Hours of Research
A window air conditioner can be an affordable and powerful solution for cooling your home. Finding a suitable unit can be tricky if you have small windows, though.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be.
I researched and tested dozens of window ACs to discover the smallest and most powerful window ACs out there.
I’ve written this list based on my findings so your window size doesn’t stop you from staying cool.
Quick Guide – Our Top Picks
Value For Money
Top of the Range
Midea U MAW08V1QWT
Value For Money
Value For Money
8 Smallest Window Air Conditioners on the Market
Let’s find an AC that fits even in the tiniest window opening!
1. Frigidaire FFRA051WAE (Editor’s Pick)
2. Midea U MAW08V1QWT (Top of the Range)
3. Midea MAW05M1BWT (Best Value)
4. Emerson Quiet Kool EARC5MD1 (Best Warranty)
5. Frigidaire FFRSS0822SE (Best for Narrow Windows)
6. LG LW6017R (Best for Medium-Sized Rooms)
7. Keystone KSTAW05BE (Best Mid-Range Small Window AC Unit)
8. Soleus Air WS3-06E-201 (Quietest Small Window Air Conditioner)
1 - Frigidaire FFRA051WAE - My #1 Choice
Value For Money
If you want a straightforward window air conditioner that’s small but mighty, look no further than the Frigidaire FFRA051WAE.
This Frigidaire window AC unit sets the standard in many ways. It has a compact footprint at 16 inches wide and 12 inches tall, like the smaller Midea, Emerson, and Keystone units. Its 5,000 BTU capacity and 150-square-foot coverage will also be a continuing theme on my list.
Still, I wouldn’t have picked the Frigidaire as my #1 choice if it was just one of the faceless gray masses.
To begin with, it’s more efficient than most other comparably sized small window units. The Frigidaire cools a room within its coverage rating in 10 minutes.
It can work for much larger spaces as well. As long as you don’t want to turn your home into a freezer, the Frigidiaire can keep you comfortable in rooms more than three times its stated coverage area.
As with most small window ACs, this unit doesn’t have a digital display, thermostat, or remote control. You set the power with a 7-step turn dial and can choose between high or low cooling or fan functions.
Although I always like electronic controls for their accuracy and convenience, the lack of bells and whistles makes the Frigidaire highly durable. It can run continuously all summer without a pause.
Another tradition of small air conditioners is that they rarely include a drain plug these days and instead use condensation water to cool the condenser coils. This improves the Frigidaire's energy efficiency but can also result in a sloshing noise in humid environments. I do like that this unit does let itself drain through a small lip on the lower back edge, which prevents excessive water buildup.
Speaking of noise and energy efficiency, the Frigidaire performs fairly well in both departments. You will hear it, but it's not excessively loud. With an EER rating of 11 and a relatively low BTU, this unit shouldn’t cost add more than around $44 to your annual energy bill.
Yet, the Frigidaire isn't perfect. It doesn't come with an installation kit, so you have to buy the bracket and side panels separately. Installing it isn't complicated, though — which is good because the instructions are rather poor.
Finally, although it’s advertised as having an “extra-long” power cord, the cord is only 5ft — shorter than on any other unit on my list.
Nonetheless, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this unit. It’s a powerful and reliable small window air conditioner at a great value.
2 - Midea U MAW08V1QWT - Top of the Range
Value For Money
For some people, only the best is good enough. If you have such high standards, then oh boy, do I have a window air conditioner for you. Meet Midea U MAW08V1QWT.
Now, this isn't the smallest window air conditioner on my list — in fact, with a 22-inch width, it's definitely the widest. However, this Midea unit has an ingenious space-saving trick up its sleeve.
This AC’s U-shaped design allows your window panel to slide between the front AC part and the compressor. As long as you can get it in the window, it doesn’t take up much vertical space.
The design also allows you to open your window for some fresh air if the unit's timer, eco, sleep, and dehumidification modes aren't enough for you.
The window panel also works as a sound barrier. Continue that with the Midea's inverter compressor, and you get a running noise of only 42 dB. This is the second-quietest AC on my list, losing only slightly to the Soleus.
That inverter compressor also comes with a lot of power. This 8,000-BTU window air conditioner has enough kick to cool down even larger rooms up to 350 square feet. It shared the award for the Most Powerful Unit with the Frigidaire casement AC.
The third benefit of the inverter is its low power consumption. This Energy Star-certified unit with an EER rating of 15 is the most energy-efficient on my list. You can quickly recover its admittedly high price in energy savings.
In addition to an inverter compressor, this unit has in-built Wi-Fi capability. You can connect it to your smartphone to control it anywhere in the house. It also works with Alexa or other voice control units.
The unique design does come with a couple of downsides. First of all, installing this window air conditioner isn't the easiest job. It's very heavy, and the process is more involved than with the simpler small ACs. At least you get a full mounting kit with your purchase.
Although I like that Midea has included a drain plug, it’s awkwardly positioned in the middle of the unit. The placement could let the condensation water leak all over your wall and cause water damage. I highly recommend rigging up a DIY drain hose solution.
In the grand scheme of things, though, I’m picking nits. Midea U is a powerful, high-tech window air conditioner you’ll wish you’d bought years ago.
3 - Midea MAW05M1BWT - Good Value
Value For Money
I sure love a good bargain. If you do, too, Midea MAW05M1BWT is a well-performing small window air conditioning unit at a great value.
As a testament to its excellent price/performance balance, this Midea unit was neck-to-neck in the race to become my #1 choice with the Frigidaire. It’s the same size, so it will fit in a very small window.
In terms of cooling output, this 5,000-BTU window unit and the Frigidaire are practically identical. The Midea can cool a 150-square-foot small room very quickly and keeps it chilly even when outside temperatures soar upward of 100°F.
Usability is also the same, with seven temperature settings and two speeds for fan and cooling. Unlike its U-shaped sibling, the Midea is a basic window air conditioner with no remote, phone connectivity, or digital thermostat. What you lose in convenience, you gain in reliability — there are fewer sensitive sensors that can break.
With an EER rating of 11 and an estimated annual running cost of $44, there’s no difference between the Midea and the #1 Frigidaire. This is an energy-efficient air conditioner that can reliably supply you with cool air without costing a fortune.
Midea does beat the Frigidaire in value, thanks to the supplied installation kit. The box includes all the necessary mounting accessories, so you don't have to buy anything extra. The unit is also easy to install — just make sure you don't try to mount this air conditioner on windows where the sash is thicker than 1".
Replacing the washable and reusable dust filter is easy, as it simply pulls out from the side of the unit. It would be better if the filter was front-loading instead, but Frigidaire’s filter also goes in from the side. That’s just how small window ACs are, unfortunately.
So far, this Midea unit has been comparable to, or even better than, the Frigidaire. Still, there's one issue that kept it from taking the #1 spot.
The compressor’s exhaust vents are on the top of the unit.
If it rains, water can gather inside the air conditioner. Since the Midea has no drain plug, there's nowhere for the water to go, and it can flood out through the front into your home.
Because of this design oversight, I don’t recommend this AC if your home area gets a lot of rain.
If you live in a dry region, though, and are on the lookout for affordable but powerful small window air conditioners, this Midea unit is right in your ballpark.
4 - Emerson Quiet Kool EARC5MD1 - Best Warranty
Value For Money
Without a good warranty, you may have to blow money on a new window AC unit sooner than you’d like. Emerson Quiet Kool EARC5MD1’s long-lasting warranty can help you eliminate hot air in your home for a long time.
Whereas most units on my list offer one-year warranties, this Emerson unit comes with a one-year warranty on labor, two years for parts, and five years for the compressor. It shows the manufacturer puts a lot of stock into this air conditioner’s reliability.
If anything goes wrong with your AC, Emerson’s responsive customer service will get everything sorted quickly.
The Emerson AC has an identical form factor to the Frigidaire and smaller Midea machines. With a 16-inch width and 12-inch height, this small air conditioner can fit into small windows with ease.
I’ve even seen this unit installed in horizontally sliding windows, which goes to show how narrow it is. Then again, the Frigidaire or Midea could be installed the same way. You’ll just have to figure out how to block the large gap above the AC — unless you go for a unit like Frigidaire’s vertical one.
The BTU output is 5,000, making the Emerson a good fit for small spaces up to 150 square feet. I like the split air vents with eight-way airflow louvers that the Frigidaire and Midea lack. You can adjust the airflow with much more freedom which can help you direct the cool air where you need it the most.
Emerson’s control scheme is also the same as that of its two main competitors. Two dials control the temperature and let you choose between two fan speeds and AC settings. No remote controls or digital display — just old-fashioned mechanical controls.
You should note, though, that Emerson sells a version of this unit with digital controls and an LED display. If you buy an Emerson, make sure you’ve selected the correct air conditioner.
Like the two comparable units, this 5,000 BTU Emerson has an EER rating of 11. However, it is also Energy Star-certified. That doesn’t necessarily mean it sucks up less energy, but at least its performance is verified.
This unit does have issues with the build quality. Some parts inside it are fixed very loosely, which may allow them to rattle and ruin the otherwise relatively quiet operation. You can open the unit and tape the rattling parts down, but you really shouldn't have to.
Despite the rattling components, though, this Emerson unit can bring you peace of mind with its long warranty.
5 - Frigidaire FFRSS0822SE - Great for Narrow Windows
Value For Money
It can be challenging to find an AC unit for tall and narrow horizontally sliding or casement windows. Frigidaire FFRSS0822SE's vertical form factor slides into these types of windows with ease.
This casement window air conditioner is the narrowest unit on my list. With a width of only 14 inches, it can fit windows that other units on my list can’t even dream of.
Note, though, that the unit is 20 inches tall. It’s specifically designed to sit vertically, so make sure your windows are suitable for it.
This Frigidaire air conditioner brings a lot of cooling output to your narrow-windowed home. With 8,000 BTU, it rivals the Midea U as the strongest unit I’ve reviewed here. The cooling capacity is a great fit for larger rooms, up to 350 square feet.
Unlike the other Frigidaire (and comparable units), this one features electronic controls and an accurate, well-functioning digital thermostat. You also get features comparable to the Midea U, including an energy saver and sleep mode, a programmable 24-hour timer, and three cooling speeds.
With the included remote, controlling this unit is easy, even at a distance. You'd better have good eyes, though. I found the display and indicator lights to be way too dim in daylight.
I have to praise Frigidaire for including a drainage hole on this unit, although it is placed strangely high on the machine. I assume that’s because this unit uses condensation for cooling, like practically all window air conditioners these days. The drain placement ensures the AC can cool itself without flooding — although it does result in some sloshing noises.
Fortunately, this is otherwise a relatively quiet window air conditioner. In the lowest settings, the Frigidaire produces only about 48 decibels of noise, making it quieter than most other ACs.
For some reason, there seem to be some packaging issues with this unit. I’ve seen a lot of reports of people opening the box only to find their AC banged up and dented. I wonder if that has something to do with the unit’s weight — together with the Soleus, this is the heaviest unit I’ve reviewed.
It is also the most expensive. This Frigidaire window AC unit costs a lot both to bring home and to run due to its sub-par energy efficiency.
That’s the unfortunate reality of vertical window air conditioners, though. They cost a lot — but this Frigidaire AC does bring you a lot of cooling capacity for your money.
6 - LG LW6017R
Value For Money
Perhaps you need a bit more cooling than the smallest window-mounted air conditioners can offer. The LG LW6017R is a compact window AC unit that packs plenty of punch for medium-sized spaces.
When compared to the 5,000 BTU crowd — that is, the smaller Frigidaire and Midea or Emerson — this LG unit is marginally wider at around 17 inches. However, it is the most low-profile machine on my list, with a height of only 11 inches (disregarding the U-shaped Midea and Soleus).
That’s my long-winded way of saying it can still fit small windows.
In terms of cooling power, though, LG squarely beats most other ACs here. It matches the Soleus with its 6,000 BTU capacity, which is enough for rooms up to 250 square feet in size.
As I said — compact, but with plenty of power for medium spaces.
This unit does cost more than its smaller 5K BTU competition, but you also get more bling for your buck. To begin with, the 11.5 EER rating makes this window air conditioner more energy efficient than most others. You won’t have to pay extra for electricity for the additional power.
You also get electronic controls and a remote. The LG has three fan speeds, an energy-saving mode, a timer, and a dehumidifier function — but no sleep mode. If you need an AC for your bedroom, you may want to look elsewhere.
The unit also has a display, which lets you set the temperature more accurately than with mechanical air conditioners. That display is very small and hard to see from a distance — but hey, at least it’s there.
There are some oddities in the controls. The remote is also very picky about use angle, so I ended up using only the front panel buttons. The unit also cycles through the operating modes in a different order than how the indicator lights are arranged.
That said, I do like the auto restart function that remembers your settings in case your home loses power.
The box includes an installation kit and instructions — although the poor translation makes the instruction mostly good for a quick chuckle. Fortunately, mounting the unit is pretty straightforward.
Just remember to plug this AC into a 15-amp outlet. A 20 amp one will overload the compressor and force it to cycle on and off every 30 seconds.
The LG is a strangely quirky unit, but I’ll still recommend it if you need a compact air conditioner for a bigger room. It will keep you cool, no doubt about that.
7 - Keystone KSTAW05BE
Value For Money
Having to walk over to your window AC every time you want to adjust it is a hassle. This Keystone air conditioner keeps a small room comfortable and lets you tweak the settings from a distance.
This unit is in the same size and power class as the small Frigidaire, Midea, and Emerson window ACs. It has the same 16-by-12-inch dimensions that let it slide into a small window opening with ease. This is a 5,000 BTU window air conditioner, so it’s perfect for rooms up to 150 square feet in size — and perhaps even a little bit larger.
What sets Keystone apart from its aforementioned rivals is the controls. No twist dials here. Unlike the other 5,000 BTU units, this machine has fully digital controls.
That gives you more power over deciding how cool your home gets. The Keystone features all the same operating modes as the high-end Midea, from three fan speeds to a 24h timer, dehumidification, and energy saver and sleep mode. The only thing it lacks is smartphone connectivity.
The controls and display are positioned better than on the LG unit. The bright (but dimmable) display points straight forward, so it’s easy to see.
The star of the show is the full-function remote control with a portable Follow Me thermostat. It communicates with the window AC to adjust the temperature based on the remote’s location. It’s not the most accurate thermostat, but I enjoy the convenience.
The Keystone is a bit noisier than most of the other 5,000 BTU window AC units. It's not overwhelmingly loud, but it could bother light sleepers in a bedroom window.
Keystone is rated marginally better in terms of power consumption than its similarly sized competitors at 11.2 EER. In reality, the digital controls level the playing field by using up a bit more energy.
This small window air conditioner is surprisingly lightweight, which makes it easy to install with the included kit. The instruction manual is nicely detailed — a bit too detailed. The job isn’t half as complicated as the booklet makes it seem.
Finally, I want to highlight the warranty on this thing. Parts and labor have a one-year warranty, but the sealed system is guaranteed for five years. Not quite as good as Emerson’s, but still very nice.
I don’t have many bad things to say about this AC. It’s a great choice if you want a bell and a couple of whistles on your small window air conditioner.
8 - Soleus Air WS3-06E-201 - Quietest Small Window AC
Value For Money
It’s a fact of nature that even small window air conditioners are loud — unless you go for Soleus Air WS3-06E-201. This is quite possibly the quietest window air conditioner I’ve seen.
In the low setting, this unit makes only 38 dB of noise — even quieter than a hushed library. The 49 dB produced in the highest setting is still quieter than most other window AC units on my list in their lowest setting.
It’s all thanks to the U-shaped saddle design. Unlike the Midea U, though, this window AC curves downward. That places the compressor behind your home’s wall, which blocks most of the noise.
This design doesn't block your window, so you can still enjoy the view. You can also open the window if you can be bothered to remove the insulation strips.
So is Soleus a small window air conditioner? Depends on how you look at it. It's only an inch wider than the extra-narrow Frigidaire casement unit. It also doesn't take up much vertical space on the window sill.
That said, you need 19” of vertical clearance to fit the compressor through the window opening. You may also not be able to install this unit if you have a radiator or something else directly below your window since the AC and compressor hang downwards.
I’d say this unit is small, with an asterisk.
It’s quite powerful, though, matching the LG machine with 6,000 BTU. It can cool rooms up to 250 square feet very fast.
Like the Keystone AC, Soleus has a portable thermostat built into the full-function remote control. It’s actually more accurate than Keystone’s and makes controlling the dehumidifier, energy saver, and sleep mode easy.
This is the most energy-efficient unit I’ve reviewed after the super-thrifty Midea U — in theory. Although Soleus has a 12 EER rating and a five-star Energy Star stamp, the annual energy costs are quite high.
The unit itself is very expensive, too. It’s around the same price as the Frigidaire casement unit. You’ll have to decide for yourself if the unique form factor is worth the price.
Finally, I want to warn you about the dreaded FL error code, which means the front part has filled with water and you have to drain it — from the indoor side. Make sure to tilt the AC backward to avoid running into this issue too often.
You’ll have to dig deep to purchase this unit, but if you want a super quiet AC, it just might be worth it.
Smallest Window AC Units Compared
How to Choose a Small, Yet reliable, Window AC
I’ve reviewed plenty of small window air conditioners, and many of them are admittedly very similar. How do you know which one will serve you reliably?
I’ll tell you. Here are my top tips on how to find a cool needle in a stack of window air conditioners.
Pay Attention to the Unit’s Size
I recommend measuring your window very carefully before you start looking for an AC unit to ensure it’s the right size for your window opening.
Most window AC units on my list measure 16 inches in width and 12 inches in height, which is a fairly standard baseline for a “small” air conditioner. Note that the minimum window width and minimum window height a unit actually needs are usually about an inch higher than the AC’s dimensions. After all, you need space for the mounting brackets and side panels.
There are extra small window air conditioners, but I’ve excluded them from my list as they often have very low power. I’ll explain my criteria for picking the AC models on my list later, so keep reading.
Understand the AC Unit’s Cooling Capacity (BTU)
In general, you should look for window-mounted air conditioners with at least 5,000 BTU of cooling capacity to ensure they can cool your room efficiently.
The cooling power of a window AC unit is measured in British thermal units. A 5,000 BTU window air conditioner — like the small Frigidaire and Midea models — is sufficient for cooling a room of up to 150 square feet.
I recommend measuring your space’s square footage and comparing it against a BTU value chart. You can then easily see what kind of cooling output you need.
Energy Efficiency (EER) Matters
I advise you to aim for an EER rating of at least 11 so you can run your air conditioning unit for long periods of time without a sky-high energy bill.
Energy efficiency ratings are luckily very easy to understand. The higher the energy efficiency ratio (EER) the mini AC window unit has, the less power it consumes.
All models on my list hover around the 11 EER level, but some, like the Midea U, have extremely low power consumption. Another good tip is to look for an Energy Star label, which certifies the unit’s energy efficiency.
Listen to the Noise Levels
My recommendation is to choose a window air conditioning unit with a maximum rated noise level below 55 dB to avoid excessive noise.
There are no silent window AC units, but a 55dB model will not be overtly loud. At that noise level, the unit will be quieter than a normal conversation.
Keep in mind that manufacturers often use some tricks to make their units seem quieter than they are, like measuring the decibel level at the machine’s lowest setting from far away. If silence matters to you, I would recommend choosing a small unit with a U-shaped design, like Midea U or Soleus.
Know the Filters and Vents
Aim to purchase a unit with a washable dust filter and, ideally, a split air vent with eight-way adjustment.
Washable filters can be cleaned with mild soap and warm water, which helps you keep your unit’s running costs lower. An AC with split front air vents (like the Emerson Quiet Kool) has the advantage of allowing you to direct the airflow freely and cool your space more effectively.
Pay attention to the exhaust vents on the unit’s back compressor as well. Some small units (looking at you, Midea) have vents that face upward, which can allow rainwater to seep inside.
Consider Maintenance Needs
You should look for air conditioners with a front-loading filter/maintenance hatch, although that is often not an option with the smallest window air conditioners.
A front hatch gives you access to the filter while also allowing you to easily clean the fan and coils inside the air conditioner. Most small AC units, however, have a side-sliding filter, which works fine but requires extra space around the unit. You will likely have to undo some screws to open the unit for cleaning with a small air conditioner.
Depending on your needs, you may want additional features in your AC. The smallest units are often limited in this regard, but here are some common functions to keep an eye out for:
How I Found the Best Small Window AC Units
Reading through my reviews, you may have wondered why I chose to feature these AC units. Let me give you a behind-the-scenes look at how we do things here at AirConditionerLab.
I spent a lot of hours evaluating the specifications and statistics of more than 30 air conditioner models. In addition to the brands you saw on my list, I researched brands like Homelabs, GE, Haier, and so forth.
Before getting into finer tests, I needed to determine what an average small window air conditioner is like — after all, I had to have a base standard I could compare other units to.
Based on my research, the average "small" AC is about 16 inches wide and 15 inches tall and weighs 40-45 pounds.
You might notice that most units on my list are more compact and lighter than this. That’s because of the next step in my process — the testing.
After thoroughly putting the units through their paces, I chose the eight that I feel have the best balance of various factors, like size and weight, cooling capacity, consumer experiences, warranty, and more.
As part of this testing process, I dropped some machines that were perfectly good in their own right but didn't have anything to make them stand apart from the crowd. This is also why my list doesn't feature the absolute smallest window air conditioner on the market, as that form factor compromised its efficiency.
After careful selection and consideration, I ultimately had my list of the 8 smallest window air conditioners that still offer powerful cooling.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens if the Window AC is Too Small?
If your AC is too small, it will struggle to properly cool your room. Whether it’s too small size-wise or too low-power, an undersized air conditioner can’t eliminate hot air to keep you cool.
Are Small Window Air Conditioners More Energy Efficient?
Small air conditioners are generally more energy efficient than larger ones, not to mention central AC units. They’re designed for smaller spaces with less powerful and power-hungry compressors, which can help keep your bills low.
How Long Do Small Window Air Conditioners Last?
On average, small window air conditioners can last around 8-10 years. Their ultimate lifespan depends on how well you care for the unit — a well-maintained and cleaned AC can last for many years more.
How Many Watts Does a Window AC Use?
Small window ACs typically use about 450-800 watts of power, which is what you’ll find on my list. You can compare that to medium and large air conditioners, which typically require around 1,000 and 1,400 watts, respectively.
How Many Amps Does a Window AC Use?
Smallest window ACs typically use 5-10 amps. Larger units require more power and may go all the way up to 20 amps. Pay attention to the amperage, as plugging a small unit into a 20-amp or higher breaker could overload it.
How Do You Clean a Window AC Unit?
To clean a window AC unit, you have to open it, remove and replace or wash the filter, vacuum up any debris, and wipe the interior with a hydrogen peroxide solution. Consider also carefully straightening any crooked fins.
Summary - Which Should You Buy?
With my guide at hand, you’re now ready to match your room size to the right AC with the power and features you need.
Soon, you’ll be enjoying cool, refreshing air in your small-windowed space.
In case you’re still feeling a bit lost, here are my recommendations for the best small AC:
My Top Pick For
Small Window ACs
Value For Money