Most and Least Reliable Room Air Conditioners

CR's reliability survey on window and portable ACs delivers good news for shoppers

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Testing ACs
Chris Regan, a Consumer Reports senior project leader, tests a window air conditioning unit.
Photo: Brian Finke

When temperatures rise, a broken air conditioner can make tempers flare. So it’s good news that a Consumer Reports survey of its members found that room air conditioners—especially window units—are among the most reliable products we test.

And that was a particularly good thing with people spending more time at home during the pandemic. In fact, of those members who bought a room air conditioner in 2020, a third of them did so for the first time. And most who had a particular model in mind said they got the one they wanted.

Our survey was conducted in the summer of 2020, after many states had issued stay-at-home orders. Forty-two percent of respondents who owned their air conditioners for a year or more said they were using them more frequently than they had during the previous summer. That highlights the importance of having a reliable model.

More On Air Conditioners

That’s where our survey ratings come in handy. CR members can read on for the details on the most and least reliable brands of window and portable air conditioners, along with ratings and reviews of models that earn top marks in our survey and lab tests.

Keep in mind that because of turnover in the marketplace, not every brand we test appears in our survey, and vice versa. The brands that do appear are those that are on the market and that our members purchased over the past 10 years.

Predicted Reliability

All eight brands of window air conditioners and five of nine brands of portable ACs in our survey earn a Very Good or Excellent rating for predicted reliability.

Become a member to read the full article and get access to digital ratings.

We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.