Few modern inventions are better than air conditioning, as there’s nothing worse than not being able to feel comfortable during the brutal summer heat. But figuring out which kind of air conditioning system that’s best for you can be complicated, as it turns out there are quite several different options depending on your needs.
Each kind of unit — whether it’s portable, wall-mounted, mini-split or a whole-home system — is going to have its pros and cons around power (BTUs), energy efficiency (SEER), and how well-suited it is to cool your individual square footage. We’ve rounded up the top three picks across each of those four categories with that in mind. Portable and wall-mounted units are easier to acquire. You can get them from most traditional retailers, but mini-split and whole-home units will require professional installation to make sure they’re set up and running effectively.
Regardless of your cooling needs, there’s bound to be a solution to help you keep cool and carry on as the summer heat starts to roll around. Below, find all the helpful information you need to make you cool as a cucumber.
Portable Air Conditioner
1. SereneLife SLACHT128 Portable Air Conditioner
With an impressive 12,000 BTUs worth of cooling power to support a room of 325 square feet, the SereneLife SLACHT128 is one of the best portable air conditioners of 2021. It’s strong enough to cool down a large bedroom or living room with ease. The unit allows for adjustable fan speeds that let you dial in whatever level of cooling you may need at a given moment while providing a low noise level. Plus, it can also be used as a heater in the winter and a dehumidifier in the summer. Oh, and it also includes tools to let you wall-mount it should you desire to do so.
2. Whynter ARC-14S Portable Air Conditioner
With an impressive 14,000 BTUs worth of cooling power, this portable air conditioner from Whynter is capable of cooling a space of up to 500 square feet, which will cool most studio or one-bedroom apartments with ease. The dual-hose operation helps to provide fast cooling power. Simultaneously, the advanced auto drain tech actively uses and recycles moisture collected during the cooling process to produce more cool air. And, of course, you use the unit as a heater or dehumidifier when needed.
3. Black + Decker Portable Air Conditioner
Black + Decker’s portable air conditioner features enough cooling power to handle a 300 to 350 square foot room with ease, which should cover the span of most individual rooms. The easy-to-use LED display allows you to control the temperature with precision and even includes a remote, so you don’t have to get up and adjust it when needed. Furthermore, the unit includes several pre-set functionalities, including sleep, max, and breeze, to better suit your needs.
Window Air Conditioner
1. Frigidaire Window-Mounted Air Conditioner
This 8,000 BTUs window-mounted air conditioner from stalwart appliance brand Frigidaire is a great value purchase for those looking to get a decent window unit that includes a few key features in addition to just providing plenty of cooling power. The unit will cool a 350 square foot room with ease and includes all the mounting kit pieces you’ll need to install yourself. Additionally, the low-power start-up and operation help save you money, while the unit’s quiet nature will save you on sleep. Plus, electronic controls make it easy to set and forget your desired temperature.
2. LG Window-Mounted Air Conditioner
The best part about this window-mounted air conditioner from LG is the fact it’s WiFi-enabled, which allows you all kinds of control over your a/c. That means after a long day of work, you can make sure you’re coming home to a cool room thanks to its 12,000 BTU cooling power, which will handle a room size of up to 550 square feet. Additionally, the unit can be controlled via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to make it even easier to use, while the dual inverter compressors make the unit 40% more energy-efficient, so feel free to run it as long as you’d like without worry.
3. Midea U Invert Window-Mounted Air Conditioner
If having a quiet window unit is the most important thing to you, be sure to spring for this option from Midea. The unit boasts a unique U-shaped design that helps to block noise, making it up to nine times quieter than other units actively. Along with that feature, the unit can be controlled over WiFi and partnered with Google and Amazon Alexa for voice control. The 8,000 BTU cooling power should cover most bedrooms, but there are more powerful options available if you’re looking for a boost.
Mini Split Air Conditioner
1. Mitsubishi Mini Split Air Conditioner
Mitsubishi’s Electric division has proven itself to be the leader in the mini-split world, pioneering itself as a leader in ductless mini-split technology, which provides an overall higher energy efficient rating. The majority of the brand’s units allow for a combination of both air conditioning and heating, allowing for year-round use when you need it. Additionally, Mitsubishi leverages a special technology that uses an infrared sensor better to identify cold and hot spots within a room and then direct airflow to or from those spots to manage temperatures better and evenly.
2. LG Mini Split Air Conditioner
LG is spearheading the way on ducted-based mini split air conditioners, which means the air conditioning unit is housed in existing ductwork close to the vent, which means the interior unit largely remains out of sight and out of mind. Depending on which route you want to go, LG’s units can be installed at greater heights and distances from the outdoor unit than other brands and are based on WiFi, which allows you to place them further apart from one another. The majority of the units are pretty stylish (insofar as you can be with these kinds of things) and come in a variety of different BTU powers.
3. Fujitsu Mini Split Air Conditioner
Fujitsu specializes in ductless mini splits, which offer various lengths for connecting conduits, allowing you to position the outdoor unit much further away from the indoor unit than with other brands. In short, you could cool the front of your home and have your outdoor unit in the backyard without an issue. Additionally, each individual mini-split zone comes with its own thermostat, which allows you to have greater control over your home than with central air conditioning. The ability to lock in whatever temperature you want makes for quite a compelling offering.
Central Air Conditioner
Extremely reliable and durable with a great price and value, Heil heating and cooling products are our pick for best central air conditioning. The brand uses universal parts, which means should something break down at one point or another, the pieces aren’t too specialized, making replacement easy. Additionally, Heil units come with a no-hassle warranty that provides a replacement for the entire a/c unit should the compressor or a coil fail at any point or another. And with a full range of air conditioners that range from 14 to 19 SEER, there’s surely a unit that will work for your needs.
A few years ago, Goodman was purchased by another company and has seen its business transform for the better, with the overall quality of the units increasing dramatically. Among one of the most affordable brands out there, Goodman units also use many universal parts, making replacements easily. Additionally, Goodman’s compressors offer a lifetime warranty — including a full replacement of the unit should the compressor fail within the first 10 years of use.
Carrier is worth considering for the sheer number of options they provide and the outstanding quality of each unit they install. Their full range of products boasts an energy efficiency rating of 13 – 22 SEER, making them among the best in the business. Additionally, repairs are pretty easy to handle with impressive customer service and a 10-year comprehensive warranty.