6 Smallest Air Conditioner Reviews 2020 – (Buyer’s Guide)

Last Updated on by

It’s that time of year again when temperatures rise, and you’re desperate to find a solution to beat the heat. But for the millions of people who live in apartments, smaller homes, and rentals, it can be a real challenge to find a suitable air conditioner—one that will cool the area efficiently, not take up too much of the already limited space, and conform to the regulations of landlords. That’s why you need to take a look at our recommendations and buying guide for the smallest air conditioners.

Our handy comprehensive guide will walk you through all of the important considerations you need to address to get the right AC unit for your home. We’ve evaluated all of these products according to the criteria laid out in our buying guide. For each of the products in our recommendations list, we’ll provide all of the relevant specifications, features, and any other notable factors to keep in mind when comparison shopping.

If space is a concern for you but you still need an effective way to cool your home, we’re certain you’ll find one of these small air conditioners will be the perfect solution for your home cooling needs.

Smallest Air Conditioner Reviews

Smallest Air Conditioner
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • DuctlessAire SEER Energy Star
  • Size: 24000 Btu 21 SEER
  • Room Size: N/A
  • Dimensions: N/A
  • Color: White
  • Weight: N/A
  • Warranty: Manufacturers

Smallest Air Conditioner
  • 4 Customer Rating
  • Frigidaire FFRA0511R1E
  • Size: 5, 000 BTU
  • Room Size: 150 square feet
  • Dimensions: 15 x 16 x 12 inches
  • Color: White
  • Weight: 41 pounds
  • Warranty: Manufacturers

Smallest Air Conditioner
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • Senville SENA-09HF/Z
  • Size: 9000 BTU
  • Room Size: 100 to 500 Sq. Ft.
  • Dimensions: 29.9 x 11.2 x 23.2 inches
  • Color: White
  • Weight: 73.8 pounds
  • Warranty: 2-year warranty

Smallest Air Conditioner
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • PIONEER Air Conditioner WYS012AMFI22RL
  • Size: 12000 BTU
  • Room Size: 250~350 Sqf
  • Dimensions: 31.5 x 7.5 x 11.6 inches
  • Color: White
  • Weight: 18 pounds
  • Warranty: Manufacturers

Smallest Air Conditioner
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • PIONEER Air Conditioner WYS018GMFI22RL
  • Size: 18000 BTU
  • Room Size: 250~350 Sqf
  • Dimensions: 42.5 x 8.8 x 13.2 inches
  • Color: White
  • Weight: 29 pounds
  • Warranty: Manufacturers

Smallest Air Conditioner
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • MRCOOL Comfort Made Simple
  • Size: 12,000 BTU
  • Room Size: 500 Sq. Ft.
  • Dimensions: 31.57 x 7.44 x 11.69
  • Color: White
  • Weight: 200 pounds
  • Warranty: Manufacturers

1. DuctlessAire 24,000 BTU 20.5 SEER Energy Star Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner

DuctlessAire 24,000 BTU 20.5 SEER Energy Star Ductless Mini Split Air ConditionerIf you’re in the market for an efficient, low-profile, small air conditioner that can effectively cool a relatively large area, the DuctlessAire mini split AC unit is probably the best place to begin your search.

For starters, the DuctlessAire unit features a sleek, low-profile design that will take up very little wall space in your home or office. The indoor air handler is meant to be installed high on your wall and has the following dimensions: 42.5 x 8.9 x 13.2 inches.

Given this conveniently small size, the DuctlessAire offers an impressive level of cooling capacity, at 24,000 BTUs. This is enough cooling power to efficiently cool an area of up to 1,500 square feet, making it the most powerful small air conditioner on our list of recommendations.

Speaking of cooling efficiency, this unit is also one of the most energy efficient models we’ve evaluated. It has even earned Energy Star certification, meaning it’s at least nine percent more efficient than required by industry standards. So, while the upfront cost of this unit is quite a bit higher than a lot of other options available, you will end up saving a good deal of money in the long run due to its excellent energy efficiency.

How does this unit manage such admirable cooling and heating efficiency, you ask? Well, there are several factors that contribute to its energy efficiency. For one thing, it features a variable speed inverter compressor. As we’ll discuss later in the buying guide, this technology allows the unit to automatically adjust its output and cooling capacity based on ambient room temperature. This way, the DuctlessAire won’t continue cooling at high levels once the room has reached the desired temperature.

Another factor adding to the DuctlessAire’s energy efficiency is its sleep function. When you get into bed, you simply press the SLEEP button. Once sleep mode is selected, the AC will increase 2°Fafter 1 hour, and another 2°Fan hour later. This way, after you’ve fallen asleep, the unit will use less energy, as you won’t need to maintain as cool of temperatures while you’re catching some Zzzs.

One of our favorite features of this ductless mini split air conditioner, though, is its self-cleaning function. When you select the self-clean button on the remote control, the unit will automatically self-clean and dry its own evaporator, keeping your unit in perfect condition for its next use.

If there’s one major downside to the DuctlessAire small air conditioner, it’s that you lose your opportunity for a warranty if you install it yourself. This is particularly disappointing, as we assume most users will likely opt for self-installation. It is pretty unfortunate to spend that much money on an investment like this and not have it insured with a good warranty. That said, to avoid this, you can always have a professional technician install the unit for you.

Ultimately, though, the DuctlessAire AC unit is an outstanding option for quietly and efficiently cooling larger areas or rooms. Its energy efficiency is second-to-none, so you can feel a bit less guilty about its relatively high initial cost because you’ll be saving so much in the long run.

Key Features:

● Energy Star certified
● 24,000 BTU, can cool up to about 1,500 square feet
● Included HEPA filter is easily washable for re-use
● Three available fan speeds
● Turbo mode option
● Dry mode for dehumidification
● LCD display
● Automatically detects refrigerant leaks
● One of the quietest ACs we’ve evaluated
● Variable speed inverter compressor
● 25-foot installation kit
● Self-cleaning

2. Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5,000 BTU – Small Window Air Conditioner

Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5,000 BTU Small Window Air ConditionerIf you’re planning on taking a more budget-minded approach to shopping for a mini air conditioner, your best option might just be this Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 small window air conditioner.

While it certainly isn’t a very feature-rich option, it does the job of cooling small spaces exceptionally well. With its cooling power of 5,000 BTUs, it’s only going to be an appropriate cooling solution for rooms or areas of up to 150 square feet. But as far as mini window air conditioners go, this Frigidaire model can’t be beaten for cooling small rooms.

This Frigidaire model features basic mechanical dials for controls. Though some might find these control mechanisms to be rudimentary, we really appreciated their no-nonsense, reliable operation. That is, there’s a lot less that can go wrong with a mechanical dial than can go wrong with LCD remote controls and smart phone apps.

We also loved the compact size of this small window air conditioner. The exterior dimensions of the unit are only 16 (W) x 15 (D) x 12 (H) inches. With this low profile, it is a perfect option for small windows. The required window width is 23–36 inches. Thus, this is a good choice for bedrooms or a small office.

That said, while the size may be great for bedrooms or workspaces, the sound may not. To borrow a quote from Shakespeare, “Though she be little, she is fierce.” If you don’t mind—or, like me, actually prefer—a lot of loud white noise while you sleep or work, this will be an excellent option for you. However, if noise is a problem for you, you will want to seek out a quieter option.

You might think a good solution to this problem could be to simply install the mini window air conditioner in another room. But this would be a mistake, as the Frigidaire won’t be able to effectively cool more than one small room at a time.

Another feature we really love in the Frigidaire unit is its included easy-to-install mounting kit. Unlike a lot of our other picks on this list, the Frigidaire can be installed with relative ease by a single person; however, we always recommend you have another person to assist you just to be on the safe side.

Frigidaire also offers a pretty generous manufacturer warranty for this AC. The warranty structure includes a limited 2-year warranty for parts and labor and an additional 3 to 5-year warranty for the sealed cooling system.
Of course, that’s the kind of faith in a product that you can usually expect from highly-reputable brands like Frigidaire. This is a company that has been one of the biggest names in air conditioning and other home appliances for over 100 years, and that long stretch of experience shines through in the quality of their products and the generosity and helpfulness of their customer service.

Key Features:

● 5,000 BTUs
● Dehumidifier setting
● Included mounting kit
● Antibacterial mesh HEPA filter
● 2-year limited warranty
● 3–5-year limited sealed system warranty
● Our most affordable recommendation

3. Senville SENA-09HF/Z Energy Star Mini Split Air Conditioner

Senville SENA-09HF Z Energy Star Mini Split Air ConditionerThis Senville ductless mini split air conditioner offers a wide range of features and user-friendly functions that make it a real steal at its very affordable asking price. With 9,000 BTUs of cooling and heating capacity, the Senville can cool or heat a 350 square foot room with ease, though we found it could also cool rooms of over 600 square feet quite adequately as well.

It’s also an extremely energy efficient ductless mini split air conditioner, even earning Energy Star designation. This low energy consumption is mostly a product of the Senville AC’s variable speed compressor, which efficiently regulates cooling output based on room temperature.

Speaking of regulating temperature controls, this Senville unit’s intuitive remote control features a “follow me” function that will adjust the unit’s cooling output according to temperature readings from the remote own built-in thermostat. If you keep the remote close by, the AC unit will produce the proper amount of cooling output to get the area near you up to the target temperature. You can’t get much more personalized than that!
But there’s really so much more. From the practically whisper-silent operation of the interior air handler and its self-diagnostic system, to settings that include self-cleaning, dehumidification, and refrigerant leak detection, there’s virtually no convenience feature that this ductless mini split air conditioner from Senville doesn’t have at your disposal.

The dehumidifier setting is especially useful if you live in a region with a very frequently humid climate. This AC unit will effectively remove the moisture from the air. Because after all, one of the things that makes hot weather particularly unbearable isn’t necessarily just the temperature—it’s also the high levels of moisture in the air. That’s why this dehumidifying feature is such a great addition to an already great product. It not only cools the air, it also improves its quality.

And if there’s one aspect of the Senville AC unit that we love above all the rest, it’s definitely its very generous warranty package. This package includes a 2-year warranty on parts and labor and a whopping 7-year warranty on the AC’s compressor. That means you can expect, at the very least, 7-plus years of efficient cooling from this mini split air conditioner.

When you factor in this long-term warranty, the Energy Star-level of energy efficiency, the wide range of convenience and accessibility features, and the surprisingly low upfront price tag, there’s no question that this Senville ductless mini split air conditioner unit is by far the best overall value of all of our recommendations in this list.

Key Features:

● 9,000 BTUs
● Energy Star complaint
● Virtually silent interior air handler
● 2-year parts warranty
● 7-year compressor warranty
● “Follow Me” remote control
● Dehumidifier setting
● Exceptionally easy installation
● More affordable option
● Refrigerant leak detection
● Self-cleaning mode
● Self-diagnostic system
● Anti-microbial silver ion filter

4. PIONEER Air Conditioner WYS012AMF122RL Mini Split Heat Pump

PIONEER Air Conditioner WYS012AMF122RL Mini Split Heat PumpWhile not quite as powerful as its 18,000 BTU big brother (listed below), this small room air conditioner from Pioneer is an outstanding option for rooms of about 500 square feet, with its 12,000 BTUs of cooling and heating capacity.

We especially love the user-friendliness of this AC unit. It comes with a well-designed and intuitive remote control with a snazzy backlit LCD screen that is easy to read. Additionally, the front panel of the interior air handler features a modern, simplistic design with its own digital LCD temperature indicator.

What’s more, this interior air handler unit is quite sleek with a low profile. Its dimensions are 31.5 x 7.5 x 11.5 inches, making it a great choice if you’re looking for a truly unobtrusive small room air conditioner.

Further adding to its inconspicuous design is the Pioneer’s whisper quiet operation. We found this to be among the quietest of all our recommendations, so it’s perfect if you’re a light sleeper or need a very quiet environment for your workspace.

And if you’re a more tech-minded person, you even have the option of purchasing a separate USB module to insert into the unit which allows it to connect your AC to your home WiFi. If you choose to go that route, you can then control your small room air conditioner with your own smartphone or tablet.

Beyond its user-friendly features and capabilities, this Pioneer Air Conditioner WYS012AMF122RL is also quite energy efficient, though not quite so efficient as to warrant an Energy Star designation. It is able to achieve this level of energy efficiency largely through its variable speed compressor. This compressor will automatically regulate the unit’s cooling capacity based on the ambient temperature in the room.

Another excellent feature we want to mention is the Pioneer’s vacation mode setting. This will help regulate your area’s heating while you are away from home.

And lastly, the Pioneer small room air conditioner also offers a night mode. If you select this setting right before going to bed, the unit will automatically reduce its cooling capacity throughout the first few hours of the night. This way, you can save on energy costs when you’re less likely to notice these changes in room temperature.

But one thing that makes this a great buy is Pioneer’s excellent reputation in the world of home appliances. Pioneer is among the most reliable brands in the air conditioning market, and the quality of their products and customer service are absolute testaments to the truth behind this great reputation.

Overall, we think this is the best option if you’re looking for a mid-range small room air conditioner. It fits somewhere in the middle of the BTU range of similar models and is backed by the stellar brand reputation of Pioneer.

Key Features:

● 12,000 BTUs
● Remote with advanced LCD screen
● Vacation mode for when home is unoccupied
● Excellent brand reputation and customer service
● Variable speed compressor
● Smart/WiFi control-capable
● Whisper-quiet operation

5. PIONEER Air Conditioner WYS018GMFI22RL Mini Split

PIONEER Air Conditioner WYS018GMFI22RL Mini SplitAnother excellent option from Pioneer, this mini split air conditioner includes all of the great features of the above Pioneer model but with even greater cooling and heating capacity. With 18,000 BTUs of cooling and heating power, you can efficiently heat or cool a room of up to 700 square feet.

It also features a clever sleep mode function that will gradually reduce the target temperature as you drift off to sleep. This way, you can save on your energy consumption during the hours when you don’t need your room temperature to be as noticeably cool.

Further, this Pioneer Air Conditioner WYS018GMFI22RL includes anti-mildew functionality. Much like the self-cleaning features of other models, the anti-mildew feature on this Pioneer AC will ensure proper evaporation of the condensation produced during operation. This will effectively keep your mini split air conditioner clean and in top-shape for many years of use, and it will also prevent unpleasant odors from developing and wafting through your home.

Like the other Pioneer model, this one also has the ability to connect to your home WiFi for smart control via your mobile device or tablet. As is the case with the previous Pioneer model, though, you will have to purchase an additional USB insert to enable this functionality. Though this is an additional purchase you would have to make, it is relatively inexpensive, especially given the significantly enhanced user-friendliness it provides.

Also of note is this unit’s incredibly quiet operation. We assumed, given the higher BTUs compared to the other Pioneer model, that this one would be at least a little bit louder when in use. That’s why we were so pleasantly surprised to find little to no difference between the noise level of the two models. This more powerful model was just as whisper-quiet as its less-powerful little brother.

While this Pioneer mini split air conditioner comes at an above-average price tag, we think the combination of excellent features, energy efficiency, WiFi-capability, quiet operation, and overall outstanding brand reputation make this the perfect option for your mid-sized room—especially if the 12,000 BTU Pioneer model isn’t quite powerful enough for your specifications.

Key Features:

● 18,000 BTUs
● Remote with advanced LCD screen
● Vacation mode for when home is unoccupied
● Excellent brand reputation and customer service
● Variable speed compressor
● Smart/WiFi-compatible
● Virtually silent operation
● Sleep mode
● Anti-mildew feature

6. MRCOOL Comfort Made Simple DIY 12,000 BTU Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner

MRCOOL Comfort Made Simple DIY 12,000 BTU Ductless Mini Split Air ConditionerMRCOOL Comfort Made Simple DIY 12,000 BTU is an outstanding choice if you’re searching for a compact unit that can heat or cool small to mid-sized rooms and offers lots of great extra features. In fact, it’s probably the most feature-rich option among our list of smallest air conditioners.
Boasting 18,000 BTUs of heating and cooling capacity, this AC unit is ideal for rooms of up to 700 square feet or so, making it a good choice for master or larger bedrooms.

One of our favorite features of this mini air conditioner is its smart control capability. As long as you’re connected to WiFi, you can use the mobile app to control all aspects of your unit. Even better, this unit is compatible with smart home assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant!

We also found the MRCOOL AC unit to be among the easiest of all our recommendations to install. It truly is a “simple DIY” project to get this air conditioner installed and running. It’s relatively lightweight and the installation process requires no special tools, equipment, or technical know-how. Even better, the installation manual was clear and easy to understand, making installation that much simpler for a novice.

The powerful variable speed compressor, though, is where this mini air conditioner from MRCOOL really shines. Its variable speed CD inverter compressor ensures energy efficient heating and cooling, and it even comes with a 7-year warranty! While the MRCOOL model doesn’t quite meet Energy Star compliance, it’s still a highly efficient AC unit that is sure to cut down on your energy bills compared to some larger box AC units.

But that’s not all the MRCOOL unit has to offer. It also includes excellent features like its “Follow Me” remote control. Essentially, the unit’s variable speed compressor will automatically adjust according to the ambient temperature as read by the area around the included remote control. Just take the remote with you as you move about, and MRCOOL will alter its cooling capacity based on the temperature where you’re at!

This mini air conditioner also includes an ionizer that will clean and improve the quality of air in the room, leakage detection to let you know if something’s wrong with your refrigerant, and even a self-cleaning function to keep your unit it great shape without lifting a finger!

Overall, this is one of the higher-quality mini air conditioners available. Of course, with that higher quality comes a higher price tag. But if you’re willing to spend a bit more to get a top-of-the-line AC unit, the MRCOOL models is definitely a great place to start your comparison shopping.

Key Features:

● Smart controls via mobile app
● Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
● “Follow Me” feature automatically adjusts cooling based on the temperature wherever the remote is
● Leakage detection
● 5-year parts warranty
● 7-year compressor warranty
● Self-cleaning function
● Ionizer for improving air quality

Smallest Air Conditioner Comparison Chart

ItemSizeRoom SizeDimensionsWeight
DuctlessAire SEER Energy Star24000 BTUN/AN/AN/A
Frigidaire FFRA0511R1E5, 000 BTU150 square feet15 x 16 x 12 in41 pounds
Senville SENA-09HF/Z9000 BTU 100 to 500 Sq. Ft. 29.9 x 11.2 x 23.2 in73.8 pounds
PIONEER WYS012AMFI22RL12000 BTU250~350 Sqf31.5 x 7.5 x 11.6 in18 pounds
PIONEER WYS018GMFI22RL18000 BTU250~350 Sqf 42.5 x 8.8 x 13.2 in29 pounds
MRCOOL Comfort Made Simple12,000 BTU500 Sq. Ft.31.57 x 7.44 x 11.69 in200 pounds

Smallest Air Conditioner Buying Guide

Smallest Air Conditioner ReviewsThere are so many different air conditioner brands, designs, and sizes out there nowadays that it can really make your head spin. And with so many factors to consider, like room size, energy efficiency, and features, it can be a challenge to set your priorities and make the right decision.

Moreover, with the wide range of asking prices for these appliances, it can be especially hard to establish a budget for an AC unit that will ensure you get all of the functionality you need at a price you can afford. That’s why, in this guide, we’re going to walk you through every bit of information and every legitimate consideration you should take into account when shopping for ACs.

In this guide, we won’t be considering the whole range of air conditioner options available. Instead, we’re going to focus our attention on giving you the best information to guide your shopping and purchase of the smallest air conditioners on the market.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Small Air Conditioner

Smallest Air Conditioner ReviewsThe following is our comprehensive list of factors that you should take into account when comparison shopping air conditioners. While all these items apply to any variety of air conditioner, we’ll be sure to point out special considerations that are unique to these smaller models where they exist.

We’ve tried to include factors that are both obvious and some that you might not have even considered before. Our goal is to give you as much food for thought as we can, so you can be sure you’ll end up exceptionally pleased with your purchase.

These considerations are not listed according to level of importance; rather, they are simply listed alphabetically. So, let your own needs and preferences be your guide to how much stock to put into each of the factors we list here.

  • Appearance

Unfortunately, no matter which style or size of air conditioner you end up buying, at least some portion or component of it is going to be visible both outside and inside your home. Even the smallest air conditioners will have some part showing in your living space.

As far as we’re concerned, there’s no such thing as an “attractive” air conditioner unit. I mean, who would willingly install one purely for decoration? That said, there are some out there that are easier on the eyes than others. A lot of this has to do with the size of the interior unit, where it has to be placed to work effectively, and what kind of ventilation it requires.

Small window air conditioners, for instance, require a fairly unsightly box to stick pretty far outside of your window. Many find this quite unattractive, and some landlords even prohibit them from being installed in street-facing windows.

On the other hand, mini split air conditioners can be installed directly onto the wall, up and out of the way. While they’re certainly very visible from that high vantage point, at least they keep your windows clear and shouldn’t interfere significantly with your furniture or any of your wall décor.

The point is this: before you make your air conditioner purchase, think at least a little bit about how you’re going to feel about having to look at each unit day-in and day-out.

  • Brand Reputation

Smallest Air Conditioner ReviewsWhile a brand’s reputation isn’t everything—even the most reliable companies produce a lemon now and then—it can be a good initial indicator of a product’s general quality. Especially in this era where you can find hundreds of suspiciously enthusiastic reviews for even the most obscure and dubious brand names, it’s not a bad idea to do some research into a company’s background before jumping into a big purchase.

That said, don’t let a company’s lack of name recognition be the only factor you use to rule out one of their products. There are certainly plenty of relatively unknown manufacturers who produce high quality products.
On the other hand, if a brand is known only for making inferior products, it’s probably best to trust common sense and avoid it rather than taking an expensive risk.

  • Controls and Ease of Use

The ability to conveniently access the controls for your air conditioning unit is a major factor to consider, and there are a few of different control mechanisms out there.

Some units, especially small window air conditioners, rely on fairly rudimentary on-unit controls—typically just dials and buttons.

On the other hand, the wall positioning of mini split air conditioners requires these units to provide some form of remote-control access. While most simply come with a small remote-control device, some more advances split units offer both a standard remote control as well as controls accessible on mobile devices. I guess it was only a matter of time before even air conditioners became “smart.”

The important thing to consider, though, is whether the controls for unit you are considering will be accessible enough for convenient and frequent use. I remember being so annoyed with having to get up and turn our old air conditioner on and off at the unit throughout the day. It’s so nice now to have remote control options—just don’t lose the remote!

  • Cooling Power

Well, why are you buying a small air conditioner in the first place? To cool your home, of course! But how do you know if a particular model is going to cool your home effectively? Luckily, there is a fairly simple product specification that can give you a pretty accurate idea of an air conditioner’s cooling power: BTUs.

BTU (or, British Thermal Unit) is a unit of measurement that describes thermal or heat energy. If you want to get really technical, BTUs measure the amount of heat energy required to increase the temperature of one pound of water 1°F.

But what does that have to do with mini air conditioners? Luckily, the good folks at Energy Star, a government-sponsored organization that provides consumer information and energy ratings, have done all the legwork for us and provide an answer. They supply a useful chart to help determine the BTUs necessary to efficiently cool a given area.

Once you know the square footage of the area you want to cool, you can compare it to the Energy Star chart. For the sake of space here, we’ve condensed this information a bit. Just know that their chart is broken down into far more detailed ranges. Here are some general guidelines:

● 100–350 square feet = 5,000-8,000 BTUs
● 350–700 square feet = 9,000-14,000 BTUs
● 700–1,400 square feet = 18,000-23,000 BTUs
● 1,400–2,500 square feet = 24,000-34,000 BTUs

Just be sure you get an accurate measurement of your area’s square footage so you can select the most appropriate BTU output to effectively cool the area. Otherwise, you might end up with an AC that is too weak to do the job of cooling your home; or, you might spend far too much on a stronger AC that offers too much cooling power for your needs.

  • Cost

It would be disingenuous for us to suggest that cost isn’t the most important factor for most people. After all, everyone wants to get a good deal. But it’s probably a smart idea for you to establish your air conditioner budget before you start researching products.

Why? Because shopping without a set budget can lead to two potential outcomes: one, a certain product’s spectacularly low asking price and wind might sway you, and you could end up with cheap junk. Or two, you could fall under the spell of all the fancy features and extras of a very expensive model and only get hit with the sticker shock after it’s too late to go back.

Our advice is to determine in advance how much you’re willing to spend on your mini air conditioner and then search out the best models that fall within your price range.

  • Energy Efficiency

Whether you want to save the environment or just save some money, energy efficiency should be a major consideration when shopping around for air conditioners. For the most energy efficient AC units, look for the Energy Star certification. To earn an Energy Star rating, the unit must be at least nine percent more efficient than the required industry standard.

Why is energy efficiency such a crucial thing to consider when shopping for an AC? Well, besides the fact that they are more environmentally-friendly, they will also save you a lot of money in the long run. It takes a lot of energy to power an AC unit, so the more energy-efficient, the better the effects on your pocketbook when it comes time to pay the electric bill.

  • Features

While there aren’t many additional features that you’ll find included with air conditioner units, there are a few you might keep in mind as you shop.

The following headings will walk you through each of the extra features that you might find while comparing the smallest air conditioners and which ones we think are the most important.

  • Dehumidification

Not all AC units offer dehumidification functionality, but it’s a major perk for some of them, especially those with variable speed technology. If you live in a particularly humid climate, dehumidification could be a significant factor for you. ACs that remove moisture from the inside air of your home are able to better balance humidity and temperature. The result is indoor air that is a bit drier and more comfortable. Learn more about how to control the air quality in your home.

  • Programmable Thermostat

Similar in concept to variable speed technologies, the ability to program your AC’s thermostat can be a great convenience for you. If your AC allows pre-programming, you’ll be able to schedule certain times that the AC will turn on. Further, they can often be programmed to shut off as soon as a pre-set desired temperature is reached.

  • Portability

While we don’t feature any small portable air conditioners in our list of recommendations, it may be something to consider if you don’t have a permanent location designated for your AC unit. As far as we can tell, there really isn’t a mini portable air conditioner out that that is entirely convenient to relocate. However, the freestanding units that are available are far more capable of moving about than any of the other options available. You might also like our article on the best camping air conditioner here.

  • Installation

The relative ease or difficulty of the installation process shouldn’t be your primary concern, but it’s definitely something to consider. Indeed, it’s not just the difficulty of the process that you need to take into account, but also the necessary tools and other materials for installation.

For instance, small window air conditioners will require you to purchase (separately) the materials, say Plexiglass, to fill the rest of the open window space above your AC unit. This involves not only purchasing the Plexiglass (and probably some sealing foam), but further requires you to have it sized and cut. And if you’ve ever tried to cut Plexiglass, you know it can be something of a challenge.

Other kinds of small air conditioners, like mini split air conditioners, have a much more involved installation process. This usually requires wiring the unit through your wall, installing the inside unit by hanging it high on a wall, and placing the exterior unit in a safe place outside your home. Most of these AC units boast simple DIY installation and setup; however, we’ve found that, for the most part, the processes for installing these types of ACs were quite difficult, indeed.

Do yourself a favor regardless of what type of AC unit you purchase: get someone to help you with the installation—preferably someone with experience doing it, or at least someone who is particularly handy.

  • Noise Level

Smallest Air Conditioner ReviewsAll air conditioning units, even the smallest air conditioners, make some amount of noise when in use. So, you’ll definitely want to take noise level into account when you’re comparing AC units.

Personally, I prefer to sleep and work with lots of white noise, so I like a louder air conditioner. Others, though, need a much quieter environment to sleep or work. If you’re in this camp, you’ll want to keep an eye (or ear) out for quieter models. Alternatively, you could try to install the unit away from working or sleeping areas.

In our recommendations list and reviews, we’ll be sure to point out the products that are especially loud and those that are especially quiet.

  • Area to Be Cooled

We’ve already touched on the importance of considering the size of the area to be cooled in our section on cooling power and BTUs, but there are other things besides efficient cooling that you ought to think about with regard to the area being cooled.

That is, even though these are the smallest air conditioners on the market, they still take up some space in your home—whether it’s wall space, floor space or window space.And it’s not just a matter of square footage, either; you also want to consider the layout of your space.

Thinking about a mini window air conditioner? Better make sure you have an available window that can accommodate a whole AC unit. Considering a ductless mini split air conditioner? Be sure you’ve got some open wall space. You get the idea. The point is, it’s not just about finding an AC unit that can cool your home; it’s also a matter of finding one that you can accommodate given the layout and living space available to you.

  • Size

Smallest Air Conditioner ReviewsThis point is probably less important than you would think, from a cooling power and efficiency perspective. While you obviously need to take the physical dimensions of any appliance into account with regard to installation and space, the truth is that the size of the AC doesn’t necessarily correlate with its ability to cool an area effectively. In fact, some of the smallest air conditioners we’ve tested have impressed us with their powerful cooling capabilities.

The one case in which size is a critical factor is with small window air conditioners. By and large, the smaller the window AC unit, the less powerful it is. Whereas this is rarely the case for mini split air conditioners.

  • Variable Speed Technology

best small window air comditionerVariable speed technology simply refers to an HVAC system’s ability to automatically alter its output level or cooling capacity based on the ambient temperature of your room or home. This ability to change these functioning levels also means that these variable speed units are often very energy efficient, since they will reduce their cooling capacity and/or output when the area is sufficiently cooled. This will limit the amount of energy consumed, compared to less-efficient models which will simply continue running at the same output or capacity until the user changes the setting.

More specifically, variable speed technology can refer to two different aspects of air conditioner operation: variable speed compressor technology and variable speed fan motor technology. We’ll explain the purpose and benefits of each.

  • Variable Speed Compressors

When used to describe an AC unit’s compressor technology, variable speed means that the actual core cooling mechanism in your AC unit is able to automatically adjust its cooling capacity based on ambient temperature. So, when the weather gets hotter, for instance, your variable speed compressor might run at full capacity, but then reduce that cooling capacity into the evening when temperatures drop. Variable speed compressors seem to be quite common among these energy efficient and smallest air conditioners.

  • Variable Speed Fan Motors

Your small air conditioner will obviously include some sort of blower mechanism to disperse and circulate the cool air in your home. Whereas variable speed compressors automatically regulate an AC unit’s cooling capacity, a variable speed fan motor will automatically regulate and adjust the speed of your unit’s fan blower. That is, it will adjust on its own the amount of airflow it circulates throughout the room or home. This seems to be a much less common feature of the smallest air conditioners than variable speed compressors. In fact, none of the units we’ve recommended have this feature.

  • Warranty

Unlike many other types of major home appliances which tend to have relatively consistent warranty structures across brands, the warranty plans for the different manufacturers of these mini air conditioners vary considerably from brand to brand.

While the term limits for these warranties vary, their basic structure does not. That is, the warranties for these units are typically broken down between a term of years for the parts warranty and a different term of years for the compressor warranty, with the compressor warranty usually having a longer term.

That said, be sure to check the warranty terms for all products before you buy. Indeed, it would be a mistake to simply assume that all AC units come with a warranty at all. In fact, even one of the units that made our list of recommended products, the MR. COOL mini split air conditioner, offers no manufacturer warranty at all.


You should now have all the information you need to find the best small air conditioner for your needs. In our small air conditioner reviews we have covered the most popular and best small ACs on the market. There are many things to keep in mind when buying a small air conditioner and we have covered most steps you need to keep in mind in our buying guide. You can also take a look at our comparison charts and pricing tables to help with the decision. If you are still not sure you can also read more about the most energy efficient air conditioners or the best window air conditioners in our Cooling units category.