While a small window air-conditioning unit is suitable for a small bedroom, it simply can’t do the job in a larger living space, especially during a heat wave. For hotter climates and larger spaces, you need a 10,000-British thermal unit (BTU) air conditioner that can cover up to 450 square feet.
These midsize window units can fit into openings as narrow as 24 inches wide by 14 inches high. Modes are available that optimize the air conditioner for sleep, energy savings, and quiet. Smart air conditioners link to a home’s Wi-Fi for operation via smart devices from anywhere with an internet connection.
This guide provides important factors to consider when shopping for the best 10,000-BTU air conditioner and reviews some of the top options on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Frigidaire FFRE103WAE Window-Mounted Air Conditioner
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: LG Window-Mounted Air Conditioner With Remote Control
- BEST FEATURES: Koldfront WAC10003WCO 115V Window Air Conditioner
- BEST DESIGN: Tosot Chalet Energy Star Window Air Conditioner
- BEST ENERGY-EFFICIENT: GE AHY10LZ Smart Electronic Window Air Conditioner
- BEST WITH HEAT: Frigidaire Window Air Conditioner With Heater
- BEST PORTABLE: SereneLife SLPAC10 Compact Home Air Conditioner
- ALSO CONSIDER: Midea MAW10R1BWT EasyCool Window Air Conditioner
How We Chose the Best 10,000-BTU Window Air Conditioners
We considered several factors when selecting the top window air conditioners for this product guide. Efficiency is crucial to keep the cost of running a window AC unit down, so our selections include models with high Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio (CEER) ratings. In fact, most of our selections have an Energy Star certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A good window air conditioner should provide owners with multiple ways to control it, so we selected models with numerous running modes, such as energy saver, sleep, and timer. We also chose models that offer remote controls, allowing you to make adjustments to temperature and setting from the comfort of a couch or bed. Since window air conditioners by their nature are noisier, we leaned toward those that are quieter than average.
Our Top Picks
All the 10,000-BTU air conditioners in the following list include digital thermostats and numerous useful operating modes. Some feature smart capability, Energy Star ratings, and sleek designs. Any of these models can cool up to 450 square feet of space.
This Frigidaire air conditioner comes at an affordable price without skimping on features. Thanks to its Energy Star certification, the air conditioner also saves money on the back end. The digital thermostat offers precise temperature settings and includes a host of operating modes, including sleep and energy saver, as well as an auto on/off timer.
Use the control panel to set each mode and the remote control for convenience. An indicator light on the control panel lights up when the filter requires cleaning.
- CEER rating: 12.0
- Features: 24-hour timer, filter check indicator, energy saver, sleep mode, remote control
- Noise level: 57 to 60 decibels
- Loaded with features, including energy-saver mode and sleep mode
- Equipped with a digital thermostat that allows you to set specific temperatures
- Can be controlled via the included remote or from the control panel
- Some complaints that the air-conditioning unit is overly noisy
Get the Frigidaire FFRE103WAE 10,000-BTU window air conditioner at The Home Depot or Wayfair.
Energy efficiency, precise temperature controls, and a low noise output make this LG window-mounted unit a great all-around 10,000-BTU air conditioner. It features a digital thermostat to set specific temperatures and prevent spikes and drops in room temperature.
A remote control includes an on/off button and temperature, timer, fan speed, and operating controls. An Energy Star–rated device, it operates at just 53 to 55 decibels, a level similar to that of a running refrigerator.
- CEER rating: 12.0
- Features: Energy saver, on/off timer, filter check
- Noise level: 53 to 55 decibels
- Comes with remote control that includes all of the unit’s settings
- Energy Star–certified air conditioner with a high CEER rating
- Includes a digital thermostat that allows you to set specific temperatures
- Some customers complain that it sometimes makes a vibrating noise
Get the LG 10,000-BTU window air conditioner at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Wayfair.
One of the most customizable ACs on the market, the Koldfront has numerous operating modes and features. A digital thermostat allows for precise temperature control, and operating modes include sleep, energy saver, and dehumidify. Users can toggle through each mode via a large control panel that displays the air conditioner’s settings. A remote provides the convenience of making adjustments from across the room.
A 24-hour timer helps save money and keeps rooms cool only when needed. The Koldfront fits a minimum window opening of 15.5 inches wide.
- CEER rating: 12.0
- Features: Remote control, sleep mode, dry mode, energy saver mode, 24-hour timer, filter alert
- Noise level: Not available
- Many additional features, including an energy-saver mode, dry mode, and sleep mode
- Energy Star–certified air conditioner has excellent efficiency with a high CEER rating
- Can be controlled via a remote control or from the control panel
- Some customers complain that it’s noisier than other window units
Get the Koldfront 10,000-BTU window air conditioner at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Wayfair.
Window air conditioners get a bad rap for their looks, but this Tosot model trades the standard louvered grill (the dominant physical feature of most window units) for a mostly smooth front with a smaller, understated air intake and no controls.
But this sleek, minimalist model isn’t all about looks. The remote control with digital display includes a thermostat, temperature control, and access to various operating modes, including fan-only and dehumidifier settings.
- CEER rating: 12.0
- Features: Dry mode, energy-saving mode, sleep mode, remote control
- Noise level: 55 to 59 decibels
- Sleek, minimalist look makes it one of the more attractive AC window units available
- Uses the remote control as a thermostat for more even cooling
- Includes various operating modes, including sleep, energy saving, and dry
- Is louder than other 10,000-BTU window air conditioning units
Get the Tosot 10,000-BTU window air conditioner at Amazon or The Home Depot.
While any Energy Star–certified air conditioner helps keep down costs, this GE model’s smart features help you cut operating costs even further. Its Wi-Fi capability allows you to turn the unit off or on, change temperature, and modify operating modes via a smart device, digital assistant, or smart-home network.
By accessing the air conditioner remotely, you can leave the air conditioner off when not at home and turn it on remotely just before arrival.
- CEER rating: 11.4
- Features: Energy-saver mode, 24-hour on/off timer, built-in Wi-Fi, energy reporting
- Noise level: 62 to 67 decibels
- Built-in Wi-Fi allows you to control this AC unit from a smart device
- Energy-report feature allows you to monitor how much energy the air conditioner is using
- Smart features use geolocation to adjust air conditioner settings when you’re home or away
- Noise range of 62 to 67 decibels makes it one of the louder window air conditioner units
Get the GE 10,000-BTU window air conditioner at Amazon or AJ Madison.
This powerful window air-conditioning unit is not only capable of cooling things down during the summer; it also serves as a supplemental heat source when the weather gets cold. In addition to its 11,000-BTU air conditioner, it also contains a 3,500-BTU heater.
The unit can be controlled from the comfort of a couch or bed thanks to its remote control. Other useful features include an ECO mode that automatically turns the unit off and on in intervals to keep the room cold while saving energy. There’s also a programmable timer that allows you to set the unit to turn on and off in 0.5-hour increments and an LED alert that illuminates when it’s time to clean the filter.
- CEER rating: 9.8
- Features: Integrated heater, sleep mode, remote control, auto shutoff timer
- Noise level: 54 to 61 decibels
- Can provide supplemental heat in the winter with 3,500 BTU heater
- Digital thermostat that can be controlled via a remote or from the unit
- Includes a sleep mode and auto shutoff timer
- Lower CEER rating than other 10,000-BTU air conditioners
Get the Frigidaire 10,000-BTU window air conditioner with heat at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.
With its 10,000 BTUs of cooling power, this portable air conditioner can cool spaces up to 270 square feet. In addition to functioning as an air conditioner, the unit also has a built-in dehumidifier and fan with three speed settings. Despite its ample output, this air conditioner functions at a relatively quiet level of between 52 and 56 decibels, about the same noise level as a refrigerator. The unit can be controlled via its remote or directly from the control panel. There’s also a 24-hour timer. It sits on four wheels, which makes it possible to roll it from room to room, and comes with a window-mount exhaust kit and exhaust hose.
- CEER rating: Not available
- Features: Remote control, on/off timer, swing mode
- Noise level: 55 to 57 decibels
- Sits on 4 wheels, allowing it to be rolled from room to room
- Can be controlled from the unit’s control panel or via a remote control
- Built-in dehumidifier helps to take moisture out of the air
- Some customers complain that the AC unit’s wheels aren’t very sturdy
Get the SereneLife 10,000-BTU window air conditioner at Amazon or The Home Depot.
Midea’s window unit features a digital thermostat that facilitates precise temperature regulation. Multiple operating modes, including timed, energy saver, and sleep mode, give you more control.
An airflow switch on the front tells the air conditioner whether to draw in air from outdoors or from the room. The included remote control features an LCD display. This model fits windows with a minimum width of 23 inches.
- CEER rating: 12.0
- Features: Remote control, EcoSave mode, sleep mode, dry mode
- Noise level: 57 to 59.5 decibels
- Include numerous operating modes, including energy saver, sleep, dry, and timer
- Equipped with switch for toggling between drawing in fresh air or recycling indoor air
- Remote control with LCD display includes all of the AC unit’s functions
- Noisier than other window AC units, especially when it starts up
Get the Midea 10,000-BTU window air conditioner at Amazon or Wayfair.
What to Consider When Choosing a 10,000-BTU Window Air Conditioner
All 10,000-BTU air conditioners cool up to 450 square feet, but that doesn’t mean every model is the same. Many factors set these appliances apart, such as temperature settings, operating modes, and energy efficiency. Ahead, learn about these and the other crucial characteristics of 10,000-BTU air conditioners.
Window air conditioners come with analog or digital temperature controls.
- Analog controls use a dial knob with numbered settings, typically ranging from 1 to 9. This knob determines the frequency that the compressor cycles on to cool the air. Unlike a central AC unit with a thermostat, a window AC with analog controls can’t sense the air temperature in the room.
- Digital window units have an internal thermostat that monitors the temperature in the room. You set the unit to cool to a specific temperature ranging from the low 60s to mid-80s Fahrenheit. The compressor comes on when the temperature rises above the setting and shuts off when it reaches that temperature.
Filter and Vents
Window air conditioners have large vents on the front of the unit that draw in air from the room. Air filters in the vents trap dust, pollen, pet dander, and other impurities, which protects the unit’s machinery and improves the air quality in the room. Filters can get clogged with debris and dust and require periodic replacement.
After the air passes through the filter, the compressor cools it; then the blower and vents send it back into the room. Adjustable vertical and horizontal louvers on the vents can point the airflow in four different directions.
While cooling the air, air conditioners also dehumidify the space. The condenser removes moisture from the air, which collects on its coils. That moisture passes through a drainage system inside the unit that directs the water outside the home.
Some air conditioners also have a dehumidifier mode, which uses the compressor to remove moisture from the air. This setting reduces ambient humidity to 40 to 50 percent without blowing cold air into the room. Since the condenser isn’t required to maintain the temperature in the room, AC units use less energy on dehumidifier mode.
Window air conditioners are one of the bigger energy hogs in a home. A 10,000-BTU air conditioner requires between 800 and 1,250 watts of energy, which can cause a noticeable surge in a summertime energy bill.
A 1,250-watt air conditioner that runs 8 hours per day uses about 300 kilowatt hours of energy a month. Since electricity costs an average of 12 cents per kilowatt hour, the air conditioner unit will add about $36 to a monthly electric bill.
As of March 2023, the efficiency of window air conditioners, like central AC units, is indicated by their CEER rating. CEER stands for Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio and has a scale of 8 to 15. The higher the CEER rating, the more energy efficient the window air-conditioning unit is.
CEER replaces Energy Efficiency Rating (EER), which was used to measure window air- conditioner energy efficiency from 1975 up until the adoption of CEER this year. Without going into the specifics, CEER provides a more accurate description of a window air-conditioner’s energy consumption. Manufacturers are required by the Department of Energy to list an AC unit’s CEER rating on the bright yellow EnergyGuide tag attached to the unit.
In addition to standard temperature controls, the best 10,000-BTU air conditioner may come with some additional features to optimize operation.
- Timers: Often, window air conditioners are in rooms that see intermittent use, such as bedrooms and bonus rooms. Keeping these rooms cool throughout the day is impractical, so many window units offer timers to help cool the room before bedtime or movie night.
- Remote controls: Some air conditioners have remote controls that allow you to make adjustments from anywhere in the room. Others include built-in thermostats that communicate with the air conditioner to ensure even cooling throughout the room.
- Smart technology: Smart window air conditioners communicate with phones, virtual assistants, and other smart devices via Wi-Fi that allow control via an app or voice command.
- Operating modes: Higher-end models often have additional operating modes including a sleep setting, which slowly increases the temperature in the room through the night. This allows the room’s air to synchronize with the natural decline in body temperature that occurs during sleep. An energy-saver setting cycles the compressor off and on to save energy, and a quiet mode runs the unit at a lower decibel level.
A window air conditioner uses a built-in air compressor and blower, both of which can be noisy, to create and distribute cold air. The average window air conditioner operates at about 60 decibels, which is about the same noise level as a normal conversation, but that is loud enough to affect sleep or a binge-watching session.
Many air conditioners have quiet modes, which drop the decibel level to about 50. Although helpful, quiet mode often reduces the fan speed and compressor output, which means the air won’t be as cool.
Installation and Maintenance
Unlike other types of air conditioners, which can require installing copper pipe connections, cutting holes in walls, hardwiring into a home’s electrical system, and even charging compressors with freon, installing a window AC unit is relatively easy.
All you’ll need to do is mount the window air conditioner on top of the windowsill with part of the unit extending through the window and a portion of the unit remaining inside the room. The lower sash of the window closes to rest on top of the window unit, holding it in place.
Installing weatherstripping creates an airtight seal between the window and air conditioner and brackets to prevent the air conditioner from falling out of the window. You’ll also want to install adjustable panels that extend from the sides of the air conditioner to cover the voids in the window opening on each side of the unit. Most window units plug into a standard 115-volt outlet, and installation typically takes about 30 minutes or less.
Maintenance involves periodically removing the large vent on the interior side of the AC unit and removing and cleaning the reusable filter. Once a year, you’ll want to remove the air conditioner’s cover and wipe down the coils.
Read on to find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the best 10,000-BTU window air conditioners.
Q. Is a window AC the same as a room AC?
No. A wheel-mounted room AC usually sits inside a room with a tube that extends from the unit to the outside of the home to drain off condensed water. A window AC unit must be mounted inside a window in the room.
Q. How many square feet can a 10,000-BTU air conditioner cool?
All 10,000-BTU air conditioners can cool a space up to 450 square feet. Since a window unit blows cool air from the unit, it cools a single open space instead of multiple rooms.
Q. How do I make my window air conditioner airtight?
Install weatherstripping between the air conditioner and the window sash and sill to close any gaps that could allow air to pass through. Make sure there are no gaps between the window frame and the panels on either side of the air conditioner.
Q. How do you clean a window air conditioner?
To clean a window air conditioner, follow these steps:
- Unplug the air conditioner.
- Use a screwdriver to remove the air conditioner case.
- With a shop vac or handheld vacuum, remove any dust or debris inside the unit.
- Wipe down the inside with a mixture of water and mild dish detergent.
- Clean the drainpipe pan with soapy water to remove any mold that may have formed.
- Remove the outer case of the air conditioner and wipe down the condenser coils with a damp cloth.
- Reassemble the air conditioner; then remove and clean the filter.
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