8 Best 12000 BTU Air Conditioners To Chill Large Rooms

Josh Mitchell

Written By

Josh Mitchell

Expert Reviewed By

Holly Curell

Last Updated On

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When the summer sun turns your large rooms into hothouses, a 12,000 BTU air conditioner has the muscle to chill them.

These big and strong AC units can be expensive, though. How can you ensure your AC isn't just an overpriced paperweight?

You’ve come to the right place!

I tested and reviewed more than a dozen AC units to help you find the right 12,000 BTU portable or window air conditioner for your home.

Quick Glance - My Recommendations

Midea 12,000 BTU U-Shaped Smart Inverter Air...

Midea U MAW12V1QWT

Editor's Choice

SereneLife SLPAC12.5 SLPAC 3-in-1 Portable...

SereneLife SLPAC12.5

Top Portable Air Conditioner

LG 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner, 115V,...

LG LW1216ER

Best Value for Money

8 Reliable 12,000 BTU Air Conditioners For 550 Sq. Ft. Area

1 - Midea U MAW12V1QWT

4.5

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.5

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Cooling Ability

4.5

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Value For Money

4.5

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Who Is Midea U MAW12V1QWT Best For?

This Midea U MAW12V1QWT window AC is perfect for homeowners who want a powerful, modern air conditioner with the latest smart features.

Pros
  • Powerful cooling capacity above its rated coverage area
  • Ultra-quiet operation
  • First-class energy efficiency keeps your electricity bills low
  • Wi-Fi connectivity with a nicely responsive control app
  • Light unit with a fairly attractive, modern design
CONS
  • Involved installation process
  • Opening the window isn’t reasonably possible, despite the ads

They say you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. Well, Midea U MAW12V1QWT lets you eat the cake — and keeps you cool while you enjoy the treat.

Unlike any other AC on my list, this 12000 BTU air conditioner comes equipped with advanced DC inverter technology. The inverter compressor makes this unit powerful, energy-efficient, and quiet.

The Midea U inverter AC can quickly and efficiently cool rooms up to its rated 550 square feet. It does a decent job in even larger spaces, too.

Midea U MAW12V1QWT

You won’t see icicles dangling from the ceiling, but you’ll be comfortable.

As Midea advertises, you can feel the unit's strong airflow 20 feet away. Although your hair won't blow back, there's still a lot of cool air coming from the unit.

Enjoying that cool breeze for a long time doesn't cost you a fortune, either. With an excellent 15 EER rating, this Energy Star certified AC won't inflate your energy costs.

This is also the quietest 12000 BTU window air conditioner on my list, producing only around 50 dB of noise at full power.

It's partially thanks to the inverter converter and the U-shaped design, which places the compressor behind your window pane. It's a natural sound barrier!

As a cherry on top of the high-tech AC cake, Midea U is fully Wi-Fi-capable.

You can control it anywhere with your smartphone or voice control units like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Just make sure your home Wi-Fi supports a 2.4 Ghz frequency.

Just be prepared for an involved installation process due to the unique U-design. It's easy once you figure out how everything slots into place, but you'll have to do some problem-solving.

Fortunately, the AC unit is very light, and you get plenty of insulation foam.

Midea says you can open the window after mounting the AC, but I found that wasn’t really realistic — unless you want to rip off all of that foam you just put in. At least you can still enjoy the view through the window.

In my books, Midea U sets a new standard for window AC units. 

It's strong, quiet, and prepared for smart home integration — a true modern AC.

Feature

Details

BTUs

12000

Noise Level (Decibels)

42 dBa

Cooling Area

550 square feet

EER or SEER

15

Dimensions (H x L x D)

13.4 x 21.97 x 19.17 inches

Weight

58.9 lbs


2 - SereneLife SLPAC12.5

4.3

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.5

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Cooling Ability

4.3

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Value For Money

4.1

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Who Is SereneLife SLPAC12.5 Best For?

SereneLife SLPAC12.5 portable AC is the best choice for those looking for strong, simple, and reliable portable cooling.

Pros
  • Great cooling capacity for a portable unit
  • Sturdy and well-built machine
  • Simple usability with the front control panel or remote
  • Top-notch customer support
CONS
  • Low energy efficiency ratio
  • Short power cord limits placement options

A portable AC unit brings you more flexible positioning than window devices, and they won't draw the ire of nitpicky HOA officials. 

SereneLife SLPAC12.5 lets you enjoy that convenience and excellent cooling chops for a portable unit.

Portable units are often less powerful than similarly rated window ACs, but that’s not the case here. The SereneLife has plentiful cooling power, with ice-cold air blowing through the louvers.

This AC has no problems whatsoever cooling large spaces up to the rated 550 square feet, and it can perform adequately in an even bigger room.

You could also do what I did during my tests and set up a fan in a doorway to distribute the cooled air across multiple smaller rooms.

Either way, the SereneLife does its job well.

Drainage is always a concern with portable air conditioners, but SereneLife minimizes the issue. It has low condensation production, and I rarely had to drain it.

You may need to empty the water reservoir more often if you live in a high-humidity region, though.

The SereneLife offers basic 3-in-1 functionality with AC, fan, and dehumidifier modes alongside multi-speed fan settings. There's no sleep or eco mode, which is a bit of a bummer, but it keeps the usability simple.

The included remote control continues the theme of simplicity. It has no backlight or display, but it functions well enough to be a welcome addition to the unit.

SereneLife has constructed this AC with care. The build quality is good, and the unit feels sturdy. It's a bit heavy and tall, but that just shows how robust the machine is. Despite the heft, I had no problems rolling this thing around.

SereneLife SLPAC12.5
With regular basic maintenance, you can expect your AC to last a long while.

If something happens to go wrong, though, Pyle Crop (the actual manufacturer) offers first-grade customer service — even if your one-year warranty has expired.

The only thing I can grumble about is the low energy efficiency. With a 2.6 EER rating, you might notice a bump in your electricity bill.

I’d say the strong cooling capacity is worth it, though. The SereneLife works exactly as advertised, which you can’t say for all portable units.

Feature

Details

BTUs

12,000

Noise Level (Decibels)

56 dBa

Cooling Area

450 square feet

EER or SEER

2.6

Dimensions (H x L x D)

32.1 x 13.4 x 17.4 inches

Weight

62 lbs


3 - LG LW1216ER

4.5

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.5

Current Progress
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Cooling Ability

4.25

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Value For Money

4.75

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Who Is LG LW1216ER Best For?

This LG LW1216ER is the best choice for homeowners who want an efficient window AC unit that offers a lot of cold bang for your buck.

Pros
  • Excellent value for money
  • Long-lasting and robust build quality
  • Slide-out chassis makes for easy installation
  • High energy efficiency saves your pennies
CONS
  • Heavy and large unit

Admittedly, 12,000 BTU air conditioners can be pricey. However, machines like the LG LW1216ER show that you can get powerful cooling at a good value.

You might think that a lower price point would compromise an AC’s cooling power, but that’s not the case here.

This LG unit pumps out a lot of cool air, providing quick and efficient cooling within the rated 550-square-foot coverage area.

The AC also has the punch to tackle an even larger challenge. Even in a space almost 700 square feet in size, I noticed the temperature dropping within 30 minutes after turning the LG on.

The LG boasts the usual AC, fan, and dehumidifier modes, in addition to a programmable timer and an energy saver mode. There’s no sleep mode, which might not make this an ideal unit for bedrooms.

Then again, the noise level is reasonable. This unit isn’t as quiet as the Midea U, but it does run quieter than the conventional Midea unit.

LG LW1216ER

Controlling this air conditioner is straightforward, and the remote control is responsive with good use angles. It is basic in terms of functionality, but it works — which is the most important factor.

This Energy Star rated unit has a 12 EER rating, so you can rely on the energy consumption staying in check.

The energy savings add to the overall value, as does the very robust construction. Give your LG AC basic care, and it can serve you for years.

The robustness makes this a very heavy air conditioner that needs an outdoor support bracket. Fortunately, it has an easy installation process, thanks to the slide-out chassis.

Pull the AC unit out, mount the featherweight chassis to the window, and slip the AC back in.

Due to the slide-out design, you could conceivably install this window unit into a wall, like the Koldfront wall unit.

This AC is also fairly big and will not fit in very small windows. Measure your window opening carefully before you commit to a purchase.

At least you get a lot of air conditioner for your money — literally. In terms of price, power, and energy consumption, this LG machine makes an offer that’s hard to refuse.

Feature

Details

BTUs

12000

Noise Level (Decibels)

53dBa

Cooling Area

550 square feet

EER or SEER

12

Dimensions (H x L x D)

15 x 23.6 x 22.2 inches

Weight

81 lbs


4 - Rintuf A012C

4.2

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.5

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Cooling Ability

4.0

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Value For Money

4.2

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Who is Rintuf A012C Best For?

Rintuf’s A012C is great for homeowners who want impressive cooling power at a good value.

Pros
  • Good value between price and cooling capacity
  • Quiet operation for a portable AC
  • Easy installation and operation
  • Well-functioning remote with display and temperature sensor
CONS
  • Weight and short cord limit portability
  • Poor documentation

Buying an air conditioner from an unfamiliar brand can feel like a gamble, and sometimes it is. That gamble can result in a big jackpot, though — as is the case with Rintuf A012C.

Rintuf is less well-known than LG, Black+Decker, or Midea, but you shouldn't sleep on this portable AC just because you don't immediately recognize the brand.

The Rintuf's cooling capacity took me by surprise. It rivals and maybe even beats the powerful SereneLife unit.

Case in point, I demoed this machine in an open-plan kitchen/living with high vaulted ceilings — way bigger than the 550 square feet it’s rated for.

Within an hour, the space was comfortably cool. The Rintuf beats some window units in terms of efficient cooling.

You can get the Rintuff working quickly, too, thanks to the easy installation. I had the thing out of the box and running in about 15 minutes.

The controls are simple and self-explanatory. In addition to the usual AC/fan/dehumidifier modes, the Rintuf is one of the two portable air conditioners on my list to offer a sleep mode, in addition to the Black+Decker.

I liked the remote control on this unit. It was one of the more responsive ones I tested. It has a display and can show the ambient temperature. No other remote control I tried had that functionality.

Apart from its power, the Rintuf surprised me with its low noise output. In terms of quiet operation, it matches the Whynter.

This AC produced only about 55 dB of noise at full blast — better than some window-mounted units I reviewed.

I have to admit, I’m not quite sure of how energy-efficient this air conditioner is. The energy guide that shipped with it showed a 7.6 EER rating, but the stated model was actually Rintuf’s 8,000 BTU unit.

I estimate the energy efficiency is somewhere between SereneLife and Whynter. Your electricity bill will probably rise a bit, but not too much.

Like with SereneLife, the power cord and exhaust hose are fairly short. With this being the heaviest portable I tested, moving it around is challenging.

Rintuf A012C

Once you get it in place, though, the Rintuf proves itself as a solid, well-functioning air conditioner.

Feature

Details

BTUs

12,000

Noise Level (Decibels)

53 dBa

Cooling Area

550 square feet

EER or SEER

7.6

Dimensions (H x L x D)

35 x 20 x 18.5 inches

Weight

68.3 lbs


5 - Koldfront WTC12001W

4.1

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.25

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Cooling Ability

4.0

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Value For Money

4.0

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Who Is Koldfront WTC12001W Best For?

This Koldfront WTC12001W AC is a great investment for homeowners who prefer wall air conditioners and want their machine to provide heating as well.

Pros
  • Efficient cooling and heating performance
  • Surprisingly light for a wall unit
  • Decently quiet when properly installed
  • Durable and well-built unit
CONS
  • Pricey to buy and install
  • Mediocre energy efficiency
  • Needs a 230V outlet

A through-the-wall air conditioner can provide central air-like functionality at a fraction of the cost. Koldfront WTC12001W does a good job at keeping you cool — or warm, for that matter.

That’s right, this wall AC unit pulls double duty as a heater!

The 12,000 BTU AC provides quick and efficient cooling in spaces up to the rated 550 square feet.

It’s not quite powerful enough to work adequately in a larger room, but hey — the Koldfront does what it promises. I can’t fault a machine for doing the job it’s supposed to.

The heater portion is rated at 10,600 BTU. As with the AC, it's sufficient for large rooms up to that 550-square-foot cut-off point.

Koldfront WTC12001W

It might need some help from another heat source in a poorly insulated garage, but it’ll still take the bite out of the winter chill.

To illustrate the effectiveness of these units, let me tell you of a friend who owns a small apartment building.

His tenants kept complaining about the old wall AC units, so I suggested giving these Koldfronts a try. The complaints have stopped — enough said.

The air conditioning unit can function in cooling, fan, and dehumidifier modes, and the Koldfront has both a sleep and eco mode on top of a programmable timer. 

The three fan speeds work with both the AC and heater.

In terms of noise, the Koldfront is about average. The noise level depends largely on how well you install the AC. Don't skimp on the support and insulation foam, and you can enjoy relatively quiet operation.

This unit provides relatively easy installation as long as you have the wall hole ready.

If not, prepare for high installation costs — particularly because the essential wall sleeve is sold separately. I really wish it was included, particularly because the unit itself is already pricey.

The 9.5 EER score could be better, but it won't result in a huge hit on your power bills. Speaking of power, make sure you can plug this unit into a 230V outlet.

In the end, the Koldfront is worth its cost. It’s a capable machine that can keep you both cool and warm, and is a good alternative to an even more expensive mini-split.

Feature

Details

BTUs

12000 (Cooling)

10600 (Heating)

Noise Level (Decibels)

-

Cooling Area

550 square fee

EER or SEER

9.5

Dimensions (H x L x D)

14.5 x 24.25 x 20.38 inches

Weight

78.3 lbs


6 - Midea ‎MAW12R1BWT

4.3

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.5

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Cooling Ability

4.2

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Value For Money

4.2

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Who Is Midea MAW12R1BWT Best For?

This Midea MAW12R1BWT unit is a practical choice for homeowners whose large rooms have narrower windows than usual.

Pros
  • Can fit into narrower windows than most 12,000 BTU window air conditioners
  • Fast and powerful cooling performance
  • Full mounting kit makes for an easy installation process
  • Energy-efficient unit that helps keep electricity costs at bay
  • Feels solid and well-built
CONS
  • Not the quietest operation
  • Uglier than its sleek Midea U sibling

Fitting big 12,000 BTU window air conditioners into your large rooms can be a real challenge if your windows are on the narrow side. Midea MAW12R1BWT can solve the problem with its smaller-than-average size.

At only 19” wide, this Midea device is the narrowest conventionally shaped window AC unit on my list. 

With the mounting bracket attached, it can fit into 23" wide window openings — a full 3" narrower than the LG.

You don’t have to sacrifice cooling power for the narrow form factor. After all, I wouldn’t recommend this machine if it wasn’t powerful enough!

This Midea air conditioner produces a strong and freezing cold airflow, providing quick and efficient cooling in rooms up to the 550-square-foot 12,000 BTU standard — and quite possibly in a bit larger spaces as well.

I could swear I saw some penguins settling in while testing this unit.

In terms of functionality, this Midea is on par with its U-shaped sibling.

It can run as an AC, fan, or dehumidifier, offers three cooling speeds, and has sleep and eco mode options.

Although it doesn't have Wi-Fi capabilities like the Midea U, this Midea comes with the best remote control out of all the window AC units. The remote has an LED display and it's easy to use, thanks to the long range and wide use angles.

Midea ‎MAW12R1BWT 2041

This AC is Energy Star-certified and has a 12 EER rating, rivaling the LG unit. Running this energy-efficient air conditioning unit shouldn’t cost you more than $100 per year — quite an affordable device.

Unlike the rather complex Midea U, this unit provides easy installation with its nicely complete installation kit. You get all the needed parts to set it up quickly.

There's really very little grumble about this AC. It's on the louder side, but the noise is a steady rumble that is manageable.

The design looks somewhat dated, but perhaps you like the vintage appearance.

This unit shows Midea knows how to build a regularly shaped window air conditioner as well. It’s a small but mighty unit that can save your narrow-windowed rooms from the summer heat.

Feature

Details

BTUs

12,000

Noise Level (Decibels)

55 dBa

Cooling Area

450-550 square feet

EER or SEER

12

Dimensions (H x L x D)

14 x 23 x 36 inches

Weight

74.8 lbs


7 - Whynter ARC-122DS

4.3

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.5

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Cooling Ability

4.2

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Value For Money

4.2

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Who Is Whynter ARC-122DS Best For?

This Whynter ARC-122DS is ideal for homeowners who want affordable and more efficient cooling than what regular single-hose machines provide.

Pros
  • Dual-hose configuration provides more efficient cooling
  • Can convert from dual-hose to single-hose
  • Autoevaporation prevents leaks
  • Quiet for a portable unit
  • Surprisingly affordable
CONS
  • Not as energy-efficient as advertised
  • Flimsy window panel
  • Not rated for 550 square feet

Having two hoses on a portable AC might seem pointless, but that’s not the case. Thanks to its dual-hose design, Whynter ARC-122DS provides strong and quick cooling in large rooms.

Although single-hose portable units can work well, the fact is that they suck in air from every gap in your home to replace the air they pump outside. That can compromise their efficiency in high heat.

This Whynter unit avoids that issue by drawing in outside air through a separate intake hose. As a result, it can effectively cool big rooms.

Although this unit is actually designed for 400-square-foot rooms (despite it being a 12000 BTU unit), I had no issue bringing a 550-square-foot room down to my target temperature.

There’s one caveat — if the outside temperature rises above 90°F, the Whynter will start struggling.

That’s not a problem, though, since you can remove the intake hose to convert this unit into a single-hose setup, and it'll continue keeping you cool.
Whynter ARC-122DS

Whynter offers basic 3-in-1 functionality with a 24-hour timer and multiple fan speeds, comparable to the SereneLife unit. Learning to use the unit is simple, even without the user manual.

Unlike the SereneLife or Rintuf, this AC is auto-evaporative, recycling condensation water to cool its coils. In 50% outdoor humidity, I had no need to drain this unit.

I did rig up a drain hose out of curiosity, though, and the AC let out two gallons of water in a day. That’s some powerful evaporation!

According to the documentation that comes with the machine, the EER rating is 6.9, not 12, as you may find online.

That's about average for portable ACs, and this unit saves some extra energy by having a 5-degree grace range built into the thermostat. 

It’s up to you whether the energy savings are worth the temperature fluctuations, though.

This unit is well-built and relatively lightweight, and should last for a long time with good care. Whynter thinks so, too, and offers a nice three-year warranty on the compressor.

Finally, this machine has very quiet operation for a portable AC. Overall, it’s a good and surprisingly affordable option for portable cooling.

Feature

Details

BTUs

12,000 (Cooling)

7,000 (Heating)

Noise Level (Decibels)

52 dBa

Cooling Area

400 square feet

EER or SEER

13

Dimensions (H x L x D)

29.5 x 17 x 16 inches

Weight

65 lbs


8 - Black+Decker BPP08HWTB

4.1

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.0

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Cooling Ability

4.25

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Value For Money

4.0

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Who Is Black+Decker BPP08HWTB Best For?

This Black+Decker BPP08HWTB unit is a great choice for homes that need portable, convenient cooling and heating year-round.

Pros
  • Very fast cooling and effective heating in medium-sized rooms
  • Good energy efficiency for a portable AC
  • Doesn’t need frequent drainage
  • Solid window kit
CONS
  • Some reliability issues
  • Loud-ish

The convenience of portable air conditioners isn’t restricted to the summer months. You can move Black+Decker BPP08HWTB to the room that needs it most, whether it’s too hot or cold.

The 12,000 BTU air conditioner function delivers what I can only call brute force cooling in rooms up to 550 square feet in size. 

Simply set the machine up, and your room will feel noticeably cooler in a few minutes.

For larger rooms, you may want to opt for a more powerful unit. Still, this Black+Decker provides very fast cooling action in spaces that fall within its rating.

Like the Koldfront wall unit, this air conditioner has a 10,500 BTU heating element. The story here is the same as with the Koldfront.

The heater keeps you toasty in smaller rooms, but in large spaces, I'd recommend using it as an effective supplemental heater.

This unit is nicely portable, thanks to its relatively compact size. Its weight is about on par with the SereneLife, meaning it’s a bit heavy but not so much that you can’t move it.

The window kit is good and provides easy installation, so setting this unit up in different rooms is simple.

Black+Decker BPP08HWTB

As with Whynter, this Black+Decker unit has an auto-evaporation function. Combined with the generally low condensation production, there’s rarely a need to drain the AC.

If it happens to fill up, the included drain hose makes emptying the condensation pan easier.

In addition to the heater and regular 3-in-1 AC operation modes, the Black+Decker boasts a timer and sleep mode. You can only activate the latter through the remote control, though, for some reason.

This unit is quite energy-efficient as far as portable ACs go.

It can’t compete with window air conditioners, but with an 8 EER rating, it’s the most energy-efficient portable machine on my list.

The Black+Decker runs a bit louder than the advertised 54 dB on the highest setting, but it’s not overwhelming. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this machine to friends or family who want both portable heating and cooling.

Feature

Details

BTUs

12000

Noise Level (Decibels)

54 dBa

Cooling Area

550 square feet

EER or SEER

8

Dimensions (H x L x D)

13.2 x 27.2 x 17.3 inches

Weight

64.5 lbs


12000 BTU Air Conditioners Compared

Preview

Name

Rating

Cooling Area

EER or SEER

Price

Midea 12,000 BTU U-Shaped Smart Inverter Air...

Midea U MAW12V1QWT

4.5

550 sq ft

15

SereneLife SLPAC12.5 SLPAC 3-in-1 Portable...

SereneLife SLPAC12.5

4.3

450 sq ft

2.6

LG 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner, 115V,...

LG LW1216ER

4.5

550 sq ft

12

Portable Air Conditioner - Rintuf 12000 BTU...

Rintuf A012C

4.2

550 sq ft

7.6

Koldfront WTC12001W 12,000 BTU 208/230V...

Koldfront WTC12001W

4.1

550 sq ft

9.5

Midea 12,000 BTU EasyCool Window Air...

Midea ‎MAW12R1BWT

4.3

450-550 sq ft

12

Whynter 12,000 (7,000 BTU SACC) Elite Dual...

Whynter ARC-122DS

4.3

400 sq ft

13

BLACK+DECKER 12,000 BTU Portable Air...

Black+Decker BPP08HWTB

4.1

550 sq ft

8


How To Choose The Right 12000 BTU AC Unit

12,000 BTU air conditioners often match their high cooling power with an equally high price.

You should consider carefully what kind of unit you need to keep your home cool during the hot summer months.

Here’s my breakdown of the most important considerations when shopping for air conditioners.

Match The AC To Your Room Size (BTU/Square Footage)

Room size

For optimal performance, don’t put your 12000 BTU air conditioner in rooms larger than 550 square feet.

Air conditioners' cooling power is measured in British thermal units (BTU), with a certain BTU rating corresponding to a specific square footage. 

The higher the BTU rating, the bigger the room the AC can cool.[1]

The maximum coverage area for most air conditioners in the 12,000 BTU category is 550 square feet.

Although some high-power units, like Midea U or SereneLife, can deal with bigger rooms, you should try to match them as close as possible to your room’s size for ideal temperature control.

TL;DR: You should match the BTU capacity of your AC with the covered area of the room for optimal performance and staying economical.

Window Vs Portable — Pick The Right AC Type

Window air conditioners typically provide more powerful performance and better energy efficiency, while portable ACs are easier to move and look less intrusive from the outside.

If you know you can keep an air conditioner semi-permanently in your window, I recommend choosing a window AC unit. 

They are generally more powerful and energy-efficient, providing better cooling at lower running costs.

However, portable ACs can be moved around, which is sometimes more important than sheer power.

ACLAB note:

Some landlords or HOAs ban window air conditioners but allow portable units due to their inconspicuous window panels.

TL;DR: Window ACs are powerful and energy efficient, whereas, portable ACs can be moved around to places that require cooling.

Save Money With A High EER Rating

I recommend choosing a 12,000 BTU air conditioner with an EER rating of 10 or higher to save both money and energy.

The energy efficiency ratio (EER) describes how much power the AC unit consumes. Like the BTU rating, a higher EER score corresponds with higher energy savings.

An energy efficiency ratio of 11 or higher strikes a good balance between energy efficiency and cooling power. If you want to ensure your AC is as energy-efficient as possible, look for Energy Star-certified units.[2]

TL;DR: The higher the EER rating, the more energy efficient the AC is and the lower would be the running costs. For window ACs EER rating of 10 is a good value to aim for. Portable ACs have a much lower EER rating in comparison. 

10 EER Rating

Choose Quiet Operation To Spare Your Ears (DBA)

My advice is to choose an AC with a noise level as close to or lower than 50 dB so the device won’t be distractingly loud.

There are no such things as silent 12000 BTU air conditioners, but try to find a machine with a maximum running noise in the 50-55 dB range.

At these levels, the AC is quieter than a regular conversation and roughly comparable to a refrigerator.[3]

ACLAB note:

If you’re sensitive to noise or plan to put your AC in the bedroom, though, I recommend picking a unit with ultra-quiet operation, like Midea U.

Portable ACs tend to be a bit louder than window ones, but even they can let you sleep well, as the Whynter unit shows.

TL;DR: Window and Portable ACs can get loud. If you are particularly sensitive to AC noise, choose a unit with dB range of 50-55.

quiet window ac

Keep Installation As Simple As Possible

Choose a lightweight AC with a complete installation kit to make mounting the unit quick and simple.

I strongly recommend comparing the weights of your AC candidates and choosing the lightest one.

Also, try to pick a unit that has a robust mounting kit, like the traditional Midea. 12000 BTU air conditioners can be big and bulky, so these two things make installing them less of a headache.

Of course, if you’d like the simplest possible installation, just pick a portable unit!

TL;DR: Choose an AC unit that is lightweight and comes with a mounting kit to save your from the troubles of installation.

Consider Regular Maintenance Needs

Buy an AC with a front-loading washable filter and — ideally — a slide-out chassis that lets you clean the machine’s components.

I always check whether my ACs have a washable filter since cleaning it saves you a lot of money in filter replacements.

All window AC units on my list have a front-loading removable filter, as sliding the panel out from the front is more convenient than side-angled ones. 

Additionally, pick a unit with a filter check reminder light, if possible.

A window air conditioner with a slide-out chassis allows you to pull the AC component rack out of the unit’s shell for easy maintenance.

This makes it easy to clean dust, leaves, and other debris from it — but be careful not to break anything.

TL;DR: A 12000 BTU AC that provide ease of maintenance features such as washable filters is an ideal choice.

Set Your Budget In Advance

A 12000 BTU air conditioner is a significant investment, so I recommend setting your budget before browsing units to ensure you don't overspend.

12000 BTU air conditioners can cost a lot — the units on my list range from around $360 to more than $600, for example.

Set your budget beforehand, and you can save time and money by focusing on the units you can afford. You can then concentrate on finding the best possible AC for your home at the best price.

TL;DR: 12000 BTU ACs vary in price range and can get expensive on the premium side of the spectrum. You must set a budget so that you can filter out units that are out of it.

Additional Features

In addition to the major considerations I listed above, there are smaller but still crucial things that can affect your purchasing decision. These include:

  • Warranty:
    It’s no secret — ACs can break fairly easily. Make sure your machine offers at least a one-year warranty to safeguard it from clumsy delivery drivers.
  • Remote Controls:
    A good remote control with long-range and wide-use angles can be a welcome convenience when your room gets a bit too hot during the night.
  • Wi-Fi Capabilities:
    If you love having all of your devices connected to your home network, check that your AC has a Wi-Fi module so it, too, can integrate into your smart home.
  • Voltage:
    Some 12000 BTU air conditioners, like the Koldfront, require a higher 230V power supply instead of the regular 115V from standard wall outlets. Check how much electricity your AC needs before buying and ensure you have the right outlets available.
  • Adjustable Louvers:
    If you want the best control over the airflow direction, choose an AC with 8-way adjustable louvers that let you direct fresh air circulation where it’s needed.
lg-electronics-wall-air-conditioners-lt0816cer-31_1000

TL;DR: 12000 BTU ACs vary in price range and can get expensive on the premium side of the spectrum. You must set a budget so that you can filter out units that are out of it.


When Is A 12,000 BTU AC Unit Your Ideal Choice?

A powerful 12,000 BTU air conditioner is a solid choice for cooling large 550-square-foot spaces or supplementing a struggling central AC in even larger areas.

This sized appliance packs a lot of power and are ideal for large single rooms. Consider placing a 12,000 BTU AC in a big living room, kitchen, or garage.

They can also work in big bedrooms, although other air conditioners with less power might be better options in terms of noise.

A 12,000 BTU air conditioner can also be a good choice for small apartments with multiple rooms (although you might need some fan assistance to help air circulation).

In addition, a 12k BTU unit can help an old or inefficient central AC cool much larger rooms.

For instance, I have a relative who recently knocked down some walls to create a +1,000-square-foot open-plan kitchen/dining/living room. She didn’t consider that the AC in her house wouldn’t be able to deal with the new open space.

Luckily, a 12,000 BTU window air conditioner helped her struggling central AC make her renovated home comfortable again!

TL;DR: 12000 BTU ACs can cool down a large 550 sq. ft. room. They are ideal for big living rooms and large office spaces.

How We Review & Rank Our Product List

At Air Conditioner Lab, our team follows a similar process when evaluating all products reviews before formulating our final lists for readers.

We begin by gathering data sources directly from brands, e-commerce platforms, online retailers and press releases.

These are then added to a master file we use to compare features specifications from all Air Conditioner models. You can access this Air Conditioner Sheet Here.

Next, we narrow down all the products on the market by evaluating user reviews, ratings and feedback from a wide variety of online and in-person sources.

Our team then discusses and co-ordinates our first hand experiences using these products, as well as gather independent opinions and feedback through Youtube and customer reviews.


FAQs

How Many Square Feet Will A 12000 BTU Air Conditioner Cool?

A 12,000 BTU AC can cool rooms up to 550 square feet. Some units may be effective in even larger spaces, but their efficiency will fall with the added coverage area.

How Much Electricity Does A 12000 BTU Air Conditioner Use?

12,000 BTU air conditioners use about 1,000-1,500 watts of electricity on average. However, the power consumption will depend on your particular AC type and energy efficiency.

How Much Does It Cost To Run A 12000 BTU Air Conditioner For 24 Hours?

Running a 12000 BTU AC for 24 hours straight will cost about $4-6. However, this cost may vary based on local electricity prices and how energy-efficient your AC is.[4]

How Long Will A 12000 BTU Air Conditioner Last?

On average, a 12,000 BTU AC will last around 5-7 years. With regular cleaning and maintenance, you may be able to stretch the unit's lifespan to a decade or longer.

So, Which AC Should You Buy?

Feeling a bit more like an AC expert? Good — you should!

With my buying guide, you’re ready to choose the right 12,000 BTU AC that fits your home to a tee.

In case you need some extra encouragement in your decision, my personal favorite is the Midea U MAW12V1QWT.

My #1 Recommendation
Midea U MAW12V1QWT

  • Powerful cooling capacity above its rated coverage area
  • Ultra-quiet operation
  • First-class energy efficiency keeps your electricity bills low
  • Wi-Fi connectivity with a nicely responsive control app
  • Light unit with a fairly attractive, modern design

References: 

  1. https://www.calculator.net/btu-calculator.html
  2. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/room-air-conditioners
  3. https://hearinghealthfoundation.org/decibel-levels
  4. https://www.omnicalculator.com/everyday-life/electricity-cost
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Josh Mitchell

Founder

Josh Mitchell
My name is Josh and I am obsessed with home appliances. From portable AC units to heaters and air purifiers, I enjoy testing, learning and using these devices to improve the air quality inside my family home.

My Favorite Home Appliance?

Midea U Shaped Window Air Conditioner

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