Best Smart Air Conditioners From Consumer Reports' Tests

Forget the remote. Run your AC from your smartphone or digital voice assistant.

When you shop through retailer links on our site, we may earn affiliate commissions. 100% of the fees we collect are used to support our nonprofit mission. Learn more.

air conditioner
Project leader Chris Regan testing a smart AC in the CR labs.

Most window air conditioners come with a remote, but where does that leave you when it goes missing? Sweaty and rummaging through the couch cushions.

Smart air conditioners offer a cool solution. Thanks to built-in WiFi, you can switch on a smart AC from your smartphone or by asking your voice-controlled smart assistant to do it for you. That’s pretty handy if you want to cool down the house before you get home from work but don’t want to waste energy running the AC all day.

With a smart AC, you can do more than turn it on and off remotely. You can remotely check and change the temperature, select the modes and fan speeds, easily program a cooling schedule, and, in some cases, connect several air conditioners and run them in concert. Some apps even monitor your energy use and send alerts when air filters need cleaning.

You can give anyone in the household access to take control by using the app with his or her phone.

More on Air Conditioning

In Consumer Reports’ tests of dozens of window air conditioners, we’re seeing more that have smart features or can be connected to WiFi with an add-on kit. In our tests we discovered that not every smart air conditioner is a brilliant performer.

Although we don’t test every app, Chris Regan, who oversees our air conditioner tests, installed a smart AC at home and surprised his children when he turned it on from the office when the rest of the family was home. “That was fun,” he says. “The smart features are a nice addition. But before investing in a smart AC, you want to make sure it can perform its primary function of keeping you cool.”

How We Test Window ACs

After installing a unit in a double-hung window in our climate-controlled test chamber, we crank up the air temperature to 90° F, then measure how long it takes the AC to cool the space by 10° F. Regan says the best units do it in less than 15 minutes. We also gauge how accurately the AC reaches its set temperature, whether a model can recover after a simulated brownout, how intuitive the controls are, and how loud each unit is running on low and high.

If you have a Digital or All-Access membership to CR, you can read on for ratings and reviews of the smart ACs from CR’s air conditioner tests.

Best Midsized Smart AC

7,000 to 8,500 Btu; Cools 250 to 400 Square Feet

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.