Buyers Guide & Information

Best Cheap Air Conditioners Under $200 (Portable & Window)

Our reviews & buyers guide go over which ACs can keep you cool on without breaking the bank.

Cooling a room or your home during the hotter months of the year can be a challenge, especially for the budget-conscious. When looking for an air conditioner under $200, there is a lot to consider.

In this article, we will examine the best brands, styles, and options. This will include both window and portable AC units as well as evaporative coolers that fit the bill. So, if you are looking to save money and get a reliable air conditioner for your home or office, this is the place to start.

8 Best Cheap Air Conditioners Under $200 Reviewed

Here, we will rate, compare and review the best air conditioners that cost less than $200. Each model and type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Read through and find the best air conditioner for your needs.

1. MIDEA Window Air Conditioner – Most Popular Low-Cost AC

AC Type Window
Overall Dimension 15.98 x 15.35 x 12.05 inches
Weight 40 Lbs
BTU Rating 5000 BTU
Coverage Area 150 Sq. Ft
Warranty 1 year warranty

Midea air conditioners are among the most popular low-cost brands on the market. With a wide array of styles and sizes, there is sure to be a model that suits your needs. For the best of the best, you want performance and functionality without a lot of extras.

The EasyCool window AC is that model. It features simple mechanical turn dials, 2 speeds, and an adjustable cooling mode. The compact unit is also energy efficient available in multiple sizes.

To stay under the $200 range, you can choose either the 5000 or 6000 BTU options. Both will offer the same performance, but the 6000 BTU model is slightly more powerful and can cool spaces up to about 200 square feet, compared to the 150 square feet of the 5000 BTU model.

Seven temperature settings, two cooling modes, and two fan-only modes will keep air movement high and running costs low.

Installation is simple, too. The lightweight window unit can easily be installed in about 20 minutes by a single person, though two are recommended for placing the unit in the window. It comes with a window kit to close the gaps on the sides and works with any standard outlet.

With a washable filter and easy clean vents, the maintenance level is low, too. Simple to install, easy to maintain, and highly affordable. There isn’t much else you can ask for.

While the 1-year warranty is a little light and covers the entire unit, we would like to see a more extended warranty period. However, you won’t have any problems with this machine as long as it is cared for, giving you years of reliable cooling.

What We Like
  • Simple install and easy maintenance
  • High efficiency ratio
  • Multiple speeds and operation modes
What We Don’t Like
  • All mechanical controls
  • 1-year warranty only

2. GE Mechanical Window Air Conditioner – Easiest to Maintain AC

AC Type Window
Overall Dimension 15 x 16.44 x 12.56 inches
Weight 36 Lbs
BTU Rating 5000 BTU
Coverage Area 150 Sq. Ft
Warranty 1-year warranty

The GE mechanical AC is similar to the Midea model here. It features mechanical controls and a simple installation. What you find different is the extra effort put into lowering the maintenance levels.

Like the Midea model, this GE unit is 5000 BTUs and has manually adjusted louvers. The 7 temperature settings, 2-speed fan, cooling modes, and washable filter are also similar. To top it off, this GE window air conditioner is the same energy efficiency rating and is similar in price.

What you get extra, though, is brand name recognition. The GE name still carries a lot of weight in household appliances and in the small appliance industry. Along with that, you know that the company will stand behind their products, and you won’t have any hassles should you need to call on the warranty for service, repair, or replacement.

That 1-year warranty is still a little light, but you don’t need much more when there aren’t a lot of additional features to worry about.

The maintenance level is another factor. Instead of a filter door that must be opened, the filter removed and washed before closing everything up, GE has a slide-out filter system. No door, no extra parts or pieces.

When it comes time to clean the unit, you only need to pull the filter out from the housing, wash it off, and let it dry. It may not seem like a lot, but those extra steps can add up when you just want to get things done.

What We Like
  • Lightweight design
  • Quick install
  • Works with any standard outlet
What We Don’t Like
  • Should have a better warranty
  • Not Energy Star certified

3. hOmeLabs Air Cooler – Best Portable AC

AC Type Evaporative Cooler
Overall Dimension 14.7 x 13.1 x 34 inches
Weight 18.5 Lbs
Capacity 2.6 gallons
Coverage Area 200 Sq. Ft
Warranty 2-year warranty

If you are looking for a more portable option with better features, then an evaporative cooler or swamp cooler may be your style. The hOmeLabs air cooler is one such example.

This cooler uses a water reservoir to cool the air and keep your space at a comfortable temperature. You can fill the 2.6 gallon tank with cool water or even ice to get colder air movement through your home.

With a 3-speed fan, you can keep air circulating and cool in spaces up to 200 square feet. It also features a water level window, so you know when it is getting low and an audible alert, too. There is an auto-shutoff safety feature that won’t let the system run when empty.

Aside from the safety features, this unit is all digital. With sensors and control panel being push-button activated, you can select the mode, set a timer, and control the vents and louver oscillation features. There is also an infrared remote control, so you don’t need to get up and manually make changes on the machine.

The 2-year warranty and easy cleaning features also help make this an ideal candidate for your home cooling needs. The washable filter and easy access water reservoir mean you don’t have to spend a lot of time cleaning and maintaining the unit.

However, it will only be suitable for low humidity regions, typically found in the southwest United States. Higher humidity levels will prevent the cooler from being effective.

What We Like
  • Works with water or ice
  • Runs for hours on a single fill
  • Low water level alerts
What We Don’t Like
  • Not suitable in all locations

4. Amazon Basics Window-Mounted Air Conditioner

AC Type Window
Overall Dimension 15.98 x 13.19 x 12.05 inches
Weight 35 Lbs
BTU Rating 5000 BTU
Coverage Area 150 Sq. Ft
Warranty No standard warranty

The Amazon Basics line is a cost-effective and simple solution to many household needs. From pens and paper to small appliances, the Amazon Basics line grows every day. This Window AC unit is part of the growing line and comes with standard and advanced features at a great price.

Like other mechanical models, this unit features 7 speed settings, 2 fan and 2 cooling operational modes, and manually adjusted louvers. The dials are relatively smooth but don’t always click into position with any feedback, so you need to make sure they align with the setting.

The pull-out filter is washable, limiting the maintenance levels, but the louvers are a bit smaller than other models, which can make cleaning more difficult. Still, as one of the lowest cost window units out there, it is worth the additional time in maintenance.

The bad part with this model is the lack of warranty. However, there is a return extension through Amazon, and you will have the option to purchase a 2, 3, or 4 year protection plan in its place.

This means you effectively have Amazon customer service and returns, replacement, and service available, though at an additional cost.

For a simple to use air conditioner that is quick to install and covers up to 150 square foot rooms, this model is highly affordable and cost-effective.

What We Like
  • Low cost model
  • Quick set up
  • 24-hour timer
What We Don’t Like
  • No warranty included
  • Not Energy Star rated

5. Keystone Window Mounted Air Conditioner

AC Type Window
Overall Dimension 15.4 x 16 x 12 inches
Weight 40 Lbs
BTU Rating 5000 BTUs
Coverage Area 150 Sq. Ft
Warranty 1-year parts, 4-years compressor

The Keystone window AC unit is similar to the other sub-$200 models on this list. However, it offers you a bit more. The first thing you will notice, aside from the glaring yellow and green control panel, is that there are no knobs.

Instead, you will find push-button digital controls. You also get LED indicators, so you see without confusion your operational modes, fan speeds, and if the follow-me function or sleep timers are activated.

This model also comes with a remote control that contains a sensor. The follow-me feature is tied to the remote and not the actual occupation of the room. So when you set a temperature and activate follow-me, the remote sensor will read the temperature and report back to the window unit.

The machine will stay on until the temperature at the remote (which will most likely be near you) reaches the set temp. The follow-me feature is not new or unique, but it is rare to find this type of technology in a less expensive model.

With 5000 BTUs powering the compact designed window AC, you will have no trouble cooling rooms up to 150 square feet down to about 60 degrees (Fahrenheit). The standard plug works in any 110-120 volt electrical outlet, too, giving you simple installation.

What We Like
  • Window kit and remote included
  • Digital panel controls
  • Compact design
What We Don’t Like
  • Small air louvers
  • Less insulation than other brands

6. COMFYHOME Portable Air Conditioner

AC Type Portable evaporative cooler
Overall Dimension ‎34 x 14 x 10 inches
Weight 15 Lbs
Capacity 1 gallon
Coverage Area 250 Sq. Ft
Warranty Return Policy Only

If you want a sleek, stylish, and simple design in your home while getting cooler air without a lot of fuss, the COMFYHOME portable unit may be for you. This is a water or ice-based evaporative cooler in a new design.

With a fanless motor, there are no louvers to adjust or blades to worry about. The open-air design pioneered by Dyson is now available for a lower price. With this model, cleaning and maintenance are simple, and the replaceable filter lasts for up to 180 days at a time.

With 3 speeds, 4 programmed operational modes, and a shutoff timer included, you can relax in cool air at any time. It also produces virtually no noise. With a 39dB rating, you can read or watch TV without being distracted by fan noises.

The included remote will cycle through the mode and speeds and control the oscillation from up to 20 feet away. It also includes two reusable ice blocks so you can get an extra layer of coolness to your air at any time.

The downside is refilling the tank when it runs low. On average, a full tank of water only will last about 6 to 8 hours at low speed. With an ice pack, the time runs about 4 to 5 hours. It also doesn’t come with a warranty but does offer a 90-day return policy.

If you purchase through Amazon, though, you can opt for a 3-year protection plan instead of a warranty for a small additional cost.

What We Like
  • Remote and fanless operation
  • Low maintenance
  • Easy setup and operation
What We Don’t Like
  • Water reservoir doesn’t last as long as other brands

7. Veohaut Portable Air Conditioner

AC Type Portable evaporative cooler
Overall Dimension 48.5 x 15.75 x 15 inches
Weight 13 Lbs
BTU Rating 1.6 Gallons
Coverage Area 200 Sq. Ft
Warranty Return Policy Only

If you don’t like the more modern and stylish designs of the COMFYHOME model, the more traditional fan style of the Veohaut portable unit may be more your speed. It features a lot of digital aspects, too, making control easier.

The big draw to this model is the top-fill water reservoir. Instead of having to deal with buckets or bending over, you can fill from the top of the unit directly into the water tank. With a 1.6 gallon capacity, it will also last for several hours at a time without needing a refill. This model also offers a low water alarm, so you don’t have to worry about it running dry.

For even cooler air, the Veohaut model features two ice blocks that can be added with the water (or instead of) to add another layer of cooling to the air. With complete 60-degree oscillation and a 12 hour timer, you get full control over the airflow and duration, too.

Because of the three fan speeds and cooling operational modes, this model will cool air in rooms up to 200 square feet. The remote control gives you more freedom to control from anywhere in the room as well.

Like the COMFYHOME model, there isn’t a brand warranty included. Instead, there is a 30-day return policy. However, buying through Amazon does offer a 3 or 4-year protection plan option.

What We Like
  • 12-hour auto-shutoff timer
  • Full range oscillation
  • Easy fill top tank
What We Don’t Like
  • No warranty
  • Can get loud over time

8. Shinco 8000 BTU Portable AC

AC Type Portable
Overall Dimension 17.52 x 14.76 x 32.68 inches
Weight 55 Lbs
BTU Rating 8000 BTU
Coverage Area 350 Sq. Ft
Warranty 1-year warranty

The Shinco portable AC is also a dehumidifier and fan all in one. With a total of 8000 BTU, you get a lot of cooling power for a little price. It does generally cost slightly more than $200, but it is worth mentioning in this article for the pure performance capabilities of the unit. A few extra bucks in purchase price may well be worth your investment.

Not only will you get more output power, but the additional controls and functionality year-round mean you can use this unit for more than just a summertime air conditioner. In the spring and winter months, the dehumidifier will help keep humidity under control.

You also have a 12 hour time, automatic louvers, and full digital controls with remote operation. This goes along with the LED control panel, push-button operation, and mode selection. The remote control also works from over 30 feet away, giving you ample room to control the unit.

The self evaporative drain method means you don’t have to worry about emptying buckets or running drain lines or hoses to your tub or outside. In extreme humidity climates, though, a drain hose may be required.

The unit includes a window kit for the exhaust, and once installed with proper venting, your rooms will stay cool and dry all year. The 1-year warranty is hit or miss, though, as the company isn’t the best at replying to customers’ needs.

There are few moments when the 1-year warranty is needed, though, and in most cases, you will find out if your unit is one of the rare few in need of service or replacement within the first few uses.

What We Like
  • Cools, dehumidifies and controls airflow
  • Digital LED readout
  • Simple installation kit included
What We Don’t Like
  • Customer Service is lacking
  • Can get noisy on high speeds

Air Conditioners Under $200 Compared

Midea 5,000 BTU EasyCool Window Air...
GE Window Air Conditioner 5000 BTU, Efficient...
hOmeLabs Evaporative Cooler - Cooling Fan...
Amazon Basics Window-Mounted Air Conditioner...
Keystone 5,000 BTU Window Mounted Air...
Evaporative Air Cooler - COMFYHOME 43-Inch...
Product Name
Midea 5,000 BTU EasyCool Window Air...
GE Window Air Conditioner 5000 BTU, Efficient...
hOmeLabs Evaporative Cooler - Cooling Fan...
Amazon Basics Window-Mounted Air Conditioner...
Keystone 5,000 BTU Window Mounted Air...
Evaporative Air Cooler - COMFYHOME 43-Inch...
Overall Dimension
15.98 x 15.35 x 12.05 inches
15 x 16.44 x 12.56 inches
14.7 x 13.1 x 34 inches
15.98 x 13.19 x 12.05 inches
15.4 x 16 x 12 inches
‎34 x 14 x 10 inches
BTU Rating / Capacity
5000 BTU
5000 BTU
2.6 gallons
5000 BTU
5000 BTUs
1 gallon
Coverage Area
150 Sq. Ft
150 Sq. Ft
200 Sq. Ft
150 Sq. Ft
150 Sq. Ft
250 Sq. Ft
Midea 5,000 BTU EasyCool Window Air...
Product Name
Midea 5,000 BTU EasyCool Window Air...
Overall Dimension
15.98 x 15.35 x 12.05 inches
BTU Rating / Capacity
5000 BTU
Coverage Area
150 Sq. Ft
Price
GE Window Air Conditioner 5000 BTU, Efficient...
Product Name
GE Window Air Conditioner 5000 BTU, Efficient...
Overall Dimension
15 x 16.44 x 12.56 inches
BTU Rating / Capacity
5000 BTU
Coverage Area
150 Sq. Ft
Price
hOmeLabs Evaporative Cooler - Cooling Fan...
Product Name
hOmeLabs Evaporative Cooler - Cooling Fan...
Overall Dimension
14.7 x 13.1 x 34 inches
BTU Rating / Capacity
2.6 gallons
Coverage Area
200 Sq. Ft
Price
Amazon Basics Window-Mounted Air Conditioner...
Product Name
Amazon Basics Window-Mounted Air Conditioner...
Overall Dimension
15.98 x 13.19 x 12.05 inches
BTU Rating / Capacity
5000 BTU
Coverage Area
150 Sq. Ft
Price
Keystone 5,000 BTU Window Mounted Air...
Product Name
Keystone 5,000 BTU Window Mounted Air...
Overall Dimension
15.4 x 16 x 12 inches
BTU Rating / Capacity
5000 BTUs
Coverage Area
150 Sq. Ft
Price
Evaporative Air Cooler - COMFYHOME 43-Inch...
Product Name
Evaporative Air Cooler - COMFYHOME 43-Inch...
Overall Dimension
‎34 x 14 x 10 inches
BTU Rating / Capacity
1 gallon
Coverage Area
250 Sq. Ft
Price

Can You Get a Reliable Air Conditioner for Under $200?

One of the biggest questions we see here at Air Conditioner Lab is, “can you get decent and reliable systems for low prices?” The answer is that you absolutely can. In the case of air conditioners that cost less than $200, you will find that window units are going to be the best option in many cases.

Window units have a wide range of sizes and capabilities, including larger BTU output, cooling modes, and energy efficiency. For the $200 and under price range, you can get a lot more for a lot less.

Portable units (including evaporative coolers) do have a lot of sub-$200 prices, but these models tend to be more bare-bones and limited in what they can produce or how well they perform. This doesn’t mean you can’t get a great portable for a low price, but you may be better off with a window unit for the same price.

What To Expect from a $100-$200 AC Unit?

When you buy a budget-friendly AC, you should expect some modern advancements, but some features will be either limited or not available. Let’s take a closer look at the buying consideration you should take into account.

BTU Size

The cooling capacity of an air conditioner is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). The higher the BTU rating, the more cooling the air conditioner can produce. However, high BTU models often also have lower energy efficiency ratings. This is due to the power required to cool the air.

You need to ensure that the model you choose has high enough BTUs to cool the size of your space. Too large or too small capacity air conditioner for the space can have more negative aspects than positive ones.

Room & Coverage Area

The BTU capacity is directly related to the size of the room you need to cool. On average, the BTU output will be shown on the owner’s manual as square footage or coverage. If you need to guess to get an AC size close to what is required, there is a formula.

When it comes to cooling, you need to have 20 BTUs per square foot of space. There are other factors, of course, but it is a great place to start. Large windows, high ceilings, and multiple heat sources or appliances can change the BTU output.

Mechanical Vs. Touchpad Vs. Remote Controls

Controlling the air conditioner is another point of interest. Cheaper versions will use mechanical buttons or dials. These are dials you turn by hand without any other form of control. They are cheap, simple, and don’t add to the overall cost.

Digital control panels come in LCD and LED options with push-button controls and remote operation. Many models also incorporate wireless or Bluetooth technologies to allow for voice or mobile device controls.

Infrared remotes are more often found than not, especially with portable AC units. Remotes don’t generally add to the cost, but wireless communications might alter the price point a bit.

Wide Range of Air Adjustability

Part of the efficiency of air conditioners is the ability to control airflow. Window air conditioners have louvers that can be manually or automatically adjusted or oscillate. With portable units, the entire body of the AC usually turns or rotates.

The more the air can move, the better the cooling abilities of the unit. Higher airflow, stronger fans, and better maneuverability can cost more but are well worth the cost.

Solid Energy Efficiency Ratings

Energy efficiency is measured as a ratio between the electrical energy taken in to operate the machine versus the cooling or heating output. Air conditioners are among the most common appliance that uses a lot of energy.

However, with modern machines, you get a lot more efficiency and a higher ratio of input vs. output. This means that if you purchase an energy-efficient AC model, you can actually save money on your energy bills compared to the cooling methods you have now or have had in the past.

Easy DIY Installation Options

Portable ACs have the easiest installation methods among the air conditioner family. With a window kit for the exhaust hoses, you can have the system up and running in as little as 5 minutes.

Window units require more installation as the entire unit needs to be placed in or on the window. Once installed, though, there is less maintenance and virtually no movement or transportation. Simple setup, installation, and configuration are important to a cost-effective buying decision.

Simple To Maintain Appliances

Maintenance is another crucial aspect of your purchasing decision. Air conditioner maintenance, as a whole, is fairly low. The filters need to be cleaned or replaced regularly, and general cleaning is recommended.

For portable units, the maintenance is a little higher since you need to drain the collection tanks. If you use an automatic drain system with the portable units, you also need to maintain the drain and hose to prevent bacteria and mold growth.

Related ArticleUltimate AC Maintenance Checklist

Timers, Humidify, Shutoff, & Oscillation Modes

Additional features can be nice to have and make operation much easier. However, they can add to the cost of the system, and you need to decide, before you buy, what you can live without and which you cannot.

Timers are great for those who like to fall asleep with the air on or need it while getting ready for work. Knowing the system will shut itself off after you leave the house or fall asleep can save you time, stress, and money.

Humidifying and dehumidifying features, as well as oscillation, are pretty standard on most models, but some brands do charge extra for it. Knowing what you want can save you time but also money in the long run.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

What are some good, cheap air conditioner brands?

There are many brands that offer budget-friendly air conditioner models in both portable and window units. Midea and GE are among the leaders and most well-known brands in this price range. However, others like LG and White-Westinghouse are also included.

Does putting AC on low save money?

To save money with window and portable air conditioners, many users think that low settings will help. The true effectiveness comes in the ambient temperature, though. Trying to cool a hot room on low speed will lower the cost per hour during use, sure, but it will take much longer to cool the space, meaning the system will run longer and can cost more in the long run than if you let the unit work as intended.

What’s the lowest temperature an AC can go?

Many window and portable air conditioners have a low limit stop setting that is usually between 60 and 62 degrees. It is also understood that unless the space is well sealed and smaller in size, a single portable unit will not get higher temperature rooms that low without some help.

How long do air conditioners under $200 last?

You can expect a moderate design model with standard features and one that is well cared for and maintained to last several years. Between 5 and 8 years is not uncommon for these priced models. That time, though, will depend on how often it is used, how long it runs per cycle, and the cleaning and maintenance you perform over time.

Related ArticleHow Long Does an AC Last?

Conclusion

Being able to control the temperature in your home, office, or garage is critical in the hotter months of the year. With so many options and styles to choose from, the final decision usually comes down to price and performance.

When you look at air conditioners under $200, the performance tends to drop off significantly. However, as this article shows, there are several brands and types that fit the bill. With high performance, energy efficiency, and low cost, you are sure to find the model you need for your space.

Last Updated on July 9, 2022

Josh M
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