Product Reviews

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Best Window Air Conditioners of 2019

Top choices from Consumer Reports' tests

Image of a woman enjoying her window air conditioner

All of the window air conditioners in Consumer Reports' latest tests do a good enough job at keeping you cool. What distinguishes one  from the other is how quickly and quietly it cools a room—and how easy it is to operate.

And you don’t have to pay a lot to get heat relief. The window air conditioners in our tests range from $150 to $470, with prices climbing as size and capacity (Btu) increase.

To help a window unit run more efficiently, look for a model equipped with insulating panels. "Most new window ACs come with panels you place over the plastic adjustable side panels to boost efficiency," says Chris Regan, CR's senior test engineer for air conditioners. Adding weatherstripping around the perimeter will also prevent air from leaking in or out.

For more on getting the best fit, find out how to size a window air conditioner

How We Test Window ACs
After installing the unit in a double-hung window in our testing chamber, we crank up the air temperature to 90° F, then measure how long it takes the AC to cool the room by 10° F. The best units hit the mark in less than 15 minutes. We also gauge how accurately the AC reaches its set temperature, whether it can recover from a simulated brownout, the intuitiveness of the controls, and how loud each unit is running on low and high.

CR members can read on for ratings and reviews of three top picks for each room size. And there are even more choices in our full air conditioner ratings, recommendations, and buying guide