Scouring the internet or your local store for high-quality products for your home can be a daunting task. We all want to buy products that are a good investment for our homes—something that will last for years and will serve its purpose efficiently, which can save us a lot of money in the long run. Thus, it’s only proper that you check first what models or brands of home appliances are worthy before you make a purchase, whether you’re shopping for a utility or laundry room sink, lawn & garden tractors, leaf mulchers, or an air conditioner.
There are a lot of factors to note when shopping for an air conditioner. You have to take into consideration the watts and BTU, how small & compact the model is, whether the model is lightweight enough for a window installation, and whether the model is quiet and efficient enough for your needs. In this article, my aim is to help you decide which brand and model of air conditioner will work the best for you and offer some recommendations from well-known brands.
Things to consider before buying an air conditioner
First and foremost, you have to consider the limitations of your space when choosing for the type of air conditioner. Do you have a window for portable and window ACs? Do you want an AC unit that you can easily transfer from room to room or a unit that’s more permanent? Can you cut a hole through the wall to make space for wall-mount type ACs? After that, you must pick the model that has the right British Thermal Unit (BTU). If the BTU of your AC is not high enough, the unit may not be able to cool the whole room to the appropriate temperature. And if you buy a too powerful AC unit, you’ll just be wasting all that extra energy that the AC unit is using up.
In line with this, let’s tackle the common types of AC units that you can find on a market: portable, window, and wall-mounted ACs.
Portable air conditioners
Portable air conditioners (PACs) came into popularity due to its relatively cheap price, quick setup, and flexible installation options that most air conditioning units cannot offer. Generally, a PAC is a compact, self-contained system that is useful for cooling small, single rooms where window or split type air conditioners are usually too much to cater to in terms of space or energy consumption. Generally, a PAC sits on the floor and some models have wheels and handles for better portability, allowing you to easily move the setup from window to window or room to room. Some models even come in a mini size that’s lightweight, which is perfect for small bedrooms.
Portable ACs work just like how most air conditioners function. In a nutshell, ACs take in warm air from indoors into its system, where chemical refrigerant absorbs the heat, leaving cool air to be expelled indoors. The heat is expelled from the warm air by condensing the air into liquid, which allows the release of heat. This cooled-off liquid is evaporated back into cool air and expelled indoors, which gives the cooling effect that we feel in our homes. This whole process also reduces the moisture from air indoors to reduce the humidity (the more humid it is, the hotter we feel).
The difference between other ACs and PACs is how the unit expels heat/warm air outdoors and how it drains water. Portable ACs typically have window kits that you must install so that the warm air is exhausted to another location. Depending on the model of the unit, window kits may involve a window slider and an exhaust hose. This venting system is fairly easy to install, which adds to the charm of PACs.
For water/moisture draining, standard portable ACs need manual removal of water, wherein you must periodically empty a bucket or container in the system that collects the moisture. Other models have gravity drain and condensate pump, which involves attaching a hose to the unit and directing the other end of the hose outside or into a drain. However, advanced models of portable ACs now have self-evaporative features. Meaning, these portable ACs evaporate moisture out of the same exhaust hose that the venting system uses to expel warm air. This way, you won’t need to manually drain the water or direct it outside via an extra hose.
Nowadays, there are models of portable ACs that can cool down even large rooms, depending on the BTU. Usually, PACs with 7,000 to 10,000 BTUs are enough for small rooms that do not exceed 300 sq. feet. Larger rooms require higher BTUs. Other factors, such as the weather, appliance load, and placement can affect the cooling efficiency of ACs.
Window air conditioners
Window air conditioners are one of the most common types of ACs. It’s a popular choice for apartments and dorms because it’s easier to install compared to split type ACs and usually do not require added installation fees. All it requires is a window that can accommodate the AC unit and installation will be a breeze. All it takes is an accurate measurement of the unit, screwing down the AC to the appropriate location at your window, and sealing the gaps around the unit, and your new AC is good to go! Just make sure that you’re okay with your window being pretty much unusable when the AC is installed (it can block light or prevent easy opening and closing of the window).
Also, bear in mind that you must choose a window that has a nearby plug to power up your AC. But if you only have one window that can accommodate the AC unit and it’s too far from the electrical outlet, you can remedy this by purchasing extension cords! Do be careful with choosing the right extension cord, since not all can carry the proper amount of voltage due to its length and wire size. This is extremely important, especially if you’ll be using the extension cord for multiple appliances that use a lot of power like AC units. Check this article, Best 6-16 Gauge Extension Cord Chart, so you can pick the proper extension cord for your AC.
And if you’re planning on buying a circuit breaker, a meter socket, or fuse for your AC unit, you have to know which wire size is appropriate to make sure that the wire size can handle the electrical current that will run through it. Check these guide articles (with brand/product recommendations) to avoid accidental fires or appliance failures: Amp Wires, Breakers & Circuits Chart (20-60 Amp Extension Cord) and Amp Wire Size Guide & Chart (70-600 Amp).
If you don’t like portable ACs (since some affordable models can be quite noisy and not as energy-efficient) and you don’t want to make any permanent changes to be done to your wall, window ACs will be a good choice for you. Since these ACs are meant to fit within the boundaries of a window, the usual models are relatively lightweight, compactly designed, and moderately sized. Like any other ACs, window AC models have different BTUs, and it’s important to choose one that can efficiently cool down your room/area.
Through the wall air conditioners
Wall-mounted ACs are quite similar to window ACs, in a sense that an AC is one big unit with its vent facing outside and the fan that blows the cool air faces inwards. Wall-mounted ACs, however, are heavier and sometimes bigger in size. This is why most wall units can never be interchanged with window units—windows cannot offer the same support for the heavy AC that concrete walls can.
Another difference between these two types of ACs is that window units typically have vents at the sides that expel warm air, while wall-mounted ones only have vents at the back of the unit. This is because window units usually hang out from the window, allowing the side vents to have some space, while wall units line up flushed with the exterior wall or only hang out in small inches. Wall ACs are relatively cheaper than split type ACs and central air conditioning. It’s the preferred choice for those who want to save up energy consumption if you only need to cool a single room.
The downside of wall units, however, is the need for a rectangular hole in the wall, requiring extra installment fees and/or labor. This is why you can’t use this if you live in rental areas. Window and portable ACs can be temporary fixtures but wall-mounted ACs become pretty much a permanent fixture in your place because of the need to cut through a wall. But the advantage of this is that you won’t have to worry about blocking a window upon installation. Bear in mind that wall units cannot cool the neighboring room even if the BTU is high, since there is only one vent—they’re suited for a single room only. This is also true for portable and window ACs.
What to look for in an air conditioner
Once you’ve decided on the type of AC that you want, look closely at its features afterward to make sure that you’re buying a model that’s worth it. Here are some noteworthy features:
- If you’re putting the AC in your bedroom or office, it would be better to opt for the quietest model you can find to avoid disturbing your sleep or concentration at work. Check for the decibel level of the AC and choose the one that has a range within 50-60 dB. Some models that have 60-80 dB range, however, only get noisy when it’s running at 100% capacity, but are generally quiet when running at 60% capacity only.
- Air quality
- Choose a unit that can give you clean, dehumidified air. ACs that can dehumidify air effectively will work better during hot, humid seasons. Also, make sure that the AC unit has a good filtering performance and that its filter is easily acquirable in the market, especially if it needs frequent replacement. A dirty filter is a prerequisite for poor performance and poor air quality.
- Energy efficiency
- With energy rates skyrocketing, climate change worsening, and remote working being the norm this 2021, it’s important to choose the most efficient and energy-saving model that would cool your space without inflating your energy consumption ten-fold. Check if the brand or AC unit is Energy StarⓇ Qualified (meaning, they’re proven to be energy-efficient).
- Maintenance and cleaning
- Models that are easy to maintain and clean will last longer than the ones with complicated up-keep. Pick an AC unit that you can regularly clean by yourself.
- Some things are just beyond our control. For appliances, it’s important to choose a brand that offers a long warranty so that when issues arise, you won’t be charged a huge sum of money right away. Also, try to see if the company offers free returns within 30 days, just in case the AC unit is proven to be defective (sometimes, it’s better to just get a whole new unit rather than pushing for a warranty fix).
Room size of a 5,000 & 6,000 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 the AC unit has the proper cooling capacity. If you’re unfamiliar with BTU, here’s a brief discussion about it:
- British Thermal Units, or 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 a factor? As I’ve discussed earlier, AC units work by condensing air and evaporating liquid to remove heat from hot air and release cool air.
Since a larger area/space would contain larger amounts of hot/warm air that needs cooling, you’d need an AC with higher BTU so it can effectively lower the temperature of the area. Therefore, the bigger the room, the higher the BTU. As a rule of thumb, a unit would need 20 BTU to cool down the air in a one square foot of space (1 sq. ft. = 20 BTU/hr).
However, make sure that you don’t buy an AC that’s too powerful for your space or exceeds the needed BTU rating—higher does not necessarily mean better in this scenario. If you choose a 10,000 BTU AC for a mere 300 sq. ft. room, the AC will just undergo each cycle too quickly, thereby wasting energy and won’t efficiently dehumidify the area. For a 100-300 sq. ft. area, a 5,000 – 6,500 BTU AC unit would suffice. Here’s a chart from Energy Star that you can use as a cheat sheet when picking the right model for your living space.
Source: Energy Star
However, some factors may also affect the cooling power of your AC. BTU/hr requirement of a certain area must be adjusted depending on the following factors:
- 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 (i.e., usage of kitchen oven and/or stove would require an increase in BTU)
To know the specific increase or decrease needed per factor, consult with the provider of your AC unit.
Brands with the best 5,000-6,000 BTU air conditioners
As mentioned, you have to pick an AC unit that’s within your budget, something that’s cost-worthy and has efficient cooling power. Various brands offer AC units that are similar in specs but differ in prices, while some units are same in price but differ greatly in specs or extra features. To help you pick the most suited AC unit for you, I’ll be outlining the top rated 5,000-6,000 BTU AC units that can cool a 100-300 sq. ft. area room effectively.
LG Electronics has been around since 1958 in Korea, and they expanded worldwide as they advanced in the fields of business and technology. The company continues to adhere to their philosophy and brand image, “Life’s Good,” by developing new products like home appliances & air solutions that aim to improve their consumer’s life quality. Here are some noteworthy features of their air conditioners:
Their air conditioners are smart, eco-friendly & energy efficient (Energy StarⓇ qualified; can save up to 70% of energy consumption), has low-noise operation, has rapid cooling technology, and have mesh and/or HEPA filters for better air quality, ticking all the boxes of the features you should look out for in AC units. The BTU range of LG AC units are broad, ranging from 5,000 BTU to 24,500 BTU, and offers smart features like Wi-Fi and/or remote-control systems.
LG has various types of AC units, such as portable, window, split type units, room/residential, and commercial AC units, among many others. One notable LG AC unit is the LW6017R, a 6,000 BTU 115V window air conditioner that is top rated on Amazon (4.4/5), with over 8,000 reviews.
For over 30 years, Haier has been bringing state-of-the-art products to the market without pause, designed to suit the ever-changing needs of people and the environment. With their products now available in over 160+ countries worldwide, Haier has become one of the top brands in major appliances for 12 consecutive years, according to Euromonitor International Limited. This billion-dollar company always stayed true to their objective, which is to bring premium, reliable products that will make their customers’ lives easier. All their innovations are based on what they learned from their customers, taking note of all reviews and suggestions to further enrich their research and design even more useful products.
Their air conditioning units are efficient, energy-saving (Energy StarⓇ qualified; can save up to 63% energy), equipped with smart features like self-cleaning filters, and have user-friendly interface (remote or control panel). Haier offers various BTU air conditioning units (5,000 BTU to 23,500 BTU).
GE Appliances is a Haier company, focused on designing products that make life at home easier. This company sells appliances under various brands, such as Monogram, Cafe, GE Profile, GE, Haier, and Hotpoint. GE Appliances produce refrigerators, freezers, cooking products, dishwashers, washers, dryers, small appliances, water filtration systems, water heaters, and air conditioners—all of which are designed to be eco-friendly, smart, and easy-to-use. Innovation has always been one of their strongest points, releasing smarter and better technology every year and making themselves known as one of the top producers of home appliances.
Some notable 5000 BTU AC units from GE are the AET05LY and AEY05LV units. Both units are 115 V room air conditioners and are top rated in multiple home appliance shopping sites: AET05LY has a 4.2-star rating on Home Depot, while AEY05LV has a 4.5- and 4.6-star ratings on Walmart and GE respectively.
Frigidaire is one of the top brands when it comes to high-quality, energy efficient kitchen and laundry appliances. Founded last 1918, this company has brought many firsts into the American market, such as the first home refrigerator, freezer, and room air conditioner. As the company name suggests, Frigidaire was first focused on cooling appliances in the past but now, the company is also known for other products like stoves, dishwashers, microwaves, washers & dryers, filters, and dehumidifiers. All of their AC units are energy-saving and have impressive cooling capacity.
Here are some of the most popular and top-rated air conditioners by Frigidaire that you might want to check out:
- 5,000 BTU AC Units
- Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 – 115V Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner
- Frigidaire FFRA0511R1E – 115V Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner
- Frigidaire FFRE0533S1 – 115V Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner
- 6,000 BTU Window-Mounted AC Units
- Frigidaire FFRLl0633Q1 – 115V Window-Mounted Low Profile Air Conditioner
- Frigidaire FFRE0633S1 – 115V Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner
Unlike the other brands, Friedrich is actually centered on creating air conditioning products, manufacturing premium room air conditioners since 1883. This brand offers durable, quiet, and efficient AC units, ranging from models that are best suited for residential units up to heavy-duty ones that are best for commercial applications. Their AC units are one of the most energy efficient and quietest units in the world.
Friedrich Chill CP06G10B, a 6,000 BTU Window Room Air Conditioner, is one of their most popular AC units, with a 4.2-star and 5-star rating in Amazon and Walmart, respectively.
For more than 100 years, Kenmore has been providing their consumers innovative home products. All of their appliances make day-to-day living easier, whether it’s cooking or cleaning. 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 is one of the budget-friendly brands that provide quality products without breaking the bank. So, if you’re on a tight budget, you might want to check out Arctic King 6000 BTU air conditioners. They offer user-friendly portable, window-mounted, and through the wall air conditioners. Arctic King is owned by the Chinese brand, Midea, which is an impressive brand that’s included in the Fortune 500’s list.
Daewoo Electronics has been manufacturing and selling appliances for over 30 years, bringing high-quality refrigerators, washing machines, microwaves, vacuums, and air conditioners, among many others, into the market. They are always aiming for sustainable growth through producing eco-friendly, energy-saving robust products for their consumers. With two energy classes, A Cooling and A++ Cooling, Daewoo air conditioners can quickly drop the temperature of the room. Their inverter units have Turbo Heating-Cooling Technology and operate at a low noise level. Each model is sold at a right price and the portable ones are very easy to install. Almost all of their AC units are equipped with smart features (WiFi) for easier control and maintenance.
For over 70 years, Danby has been creating appliances designed to fit your space seamlessly. This company originated in North America in 1947, and they expanded to Canada and the US as their brand became more successful due to their affordable yet powerful appliances. Their designs are always timeless, yet each product feature continues to improve each day. Danby offers portable and window-mounted AC units. Their portable air conditioners have a 3-in-1 feature, which involves an AC function, fan function, and dehumidifier function. Their portable AC units have a range of 5,000 to 14,000 BTU, while their window AC units are available in 5,000 BTU up to 25,000 BTU.
The brand hOmeLabs became well-known due to their dehumidifiers and air conditioners that are said to be comparable to that of Frigidaire in terms of energy efficiency and performance. They offer portable and window air conditioners that are very easy to use and maintain, and these units have a power range of 5,000 BTU to 15,000 BTU. All their designs appear sleek and simple, and each model performs efficiently and quietly.
How big of a generator do I need to run a 5000 BTU air conditioner
When dealing with electric appliances, it’s important to consider safety, compatibility, and quality first before anything else. Just like how construction companies or handymen meticulously examine products to purchase only the best engine driven welder, TIG welder, plasma cutter, mini metal lathe machine, welding glasses/goggles, and welding gas, you have to be careful when choosing for the right generator because one mistake can cause a tragedy when it comes to electrical appliances.
As mentioned earlier, it’s vital that the amp wire size and extension cords that you’re using can handle the electrical current that will run through it to power your AC unit. Now, in terms of generators, most 5,000 BTU air conditioner units must be powered by a 500 watt generator, given that they’re energy efficient. But some units may need a stronger generator if it’s not energy efficient, so make sure to check the actual power requirements of the AC unit to know exactly how many watts it uses as it runs. Basically, if your AC unit exceeds 5000 BTU, you must also increase the power of the generator. On an average, a generator with 600 watts of power can handle a 6,000 BTU AC unit, while a 2000 watt generator can handle AC units with up to 15,000-20,000 BTU capacity.