Hailey Hudson


By Hailey Hudson


Hailey Hudson is a freelance writer and content marketer whose work has appeared in outlets like Healthline and Runner’s World.

the best energy efficient air conditioner on a blue background

April 14, 2023

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In the market for a new air conditioner? Energy efficiency might not be at the top of your must-have list. But an energy-efficient AC unit can reduce your energy bill while requiring fewer repairs and ultimately boasting a longer life span. And since classic AC units put harmful chemicals into the environment, you’re fighting climate change when you choose to cool your home more sustainability. 

We rounded up the best energy-efficient air conditioners that will keep your home cool without harming the environment as much as traditional units. Take a look at our picks—and, learn from experts about how to choose the right unit for your space, plus why and how AC sucks up so much energy. 

Quick peek at the best energy-efficient air conditioners:

How we picked:

We identified eco-friendly ACs by checking for certifications like EnergyStar. This rating is based on guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EnergyStar air conditioners are guaranteed to be more energy efficient.

A studio apartment will need a different size unit than a three-bedroom house. Most of the units shown here start at 8000 BTU (British thermal units). 8,000 BTU can cover about 200 square feet.

We chose units that keep the volume down so you can sleep and work from home in peace.

The products shown here are fairly easy to install by yourself. And if you’ll want to recruit help, we made a note of it.

Size matters—smaller units are easier to install and leave more space to open the window.

The AC units on our list have a one-year limited warranty, and some also offer a free 30-day trial.

The best energy-efficient air conditioners of 2023:

Best overall: Midea 8000 BTU U-Shaped Air Conditioner MAW08V1QWT


  • Quiet (42 decibels)
  • Patented inverter technology has more than 37% energy saving compared to traditional AC units
  • Easy to open and close your windows
  • Works with smart home devices and has a mobile app


  • Doesn’t make a room ice cold
  • No energy reporting feature

Coverage area: Up to 350 square feet

Size: 21.9” x 19.17” x 13.26”

EnergyStar certified?: Yes

Install yourself?: Yes

Warranty: 1 year limited

The Midea U-Shaped Air Conditioner is EnergyStar certified, works with smart home devices, and runs quietly—in other words, everything you could hope for in the best energy-efficient air conditioner.

The Midea U’s CEER (Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating is 15. This rating measures the ratio of measured cooling output to measured average electrical energy input and measured off-mode power consumption.

Since the unit is U-shaped, it’s easy to install and allows you to still open or close your window. What’s more, the Midea U is the first window air conditioner to receive EnergyStar’s “Most Efficient” rating in 2020, offering more than 35% energy savings compared to traditional air conditioners. And of course, it’ll keep you nice and cool: You can feel the airflow from up to 20 feet away, though some reviewers note that it doesn’t keep rooms as cold as they’d like (normal for an energy-efficient machine).

The Midea U has easy WiFi setup, and you can control it from anywhere using Alexa, Google Assistant, or the MSmartHome app (for iOS and Android). Easily remove and wash the filter when needed.

Who should try it: People looking for something quiet

Who should skip it: People who aren’t used to installing home appliances themselves

Best window: LG 8,000 BTU DUAL Inverter Smart Wi-Fi Enabled Window Air Conditioner


  • Highly energy-efficient (over 40% more energy saving than EnergyStar requirement)
  • Quiet (44-46 decibels)
  • Works with smart home devices and has a mobile app


  • Pricier than similar options
  • No energy reporting feature

Coverage area: Up to 350 square feet

Size: 12.48” x 19.57” 24.53”

EnergyStar certified?: Yes

Install yourself?: Yes

Warranty: 1 year limited

The LG Dual Inverter comes in multiple different BTU models so you can choose the one that works best for the square feet coverage you need. The CEER rating is 15.5 and the unit is EnergyStar certified. This unit can save you approximately $26 per year compared to a non-inverter (the inverter technology helps the unit operate more efficiently).

Control the AC from anywhere using your smartphone, or a smart home device like Alexa. With four cooling and fan speeds and a 24-hour timer, it’s simple to create a cooling schedule that works for you. 

Other features you can enjoy with the LG Dual Inverter include a removable and washable filter; a “check filter” alert; an LCD remote control; and an easy window installation kit. The company also says the unit is as quiet as a library. And if the power goes out, the auto restart feature will automatically turn your unit back on when power is restored.

Who should try it: People who want a smart AC that works with smart home devices

Who should skip it: People on a budget


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Best energy-efficient: GE Profile™ ENERGY STAR® 10,000 BTU Inverter Smart Ultra Quiet Window Air Conditioner


  • More than 44% energy saving than EnergyStar requirement
  • Quiet (40 decibels in “quiet mode”)
  • Works with smart home devices and has a mobile app
  • Reporting feature helps you keep track of your energy use


  • Can be loud on high fan mode (54-65 decibels)

Coverage area: Up to 450 square feet

Size: 13.9” x 20.5” x 19.9”

EnergyStar certified?: Yes

Install yourself?: Yes

Warranty: 1 year limited

The GE Ultra Quiet Window Air Conditioner is hard to beat on energy efficiency. While it’s a little more expensive than similar products, the savings make it worth it: With a 15.7 CEER rating, this unit produces 44% more energy efficiency. The inverter technology helps maximize energy efficiency while also reducing noise.

Similar to other units, the GE has built-in WiFi and a mobile app, letting you control temps from wherever you are. It also works with smart home voice controls like Alexa. And one area where it beats out competitors is the energy reporting feature, which monitors your energy consumption and reports how much you’ve used so you can adjust where needed.

Eco Mode senses when the room is cool enough and automatically turns off the fan and compressor. The GE is also equipped with a sophisticated geofence technology that tracks your location using your smartphone and adjusts the AC settings for when you’re home. The unit comes with a total of three cooling settings and fan speeds.

Who should try it: People with a larger space to cool; people looking to reduce their energy use

Who should skip it: People shopping for a small room—this can be overkill

Best budget: Frigidaire 8,000 BTU 115-Volt Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner FFRE083WAE


  • Affordable
  • Easy to clean
  • Adjusts to fit your window


  • No smart home options
  • Louder than comparable products (59 decibels)

Coverage area: Up to 350 square feet

Size: 13.22” x 18.5” x 16”

EnergyStar certified?: Yes

Install yourself?: Yes

Warranty: 1 year limited

This Frigidaire air conditioner is a more affordable choice for those looking to stay cool without breaking the bank. The lower cost does mean sacrificing some of the more sophisticated features of other AC units on our list (like WiFi and smart home tracking). But this option still includes all of the basics you need. 

The AC unit has three different fan speeds and a programmable 24-hour timer, allowing you to customize your schedule. The unit will maintain the preset room temperature and also includes a Sleep Mode that slowly increases the temperature in the evening to save energy. While its CEER rating is just 12, it’s still EnergyStar certified and includes several features that make it easy to run in an energy-efficient way. 

Who should try it: People who don’t need a smart AC

Who should skip it: People who work from home (this is a noisier option)


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Best design: The Windmill AC


  • Elegant design
  • Easy to install
  • Works with smart home devices and has a mobile app

Coverage area: Up to 350 square feet

Size: 13.2” x 19.3” x 19.4”

EnergyStar certified?: Yes

Install yourself?: May need help

Warranty: One year limited (30-day free return)

The Windmill AC is committed to doing what’s right for the environment. This unit uses a responsible, eco-friendly refrigerant (R32) with 68% less global warming potential than what’s commonly used (R410a). Plus, it’s more visually appealing than other products, making it a good fit if you’re trying to keep a room cool without messing up the design flow.

Like other units, the Windmill is quiet; has app and voice controls, as well as a remote control; and three cooling settings, plus three fan speeds. Double-insulating side panels help with efficiency and cosmetics. Filters are washable and last about three months. The Windmill’s CEER is 11.8.

Who should try it: People who value aesthetics

Who should skip it: People who don’t need a smart AC

Choosing the right air conditioner

Certifications such as EnergyStar and SEER ratings are helpful ways to discern whether the unit you’re considering takes sustainability into account.

“Most AC units use a rating called SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio),” says vice president and chief technology officer at AtmosAir Solutions Tony Abate—a certified indoor environmentalist as designated by the Indoor Air Quality Association and the American Air Quality Council. “The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit is. Most newer-quality AC units are between 13 and 20 SEER.”

Keep in mind, too, that AC units aren’t one-size-fits-all. The “best” unit can vary depending on your household needs. Abate points out that if you’re frequently coming and going, you might benefit from a programmable thermostat to enhance your energy efficiency. “Others with allergies or asthma may benefit from systems that use constant airflow and enhanced air cleaning, like polarized filters and bipolar air ionization, to purify the air.”

And finally, he says, be wary of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant gases. “These gases are greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to climate change. They don’t allow heat to escape from the planet back into space.” Refrigerants like HFCs aren’t doing anything good for Mother Nature—or, eventually, for us. 

Using your unit

Simply purchasing an energy-efficient AC unit isn’t always enough. You also need to run the AC system in a sustainable way. Abate suggests the following tips:

  1. Bring the heat: While the typical range of comfort is between 68 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit, Abate says the most energy-efficient air conditioner temperature is 74 to 78. This allows the AC unit to cycle less and for shorter durations, using less energy.
  2. Adjust automatically: A programmable thermostat makes it easy to adjust temperatures, making it cooler if you’re expecting guests or warmer when the house is empty and there’s no need for the AC to be on full blast.
  3. Change your filter: The filter in your unit should be changed at least once every three months (possibly more often if you live in a dusty area or have pets). A fresh, clean filter helps the AC system operate efficiently. After changing the filter, immediately put the used filter in a bag so you don’t spread contaminants through the house.


Does AC really use a lot of electricity?

According to Abate, the answer is yes. “AC both cools and dehumidifies the air,” he explains. This uses significant energy when compared to other household items, such as lighting. 

Which AC unit is the most energy efficient?

The takeaway

Choosing one of the best energy-efficient air conditioners is an easy way to help the environment while keeping your home cool. If you’re looking to implement more sustainability all year round, take a look at our roundup of the best energy-efficient space heaters.