Hours of Research
Window air conditioners are a hassle to put up seasonally, while mini-split systems cost a fortune.
A through-the-wall air conditioner offers the convenience of permanent installation at a more affordable cost.
Yet, wall-mounted AC units come in a wide range of capacities and features. It can be difficult to find the ideal unit.
That’s why I tested and reviewed the best wall air conditioners on the market.
I chose the cream of the crop for this guide to help you choose the best through-the-wall air conditioner.
Quick Guide – Our Top Picks
Value For Money
Best Budget-Friendly Wall AC
Value For Money
At a Glance
Best Premium Wall AC
Best Budget-Friendly Wall Air Conditioner
Quietest Through The Wall AC
Most Reliable Wall Mounted AC Unit
Wall AC Unit with Easiest Installation
Best Wall AC for Large Rooms
Best Wall Air Conditioner Heater
8 Best Through-the-Wall Air Conditioners
1. Koldfront WTC12001W - Editor’s Choice
Value For Money
550 square feet
EER or SEER
The best isn’t always the strongest, fastest, or cheapest. Sometimes, it’s all about value — and that’s what Koldfront WTC12001W delivers in spades.
This Koldfront machine (the first of many on my list) isn't the cheapest.
However, it's still quite affordable, considering it can keep you comfortable all year long, rain or shine.
The WTC12001W carries a high 12,000 BTU rating, giving it a maximum coverage area of up to 550 square feet.
It blows cold and strong and effectively cooled my multi-room test space at the high end of the cooling capacity in 30 minutes.
It can work well in even slightly oversized rooms and apartments.
You also get a 10,600 BTU-rated heating function with this machine.
The heater is quite good as well, putting out enough warm air to keep a small apartment cozy on its own.
It certainly kept a sunroom with large, heat-leaking windows warm through the night.
In addition to heating and cooling, the WTC12001W can run in fan or dehumidifier mode, and it has a sleep and eco mode.
The modes are easily controllable with the front panel (shared between all the Koldfront units) or the remote control.
The remote's range is a bit short, but it works well within it.
A friend of mine installed these units in a motel he runs and slashed his power bill to a third of what it was. Note that this unit requires a 230V outlet, though.
Installation is reasonably straightforward despite the high-ish weight, and the WTC12001W fits universal 24" wall sleeves.
If you need some help, though, the manual won't do much. The entire Koldfront family of units needs better installation instructions.
Another family issue with Koldfront is the noise. WTC12001W isn't obnoxiously loud, but be prepared to turn the TV volume up a bit.
As a whole, though, Koldfront WTC12001W does a stellar job in rooms of all sizes.
With its efficiency in cooling performance and energy use, this AC is simply good value for money.
2. Friedrich Wallmaster WCT12A10A - Best Premium Wall AC
550 square feet
EER or SEER
The latest tech solutions bring a level of convenience that's hard to match.
Friedrich Wallmaster WCT12A10A is a premium in-wall AC unit that integrates seamlessly into your smart home.
In terms of cooling power, the Wallmaster is right up there with Koldfront WTC12001W, sharing the pedestal for the second strongest units on my list.
It boasts a cooling capacity of 12,000 BTU, giving it a maximum rated coverage area of 550 square feet.
The Wallmaster doesn’t feature heating, but the effective cooling makes up for it in my books.
This wall unit does an excellent job within its range and performs admirably even in a bit larger areas.
It can also operate in fan and timer modes. There’s no sleep mode or energy saver mode, but I didn’t miss them due to the low energy usage.
The Wallmaster has a 10.5 EER rating accompanied by Energy Star certification.
The power draw from a regular 115V outlet is surprisingly low, so your annual energy costs should stay well under $100.
The controls are a little convoluted, but at the same time, they give you many options for managing the machine.
I particularly liked the limiter setting that allows me to set a low and high temperature threshold.
The Wallmaster will then automatically maintain a consistent temperature within the limits.
To make controlling it easier, the Wallmaster can connect to your Wi-Fi network.
With the FriedrichConnect app, you can monitor and adjust the unit through your smartphone — or even with a voice module like Alexa.
The Wi-Fi is simple to set up but requires an older standard 2.4 GHz network. Check your router settings if you have problems getting it to work.
The Wallmaster comes with a long 5-year warranty. As a final cherry on top, the design is quite sleek and good-looking.
All these features come at a price — this is an expensive unit. It’s also big and heavy, requiring a 27” wall sleeve. Installing it is a two or even three-man job.
Yet, if it’s a premium, strong wall AC you’re after, the Wallmaster is well worth its price tag.
Who is Friedrich Wallmaster WCT12A10A Best For?
This Friedrich Wallmaster premium through-the-wall AC is the perfect solution for those who want strong cooling capacity and the latest features, no matter the price.
3. Koldfront WTC8002WCO - Best Budget-Friendly Wall Air Conditioner
Value For Money
350 square feet
EER or SEER
I strongly believe that being on a budget shouldn't stop anyone from enjoying a cool, comfortable home.
The Koldfront WTC8002WCO is a wallet-friendly wall-sleeve air conditioner with a decent cooling capacity.
The WTC8002WCO has enough cooling power for an 8,000 BTU rating.
With a maximum coverage area of 350 square feet, it's not as strong as its more powerful Koldfront siblings. Yet, I wouldn't blow it off as a slouch.
This unit simply isn’t designed for huge spaces. It performs very effectively in small to medium-sized rooms within its capabilities.
I had no problem keeping an appropriately sized room cool with 110°F outdoor temps.
The WTC8002WCO is an affordable unit, but another factor contributing to its budget-friendly nature is its excellent energy efficiency.
With a 10.6 EER rating and Energy Star certification, you can enjoy cool air without worrying about your electricity bills jumping through the roof.
The unit plugs into a regular 115V socket, so there's no need to rewire your house.
The low price doesn’t mean you have to compromise on features.
Like the more expensive Koldfront units, the WTC8002WCO offers full 3-in-1 functionality (cool air, fan, and dehumidifier mode) and a timer, energy saver, and sleep mode.
Its control panel and remote control are the same as on every other Koldfront and do their job without grumbling.
In terms of features and usability, the WTC8002WCO is a basic unit — in the best possible way. It’s simple to operate and just works.
The unit is the same size as the other Koldfronts’, meaning it fits in a 24” sleeve.
If you already have a bigger sleeve, though, you won’t have to blow money on replacing it.
My machine came with enough foam and padding that it installed tightly even in a 27” sleeve.
Don’t bother looking in the atrocious manual on how to do it — just stuff the insulation in all gaps and you’re solid.
I should also mention that this is the quietest AC on my list, with an average noise level of 55 dB.
Wall AC units are never silent, but this one won't offend your ears.
For such an affordable through-wall air conditioner, Koldfront WTC8002WCO does its job and does it well.
4. Koldfront WTC8001W - Quietest Through the Wall AC
Value For Money
350 square feet
EER or SEER
If you live in a small home in a region that has both hot summers and cold winters, then Koldfront WTC8001W is about to become your best friend.
This Koldfront unit is much like its slightly more affordable WTC8002WCO brother but with the added bonus of a heating function.
Its cooling capacity is rated at 8,000 BTU, translating to a 350-square-foot maximum coverage area.
That makes the cooling power identical to the WTC8002WCO.
The cool airflow blowing out of the unit is enough to keep small to medium-sized rooms perfectly comfortable.
For its part, the heating output is rated at 4,200 BTU.
It's at the top end of what I'd call "supplemental" — it can warm a small, well-insulated room on its own but is best utilized to lessen the burden of a dedicated, separate heating solution.
With an EER rating of 9.6, the WTC8001W doesn’t quite match its AC-only sibling in energy efficiency, but it’s still not a power hog.
Your bills should stay in check, particularly because the unit uses a 115V outlet.
This unit serves the usual Koldfront menu of a cool, dry, and fan-only mode, in addition to a timer and a sleep and eco mode.
You can choose between three cooling speeds, while the heater only has one fan setting.
In the noise department, the WTC8001W falls between its 8K BTU and 12K BTU AC siblings.
It's not as quiet as the AC-only 8K model but also doesn't roar as loudly as the 12K one. The noise level is about average for its type.
The installation instructions are sub-standard in typical Koldfront fashion. However, the AC slides easily enough into an existing 24" or larger sleeve.
As a strange quirk, this is the lightest wall AC on my list despite having a heater, which makes installing it easier.
Another oddity is the inconsistent thermostat, which was off by up to 4°F.
I didn’t have this issue with other Koldfronts, though, so my test unit’s thermostat may have just been a lemon.
Overall, this unit is a little workhorse that can supply small homes with heating and cooling alike.
5. LG LT1016CER - Most Reliable Wall Mounted AC Unit
Value For Money
450 square feet
EER or SEER
All units on my list can serve you well for years to come, but some will always be more reliable than others.
LG LT1016CER will be the air conditioner equivalent of your grandpa's car — it probably should've given up the ghost two decades ago, but somehow the thing just keeps running.
In terms of cooling power, the LT1016CER’s 10,000-BTU cooling capacity falls between my previously reviewed units.
Although it has a nominal maximum cooling area of 450 square feet,
I successfully cooled a 600-square-foot space from 82°F to 68°F in about 30 minutes. That’s some impressive work.
In user modes, you get the standard 3-in-1 combo of cooling, fan-only, and dehumidifying, with three fan speeds, a programmable timer, and energy-saving mode.
There's no sleep mode, but with 65 dB of noise at maximum power, you may not want this thing in your bedroom anyway.
Usability is simple, although the front display is really tiny.
The remote control has a portable integrated thermostat (like the Keystone unit) that monitors its surrounding temperature and adjusts the AC automatically.
Just plug it into a 115V outlet and cool your home without worrying about the power bill.
The LT1016CER's reliability stems mainly from its sturdy construction. The unit just feels good to handle with heavy metal and solid plastic parts.
As an excellent design touch, the power cord feeds out from the unit through an internal channel instead of sitting loose in the sleeve.
That prevents it from getting compressed and fraying over the years.
Fortunately, this air conditioner can take a punch because LG should package it better.
Although my unit arrived in pristine condition, a half-inch of styrofoam isn't enough to protect this hefty machine.
LG also gives Koldfront a run for its money in the race for the lousiest installation instructions.
With the high-ish price this unit goes for, you’d think LG could afford a proper technical writer.
Still, all my grumbles have nothing to do with the AC itself. Keep it clean, and the LT1016CER will run happily for years and years.
6. Keystone KSTAT10-2C - Wall AC Unit with Easiest Installation
Value For Money
600 square feet
EER or SEER
Are you tired of puzzling over a complex mounting process and cryptic instructions until your puzzler is sore?
Then Keystone KSTAT10-2C is the wall-mounted air conditioner for you.
This unit has multiple features contributing to its ease of installation. First of all, it fits the universal 24” sleeve.
If you had a previous wall AC unit, the Keystone can use that sleeve.
Second, this is a relatively lightweight machine. It’s a few pounds heavier than the 8K BTU Koldfronts, but lifting it is still easier than most others.
Finally, and most importantly, Keystone’s installation instructions are clear and detailed.
The manual explains how to install the air conditioner in virtually any sleeve, which is very welcome among wall AC units.
The Keystone won't let you down with performance, either.
Its 10,000-BTU cooling capacity squarely matches the LG LT1016CER's 450-square-foot maximum cooling area.
Like its competitors, the Keystone also works in a bit bigger areas.
During my tests, it chilled a nearly 600-square-foot top-floor studio from 92°F to 75°F in about an hour.
Usability is simple, and swapping between the three main modes, selecting one of the multiple fan speeds, or activating the timer, sleep, or energy-saver mode is straightforward.
Like LG, the Keystone's remote control has a portable thermostat that adjusts the unit automatically.
The remote seems to lose connection occasionally if left alone for long periods, but bringing it back to the unit fixes it.
In terms of energy efficiency, the Keystone is once again on par with the LG.
It has a 10.6 EER rating and sports Energy Star certification, so it can help you reduce energy usage even when run together with central air conditioning.
This is also quite the quiet wall air conditioner, with a 55 dB average noise level comparable to the budget Koldfront.
This Keystone unit is definitely worth considering if you want to enjoy strong cooling power without convoluted installation.
7. Koldfront WTC14012WC0230V - Wall AC for Large Rooms
Value For Money
700 square feet
EER or SEER
Koldfront returns to my list one more time. This time, the brand brings with it cooling power — and lots of it.
Koldfront WTC14012WC0230V (say that 10 times fast) is stronger than the other air conditioners on my list and one of the most powerful in general.
This beast of a machine proudly carries a whopping 14,000 BTUs worth of rated capacity.
Yet, it can do more than that. I had no issues cooling a joined living room and kitchen with high ceilings that’s closer to 1,000 than 700 square feet.
Of course, to get all that cooling power, you need to feed this behemoth quite a bit of power.
Yet, with an EER rating of 9.3, it’s actually surprisingly energy-efficient. I’ve certainly seen units with comparable power that suck up a lot more electricity.
Just make sure you have a dedicated 230V outlet available for this machine.
This Koldfront unit features the same straightforward basic usability as all of its brand siblings, with an identical front panel and remote control.
It’s all there — 3-in-1 functionality, eco and sleep mode, and a timer.
In the noise department, I was in for a bit of a surprise. You might expect this unit to let out a monstrous roar, but it makes surprisingly little noise.
Don’t get me wrong — it’s not quiet by any means, but it’s not the loudest machine on this list either.
Another thing that mildly surprised me is that the unit fits into a universal 24” wall sleeve.
Also, despite its power, it’s not even the heaviest I’ve reviewed — it’s even lighter than the Koldfront 12K BTU unit.
The Achilles' heel is once again Koldfront's installation manual. The process really is relatively easy, but the instructions are terrible.
The manufacturer has also gone all in on the power, and there's not much difference between the fan speed settings.
Then again, power is what you want from this unit. This Koldfront is the choice for a wall air conditioner in a big home.
8. LG LT1037HNR - Best Wall Air Conditioner Heater
Value For Money
450 square feet
EER or SEER
Remember Chilly Willy? The cartoon penguin who was always trying to find some way to stay warm?
I really wish I could install LG LT1037HYNR in his igloo — he’d love it.
This wall air conditioner/heater combo packs plenty of power in both regards.
It’s rated for 450 square feet, but I had satisfactory results in well-insulated spaces almost twice that big.
Yet, heating is where this machine truly shines — and even beats its cooling chops.
The LT1037HNR boasts an 11,200 BTU heating output that’s above even the #1 Koldfront unit.
Warm air is a different beast from cold air, though, so I wouldn't waste it by trying to heat rooms above the square footage rating.
Just stay within that range, and you will be Chilly Willy no more.
That strong cooling does come with a fairly high energy drain, but the LT1037HNR still won’t add an unbearable amount to your electricity bill.
The unit has a 9.8 EER rating, which beats most of the Koldfront wall-mounted air conditioners. You do need to feed it through a 230V outlet, though.
In appearance and usability, the LT1037HNR is more or less identical to its cooling-only LG brother.
The remote control has no thermostat, and the unit doesn't have a dehumidifier mode, but you do get the heater in exchange.
Noise-wise, this unit is pretty loud, yet according to my meter, it produced a few decibels less noise than the other LG.
No wall air conditioners are quiet, though — this one is just toward the upper end of the average.
Somehow, this AC manages to be almost 10 pounds lighter than its AC-only sibling.
Combine that with the universal 24” sleeve fitting, and installing it is reasonably straightforward.
As long as you ignore the customarily terrible installation instructions, that is.
The packaging is as flimsy as with the other LG, but fortunately, the unit itself is also equally well-built. Then again, it should be to justify its big price tag.
If you shiver in the winter and sweat in the summer, this fella will be welcome in your home.
Top Rated Through-The-Wall ACs Compared
Buying a Through-the-Wall AC? Here’s What to Look For!
Through-the-wall air conditioners tend to be pricier than similarly rated portable or window air conditioners.
As such, it's smart to think very carefully about your needs and the features of the wall-mounted AC units available.
Here's my breakdown of the key factors to remember when shopping for through-the-wall units.
Location, Location, Location
Pre-measure the ideal location for a through-wall AC unit in your home to make sure the device can fit there and ensure there’s a power outlet nearby.
Ideally, it would be best to place wall-mounted AC units in a central location in the room, roughly 7 feet off the floor, and away from heaters and furnishing.
It can be a challenge to find such a location in some homes, so I recommend carefully measuring the available spots to ensure your AC will fit there.
If you need help determining where to place the wall air conditioner, it may be worth getting an HVAC professional to find the ideal installation location.
I promise you, their fee will cost you less than fixing an air conditioner-sized hole in your wall.
Wall Thickness and Sleeve Size
Make sure you get the right wall sleeve for your wall air conditioner and wall thickness to avoid extra hassle and costs.
While pre-measuring your wall AC unit, keep in mind that the wall sleeves for these machines come in multiple varieties of differing dimensions.
The three most common ones include:
In addition to the sleeve width and height, measure the thickness of your wall. This way, you'll ensure you can support the AC properly and prevent loud vibrations.
Match The Power to Your Room Size (BTU)
Match the power of your in-wall AC unit to the square footage of the room it will be placed in as closely as possible.
The cooling power of through-wall air conditioners (and most other cooling systems) is measured in British thermal units (BTU).
The BTU rating corresponds directly to a certain square footage — the higher the BTU rating, the larger the area the unit can cool.
For example, a 10,000 BTU wall air conditioner is designed for cooling rooms up to 450 square feet in size.
Both undersized and oversized air conditioners can cause problems, so it’s always best to match your AC to the room size as accurately as possible.
Related Article: Best 8000 BTU Air Conditioner
Check the Voltage Requirements
Remember to check whether your Wall air conditioner needs a 115V or 230V outlet to ensure you can supply it with the power it needs.
All wall air conditioners can’t plug into a regular 115V outlet — some high-output models require 230V of power to run properly.
If you don’t have 230V outlets available and don’t want to pay for rewiring, make sure you buy a unit that works with a 115V outlet.
As a side note, if your 230V unit seems to be underperforming constantly, make sure the outlet feeds on a dedicated 230V circuit.
Shared circuits may not give the air conditioner the juice it needs to run at full power.
Save Your Pennies with High Energy Efficiency (EER)
I recommend choosing a through-the-wall air conditioner with an EER rating of 9 or higher to keep your electricity bills low.
The power consumption of wall-mounted air conditioners is described by the energy efficiency ratio (EER).
As with the BTU rating, the EER rating is simple to understand — a bigger number means a more energy-efficient air conditioner.
Generally, an EER rating above 9 means the unit can help you save energy and money (all machines on my list satisfy this condition).
However, to ensure the maximum cost and energy savings, I advise looking for Energy Star-certified units with double-digit EER scores.
Related Article: How Many Watts Does a Window AC Use?
Consider a Heating Function
Consider buying a through-wall air conditioner with a heat mode if you live in an area with cold winters.
Some through-wall air conditioners have built-in heat pumps that can blow warm air indoors.
As the units are generally permanently installed, you may as well consider getting a heating-capable unit if your home region has cold winters.
Although the heater eats more power than the AC function, the supplemental heating it provides can help you save money on your heating bill.
Noise Levels Will Vary (dBA)
Try to purchase a through-the-wall AC that makes less than 60 dB of noise to spare your ears and nerves.
There's no such thing as a silent air conditioner, and wall air conditioners tend to be even louder than most.
I recommend looking for units that average less than 60 dB of noise. At this noise level, the unit is quieter than your average conversation.
That may not always be possible, especially with wall-mounted air conditioners with higher BTUs.
Even in these cases, though, you can minimize the noise with a tight installation that prevents rattling and vibration resonance.
Make Maintenance Easy to Save Your Nerves
I recommend purchasing a lightweight wall AC with a front-loading washable filter to make maintenance as easy as possible.
All air conditioners need regular maintenance, and wall-mounted air conditioners are no different.
A front-loading, washable filter makes it easy to pull the filter out for monthly rinsing while saving you money on replacements.
It's also smart to buy as light an air conditioner as possible.
It's a good practice to gently clean the interior components at least once a year, and a lighter unit is always easier to pull out and slide back into the exterior wall sleeve.
Budget Before You Start Shopping
Set your budget before you start shopping for wall-mounted air conditioners to ensure you can buy the best unit within your means.
As I’ve said, through-the-wall air conditioners can get pricey — the units on my list range from around $450 to well above $1,000.
Determining your pain point beforehand allows you to focus on the best features within your budget instead of wasting time browsing machines you can’t afford.
Also, few through-the-wall units include a wall sleeve in the price.
If you don’t already have a sleeve fixed to your exterior wall, set aside around $200 for the sleeve — plus the possible installation costs.
Additional Features You May Look For
In addition to the key considerations above, there are smaller but convenient features that can help you get more out of your wall air conditioner.
These other factors include:
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Window and Wall Air Conditioners The Same?
Wall and window air conditioners are not the same, and wall air conditioners can’t be installed in a window space. However, a window air conditioner with a slide-out chassis can often be used in a through-wall installation.
How Much Does a Through-the-Wall AC Unit Cost?
Through-the-wall air conditioners generally cost upwards of $400. Some wall AC units can cost more than $1,000, depending on their features, capability, and brand.
How Much Power Does a Through-the-Wall Air Conditioner Need?
A through-wall air conditioner typically needs 750-1,500 watts of power. Due to the high variability, check your unit’s energy consumption before purchasing to avoid unpleasant surprises.
How Long Do Through-the-Wall Air Conditioners Last?
Through-the-wall air conditioners typically last around 5-10 years. However, it’s not unusual to get several decades of service out of a good unit with regular maintenance.
Related Article: How Often Should You Service Your AC?
Can a Window AC Be Used Through-the-Wall?
It can be perfectly possible to install window ACs in a through-the-wall configuration.
A smaller AC will fit into a wall sleeve with some padding, while window models with a slide-out chassis sleeve are designed for alternative through-wall installation.
Are Through-the-Wall Air Conditioners Standard Size?
There's no single-size standard for through-wall air conditioners. However, most wall AC units are designed to fit one of many available sleeve sizes.
Which Through-the-Wall Air Conditioner Will You Choose?
Congratulations — you're now aware of the most significant considerations when comparing wall AC units.
With the help of my buying guide, you can go and easily find the best through-the-wall AC for your home.
That said, I just covered a lot of information, so I'd like to finish with a personal recommendation.
The 12,000-BTU Koldfront WTC12001W is an excellent fit for most homes, offering good cooling and heating power at a reasonable price point.
Our #1 Product For