Are You Cool, Man? A Guide to the Best AC Units for Apartments

The sweat it takes to DIY install an AC unit is one of the great injustices of this world. Fortunately, it’s a problem that immediately solves itself once you’re able to turn on that sweet, sweet air con and blow it right at your sweaty face.

Apartment dwellers know the pains and pleasures of air conditioning better than anyone. They are often on their own, without the assistance of a dedicated HVAC professional, when they choose the way they are going to cool their home.

So we thought we’d make that process a little easier. That’s why we’ve created this guide to best AC units for apartments, from general types to some specific recommendations.

Read on to find the AC unit that’s right for your apartment.

What’s Your Type?

If you really want to impress the salesperson, learn the type of air conditioner you need before shopping. And no, “the cold one” is not a type.

When we’re talking about apartment air conditioners, there are three main types we’re dealing with. They are as follows.

Portable Unit

Just as advertised, a portable AC unit can move with ease from room to room. It vents through a window, and it is perfect for studio or one-bedroom apartments.

Room/Window Unit

These are the AC units that haunt the nightmares of anyone who has tried to install one themselves. Once you get past the installation, they can be very effective.

You mount a window unit air conditioner into your window, of course. Just make sure you follow the instructions and don’t cut yourself or let your unit drop out the window.

Ductless/Mini-Split Unit

This is an alternative to central air. As such, it’s a pricey option. But if you’re willing to spend, a ductless system might be your best bet.

These units work with a compressor that lives outside and a wall-mounted piece inside.

A Note on Capacity

It’s important you get an air conditioner that is the right size for the space you’re cooling. If it’s too small, it won’t cool the space. And if it’s too big, it might cool the space before removing the humidity, which is a lesser known function of AC units. Neither of those would be pleasant.

The Energy Star website has a handy guide to matching your AC unit’s capacity in BTUs per hour to the size of your space in square feet. On the low end, a 100-square-foot room requires around 5,000 BTUs per hour. A 2,500-square-foot room requires around 34,000 BTUs.

A Few of the Best AC Units for Apartments

These are a few of our favorite models and makers of AC units.

  • Frigidaire FFRA0511R1: A nice, compact little unit that cools a small space and boasts great popularity on Amazon. You can find it for under $140.
  • LG LW8016ER: This is an excellent mid-capacity unit. It actually comes in 15,000 BTU and 8,000 BTU. The latter model retails for just over $150.
  • Pioneer Blade Series: Florance Electrical air conditioning experts name Pioneer as one of the most energy-efficient split system air conditioners on the market.

Stay Cool

We hope this has given you a start on your search for the best AC units for apartments.

We’re always happy to offer home advice.