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The best air conditioning

Why You Should Trust Us

This is our sixth year of recommending window air conditioners, and my fourth year on this cycle, personally. We completed approximately 115 hours of research and spent more than 40 hours performing real-life testing, along with more than 1,000 hours of cooling through the models we recommended. Our experts include an Environmental Protection Agency representative who manages the Energy Star program, and Max Sherman, a HVAC + R engineer (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration), who works as senior research associate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The Right Air Conditioner Size for You

Measure the square footage of the room you need to cool off, then look at this Energy Star chart to find the appropriate cooling capacity, measured in British Thermal Units (Btu). Sunlight, ceiling height, device heat, and the number of people normally in the room can affect the capacity you need. However, floor size is the most important factor. You will not always be able to find an AC with the perfect Btu rating, so you may need to get together. For example, nobody makes a 9,000 BTU window AC, so a 1

0,000 BTU window AC is the next best option in this case.

Do not fall into the trap of buying a significantly under or over powered air conditioning system. Smaller devices cost less, so you might be tempted to downsize if you want to save a few bucks. But an underpowered alternating current will run constantly, trying to get the room to the target temperature and a comfortable humidity. That's a waste of energy and you will not even be so comfortable. If you get a device that is too big, it can cause your room to become clammy because it lowers the temperature faster than it removes moisture from the air. "There's more on and off, and then you'll lose some of your moisture control," Sherman said.

Do several rooms need to be cooled? It's more effective to get several smaller air conditioners and put them in each room instead of buying a large unit. When two rooms are separated by a door opening, they are "thermally separated," as Sherman put it. This means that air conditioning in your living room does not add much to the cooling of your bedroom. Sure, you need to spend more money to buy two 6,000 BTU ACs than you would get just a 12,000 BTU AC. But you get a much more accurate, comfortable air conditioning, if you use the right machine for each room.

How did we select

the air conditioners that we tested in 2017? Note: Stacking in this manner does not constitute a proper installation. Photo: Liam McCabe

The best window air conditioner makes you most comfortable in your home. For most people, this means choosing a quiet AC without whimpering, groaning or whirring, with as much control over the climate settings and directions as possible. Ideally, the best air conditioner will pass the bedroom test: if it's good enough to sleep nearby, it's good enough for any other room in your house.

Everything else is much less important. Installation and maintenance should be easy, but they do not vary too much from model to model, and you only have to deal with it a few times a year. And cooling performance and energy efficiency are so similar to window ACs at a given BTU rating that is hardly worth worrying about. When comparing models, the difference in reaching a target temperature is never more than a few minutes, and the difference in annual operating costs is never more than a few dollars.

For this guide, we focused on 8,000 Btu window air conditioners because it's the most popular size in retail, meaning that's what most people need. These ACs are suitable for rooms between 300 and 350 square meters, about the size of a cozy living room or large bedroom. (Keeping a common Btu rating also helped us make apple-to-apple comparisons between our top competitors.) Air conditioners of this size can cost between $ 180 and $ 730, but you can get a good model for $ 220 For sale, and the best model you reasonably want costs about $ 370.

If you want to cool a larger or smaller space than the average, most of our picks are available in different sizes. We did not take into account the other sizes, but we are pretty confident that our results will last for models between 6,000 and 12,000 Btu.

How We Tested

Video: Liam McCabe

In 2017, we started our testing by tracking down about 45 of our current window conditioners with this cooling capacity. Based on specifications, features, price, and experience with older versions of some models, we chose eight finalists, divided into three subgroups.

The first group is just standard, affordable, Energy Star-qualified window units, including the LG LW8016ER, our top pick from 2016; the Frigidaire FFRE0833S1, our runner-up from 2016; and the newer GE AHM08LW.

The next group consists of quieter models, including the Friedrich Chill CP08G10B, one of our upgrade picks from 2016; the Haier Serenity Series ESAQ406T, a 6,000 BTU model; and the Frigidaire Gallery FGRQ08L3T1, our upgrade option from 2017.

Finally, the smart ACs that have Wi-Fi antennas to work with smartphone apps or other smart home systems: the GE AEC08LW that works with an app, as well as Alexa and the LG LW8017ERSM, which is essentially our main pick, but with app control.

Among these finalists, we have focused on noise as a major differentiator. Window air conditioners can be damn loud these days, louder than before. Some people find that the hum of the compressor and the noise of the fan make it difficult to sleep in the same room as a window AC. When it's in a living room, you expect to raise your voice and turn the TV. According to this Energy Star memo (PDF, page 2), manufacturers claim that this crawling is a side effect of stricter efficiency standards. (That's probably true, though it's also a time-honored tradition for industry groups to pull their feet and complain about regulations.) But some models are easier on the ears than others, and we strongly favored air conditioning systems with a lower operating volume and a smoother one Frequency Response

We developed our noise test with the help of audiovisual expert and wirecutter associate Geoff Morrison. We connected a calibrated microphone to an iPhone 5S and then powered up the SPLnFFT noise meter app to slowly set it to C weighting. We stood 6 feet away from each unit and measured the volume at the low, medium and high fan settings, with and without the compressor. During these tests, we've found that frequency spikes that your ears would hear as irritating, shrill howls, or the kind of midrange that you are not even aware of, will give you a headache until it stops running. [19659005] The other way we judged our finalists was the level (and quality) of user control they allowed. An important area in which window ACs may differ is their fan openings, which control the direction of the airflow. When you sleep near your air conditioner, you usually want to be able to move the cold air away from your body or at least away from your head. However, some models have blind spots where the airflow never or never reaches. We also took into account the number of fan speeds, additional cooling modes, and the depth of the remote – including all the smart, Wi-Fi-controlled features.

Our Selection: LG LW8016ER

The LG LW8016ER is the best affordable AC for a home office or living area because it is quiet, gives you more control than others and costs less than its competitors. Photo: Liam McCabe

The LG LW8016ER is the AC window you're likely to get, especially if it's an office, a den or other room where you do not sleep. For some people it will be good in a bedroom too. It's widely used and the price is fair, so you should not have trouble finding it at short notice – for example, in the middle of a heatwave that you're probably reading this article. It is quieter and hums at a lower pitch compared to other ACs at this price, so it's easier on the ears. And while the AC controller is not rocket science, it offers a greater degree of flexibility than most competitors, and covers all the small details, from the fan's direction controls, to outdoor ventilation, to the dehumidifier mode, and the removable drain plug. This is the second summer in a row in which we have recommended the LW8016ER as our first choice.

Most air conditioners are noisy, but the LW8016ER is the worst of the 250 kW, 8000 Btu ACs. It is slightly quieter overall and sounds deeper. The absolute loudest, with the compressor on and the fan full, we measured it at 66 dBC (that's the C-weighted decibel scale). At the slowest fan setting and with the compressor on, we measured about 62 dBC. The lowest fan setting (not cool) is about 60 dBC. Relative to our runner-up, this is about 1 dBC cooler in cooling modes and 3 dBC in fan-only mode.

Although the overall volume is not much quieter than competing models, the LW8016ER will probably sound the quietest. This is because it is loudest at low frequencies, lower by 86 hertz in our tests and quieter at medium and high frequencies. This means that the most striking sound is a deep hum. It is almost (almost) relaxing. Compared to other models of about 1,500 and 2,000 hertz – the kind of mids, "whooshy" frequencies your ears can wear down after a few hours – it's relatively quiet. We also did not notice any high-frequency spikes, these are the kinds of irritating, whiny noises that most people can not even endure for a few minutes. All this means that this AC is easier for the ears than its lowest-priced competitors – even though it's still a bit louder overall than most of us.

The LW8016ER has fan blades that are just as effective as any AC air to point exactly where you want it. It's an example of the superior control this AC offers. Photo: Liam McCabe

The LW8016ER also offers extra controls that look very small but can make a big difference. For example, the fan blades are as effective as any other, to direct the air to where it wants to go, and to prevent it from going where you are not. This can be useful if you are sleeping near the air conditioner so you can channel the cold air away from your head at night. Some window units have problems with the fan direction and have cold spots where they can not stop blowing air – no problem with the LG.

The LW8016ER also has a removable drain plug at the back of the unit's climate. This can drain condensation from the bottom of the unit if it builds up too much, as it can happen when it is very humid and the air conditioner has to run for hours. Some condensed water in the base of the AC can be good, because it helps to improve the efficiency. The air circulation fan has special "spinner" tips that fly over the top of the puddle and inject some water onto the condenser coils to cool them down more quickly. But when it is very humid, the puddle gets deeper and the fan starts to make the flickering or bubbling sound, similar to a water fountain. Some ACs do not have this drain, so the water in the AC remains trapped until you manually tilt it to drain it. Others place the drain plug on the bottom where it is much harder to reach without disassembling the entire unit.

If too much condensation builds up in the bottom of the LW8016ER, as in a very humid climate, you can pull out this plug and drain the water. This will prevent those annoying flicker noises caused by the fan spinning through a puddle. Photo: Liam McCabe

Unlike most window-mounted air conditioners, the LW8016ER also has ventilation that delivers approximately 10 percent of fresh outdoor air when you open it. It is a good idea to bring new air into your house from time to time. So, if you can not open the window while the air conditioner is installed, this is a good way out.

The LW8016ER also has a special dehumidifier mode. this could be of some use in these early-autumn afternoons when it is too cold to run the AC, but humid enough that you need some relief. Some window ACs have it, others do not.

The LG also has all the other basic features that most of us expect from a window AC: an installation kit, a digital thermostat, a remote control, three fan speeds, some foam strips to fill in the gaps around the device a foam board installed via the accordion curtains, a power saving mode in which both the cooling unit and the fan are switched off once the room has reached the target temperature. Hour Meter

The LW8016ER uses a different coolant than most ACs, and while this was not important to our decision, we think it makes sense to point it out. The R32 refrigerant is still slightly more efficient compared to the typical R410A refrigerants, and represents energy savings of about $ 1 per year compared to most other 8,000 Btu Energy Star windowed alternators. It is not much, but it is something. R32 also has a much lower global warming potential than R410A. In the unlikely event that the refrigerant escapes from your air conditioner and enters the atmosphere, it only captures about a third of the heat. R32 is highly flammable, but presents a low safety risk.

As mentioned before, you will get the best results if you buy air conditioning with the correct Btu rating for the room you want to cool. We have specifically tested the 8,000 Btu variant, others are available from 5,000 Btu to 24,500 Btu. (The 5,000 BTU looks like a shitty, small air conditioner, so we recommend going up to 6,000 BTU units if your room is that small.) Here's a cheat sheet to help you find the right size :

Room Size (square feet) Btu Model Notes
100 to 150 5,000 LW5016 No remote no, digital thermostat
150 to 250 [19659036] 6000 LW6016R
300 to 350 8,000 LW8016ER Our choice
350 to 450 10,000 LW1016ER
450 to 550 12,000 LW1216ER
~ 800 15,000 LW1516ER
~ 1,000 18,000 LW1816ER 230 volts required
~ 1,250 24500 LW2516ER [19659036] 230 volts required

LG has a variant of the LW8016ER for summer 2017, known as LW8016ERY7, ver published. According to one representative from LG, this variant is a "technical revision", but has "no effect on operating volume, performance, noise level, efficiency" or other noticeable factors. You probably will not even notice this new variant in stores because it is only sold as a normal LW8016ER. We are confident that both versions will behave similarly, even though we are looking for new experiences this summer that point to new problems. Revisions like these are quite common in the home appliance industry when models are available for several years; Changes in the supply chain can lead to manufacturers, for example, using a different pump or fan in different production runs. LG did not mention what exactly changed here, but we are not worried about it.

Mistakes, but not Dropouts

It must be reiterated that the LW8016ER is not quiet, but only quietly [19459023Er as other window-conditioners at its price. We imagine that many people will have trouble sleeping in the same room as this thing. If you put air conditioning in your bedroom and are worried about noise, take a look at our upgrade selection, the Frigidaire Gallery FGRQ08L3T1.

The LW8016ER was the most laborious installation of all of our tested window units modest. The worst part is that the weight to the back of the unit is crooked, so it feels a bit more deceptive to sit on a windowsill. It's 58 pounds, but only 10 pounds heavier than the lightest model we've ever installed. Another finicky, moderately annoying detail: The side curtains are screwed in, while those of most other units snap into place. That means you only have to deal with the installation once in the spring and once in the fall, so that's no big deal. Call a friend, use a bracket and the installation is fine.

The remote control supplied with the LW8016ER is fairly simple, with no screen and only six buttons, compared to other ACs. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because the simpler interface means it can run on a single AAA battery rather than a pair. In addition, some people prefer a stripped-down control scheme.

Consumer Reports puts the LW8016ER in the rankings pretty low, mainly due to poor noise levels (worse than previous versions of the LG AC, which are still in the leaderboard's time of writing). According to our measurements, the LG runs this year almost exactly the same as in earlier versions. We are not sure how they came to this conclusion.

Runner-up: Frigidaire FFRE0833S1

A closer look at the Frigidaire's fan blades, a solid window unit that is a bit noisy compared to the units found this year. Photo: Liam McCabe

If our main selection is not available, the Frigidaire FFRE0833S1 is another affordable, widely used AC window. In terms of cooling performance, the FFRE0833S1 works just like our main picker and its price is often similar.

But for several reasons it is not our first choice. First, it runs a little louder (63 dBC at the lowest fan setting and 67 dBC at the maximum setting) and with a more noticeable, higher-pitched howl. You'll have to raise your voice and turn up the TV a lot more, and it'll be a bigger fight to fall asleep next to this thing.

Some small user controls are also missing. The disc-shaped fan blades of the FFRE0833S1 constantly blow at least some air to the right side of the unit, even if you steer most of it to the left. This can be annoying when it is near your bed and it blows cold air around your neck all night long. It also has no drain, so under very humid conditions it begins to produce a disturbing flickering, bubbling sound as the fan passes through the condensate pool in the baseplate. You must manually tilt the unit to empty it so that the noise stops when this happens to you.

In his favor, however, the Frigidaire FFRE0833S1 is easier to install than our main picker. It's 10 pounds lighter, with a smaller chassis and a more centered weight distribution. His side curtains also slide inward instead of screwing in, saving a few minutes of work and frustration.

The FFRE0833S1 also has a remote control with many features, including a built-in thermostat and a base screen. The idea is that when remote sensing mode is activated, the alternating current will continue until the air near the remote control (which could be on the opposite side of the room from the AC unit) reaches the target temperature and not the air near the AC itself We have tested several versions of this remote in recent years and it has always been very inaccurate. The calibration is far from about four degrees compared to the main unit. Other users shared similar experiences. But the remote did not affect our choice in one way or another.

Pricewise, our main pick and runner-up, can jump from day to day everywhere. But every summer we paid attention, we saw prices for the Frigidaire and LG models drop to $ 220 by the middle of summer and drop to $ 200 at times. Look for deals.

Like the LG LWxx16ER, the Frigidaire FFRExx33S1 is available in many different Btu values ​​from 5,000 to 22,000. It may also be available in "store exclusive" packages, with a slightly different SKU (it will have a "B" for the Best Buy version and an "L" for the Lowe version). In general, the remote control is the only difference.

Choose an upgrade: Frigidaire Gallery FGRQ08L3T1

Photo: Liam McCabe

If you install air conditioning in your bedroom, or if you just want peace and quiet in any other room, treat yourself to the (relatively) subdued performance the Frigidaire Gallery FGRQ08L3T1. It usually costs $ 50 to $ 80 more than our main pick or runner-up, but it runs very quietly and you'll sleep better all summer. However, it can be hard to find; Fortunately, Frigidaire is a very similar alternative, the FGRQ0833U1.

At the lowest fan setting and cooling mode, the Frigidaire FGRQ08L3T1 runs at only 54 dBC. That's 8 dB faster than our main selection, a very obvious difference. With the high fan setting, the FGRQ08L3T1 is also at least 6 dBC quieter than any other standard AC. Our tests have also registered no annoying frequency peaks. This model is not quiet, but if you fall asleep while watching TV, you may fall asleep near this air conditioner.

The FGRQ08L3T1 comes with an excellent kit, including retractable curtains, a lot of foam strips to fill in window gaps, foam tape to cushion the edges of the brackets, foam panels to further insulate the accordion curtains, and screw in brackets to the Secure AC to the window frame. It's also a few pounds lighter than our main range, and the weight is centered so it's a little less upsetting to install.

Most modes on the FGRQ08L3T1 are pretty typical: three fan speeds, cooling mode, power saver mode, fan-only mode, a timer. The remote is pretty simple, but looks smooth.

This AC is available in an 8,000 BTU version (FGRQ08L3T1) and a 6,000 BTU version (FGRQ06L3T1). As far as cooling performance and energy efficiency are concerned, you expect them to be about the same as our first and second choices. As we said earlier, the window ACs are so accurately controlled that power and power consumption are very similar across the board.

The only real disadvantage of the Frigidaire Gallery FGRQ08L3T1 is the price: It only costs more than most other window ACs. We are also concerned about the availability. It is exclusive to Lowe & # 39; s, a perfectly good retailer – but over the years we've learned that ACs, when sourced from one source, are often hard to find by midsummer. We will update this guide if consistent availability issues occur in the coming months.

And in the meantime, if you really have trouble finding one of our recommendations, the FGRQ0833U1 is almost identical to the FGRQ08L3T1, according to Frigidaire. The 33U1 costs about $ 50 more, and we did not test it ourselves, but Frigidaire told us that both models have 8,000 BTUs, they have the same energy rating and they are both designed to cool rooms up to 350 square feet. If we bought air conditioning this summer and could not get our other picks, we would buy them.

Great too: Haier Serenity Series ESAQ406T

The Haier Serenity Series ESAQ406T runs much quieter than our main pick or runner-up, although it's designed for smaller rooms at 6,000 BTU. Photo: Liam McCabe

Our favorite bedroom AC, the Frigidaire Gallery FGRQ08L3T1, was hard to find for some readers in 2018. Both manufacturers and distributors have shared this inventory with us (this year and in the past) about these seasonal items, varying by region. If you can not find our Frigidaire Pick near you, or if it is no longer available online, we recommend the Haier Serenity Series ESAQ406T.

Reservations: The Haier model is only available in a 6000 BTU version – it is suitable for rooms smaller than 300 square feet. That should be fine for most city bedrooms, but check your measurements before buying. It also tends to be more expensive than the Frigidaire model. As with many air conditioners, the availability of store to store and in different regions is not uniform, but from May 2018 it was available on Amazon.

At its lowest fan setting and cooling mode enabled, the Haier ESAQ406T ran at just 54.5 dBC. It's just the quietest AC you can get – always louder than the Frigidaire Gallery FGRQ08L3T1 we prefer.

In terms of cooling performance and energy efficiency, the ESAQ406T is a 6,000 BTU model, weaker than our other picks. as well as slightly less efficient with an EER of 11.2 (from 12.1). However, since window ACs are so tightly regulated by the Department of Energy, we are confident that it will work much like the 6,000 Btu variants of our other picks.

Although the ESAQ406T is relatively quiet, it is definitely not quiet. It can still be too loud for light sleepers. As with any air conditioner, the compressor will kick off a little at startup. The compressor also hums a bit more than the other bedroom-oriented units that we tested this year, though this type of low-frequency sound can be reassuring for some people. If you can not sleep near this thing, you probably will not be able to sleep near any air conditioner. Try the earplugs.

The fan of this model is tilted upwards, so you can not direct cold air on yourself while lying in bed. This restriction disturbs some people.

The installation can be a bit scary because the weight is skewed towards the back corner of the unit, meaning that this AC is not as easily balanced on a window frame as others. It's also pretty heavy for its size, about the same weight as our 8,000 BTU main range. Ask a buddy for help when you get nervous.

As with many other specific models of hard-to-find air conditioning systems, the Haier Serenity series is subject to a variety of local storage conditions that can make availability inconsistent. 19659003] The Competition

The 8,000 BTU Friedrich Chill CP08G10B is our former upgrade pick for the last part of the summer of 2016. The ACs in this series are louder, bigger and more expensive than the 2017 Frigidaire or Haier models. In addition, the packaging is not so sturdy, making them more susceptible to damage. However, they are widely available and available in a larger size range, from 5,000 Btu to 24,000 Btu.

Der GE AHM08LW ist bei der höchsten Lüftereinstellung lauter als unser Main Pick um 2 dBC "Whoosh" im mittleren Bereich, also denken wir, dass es schwerer wird, für längere Zeit in der Nähe zu sitzen. Es kostet oft mehr als unsere Hauptauswahl (obwohl es bei ABT normalerweise billiger ist). Kein schlechter AC, aber auch keiner unserer Favoriten.

Einige ältere Versionen unserer Top-Picks schweben immer noch herum, nämlich der LG LWxx15ER und der Frigidaire FFRExx33Q1, die beide aus der Kühlsaison 2015 stammen. Sie verbrauchen etwa 5 Prozent mehr Energie als ihre neueren Versionen (zumindest nach Schätzungen von Department of Energy), was unserer Meinung nach ein guter Grund ist, die neuesten Modelle zu wählen.

Sears verkauft einige Kenmore-Klimaanlagen. Da es sich nur um Rebad-Versionen von Frigidaire ACs handelt, gelten die gleichen Schlussfolgerungen.

Wir haben auch etwa ein Dutzend Klimaanlagen gefunden, die Kopien von einander sind – alle identischen Maschinen, die von Midea hergestellt und unter Marken wie Danby, Arctic King verkauft werden Kool King, Comfort Aire und andere, von denen Sie wahrscheinlich noch nie gehört haben. Wir haben darüber nachgedacht, eines zu testen, aber wir wissen, dass ältere Versionen dieses AC eher laut waren und die aktuellen Effizienzstandards wahrscheinlich bedeuten, dass die neuen Modelle noch lauter sind. Außerdem sind sie in den meisten großen Einzelhandelsgeschäften und Internethändlern nicht erhältlich.

Intelligente Klimaanlagen

Wenn Sie Ihre Klimaanlage von einem Smartphone aus steuern möchten, um die kalte Luft in Ihrer Wohnung zu bekommen während du dich zum Beispiel noch auf dem Heimweg von der Arbeit befindest – hast du einige Möglichkeiten.

Die einfachste Art, dies zu tun, besteht darin, eine normale dumme digitale AC auf einen intelligenten Stecker wie den Belkin WeMo zu rüsten. Damit können Sie die Klimaanlage über eine Smartphone-App oder mit den Sprachbefehlen von Alexa ein- und ausschalten. Sie können die Temperatur- oder Lüftereinstellungen nicht anpassen, aber die meisten Leute, die diese Einstellung haben, scheinen mit dieser Einschränkung zufrieden zu sein. Überprüfe, ob deine Elektrizitätsgesellschaft intelligente Stecker verschenkt, wie dieses Con Edison-Programm in New York City.

Für mehr Kontrolle waren deine Optionen in der Vergangenheit nicht sehr gut. Wir haben fast jedes intelligente (Wi-Fi-verbundene) AC-Modell getestet, das jemals in den USA verfügbar war, und wir müssen noch eines finden, das zuverlässig funktioniert. Dies ist jedoch ein wachsendes Feld, und wir sind daran interessiert, eines von mehreren neuen GE-Modellen zu testen, die im Frühjahr 2018 angekündigt wurden und auf die wir uns in etwas ausführlicherem Detail beziehen.

Die Frigidaire Gallery Cool Connect FGRC0844S1, Zum Beispiel schien es in Ordnung, als wir es im Sommer 2016 getestet haben. Es ist eine relativ ruhige, gut aussehende Einheit, und die Begleiter-App sieht glatt aus und reagiert schnell auf uns – zuerst. Aber nach ein paar Wochen warf die App alle paar Tage Fehlermeldungen aus und bat uns, den AC wieder mit unserem Wi-Fi-Netzwerk zu verbinden. Da wir die Maschine ständig zurücksetzen mussten, funktionierte die Planungsfunktion nicht sehr gut. Wir denken auch, dass sich die AC bei einer Gelegenheit ohne Vorankündigung eingeschaltet hat; Allerdings hätte dies auch eine sehr verzögerte Reaktion auf einen App-Befehl sein können, den wir schon vor Stunden oder Tagen vergessen hatten. Unser Langzeit-Tester hat es aufgegeben, die App nach ein paar Wochen zu nutzen. Diese Probleme werden häufig von den Betriebseigentümern angeführt, und die durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung ist mittelmäßig.

Im Jahr 2014 stießen wir auf ähnliche Probleme mit dem alten Quirky Aros sowie mit dem GE AEC08LW (seit dem Auslauf) im Jahr 2017.

Wahre Geschichte: Ich hatte gerade eine vorsichtige Empfehlung der AEC08LW für Leute, die wirklich, wirklich eine intelligente AC wollten, geschrieben. Es schien das stabilste und reaktionsfähigste Modell zu sein, das wir getestet hatten. Es funktioniert mit Alexa und Google Home Sprachassistenten, was ordentlich ist, und die iPhone App ist ziemlich glatt und benutzerfreundlich. Besitzerbewertungen haben sich auch nicht über schlechte Konnektivität beschwert (obwohl dieses Modell kaum Rezensionen hat).

Ich hatte gerade die Empfehlung fertig geschrieben. Als ich aus meinem Büro kam, wo der AEC08LW aufgestellt ist, habe ich Alexa gesagt, dass sie das Gerät ausschalten soll. Alexa sagte, okay, aber nichts ist passiert. Ich wartete eine Minute und versuchte dann noch zweimal den Sprachbefehl – nichts. Ich öffnete die iPhone App, die besagte, dass der AC bereits ausgeschaltet war. Ich habe versucht, den Strom zu regeln, um die Temperatur und die Lüftergeschwindigkeit einzustellen – immer noch nichts. Urkomisch! I sat back down at my desk to rewrite, and about 10 minutes later, the AEC08LW turned itself off and on four times. Cool. Did I mention this is also the loudest AC we tested that year?

We've also been testing the new LG LW8017ERSM, which is essentially our main pick with a Wi-Fi antenna. It's a quieter air conditioner than the GE AEC08LW, but the connectivity is clearly an afterthought. The app is ugly, with mismatching fonts and poorly translated English. It doesn't work with any voice assistants, either. At some point, the app logged me out, and after five minutes of password recovery I discovered that the AC had also disconnected itself from my wireless network.

A company called Tado makes a Smart AC Control, a $200 peripheral that turns any AC with a digital thermostat into a smart AC. However, three of our staff members tried and failed to even set the thing up last summer, and the owner reviews are poor.

All that said, some people have no trouble at all with their smart ACs. If you're willing to try one out, that's your prerogative—don't let us talk you out of it. Just set your expectations accordingly.

Portable air conditioners

Portable air conditioners are so popular now that we gave them their own guide. Just so you know, a portable AC never cools a room as efficiently or effectively as a window or wall AC. Portables are also big, ugly, and expensive. But if you want something that you can wheel from room to room, or if your windows don't support any other option, we have some recommendations.

A good through-the-wall air conditioner

Picking the right through-the-wall air conditioner can be a little tricky, but the path of least resistance is to just get a universal-fit, rear-breathing AC. Also known as "true wall" or "wall sleeve" air conditioners, these units will work with almost any existing wall sleeve (the technical term for the metal box that juts out through your wall).

We have not tested any wall-sleeve ACs. But we think that the LG LT0816CER is a reasonable bet because it appears to be a modified version of the LG window unit that we recommend above. It also costs less than its chief competition, a Frigidaire model that costs anywhere from $70 to $120 more than the LG and has no obvious advantages (at least on paper). Kenmore also sells a wall AC, but it's just a rebadged version of the Frigidaire. You might be able to find a cheap wall-sleeve AC made by Midea and sold under various brand names (including Arctic King, Westpointe, and Comfort Aire, among others), but they're generally not available through major retailers.

The other kind of AC you can install in a wall is called a slide-out-chassis air conditioner, also called a "window/wall AC" because—hey!—it works in either a wall or a window. You don't need a separate sleeve for this kind of AC because the casing doubles as a sleeve. The downside is that you probably can't use one if your building has brick or concrete walls—the walls are too thick and will block the vents.

Also, no, you should not put a regular window AC unit through your wall, unless the documentation specifically says that it's suitable for a wall installation. The vents on a typical window unit aren't positioned to breathe properly in a standard wall sleeve, so it can't work as effectively or efficiently, and will burn out its compressor much sooner than it should. It's not a safety hazard or anything, just kind of a blockheaded thing to do.

A casement air conditioner for sliding and crank-open windows

This style of air conditioner installs into a horizontal-sliding window, or a crank-out window. Casement air conditioners are more expensive than a typical double-hung-window unit, but cost about as much as a good portable air conditioner, and work more efficiently.

This is not a common style of air conditioner, but that kind of works to your advantage because you don't have to worry about what model to buy: The Frigidaire FFRS0822S1 is the only widely available unit (apart from the Kenmore 77223, which is a rebadged version of the Frigidaire anyway). It comes with everything you need for installation in a sliding window, though if you're installing it in a crank window, you'll probably need to buy (and cut) a piece of plexiglass.

Unfortunately, casement-window ACs won't actually fit into all slider or casement windows. The model we recommend needs an opening of about 15 inches across, 21 inches tall, and 24 inches deep. So if your windows are very narrow, or don't crank all the way open, you might have to go with a portable AC anyway. One of those only needs an opening of about 6 inches across, 12 inches tall, and maybe 2 inches deep, so it's a lot more flexible.

If you've come here looking for info on central air or mini-split ductless systems, sorry, we have nothing valuable to add. Those are permanent installations with too many factors unique to each home for us to cover effectively here. Talk to a professional if you're interested in a system like that.

What to look forward to

In April 2018, several news outlets reported that GE would be updating its line of smart air conditioners. GE confirmed in an email to Wirecutter that the smart models include the AEC08LX (8,000 Btu), AEC10AX (10,000 Btu), and AEC12AX (12,000 Btu) models available at Home Depot for about $230, $290, and $330, respectively, along with the AHP08LX (8,000 Btu) and AHP10AX (10,000 Btu) models available at Lowe's, which cost about $320 and $390, respectively. You may have seen AHP10AX listed as "AHP10LX" in other editorial publications; this is an error. GE also listed this incorrect model number in a note to Wirecutter but later confirmed that the correct model is definitely AHP10AX, as it appears on Lowe's retail site.

We also confirmed with GE that these models can be controlled via smart devices using Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT, and according to The Verge they are the first smart air conditioners in the US to support Apple's HomeKit. But past experience has taught us that promising such integrations and delivering them are two different things. We intend to test the capabilities to see how easily they integrate with various platforms, remotely turn on and off, set a temperature, and create cooling schedules.

Readers should be aware that, as of early May 2018, we have been unable to find any HomeKit-compatible GE air conditioners at retail in the Northeast. The models showed as in stock online at several Lowe's locations in Massachusetts. We purchased one remotely, but were unable to pick it up at the store. (A Lowe's representative actually told us that the model would not be available this year, which was troubling, but GE disputes that; a rep from GE told us the rollout has been slow in the Northeast due to a cool spring.) As for Home Depot, the models sold there do not even list HomeKit compatibility in their feature lists online, and the product image does not reflect a design update GE mentioned to us, describing it as "a modern design and LEDs." In a positive sign, though, one customer question on the AEC10AX from late April includes a response from GE confirming that the model is HomeKit-compatible.

We've seen in years past that availability for almost any air conditioner is subject to regional variation and inconsistent inventory, though, so for a unique new model this is not a huge surprise. Hopefully the availability issues prove short-lived, and once we can conduct some firsthand trials in summer 2018, we will be able to make a decision as to whether the new features are worth the additional cost.

Care and maintenance

For starters, follow the installation instructions that come with the machine. They are never difficult, but the idea is to keep the AC secure in the window frame, with the back of the unit angled slightly toward the ground so that condensed water has a chance to drain out of the machine. If needed, brace the machine on proper brackets, not a stack of old magazines.

After you turn on the AC for the first time, if you hear any obvious high-pitched whining for more than a few minutes, you might have gotten a dud. Wait 24 hours to give the refrigerant a chance to settle, and try again. If it doesn't improve, exchange the unit. ACs aren't supposed to sound like that.

Every air conditioner has a filter to block dust from getting into the important parts of the system. It's sort of like the lint filter on a clothes dryer. It usually slides out from the front of the unit. You should clean this every month to keep air flowing properly. Most modern units (including all the models we tested) will have a light to remind you to do this after every 250 hours of use.

At the end of every cooling season, you should drain condensed water from the AC by tilting the outer grille toward the ground for about 20 seconds. If you're nervous about doing this out of a window, do it in your bathtub instead. Mildew can grow inside a wet AC, especially if it's shoved into a dark closet over the winter, and the AC will blow that musty smell everywhere when you turn it on.

Speaking of seasonality, you should really remove all of your window air conditioners before heating season begins. The gaps around the AC will leak heat, so it's best to just shut your windows. If you prefer not to do that, at least cover the top of the AC with a piece of plywood to help stop debris from getting into the system.

This guide may have been updated by Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

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