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Most Energy Efficient Air Conditioners for 2020

Your air conditioner is the biggest energy consumer in your home. Choosing an energy efficient air conditioner (A/C) is the best way to keep you cool and comfortable without spending too much on energy!

When it’s summer, hot weather and humidity make you feel like you dive into a bowl of soup. An air conditioner is literally a life saver these days to keep you cool and comfortable.

However, air conditioners consume a lot of electricity. If you’re using your A/C unit regularly, you’re probably used to seeing a huge spike in your monthly electric bill, especially when temperatures reach above 90 degrees in June, July, and August with extremely hot and humid days.

On those days, your air conditioners are more expensive to run, simply because the machine has to work harder – and use more electricity – to cool the space.

According to the United States Department of Energy (DoE), the typical American family spends at least $2,200 on energy bills every year. Nearly half of that, says the DoE, goes to heating and cooling. DOE also reports that you can save up to 50% on your cooling bill by investing in a new, energy efficient air conditioner.

With that in mind, investing in an energy efficient air conditioner is essential to keep both your energy bill and the temperature in your home low.

But what’s the most energy efficient air conditioner on the market?

Air conditioners today are more energy efficient and cost-effective than ever before, but they’re not equal when it comes to power consumption. This article our list of the best energy efficient air conditioners on the market. These are the most efficient AC units because they use less electricity compared to most comparable units we’ve tested.

Key takeaways about air conditioner energy efficiency

  • LG and Frigidaire make the most energy efficient air conditioners. And they also get the highest ratings based on customer reviews.
  • The most energy efficient window air conditioner available today is the LG DUAL Inverter Smart WiFi window air conditioners, with 4 models range from 9.500 to 22,000 BTUs of power. The Dual Inverter technology makes these LG room air conditioners exceptional energy efficient and can save up to 40% more energy compared to other Energy Star rated room air conditioners.

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  • LG dual inverter air conditioners are also our picks as the best energy efficient air conditioners, for mid- to large-sized rooms. These window AC units are not only energy efficient, but also powerful, quiet, and WiFi enabled.
  • If you’re looking for an energy efficient AC unit without breaking the bank, Frigidaire Energy Star window air conditioners are the best budget options. Frigidaire ACs come in a wide range of sizes, types, and features to fit your cooling needs, most are energy-efficient and cost-effective compared to other brands.

  • A ductless, mini-split air conditioning system with inverter technology, such as the Pioneer WYS Series split system, can be 50% more energy efficient compared to a window air conditioner, and 20 to 60% more efficient compared to central air.

  • A ductless mini split system is the most efficient air conditioning system for smaller area cooling. Despite the higher initial cost, it will save you a lot of money in the long run. This is a great option for new constructions. Click to find the best mini split system available today.
  • Of all small window AC units designed for small rooms, the most energy efficient air conditioners we’ve found is the Frigidaire FFRE0533S1 5,000 BTU Mini-Compact Window AC. This Energy Star rated unit is incredibly energy efficient with energy efficiency Ratio (EER) up to 12.2 and the estimated yearly energy cost only about $40. Frigidaire FFRE0533S1 is also one of the smallest window air conditioners on the market today.

  • Window room air conditioners tend to be much more efficient than portable air conditioners. At this time, portable room air conditioners are not ENERGY STAR certified products. An EER rating of 10 is considered an energy efficient portable air conditioner. Whereas many energy efficient window air conditioners have an EER rating of 12 or higher.
  • Dual-hose portable ACs are more energy-efficient than single-hose portable ACs since the AC doesn’t create negative pressure inside the room being cooled like single-hose models.
  • The Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable AC is one of the most energy efficient portable air conditioners on the market. This unit is our top choice because it provides exceptional cooling and dehumidifying power for rooms up to 500 sq.ft. And because it is a very powerful unit, it cools down the room very fast and doesn’t have to work as hard as comparable units.

Choosing an energy efficient air conditioner: What you need to know

Energy Efficiency Ratios

Simply put, the energy efficiency of air conditioners is measured by EER, CEER, and SEER. In order to choose the most energy efficient air conditioner for your home, it’s important to understand these parameters.

These three related (but not interchangeable) ratings are a measure of a particular air conditioning unit’s energy efficiency measured in BTUs.

  • EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a measure of how efficiently an AC system will operate when the outdoor temperature is at a specific level. It is calculated by dividing the cooling capacity in BTUs per hour (BTUH) by the power input in watts. EER rating is most commonly used for window AC units and portable AC units.
  • SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) measures how efficiently an AC system will operate over an entire season. SEER rating is most commonly used to measure the efficiency of a central air conditioner and a ductless mini-split air conditioner. Room air conditioners do not have SEER ratings.
  • CEER (Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a standard used for window air conditioners and rated by the DOE (Department of Energy), as of June 2014. It takes into account the energy used while the air conditioner is running, as well as the standby power used when the unit is not running but is powered on. CEER = new EER.

Overall, it’s unnecessary to understand the difference between EER and SEER. You just need to know that a higher rating means greater efficiency (EER for room air conditioners and SEER for central and ductless air conditioners). The higher the rating, the more energy efficient the air conditioner.

Energy Star Certified

One easy way to find energy efficient air conditioners with high EER, CEER and SEER ratings is to look for ENERGY STAR certified products. ENERGY STAR is a government-backed program designed to help consumers save money and the environment by purchasing quality energy-efficient products.

ENERGY STAR certified window air conditioners are at least 10% more energy efficient than non-certified air conditioners. Additionally, ENERGY STAR certified window air conditioners come with higher quality insulation materials, improving comfort and savings by allowing a better seal of the area between the unit and the window. ENERGY STAR certified window air conditioners with connected functionality offer you greater control over your comfort and your energy savings.

According to the Energy Star website, the most energy efficient window air conditioner available today is the LG’s dual inverter window air conditioner with the EER rating ranges from 13.8 to 14.7 – the highest energy efficiency rating in the industry.

The LG LW1019IVSM 9,500 BTU dual inverter Window AC unit features a EER rating of 13.8 and can save up to 15% more energy savings than other energy efficient air conditioner.

The 22,000 BTUs unit can save even greater – up to 40% more energy savings.

Energy Guide Label

Another great way to find the most energy efficient air conditioner is to look at the Energy Guide label of an AC unit.

AC’s energy efficiency ratios don’t provide highly accurate information about how much it will cost to operate an air conditioner in a specific location. Energy Guide labels are a useful way to quickly compare similar models and find out the more energy efficient air conditioner.

AC’s Energy Guide label shows you the estimated annual energy cost of running the air conditioner (based on a national average electricity cost of 13 cents per kWh and seasonal use of 8 hours a day over a 3-month period), the energy efficiency ratio, and the ENERGY STAR mark.

By looking at the Energy Guide label of an air conditioner unit, it’s easy to compare similar AC units and know which one is the most energy efficient unit.

Most Energy Efficient Air Conditioners

Most Energy Efficient Window AC Units

Window AC UnitsCooling CapacityEnergy Star CertifiedEnergy Efficiency Ratio (EER)Est. Annual Cost (.13/kWh)
Frigidaire FFRE0533S1 Mini Compact AC5,000 BTUYes12.2$40
Frigidaire FFRA0511R1E Mini Compact AC5,000 BTUNo11.1$44
LG LW6017R Window AC6,000 BTUNo11.5$51
Frigidaire FFRE063WAE Window AC6,000 BTUYes12.1$48
Whirlpool WHAW061BW Window AC6,000 BTUYes12.2$49
Haier ESAQ406T Serenity Series6,000 BTUYes12.2$48
LG LW8016ER Window AC8,000 BTUYes12.1$65
Frigidaire FFRE0833S1 Window AC8,000 BTUYes12$65
Koldfront WAC8003WCO Window AC8,000 BTUYes12$65
MIDEA EasyCool Window AC8,000 BTUYes12$65
LG LW8017ERSM AC with WiFi8,000 BTUYes12.1$65
Frigidaire FFRE083WAE Window AC8,000 BTUYes12$70
LG LW1019IVSM Dual Inverter Smart AC9,500 BTUYes13.8$50
Frigidaire Gallery Cool Connect Smart AC10,000 BTUYes12$81
LG LW1016ER Window AC10,000 BTUYes12.1$80
Koldfront WAC10003WCO Window AC10,000 BTUYes12$81
LG LW1017ERSM WiFi AC10,000 BTUYes12.1$80
SoleusAir WS2-12E-201 Window AC12,000 BTUYes12$97.5
MIDEA MAW12R1BWT Window AC12,000 BTUYes12$97.5
LG LW1216ER Window AC12,000 BTUYes12$96
LG LW1517IVSM Dual Inverter Smart AC14,000 BTUYes14.7$68
Emerson Quiet Kool Smart AC15,000 BTUYes11.9$124
LG LW1817IVSM Dual Inverter Smart AC18,000 BTUYes14.7$81
LG LW2217IVSM Dual Inverter Smart AC22,000 BTUYes14.5$100

Most Energy Efficient Portable AC Units

Note: Portable air conditioners are not energy efficient as window air conditioners. While the Energy Efficiency Ratings and Estimated Yearly Energy Costs are a handy way to compare window AC energy consumption, most portable AC units don’t have these numbers.

The best way to compare portable AC energy consumption is the maximum wattage ratings, which indicate how many watts the unit consumes per hour at its highest speeds. The more energy efficient portable AC unit will have a lower maximum wattage rating.

These are top energy efficient portable air conditioners available:

Portable AC UnitsCooling CapacitySingle / Dual HoseMax. Power Consumption
Honeywell MO08CESWK Portable AC8,000 BTUSingle Hose700 W
Haier HPB08XCM Portable AC8,000 BTUSingle Hose700 W
SereneLife SLPAC8 Compact Portable AC8,000 BTUSingle Hose900 W
LG LP0817WSR Portable AC8,000 BTUSingle Hose980 W
Frigidaire FFPA1022U1 Portable AC10,000 BTUSingle Hose920 W
Whynter ARC-101CW CoolSize Portable AC10,000 BTUSingle Hose1,000 W
Whynter Elite ARC-122DS Portable AC12,000 BTUDual Hose1,000 W
Honeywell MN12CES Portable AC12,000 BTUSingle Hose1,100 W
Whynter ARC-14S Portable AC14,000 BTUDual Hose1,250 W
LG LP1419IVSM Dual Inverter Portable AC14,000 BTUSingle Hose1,370 W
hOmeLabs 14,000 BTU Portable AC14,000 BTUSingle Hose1,370 W

The Verdict

1. Our Top Pick: LG Dual Inverter Smart WiFi Window Air Conditioner

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LG Smart Window Air Conditioners with DUAL Inverter Compressor are no doubt the most energy efficient air conditioners available. They are superior to any other window ACs on the market when it comes to energy saving.

In fact, the lineup is so efficient that it won LG its first Energy Star Emerging Technology Award in 2018.

LG says its Dual Inverter air conditioners are up to 25-percent more energy efficient than is required to earn the U.S. government’s Energy Star certification. In fact, it’s up to 40% energy saving.

As you can see in the Energy Guide label below, the LG dual inverter model LW1517IVSM 14,000 BTU Window AC will cost a consumer $68 to operate for one year, compared to a range of $115 to $182 for similar models – this is up to 40 to 60% more energy efficient.

LG LW1517IVSM energy guide

LG LW1517IVSM energy guide label

LG’s innovative inverter technology is a key attribute of LG’s new line of Dual Inverter Smart Room Air Conditioners.

It is used in conjunction with a variable-speed compressor and adjusts the compressor motor speed to regulate temperature. This is more energy efficient than non-Inverter Technology window air conditioners, which turn the compressor either on or off to regulate temperature. The capability for efficient variable output allows an inverter air conditioner to more quietly regulate the temperature and save a significant amount of energy during operation.

The DUAL Inverter Compressor delivers another benefit, too: Since the compressor motor in an inverter window air conditioner isn’t constantly running at full capacity, the AC doesn’t produce as much noise. At only 44dB, LG dual inverter ACs are one of the quietest window air conditioners.

LG dual inverter ACs are also Wi-Fi-enabled. The SmartThinQ app technology lets you control these energy efficient smart air conditioner from anywhere. You can start or stop cooling, change the mode, or set the temperature while on the go. It also works with the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa so you can change settings with simple voice commands.

So, if you’re looking for the most energy efficient air conditioner that will chill your room like a dream, the LG Dual Inverter Smart WiFi Air Conditioner is a no-brainer.

LG’s Dual Inverter line ranges from a 9,500 BTU unit to a 22,000 BTU monster that relies on a 220-volt outlet.

LG LW1019IVSM 9,500 BTU DUAL Inverter Smart AC

  • Dimension (WxHxD): 19.57 x 12.48 x 24.53 inch
  • Cooling Area: 450 sq. ft.
  • Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio (CEER): 13.8
  • Estimated yearly energy cost is $50
  • Up to 15% More Energy Savings
  • 4 speeds – High/Mid/Low/Sleep
  •  Noise levels: 58/54/50/44 dB

LG LW1517IVSM 14,000 BTU Dual Inverter Smart AC

  • Dimension (WxHxD): 23.62 x 15.00 x 24.80 inch
  • Cooling Area: 800 sq. ft.
  • Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio (CEER): 14.7
  • Estimated yearly energy cost is $68
  • Up to 25% More Energy Savings
  • 4 speeds – High/Mid/Low/Sleep
  • Noise levels: 58/55/52/44 dB

LG LW1817IVSM 18,000 BTU Dual Inverter Smart AC

  • Dimension (WxHxD): 25.98 x 17.68 x 28.11 inch
  • Cooling Area: 1000 sq. ft.
  • Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio (CEER): 14.7
  • Estimated yearly energy cost is $81
  • Up to 25% More Energy Savings
  • 4 speeds – High/Mid/Low/Sleep
  • Noise levels: 59/56/53/44 dB

LG LW2217IVSM 22,000 BTU Dual Inverter Smart AC (220V required)

  • Dimension (WxHxD): 25.98 x 17.68 x 28.11 inch
  • Cooling Area: 1300 sq. ft.
  • Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio (CEER): 14.5
  • Estimated yearly energy cost is $100
  • Up to 40% More Energy Savings
  • 4 speeds – High/Mid/Low/Sleep
  • Noise levels: 62/59/55/44 dB

2. Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner

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If the LG Dual Inverter Smart Air Conditioner is our pick for the best energy efficient room air conditioner, the Whynter ARC-14S is our recommendation for anyone looking for an energy efficient portable AC.

This is a powerful AC unit that doesn’t have to work as hard as comparable units to keep room up to 500 square feet comfortable all year. In fact, it recently received high ratings from Consumer Reports.

The Whynter ARC-14S has two separate exhaust hoses. One hose draws air in from the outside while the second hose expels warm air and moisture back outside. This helps prevent cool air from being exhausted out of the room—something that can occur with single-hose portable AC units and can ultimately decrease a unit’s cooling efficiency.

Because of their unique exhaust configurations, dual-hose portable air conditioners are said to cool faster and more efficiently than their single-hose counterparts.

In all portable units with dual-hose configuration, the Whynter ARC-14S is one of the most energy efficient AC units, as well as one of the fastest-cooling units you can buy. It’s not one of the quietest portable air conditioners, but it’s reasonably quiet. You hear the fan running, but not extra loud – just as most portable air conditioners!

Some A/C Energy Saving Tips

Using an energy efficient air conditioner to cool down your space, of course, will reduce your cooling electric bill. However, there are some very simple and effective tips that will help you reduce more cooling bill without sacrificing your comfort.

Use a thermostat

One of the best ways to maximize your energy-efficient air conditioner is to use it with a thermostat.

Set the thermostat to the highest temperature that will still keep you feeling cool. Maintaining a temperature that’s 10 to 15 degrees higher than the one you’re used to for 8 hours should save you up to 10% on your cooling bills every year.

To really help reduce your AC bill, consider a thermostat with a built-in timer, so you’re not only setting the temperature, but setting the hours of operation for maximum energy efficiency.

It makes sense to have a “programmable” or “smart” thermostat that does it for you automatically, this helps you achieve greater energy savings, especially if you’re away from home.

If you’re going to buy a thermostat for your air conditioning system, Honeywell Programmable Thermostats are a very good choice.

Use ceiling fans and ventilation fans

Ceiling fans help circulate cool air all throughout the house, and that means your energy efficient AC doesn’t have to work as hard to pump cool air into the room.

The improved air circulation should also allow you to set your thermostat four degrees higher without reducing your comfort. Ceiling fans use less electricity and they help your AC unit do its job more efficiently.

If you don’t have a ceiling fan, you can use a floor fan such as a tower fan or a pedestal fan. Turn off the fan when you leave the room. Remember that fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect.

When you shower or take a bath, use the bathroom exhaust fan to remove the heat and humidity from your home.

Sleep Mode

Try choosing an energy efficient AC unit with the “Sleep Mode”. During the night you don’t require the same level of conscious cool.

Keep your AC lower during your sleep hours by utilizing the “sleep mode”. It will keep you cool while keeping your energy bill low at night.

Choose an air conditioner with a good dehumidifying function

If you live in a hot and humid area, or if you’re trying to cool down the basement, choose an energy efficient air conditioner with a good dehumidifying capacity.

High humidity levels cannot only cause mold to grow, they also make you feel like a few degrees hotter and make your AC work harder.

Like a basement dehumidifier, a window or portable AC unit with a strong dehumidifier function removes a lot of moistures from the air so it will cool down a room much faster, meaning lower energy costs.

Keep your AC clean

Here’s one more awesome tip to reduce your air conditioning bill over summer. Ensure your AC unit is regularly maintained and that the filter is either replaced or cleaned to maintain optimum efficiency. A dirty filter makes any AC work harder, meaning more electricity and higher energy costs!

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