Top 8 Cheap Window Air Conditioners for 2021

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If you are looking for a cheap window air conditioner on a tight budget, here is a list of some that have great customer reviews and won’t break the bank. 

First, an Overview of each unit will highlight the best features. The overviews allow you to quickly decide, if you’re in a hurry, which AC best meets your needs. Then a more in-depth Review will follow. We will give you a Buying Guide to help walk you through the process of selecting the right make and model for you, and finally, a few FAQ’s relating to cheap window air conditioners.

Overviews – Best Cheap Window Air Conditioners

Here are some of the least expensive, yet highest rated window air conditioners available today. The first five are all small units – 5,000 BTUs. The last three are increasingly larger, but they all are the lowest priced for their size as of this writing.

      Image                              Product

Emerson Quiet Kool EARC5MD1

Emerson Quiet Kool EARC5MD1 5,000 BTU

  • Simple, Convenient Manual Controls
  • Directional Air Louvers
  • Efficiency Rating (CEER) of 11.0
  • Effective Cooling for up to 150 Square Feet

Most Affordable Manual Controlled

MIDEA MAW05M1BWT

MIDEA MAW05M1BWT 5,000 BTU

  • 7 Temperature, 2 Cooling and 2 Fan Settings
  • Removeable and Washable Mesh Filter
  • Efficiency Rating (CEER) of 11.0
  • For Cooling Rooms up to 150 Square Feet

Easiest to Install

Amazon Basics  MWHUK-05CMN8-BCK0

Amazon Basics MWHUK-05CMN8-BCK0 5,000 BTU

  • Manual Controls for Ease of Operation
  • 7 Temperature, Dual Cooling and Fan Settings
  • 2-Way Air Direction
  • 24-Hour On/Off Timer
  • Cools Rooms up to 150 Square Feet

Best Manual with a Timer

Keystone Energy Star

Keystone Energy Star 5,000 BTU

  • Touch Pad and “Follow Me” LCD Remote Control
  • 24-Hour Timer
  • Energy Star Efficiency Rating (CEER) 12.1
  • Cooling for up to 150 Square Feet

Most Efficient 5,000 BTU Digital Model

Frigidaire White Energy Star  FFRE053WAE

Frigidaire White Energy Star FFRE053WAE 5,000 BTU

  • Ready-Select Electronic Controls and Full-Function Remote
  • 4-Way Air Direction
  • 24-Hour On/Off Timer
  • Efficiency Rating (CEER) 12.1
  • Cools Rooms up to 150 Square Feet

Best Features on a 5,000 BTU Model

TOSOT

TOSOT 8,000 BTU

  • LCD Remote with Smart Temperature Control
  • 24-Hour Timer and Sleep Setting
  • Multi-Directional Air Flow
  • Energy Star Efficiency Rating (CEER) of 12.1
  • Cools Rooms up to 350 Square Feet

Best Value 8,000 BTU Model

GE AHY10LZ Smart

GE AHY10LZ Smart 10,000 BTU

  • WiFi Connectable
  • Energy Star Certified
  • 3 Cool and 3 Fan Speeds
  • 4-Way Adjustable Air Louvers
  • Energy Efficiency (CEER) 11.4
  • For Rooms up to 450 Square Feet

Most Affordable Smart 10K

Keystone KSTAW15CE

Keystone KSTAW15CE 15,000 BTU

  • Powerful and Efficient
  • Adaptable to a Window or a Wall
  • LCD “Follow Me” Remote Control
  • Energy Star Rated (CEER) 11.8
  • Cools Rooms up to 700 Square Feet

Best Value 15,000 BTU Model

Cheap Window Air Conditioner Reviews

Here are full reviews of the best cheap window ACs.  

Lowest Priced Manual Controlled

#1 Emerson Quiet Kool EARC5MD1

Emerson Quiet Kool EARC5MD1

BTUs: 5,000

Modes: 2 – Cool and Fan Only

Features: For an entry-level air conditioner, this model has a lot to offer:

  • 8-way directional air louvers.
  • Quiet operation.
  • Excess moisture removal up to 1.3 pints per hour.
  • Low voltage start-up and Auto-Restart after a power outage.
  • Emerson’s 1-2-5 years warranty: 1 year labor, 2 years parts and 5 years compressor.

Pros: Lightweight and easy to install. Works great in a small room. Excellent warranty.

Cons: Has temperature, cool and fan controls, but no other features. A few users report hearing more noise than they expected from a small unit.

Bottom Line:  Over 80% of those who purchased this budget-priced AC unit gave it a 4 or 5 star rating. It is small and lightweight with a few simple controls for the budget-minded buyer.

Easy to Install

#2 MIDEA MAW05M1BWT 

MIDEA MAW05M1BWT

BTUs: 5,000

Modes: 2 – Cool and Fan Only

Features: The Midea 5,000 gives you several features for convenience and functionality:

  • 2 Cooling levels, multiple temperature settings and 2 fan speeds for custom comfort.
  • Lightweight and compact design to fit your window.
  • Easy installation with all parts included.
  • Good efficiency from a small-sized  unit.

Pros: Simple assembly with only a screwdriver required. Cools a small room very quickly. Some users comment on the good looks of this unit in their window.

Cons: The air direction control only adjusts sideways, not up and down. A little noisier than some other models.

Bottom Line:  With many buyers giving this model positive ratings, it may well be the one you are looking for. It’s easy to install, looks great, cools small rooms, and the price is near the bottom of what you will find among window air conditioners.

Manual with a Timer

#3 Amazon Basics MWHUK-05CMN8-BCK0

Amazon Basics  MWHUK-05CMN8-BCK0

BTUs: 5,000

Modes: 2 – Cool and Fan Only

Features: For your comfort and convenience, this unit offers:

  • Easy-to-adjust controls for hassle-free cooling.
  • Additional On/Off timer allows you to set your AC to stop and start cooling even when you are away for the day.
  • Removable and washable filter to keep the circulated air flowing freely.
  • Included window kit contains bracket, foam, side panels and instructions for easy installation.

Pros: Lightweight and smaller than many air conditioners. Really easy to install with all the parts in the window kit. Good value. The 24-hour timer is a nice feature on a lower-priced model.

Cons: Doesn’t cool as well when in direct sunlight. Fan has only 2 speed settings.

Bottom Line:  This Amazon Basics window AC has a lot of buyers who recommend it to others. Simple and easy to use controls plus the extra timer seems to be what makes this one of the more popular of the cheap window AC units out there.

Most Affordable 5K Digital Model

#4 Keystone Energy Star 5,000 BTU

Keystone Energy Star

BTUs: 5,000

Modes: 4 – Cool, Dry, Fan Only and Auto

Features: In addition to the Energy Star rating, this model has a lot to like:

  • Temperature sensing LCD remote control allows you set the temperature for where you are in the room.
  • ECO and Sleep settings for better management of your energy bill and comfortable nights.
  • 24-Hour timer allows you to set the unit to turn on and off at certain times of the day.
  • Check Filter reminder so you will know when the air filter needs to be removed, cleaned and reinserted.

Pros: Love the remote. Not too loud for the baby’s room. Cools really well. Lots of control settings.

Cons: Instructions for remote a bit difficult to understand.

Bottom Line: For an inexpensive window air conditioner with digital controls, this little unit has received a large percentage of high ratings from users. It has enough features to almost tie our next model. The energy efficiency rating is right up there near the top.

Best Features on a 5K

#5 Frigidaire White Energy Star FFRE053WAE

Frigidaire White Energy Star  FFRE053WAE

BTUs: 5,000

Modes: 4 – Cool, Dry, Fan Only and Auto

Features: This Frigidaire is loaded with features often only found on much more expensive models:

  • Low power start-up and operation to save on your electric bill. Energy Star rated.
  • Ready-Select electronic controls allow you to set the comfort level to the way you like it.
  • LED temperature readout on the unit displays the set temperature.
  • A full-function remote control allows you to precisely control the temperature and fan speed from anywhere in the room.
  • 24-Hour On/Off Timer so you can program when you want the unit to turn on and off.
  • The 4-way air direction allows you to direct the air where you want it for maximum comfort.
  • Front, tilt-out panel for easy access to the washable, reusable air filter.

Pros: High efficiency. A CEER of 12.1 will help keep your energy bill to a minimum. Keeps a bedroom nice and cool. Provides nice white noise for sleeping. Works great with a generator.

Cons: Does not have a check filter reminder. Make a note to check the filter regularly. A little more expensive than the other 5,000 BTU units in this review, but you also get more.

Bottom Line:  Frigidaire has been making window air conditioners for almost 80 years - one of the very first in the business. With its high efficiency Energy Star rating and the great customer satisfaction of this model, it may be a good reason to spend a little more to obtain some extra quality and features.

Least Expensive 8K

#6 TOSOT 8,000 BTU

TOSOT

BTUs: 8,000

Modes: 3 – Cool, Dry and Fan Only

Features: This next-sized larger unit has many features for comfort and convenience:

  • “Light Touch” control panel and a “iFeel” remote that will sense the temperature wherever the remote is placed.
  • 24-Hour timer so you can set your AC to turn on or off while you are away.
  • Sleep setting for quiet, more comfortable sleeping.
  • Multi-Directional air flow with “Swing” setting to oscillate the louvers.
  • Energy Star Efficiency with CEER of 12.1

 

Pros: Very sleek-looking cabinet. Easy to install. Batteries came with the remote. Cools room very nicely. More than expected for the price.

Cons: Remote is line-of-sight; must be pointed directly at unit. Some users found it louder than they expected.

Bottom Line: 8,000 BTU window air conditioners are one of the most popular sizes. For the least expensive among them, this one has many very satisfied buyers who would recommend it to others.

Most Affordable Smart 10K

#7 GE AHY10LZ Smart 10,000 BTU 

GE AHY10LZ Smart

BTUs: 10,000

Modes: 2- Cool and Fan Only

Features: For a 2 mode AC, this one has a lot of options you will like:

  • WiFi connectable so you can wirelessly control this window air conditioner’s functions from your smartphone.
  • Energy Star Certified, which means it rates above many other models of similar size.
  • 3 Cool and 3 Fan Speeds to give you the best cool feeling possible
  • 4-Way adjustable air louvers so you can have the air moving where you want it.
  • ECO and Sleep settings to better control cooling at all times of the day.
  • “One Touch” lift out washable air filter.

Pros: The WiFI is a great addition to an already great AC. The 3 fan speeds allow better control of airflow. It has been rated as an overall good product by a majority of buyers.

Cons: A bit loud on high speed setting. Some users have difficulty setting up the WiFi.

Bottom Line: Moving up to the 10K size doesn’t mean a good window AC needs to cost a bundle. GE was one of the pioneers in window air conditioners, and the name still means a great appliance for the money.

Least Expensive 15K

#8 Keystone KSTAW15CE 15,000 BTU

Keystone KSTAW15CE

BTUs: 15,000

Modes: 4 – Cool, Dry, Fan Only and Auto

Features: This larger air conditioner has a lot of power and more features than many others:

  • Able to be mounted in a window or installed in a through-the-wall sleeve.
  • With its multiple operating modes, it will deliver the personalized comfort you want.
  • Can remove up to 3.2 pints of excess moisture per hour from the indoor air.
  • Includes a “Follow Me” LCD remote to sense the temperature wherever you take it in the room.
  • Has an Energy Saver setting and a Sleep setting for extra economy and comfort.
  • 24-Hour programmable timer so the unit will automatically turn on or off at predetermined times.
  • A Check Filter light lets you know when it’s time to clean the air filter.

Pros: Users report that this unit is well worth the money and cools a large room. Energy Star efficiency is a notable plus. Works exceptionally well. Not as loud as expected.

Cons: It is a large air conditioner. Most people will need help lifting it into a window. It is louder than most smaller units, though not especially loud for its size.

Bottom Line: The Keystone Energy Star 15K is the least expensive model that can cool up to 700 square feet – that’s a lot of room! But it’s a model that almost 90% of buyers have given a 4 or 5 star rating. With its many features and powerful cooling ability, it is one of the first you should consider if you need a unit this large.

Cheap Window Air Conditioner Buying Guide

Shopping for the cheap window air conditioner you can find is sometimes what you really need to do. Your room, office or apartment is sweltering hot and you need inexpensive relief – fast! Fortunately for us today, inexpensive AC’s are available in a variety of places: local hardware stores, big box stores, online and more.

And just in case you think that the lowest-priced models in this review still cost too much, here’s a fun fact: when the very first residential air conditioners hit the market in 1914, they cost between $10,000 and $50,000! Obviously, only “the rich and famous” had them in their homes back then.

Thanks to new materials, many decades of research (as well as trial and error) and modern manufacturing processes, the cost of AC’s have dropped dramatically. Now almost everyone can afford one of these inexpensive models to help cool their home.

Before you actually purchase a window AC, here are several things to keep in mind:

Proper Sizing: Be sure to know what size AC you need for the space you want to cool. Any air conditioner that will sit in a window is exposed to all of the air in that room, as well as the air in any adjoining rooms or hallways not separated by a wall or door. All of that air is what this unit will be trying to cool. Buying an AC that is too small just because it’s cheap will result in a room that is never cool. Measure your room and go shopping informed. See our Window Air Conditioner Reviews and Buying Guide for sizing information and much more. 

How to operate the AC: Research the functions and features of the model you are considering to buy. The three least expensive models in this review have manual controls – knobs to turn, rather than buttons to push. They don’t have touch pads or remotes. If you want a model with a remote – or some other special feature, like WiFi – you can find it in almost any size AC. But make sure that you carefully read the specifications so you won’t be disappointed when you get your new air conditioner.

What are the room conditions? Realize that if a window air conditioner will be subjected to direct sunlight in the afternoon or evening, some of its cooling power will be sacrificed to the extra heat of the sun. The same is true if it’s in a kitchen with the stove or oven on, or if the room has high ceilings – over 9 feet. If you fail to take the sun and other heat sources into consideration, the unit you buy may struggle to meet your cooling expectations.

Know what size you need: Measure the size of the window you plan to use for the AC. Not all windows are the same,  and some of the larger window AC’s may not fit the ones in your house, so measure before you buy.

Most outlets will work: As with all electrical appliances, you will need to provide the proper power to operate them. All of these reviewed models will plug into a standard, 115 Volt receptacle by means of the cord which is attached to the unit.

A Word About Energy Efficiency

It’s nice to know that we can find cheap air conditioners to purchase today. But behind that cool breeze coming across your room is an electric meter that keeps track of how much energy it takes to make that cool air. At the end of the month it will be added to your electric bill.

The smart buyer will look at the bright yellow sticker on the box of the air conditioner he or she is thinking about buying. It is called the Energy Guide Label and is required by law to be there. It will tell you several important things:

  • The maker, model number, and size (cooling power in BTU’s) of the air conditioner.
  • The Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio (CEER). This is a standard used for window air conditioners. It measures the combined efficiency of the unit when it is in standby and when it’s actually cooling a space. Use this number to compare the unit with others of the same BTU size.
  • The estimated yearly operating cost (based on the national average cost of electricity), and the range of operating costs for similar models.
  • If it has the ENERGY STAR® logo, it means that this model meets strict criteria for energy efficiency.
  • The estimated yearly electricity consumption of the AC.
  • The key features of the AC and the similar models to which it is compared.

Cheap Window Air Conditioner FAQs

Here are common questions about the most affordable window ACs. 

Q: Will I need to provide a drain for an inexpensive air conditioner?

A: Not unless you want to collect the water from your AC, or if you don’t want it dripping close to your house. Properly installed, the water removed from the air by the AC will run to the back (outside) of the unit and drip through one or more drain holes. Occasionally, the drain hole(s) can become clogged with accumulated dust or dirt and may need to be cleaned out with a screwdriver or similar tool.

Q: How long will my cheap window air conditioner last?

A: The average lifespan of a window air conditioner is between 7 and 10 years. This can vary depending on how much it is used and how well it is maintained. Keep your users’ manual and follow the maintenance guidelines. This will ensure that you will get the best service from your cheap air conditioner for as long as possible.

Q: Do cheap window AC’s use a lot of electricity?

A: No. Larger units will almost always use more power than smaller ones, but a cheap AC won’t necessarily use more power than an expensive one. Your cost will depend on the BTU size, how much you use it, and what electricity costs where you live. When shopping, look for the CEER number on the yellow Energy Guide Label on the box. The higher the number, the more energy efficient that unit will be for that size air conditioner.

Q: I need a window air conditioner; what are the most important things for me to know to get the most bang for my buck?

A: Before you start shopping, jot these things down in this order:

  1. The correct size (cooling capacity) for the room you need to cool (measure the room).
  2. The correct physical size to fit your window (measure your window).
  3. The features that you want in a window air conditioner.

When you start shopping, look for:

  • The highest CEER rating among the models that meet the above requirements.
  • The lowest priced model that satisfies all of the above.

By using these points as your guide, you will be able to buy the cheap window air conditioner that will meet your cooling needs.

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