9 Best Air Conditioners For Apartments [Buyer’s Guide 2021]

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There’s almost nothing better than spending a hot summer day out in the sun, splashing in the water, kicking back with family and friends. But a hot summer day spent indoors without air conditioning can be absolutely dreadful. 

Most new homes and apartment buildings are equipped with central air systems to keep every room cool and comfortable at all times. But if you reside in an older building that doesn’t have central air, you’ll need your own air conditioning unit.

And there are so many to choose from for your apartment…

Whether you’re looking for a way to cool down your bedroom, living room, or entire place, here are the 9 best air conditioners for apartments.

Things to Keep in Mind When Buying an Air Conditioner

Before you buy yourself a new AC unit or add one to your Amazon cart, there are a few things you should consider. 

First and foremost, pay attention to the size. Air conditioners come in compact and large sizes, so be sure to buy one that fits where you intend to install it. 

Second, pay attention to how many BTUs the air conditioner has. BTU stands for British thermal unit and refers to the amount of heat a particular air conditioner can remove from a room. The higher the BTU rating, the more space it can cool down.  

Before buying an air conditioner for your apartment, be sure to check with your landlord or property manager and see if window units are allowed — sometimes they’re not. Air conditioners also operate at different voltage and wattage levels, so check with your landlord to ensure that you have the electrical capacity to run it! 

In order to buy the proper AC unit, you’ll also need to know the square footage of the room size. How many square feet you have will dictate how many BTUs you need.

If you want to cool a bedroom that’s 150 square feet, you’ll want a unit that’s at least 5,000 BTUs. If you’re going to cool down a 400 square foot living room, you’ll need an air conditioner with 12,000 BTUs. The bigger the size of the room, the more BTUs you’ll need. 

The other important factor to consider when buying an air conditioner is the type of installation method. Window units have to be installed inside a window frame with the back vent of the unit hanging outside. Portable air conditioners stand on the floor and connect to a duct hose that goes through your window to blow the hot air outside. 

Window units are more cumbersome and slightly harder to install. Portable units can be installed relatively easily, but they also take up floor space. 

Window Air Conditioners

Ready to add some cool air inside and vent that hot air out? A window air conditioner is one of the most effective ways to do so. And because they don’t take up any floor space, they’re perfect for use in small areas. 

Here are five of the best window air conditioners to check out now:

Friedrich Chill 5,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner

Friedrich has been around since 1883 and continues to make some of the best air conditioning units on the market. 

​The Friedrich Chill 5,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner features three fan speeds so you can set your perfect cooling level. It’s also Wi-Fi compatible so that you can control it through your phone with the Friedrich smartphone app.

A digital display panel makes it easy to operate and maintain, and it includes washable filters so you can be sure you’re not breathing in unwanted dust particles. 

Available at Build.com, $269

Whirlpool 5,000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Air Conditioner

If you’re looking for a reliable and affordable AC unit, the Whirlpool 5,000 BTU Window-Mounted Air Conditioner is a great option. Perfect for a room that’s up to 150 square feet in size, this unit includes an installation kit that makes it easy to mount inside your window. 

Because this unit is so inexpensive, it doesn’t come with an impressive digital panel or remote control. Instead, it has manual dials that you’ll have to turn on and off and set for yourself. In addition, it offers two fan speeds and comes with a removable (and washable) air filter to ensure the best air quality at all times. 

Available at Home Depot, $169.99

Frigidaire 5,000 BTU Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner

Need a reliable window AC unit for your bedroom or small living space? 

The Frigidaire 5,000 BTU Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner features two fan speeds, an automatic shutoff, a timer and a sleep mode option. It boasts a programmable digital display and comes with a remote, washable filter and expandable side panels to fit windows of different widths.

If energy efficiency is of concern, don’t worry — this AC unit is Energy Star certified. It uses less energy than most standard air conditioners of the same size, which helps to lower your monthly electricity bill. 

Available at Home Depot, $199.99

LG 6,000 BTU 115V Window Air Conditioner with Remote Control

When it comes to appliance manufacturers, LG is one of the most respected, and this AC unit is an excellent choice for any bedroom or living room. 

The LG 6,000 BTU 115V Window Air Conditioner with Remote Control can cool a room up to 260 square feet. It features an easy-to-use electronic control panel, has three fan speeds and cooling speeds and operates at 52 decibels in low mode. Some air conditioners can be noisy, so if you’re looking for something quiet for your bedroom, this is one to check out. 

Need something more powerful? LG makes similar models with up to 24,500 BTUs if you’re looking to cool down a larger space. 

Available at Amazon, $219.99

Frigidaire 10,000 BTU Cool Connect Window Air Conditioner with Wi-Fi Control

Need some serious cooling power? Check out the Frigidaire 10,000 BTU Cool Connect Window Air Conditioner, which sets itself apart from other ACs with its sleek, modern design. 

With 10,000 BTUs, this air conditioner can cool a room up to 450 square feet. It’s smart, so you can connect it to your Wi-Fi and operate it remotely through the Frigidaire app. It’s also energy-efficient, with an Energy Star rating so that you can save a few bucks on your utility bills. 

This AC unit includes three cooling speeds and fan speeds, a 24-hour timer and can be controlled remotely. You can set the unit to your desired temperature when you’re on your way home from work and enter a perfectly chilled apartment as soon as you step in the door. 

Available at Amazon, $409.99

Related: The 6 Best Window Air Conditioners [Stay Cool As A Cucumber]

Portable Air Conditioners

If your apartment building doesn’t allow window units, portable units are the way to go. Portable air conditioners are freestanding — they sit on the floor and vent hot air out through a window using an exhaust hose. Exterior venting is required with every AC unit, but you won’t see any bulky exterior parts with a portable unit. The unit and the hose are visible from the inside of the room only.

Trey Lewis from HVAC Training Group shared a bit of insider information with us about why a portable unit might not be as beneficial for your apartment as a window unit. “Portable air conditioner units create negative pressure inside your room. This causes warm air to be sucked into your room from the outside, while also dumping already cool air from your room out the window. The net effect is that an equally-rated portable AC will perform much worse than a window AC. Also, Portable units  have a condensate collection tank that needs to be emptied regularly, especially if you live in a humid climate. In the summer, you might need to empty the tank every day!” 

It’s important to note that some portable AC units require more BTUs to cool a room than standard window AC units. So before you buy a mobile AC unit, read the specs thoroughly to make sure that it has enough BTUs to cool your size room.   

Here are some of the best portable air conditioners that you can set up in one space or move from room to room as needed. 

Soleus Air 6,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

With 6,000 BTUs of cooling capacity, the Soleus Air Portable Air Conditioner is ideal for use in a room up to 200 square feet. 

This portable unit sits on rolling casters so that you can move it from room to room. It comes with a handy window installation kit containing an exhaust hose and window adapter so that you can vent it outside. It also has an optional drainage method with a drain stopper to continuously drain condensation when humidity is high. 

A digital display panel makes it easy to program and use, and it features a sleep mode, fan mode and a dehumidifier mode for use on extra-muggy days. You can also set this portable unit to auto mode, conserving energy by only running the compressor when the temp drops below your set temperature. 

Available at Sylvane, $368.95

Black + Decker BPACT 12WT Portable Air Conditioner, 12,000 BTUs

Enjoy the feeling of blasting cold air in your living room or bedroom with this 12,000 BTU portable AC unit. The Black + Decker BPACT 12WT Portable Air Conditioner is quiet and powerful enough to cool a room up to about 150 square feet. 

In white with grey accents, this unit coordinates easily with any décor. It comes with a window adapter, a hose that runs from the unit to the window and bottom wheels so you can move it if need be. 

This portable AC unit features a digital display, a remote control, dehumidify mode and a fan mode when you only need a slight breeze. It’s energy-efficient and energy-saving with a 24-hour timer that makes it easy to control the temperature of your apartment throughout the day. 

Available at Amazon, $469.54 

LG 8,000 BTU Smart Wi-Fi Portable Air Conditioner

The LG 8,000 BTU Smart Wi-Fi Portable Air Conditioner is powerful enough to cool a 350 square foot room. It boasts an LCD and comes with a remote control so you can set the thermostat and change modes from a distance. It’s also built with a filter alarm that lets you know when the filter needs to be cleaned. 

With two fan speeds and Wi-Fi compatibility, this portable unit comes with an outdoor exhaust vent, a window installation kit and a 24 hour on/off timer. The sleek black finish makes it perfect if you’re looking for an AC unit that blends in rather than stands out.

Available at Home Depot, $459 

Whynter Elite 12,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner

You can cool down a room up to 400 square feet in size with the Whynter Elite 12,000 Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner. This unit has three different modes — use it as an air conditioner, a fan or a dehumidifier. 

Like most portable AC units, this Whynter model includes a window installation kit with an exhaust hose and features a full digital display with a programmable timer. 

This unit is also an award winner. Good Housekeeping voted it as one of the best portable air conditioners in 2019.   

Available at Amazon, $600

Related: How Often do you Need to Replace your Air Conditioner?

What Are the Best Air Conditioners for Apartments?

If you live in an apartment without central air, window air conditioners are the way to go, as long as your landlord or property owner allows them. If they don’t, a portable AC unit is the next best alternative. 

Portable AC units tend to be the more expensive options and slightly less powerful, but they’re much easier to install, and you can easily take them with you when you move out. Window units are generally more affordable, though they’re often heavy and require a second set of hands to install. 

If your landlord allows window units, we recommend going that route. If they don’t, a portable unit is the next best choice. 

No matter which type of AC unit you buy, be sure to take it with you when you move out. If you end up moving into a new place with central air, donate it to a family in need and make someone else’s life a little more comfortable in the hot summer months!

You might also be interested in: How to Get Scratches Out Of Glass [Without Ruining It]

The 9 Best Air Conditioners for Apartments:

  1. Friedrich Chill 5,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner
  2. Whirlpool 5,000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Air Conditioner
  3. Frigidaire 5,000 BTU Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner
  4. LG 6,000 BTU 115V Window Air Conditioner with Remote Control
  5. Frigidaire 10,000 BTU Cool Connect Window Air Conditioner with Wi-Fi Control
  6. Soleus Air 6,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
  7. Black + Decker BPACT 12WT Portable Air Conditioner, 12,000 BTUs
  8. LG 8,000 BTU Smart Wi-Fi Portable Air Conditioner
  9. Whynter Elite 12,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner
Jessica Heston

Jessica Heston

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