Skip To Content

    Here's How To Choose An Air Conditioner For Your Apartment

    We'll make finding the right unit easy breezy.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Some may have been sent as samples, but all opinions and reviews are our own. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    Whether you're moving into a new apartment that doesn't have an air conditioner installed or your old one broke, buying a new air conditioner can feel like a giant headache. No fear! We're here to help.

    First of all, figure out which type of AC best suits your needs and budget.

    An infographic comparing central AC units, room AC units, ductless mini-split units, and evaporative coolers

    If you're only concerned with cooling an apartment (or individual rooms), a room AC will probably best suit your needs. These are the three types of units you'll be looking at:

    A side-by-side comparison of portable, window, and through-the-wall AC units

    Window units are (relatively) affordable, space-saving, and easy to install and uninstall.

    Midea window air conditioner

    Also, consider the shape and size of your window when choosing a window unit.

    AC units installed in standard windows, slider windows, and casement windows

    Don't forget to purchase a support bracket if your apartment doesn't already have one.

    A window AC unit installed with a bracket

    Through-the-wall (or built-in) units are harder to install, but they don't take up window space and can be used for windowless spaces. They also have a more airtight fit, which means less energy loss.

    An AC unit installed inside the wall instead of mounted on top of a window

    Portable units are easy to move around from room to room and can be rolled away for storage.

    A freestanding AC unit attached to a hose that vents through a window

    Measure the square footage of your apartment/room to determine how powerful your unit needs to be.

    A guide on how to determine a room's square footage for square, rectangular, triangular, and more complex room shapes

    The cooling capacity of an AC unit is measured by BTU (British thermal unit). Basically the larger the room, the higher the BTU you'll need.

    A chart showing size of area and the recommended AC capacity

    Other factors to consider when it comes to choosing the right BTU rating: ceiling height, room insulation, sun exposure, location (like whether it's in the kitchen or bedroom), and local climate.

    Opt for an energy-efficient model, which means lower greenhouse emissions and monthly electric bills.

    Example of an EER label on an AC unit

    Before you purchase, make sure your outlets match the plug. You'd be surprised at how many kinds of plugs are out there!

    Examples of different kinds of outlets

    Also, think about what extra features you'd enjoy (within your budget) — a remote control? A timer? An energy-efficient or quiet mode? The ability to double as a heater/fan/dehumidifier?

    Costway portable air conditioner

    Now that you're armed with knowledge, here are some top-rated AC units you can buy online:

    1. A sleek and energy-efficient window air conditioner that'll cool your room without being an eyesore.

    Friedrich window AC

    2. An easy-to-install portable unit perfect for cooling off a small urban apartment.

    Honeywell portable AC

    3. A through-the-wall AC with a remote control so you can change and maintain the temp from across the room.

    Koldfront through the wall AC

    4. A bucket-less portable air conditioner you won't need to keep manually draining.

    Honeywell portable AC

    5. A budget-friendly window option with all the features you'll need.

    Haier window AC

    6. A compact window unit perfect for smaller spaces with tiny windows.

    Frigidaire mini window AC

    7. A powerful and energy-efficient portable AC that you'll be blown away by.

    A

    8. A compact portable unit that won't take up too much floor space.

    EdgeStar compact portable unit

    Live your chillest life! ❄️

    Reviews here have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of BuzzFeed’s gift guides!