What is The Quietest Window Air Conditioner? Our Top 10 Rated

Finding the best quietest air conditioner is about more than just noise level. While this is important, it must also be functional, easy to use, and powerful enough to properly cool your room.

I consider all these factors in this article on my top picks for the best window air conditioners. After this, I’ll go through the main considerations for picking one, and what kind of noise level to expect.

Top Picks for Quietest Window Air Conditioner

Where possible, my picks for the best quiet window air conditioner include a decibel rating. After all, it’s the easiest way to know whether a unit is actually quiet. Where that’s not possible, we can rely on user ratings for practical guidance.

1. Top Pick: GE Electronic 6,000 BTU Air Conditioner

  • Capacity: 6,000 BTU/hr
  • Energy Rating: 12.1 (CEER)
  • Dehumidifier: No
  • Speed Settings: 3
  • Timer: Yes
  • Remote: Yes
  • Noise Level: 43 dB min
  • Window Size:
    Width between 26″- 39.25″
    Min height 13.375″

The GE Electronic is my top pick for the quietest window air conditioner because, at 43dB, it’s pretty quiet. You’ll struggle to find a model with a noticeably lower noise rating, as this one is specifically designed to be ultra-quiet.

Its BTU rating is 6,000, meaning it can cool rooms up to 250 sq. ft. As such, it’s suitable for most rooms in apartments or condos, but might be limited in larger homes. For greater cooling capacity, you must expect an increase in noise output, too.

The GE Electronic is energy-efficient for its category. With a CEER (Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio) of 12.1, it stands in the top tier of this list. The manufacturer doesn’t specify an Energy Star certification but according to the Energy Star’s website, a CEER of 12.1 complies with the Energy Star requirements.

The unit is easy to install and comes with a chassis and installation kit. With all this, you basically assemble it and then slide it into your window opening.

There are plenty of features that make this window air conditioner functional. For example, it has 3 cooling settings and 3 fan speeds, meaning it’s energy-efficient and flexible. There’s also a sleep mode, which gradually increases the temperature overnight for a more comfortable sleep.

The major downside users report is that the AC fans have very poor throw, meaning you can’t feel the breeze from far away. But, if you want it for cooling a room rather than providing a breeze, this shouldn’t be a massive issue.

  • Has 3 speeds and dehumidifier built-in.
  • Cools rooms up to 250 sq. ft.
  • Operates at only 43dB on quiet mode.
  • Fan isn’t very powerful.
  • Does not include a dehumidifying feature

2. Top Budget Pick: Emerson Quiet Kool 5,000 BTU Air Conditioner

  • Capacity: 5,000 BTU/hr
  • Energy Rating: 11 (CEER)
  • Dehumidifier: 1.3 Pints/Hr
  • Speed Settings: 2
  • Timer: No
  • Remote: No
  • Noise Level: 50 dB min
  • Window Size:
    Width between 23″- 36″
    Min height 14.5″

Window air conditioners aren’t cheap, so this Emerson Quiet Kool is about as low in price as you’ll find them. Despite being fairly inexpensive, it still has good functionality for the price.

At 5,000 BTU, it’ll cool rooms up to 150 sq. ft. While this is almost half the size of the GE Electronics model above, the Emerson is nearly a third of the price. However, the price difference is more noticeable once you dig into the functionality.

The Emerson has 2 cooling and 2 fan speeds but draws moisture from the air on all settings. On high, it can pull up to 1.3 pints of moisture from the air in one hour. It roughly corresponds to slightly below a medium size dehumidifier of 35 pints, which isn’t bad at all. You can learn more about how dehumidifiers capacity in my review of the quietest dehumidifiers, here.

The Emerson Quiet Kool operates at 50dB on low, which is about mid-range for a quiet window air conditioner. Energy-wise, the manufacturer claims it’ll cost an average of $41 a year to run, which is fairly reasonable. On the other hand, the CEER rating is average at a score of 11. It’s on the lower end when compared with other devices in this list.

The Emerson fits windows between 23 and 26”. Unlike other models, it doesn’t have additional window fittings for wider windows, which is perhaps its main downside. But, considering the average window width is 24”, it shouldn’t be a problem for most.

It has limited functionality compared to other quiet window air conditioners. Specifically, it uses a manual rotary dial rather than an LED screen, doesn’t have a remote control, and lacks a sleep timer and eco mode. As with most budget electronics, you get what you pay for.

  • Budget-friendly window air conditioner
  • Operating level of 50dB.
  • Cools rooms up to 150 sq. ft.
  • Limited functionality compared to higher-end models.

3. Top Pick for Functionality: Windmill 8,300 BTU Air Conditioner

  • Capacity: 8,300 BTU/hr
  • Energy Rating: 12 (CEER)
  • Dehumidifier: No
  • Timer: Yes (via the app)
  • Remote: Yes
  • Noise Level: Nc
  • Window Size:
    Width between 23″- 37″
    Min height 14″

The Windmill 8,300 BTU window air conditioner wins on functionality because it has numerous features that make it super easy to use. Perhaps my favorite is that it’s Wi-Fi enabled, meaning you can control it using an app or your home’s voice assistant.

While not Energy Star rated, it’s not far off. To receive Energy Star Certification, an air conditioner of 8,000 BTU must have an Energy Efficient Ratio (CEER) of 12 or above. The higher the EER, the more energy efficient the AC is. The Windmill’s EER is 11.9, which is almost as if it was Energy Star rated.

The company does other things to offset this, such as using R32 refrigerant, which is more environmentally friendly than the more common 410a. It also has a dimming LED display so it won’t keep you up at night.

It cools rooms up to 350 sq. ft., making it ideal for bedrooms, home offices, and apartment living spaces. The included side panels mean it fits windows up to 37”, which is wider than most window AC units.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a decibel rating, but users state it’s quiet and well insulated to help keep noise levels down. It has 3 cool and 3 speed settings, and the output fans blow air up for more efficient room cooling.

Users state that one of its biggest downsides is the lack of a dehumidifier option. It won’t be a problem for everyone, but if you live somewhere humid, you’ll already know the difference it can make to a hot room. If you need a dehumidifier, consider a different unit.

  • Sleek, modern design.
  • Users state it’s very quiet.
  • App available to control remotely via smartphone.
  • Customized On/Off schedule via the app.
  • Compatible with Voice Assistant.
  • Doesn’t have a dehumidifier option.

4. Top Pick for Large Rooms: LG LW1216HR 12,000 BTU Air Conditioner

  • Capacity:
    12,000 BTU/hr (AC)
    11,200 BTU/hr (Heater)
  • Energy Rating: 11.2 (CEER)
  • Dehumidifier: 3.3 Pints/hr
  • Timer: Yes
  • Remote: Yes
  • Noise Level: 51 dB min
  • Window Size:
    Width between 27″- 39″
    Min height 16″

The LG LW1216HR cools rooms up to 550 sq. ft., and also includes a 11,200 BTU heater. This is suitable for rooms up to 450 sq. ft. Importantly, its operating noise level is 51dB, which is great for such a powerful unit.

The built-in heater makes it a good air conditioner if you need warming too. Much like the logic of using a window air conditioner, it’s more economical than running heating for your whole property. Its CEER is 11.2, making it reasonable but not great when compared with other window AC units on this list.

There’s also a smart restart function that remembers the previous settings. It has 2 speed and 2 cooling/heating settings. While this is less than some units, it’s still enough to control the room’s temperature.

But, this window AC unit has a big potential downside. It runs on 240V, not standard 120V. To use it, you’ll need a special outlet installed, which can be expensive. It really depends on how badly you need a quiet window air conditioner.

  • Controlled noise level emission at 51dB.
  • Has heating function.
  • High capacity dehumidifying feature.
  • Requires a 240V wall outlet.

5. Emerson Quiet Kool 15,000 BTU Air Conditioner

  • Capacity: 15,000 BTU/hr
  • Energy Rating: 11.9 (CEER)
  • Dehumidifier: 3.5 Pints/hr
  • Timer: Yes
  • Remote: Yes
  • Noise Level: 52 dB min
  • Window Size:
    Width between 28″- 41″
    Min height 19″

The Emerson EARC15RE1 is another entry from the Quiet Kool range, but is much more powerful than the budget pick above. With a BTU rating of 15,000, it’s suitable for rooms up to 700 sq. ft and comes with an efficient dehumidifying feature.

This unit is Energy Star rated. Its EER is 11.9, while the Energy Star requirement for a 15,000 BTU unit is 11.8 or above. The Energy Star rating is important to note since many of the energy-efficient models reviewed so far miss. While the rating is a minor jump up from something like the Windmill, it’s a sign that the model is as efficient as it can be. Importantly, it means it’s cheaper to run.

It fits in windows up to 41” wide and from 19” high and upward, which is the largest so far. Also, it has 8-way airflow, meaning you can direct the air at you even in large rooms. You’ll find a thermostat that’s easy to set, a remote control, and a 24-hour timer, giving you great flexibility over cooling options.

The unit can go down to 52dB in low settings. Considering the Quiet Kool above was at 50dB (on low) for three times less the BTU capacity, this Quiet Kool at 15,000 BTU does an impressive job at keeping the noise down.

Users state that this unit is difficult to assemble. The instructions tell you to take it apart to install the side fins, which is more work than it needs to be. If you’re not willing to do this, reviewers suggest opting for a GE Electronic’s unit with the same BTU rating.

  • Energy Star certified.
  • Good noise level for such a powerful unit.
  • High capacity dehumidifier
  • Fits very large windows.
  • Difficult to assemble.
  • Only compatible with big windows (at least 19″ high opening).

6. Midea EasyCool 10,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner

  • Capacity: 10,000 BTU/hr
  • Energy Rating: 12 (CEER)
  • Dehumidifier: 2.32 Pints/hr
  • Timer: Yes
  • Remote: Yes
  • Noise Level: 56 dB min
  • Window Size:
    Width between 23″- 36″
    Min height 14″

The Midea EasyCool has 3 modes: AC, dehumidifier, and fan only. It means you can use it to circulate fresh air into the room without a cooling setting. Importantly, it has a removable air filter, so you can have cool air that’s also clean.

The 10,000 BTU version cools rooms up to 450 sq. ft., but there’s also a 12,000 BTU model for rooms of the same size. Its main benefit is that it’ll cool the room faster.

This unit is Energy Star compliant. Its CEER rating is 12, which puts it on par with the Emerson Quiet Kool and the Windmill. While it’s not one of the quietest window air conditioners, it’s efficient for its size.

It has a remote control and LED control panel, making it easy to select the correct temperature and setting. You can fit it in windows up to 36” wide with the included fins, and it’s very easy to install.

The stated operating noise level is 56dB, the loudest so far. However, reviewers say it’s surprisingly quiet, so, even if it is 56dB, it doesn’t seem to be too noticeable. If you need a quieter model, the Quiet Kool above might be a better option.

Users state the dehumidifier function is a good idea but doesn’t work too well. The drip tray is below the fan and is quite shallow, meaning it fills up quickly. As such, you might find yourself emptying it regularly in humid locations, or performing a DIY hack like drilling some holes in it.

  • Has fan-only mode for air circulation.
  • Removable air filter is easy to clean.
  • LED control panel makes setting temperature simple.
  • Drip tray fills up quickly.

7. LG 6,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner

  • Capacity: 6,000 BTU/hr
  • Energy Rating: 11.3 (CEER)
  • Dehumidifier: 1.8 Pints/hr
  • Timer: Yes
  • Remote: Yes
  • Noise Level: 52 dB min
  • Window Size:
    Width between 21″- 35″
    Min height 12″

At 52dB, this LG window air conditioner is on the lower end of the noise scale for quiet window air conditioners. Despite having the same BTU rating as the GE Electronic model, it cools rooms up to 260 sq. ft. It might not sound like much of a difference, but that’s a whole 10 square feet!

It just missed out on the top spot because of its noise rating. It’s actually 1dB louder than the LG LW1216HR despite having half the BTU. Even so, it’s quiet enough to use in bedrooms and home offices.

There’s a built-in air filter that’s easy to remove and wash, which helps limit the amount of dust it circulates around the room. However, the filter mesh is quite wide, so don’t rely on it if you have allergies. Luckily, it’s a standard size, meaning you can replace it with a HEPA filter if needed.

The remote and LED panel mean it’s easy to control the 3 fan and cooling settings. It has an auto restart function and energy saver function, making it easy on your pocket. Better still, there’s a 24-hour shut-off timer, too.

One thing users state it lacks is good control over airflow. You can only direct it side to side rather than up or down. It’s not a massive issue, but you’ll typically get better air circulation if you point the fans up.

It doesn’t come with an energy star certification (CEER 12.1 or above). It’s fairly efficient, though, with a CEER of 11.3. If you prioritize energy efficiency, it might not be the model for you.

  • Built-in air filter.
  • 24-hour timer helps save money.
  • 52dB operating noise level.
  • Doesn’t have great control over airflow.
  • No energy star rating

8. Tosot 8,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner

  • Capacity: 8,000 BTU/hr
  • Energy Rating: 12 (CEER)
  • Dehumidifier: 2.43 Pints/hr
  • Timer: Yes
  • Remote: Yes
  • Noise Level: 42 dB min
  • Window Size:
    Width between 25″- 36″
    Min height 13.5″

The Tosot window air conditioner was another contender for top spot. At 42db, it’s marginally quieter than the GE Electronic unit. Also, at 8,000 BTU, it’s suitable for rooms up to 350 sq. ft., making it more powerful.

It didn’t win because it’s more expensive to operate. However, as an Energy Star certified model (EER rating of 12), it’s cheaper to run than comparative models. It also fits smaller windows, meaning it’s not as flexible.

That said, it’s got good functionality. You can adjust the wind direction up and down, something many other units lack. Also, it has a built-in reminder to clean the air filter after 250 hours. While a minor thing, it’s pretty useful.

It has something called iFeel to control the temperature. It sounds fancy, but it’s literally just a thermostat. It’ll read the room temperature every 10 minutes so it knows when to shut off.

Users state the build quality isn’t amazing, meaning it vibrates when on the highest of its 3 speed settings. It’s quite a big issue compared to the GE Electronic window AC unit, which feels sturdy. So, if you can get away with a less powerful unit, I recommend that one.

  • Operating noise of only 42dB.
  • Control over wind direction.
  • Reminds you to clean the air filter.
  • Build quality feels a bit cheap.

9. LG LW8017ERSM 8,000 BTU Smart Window Air Conditioner

  • Capacity: 8,000 BTU/hr
  • Energy Rating: 12 (CEER)
  • Dehumidifier: 2.2 Pints/hr
  • Timer: Yes
  • Remote: Yes
  • Noise Level: 54 dB min
  • Window Size:
    Width between 22″- 36″
    Min height 13″

Some media states the LG LW8017ERSM has a 52 dB min rating, but I would rely more on the datasheet of the manufacturer, which states its minimum noise level is 54dB. It’s not loud but rather average. Some other 8,000 BTU units do a better job at keeping the noise down.

The LG LW8017ERSM is slightly louder than his little brother the LG 6,000 BTU unit (54dB vs. 52dB) but cools rooms up to 350 sq. ft. The most important difference, though, is that this unit is a smart window air conditioner.

It means it’s Wi-Fi enabled, so you can control it using your home voice assistant. There’s a remote control included, too, meaning you have several ways to change settings.

Much like the 6,000 BTU unit, it has a removable filter that you can also replace with a HEPA filter. It has a filter check reminder, which the other unit lacks.

The 3 fan and cooling speeds include Auto Cool, which you can customize to suit your room. Importantly, this model is Energy Star certified, and LG estimates it’ll cost an average of $65 a year to run.

The included fins mean you can fit it in windows up to 36” wide. It’s easy to install, too, and comes with detailed instructions on how to do so. However, some users state setting up the Wi-Fi is difficult, but you should only need to do this once.

Users claim that the fans are as quiet as the noise level stated, but the unit can rattle unless installed properly. While it’s easy to set up, it might take you a few tries to mount it correctly to prevent rattling.

  • Wi-Fi features make it easy to control.
  • Easy to install.
  • Energy Star certified.
  • Can rattle unless installed properly.
  • Can found quieter units for this BTU capacity.

10. Frigidaire 12,000 BTU Compact Window Air Conditioner

  • Capacity: 12,000 BTU/hr
  • Energy Rating: 10.9 (CEER)
  • Dehumidifier: 3.8 Pints/hr
  • Timer: Yes
  • Remote: Yes
  • Noise Level: 53.5 dB min
  • Window Size:
    Width between 23″- 36″
    Min height 15.5″

This Frigidaire unit is generally quiet for its size. At 12,000 BTU, it’s certainly on the louder side (Minimum of 53.5 dB), although users state it’s not too bad for its power level. As I’ve mentioned, more powerful units will typically be louder.

It’s suitable for rooms up to 550 sq. ft. and its dehumidifier function can remove up to 3.8 pints of water an hour. 3.8 pints/hour is equivalent to a high-capacity dehumidifier (50-pint dehumidifier).

Unlike other models that have a drip tray, you can set this unit up so it just drains outside. This might not suit everyone, but it’s much easier than emptying it whenever it’s full.

The unit has 3 fan speeds and an adjustable thermostat, giving you plenty of control over its settings. Also, there’s a sleep mode, which increases the temperature over time. Combined with the built-in timer, this makes it a good window AC unit for bedrooms.

Some users state that the temperature gauge isn’t very accurate and can be off by as much as 5 degrees. Granted, this isn’t great, but once you’re aware of it you can just set the temperature accordingly.

With a 10.9 CEER rating, this device is one of the worst in terms of energy efficiency. If you’re looking for a quiet window air conditioner to run all day long, consider looking for Energy Star-compliant models. 

  • Powerful dehumidifier.
  • Good for bedrooms.
  • Quieter than similar-sized units.
  • Temperature gauge can be a bit off.
  • Energy consumption is far from Energy Star standards

When to Consider a Quiet Window Air Conditioner

Sometimes, a quiet window air conditioner can be a more sensible option than the alternatives.

Benefits Over Central Air

Most properties come with central air conditioning, which is useful for cooling down multiple rooms. But, doing so can cost a bomb depending on the size of your home and how long you run it for.

If you just want to cool a single room while you’re in it, such as a bedroom at night or a home office during the day, a window AC unit is a more cost-effective option.

The upfront cost is lower, running costs are lower, and they’re more energy-efficient. Of course, if you need to cool more than 5 rooms at the same time, central air conditioning becomes the more cost-effective option.

Benefits Over Mini-Split

A mini-split AC unit is essentially central air conditioning but smaller. It’s a ductless system, making it much easier to install. Like a window air conditioner, it’s designed to cool individual rooms.

However, a split system can be connected to several rooms while still giving you control over their individual temperatures.

The benefit of a window AC unit, along with cost, is easier installation. A mini-split still requires a qualified HVAC technician to install it, which can bring the price up massively.

But, if you need something more powerful than a window unit and don’t want to install ductwork, a mini-split system is a good compromise.

Benefits Over a Window Fan

I discussed window fans in a previous article. They’re cheaper than a window AC unit, both the upfront cost and running cost. Installation is much the same, though.

The benefit of a window air conditioner should be obvious: cool air. A window fan simply circulates air into the room, while AC cools it down. Plenty of window AC units have fan functions if you just want air, so you get the best of both worlds by buying one of these.

When Wouldn’t Quiet Window Air Conditioners Be Suitable?

Overall, window air conditioners are flexible and useful cooling units. The main disadvantage is that they often lack the same cooling power as a central or mini-split system.

A window air conditioner wouldn’t be suitable if you have multiple rooms that need cooling at once. For example, the cost of installing and running 5 window units ends up about the same as a central system. So, if you have a large home, central air is the way forward.

Similarly, if you own your apartment or condo, a mini-split is often a better option. Renters are limited by installation, and many will be limited by the cost, too.

However, mini-splits are typically more efficient and more powerful than window units, making them a good choice if you have the money.

What Makes a Window Air Conditioner Quiet?

The acceptable noise level for a quiet window air conditioner is anything below 52dB. Levels between 50dB and 55dB are about average for a window air conditioner, but are still on the quieter side.

Anything below 45dB is a truly quiet unit. The quietest window air conditioner on this list is 42dB, but you can find some higher-end (therefore very expensive) models that go as low as 30dB.

Considering 42dB is around the noise level you’d find in a library, it’s probably quiet enough for most people’s needs.

Factors that Impact Noise Level

As with any other electronic device that has moving parts, some common factors influence an AC unit’s overall noise emissions. I’ll explain some in more detail in the next section, but these include:

  • Fan speed
  • BTU
  • Size

Before moving on to the buying guide, I’ll explain some noise factors that aren’t the typical things you look for when buying a window air conditioner. As such, they fit better here with the influential factors.

Inverter Technology

It should be common knowledge that an air conditioner cools a room by switching on when it reaches a certain temperature and then switching off again when it reaches the desired temperature.

Traditional air conditioner motors are non-inverter. It means they either run at full speed or are off.

In contrast, an inverter window air conditioner can regulate its speed when adjusting the room’s temperature. Once it reaches the desired temperature, it slows down rather than turns off.

Importantly, this reduces noise levels because a slower motor is quieter than a faster one. It helps save money, too, as it’s a more efficient and accurate way of powering the air conditioner.

Think of it like driving your car. Continuing at a set, steady pace uses less gas than stopping, reaching the same speed, and then stopping again.

Most quiet and energy-efficient window air conditioners use inverter motors. You might not find it advertised as such, but the information should be there if you’re willing to dig for it.


AC units have insulation because it’s essential for the refrigerant’s cooling process. This is true regardless of whether it’s a window unit or building-wide central AC system.

Luckily, thermal insulation usually provides decent acoustic insulation, too.

Plenty of window air conditioners use polystyrene foam as insulation, which can help muffle and dampen motor noises coming from the unit.

Granted, it’s not something we’d use in a soundproofing context, but it does a good enough job here.

Again, insulation isn’t something commonly advertised when buying an AC unit. Just know that higher-end or more energy-efficient models typically have better insulation than cheaper models. As such, they often do a better job of insulating sound.

What Features Matter When Picking Quiet Air Conditioners

It’s important to thoroughly assess a window AC unit’s suitability for your room before buying it. To help you out, here are what I consider to be the most important factors.

Noise Level

I’ve already mentioned what’s an acceptable noise level for a window air conditioner. Ideally, a unit marketed as quiet will state a decibel level, as this is the easiest way to know if it’s actually quiet.

Be wary of any that don’t state it. I’ve included some that don’t have decibel levels, but they have reviews stating they’re quiet. If you can’t find a decibel rating, user reviews should be your next stop.


BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. It’s a measurement used to state how much heat is needed to raise the temperature of a pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit.

You can check out this video for a brief description. While the video discusses radiators, the logic applies to AC units, just in reverse.

In short, an AC unit’s BTU rating states how powerful it is and, by extension, what size rooms it can cool. You measure the room’s square footage and use this to work out the minimum BTU rating for your unit.

Use this calculator to input the values to find out a suitable BTU rating. Bear in mind that the British Thermal Units’ rating on an AC unit is the maximum room size it can cool.

For peak efficiency, I recommend going slightly higher than the suggested BTU for your room size. Doing so means it’ll cool the room quickly but will still work as a dehumidifier or cause too much wear to its motor. Conversely, an undersized window air conditioner will run too hard and so won’t cool a room effectively.

Here’s an example. The Windmill 8,300 BTU unit above states its maximum room size is 350 sq. ft. I’d use it in a room that’s a maximum of 300 sq. ft. but I’d probably even use it in a 250-sq. ft. room.

Window Size

A window air conditioner will have unit dimensions and window dimensions. You’ll obviously want it to fit in your window; most come with attachable fins for larger windows.

Window opening dimension for quiet window air conditioner installation

As a general rule, the smallest windows they’ll fit are 21”. The standard sash window width in the USA is 24”. So, it makes sense that most window air conditioners will fit a standard window.

If your windows are considerably bigger, your options might be more limited. The largest unit on this list fits windows up to 41”, which is pretty big. If you’re having problems finding a suitable unit, you could probably DIY some extra fins.

Make sure you measure your windows before you start searching. Product listings should tell you a minimum and maximum window size for the unit, so check if your window is within these measurements.

Speed and Cooling Settings

As with all air circulation devices, it helps to have different speed settings. Not only does it give you flexibility over output level, it also means you can run it on a lower (and quieter) setting if you pick a more powerful unit.

Most window AC units will have at least 2 settings: high and low. Some will have 3 and maybe even an eco or sleep setting. However, if quiet operation is your main buying consideration, extra modes aren’t as necessary on a silent window air conditioner.

The main benefit of an eco setting is that it adds another level of efficiency on top of the inverter motor. It’ll help with noise levels, but more importantly with running costs.

Sleep mode is less common and is designed to keep you comfortable at night. It gradually increases the room temperature by small amounts, so you don’t feel too cold. Again, it’s not super necessary but can be a useful addition.

Energy Efficiency

One of the main selling points of window air conditioners is their energy efficiency when compared to central AC. So, it helps to know what to look for when making your pick.

The obvious rating is Energy Star certification. For an AC unit to receive this, it needs a CEER rating of at least 12 (for a capacity between 8,000 BTU and 13,999 BTU).

CEER requirements for Window Air conditioner Energy Star Compliance
Source: EnergyStar.gov

CEER stands for Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio. All you need to know is that a higher CEER rating means a more efficient unit. Greater energy efficiency means cheaper running costs, particularly if your AC unit has an energy saver mode.

Of course, units with higher BTU ratings will always cost more than units with lower BTU ratings. It’s more useful to compare 2 units of the same BTU rating if you want predicted usage costs.

For example, a 14,000 BTU AC with a CEER rating of 14.7 costs around $68 a year to run. The CEER rating is directly inversely proportional to the annual cost. Therefore, a similar model with a CEER rating of 9 costs around $111 a year. A minimum difference of $43 a year is quite a lot in the long run.

Air Filter

An air filter should be a no-brainer when picking any air circulation device that draws air from outside. While it might not matter as much in a rural location, would you really want city air being drawn into your apartment?

It’s much like the difference between drinking normal tap water and filtered water. Sure, both are (probably) fine, but filtered water is often nicer.

A standard dust filter in a window air conditioner will trap large airborne particles. You can find filters that trap up to 75% of the smallest airborne particles, a scale measured by the MERV rating.

You can also find HEPA filters for AC units, which are better for people with allergies.

Whatever filter you have, ensure you clean or change it regularly. Higher-end models have a reminder function. Either way, you should remember to change or clean it after around 250 hours of use as a maximum.


Budget is subjective, so there’s not loads of advice I can give. That said, I generally wouldn’t drop below $200 unless you really have to.

The budget-friendly model I’ve picked is less than this, but it’s a good choice compared to similarly-priced units. That said, it’s lacking major functionality compared to units that are around $100 more expensive.

If you’re going to be using your quiet air conditioner a lot, you can easily justify splashing out a bit more on a good quality unit.

For example, you could spend $400 on a good unit and have it last 5 years, during which time you might buy 3 cheap units at $150, all of which break.

Plus, higher-end models usually have more energy efficiency features, helping you save more money in the long run. Going back to the above example, a high quality build could cost 4400$ at purchase but save you $50 per year on your electricity bill. This results in $250 savings after 5 years.

Extra Features

Everything I’ve mentioned so far could be considered an essential feature for a window air conditioning unit. Obviously, it depends on your budget and definition of essential, but the following are beneficial (but unnecessary) features for a window air conditioner.

Remote Control

A remote control isn’t strictly necessary for most people, but is a big help. Controlling settings from your bed or couch is just more useful. Luckily, most AC units come with a remote control, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find one.

Wi-Fi Connectivity

Now we’re talking really extra. Wi-Fi connectivity means you can control your air conditioner either through a smartphone app or voice assistant. So, if you lose the remote, at least you’ve got a backup option.

The only time this really shows its worth is when you want to cool a room before using it, such as when you’re traveling home from work.

Outlet Pipe

All window air conditioners will have somewhere to let out or collect water if they have a dehumidifier function. Drip trays are fine if you don’t live somewhere very humid, but can fill up quickly otherwise.

So, if you live somewhere humid, consider a unit with an outlet hose. You can then position these over a bucket or houseplant, or stick them out the window.

Should I Consider a Portable AC Over a Window AC?

If you’re after a convenient alternative to central AC, your main choices will probably be window and portable air conditioners. But which is better?

Benefits of Portable Air Conditioners

The biggest advantage of a portable air conditioner is in its name: it’s portable. They can be mounted on wheels or static, but are designed to move between rooms as needed. As such, they’re a good option if you want to cool different rooms at different times.

Portable air conditioners are also easier to install, which is saying something. You just need to clip the exhaust to a window and you’re ready to go. Window air conditioners need installing, which can be a pain.

Finally, portable AC units win on price, being comparatively cheaper for like-for-like BTUs than window air conditioners. However, one article found that you need a more powerful portable air conditioner to cover the same area as a window air conditioner. You might end up spending more on a higher BTU model as a result.

Drawbacks of Portable Air Conditioners

You might be asking the all-important question: are portable air conditioners quieter? Yes, but we return to the power issue mentioned above. A portable model can be less efficient, meaning you need a more powerful unit for the same size room.

And, as we’ve concluded, more power typically means more noise. So, you might not be gaining anything by opting for a portable air conditioner over a window unit.

Then, the biggest drawback for most people is the required floor space. Sure, a small AC unit might not take up loads of floor space, but a window unit takes up none. It can make all the difference in small rooms, which is where a window AC unit really comes into its own.

When to Choose a Portable Air Conditioner

There are 2 main situations in which a portable air conditioner is the favorable option. First is if you need to cool different rooms in your home, making portability a benefit.

For example, you want to cool your living room in the day and your bedroom at night. A portable unit would make much more sense here.

Second is if you rent your home and your landlord doesn’t want you installing a window unit. A portable AC just sits on the floor and requires no installation, unlike a window AC unit.

But, if neither of these is a concern, a window air conditioner is generally the better choice.

How Can I Make My Window AC Quieter?

If buying a quiet window AC unit isn’t an option, and if you’re looking to improve the noise emission of your current unit, here are some solutions for making your window air conditioner quieter.

1. Check the internal components

If you can access the internal components easily, check them over for loose screws and the like. It’s worth checking the screws at least twice a year and tightening them, as they can cause annoying rattling noises.

2. Dust the coil fins

Window ACs have cooling fins usually located at the back of the unit. If you can access them, make sure you dust them regularly. Bent fins can cause noise, but you can straighten them with a comb.

3. Check the fan blades

Blades are an obvious area for noise, so check them if they’re not difficult to access. There might be something loose caught in the blades, but you’ll definitely know about this by the sound it makes.

Bent or misaligned blades can also create noise, but these aren’t problems you can fix easily. If you notice damaged blades, get a technician to look them over for a potential replacement.

4. Dampen the frame

Window air conditioners can pass vibrations into the surrounding structure, which creates annoying noise. Most installation kits have some kind of padding included, but you can dampen them further using foam weather stripping or EVA foam sheets.

5. Level the unit

Your window AC should be as level as possible to avoid misalignment, which creates noise. Use a spirit level to ensure the windowsill is level. If not, use some foam or similar to prop it up. This is more of a preventative measure, but is worth it for long-term functionality.

Final Thoughts on the Quietest Window Air Conditioners

I hope this article has helped you narrow down your choices for the quietest window air conditioners.

My top pick is the GE Electronic 6,000 BTU Air Conditioner. It’s quiet, efficient, and has decent functionality.

Of course, if you need a less expensive or more powerful model, one of the other options should suit.

What do you consider to be the most important factors when choosing the quietest air conditioners? Let me know in the comments below.

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Ludovic uses his technical experience as a Mechanical Engineer to compile Soundproofing DIY guides. You’ll often find him breaking down complex topics to make it clearer for others. He also finds inspiration in sharing mindful habits.

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