Compbrella Guide to The Air Conditioners
When temperatures rise, tempers flare and sleep is rare. If you’re like me and live in a hot climate, a good, dependable, efficient air conditioner is a must-have for living. Some of us are used to living with an AC, but with climate change creating longer, hotter summers, many people in cooler areas are investing air conditioners to keep cool.
What type of Air Conditioners is right for you?
When shopping for an air conditioner, you discover that there are quite a few options to consider, so choosing the right size for your home requires some thinking.
- Window Air Conditioner: Window air conditioners are placed within the window frames themselves, with half inside your home blowing out cold air and the other half out the window, exhausting hot air. They require a little installation where you secure the AC unit to the window frame. Despite that, they are technically portable, as you can move them to another window.
- Portable Air Conditioner: Portable air conditioners are meant for homes where you can’t install a window unit or these. They have dual exhaust ports, one for releasing cool air and one for exhausting it, which means you’ll have to locate it in a place you can let the hot air out, like near a window. These are floor models that are mobile, usually on wheels, and are very useful in older buildings or in colder climates where you don’t usually need an air conditioner.
- Split Air Conditioner: Also known as “ductless” models, these are the most popular air conditioning for the home. It works by having a main outdoor hub sending cool air to multiple mini stations placed throughout your home. Split models are more expensive than portable or window units but they are much quieter and will cool a greater area and rooms in your home.
Are Portable Air Conditioners worth the money?
Portable air conditioners may appear to be a good solution if you’re looking to cool down a room for the summer and otherwise wouldn’t use an air conditioner but we found that they’re just not as good as window units. Portable units can range between $300-$700, but that’s a price you would pay for the largest window unit available, and it still won’t perform as well.
The portables won’t cool down a living room as efficiently as a medium-size window unit. They also use more energy and are much louder than the other options because the mechanical parts are sitting there with you in the room.
What to look for when shopping for Air Conditioners
Air conditioners can come in many different sizes, shapes, and operating methods. Before you hop over to the store and buy one take into consideration where and why you need it.
- How much space do you need to be cooled: A small AC isn’t going to give you the coverage you need if your space is too big or you have multiple rooms to cool. Small units cool between 100-300 square feet, the medium is for 250-400, and large is for 350-650 square feet. In addition, window units will only cool one room, so if you have several rooms to cool, look into investing in a split air conditioner for the home.
- How is your home constructed: Certain building materials affect which AC will be right for you. For example, if your home is mostly brick you may have to look for a more powerful model than if you lived in a newer building because brick retains heat and keeps your home warmer. And remember, if you only have one window in a room, that window is going to be unusable if it’s occupied by a window unit air conditioner or if the exhaust from the portable unit is coming out there.
- Check for noise levels: Nobody wants to sleep in a bedroom with a clanging AC all night. Look for models that have good noise scores. Portable air conditioners, in particular, are loud so if you’re a light sleeper best to skip that one.
- Financial cost: You know how much money you’re willing to spend on the best air conditioner for your home, but have you factored in the later costs? Bigger units need more electricity to run and if you live in a hot climate where you’ll run the AC for long periods, your electricity bill will reflect that. Look for units that have good reviews for energy efficiency and budget accordingly.
- Warranty: I cannot stress this enough, make sure you have a good warranty. Air conditioners break down, particularly if they are used a lot. Getting it repaired or even having to buy a new one will blow a hole in your expenses, so make sure you are covered by the manufacturer.
Compbrella Pick for Top 3 Best Air Conditioners
Best Overall: Frigidaire FGRC084WA1 – For your bedroom where you need cold quiet air all night. This window unit costs a bit more but it is powerful enough to keep you cool while you sleep soundly and peacefully.
2nd Best: Frigidaire FFRE083ZA1 19″ Energy Star Window Mounted Air Conditioner – This window unit is as cost efficient and powerful as the LG model. It’s easy to install, and also smaller and lighter than the LG, but it is a bit louder.
Best Value: LG Energy Star Window Air Conditioner – This window air conditioner blows cool, efficient, relaxing air into your living room while still running quietly. It is also smart home compatible so you can control it from your phone anywhere you go.