Humans have been coming up with ways to keep themselves cool or warm for thousands of years. While we no longer have to harvest ice or start fires in a cave, there are still dozens of systems and devices geared to keep you comfortable throughout the year. That includes portable systems, which have been around since the 1930s.
Window air conditioning systems aren’t as portable as a fan, but they are more powerful and actually cool the air, instead of simply recirculating it. They are also more affordable than a central air conditioning system, although the best window air conditioners with heat tend to bring a premium for the additional functionality.
Buying a window AC unit with heat isn’t as simple as choosing a traditional model as well. The goal of our guide is to simplify this process, which will help you find the best system to suit your household’s needs.
Window AC Units 101
While air conditioning has been around in some form for thousands of years, window air conditioners only started gaining traction in the 70s when affordable models began to hit the market. Since then, they have been a staple in American homes, but are also incredibly popular around the world. If you’ve never owned a window AC unit, here’s what you’ll need to know.
These air conditioning systems are designed to sit in a window, and they are considered a semi-permanent form of air conditioning. You can install them during the summer, remove them in the winter or leave them hanging all year long. They are DIY-friendly as well, considering almost anyone can hang a small to medium-sized unit with a little help from a friend.
A central air conditioner is controlled by a thermostat, but you’ll control a window AC unit directly from the machine itself or through a remote control. They are easy to use, but you should understand how they work. Simply put, a window air conditioner pulls the warm air from a room while sending warm exhaust outdoors and cool air back into the room.
Refrigerant is also involved, which is something you may need to consider down the line, but there are only a handful of parts inside these self-contained systems, including the compressor, coils, and fans. That being said, if you take care of your window AC unit, and keep it clean, the only part you should have to service on a regular basis is the filter or cleaning off the outside.
A window AC unit with heat works in a similar fashion to a traditional cool air system, but with a heat pump or electric coil. This provides you with four seasons of convenience, as you can use these systems throughout the year. They are more expensive but have the same set of features. Just keep a close eye on energy ratings and focus on efficient units if you will run the system for 6 to 12 months.
Do I need a Window Air Conditioner with Heat or Central HVAC System?
When a tower fan or box fan doesn’t cut it, the next logical step up from a price standpoint is a window air condition system. As mentioned, they are thousands of dollars cheaper than a central heating and air system, but can only cool down a room or two, not a large home.
For new construction, you will obviously want to turn towards a central system, especially if you live in an area where it’s humid in the summer and freezing in the winter. They will keep you more comfortable and will cost less than running a window AC unit in several rooms of your home. When you need to cool or heat an entire home, consider a central heating and air system.
When you’re in an apartment with insufficient cooling or a smaller home, the best window air conditioner with heat can help keep you comfortable throughout the year. These units are ideal for maintaining a room cozy, and perfect for rooms in your home that are a little hotter or colder than other areas in your house. The heating function is often supplemental, however, an no replacement for a dedicated heating unit or conditioning and heating system.
Unless you have a smaller home with an open floor, a central system is usually the best choice in the long run. Window air conditioners are highly effective and efficient but essentially geared for a single room.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Window AC unit with Heat
Whenever you’re paying hundreds of dollars for a system that’s supposed to keep you comfortable for years, it’s a good idea to consider the pros and cons in general. With window AC units, the first pro to consider is the price tag. While window air conditioner units with heat are more expensive than a traditional cold air system, they offer a lot of bang for your buck.
A lower initial upfront cost is a bonus, and so is maintenance. If you can manage to cool and heat your home with two of these units, you will save a great deal of money in the first 5 – 10 years compared to other heating and cooling solutions. In most cases, you won’t need a professional installation, and you can power one from a generator or external source if the power goes out in your home.
As for the cons, you’re going to lose half of a window, and they aren’t exactly light. Moving a unit from one room to another or storing it can definitely be a hassle. Security shouldn’t be a problem when a window air conditioner is installed correctly, but it’s something to consider nonetheless. The biggest drawback is coverage, however, as these units can’t cover as much ground as a system with vents in each room of your home.
How to find the Best Window Air Conditioner with Heat
When you’ve grown tired of dragging fans out in the summer and space heaters in the winter, it’s time to consider a window air conditioner with heat. The good news is there aren’t nearly as many options as you’ll find with a window AC unit that simply cools the air, not heat it. That makes finding the best window air conditioner with heat a little easier, although there are several things you still need to keep in mind.
What size window air conditioner should I buy?
This is the first question we’re asked by homeowners and the most important decision you will make aside from choosing a brand. This is where cooling and heating capacity comes into play as well. You need a window unit large enough to provide you with enough heat or cold air to keep you comfy, but a system that’s too large can make a room clammy and cost you unnecessary money in the process.
The first thing you need to do is measure the room you want to heat or cool. To do this, take the length of the room and multiple it by the width. Height matters as well, but usually only if your ceilings are higher than 8 feet. A room that’s 12’ wide and 15’ long would be 180 square feet, but you may need to consider other rooms as well if you plan on moving the unit.
As long as the rooms are similar in size, there should not be an issue, but you may need to jump up a tier if there is a significant difference. When you have the number, you can find the BTU rating, which is something you will need to know before choosing a unit. With dual-function window air conditioners that use heat, you have to pay close attention to the BTUs as the heating and cooling ratings can differ. With that in mind, here are average cooling ranges to remember depending on the room size.
- 5,000 to 8,000 BTU – If the room you are trying to cool or heat is 150 to 350 square feet, you should choose a unit in this range. They tend to be the most affordable and easiest to handle and an excellent choice for smaller rooms like offices, small media rooms, or large laundry areas.
- 8,000 to 12,000 BTU – When the area you need to cool is between 350 to 550 square feet, consider a window AC unit with heat with a rating of around 8,000 to 12,000 BTU. It covers larger rooms, which make them suitable for bedrooms, medium-sized living rooms, and family rooms.
- 12,000 to 18,500 BTU – For many homeowners, a unit in the 12,000 to 18,500 range will definitely do the trick in larger rooms. These systems are best suited for rooms around 600 to 1,000 square feet, which is in the two-car garage to tiny home range. Some homes have an entire floor plan around 1,200 square feet, so an 18,500 BTU unit has considerable power.
There are also window AC units well above 18,500 BTU’s, as there are several systems rated at 25,000 BTU along with a handful at 23,000 and 24,000 BTU. In other words, there is a size out there for you, as long as you know the size of the room you need to heat in cool.
That said, BTU is just one factor to consider when trying to decide which size window AC is right for your home. How’s the insulation in the room where you plan to install the unit? If it’s poor, you may need to incase that number when trying to keep warm in the wintertime. If the room catches a lot of shade during the summer, you may be able to drop down by 5 to 10%.
Windows make a difference, along with how much sunlight enters the room daily. The number of people in the room matters as well. A heating BTU calculator will be your best friend when heating is more important than cooling in your unit. Alternatively, our air conditioner guide can also help you understand energy efficiency ratings and BTUs better.
With central systems, the SEER rating is something to look for when it comes to energy efficiency. Things are different with window AC units, however, as those units use a different standard called EER, which stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio. You can read more about that in our SEER vs. EER guide, but the important thing to remember is the better the EER rating, the more efficient the system.
It’s also not uncommon to see Energy Star certified systems when you’re looking for a window or wall-based air conditioner, and you may find a unit this class as well. They can be more expensive but will save you money compared to a less efficient system with a poor energy efficiency ratio.
Now it’s time to talk about another type of size, but we won’t be dealing with BTU’s this time around. Regardless of how large or small your unit is, think about the window where it will be placed. Most all will come with an installation kit which allows you to use different sized windows, but you still have to consider the overall dimensions of any window air conditioner with heat.
Larger systems in the 23,000 BTU range can eat up a lot of space, but 11,000 BTU window AC units can be just as deep. When looking at specifications, take the minimum and maximum numbers into account for the window opening width and height. It’s a specification you will be able to find for every unit and one that can save you from a considerable headache.
It’s also essential to think about weight. These units are slightly heavier than other styles, so a solid 12,000 BTU system will tip the scales at around 100 pounds. On the high end, you’re looking at between 120 to 140 pounds depending on the size of the unit and technology included. Slide-out chassis do make things easier, but you will need some assistance to deal with medium to large systems.
Most of the cost of a window air conditioner with heat comes down to the BTU rating and the quality of the components inside and out. Features can also have an impact on the price, and while most of the bells & whistles are common in this class, here are a few things you’ll want to keep an eye out for.
Automatic restart is handy and one of the easier features to find across the board. During a power outage or unexpected event, this allows your machine to restart, which keeps you from coming home to an uncomfortable room. Programmable timers can also make life easier when you’re away and want to keep the climate stable in your home.
Filters should be easy to access, but some systems have a built-in reminder that lets you know when it’s time to clean your filter or replace it. Touch controls are also common as knobs are a thing of the past, but the quality of the panel and how easy a machine is to use varies. The number of speeds and the degree of circulation can also have an impact on price.
Sleep settings and automatic shutoff are two other features you’re likely to find on some of the best models. Remote controls can be hit or miss, and you can say the same for systems with smart features. Connecting to Google or Alexa are is a popular option with traditional window air conditioners but almost non-existent on systems with both heat and air.
Have you considered where you’ll place your new AC unit? While window size is critical, so is plug placement. On average, you can expect most window air conditioners with heat to have a 5’ to 6’ long cord, but we have seen a few models with shorter or longer power cables. In addition to cord length, think about voltage as well.
Depending on the model you choose, it will either plug into a standard wall socket or require a 230-volt outlet. That ratio varies with traditional AC units, but with window systems that use heat, 90% are listed at 115 volts. Models rated from 18,000 to 28,000 BTU will require more power, although we have also seen several rated around 12,000 BTU.
Typically, when you spend close to a thousand bucks on something for your home, you expect a solid warranty. With window air conditioners that have a heat function, you’ll get a warranty, but may be surprised by the length. On average, you can expect a 1-year warranty, although some parts are guaranteed for longer as part of the sealed system.
If you are concerned about the durability of an AC unit you have your eye on, check on the build quality. While you may not be able to do that in person, the design can say a lot about how well a system is made. Quality control plays a part in this as well, along with extended warranties, which are never a bad idea with anything electrical and expensive.
Frigidaire FFRH1122UE / UI
- Cooling: 11,000 BTU
- Heating: 9,900 BTU
- Coverage: Up to 550 sq. ft.
- EER: 9.8
- Humidity Removal pints per hour: 3.4 PPH
Friedrich Chill EP08G11B
- Cooling: 7,500 BTU
- Heating: 3,850 BTU
- Coverage: Up to 350 sq. ft.
- EER: 11.2
- Humidity Removal pints per hour: 2.4 PPH
- Cooling: 18,500 BTU
- Heating: 16,000 BTU
- Coverage: Up to 1,000 sq. ft.
- EER: 10.7
- Humidity Removal pints per hour: N/A
- Cooling: 8,000 BTU
- Heating: 3,800 BTU
- Coverage: Up to 400 sq. ft.
- EER: 11
- Humidity Removal pints per hour: 1.3 PPH
Friedrich Kuhl KES1633A
- Cooling: 15,700 BTU
- Heating: 10,700 BTU
- Coverage: Up to 700 sq. ft.
- EER: 10.8
- Humidity Removal pints per hour: 3.4 PPH
- Cooling: 23,000 BTU
- Heating: 11,600 BTU
- Coverage: Up to 1,400 sq. ft.
- EER: 9.8
- Humidity Removal pints per hour: 6.5 PPH
The Best Window Air Conditioners with Heat
After you’ve decided on a range and have a rough idea of what to expect from a system like this, it’s time to consider picking out a new unit. As these units aren’t as prevalent, and most are very similar, we chose some of the best window air conditioners with heat ranging from 8,000 to over 20,000 BTUs.
If the BTU range of a model on our list isn’t quite what you need, remember most of these are from a series of air conditioner units, so you can find the same system in different sizes as well.
1. Frigidaire 11,000 BTU Heat/Cool Window Air Conditioner
Frigidaire has produced millions of air conditioning units over the years, and they are always a brand to consider when you’re in the market for a window air conditioner. While they have several models with heat, this is one of our favorite systems under 15,000 BTUs.This sleek little AC unit is considerably more powerful than an 8,000 BTU system one both sides of the dial. It’s rated at 11,000 for cooling, and the heat pump is listed at 9,900 BTU. It has three speeds, like most systems, but better dehumidification at 3.4 pints per hour. Consumers found it relatively quiet at around 60 dBA on high, and the design ensures you’ll catch a breeze regardless of where you sit.The Frigidaire FFRH1122UI can cool or heat a room up to 550 square feet and features 8-way direction control. The grills are split in the middle, which is handy, but so is the tilt-out filter. You don’t need to remove the front panel to clean the filter, and the controls are easy to access as well. You can set the speeds, mode, or turn the system off from the center panel.For ease of use, you’ll also get a remote control, and it’s a bit better than the standard offerings. It offers total control of your system while giving you access to sleep mode and the timer system. There is also an energy-saving mode on this AC unit to go along with filter alerts, and an easy restart system. It tips the scales at 89 pounds and has a 6’ power cord.With a nice price point and a solid set of features, the Frigidaire FFRH1122UI is one of the best window AC units with heat you can find at this size. It’s more powerful than smaller systems, but only slightly more expensive depending on where you purchase it. This unit can also be found under the FFRH1122UE model number on some sites as well.
- 8-way directional control
- 11,000/9,900 BTU
- 9.8 EER
- Full-featured remote
- Nothing significant
2. Friedrich Chill Series EP08G11B Air Conditioner with Electric Heat
Friedrich isn’t a brand name most consumers will know, especially compared to more well-known names in the AC world like GE, Amana, and LG. Well, the company has actually produced window-based units since the 50s, and their Chill EP08G11B air conditioner is highly regarded by homeowners that need to cool smaller rooms.
At 7,500 BTU, this window air conditioner with heat is capable of handling rooms up to 325 square feet. It’s lighter and smaller than other AC units on our list at 18.5” x 13.8” with a weight of 79 pounds. That’s ideal if you plan on using the unit seasonally, and you won’t have to worry about at 230-volt outlet as this system is a standard 115-volt AC unit.
While the Freidrich Chill has an EER rating of 11.2 and is rated at 7,500 BTU, that’s just the cooling capacity. The electric coil heater is listed at 3,850 BTU, although you’ll be able to knock the chill out of a room thanks to three fan speeds. The estimated yearly operating cost for this unit is around $61.00 per year, and it has several modes, even if it’s lacking when it comes to flagship features.
This system has a 24-hour timer and an auto-restart function in case the power goes out. It also comes with an antimicrobial filter that’s washable along with an Auto Air Sweep feature. This ensures even coverage throughout the room with a bit of help from the system’s 4-way airflow control. The Friedrich Chill EP08G11B comes with a remote control, but also has a series of button-based controls under a hidden panel.
While this is one of the more basic systems you can buy that has a heating function, it will get the job done with a rating of 7,500/3,800 BTU. It’s a lightweight nature is a bonus, and we like the fact it has a long 6’ power cord that can run through either side of the cabinet. The Chill EP08G11B is versatile, even if it’s a bit basic compared to slightly more expensive models with a higher BTU.
- Lightweight design
- Ease of use
- Timer & Remote
- Long power cord
- Basic set of features
3. Koldfront WAC18001W Window Air Conditioner with Heat
Koldfront is a company that specializes in producing air conditioners, and they fall under the Living Direct brand of products. Like most manufacturers, they carry a wide range of units, including the WAC18001W, a system rated at 18,500 BTU.
This window AC unit doesn’t have the most modern style. The design is a bit dated, but it’s an effective system with an EER rating of 10.7. It has a 4-way directional louver system that helps direct the airflow and a control panel on the left of the machine. It will perform as advertised but isn’t exactly built for a decade of use.
Despite the design of the WAC18001W, it has plenty of power with 16,000 BTU heating and 18,500 BTUs cooling. It can control the temperature in a room up 1,000 square feet but is hefty at close to 120 pounds. You’ll need some help to manage this one, although it’s within the range of our other systems at 17.9” high and 23.6” wide.
The usual modes are present on this window air conditioner with heat, including cooling, heating, and automatic mode. It has three speeds with low, medium, and high along with a digital thermostat. It comes with a remote, and there are a few noteworthy modes as well, including a 24-hour timer, sleep mode, an energy savings mode.
The Koldfront WAC18001W won’t impress anyone with its style, but the price tag may get your attention. It’s affordable for its size and comes with a 2-year warranty, which is a year longer than most manufacturers. Energy savings mode is a nice touch as well on systems in this range, especially if you plan to run it throughout the year.
- 4-way louvers
- Nice price point
- Energy savings mode
- 2-year warranty
- Nothing significant
4. GE Electronic Heating and Cooling Window Air Conditioner
Our second option for the best window air conditioner with heat under 10,000 BTUs comes from GE with the AEE08AT. This is another 115-volt system that won’t break your back, and it’s one of the more affordable window AC units with heat as well.
The GE AEE08AT is another small system, but with a different design than the Friedrich Chill. The return is larger and spreads across the top of the unit, which has 4-way adjustable louvers. It has a slide-out filter and a small control panel in the upper left corner. Everything is easy to access, and it’s incredibly easy to use.
This window air conditioner with heat is rated at 8,000 BTU for cooling and 3,800 for heat. The EER rating is 11. That’s on par with other models in this range, although it doesn’t handle dehumidification as well with a rating of 1.3 pints per hour compared to 2.1 with the Chill. According to the company, it can cover 350 to 400 square feet and has a good amount of power at 270 CFM.
There are three speeds to choose from, whether you are using the cooling function, heating mode, or simply running the fan to circulate some air. As for the features, this window AC unit has an electronic digital thermostat, a remote control, and a 24-hour timer function. It also has a 6’ long cord, so placement shouldn’t be an issue. Neither should size as its 22” x 15” with a weight of 80 pounds.
The only reason we didn’t choose this one as the best budget system is availability and humidity removal, although the latter won’t be a problem for everyone. It can go head-to-head with the Chiller from a specs standpoint, aside from dehumidification, but is currently on backorder across several popular retailers and overpriced on others. If you can find one locally or online at a respectable price, the GE AEE08AT is well worth your time.
- 4-way louvers
- Slide-out filter
- Three speeds
- Ease of use
- Price & Availability
- Basic features
5. Friedrich Kuhl Window AC unit with Electric Heat
Most window air conditioning systems are a little plain from a design standpoint, and the selection gets a little tighter when you are looking for a unit with heat. Friedrich’s Kuhl line of AC units are unique in that regard, and while they are highly intelligent, they are also quite expensive.
This range of AC units includes around ten models with heat pumps or electric heat. We chose the KES1633A, which is in the middle of the pack in terms of size, with a cooling rating of 15,700 BTU. The heater is rated at 10,700 BTU, and its power puts it in the 230-volt class. It will cost around $142 a year to run on average and has an energy efficiency rating of 10.8.
There are four modes to choose from with this system, including fan only, cooling, heat, and automatic. There are three standard speeds, and homeowners found it relatively quiet given its size. QuietMaster technology plays a part in that while electronic controls make it a breeze to use. A sleek digital panel is on the front under the filter, and you will get plenty of articulation from the split design.
Another unique trait of the KES1633A is the fact it’s a connected device. It has Wi-Fi connectivity, which allows you to connect to the Google Assistant or Alexa. There’s also a remote, but smartphone compatibility unlocks several unique features, including the ability to schedule your system for an entire week. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the dual filter system as well, which uses antimicrobial filters.
The Friedrich Kuhl Smart Wi-Fi Air Conditioner is by far the best-looking unit on our list, although it comes at a premium price and is fairly new on the market. The ability to control your system with an app or your voice may be a trade-off that’s well worth it, however, especially given its power. It doesn’t have a sleep mode, but that’s the only knock we have on the Kuhl KES1633A, aside from the price.
- Smart Home & App connectivity
- Modern design
- Full of features
- Dual filter system
- The price tag
6. LG Window Air Conditioner with Cool and Heat LW2416HR
LG makes a surprising amount of products, and many of them have found permanent placement in American homes over the past decade. They make everything from microwaves, refrigerators, and ranges to smartphones, but are also responsible for a large collection of window air conditioning systems like the high-powered LG LW2416HR.
When most folks think LG, they think of streamlined devices and shiny surfaces. Well, that’s not what the engineers had in mind with the LG LW2416HR, although it’s far from unattractive. It has a clean design with a grill that runs top to bottom, and a small vent on the side with a control panel beneath. A digital display keeps you informed of the temperature, which ranges from 60 to 86 degrees, depending on your needs.
This is a large unit in more ways than one. It has 23,000 BTUs of cooling power with a coverage range of up to 1,250 square feet. With a rating of 11,600, it’s no slouch in the heating department, although underpowered compared to similar models this size. This system measures 16.8”H x 25.5”W x 30.5”D with a weight of 145 pounds.
You won’t be disappointed with airflow, however, at 560 CFMs, and it can remove up to 6.5 pints of moisture per hour as well. Are you looking for a window ac unit with plenty of features? LG doesn’t disappoint on that front with auto-restart, a programmable timer, and a filter indicator. While we didn’t expect Wi-Fi, it is disappointing that there is no sleep mode on this model.
With a score of 9.8 EER, the LG LW2416HR is efficient and an excellent choice if you need supplemental cooling from a window-based AC unit. This slinger fan system isn’t designed for wall installations but will work wonders in any double hung window with an opening 29” x 41” in size. We did see some complaints regarding quality control on this model, but nothing you wouldn’t notice well within the warranty period.
- 4-way air deflection
- Auto-restart and timer
- 560 CFM
- Filter reminder
- Only two speeds
- Quality control