How to choose the right air conditioner

How to choose the best air conditioner

There are many factors to consider when buying an air conditioner. What type is best for your needs, how big do you need, what features are must have. We can help answer all of these questions.

We will break this down into three parts: What type of air conditioner do you need, how large an air conditioner you need and finally, what features do you really need.

Types of Air Conditioners:


This type of air conditioner is our most popular. People seem to like the simplicity of installation and use. Portable air conditioners com with all the power and features of other types of air conditioners but they are much easier to install on most kinds of windows and they can easily be removed and stored during the winter months.

Some even come with heaters so they can be used year-round.

Portable air conditioners do need to vent the heat from the room out of a nearby window. No special skills or tools are needed to install these units. Most come with the window installation kit.

You may need to empty a water reservoir depending on the design of your unit.


This type of air conditioner is popular in new builds and renovations. As the name implies, a through the wall air conditioner sits in a hole that goes all the way through the wall. This makes it a much bigger job to do after the initial build.

If you are here looking for a through the wall air conditioner, chances are you are replacing an older unit that has seen better days. Luckily, the newer models have many great features and are quite quiet since a lot of the noise is on the outside of the unit and the wall shields you from it.

Window Mounted

This type of air conditioner that most people think of when you say "air conditioner". These air conditioners have come a very long way since the olden days. They are much quieter than they used to be and like all the newer air conditioners, they come with some very neat features.

Some even come with a heater so that you can leave them in the window twelve months of the year.

Mini-split Air Conditioner

This type of air conditioner are really neat. The condenser coil is located outside of the house and the blower head(s) is mounted inside the room(s) that need cooling.

These units can come with a single blower or as many as five blowers for larger spaces or to cool multiple rooms.

They can be installed by a do-it-yourselfer but read the warranty carefully. Many manufacturers void the warrantee if the air conditioner is not installed by a certified HVAC technician and electrician. (Yes, these units also require special electrical hook ups)

Once installed, these unit work very well and come with a host of features.

Central/Forced Air

This type of air conditioner is not really in scope for our website. There are many licenced and authorized dealers all over the country. We recommend that you contact one of them for more information.

How large an air conditioner do I need?

Good question. Luckily, there is a simple formula to calculate the size of air conditioner that you need.

First of all, you need to understand that all air conditioners are rated in British Thermal Units (BTU). So you will need to know how many BTUs you need to cool your space.

To calculate how many BTUs that you need to cool your space, simply multiply the square footage of your area by 25 and that will give you the number for BTUs that you will require.

For example:

If you have a 12 by 15 foot bedroom, 12 X 15 that means your square footage is 180 square feet.

180 square feet multiplied by 25 is 4500 BTUs.

Example #2:

If you have the same 12 by 15 foot bedroom, plus a 15 X 30 foot living room to cool then... (12 X 15) + (15 X 30) means that your square footage is 180 plus 450 square feet for a total of 630 square feet.

Multiply this by 25 gives you a total of 15,750 BTUs..


What features do I need?

Well this is where is get down to personal choice.

Many people like to have a thermostat and timer at a bare minimum. Some others feel that having WiFi connectivity is also important.

Overall, one of the most important features that everyone can agree upon is that the air conditioner must be as quiet as possible. (And we agree)

Additional Resources

We have written an article on the subject of quiet air conditioners: "What is the quietest window air conditioner in 2024?"

In addition, we have a quick and easy calculator to help you find the perfect air conditioner for your needs.