The best smart air conditioners can be controlled from your smartphone or smart Assistants like Google’s or Amazon’s Alexa. Summers seem to be getting hotter year after year. Most of the US is going through a massive heat wave right now and much of Europe is in a heat wave as well. This year, why not consider an upgrade to a smart window air conditioning unit? Versatile, energy-saving, and budget-friendly are only a few of the reasons you should consider making the switch. Read ahead for tips to pick out the best machine for your needs, as well as our favorite models of 2022.
Central AC is often considered the gold standard for cooling, but it’s not the only option. Plus, it has its drawbacks. The system itself is expensive, it’s pricy to run, and installation/upkeep can require a professional. So what are your other options? Of course, there are air-circulating fans and ceiling fans. But these work to move the air around rather than lowering the temperature or reducing humidity. This is where window air conditioning units come in. In the past, window ACs have been heavy, unwieldy, and difficult to install as well as store. They took up the whole window as well. Smart window air conditioners are a different breed. Not only do they make installation a breeze, but these new models also have a lot to offer as far as specs and ease of use.
Different Types of Cooling
You’re probably familiar with what a window air conditioner is and what it does, but what makes a smart window air conditioner different? Smart window AC units allow the device to be controlled remotely through a smartphone app or hub. The designation of “smart” can also include more modern features, such as remote control, timers, and even dual-purpose machines that include heating or dehumidifiers. Window air conditioners differ from Central air conditioners in a few ways. Central AC involves ducts and venting, which most likely covers your whole house. This is a permanent fixture. On the other hand, window units cool smaller spaces, and are more movable/portable.
Which window air conditioner or AC unit is right for me?
Window units are great for apartment living, but can also come in handy for larger houses where you only want to cool a room or two at a time. Window units can be used in conjunction with ceiling or floor fans for the added benefit of floor circulation. So, how do you choose the right model for your particular situation? Here are some things to consider:
How big is the space you need to cool? Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to window AC units. If you get an AC that is rated for a smaller room than what you have, it will struggle to cool the space. Too strong of an AC will be more expensive to run and the amount of wind generated could be disturbing. Choose an AC that is rated for the number of square feet your room is. You can check out a handy square footage calculator here.
Air conditioners are rated by BTUs (British Thermal Unit). You don’t really need to know the math for this, but when picking out a unit, you’ll notice anything from 5,000 BTUs to upwards of 20,000. This is the rate at which a room will be cooled, and the higher the BTU, the bigger the space the AC is intended for. Luckily, most manufacturers also include the square footage recommendation as well, saving you time on equations.
Prices can range from under $100 well into the thousands. However, smart window ACs are almost always cheaper than setting up central air. True window units are often the most affordable. Portable models on wheels, or multi-taskers that include heating or dehumidifiers, are more costly. Luckily, a properly maintained air conditioner will last for years with regular maintenance. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for this, but simple things like cleaning filters and removing dust can make a world of difference.
There are new models on the market that do not block your windows, even with the AC installed. But what if you have a small window, or it is hard to reach? You might consider a portable model that has hose attachments. This will save you from having to install the machine directly on the window itself. Just to note, pretty much any air conditioning unit is going to require outside air in order to work. You can use a high-up window, or even a door, but there will need to be some sort of outside air coming in.
Window AC units use far less energy than their central air counterparts. Smart controls can help make it easy to set timers and keep the AC going only when you want it. For extra benefit, look for Energy Star-rated models.
Do you have a smart home set up? If so, you know what a luxury it is to have things automated. A smart window air conditioner can continue that trend or be a great introduction. The smart ACs of today work via a smartphone app and are easy to control. Of course, you can also program them on the machine itself, or via remote. Keep in mind the app gives much more precision. You can track energy usage, turn it on or off remotely, and adjust temperatures with ease.
As noted above, portable air conditioners can be the perfect solution when a regular window AC just won’t cut it. Portable ACs attach to the window via hoses and a simple sliding setup that holds the hose in place. Many AC hoses can be used over screened windows. They can also be wheeled from room to room if you want to only have one unit going at a time.
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The Best Smart Air Conditioners of 2022
Soleus Over the Sill Smart Air ConditionerGet it
One of the drawbacks of standard window AC units is that they’re bulky, block the window, and are hard to install. This is certainly not the case with the Soleus over the sill window AC. This model doesn’t even require tools to install! It fits a variety of windows and makes a very little sound as well
- Doesn’t obstruct the window view
- Remote control and timer settings
- Tool-free installation
Midea U-Shaped Inverter Window Smart Air ConditionerGet it
This window AC by Midea is another innovative design that cuts down on the hassle of installing a unit. The unique U-shape allows it to fit around your window, letting you retain your view. You can even open and close the window while the AC unit is installed. On top of that, this machine can be controlled by an app or even by voice.
- Voice or app-controlled; works with Alexa or Google Assistant
- 35% energy savings
- You’re able to open and close the window with the unit installed
Sensibo Sky Smart Air ConditionerGet it
If you’re happy with your current AC unit but want a modern upgrade, the Sensibo smart home air conditioner system is a great way to do it. This device can take any remote-controlled window AC unit and make it controllable via the app. It can be hooked up to Siri, Alexa, Nest, and other popular systems. This is a great way to get smart features without a full replacement.
- Works with any remote-controlled air conditioner
- Saves energy
- Works with most popular systems including Nest, Alexa, Siri, and more
Whynter Dual Hose Portable Smart Air ConditionerGet it
This portable AC boasts a whopping 14,000 BTUs, which is enough to cool 500 square feet of space. The dual hoses for intake and exhaust create maximum efficiency. Wheels make this a convenient option that can be easily stored away with the provided cover. It’s especially eco-friendly because it contains non-CFCs and is self-draining, so it reuses the moisture to provide further cooling.
- Fast cooling
- Improves air quality
Mistletoe Portable Personal Smart Air ConditionerGet it
Sometimes you don’t need to cool a whole room, or just need to boost the cooling options you already have in place. This personal AC unit is perfect for the job. It can be handheld or take up very little space on a desk. This little device is a multi-tasker: it functions as a cooling unit, fan, and humidifier. You can even add essential oils for an aromatherapy effect.
- Works to cool, and circulate air and as a humidifier
- Aromatherapy and night light functions for ambiance
GE 5,000 BTUs Window Smart Air ConditionerGet it
GE is known for quality appliances, and this unit is no fuss with great results. It works best for smaller spaces, is easy to install, and is one of the more affordable options as far as window ACs go. This is a perfect choice for a spare room or office.
- Perfect for small spaces
- Easy installation and cleaning
DELLA Wifi Enabled Mini Split Smart Air Conditioner & HeaterGet it
Most climates require heating and cooling at varying points in the year, so why not invest in a product that does both? The DELLA system offers heating and cooling for medium to large rooms. Once hooked up to WiFi, it is able to be controlled via a smartphone app. The AC unit can handle up to 550 square feet, and the heating element isn’t an afterthought: this device can work in temperatures as low as 5 Fahrenheit.
- Heating and cooling
- Temperature sensor on the remote control
Black + Decker Portable Smart Air ConditionerGet it
This portable air conditioner unit from trusted brand Black + Decker has a small footprint, making it the best option for smaller rooms with windows not suitable for a hanging AC. The included window kit lets you install within minutes so you can have near-instant cooling. Of course, this model can also be programmed for sleep mode or extra energy savings.
- Small footprint
- Multiple choices for BTUs
- Easy to store
HOmeLabs Smart Air Conditioner
WiFi-ready and lightweight, the HOmeLabs Smart Control window air conditioner are great for small to medium rooms. Its compact size will work with smaller windows than its larger counterparts. An added bonus is that it is energy efficient and can be voice-activated. It has a “follow me” function that will only run when necessary.
- Controlled by remote, device or smartphone
- Compact design great for small windows
Ivation 3-In-One Smart Air Conditioner, Dehumidifier and FanGet it
This portable air conditioner unit takes out multiple concerns in one compact machine. It reduces humidity in the air, which will help the ambiance in damper climates. It functions as an air circulator, which keeps air feeling fresh. And of course, it reduces room temperature. This is all in addition to the included smartphone app. You can have precise control of your climate with a few clicks on your phone.
- Dehumidifiers and circulates air in addition to cooling
- Built-in handles for easy portability
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is a smart window AC?
Answer: A smart window air conditioning unit is a cooling device that is controlled remotely via smartphone app or hub. These window units have modern features and can be set to conserve energy, run at specific times, and operate according to preset temperatures. You can even change the settings remotely when you’re not home. This can be a big advantage when you’re out on a hot day but don’t want to leave the AC on when nobody’s home.
Question: Is it cheaper to run a window air conditioner?
Answer: Most of the time, yes. Smart window air conditioners let you be more precise when running them, versus a central system. Choose an energy-efficient model, keep doors closed to minimize space, and don’t set the temperature too low. Using window units with smart circulating fans is a great way to mix hot and cool air, making your room feel even more comfortable.
Question: Is a smart AC worth it?
Answer: Yes! A smart AC will make your life better and easier. Luckily, smart window ACs come in a range of prices, styles and powers, making them an option for just about everyone. Since ACs are longer-term purchases and can last for years, it’s a great way to make your home more comfortable.
Question: Do all portable air conditioners need to be vented out of a window?
Answer: Technically, yes. A true air conditioning unit requires outside air to go in and out through the unit. Some devices don’t require this, but their cooling capabilities are more limited. However, personal AC units can be handy on a very hot day to cool a single person.
Staying cool during the summer can be challenging, but smart window air conditioners can help you achieve pleasant temperatures while giving you optimal control. They can even save you money. Have you updated your window unit this year? Share some tips in the comments below.