Best smart air conditioners in 2024

Just like a traditional air conditioner, a smart air conditioner goes in your window and cools your room or house. However, a smart air conditioner is also connected to the cloud, which means you can control it from your phone and connect it to your other smart home devices, so you can control it with Alexa and Google Assistant, or program it so that it turns on if you turn on your lights or lower your window shades. You can also set it to change temperature if you're leaving or arriving back home, so it's not cooling your house while you're away — and wasting energy. 

We've tested all the models in this guide, using them for one (or more) summers to keep our homes cool, checking to see how easy they are to install, how loud they are when in use, and how efficiently they operate. Our favorite model is the LG Dual Inverter air conditioner: not only does it look sleek, but it's very powerful, and comes in the widest range of sizes, so you have plenty of options depending on your home. Our value pick is the Midea U air conditioner, which works as well as it performs. And, its unique shape helps keep our room insulated. 

This guide is divided into two sections: Smart window air conditioners — which are Wi-Fi connected — and smart air conditioner controllers. The latter are small devices, usually around $100, that can turn older air conditioners into smart A/Cs, so you can monitor and control them remotely. This can be more economical than purchasing a brand new air conditioner. 

The quick list

The best smart air conditioners

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

Best overall

best smart air conditioner: LG LW1517IVSM

LG Dual Inverter Smart Air Conditioner (Image credit: LG SmartThinQ (Credit: LG))
The best smart air conditioner overall

Specifications

BTUs: 8,000, 10,000, 12,000, 18,000, 23,500
Room size: 340, 450, 550, 1,000, 1440 sq. ft
Energy Efficiency Ratio: 14.7
Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant

Reasons to buy

+
Cools efficiently
+
Quiet

Reasons to avoid

-
LG's app needs work

When you have to cool a large area—say, several rooms on a single floor—then you should consider LG's Dual Inverter smart air conditioner. These models range in size from a 8,000-BTU model (good for 450 square feet) up to a massive 23,500 BTU model, good for 1,4400 square feet.  

All models use what LG calls a dual-inverter compressor, which continually adjusts its speed, rather than turning on and off like a traditional compressor. LG says this technology should provide energy savings of up to 25% and make the device quieter than most air conditioners. This model comes with a remote control, works with Alexa and Google Assistant, and can be controlled via the LG SmartThinQ app. In our review, we were pleased with its performance, but noted that LG’s app needed work.

Read our full LG Dual Inverter Window Air conditioner review.

Best value

best smart air conditioner

Midea U Inverter Window Air Conditioner (Image credit: Midea)
Best smart air conditioner for easy installation

Specifications

BTUs: 8,000, 10,000, 12,000
Room size: 350, 450, 550
Energy Efficiency Ratio: 15
Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant

Reasons to buy

+
Clever design
+
Very energy efficient
+
Quiet

Reasons to avoid

-
Longer installation process

The Midea U Inverter Window Air Conditioner gets its name from its unique "U" shape. That's right, there's a large slot in the middle of this smart air conditioner, which allows you to slide your window up and down. Not only does this feature let you open your window to allow fresh air in, but when your window is closed, it provides a much more effective barrier, so your air conditioner doesn't have to work as hard to keep your room cool. 

Because of this design, the company also claims that the Midea U is quieter and more efficient than similar window air conditioners. The Midea U can be controlled from a smartphone app, or with Alexa or Google Assistant. It comes in three models:  8,000 BTUs, 10,000 BTUs, and 12,000 BTUs. In our Midea U smart air conditioner review, we really liked its quiet operation and innovative design, but did note that it's trickier to install than other window air conditioners.

Read our Midea U smart air conditioner review.

Best for small rooms

Windmill Air Conditioner used in window

(Image credit: Windmill)
A smart window air conditioner that looks as good as it performs

Specifications

BTUs: 6,000, 8,300
Room size: 250, 350
Energy Efficiency Ratio: 11.9 - 12
Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant

Reasons to buy

+
Elegant appearance
+
Upward air flow
+
Pairs to app and voice assistants

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly expensive for BTU count
-
Not as efficient as other models

One of the biggest issues with traditional window air conditioners is that they're, well, ugly. If you're going to be staring at something all summer long as it cools your apartment, it should at least look nice. Enter the Windmill, which is attractive as it is performant.

The Windmill has a large grille in the front with a subtle vent at the top which directs cool air up toward the ceiling, so it can then filter down throughout your room. The Windmill's surrounding baffles are a solid piece of plastic, rather than the accordion-style that's so common on many window AC units. We found that the Windmill was effective at cooling our apartment, but it has a lower energy-efficiency rating than the Midea U and the LG. And, as the Windmill only comes in two sizes, it's best for smaller spaces.

Read our full Windmill air conditioner review.

Quietest air conditioner

Hisense window air conditioner

(Image credit: Hisense)
A quiet and efficient window air conditioner

Specifications

BTUs: 8,000, 14,000
Room size: 350, 700
Energy Efficiency Ratio: 15
Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant

Reasons to buy

+
Very quiet
+
Very efficient
+
Easy to install

Reasons to avoid

-
Uses traditional baffle design
-
App is somewhat bland

Like the LG and the Midea, this Hisense window air conditioner uses an inverter compressor, which not only makes it very efficient — one of the most efficient we've tested — but also one of the quietest window air conditioners, too. In our tests, we heard more noise coming from outside our home than we did from the Hisense A/C.

The Hisense comes in just two sizes — 8,000-BTU model that costs $399, and can cool rooms around 350 square feet in size, and a 14,000-BTU model for 700-square-foot rooms — so it's not the best if you have a lot of area to cover. But for small rooms where you place a premium on noise (or the lack thereof), the Hisense smart window air conditioner is definitely worth your consideration.

Read our full Hisense smart window air conditioner review.

Best portable AC

EcoFlow Wave 2 smart heat pump outside on grass near tent

(Image credit: EcoFlow)
Best portable air conditioner

Specifications

BTUs: 5100 (cooling); 6100 (heating)
Room size: 110 sq. ft.
Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant

Reasons to buy

+
Replaces AC and heater
+
Powerful control apps
+
Comes with accessories
+
Different ways to power heat pump
+
Inexpensive to operate

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Big and heavy

The EcoFlow Wave 2 is not just a great portable air conditioner, but in the cooler months, it doubles as a space heater, too. That's because the Wave 2 is a heat pump, so it can both heat and cool a space — great for those unheated rooms in your house that are freezing in winter but sweltering in the summer. It's best for smaller spaces, as it's rated for rooms around 110 square feet, but that makes it ideal for RVs and campers.

The Wave 2 has a few more tricks: You can connect it to an optional battery pack or solar panels to keep it charged while off the grid. You can control the Wave 2 via a smartphone app, and connect it to Google Assistant. When it was running, we found it to be fairly quiet — it was about as loud as a typical space heater — and it was also very efficient, consuming around 536 watts when heating and 286 watts when cooling. However, at around $1,300, it's a lot more expensive than most window air conditioners. 

Read our full EcoFlow Wave 2 review

GE Profile Clearview Window air conditioner review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
A smart air conditioner that lets more light in

Specifications

BTUs: 10,300, 12,200
Room size: 350-450, 450-550
Energy Efficiency Ratio: 14.6
Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant

Reasons to buy

+
Quiet
+
Efficient
+
Lets more light through window

Reasons to avoid

-
Tricky installation
-
Remote control buttons hard to read
-
More expensive than competition

Like the Midea U, the GE Profile Clearview window air conditioner has a U shape that not only lets more light in, but also does a better job at keeping hot air out. In this case, though, the U is upside-down, which lets even more light in than the Midea unit. It also uses inverter technology, making it not only quieter but more efficient than older window air conditioners.

However, we found that the GE Clearview was trickier to install than other models, requiring us to take it in and out of our window a few times before we got things right. And, the writing on the remote was hard to read, especially in dim lighting. It's also about $100 more than competing models, so unless you really want to let as much light in as possible, you might want to consider other options first.

The GE Profile Clearview window air conditioner is available in four sizes: 6,100, 8,300, 10,000 and 12,000 BTUs; however, only the latter two use inverter technology, which is both quieter and more efficient than other air conditioners.

Read our full GE Profile Clearview window air conditioner review.

Smart air conditioner controllers

The devices listed below are wireless accessories that connect to the internet, and let you control older non-smart air conditioners remotely. You use an app on your phone, which sends the command through the cloud to the accessory, which then sends the command to your air conditioner. Most older air conditioners that have a remote should work with one of the options below, but check to make sure it's compatible before purchasing.

How we test the best smart air conditioners

First thing's first: An air conditioner — smart or not — has to be able to cool down a room quickly and efficiently. To test a smart air conditioner, we set it up in a home or apartment and see how quickly it cools a room to a set temperature. Because we can't control for outside temperatures, this is a somewhat rough estimate, but gives us a good sense of how well it performs.

While it's cooling, you don't want to be annoyed by the noise it makes, so we also use a sound meter to determine how much noise a smart air conditioner puts out while it's at its max and minimum power. We've found that the newer models, which use inverter technology, tend to be quieter than older models that use compressor technology.

Speaking of which: We also take into account the Energy Efficiency Rating of a smart thermostat in our ratings. Here too, the inverter-style units are often much more efficient. That means you'll be spending less money on your cooling bill in the summer.

Because these are smart thermostats, we also take a look at their apps to see how easy they are to program and connect with other smart assistants, such as Alexa. 

Last — but not least — we also look to see how easy an air conditioner is to install in a window. Because you'll be putting it in and taking it out each year, it should be easy to mount and remove.

What size air conditioner should you buy?

Above all else, you should base your buying decision on two things: BTUs and energy efficiency. Air conditioner "sizes" are determined by their BTU cooling capacity. You want a unit that's just powerful enough to cool your room or area. If you get an air conditioner that’s too large, it’ll chill the room before it’s able to remove the humidity, leaving you cold and clammy.

This chart from Energy Star shows how many BTUs you need in terms of room size; the organization also has a handy calculator on its site for calculating your room size.

Energy Star also lists other guidelines for determining the proper size for an air conditioner in your room. For example, if the room gets a lot of sun, you should increase the capacity of your choice of air conditioner by 10 percent; if the room is heavily shaded, decrease the capacity by 10 percent.

You also want to look for units with a high energy-to-efficiency ratio (EER) — that is, the amount of energy needed to cool a room. The higher the EER, the better. You should be able to find this information in the product listing or the packaging. You also want a unit with a good Energy Star rating, another indicator of energy efficiency. Be sure to check out our guide on what to look for when buying an air conditioner

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Room Size (square feet)BTUs
100 to 1505,000
150 to 2506,000
250 to 3007,000
300 to 3508,000
350 to 4009,000
400 to 45010,000
450 to 55012,000
550 to 70014,000
700 to 1,00018,000
1,000 to 1,20020,000
1,200 to 1,40023,000
1,400 to 1,50024,000
1,500 to 2,00030,000
2,000 to 2,50034,000

How much does a smart air conditioner cost?

Because they're relatively new smart air conditioners are a bit more expensive. For example, a smart Frigidaire 8,000 BTU AC costs $329 on Amazon, whereas a nonsmart 10,000 BTU Frigidaire model costs about $30 less. Still, the price difference is becoming narrower. That being said, it's not such a huge difference that you should toss out a perfectly good air conditioner just to get one that has some smarts. 

Types of air conditioners

Apart from central AC systems — which you would control using a smart thermostat such as the Ecobee SmartThermostat — there are four types of air conditioners from which you can choose. Each has its benefits and trade-offs.

Portable air conditioners: These units are each about the size of a small suitcase and have large exhaust tubes that you must stick out a window. They're the easiest to install, but they are by far the least efficient type of air conditioner.

In-window air conditioners: Perhaps the most common type, these air conditioners simply slide into an open window. After portable units, they're the easiest to install, but they will block the lower part of your window and prevent you from opening that window. Also, you have to block the gaps on either side of the air conditioner to prevent hot air from entering and cold air from escaping.

In-wall air conditioners: Very similar to in-window units, these get inserted through an opening in your wall. They're generally more expensive than in-window units and may require professional installation — especially if you need to cut a hole in a wall of your house — but they won't take up valuable window space, and they allow less air leakage.

Ductless air conditioners: Also known as split air conditioners, these have an indoor section connected to an outdoor unit by a small pipe. While they're the most efficient of the different types listed here, they're also the most expensive to install; you'll need a professional. And the appearance of the indoor section can be polarizing.

Air conditioner deals

Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.