In many corners of the world, summer temperatures can be a real nightmare. The unbearable heat often leads to a decrease in productivity by creating major thermal discomfort, up to a point where a person might stall feeling dehydrated, oozy, or even sick.
With a proper air conditioning unit, you can adjust the temperature inside the room to a point where you feel comfortable doing something else rather than just lying in bed with a headache. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the best air conditioning units for a single room.
Best Portable: Honeywell 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
Designed as one of the best portable air conditioning units, the Honeywell AC can double as a heater, and even triple as a dehumidifier.
The Friedrich Chill Premier windows air conditioner integrates a Wi-Fi connectivity that allows you to access all the settings of the unit through a dedicated smartphone app.
Best Thru the Wall: Friedrich Wallmaster 12,000 BTU Thru-the-Wall Air Conditioner
The Friedrich Wallmaster thru-wall unit integrates technology so that you can control your system straight from your smartphone app.
Best Ductless Split: Pioneer 36,000 BTU 230V Mini Split Heat Pump
When you’re short on floor space or want a more powerful AC unit, this ductless split model from Pioneer never fails to deliver.
Best PTAC: Friedrich ZoneAir Premier PTAC
Designed to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter, the Friedrich ZoneAir Premier PTAC is available in three BTU options, so that you can select one that’s appropriate for your room size.
How to Choose A single room air conditioner
Let’s start by showing you what are the things that you have to consider before settling for a single room air conditioner, so that you can spend money on something that actually cools you down and comes with features that are of use to you:
- There are plenty of different types of air conditioners to choose from, with some being better for small rooms, some better for larger rooms, and all of them with different installation places and methods. In our next section entitled “Types of Room Air Conditioners”, you are going to learn more about the different existing types and see which one best matches your situation.
- Then, consider what your local building codes have to say about installing thru-wall or window air conditioning systems. Some regulations stand against that because it would ruin the aesthetic of the building, but also forbids it for structural safety reasons.
- The, consider how much floor space you have available for an air conditioner. That will also determine which type of air conditioner is best for you. If you have unlimited floor space, a portable unit might be your best option, but it’s not always the most efficient one. If you don’t have floor space, consider the different types of wall-mounted units at your disposal.
- The electrical outlets that are available in the room also matter. 110/120-Volt outlets are common in most households, and certain AC units might require higher voltages because they are more powerful. 208/230-Volt units might be more suitable for some through-wall or window air conditioners.
- Some AC units are really easy to install, while others might require more room modifications and extra trouble on your behalf. Consider just how much installation you want to perform, as that might also have a say in which type of air conditioner is best for you. If you want little to no installation, you might want to consider portable AC units, as they are super easy to install. All the other types will require a little more effort on your behalf. Take note that some models require professional installation, such as ductless mini-split units.
- Different models have different noise outputs, and this could be a decisive factor if you are a person that can’t withstand noise because you’re working, studying, or sleeping, while the AC unit is running. Ductless air conditioning units are quieter compared to most other types because the condenser is placed outside the house. Other models have higher decibel ratings, but some models can be really efficient in terms of noise output, which makes them bearable.
- You also want to consider energy efficiency because an air conditioning unit tends to use a lot of electricity with some of its particular settings. Portable air conditioners tend to be less efficient because they require more BTUs to actually cool down a room. Window and thru-wall systems are a little better in terms of how much energy they require to operate. However, if you’re interested in investing in products that are energy-efficient, ductless mini-split ACs are your best bet.
Types of Room Air Conditioners
Different types of air conditioners will be valuable in different kinds of situations, and knowing about the existing types can make it easier for you to choose one that you’re actually going to benefit from in the long run. Air conditioners come in the following varieties:
These are freestanding units that pull in fresh air, cleanse it of moisture and heat, and emit it back into the room. They normally come with included window kits and are typically easy to install. Their main advantage is the fact that you can move them from one room to another, as they don’t require permanent installation.
Window air conditioning units are available in a variety of sizes, and they can be used either as a primary source of cooling, or in combination with a central AC system. As the name implies, these units are installed in a window, but they can also be installed in a matching wall hole. Depending on their size and capacity, they can cool small to large rooms.
Short for “through-the-wall” air conditioners, these units are similar to window air conditioners in a sense that they can be installed through a wall by using a chassis sleeve. However, they do not come with venting mechanisms on both sides, and they usually have higher cooling capacities compared to a window AC unit.
These air conditioners have a high cooling efficiency and are composed of two major parts: the condenser unit that’s normally placed outdoors and the indoor unit, which is placed strategically in the room that you want to cool. If you choose to install multiple ductless split system air conditioners, know that you can control each of them individually, and one unit can be capable of cooling down more than one room if you leave the door open.
Short for “Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners”, these are commercial-grade systems that you will often find in offices or hotels. You can typically find them installed on an external wall, usually underneath a window. They can cool everything from small to large spaces.
The Best Single Room Air Conditioners
With its 4-in-1 design, this portable air conditioner is one of the best ones in its category. It includes a cooling and a heating mode, but also a fan-only operation and a dehumidification feature that helps reduce air moisture. Because it is a portable unit, it’s also fairly easy to install, keeping in mind that the exhaust hose will be visible. It comes with a bunch of additional features that you’re going to love, such as a programmable timer, quiet operation, a dual filtration system, auto evaporation, touch-sensitive electronic controls, and a remote control that allows you to change the settings without even having to get up.
- Can also be used as a heater and dehumidifier.
- Can evaporate collected moisture.
- Includes an easy-to-read LCD display.
- Exhaust hose can be unaesthetic.
Available at a really good price and with features that most homeowners will find useful, this window-mounted air conditioning unit has a couple of advantages that we just have to mention. First of all, it comes with integrated Wi-Fi connectivity that allows you to control the unit through the designated phone app. You can select between three different cooling speeds to get to the room temperature you’re comfortable with faster. It comes with a programmable thermostat, a 24-hour timer, and even an energy-efficient mode that helps conserve energy by controlling the fan.
- Wi-Fi connectivity, smartphone control.
- Easy to install.
- Includes an energy-saving feature.
- Strictly a cooling unit, no heating feature included.
When it comes to thru-wall units, this Friedrich Wallmaster is pretty much… a wall master. Like the window unit we talked about earlier, this one also has Wi-Fi connectivity so that you can control the air conditioning system’s features through a smartphone app. Some of those controllable features include: saving energy (by customizing the schedule for an entire week), easy setup (as connecting the unit and the app takes less than 5 minutes), and the possibility to control multiple units with a single app. Some of the other features that are worth mentioning include quiet performance, temperature limitation to preserve energy, and even voice command operation through Alexa or Google Home.
- Easy to set up.
- Wi-Fi connectivity.
- Can fit existing wall sleeves of up to 27 inches.
- Does not include a sleep mode.
Ductless split air conditioning units bring a lot of benefits to the table, with unmatched power and the beautiful fact that there are no visible exhaust hoses to worry about. This particular Pioneer unit comes with all the components required to install it, and ensure efficient operation and the ability to cool down one or multiple adjacent rooms. It offers something that the industry calls “all-year comfort”, meaning that it provides both cooling and heating capacity, but it also removes moisture from the air or operates as a fan to ensure minimal consumption. Operated with a remote control, this unit is a space saver that offers you a programmable timer, a sleep mode, and extremely quiet performance.
- Includes heating and dehumidifying.
- Remote control operation.
- Comes with a complete installation kit.
- Not Energy-Star efficient.
The Friedrich ZoneAire Premier air conditioning unit offers you three cooling BTUs in a product that can cover all kinds of room sizes, which is important because it enlarges the pool of potential customers that could actually benefit from this AC unit. It has a maintenance-friendly design that offers easy access to the components for cleaning or repairing, it can remove excess moisture, and even comes with its own self-diagnosis program. It comes with a heat pump that offers year-round use for those of you that would like to be able to heat up the room using the air conditioning unit.
- 3 BTU options.
- Quiet operation.
- Maintenance is easy.
- No remote control included.
Which AC is best for a single room?
This really depends on the size of the room we’re talking about. Generally speaking, the best units for a single room are through-wall, portables, mini-split air conditioners, and window units.
Are mini air conditioners any good?
According to Consumer Reports, mini air conditioners don’t do a very good job of cooling the air inside a room. They do a better job compared to a fan, but they are not as good as, let’s say, a window unit.
Can I use a portable air conditioner in a room without a window?
Let’s get something out of the way: a portable air conditioner requires venting, but that venting isn’t necessarily done through a window. You can also install the venting through a door, the ceiling, a through a wall, but it has to be done. Keep in mind that the exhaust hose needs to stay straight all time, which might lead to a few design inconveniences considering the lack of aesthetics of an exhaust hose.
How can I cool my room down without AC?
If you can’t afford an air conditioner, that’s fine. There are still a few things that you can do when you want to cool down the temperature inside your room, such as using box fans, opening your windows strategically, closing the doors to other rooms, opting for energy-efficient bulbs, cooking when it’s not that hot outside, and turning on as few electronics as possible (they tend to generate a lot of extra heat).
The best room air conditioner for you will depend on a series of factors that might make the unit way better than another. Some AC units are really powerful and when you have to heat up a single room, investing in such a unit might be futile. The amount of floor space you have at your disposal, as well as potential building regulations that might prevent you from changing the façade by installing an AC unit, are other factors that you have to consider.