Reviews

Midea U-Shaped Air Conditioner Review: Can This Unique AC Keep a Room Cool Yet Quiet?

Is it possible for a “quiet” air conditioner to effectively keep a space cool and comfortable? I put the Midea U-shaped air conditioner to the test to find out.
Tom Scalisi Avatar
The Midea U-shaped air conditioner installed in a window
Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

The biggest drawbacks of window air conditioners are their noise level, rather unsafe installation, and the fact that you can’t open that window for fresh air again until the unit is removed. Traditionally designed window units sacrifice functionality and drastically increase noise in the name of keeping a room cool. But what if there was an air conditioner designed to eliminate those problems—one that minimizes noise, maintains safety, and even allows you to open your window?

The Midea U-shaped air conditioner aims to be that air conditioner. Midea is a leading global manufacturer of home appliances. The company’s products are sold in over 195 countries and include options for kitchens, laundry rooms, and whole-house applications. Midea’s American branch is headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, and it has research and development and emerging tech centers in Kentucky and California, respectively. Midea’s mission is “to provide surprisingly friendly solutions for the ones who treasure tiny moments at home.”

Has Midea accomplished this mission with its U-shaped air conditioner? With a unique design, special bracketry, and plenty of output, it seems like a great solution for homeowners who don’t have central air. But how good is this window air conditioner? I put the 12,000-BTU unit to the test—installing it, programming it, and using it for several weeks in order to find out. Keep reading to learn whether the Midea U-shaped air conditioner is as user-friendly as Midea claims it will be.

Midea U-Shaped Air Conditioner: At a Glance

A close-up of a hand holding the remote control for the Midea U-shaped air conditioner
Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila

Rating: 9.4/10

PROS

  • Split design keeps the unit’s noisiest part outside the window while keeping the space inside cool
  • Versatile control options, including a touch panel, remote, app, and voice assistant
  • Brackets and design make for the most secure window AC unit installation I’ve seen

CONS

  • The brackets and heft of this AC unit do make installation a bit of a chore

Get the Midea U-shaped air conditioner at:

What is the Midea U-shaped air conditioner?

The Midea U-shaped air conditioner is a specially designed window AC that keeps the noisy components of the machine outside while keeping cool air inside. When installed, its U-shaped body allows the window to almost entirely close, which puts the loud compressor section outside and the fan and controls inside. This design vastly cuts down on the operating noise of U-shaped air conditioners, and that’s the significant difference between the Midea and traditional window units.

This Midea unit is a 12,000-BTU model designed for rooms up to 550 square feet in area. It comes with a remote, Wi-Fi connectivity, and voice assistant compatibility. Its window bracket improves security and makes installing this large window unit a bit easier. It also comes with a variety of foam pieces of different densities designed to further block noise while preventing the elements from making it through the gaps around the window.

Once installed, the Midea 12,000-BTU unit is capable of running at noise levels as low as 42 decibels. According to Midea, that’s just 2 decibels higher than the noise level in the average library.

How easy is the Midea U-shaped air conditioner to install?

Here’s the rub: Installing this Midea unit takes a little time. It’s fairly large and quite heavy at just under 59 pounds. But it’s the bracket installation process that takes the longest. First, you need to fit the bracket to the window’s width (the kit comes with two different arm lengths for varying window sizes). You then place the feet of the bracket against the house and make sure they’re angled correctly before screwing the bracket into the window jamb.

Once the bracket is installed, it’s time to place the unit on and secure it with two offset brackets. Then you slide two retention arms into the grooves in the window jamb. This creates a very secure installation that can’t be pushed in or pulled out easily. The support bracket coupled with a nearly entirely closed window makes this the most secure window AC unit installation I’ve ever completed.

The final step is custom-cutting foam pieces and packing them under the window sash on both sides of the air conditioner. Luckily, the kit comes with a lot of foam for this step, so it just takes a bit of time and patience.

A photo looking down at the Midea U-shaped air conditioner after installation to show that part of the unit is indoors and part is outdoors
Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila

How easy is the Midea U-shaped air conditioner to use?

There are four main methods for using and adjusting the Midea U-shaped air conditioner: the control panel, the remote, the app, and voice control. Each method is easy to set up and use.

Operating the control panel is very straightforward. It has rubber buttons that provide a bit of a tactile “click” when pressed. Unlike other models with plastic buttons that break or those that have no buttons at all (and hence no “click”), this unit is easy to set and adjust.

The remote is just as easy to use. It has a digital display that mimics the display on the unit itself, meaning you don’t even need to be able to see the air conditioner to make adjustments. Most other units have remotes with simple push buttons, meaning you have to be able to see the display on the AC to tell what you’re doing.

The app is perhaps the easiest control method to use. It’s compatible with iOS or Android, allowing you to create different schedules and timers, set the temperature, adjust speeds, and more. You can also connect the Midea to a digital voice assistant through the app. It’s compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and making adjustments with these assistants is straightforward.

Is the Midea U-shaped air conditioner well designed?

I found that, without a doubt, the Midea is the best-designed window air conditioner I’ve ever installed or used. Yes, it’s heavy, and the bracket takes a bit of time to install, but once it’s done, it does away with any fear the user might have regarding safety or security. Since parts of the unit extend up on either side of the partially closed window, it can’t be pulled out or pushed in nearly as easily as standard window ACs.

As far as the split design goes, this U-shaped model does an excellent job keeping the noise outside while pumping cool air inside. Generally speaking, I keep it on auto and can’t hear when it kicks on or off unless I’m right next to it. When it was on the high setting, I measured the sound output to be around 63 decibels, and on low, it’s quieter than the rest of my home (three dogs and four kids make it hard to measure anything below 50 decibels).

As a side note, I’ve also tried other window units in my small office, but they’re always too loud. I now use a 10,000-BTU Midea U-shaped unit there since it’s the only model quiet enough to run while I’m on a conference call.

How does the Midea air conditioner perform?

The Midea unit is designed for a 550-square-foot room, so installing it in an appropriately sized room is important. I put mine in an L-shaped space of about 500 square feet, and this unit had no problem quietly cooling the whole space on even our warmest days of over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It takes about 15 minutes to bring down the temperature in the space from 75 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but its efficiency fluctuates a bit depending on the humidity (it takes a little longer on particularly humid days). It also kicks on and off efficiently once the space reaches its set temperature, which helps reduce energy consumption.

The app and voice-control operations for this AC have been flawless. Settings are easy to adjust, and it has no problem maintaining a Wi-Fi connection. Overall, this AC performs incredibly well and is a great solution for a room or space in the 500-square-foot range. Unfortunately, the 12,000-BTU unit is the largest U-shaped unit Midea offers, making it likely to underperform in larger spaces, and there aren’t yet any larger units using this design.

The Midea U-shaped air conditioner installed in a window with curtains drawn closed around it
Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila

Is the U-shaped Midea air conditioner worth the price?

The Midea’s price is higher than many other 12,000-BTU air conditioners. The question is, is it worth the extra $100 to $200?

I believe this unit is absolutely worth the money for those with the room in their budgets. It’s easily the quietest air conditioner I’ve ever used, and the design is more secure than that of any standard window unit. For me, these things are big deals and worth the upgrade in price.

It’s also hard to overstate how much value the app and voice-control features add. I love being able to adjust the unit with my digital assistant from across the room, but I also appreciate controlling it from my truck or wherever else I may be. With dogs at home, I don’t want the house getting too warm, but I can also remotely turn the unit down since they don’t need temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Programming and adjusting these settings from anywhere lets me keep my pets safe and comfortable without unnecessarily driving up the energy bill.

Is Midea U-shaped air conditioner right for you?

In my opinion, this unit from Midea is right for almost anyone. It’s powerful, quiet, secure, and easy to use. Unlike many other window air conditioners, it won’t drown out the sound of a TV or make living room conversations impossible. It’s also suitable for a large office where phone and conference calls are the norm.

However, for some people, there are better options than the Midea. Anyone expecting to use this air conditioner as white noise in their bedroom would do better with a louder machine, such as this Hisense 8,000-BTU window air conditioner I reviewed previously. Also, anyone who doesn’t have the physical strength to lift and install a model this big will want to look elsewhere. It is an armful, and lifting the unit into a window takes some strength. For those folks, a rolling portable air conditioner might be a better fit.

For those who want a powerful yet quiet air conditioner with all the technology and frills, the Midea U-shaped air conditioner is a great choice and warrants serious consideration. It’s the quietest and most secure air conditioner I’ve tested, and the technology works seamlessly with my phone and Google Assistant. Sure, it’s a bit heavy, and the brackets take some figuring out, but the result is well worth the effort.

Where to Buy the Midea U-Shaped Air Conditioner

Get the Midea U-shaped air conditioner at:

Meet the Tester

Tom Scalisi is a full-time DIY and construction writer for many of the largest websites in the industry, including BobVila.com, This Old House, Family Handyman, and Forbes. He has plenty of experience installing, using, and maintaining window air conditioners to cool his otherwise stuffy 70-year-old home without central air.

Share

Tom Scalisi Avatar

Tom Scalisi

Contributor

Tom Scalisi is a freelance writer, author, and blogger with a passion for building. Whether it’s a DIY project or an entire website, Tom loves creating something from the ground up, stepping back, and admiring a job well done.

WHY YOU CAN TRUST BOB VILA