Shopping for an inexpensive window air conditioner?
You’ve come to the right place.
Living with sweltering heat is not easy. When the temperature is high, a fan isn’t enough to keep you from sweating profusely.
Instead, you’ll need an efficient temperature regulation system to keep you feeling fresh and cool.
Thankfully, living on a budget no longer means you have to buy a used or subpar air conditioning system that doesn’t necessarily meet your demands.
Today, you can find a wide variety of truly affordable air conditioners on the market.
Some of the units we review below boast features comparable to far more expensive models.
So let’s dive in!
Our Top 3 Picks
What’s In This Buying Guide
Table of Contents
Window ACs are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and have a relatively small carbon footprint as long as you use them responsibly.
In this guide, we review three of the best cheap window air conditioners sold today at three different price points.
We take a look at their features, pros, and cons, so you can choose the most suitable unit for your needs.
We also discuss the features you should consider when selecting an inexpensive window air conditioner for your home.
Near the end, we answer a few frequently asked questions.
So let’s begin by taking a look at our top 3 picks this year:
Best Cheap Window Air Conditioners
FRIGIDAIRE 5,000 BTU Mini-Compact AC
Best Window AC under $200
15.25 x 16 x 12 inches
Mechanical Rotary Control
2 Fan Speeds
150 to 250 sqft
Noise: 51–56 db
Washable Air Filter
1 year limited
LG 8,000 BTU AC
Best Window AC under $300
19.6 x 19.4 x 12.4 inches
Digital Controls w/ Remote
3 Fan Speeds
Up to 340 sqft
Washable Mesh Air Filter
1-year parts and labor
MIDEA 10,000 BTU EasyCool Window AC
Best Window AC under $400
21.89 x 18.98 x 14.65 inches
Digital Controls w/ Remote
3 Fan Speeds
Up to 450 sqft
1 Year Parts &Labor Warranty
The Frigidaire 5,000 BTU Mini-Compact AC is a simple yet stylish unit. It is powerful enough to cool rooms of 150 to 250 square feet.
The Frigidaire model features 2 mechanical rotary controls. The top one allows you to choose between 3 cooling temperatures, while the lower one is for speed control.
The Frigidaire Window-Mounted AC has 2 modes of operation – a cooling mode and a fan mode. It runs at 2 different speeds on both these modes.
It is also fairly easy to install and comes with a 1-year warranty.
The Frigidaire 5,000 BTU Mini-Compact Air Conditioner is both easy to install and operate. It comes with a mounting kit and easy-to-follow instructions. You can easily set it up single-handedly in as little as 20 minutes.
Although the design is pretty basic, Frigidaire 5000 BTU AC features a top, full-width air outlet. This feature alone enables it to cool down a 150 to 250 square feet room very quickly.
The blast of air it lets out is quite powerful for a unit this small. You can also change the airflow direction with the third rotor installed between the air outlet vent.
Using this Frigidaire AC is also a breeze, thanks to the mechanical rotary dials that turn at the slightest touch.
The upper dial lets you pre-set the temperature you want it to run at (you can choose from 7 levels).
The bottom dial allows you to choose between 5-speed settings (off, low fan, low cool, high cool, and high fan) for both cooling and fan modes.
The LG 8,000 BTU AC is a feature-rich machine that can cool down spaces of up to 340 square feet. It is a versatile, 3-in-1 unit that works as an air cooler, an air circulator, and a dehumidifier.
The operation of the LG 8000 BTU is also very straightforward. There are electronic controls to adjust the settings, along with a digital readout.
This LG air conditioning system also comes with a remote control to operate it without getting up from your place. Plus, the LG cheap window AC comes with a 1-year warranty for parts and labor.
The LG 8,000 BTU Window-Mounted Air Conditioner is one of the best cheap window air conditioners for medium-sized rooms.
It boasts many features that rival the more expensive LG AC models, such as an electronic control panel with a digital readout display and remote control operation.
The LG 8000 BTU is versatile and functions as a fan and dehumidifier too. Plus, the Energy Saving mode limits its energy consumption for more efficient performance.
The LG window air conditioner lets you switch between different modes with a simple touch. You can also adjust the modes and speeds with the full-feature remote control.
Unlike some other cheap window AC units, the LG Window-Mounted Air Conditioner is Energy Star rated and has a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 13. So, it won’t add much to your electricity bill, too!
If your budget for a window AC stretches as far as $400, check out the Midea 10,000 BTU EasyCool Window Air Conditioner. It is a sturdy and efficient device that can cool rooms up to 450 square feet. It features a washable filter and comes with an LCD remote control.
The Midea EasyCool is pretty simple to install, operate, and maintain. And it comes with a 1-year warranty coverage over parts and labor costs.
The most significant selling point of the Midea air conditioner is its high Energy Efficiency Rating (EER). The EER of 13 is pretty commendable at this price point.
To add to that, the AC features an EcoSave mode that lowers energy consumption and helps save more money.
The device has a simple appearance, but it can function as a dehumidifier, a fan, or an air conditioner.
Using the intuitive user interface with electronic controls on the front, you can set the desired temperature, adjust the fan speed, and switch between different modes. A remote control further adds to the ease of use.
The Midea EasyCool Window Air Conditioner features a washable filter to improve indoor air quality. The filter is easy to access and remove, making the AC easy to maintain.
Like other cheap window air conditioners on this list, this Midea model also comes with a 1-year warranty for the parts and labor.
Buying Guide: Cheap Window Air Conditioners
Features To Look For
Being on a budget does not mean you have to settle for anything inferior.
You can easily find cheap window air conditioners that deliver excellent performance by keeping the following in mind:
Fortunately, there is no shortage of cheap window air conditioners.
You can easily find a 5000-7000 BTU unit for under $200. And if you can spend a bit more, you can also get a 10,000 BTU unit for under $400.
While you can install a window AC with just a little help (saving you the cost of hiring a professional), you still have to think about the running costs. On average, window ACs cost between $40 to $100 annually to run.
Also, make sure you keep maintenance costs in mind.
Room Size/BTU Rating
BTUs indicate how powerful your AC is. The higher the rating, the higher the cooling capacity of the device. BTUs also translates to how much area the device can cool.
Usually, a 5,000 BTU unit is suitable for rooms measuring 150 square feet, 6,000 BTUs for 250 square feet, 8,000 BTUs for 350 square feet, and 10,000 BTUs for 450 square feet.
You should measure the size of the room you want to cool beforehand to purchase a suitable device for it.
Energy Star Rating
The Energy Star Rating shows how efficient an electronic appliance is in its electricity consumption.
Energy Star air conditioners operate 15% more efficiently than their non-Energy Star-rated counterparts. They consume less energy, so they won’t add too much to your energy bills.
So make sure you get an Energy Star rated model.
With a remote control, you can conveniently control the AC without getting up to adjust the controls mounted on the AC.
Standard remotes let you control the fan speed and temperature, while some also have a temperature display.
Adjustable Fan Speed
Adjusting the fan speed of your window AC affects the rate at which the room cools down.
Usually, you get to choose between 3 speed levels – low, medium, and high, while some models have only 2 speed levels – low and high.
The higher the fan speed, the more noise the AC makes.
When choosing a new window air conditioner, be sure to check out its noise level at the highest fan speed. Sounds up to 50 decibels are comfortable, but anything above 60 decibels is irritating.
If you install a noisy air conditioner in your room, you will have trouble sleeping. Similarly, a noisy air conditioner in the living room can drown out other sounds and make it hard to have a conversation with someone without raising your voice.
To play it safe, choose a unit with a noise rating between 50 and 60 decibels.
Air Direction Control
Air direction control helps you adjust the direction of the airflow so that you can direct the cooling towards a specific area to cool it down more quickly and get rid of hotspots in the room.
Most window air conditioners come with adjustable louvers to control the airflow direction. They are controlled either by a mechanical rotor or via digital controls.
A programmable thermostat allows you to control the cooling output of your window AC.
Most cheap air conditioners feature a mechanical thermostat, but we suggest looking for a digital thermostat unit.
A digital thermostat comes with a digital display reading for both the actual and desired temperature and is more convenient and easy to use than a mechanical thermostat.
A programmable timer allows you to set a specific time range for the AC to work.
For example, if you don’t want your window air conditioner to work throughout the night, you can use the timer to select the number of hours you want it to operate before it turns off automatically.
A programmable timer is not only convenient but also helps you save money on your energy bills.
Filter Alert System
Window ACs have built-in filters to capture airborne dust particles and other irritants. They are either standard disposable filters or washable, reusable filters.
Standard filters are basic filters and require periodic replacement.
Since their filtration capacity depends on indoor air quality, you can’t predict a specific time between filter washes or replacements.
That’s where the filter alert system comes in handy. It is usually a light indicator on the control panel of your window AC that turns on to remind you it’s time to change the filter.
Optimum filtration is necessary for you to continue receiving higher-quality cold air. So, make sure the unit you purchase has some sort of filter indication system.
What To Consider When Buying A Cheap Window Air Conditioner?
Some other things to look for when buying a cheap window air conditioner include:
The energy efficiency of a window AC is indicated by its Energy Efficiency Rating (EER). Air conditioners with high EER consume less energy to cool a room than their counterparts with low EER. They also help lower your energy bills and are more environmentally friendly.
When choosing between cheap window air conditioners, choose an Energy Star-rated unit with the highest EER rating that falls within your budget.
Some window air conditioners are pretty easy to install, while others require professional assistance.
Although the procedure varies from model to model, setting up a cheap window AC is pretty straightforward.
Air conditioners come with complete installation instructions, and if you follow them correctly, you can have your new AC up and running in no time.
However, we suggest asking a person or two for help as it makes the task easier and seamless.
You can know how durable a unit is by checking its warranty coverage. A short or no warranty usually means the unit is not built to last long.
Also, make sure to read customer reviews to know how long the AC lasts and how well it performs.
When choosing a cheap window air conditioner, also consider the shape and size of the window you plan to install it in.
First, consider the type of window you want to install it in. Is it a slider window that opens by sliding to the side, a casement window that swings out, or a standard window?
Most window AC installation kits work with sliders and standard windows. So if you have a casement window, look for an air conditioner that suits this style.
Next, you need to consider the dimensions of the window and look for a compatible unit. An AC that is too small for your window can fall out and injure people.
The maintenance of a window AC involves periodic filter changes and cleaning. When choosing a cheap window AC, ensure its maintenance is easy, so you don’t have to hire professional HVAC workers. This will also help you save costs in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do cheaper ACs have low energy ratings?
Not all cheaper ACs have low energy ratings. In fact, you can find many cheap Energy Star certified air conditioners. Their energy ratings are high, and they consume up to 15% less energy than their non-Energy Star certified counterparts.
How long do window ACs last?
Just like any other electronic device, window ACs also have a service life, after which you should replace them. With timely maintenance and proper operation, a good window AC can work for 8-10 years.
How much should you spend on a window air conditioner?
You can find models for as low as $150 or as high as $2000.
Of course, cheaper units are pretty basic with limited features. And as the price increases, so do the features. More expensive units are more feature-rich and modern.
So, how much you should spend all comes down to your budget.
Final Verdict: What Is The Best Cheap Window AC Sold Today?
Most cheap window ACs sold today are offer good single-room performance, making it harder to pick one from the countless options commercially available.
But we really like the MIDEA 10,000 BTU EasyCool Window AC. It is simple and easy to install, easy to use and has a high SEER rating.
For medium-sized rooms, we think the LG 8,000 BTU Air Conditioner is a good choice.
And if you’re on a very limited budget, we suggest the Frigidaire 5,000 BTU Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner. It costs less than $200 and has stellar online reviews.
I’m a degreed ME (mechanical engineer) who is passionate about machines of all kinds. I created MachineWonders.com as a way to connect with others who love machines like me – or need help choosing one for their needs, application, or situation.