Window Air Conditioner Types

Window Air Conditioner Types

When summer is coming we all remember how much we were melting during heatwaves last year. At this moment you could start to think about how to improve your situation. Since the window AC units are pretty cheap in general you are maybe wondering what window air conditioner types exist and which one you should buy.

However, the window AC units aren’t expensive, it could be a significant investment for you. Before you do the first step and start to choose some machine you should read about possibilities on the market.

Therefore, it’s better to get a better overview of what you can expect. I prepared a guide where all window AC types are distinguished and described very well.

Window Air Conditioner Types in Categories

The window air conditioners can be varied in some categories and the models can be varied in every category according to some parameters. If you want to choose the best window air conditioner for you and your home you should take into consideration all of the categories:

  • Window Type
  • Cooling Capacity
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Plug Type
  • Brand

It’s not easy to make a final decision on which unit the perfect one for my home. The main goal is not to overlook some of the categories and carefully compare all variants on the market.

Never trust the sellers all parameters they claim. The sellers tend to exaggerate in order to increase their sales. Only when you take into consideration all the categories together with all parameters you can find the good unit.

Window Types

There are three window types. The types are dependent on a window shut. So, there is a standard window (with a single and double-hung) that slides up and down, slider window that slides left and right, and casement window that swings out.

But there aren’t three window air conditioner types according to window type. There is only one. The standard model of the AC unit is designed to be installed in the standard window (sliding up and down). It means the machine is usually delivered with a kit for installation in this standard window.

So, you receive accordion side panels. For the slider window and casement window, you will have to buy another piece of wood or other material to fill the space in a window.

Cooling Capacity

The cooling capacity is a very important factor affecting window air conditioner types. This is also related to a starting price along with the monthly costs. It’s necessary to find out the proper cooling capacity for your home before you buy a new machine.

What happens if you underestimate the cooling capacity and choose the wrong type? Well, the answer is very unpleasant.

Firstly, you can purchase a weak window AC unit and face a serious problem. Your appliance won’t be able to reach the desired temperature however it will work very hard and consume lots of energy. In this case, read the guide about the best window air conditioners for big rooms.

The second situation occurs when your unit is too strong for the room where it is installed. The problem is the consumption of electric energy. It takes too much energy to cool the room for the obtained temperature and therefore your bills skyrocket.

To find the right BTU (British Thermal Unit that represents how much energy you need to cool the room) helps you to identify the right machine among all of the window air conditioner types. But how to do it?

First of all, you have to measure the room where you want to have a window AC unit. Then, multiply the length and width of the room. If the room doesn’t have a rectangular or square shape cut the floor for smaller pieces such as triangles, squares, and rectangles and add the areas together. Now, you have room size in square footage.

Use the room size and find the appropriate BTU in the table below.

BTURoom Size
(in Square Footage)
BTURoom Size
(in Square Footage)
5,000 BTU150 sq. ft.14,000 BTU700 sq. ft.
6,000 BTU250 sq. ft.18,000 BTU1,000 sq. ft.
7,000 BTU300 sq. ft.21,000 BTU1,200 sq. ft.
8,000 BTU350 sq. ft.23,000 BTU1,400 sq. ft.
9,000 BTU400 sq. ft.25,000 BTU1,600 sq. ft.
10,000 BTU450 sq. ft.28,000 BTU1,900 sq. ft.
12,000 BTU550 sq. ft.36,000 BTU2,700 sq. ft.

According to our experience, you shouldn’t buy a unit only with a BTU in a hand. You should also take into consideration other pro tips:

  • If your unit is installed in a room where two people live you have to add 600 BTU for every additional person.
  • If you’re planning to build up the machine in a kitchen increase the capacity by 4,000 BTU regarding the heat accumulating during the cooking process.
  • If your room is well shaded you can reduce the capacity by 10%.
  • If your room is exposed to the sun for the almost whole day increase the BTU by 10%.
  • If you’re planning to install the unit in a room that is adjoined to another room and they are not separated by a door you have to add together their square footage.

These tips improve your choice and you’ll be able to find the proper type of window AC unit.

Energy Efficiency

According to the last researches, almost half of the energy consumption in every household every summer month is dedicated to air conditioners. Therefore, the window air conditioner types are distinguished by energy rating. Check recommended the most energy efficient window air conditioners.

The top of the models provides the Energy Star Certification. This certification is proof that the machine saves lots of energy.

New models also offer the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). This rating is used for room air conditioners. you can find the rating on the Energy Guide Label on every model.

PRO TIP: You have maybe seen also the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). This rating is similar to EER but it’s used only for central air conditioner units.

If you’re curious how the EER has defined the truth is it’s calculated. The BTU of the unit is divided by its wattage. For example, if we have a unit with 10,000 BTU that consumes 1,200 watts we calculate:

(10,000 BTU / 1,200 Watts) = 8.3 rating

The higher EER rating indicates a more energy-efficient unit. The Energy Star Certification means the high EER. Nevertheless, the high rating means a higher starting price in many cases. But is the higher price worthy or not? It’s a very good question.

Let’s demonstrate this on an example again. You need a window air conditioner that has 10,000 BTU and you can’t decide on two units. The first unit consumes 1,200 watts (8.3 EEER) and the second machine consumes 1,000 watts (10 EER).

The first unit is more expensive about $100. The difference between these two units is 200 watts. To use our calculating formula we need to know:

  • How much you pay for 1kWh (rate given by your electric company), in our example the price is $0.10/kWh
  • How many hours you are planning to operate the unit during the entire day

5 months x 30 days/month. x 8 hours/day = 1200 hours 
[(1200 hours x 200 watts) / (1000 watts/kW)] x $0.10/kWh = $24.00

As was said the difference between our chosen units is $100. It means you would need more than four years to break even. This is not worth regarding the fact after 3 years you would need to do more than self-maintenance and you could face some technical issues such as lubricating of a motor, replacement of fan belt, refill of refrigerant, etc.

The conclusion is the window air conditioner types can be varied according to energy efficiency and its Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). But as we demonstrated on a very good example you shouldn’t make a final decision only on energy efficiency. The best way is to consider other factors and compare very carefully all of them.

Plug Type

This is a very important category and only a fool would underestimate it. If so, you can have a unit that would need additional cost and hiring an expert with electric energy skills.

There are two parts to plug type: voltage and amperage. The major vast of models has 125V/15A plug that can be used in my households. But you can struggle with a problem when you’re planning to install a larger machine with higher than 15 amps and more than 125 volts you should be prepared to ask a professional to help and upgrade the electric circuit.

If you have already had a unit and now you are planning to a new one choose that one same plug type to keep the right amount of amperage and voltage


The last category of window air conditioner types is a brand. Lots of people have some experience with a specific brand and if their experience was positive they want to stick with it. But when you had to face serious trouble with a specific brand you won’t desire to buy the same one again. It’s completely normal.

All window air conditioners work on the same principle. The difference that is given by brands is used materials, material processing, functions, level of self-maintenance, level of self-installation (however this kind of units is possible to install on your own some unit needs a longer time and more than one or two people to work on), performance, energy efficiency, etc. And the last and very important aspect is the availability of customer service.

If you are choosing your first machine, follow the reviews and experience of homeowners who bought the brand before you. All the positive and negative feedbacks give you a great overview of what is acceptable or not for your room.

I have chosen the well-known brands that also offer appliances with Energy Star Certification. If you want to purchase a unit from producers that aren’t listed here it doesn’t mean their products aren’t good.

Friedrich – A producer with units offering from 5,000 BTU up to 24,000 BTU. The unit belongs to a more expensive category and the price is usually between $200 and $1200.

Frigidaire – You can find these window AC units at local retailers (same as Friedrich). They provide machines with BTU from 5,000 up to 28,000 BTU. The prices are average between $100 and $800.

GE – Everybody knows GE. It’s a leading brand available almost everywhere. You can buy units from 5,000 BTU to 25,000 BTU. Prices are very pleasant from $100 up to $400.

Haier – These appliances are available at local retailers or in Walmart. The BTU is usually between 5,000 and 24,000 BTU. And the prices still belong to an average category. You can expect it between $100 and $500.

LG – It’s available at local retailers’ stores as well as Home Depot. The units are not so powerful between 5,000 BTU and 14,000 BTU. The price is still very nice. You can expect the price tag between $150 and $500.

The Bottom Line

It’s possible to distinguish window air conditioner types in categories such as a window type, cooling capacity, energy efficiency, plug type, brand, and even if the AC unit is smart or not – read the best smart window air conditioners in review and buying guide.

Every category includes lots of parameters you should take into consideration before you do the final conclusion. And all of them are very important not only from the money point of view but also from your comfort point of view.

You should always orient among all the models on a market by involving all the categories and do not overlook some of them. If you will follow our tips in this article and if you will read some real reviews from homeowners who have bought before you, you can’t make a mistake and chose a very good unit and reliable unit.