Buyers Guide & Information

Low Profile Window AC Units

Low-profile window air conditioners can reduce the overall footprint while maintaining excellent cooling. These are the best AC models we have tested.

Air conditioners come in many sizes, styles, and even shapes. Window ACs are among the most popular option, but they take up a lot of space. Low-profile window air conditioners can reduce the overall footprint while still maintaining excellent cooling capabilities.

In this article, we will take a close look at low-profile air conditioner units and help you find the best small window AC in terms of height. Not only will we cover the best brands and models, but we also look at what you need to know before making a purchase.

For window air conditioners that are compact in terms of width, height, and depth, then read this guide.

Finally, we cover how to care for the unit after installation.

What Are Low Profile AC Units?

Window air conditioners are those that sit in the window and don’t take up any floor space. However, they can be heavy, bulky, and, while installed, prevent the use of the window itself.

Low-profile window ACs, on the other hand, are just as durable, reliable, and energy-efficient and take up a fraction of the space. There are even some models that are designed to allow the use of the window while the unit is installed.

You will find that most low-profile models look a lot like a standard window unit, only smaller in height. There other models, like the U-shaped window units, that wrap around the window sill, or pane, instead of sitting on it.

Most low-profile window units are lightweight, can be installed by a single person, and are best used to cool a single room or series of connected rooms. Of course, you still need a window to install the air conditioner, but there aren’t many restrictions beyond this.

Benefits Of Low-Profile Window Air Conditioners

Low profile window ACs offer several benefits to homeowners. Below, you will find a list of benefits and how they can help you. Perhaps they will be enough to sway your final decision.

Highly Affordable

Compared to standard window units and even most portable AC models, low profile models are cheaper to produce. Because their manufacturing costs are lower, the savings are passed on to you, the end consumer.

With a low profile model, it isn’t uncommon to see savings between $300 and $600 over a comparable window AC.

Offers Best Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is an important aspect in today’s world. We require and need more efficient systems to lower monthly energy bills and reduce the use of fossil fuels from the environment.

Low profile air conditioning units are some of the most energy-efficient models for home use out there. Almost every low profile model is Energy Star certified. You will also find that, on average, the SEER ratings fall between 11 and 18 SEER.

Compact And Portable

Unlike a traditional window AC, low profile models are much more compact. They are lightweight and easy enough for one person to carry. While it can be a slight nuisance, you can save even more money by purchasing a single unit.

You can move it from window to window as needed a lot easier than a standard model. This means that you can use the low profile model in the living room during the day and take it with you to your bedroom at night.

Light And Easy To Install

The lightweight factor is essential. Not only does it save shipping costs and make transporting the model much easier, but it also aids in installation. Most traditional units require two (or more) people to properly install and level the air conditioner.

Most homeowners find they can install the entire low profile unit, level it, and have it working in a few minutes without any help.

Conserves Room Space

While all of these units still require a window for installation, many of them are designed to allow window use. This means you can still open and close your windows when the AC isn’t needed and can use the space around the model for other household needs and uses.

Convenient To Use

With high output capacities, you can use these air conditioner styles in every room of the home. They come in a wide range of BTU outputs, so you can ensure you get the right model for your space.

Many modern options also allow for mobile app and voice control operations, timers, wireless communications, and other features that make using and operating these machines a breeze.

Readily Available In Local Stores

Not only do all of the above benefits help you, but you can go out and get one today. While you may pay more in a local store than shopping online at stores like Amazon, you can get a low profile window air conditioner anywhere AC equipment is sold.

Low Profile Window AC Comparison

Image
Midea U Inverter Window Air Conditioner...
SoleusAir 6000 BTU Saddle Window AC with...
Windmill Air Conditioner: Smart Home AC -...
LG 5,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner with...
TOSOT 8,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner -...
hOmelabs 6,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner...
Model
Midea U Inverter Window Air Conditioner...
SoleusAir 6000 BTU Saddle Window AC with...
Windmill Air Conditioner: Smart Home AC -...
LG 5,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner with...
TOSOT 8,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner -...
hOmelabs 6,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner...
Weight
68 pounds
80 pounds
71 pounds
40 pounds
53 pounds
45 pounds
Dimensions
21.97 x 19.17 x 13.46 inches
31 x 21 x 18 inches
26.4 x 22.5 x 16.1 inches
11.13 x 17.31 x 14.38 Inches
21 x 17.2 x 12.8 inches
18.54 x 15.55 x 13.4 inches
Cooling Capacity
8000, 10000, 12000 BTU
6000, 8000 BTU
8300 BTU
5000 BTU
8000, 10000, 12000 BTU
6000, 8000, 1000, 12000, 14500 BTU
Image
Midea U Inverter Window Air Conditioner...
Model
Midea U Inverter Window Air Conditioner...
Weight
68 pounds
Dimensions
21.97 x 19.17 x 13.46 inches
Cooling Capacity
8000, 10000, 12000 BTU
Price
Image
SoleusAir 6000 BTU Saddle Window AC with...
Model
SoleusAir 6000 BTU Saddle Window AC with...
Weight
80 pounds
Dimensions
31 x 21 x 18 inches
Cooling Capacity
6000, 8000 BTU
Price
Image
Windmill Air Conditioner: Smart Home AC -...
Model
Windmill Air Conditioner: Smart Home AC -...
Weight
71 pounds
Dimensions
26.4 x 22.5 x 16.1 inches
Cooling Capacity
8300 BTU
Price
Image
LG 5,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner with...
Model
LG 5,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner with...
Weight
40 pounds
Dimensions
11.13 x 17.31 x 14.38 Inches
Cooling Capacity
5000 BTU
Price
Image
TOSOT 8,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner -...
Model
TOSOT 8,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner -...
Weight
53 pounds
Dimensions
21 x 17.2 x 12.8 inches
Cooling Capacity
8000, 10000, 12000 BTU
Price
Image
hOmelabs 6,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner...
Model
hOmelabs 6,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner...
Weight
45 pounds
Dimensions
18.54 x 15.55 x 13.4 inches
Cooling Capacity
6000, 8000, 1000, 12000, 14500 BTU
Price

Considerations Before Buying Low Profile Window AC

While the benefits may have helped you decide to buy a low profile AC, there are still considerations. You need to know about specific features and options, as outlined below before you head out to make your purchase.

Coverage Area & Airflow

One important aspect to keep in mind is the coverage area you need to cool. The BTU output rating (see below) directly correlates with how many square feet the system can effectively and efficiently cool.

One of the contributing factors, though, is proper airflow. The system needs an unobstructed intake of warm air to cool. Plus, the more open space on the exhaust side, the better.

For example, if the window unit is behind a couch, it can still cool the area but will take much longer to do so.

Noise Levels

Loud air conditioners can be a distraction or problem. Using an indoor air conditioner like a portable AC or window unit that is too loud will cause issues with conversations or even relaxation.

Luckily, most low-profile air conditioning units are relatively quiet. With the decibel (dB) rating system, you want to look for models at the lowest possible rating. On average, anything below 67 dB is considered decent.

Great models and “whisper quiet” models will be below 50dB, and there are a few on the market that are sub-40 decibels, too.

Energy Star Ratings

Energy Star certification is an award given by the EPA for products that meet specific energy efficiency criteria. There are a few terms that are similar when dealing with Energy Star. For example, Energy Star qualified, and Energy Star certified actually mean the same thing.

This is because there is only a single qualification process. Once your equipment meets the standards, it is qualified. If the EPA tests it specifically, it is certified.

Though the two cannot be used on equipment that does not meet the criteria, either term can be used legally when all criteria are met.

BTU Ratings

The British Thermal Unit (BTU) is a measurement of cooling and heating capabilities. The principle behind the measurement is knowing how much heat is required to melt one ton of ice in 24 hours at sea level.

That result is 1 BTU. For cooling methods, such as with an air conditioning unit, the standard acceptance is that you will require 20 BTUs per square foot. With this, you can ensure you purchase the right sized model for space or room you want to cool. These models we have reviewed are mostly for small spaces or rooms. We have covered large window AC units in this guide.

Refrigerant Needs

As of January 1st, 2020, the sale and use of R-22 refrigerants is banned. This means that all residential and commercial refrigerant appliances, coolers, and air conditioners must use a different type.

While currently in use systems (at the time) may continue to operate, they cannot be repaired or refilled using R-22.

When you buy a new model today, it will be in accordance with the R-22 phase-out—utilizing instead a more environmentally friendly refrigerant (usually R-410a). If, however you notice the system is using R-22, you will want to avoid it.

Other Features

There are other smaller features and options you should look for. Some of the features below may raise the cost of the unit, and you may find that you can save a little by purchasing a unit without the features you don’t need.

Modes

Different modes allow you to adjust the speed of the cooling fans, the amount of airflow, and even how low the unit can drop the temperature. Mode selection is relatively standard on all models, and you will find speeds that include low, medium, and high.

However, some models will also include an eco-mode where they only turn on or off when needed to lower running costs.

Filters

Window units use washable and reusable filter screens primarily. You will need to be more vigilant in keeping them clean and clear of build-up or debris, but the good news is that they last virtually forever.

For the models that have paper, fiber, or cloth filters, you will need to wash or replace them. Depending on the type and size, this can be every 30, 60, or 90 days.

Louvers

All ACs have louver vents, but some aren’t adjustable. If you want a better cooling experience, look for models with adjustable louvers. You can even find models that have automatic louvers that replicate oscillation.

Timers

Some models will come with timer modes that allow you to set how long they run. This will keep your costs down by not running when no one is home or the AC isn’t needed.

Timers also allow you to fall asleep with the unit on but not have it not run all night long. Some WiFi-enabled units can also have the timers used to turn the system on (or off) via mobile apps.

WiFi Compatibility

WiFi enabled units are controlled by mobile apps. These are usually more expensive units but offer a wider range of control and usability. With WiFi compatibility, you will need to connect to your home network and ensure that the signal strength is enough to reach the unit.

Price

You also need to consider the price. Unlike central air conditioners, you won’t have to worry about installation costs. The unit cost, though, can vary from brand to brand and model to model.

Of course, the price will depending on the size, BTU capacity, type, features, and options. If you are sure of your needs and wants with your low profile air conditioner, you should expect to pay between $100 and $500.

Warranty

Warranty coverage is highly important for any larger purchase such as these. You will need to read through the warranty before buying so you know what you are getting.

Different brands will have different coverage, duration and some may even offer extended plans. One thing to make sure you understand is the claim process. You may need to pay for shipping or take the system to a local dealer for repairs.

You also need to know the registration process. Usually, this is done online, but you may have a time limit (60 or 90 days is common), so your warranty can officially start. Finally, make sure you know what is and isn’t covered and for how long.

Typical warranties will last from 12 to 60 months, with a few higher-end models having 5 to 10 year (or longer) warranties.

Ease of Installation

Installing a low profile air conditioner should be easy enough for one person. The more intricate designs (U-shape, over the sill, etc.) may take two people to get installed correctly due to the different potions you will find yourself in while performing the install.

However, in most cases, the weight, size, and installation procedure can be handled by one person. If you are installing by yourself, make sure that the unit you purchase is capable of one-person install.

7 Best Low Profile Window Air Conditioners Reviewed

Below you will find the 7 best low profile ACs, reviewed, rated and compared. We look at the big details to help you find the model with all the features you need at a cost you can afford. Scroll through the list and find your next low profile window unit.

1. Midea U Inverter Window Air Conditioner

Our Top Pick
Weight 68 pounds
Dimensions 21.97 x 19.17 x 13.46 inches
Digital Programmable Thermostat Yes
Self Timer Duration 24 hours
Cooling Capacity 8000, 10000, 12000 BTU
Warranty 1-year

The U-Inverter model from Midea is our top pick and offers you a lot of features not found on most low profile units. This biggest feature is the U shape design and installation process. But there is a lot more under the hood, too.

The U shape refers to the mounting where the window pane drops between the two halves of the air conditioner. This allows you to open and close your window when you want fresh air without having to uninstall the AC.

Not only does it come with a bracket to install the unit permanently, but the U-shape also provides a locking mechanism that prevents your window from being opened from the outside for your safety.

The bad news is that the bracket says it installs in three easy steps. The steps are indeed easy, but getting the bracket mounted correctly is not. Two people and about an hour of time will be needed (in many cases) to get everything mounted and installed correctly.

One it is, though, you have little other concerns. The system is programmable, has 4 cooling modes, including an eco-friendly option, and is WiFi-enabled to allow Alexa voice command control.

With 8, 10, or 12 thousand BTU sizes available, you can cool larger spaces with less money, regardless of your needs. The 1-year warranty is a little low but is about industry average here. Still, with Energy Star certification and quiet operation, we’d like to see more coverage.

Read our full review of the Midea U here

What We Like
  • Ultra-quiet operation
  • WiFi and mobile app-enabled
  • Saves up to 35% on energy costs annually
What We Don’t Like
  • Can be difficult to install with bracket
  • Display light and key tone cannot be shut off

2. Soleus Air Exclusive

Best Over-Sill Low Profile AC
Weight 80 pounds
Dimensions 31 x 21 x 18 inches
Digital Programmable Thermostat No
Self Timer Duration 24 hours
Cooling Capacity 6000, 8000 BTU
Warranty 1-year

Soleus Air has an over the sill (saddle) model that comes in two sizes with WiFi optional. The easy-to-install unit is capable of cooling spaces up to 200 square feet and allows full window usage.

The biggest downfall to this model is the weight (80 pounds), making it difficult for some owners to lift high enough to get over the window sill without problems. However, once it is over, the rest of the install and setup is quite simple.

With this unit, you have two options, 6000 or 8000 BTU. You can also choose between WiFi-enabled or standard in both sizes. The WiFi-enabled options are going to cost you about $50 to $75 more. The only difference between the two is the ability to use the Soleus mobile app for AC control.

You may find that because the company is still small, that customer service and returns are difficult. When you buy online (primary option and only option in some areas), there are no returns, and repairs can be costly (up to $200 in some cases).

However, using the remote control, adjusting the 3-speed fan options, and having a unit that is whisper quiet (about 44dB on all speeds, average), you will have cooling in your home that doesn’t disturb your view.

We look at this model in more detail with our complete review

What We Like
  • WiFi-enabled models available
  • Easy to install
  • Full use of window after installation
What We Don’t Like
  • Not the best customer service
  • Only two sizes available

3. Windmill Air Conditioner

Best Voice Controlled Low Profile Air Conditioner
Weight 71 pounds
Dimensions 26.4 x 22.5 x 16.1 inches
Digital Programmable Thermostat Yes
Self Timer Duration 24 hours
Cooling Capacity 8300 BTU
Warranty 30-day return

The low profile, compact Windmill AC is an ideal solution when it comes to smart air conditioners. Not only is the system easy to use, but the brand behind it has some of the most responsive and caring customer service reps in the business.

There are a lot of features on this compact AC, and you may be surprised at how affordable it is. The auto-dimming digital display will show you the temperature, mode selection, and WiFi connectivity. When the room gets dark, the display will dim to not cause a distraction.

On top of all that, you can use the included remote control, the Windmill mobile app, or even Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa enabled devices for voice control. No matter where you are or what is going on, you can have complete control over your home’s temperature.

The system is easy to install, too. With the window kit coming already assembled, you just have to take it from box to window and tighten a few screws. Once set up, you are ready to use the system and have cooler air in your home in less than 10 minutes.

What We Like
  • Great customer service
  • Window kit pre-assembled
  • Auto-dimming digital display
What We Don’t Like
  • No long-term warranty

4. LG Window Air Conditioner

Best Compact Low Profile AC
Weight 40 pounds
Dimensions 11.13 x 17.31 x 14.38 Inches
Digital Programmable Thermostat No
Self Timer Duration N/A
Cooling Capacity 5000 BTU
Warranty 1-year

LG is known as a high quality and reliable brand, regardless of their products. Their compact, low profile AC is among those products that are reliable, durable, and easy to use. This particular model (the LW5016) is arguably the smallest low profile air conditioner on the market right now.

With a footprint of less than 12 inches and a weight half that of the other brands (40 pounds), it is the easiest and lightest model to install in your window. The downside for some is that it is all mechanical.

There are no digital controls, timers, voice or mobile app controls, or digital displays. The system uses analog turn dials for temperature settings and a toggle switch for power and fan speed (high or low).

While it may be a turn-off for some, the unit simply works and is highly affordable. It even comes with a 1-year full warranty and the LG customer service team behind it.

While it isn’t the best model for larger rooms, smaller spaces, guest bedrooms, or used as a secondary cooling device, the LW5016 is a great investment to help maintain cooler air during the hottest months.

What We Like
  • Simple controls
  • Easy to install
  • Filter maintenance is minimal
What We Don’t Like
  • Unit can get loud at higher speeds
  • Takes a while to cool a room of any size

5. TOSOT Chalet Window Air Conditioner

Best Temperature Sensing Air Conditioner
Weight 53 pounds
Dimensions 21 x 17.2 x 12.8 inches
Digital Programmable Thermostat Yes
Self Timer Duration 24 hours
Cooling Capacity 8000, 10000, 12000 BTU
Warranty 1-year

TOSOT set out to make a modern, sleek and stylish air conditioner. The result is the TOSOT Chalet, a low profile and compact window unit that performs well, looks great, and is easy to maintain.

Once you have the unit installed (which should take less than 30 minutes), you can start with the touch-sensitive digital display to turn the system on or use the remote control. Either way you go, you can set the temperature and fan speed as well as cooling mode and even the 24 hour timer.

One of the biggest draws is the iFeel functionality of the remote control. Depending on what temperature you have the machine set for, the iFeel button will send a temperature update to the unit every 10 minutes.

This will ensure the air conditioner runs as long and as hard as needed to get the temperature down, wherever the remote is located. Since you are likely to have the remote control near you, your ambient air will reach temp before the system shuts off.

Even though the loudest parts of window units are outside, they can still get quite noisy. The TOSOT model is no different, with internal noise levels reaching 55 to 60dB when on high and running for extended periods.

What We Like
  • iFeel function for better temperature control
  • Full digital display
  • Multiple sizes for cooling up to 600 square feet
What We Don’t Like
  • Unit can get quite loud
  • Filter access is more difficult than other models

6. hOmeLabs Window Air Conditioner

Best Smart Air Conditioner
Weight 45 pounds
Dimensions 18.54 x 15.55 x 13.4 inches
Digital Programmable Thermostat Yes
Self Timer Duration 24 hours
Cooling Capacity 6000, 8000, 1000, 12000, 14500 BTU
Warranty 1-year

If you are looking for an air conditioner that is chocked full of features and want a unit that can cool your room while providing you the best smart options available, this is it. The hOmeLabs WiFi Ready low profile air conditioner has everything you need.

With the WiFi model, you get the standard wireless features, including digital display readout and control, remote control operation, and adjustable settings. But you can get those with almost any air conditioner on this list.

What the hOmeLabs model offers is smart home compatibility, including a mobile app for control from anywhere and voice controls through Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa enabled devices. On top of that, you also get the Follow Me feature that uses sensors to know where you are and maintain the temperature you set based on your physical location.

Through the mobile app, you can even set up a radius to have the system turn on or off when you get home or leave for the day, and can adjust the home’s temperature before you leave the office.

The model also comes in more capacity sizes than other models, from 6000 BTU all the way to 14,500 BTU for cooling larger spaces while saving money on your monthly energy bill. The 1-year warranty covers your investment, too.

What We Like
  • Multiple smart features
  • Energy Star certified
  • High output capability
What We Don’t Like
  • Harder to install than other models
  • Filters need more frequent cleaning

7. Frigidaire FFRA0511R1E

Best Mechanical Low Profile Air Conditioner
Weight 41 pounds
Dimensions 15 x 16 x 12 inches
Digital Programmable Thermostat No
Self Timer Duration N/A
Cooling Capacity 5000 BTU
Warranty 1-year parts, 4-year sealed system

If you want simple, affordable, and easy to use, look no further. The Frigidaire low profile window AC isn’t going to win any feature or style awards, but it will keep your room cool.

Rivaling the LG model for the smallest size, this compact model packs a lot of punch with its 5000 BTU output and 500-watt performance. You can install this unit from the box and have it running in less than 5 minutes.

Without digital or wireless controls, there is less setup and more cooling. Simply put it in the window, plug it in and turn the dial to your chosen mode and fan speed. It also features a dehumidifier option to help reduce the humidity in your home during the season.

One of the best features, though, is the warranty coverage. It offers a 1-year parts and labor warranty, like most other models on this list. However, it also includes a 4-year sealed system warranty (compressor, refrigerant lines, etc.) that isn’t generally found in window AC units, especially in this low price range.

What We Like
  • Best in class warranty
  • Compact design is easy to install
  • 5-minute install
What We Don’t Like
  • No timer or digital features
  • Gets loud on high settings

Disadvantages Of Using Low Profile Air Conditioners

Low profile air conditioners are known for their benefits, space-saving designs, and long lists of other benefits. However, there are a few disadvantages to note. Many owners can overlook them because of the benefits they bring; others find them as a deal-breaker, though. How about you?

Depleting Replacement Parts

When the models are new, finding a replacement filter or knob is easy enough. However, as the years pass and new models are released, parts for older models stop being manufactured.

Once your current model is 3 or 4 years old, it may work very well, but any replacement parts can be quite challenging to locate.

Professional Repairs

If any of the internal parts become damaged or stop working, you will need to have them professionally repaired. Because the refrigerant system requires EPA certification, it isn’t something you can work on in your garage.

Professional repairs or part replacement can become costly, adding to the overall cost of the unit. Smaller budget homes may find the fees a bit steep. In some rare cases, the cost of repairs is higher than purchasing a new unit.

Limited Features

Compared to larger models, central ACs, and even heat pumps, low profile window air conditioners can be limited in their feature list. As everything is compact in design, there is less room to add some higher-end features.

While almost all models will have what you need from an AC, many may fall short on the things you want.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

What is the smallest size window air conditioner?

With new models coming out all the time, it is difficult to pinpoint a single model. However, there are quite a few small room models that are less than 13 inches in height and smaller than 20 inches wide.

LG’s LW5016 model is one of the smallest units available as of this writing, measuring 11.13H x 17.31W x 14.38D (in inches).

How many BTU do the smallest size window ACs use?

Most of the smaller window AC units will range between 2500 and 8000 BTUs. The average size is about 5000 BTUs which is perfect for rooms up to 150 square feet.

Is it better to oversize or undersize AC?

When sizing an air conditioner, you want to get as close as possible to the ideal size. However, if your measurements put you between two sizes, you should always go with the larger one.

While buying too large of a system can have many negative effects, half sizes up (or even one full size) won’t be as detrimental to the system or your energy bill as one that is half a size, or more, too small.

How do I know if my AC is too small for my room?

If you buy a system and suspect it is too small, there will be a few tell-tale signs. First, the system won’t shut off when in temperature mode. The system will constantly run, trying to lower the temperature.

Second, the compressor will become hot, and that heat can start to permeate through the louvers, blowing a mix of cold and warm air.

Finally, you will notice that even after the unit has run for a few hours, there isn’t a noticeable change in the room’s temperature.

What clearance do I need with a window AC?

Each model will be slightly different on clearance requirements and bracket installation. This is due to the size of the unit, placement of the intake and exhaust vents, and heat retention of the case.

However, all models will come with an owner’s manual that outlines the minimum clearances for top, bottom, sides, and front and back. In general, though, you should have a minimum of 12 inches clearance on all sides.

Conclusion

Low profile window air conditioners are a great space-saving AC that can cool a room with ease. There are plenty of benefits, too, including lower cost, easier installation, and maintaining the use of the window.

While these models aren’t the right fit for some, they are a lifesaver for many homeowners, renters, and small apartment dwellers. If you have decided a low profile AC is right for you but still aren’t sure which one, take another look at our top pick.

The Midea U Inverter Window Air Conditioner is affordable, durable, and has a lot of features you won’t find elsewhere. With Alexa voice control, U-shape for window use, and low noise output, you will wonder how you ever lived without it.

Josh M
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