with the 77060. At HomeDepot.com, for example, the LG earns a score of 3.8 stars based on just over 35 reviews, with recommendations from 78 percent of owners. Noise is a top complaint, though some reliability concerns are also voiced.

It's worth noting, however, that experts do like this little LG air conditioner very much. It scores right behind the Kenmore at ConsumerReports.org, and even does a little bit better at cooling a room the experts there say. TheSweethome.com names its bigger brother, the 8,000 BTU LG LW8016ER (Est. $240), as the best air conditioner in that size class, and Liam McCabe goes on to recommend the LW6016R for smaller rooms --- it's just a touch smaller than the one he tests and has a couple of fewer features, otherwise, the units are similar, and the performance of the LW6016R can be expected to be similar as well.

Noise is a big factor with most window air conditioning units, but McCabe says that the LG is quieter than most, with a lower pitch that's simply not as annoying. Still, he concedes, that doesn't mean that this air conditioner is quiet, and he also recognizes that ConsumerReports.org beats up the 8,000 BTU version a bit on the noise front (the 6,000 BTU LG LW6016R fairs better in that regard).

In spite of its small size, the LG LW6016R has a pretty decent offering of features, from the three-speed cooling and fan settings, to an included remote control. There's also a 24-hour programmable timer to turn it off and on even when you're not around. And, if you have a power outage, the LW6016R will automatically turn itself back on. However, unlike the Kenmore, this LG air conditioner is not Energy Star qualified. Installing the LG LW6016R may be a bit trickier than some other models, but, if you enlist an extra pair of hands to help, it shouldn't be too bad. The instructions are very clear, which is helpful. It comes with a one-year warranty.

Although we didn't see it in any expert roundups, the 6,000 BTU GE AEL06LV (Est. $180) gets terrific feedback from owners. At HomeDepot.com it garners a 4.6 star score based on more than 675 reviews, with recommendations from 94 percent.

Like all units in this capacity, the small GE AEL06LV air conditioner is rated for rooms of up to 250 square feet, and users say it's quiet and very powerful in the right size room (many use it for a small bedroom or enclosed porch). The GE has some good features, including a delay timer, remote control and three-way fan, but no air direction adjustments. However, while its CEER rating of 11.2 qualified it for Energy Star status in the past, it does not meet the current standard. The warranty is for one year.

For smaller budgets, and smaller rooms, experts and owners say that the 5,000 BTU Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 (Est. $135) is a very good option. This basic air conditioner doesn't offer many of the convenience features that the air conditioners described above have -- there's no programmable timer or remote, and the controls are old-fashioned analog knobs rather than the digital controls and temperature display of more upscale models. You get one knob to set the motor speed for either the fan or the air conditioner, and another to select the temperature, and that's it. The Frigidaire does include an antibacterial filter that owners say removes odors well and is easy to clean. It's not Energy Star Qualified, however, and it is only suitable for rooms up to 150 square feet.

The Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 doesn't earn Recommended status at ConsumerReports.org, but doesn't do terribly in testing there, either. Notably, the Frigidaire earns an Excellent rating for comfort. Noise performance at all speeds is merely good, and ease of use is a sore spot. However, users disagree, with most saying it's very straightforward and simple -- and easy to install as well. It earns a 4.1 star rating based on more than 1,400 reviews at Amazon.com, and user ratings elsewhere, while not quite as plentiful, are often even higher. This air conditioner is covered under a one year warranty for the entire unit, plus five years for the sealed refrigeration system.

Recently Updated
Air Conditioners buying guide

What every best Air Conditioners has:

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

Read More »

Learn More »