Best Smart Air Conditioners 2021: Energy-Efficient Portable A/C Units

When the weather gets warmer, the quickest way to cool down your home is by installing an air conditioner.

The appliance is filled with a non-toxic coolant, which is piped through a set of cooling coils by a compressor motor, before finally being blown out by a fan. The result is a constant stream of cool air with no maintenance required. This is different from evaporative coolers, which require you to constantly refill a water tank, and rely on the natural process water evaporation and a fan to cool your room down.

The only downside to air conditioners is that they’re power hungry, which can drive up you utility bill during the summer. To save you from sticker shock, we’ve chosen “smart” air conditioners for this guide, which means they can be controlled via an app on your phone, or by connecting them to a smart-home speaker like an Amazon Echo, so you’re only running it when you absolutely need to.

The ability to turn your A/C on and off only when you need it instead of running it all the time can reduce your energy usage, and keep your utility bill in check. The best smart air conditioners let you monitor usage on your phone too, so you’re never left with sticker shock at the end of the month.

Best Smart Air Conditioners 2021
Best Smart Air Conditioners 2021

What Are The Best Smart Air Conditioners?

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best smart air conditioner for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.

Coverage: An air conditioner’s cooling area (measured in square feet) is the most important feature to look at before making a decision. Our picks are rated for rooms between 350 and 500 sq. ft., so they’ll cover everything from a mid-sized bedroom to a living room to small studio apartment.

Style: Smart air conditioners come in two basic styles: window units, which are slotted inside your window and hang off the side of your house, and portable units, which are larger and freestanding, but require you to hang a retractable vent out of the window.

Noise Level: Don’t give up your peace and quiet for a few degrees of chill. Low noise level is one of the most desirable features of a smart air conditioner, and while their fans are powerful, we’ve chosen picks that are dedicated to noise reduction.

Smart Settings: We looked for a wide range of temperature settings, fan speed modes, and timers you can adjust with an app (or over WiFi) to give you better control over the atmosphere around you.

With that in mind, here are are top picks for smart air conditioners that will have you saying “bye” to bulky features and “hello” to controlled air conditioning when you want it.

1. Midea U Inverter Window Air Conditioner

BEST OVERALL

Midea U Inverter Window Air Conditioner

Amazon

Midea’s U Inverter Window Air Conditioner has a unique design that helps it stay quiet even on full blast.

The air conditioner gets its name from its U-Shape: The front of the unit stays inside your house, while the back, which houses the compressor, stays outside. Your window fits in the gap between both parts of the air conditioner, putting a physical barrier between you and the compressor. This design also allows you to open the window slightly while the air conditioner is installed without the risk of it falling out, so you can get fresh air. Midea doesn’t list this air conditioner’s cooling area, but does say its powerful fans can push cool air up to 20 feet away, so it’s pretty powerful.

You can control Midea’s air conditioner by pushing buttons on the front of the unit, through an app (iOS and Android), or by connecting it an Amazon Echo. If it’s paired to a smart speaker, you can control the temperature in the room by using your voice. If you want a quiet air conditioner that’s still powerful enough to cool down a bigger room, Midea’s U Inverter Window Air Conditioner is the right call. Bonus: you don’t need to call a repairman to install this; find an open window slot and this can be plugged in and ready to go in minutes.

Buy:
Midea U Inverter Window Air Conditioner
at
$359.00

2. GE Profile Window Air Conditioner

BEST ENERGY-SAVING

GE Profile Window Air Conditioner

Amazon

GE’s Profile Window Air Conditioner has the right mix of features and power to make it an excellent choice for cooling a small room.

GE says this air conditioner can cover an area up to 350 sq. ft., and is 50% quieter than similar models in its portfolio. It also has a built-in dehumidifying feature, which can help keep your room comfortable if you live in a muggy climate. The main way this air conditioner stands out from our other recommendations is its focus on energy efficiency.

Its LED display, which shows the current temperature and other settings, will automatically dim if you don’t interact with it for a little while. The air conditioner’s delay function gives you a way to schedule when you’d like it to turn on, even if you don’t take advantage of its smart features. And, finally, you can connect GE’s air conditioner to your WiFi network, and control it using your phone (iPhone or Android), or smart speaker.

By giving you a handful of ways to cut its energy usage, GE’s Profile Window Air Conditioner is the right call if you’d like to keep a smaller room cool without inflating your electricity costs.

Buy:
GE Profile Window Air Conditioner
at
$379.00

3. De’Longhi 4-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner

BEST PORTABLE

De'Longhi 4-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner

Amazon

De’Longhi’s Portable Air Conditioner is a 4-in-1 unit that can do a lot more than just keep your room cold.

As an air conditioner, it’s rated to cool spaces up to 500 sq. ft., which is more than enough for a master bedroom or living room. This air conditioner doesn’t need to be stuck in a window, but you will need to snake its built-in tube vent out of one to prevent water from leaking. De’Longhi says it can recycle some condensation automatically, so leaks are far less likely to happen if you can’t use the vent all of the time.

This air conditioner has three additional modes, which you can mix and match to conserve energy. Air conditioning is the most effective cooling setting, but you can also use this appliance as a dehumidifier, fan, or even as a heater. It’s important to note its heat setting isn’t powerful enough to compete with a space heater; De’Longhi says it’s for “taking the chill out of cool nights and mornings.”

At 83.8 pounds, you’re not going to want to move this air conditioner around a lot, but its castor wheels and built-in handles make it easier when you do. Instead, think of this as a single, powerful A/C you can use to cool several rooms on a single floor if necessary. De’Longhi didn’t built any non-smart energy saving features into its air conditioner, but it can be connected to WiFi, or controlled through a smart speaker.

If you need a big, powerful air conditioner, and want the ability to move it to different parts of your home in a pinch, this unit from De’Longhi will get the job done.

Buy:
De’Longhi 4-in-1 Portable Air…
at
$699.99

4. Frigidaire Cool Connect Smart Window Air Conditioner

BEST PROGRAMMABLE

Frgidaire Cool Connect Air Conidtioner

Amazon

With great scheduling functions, you can program Frigidaire’s Cool Connect Smart Air Conditioner to fill a room full of chill air in advance.

It’s fairly easy to develop a custom schedule for your air conditioner through the Frigidaire smart app, 24 hours a day. Set it to cool the room day and night, during the week, and on weekends. This lets you run the Cool Connect only when you when you need it, so you can save on energy costs. Frigidaire says works best cooling a room up to 550 sq. ft, so you know you’ll be coming home to a frosty living room. Bonus: your home won’t be stuffy either, since it dehumidifies at a rate of 3.8 pints per hour.

What we like: there’s a couple different ways to take control of your settings, from sleek touch buttons on the unit itself, to a separate remote, smart home compatibility, and of course, the Frigidaire app. But when the Cool Connect is connected to WiFi, the app gives you the ability turn the unit on or off and change temperature, completely remote. Controlling the three different modes (Cool, Eco, and Fan) and fan speeds can also be done from the app. Even if you’re on the go, it can send you alerts, such as when to clean the filter.

Where you might struggle a bit is when using the Cool Connect with smart assistants like Google Home—if you tell it to set the temperature on the Frigidaire, for example, it still has to connect through the app, so you might as well just customize settings on the app alone. That being said, if you want complete control over when, how much, and for how long you want cooling air in your space, the Frigidaire Cool Connect is a solid pick.

Buy:
Frigidaire Cool Connect Smart Window…
at
$464.71

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