Best 12,000 – 14,000 BTU Air Conditioners: Portable, Window, Room

I’ve already talked about the Best 5,000 – 6,000 BTU Air Conditioners and Best 8,000 – 10,000 BTU Air Conditioners in my previous blog posts. And as usual, I’ll be giving noteworthy brands and models of ACs that you can choose from. But before that, we must discuss the factors that you should consider before buying the AC unit for your home, such as cooling capacity, durability, efficiency, and cost.

We all want to buy high-quality appliances at a great price, whether it’s a utility sink, lawn & garden tractor, leaf mulchers, dual fuel generators, deep cycle batteries, or an air conditioner. When it comes to air conditioner units, a lot of factors must be considered to know which unit is a good pick, such as the size, quietness, installation, efficiency, and cost, among many others. To help you pick the right brand and unit of air conditioner that would fit your needs, I’ll discuss these factors and outline the brands that offer the best 12,000 – 14,000 BTU air conditioner units.

Things to consider before buying an air conditioner

Usually, the most logical thing to do when you’re browsing for products is to set a certain budget for your purchase to avoid overspending and being swayed by sales talk. But if you’re quite unfamiliar with the pricing and types of AC units, it can be pretty hard to set a price range. So what should you check first?

The area or size of your room is the most influential factor when it comes to AC units; room size determines the required cooling capacity or British Thermal Unit (BTU) of the air conditioner. Also, other details such as the availability of windows, floor space, and living conditions can also limit your choice in AC units.

For example, portable air conditioners can be transferred from room to room but some models require the installation of window kits for ventilation—if you don’t have a window, you can’t buy those certain models. Another AC type that heavily relies on the availability of a sturdy window is the window AC. As the name suggests, this type of AC is mounted on windows. Lastly, you can’t just install wall-mounted AC units in rented spaces because these literally require a rectangular hole in the wall for installation.

To sum it up, the size/area and other limitations of your space are the determining factors when it comes to choosing the perfect type of AC unit.

Portable air conditioners

Appliances are either seen as a luxury or necessity and before, AC units are mostly considered as the former. They can be pricey, hike up your electricity bills, and may even require extra installation and maintenance fees. Thankfully, manufacturers saw the increasing need for a more affordable and accessible AC unit because of the worsening climate and heat waves.

Finally, portable air conditioners (PACs) stepped into the scene. A portable AC unit is a compact, self-contained system, which is designed to be a free-standing unit that you can set up on the floor with no fuss. As the name suggests, standard PACs are portable and lightweight, a unit that can be easily moved from one place to another. In addition to being the smallest among three AC types, some models even have wheels and/or handles for better portability, so you can easily maneuver the unit from one room to another. Thus, these are the perfect choice for people who live transiently in dorms or apartments.

PACs are useful for effectively cooling and dehumidifying single rooms. This type of unit is the best choice for single rooms that cannot accommodate window, wall-mounted, or split-type AC units. A portable AC typically has a window kit, a venting system that must be installed to the nearest window to exhaust warm air outside/towards another location. For some units, window kits may involve a window slider and an exhaust hose, but all kits are fairly easy to install.

For water/moisture drainage, some standard portable units require manual removal of water, wherein you must empty out the catch basin or container in the system that collects the moisture. Other PAC units have gravity drain and condensate pump; it’s a setup where a drainage hose is attached to the unit, catching the water that is pumped into it, and the hose’s other end is directed outside for drainage. Advanced models, on the other hand, are equipped with smart, self-evaporative features, allowing the AC unit to evaporate moisture out of the same exhaust hose as the venting system.

Nowadays, there are models of portable ACs that can cool down even large rooms, depending on the BTU. In summary, PACs became popular due to their relatively cheap price, compactness, quick and easy setup, and flexible installation options, and they retained their popularity because of the smart features being added and the widening range of BTU being offered.

Window air conditioners

Because of its easier installation, relatively affordable pricing, and strong cooling capacity, window air conditioner units became a popular choice for homes, apartments, dorms, motels, etc. Compared to portable ACs, window ACs usually come in models with stronger/better cooling capacities. Even though it’s not as portable as PACs, window ACs are still fairly easy to install and reinstall in other rooms. All you need is to find another sturdy and moderately-sized/big window that can accommodate the weight and size of the window AC, and you can transfer it whenever you want to.

With PACs, you don’t have to take a measurement of your window prior to your purchase or AC installation. However, for window ACs, taking an accurate measurement of both the window and AC unit is important! This is to make sure that the unit can fit properly within the boundaries of the window. After your purchase, licensed installers/electricians/plumbers will then screw down the AC to your window, seal the gaps around the unit, do a test run, and your new AC will be good to go!

The only downside of window AC is that once the AC is installed, it makes your window unusable and inaccessible, blocking the path of light or preventing easy opening/closing of the window. Which is why I recommend opting for a window AC if you have a two-pane window or if you have another window that you can use. Since these units are meant to fit within the boundaries of your window, they are relatively lightweight, compactly designed, and moderately-sized (depending on the model).

Window air conditioners can be great when you’re adding a shower to a half bath to try and increase its resale value.

Through the wall air conditioners

Through the wall air conditioners (a.k.a. wall-mounted ACs) and window ACs are quite similar to each other. Unlike PACs that have a separate window kit for ventilation and condensate drainage, each unit of window and through the wall ACs is one big unit with its vent facing outside and its fan that blows cool air faces inwards. Wall-mounted ACs, however, are usually much heavier and bigger in size compared to window ACs; these units are installed in a rectangular hole in the wall. Thus, window and wall-mounted ACs cannot be interchanged; window panes cannot support heavy AC units because they are not as sturdy as concrete walls.

Another defining feature of through the wall air conditioners that window ACs do not have is the positioning of the vent. Window AC units hang out of the window because their vents expel warm air at the sides. Meanwhile, through the wall ACs usually line up flushed with the exterior wall, with little to no hanging parts outside. This is because these units only have a vent at the back, where warm air is exhausted.

Overall, if split-type ACs and central air conditioning are too pricey for you, and you only need an AC for one room, through the wall ACs are a wonderful alternative—they are sturdy and a lot of models have high cooling capacity, with each unit capable of cooling a single large room or commercial space.

Generally, ACs consume a lot of power, even more so the ones that do not have energy-saving features. With that in mind, you need to be careful with your choice in extension cord, circuit breaker, or fust for your AC unit, especially if you have other high-power appliances like refrigerators, etc. Extension cords differ in the amount of voltage that they can carry, and different wire sizes/lengths differ in the amount of electrical current that they can handle.

Thus, you have to know which extension cord or amp wire size is the right choice for all the high wattage appliances in your home to avoid appliance failure and tripping your circuit breaker, or worse, causing an accidental fire. Here’s a helpful guide for buying extension cords, and here are two guides for different amp wires: Amp Wires, Breakers & Circuits Chart (20-60 Amp Extension Cord) and Amp Wire Size Guide & Chart (70-600 Amp). Make sure to also check out our guide on SAE to metric conversion.

What to look for in an air conditioner

At this point, you should have a certain type of AC in mind (portable, window, or through the wall AC). Next, you should take a look on these specific features below to settle on a certain brand or model of an air conditioner.

  • Quietness
    • If you’re a light sleeper or someone whose concentration depends on quietness, you would need one of the quietest ACs on the market. Find for a certain unit that has a decibel range of 50-60 dB. You can also opt for models with a 60-80 dB range because most of the time, these ACs only get noisy when running at 100% capacity.
  • Air quality
    • It’s important to have a good air quality at home or at your office, especially if you (or any of your loved ones) suffer from allergies. Opt for a unit that has a good filtering performance and is equipped with a high-quality filter that’s easy to find in the market, if needed. Any high-quality AC will be deemed worthless if it has a dirty filter.

 

  • Also, it’s important to check if the AC unit can dehumidify air effectively even during hot, humid seasons. No matter how fast the fan of your AC can go, it won’t be able to cool down your space if it’s too humid.
  • Energy efficiency
    • To save up on your electricity bill, pick a brand or AC unit that is Energy Star Qualified. This means that the air conditioner is energy-efficient; the higher the star rating, the more energy-efficient it is.
  • Warranty
    • Having an air conditioner is a luxury for most people. And so, when you’re shopping for an AC unit, try to find a brand that offers a long warranty and free returns to save yourself from costly repairs.

Want to read about stainless steel or why your central AC is blowing cold air? We’ve got articles on those topics as well.

Room size of a 12,000 & 14,000 BTU unit & how much it powers

When it comes to ACs and rooms, size matters. As mentioned, you must pick a model that has the right BTU/hr so you’re sure that it has the proper cooling capacity. If you’re unfamiliar with BTU, here’s a brief discussion about it:

  • British Thermal Units (BTU) is an international measure of energy. It describes the amount of energy that’s needed to increase the temperature of 1 lb of water by 1°F.
  • 1 BTU = energy required to increase the temperature of 1 lb of water to 1°F

 

Why is increasing the temperature of water pertinent? In a nutshell, air conditioners work by taking in hot air from the room, condensing it into liquid, evaporating the heat out of it and releasing it outside through the vent/s. The cooled down liquid is left in the unit, which is then processed again to become cool air. Larger spaces would contain higher amounts of hot/warm air that needs cooling, which is why you’d need an AC with higher BTU for larger rooms.

Bear in mind that you should buy an AC unit with the appropriate BTU—“higher” doesn’t equate to “better” in this case. If you buy a 12,000 BTU AC unit for a mere 250 sq. ft. room, you’ll only be wasting energy and hiking up your electricity bills because the AC will just undergo each cycle too quickly.

As a rule of thumb, an air conditioner would require 20 BTU to cool down air in a 1 sq. ft. of space (1 sq. ft. = 20 BTU/hr). A 12,000 – 14,000 BTU AC would be the perfect choice for a room with a size of 450-700 sq. ft. area. This is a good unit for living rooms, offices, and large bedrooms. Here’s a chart from Energy Star that you can use as a cheat sheet as you shop for your AC unit:

which size AC for a room

Source: Energy Star

However, these factors should also be taken into consideration when deciding for the BTU:

  • amount of light the room receives
  • increase BTU if sunny
  • decrease BTU if shaded

 

  • crowded spaces

 

  • each person generates body heat; increase BTU if crowded
  • appliance load or type
    • usage of kitchen oven and/or stove would require an increase in BTU

Consult with the provider of your air conditioning unit if you need to adjust the BTU requirement for your home based on these factors.

Brands with the best 12,000-14,000 BTU air conditioners

Even given the aforementioned factors to look for in an AC unit, the market is still teeming with hundreds of brands to choose from. To help narrow down your search even further, here are some of the best brands that offer good air conditioners with a BTU range of 12,000-14,000.

LG Electronics

LG Electronics offer a wide range of products: LCD TVs, smartphones, kitchen appliances, and other home appliances, among many others. From 1958 until today, LG Electronics has been bringing top-quality products to the market that fulfill their goal of improving their customers’ life quality, adhering to their brand image, “Life’s Good.”

The air conditioners from this brand are smart, eco-friendly, & highly energy-efficient. These products are Energy Star qualified, saving up to 70% of energy consumption than other brands. Furthermore, these ACs have a low-noise operation and are equipped with various innovative features like rapid cooling technology, HEPA filters, and Wi-Fi control, among many others.

LG has various types of AC units, such as portable, window, split type units, room/residential, commercial AC units, etc. These are the AC units within the range of 12,000-14,000 BTU that caught our attention:

  • LG LW1216ER – 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner
  • Cooling area of up to 550 sq. ft.
  • 3-in-one operation (cool, fan, & dry) & 3 fan speeds
  • 4-way air direction
  • Slide-out washable filter
  • Remote control & 24-hr timer
  • LG LP1419IVSM – 10,000 (U.S. DOE)/ 14,000 (ASHRAE) BTU Dual Inverter Portable Air Conditioner
    • Cooling area of up to 500 sq. ft
    • Inverter Technology for energy & cooling efficiency (40% energy-saving)
    • Smart Wi-Fi controls (works with alexa & Hey Google)
    • 3-in-one operation (cool, fan, & dry) & 3 fan/cooling speeds
    • Auto-Restart & Auto-Evaporating systems
    • Sleep Mode & 24-hr timer
  • LG LP111WXR – 11,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
    • Cooling area of up to 400 sq. ft.
    • 3-in-one operation (cool, fan, & dry) & 3 fan speeds
    • Washable filter
    • Remote control & 24-hr timer
  • LG LP1311BXR – 13,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
    • Cooling area of up to 500 sq. ft.
    • 3-in-one operation (cool, fan, & dry) & 3 fan speeds
    • Washable filter
    • Remote control & 24-hr timer

Haier

As one would expect from a company that has been operating for more than 30 years, Haier has become one of the top brands in major appliances for 12 consecutive years, as noted by Euromonitor International Limited. This company is renowned for making premium, reliable, products to the market. Haier air conditioners are efficient, energy-saving, smart, and user-friendly.

Haier’s AC units are Energy Star qualified, with some models capable of saving up to 63% energy. Some models are also equipped with self-cleaning filters, which became popular because this feature makes cleaning and maintenance easier. You can easily find your top pick from Haier because they offer a wide range of BTU: 5,000-23,500 BTU.

Frigidaire

If you’re looking for a brand that specializes and focuses on making cooling appliances, Frigidaire is definitely the one for you. Since 1918, Frigidaire has been bringing high-quality refrigerators, freezers, and room air conditioners to the market. Although this company branched out to other appliances as well, offering stoves, dishwashers, and filters in the market, their innovative designs for air conditioners never dwindled in quality. The features that set Frigidaire ACs apart from other ACs is the impressive cooling capacity and low energy consumption (Energy Star certified).

Here are two noteworthy AC units from this Frigidaire:

  • FFRE123ZA1 – Frigidaire 12,000 BTU Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner
  • Effectively cools & dehumidifies an area of up to 550 sq. ft.
  • Multi-Speed Fan, Sleep Mode, Ready-Select Controls, & Temperature Control
  • Fixed Chassis; Washable Filter with Clean Filter Alert
  • Remote control, 24-hr timer, & Auto-Restart
  • FFRE1233S1 – Frigidaire 12,000 BTU Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner
    • Effectively cools & dehumidifies an area of up to 550 sq. ft.
    • Multi-Speed Fan, Sleep Mode, Ready-Select Controls, & Temperature Control
    • Slide Out Chassis; Washable Antibacterial Mesh Filter
    • Clean Filter Alert & Clean Air Ionizer
    • Remote control, 24-hr timer, & Auto-Restart

GE Appliances

Under Haier, GE Appliances has been designing and manufacturing eco-friendly, smart, and easy-to-use appliances. Selling these top-notch appliances under various brands, GE Appliances quickly rose to the list of the top producers of home appliances. Their AC units became a favorite of their customers because of the antibacterial filters, good cooling capacity, and efficient dehumidifying function.

Kenmore

Kenmore has been in the field for more than 100 years, so it’s safe to say that this brand will not let you down in terms of product quality. Kenmore vowed to produce appliances that would make day-to-day living easier, and that’s what they’ve been doing all these years. It’s worth noting that Kenmore has been awarded the Energy Star Award for three consecutive years because their products are proven to be energy-efficient, yielding powerful results while consuming the lowest possible energy via the low-power startup feature. This brand offers central, wall-mounted, window-mounted, and portable air conditioners. Kenmore AC units have a power range of 8,000-12,000 BTU, equipped with antimicrobial filters and smart technology.

Arctic King

If you’re looking for a brand that offers budget-friendly appliances that still boast amazing features, Arctic King should be in your list. They have a lot of user-friendly portable, window-mounted, and through-the-wall AC units that you can choose from. As a testament of their amazing service and product quality, Midea (the company that owns Arctic King), has been included in the Fortune Global 500 since 2016.

Daewoo

Daewoo Electronics is favored by many because this company always aims for sustainable growth. For over 30 years, Daewoo has been making eco-friendly, energy-saving robust products, offering a wide range of appliances for their consumers. Even if you’re just shopping for air conditioners, I’m quite certain that you will not be able to stop yourself from checking out their refrigerators, microwaves, vacuums, and other home appliances.

What’s amazing about their air conditioners is that they have two energy classes: A Cooling and A++ Cooling. Their Turbo Heating-Cooling Technology is a great feature, allowing the ACs to rapidly cool or heat the room within minutes. Furthermore, Daewoo AC units are also quiet despite the powerful cooling features, and there are models with smart features for easier control and maintenance.

Homelabs (hOmeLabs)

If you live in a tropical country, you should check out Homelabs air conditioners. Their AC units are renowned for their amazing dehumidifying features, and are said to be comparable to Frigidaire ACs when it comes to energy efficiency and cooling performance. Homelabs has portable and window-mounted ACs that are user-friendly, with a wide cooling range of 5,000-15,000 BTU. You’ll also like the sleek and simple look that all of their AC units have, which can blend in your home.

Magnavox

Another high quality portable air conditioner is the Magnavox Portable Air Conditioner. This brand offers 8,000-14,000 BTU portable ACs, all of which became top-rated in many online stores due to their powerful, smart, & user-friendly features.

How big of a generator do I need to run a 12,000 BTU air conditioner

As I’ve mentioned earlier, using the wrong type of extension cord or wire size/length can be dangerous when it comes to electrical appliances. This can cause damage to your appliances, circuit breaker, or fuse, and can even result in accidental fires. The same dangers apply to generators. And so, it’s vital to always prioritize safety over convenience or cost when shopping for home appliances, just like when you’re shopping for an engine driven welder, TIG welder, plasma cutter, mini metal lathe machine, welding glasses/goggles, and welding gas.

Most 12,000 BTU air conditioner units must be powered by a generator with a running wattage of 1,500. However, you still have to check the actual power requirements of the AC unit that you have because some units need a stronger generator if they’re not energy efficient. If you have other high wattage appliances that would rely on the same generator that you’re using for your AC, consult with a professional at the hardware store because you might need to increase the generator’s running wattage.

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