Low Profile Window Air Conditioner

Air conditioners come in a wide range of sizes and styles. Window ACs are probably the most popular options, but bigger units can take up your entire window. If you want to keep using your window with the unit installed, low-profile window air conditioners minimize footprint without compromising the cooling power. In fact, these models are some of the most energy efficient window ACs you can find.

If you’re sick of your AC limiting your window use, then low-profile air conditioners may be best for you. While most of these models are small in capacity, several manufacturers have come up with unique ways to make window ACs as compact and efficient as possible. Besides the profile height, it’s important to look at other AC features such as the coverage area, energy efficiency, and noise levels. 

To give you a better idea, we put together a list of the top 6 low-profile window air conditioners today. You can take your pick from this list or read further to our buying guide to help you choose the best unit yourself.

Top 6 Low Profile Window Air Conditioners

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Dimensions: 13.46 x 19.17 x 21.97 inches
  • Cooling capacity: 12,000 BTU
  • Coverage Area: 550 sq. ft.
View On Amazon →Read Our Review
  • Dimensions: 15 x 18.7 x 28.9 inches
  • Cooling capacity: 8,000 BTU
  • Coverage Area: 375 sq. ft.
View On Amazon →Read Our Review
  • Dimensions: 12.63 x 15.31 x 18.56 inches
  • Cooling capacity: 8,000 BTU
  • Coverage Area: 250-350 sq. ft.
View On Amazon →Read Our Review
  • Dimensions: 12.06 x 16 x 13.19 inches
  • Cooling capacity: 5,000 BTU
  • Coverage Area: 150-250 sq. ft.
View On Amazon →Read Our Review
  • Dimensions: 11.13 x 17.31 x 14.38 inches
  • Cooling capacity: 6,000 BTU
  • Coverage Area: 260 sq. ft.
View On Amazon →Read Our Review
  • Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.3 x 19.4 inches
  • Cooling capacity: 8,300 BTU
  • Coverage Area: 350 sq. ft.
View On Amazon →Read Our Review

Best Low-Profile Window Air Conditioners

Best Overall: Midea U-Shaped Inverter Window Air Conditioner

Midea U-Shaped Inverter Window Air Conditioner

Cooling Capacity: 12,000 BTU

Coverage: 550 sq ft

Profile Height: 13 inches

CEER Rating: 15

Refrigerant: R-32

Min Noise Levels: 42 dB

Other Sizes: 8,000 BTU; 10,000 BTU

Perhaps the best window air conditioner today is the Midea U Inverter model. Among its excellent features that we like is the unique U-shaped design that allows you to open and close your window without the unit getting in the way. While it doesn’t have the lowest profile, at 13 inches high it is considerably smaller than the standard window air conditioner. What’s even better is it’s available in three sizes with exactly the same physical dimensions. This means that while the largest cooling capacity for low-profile ACs from other brands is usually 8,000 BTU, this Midea 12,000 BTU window AC is just as compact as a 6,000 BTU unit.

Due to its design, the window itself acts as a sound dampener by separating the cooling system from the front panel located inside the room. This 12,000 BTU air conditioner is ideal for areas around 450 to 550 square feet. The DC Inverter Technology guarantees higher energy efficiency as well as minimal noise levels. Inverter compressors work by automatically adjusting the unit’s speed to maintain the set temperature without periodically shutting off, thus saving energy and reducing noise. In fact, this unit received the Energy Star Most Efficient 2020 Certification with a CEER of 15.0, saving up to 35% more than other window air conditioners. Furthermore, it produces 42 dB on low settings.

The Midea U Inverter AC features easy to use electronic controls, including four operation modes (Auto, Cool, Dry, and Fan), four fan speeds (Auto, Low, Med, High), an energy-saving ECO mode, as well as a 24-hour timer function and Sleep mode. To top it off, you can connect the unit to your Wi-Fi network to adjust settings and control operation from your mobile phone or tablet using the MideaAir app. You can also pair it with Alexa or Google Home to enable voice commands.

Midea includes a support bracket and a locking mechanism to ensure safety. The U shape requires a window 22 to 36 inches wide with a minimum of 13.75 inches in height. Considering its design, installation can be done in a few easy steps, however, mounting the bracket correctly may be more difficult than the traditional window AC unit. If you’re not too familiar with the brand, you may also want to extend the one-year limited warranty.

Pros
• Unique U-shape design allows user to open window
• Energy Star Most Efficient
• Inverter Technology reduces noise and energy waste
• Wi-Fi and voice controls
• More BTU options with a low profile
Cons
• Difficult installation
• One-year warranty

Runner-up: Soleus Air Saddle AC with Wi-Fi

Soleus Air Saddle AC with Wi-Fi

Cooling Capacity: 8,000 BTU

Coverage: 375 sq ft

Profile Height: 3 inches

CEER Rating: 12.1

Refrigerant R-410A

Min. Noise Levels: 40 dB

Other Sizes: 6,000 BTU (With or Without Wi-Fi)

One of the biggest disadvantages to using a window air conditioner is it blocks the view from your window, or in some cases, prevents you from opening the window at all. To provide a solution, Soleus Air has come up with the first-ever over-the-sill window AC unit. The unit sits over the window sill like a saddle, reducing the unit’s profile down to three inches. This design appears the opposite of the Midea U shape. While this Soleus Air model has the lowest profile, Midea ultimately won our first pick for its better overall design and looks and wider BTU variation.

Soleus Air comes in 6,000 BTU or 8,000 BTU cooling power, with an optional Wi-Fi capability. The 8,000 BTU unit can cover spaces up to 375 square feet. Similar to the Midea U Shape, some benefits that come with this saddle design are the silent operation and high efficiency. The front of the unit and the AC cooling system are separated by the wall, producing noise as low as 40 decibels indoors. With a CEER rating of 12.1 and an Energy Star certification, it ensures up to 15% savings compared to the average window AC.

This unit features digital controls, standard operation modes, and fan speeds as well as an On/Off timer and filter reminder. You can use the onboard controls or the included remote control to change settings or adjust the temperature and timer. Alternatively, at an additional $40 to $60 to the standard model, your unit can also connect to your Wi-Fi to enable smart controls using the Soleus mobile app, or pair with Alexa or Google Home hands-free operation.

The installation process is pretty straightforward. Soleus Air provides a full installation kit, you just need a window 24 to 48 inches wide and at least 16 inches high. When installed, the top of the unit only rises by three inches from your windowsill, allowing full usage of your window. Its design is particularly useful in rooms on the ground level of your house since it minimizes the risk of anyone pushing the unit in and breaking in through your window. However, at over 70 pounds, it usually requires two-person installation. Since the company is pretty small in comparison to most of our picks, customer service may not be the most reliable in case you encounter problems with the unit. 

Pros
• High energy efficiency with 12.1 CEER and Energy Star rating
• Quiet operation down to 40 decibels
• WiFi-enabled models available
• Saddle design enables the full use of your window after installation
Cons
• Not the best customer service
• Only two sizes are available

Most Compact 8,000 BTU Unit: GE AHEK08AC

GE AHEK08AC Air Conditioner

Cooling Capacity: 8,000 BTU

Coverage: 250-350 sq ft

Profile Height: 13 inches

CEER Rating: 11.4

Refrigerant: R-410A

Min. Noise Levels: 57 dB

Other Sizes: 6,000 BTU; 10,000 BTU; 12,000 BTU; 

Starting from this unit, the rest of our picks feature a standard albeit compact design. While most “compact” window ACs come with 5,000 BTU to 6,000 BTU capacity, you’ll find some low profile 8,000 BTU models with height around 13 inches. One such model is the GE AHEK08AC. GE Appliances, formerly owned by General Electric, is a home and kitchen appliance company that manufactures products under several brands. In fact, you’ll find a similar window AC model to this one under a different brand name, particularly, Haier. Although they are essentially the same unit (besides the front panel design), most people may be more confident in a popular and trusted name such as GE.

This GE smart window AC delivers 8,000 BTU cooling power for any space between 250 to 350 square feet. As you can see from the digital controls, it offers three cooling functions and three fan speeds, both with an Auto option to allow the unit to adjust the room conditions accordingly. While it’s not the quietest 8,000 BTU window unit (that title belongs to the Midea U Inverter), it’s still on the quieter side with below 60 dB noise levels. At 190 CFM on low speed, noise levels should be around 57 decibels. However, at the 215 CFM high speed, noise can go up to 60 decibels or higher.

Like most GE air conditioners, this unit is Energy Star certified, with a CEER rating of 11.4. It also features an Energy Saver mode which automatically stops the fan and compressor when the target temperature is achieved. On the control panel you’ll also find the button for Sleep mode as well as a 24-hour timer and filter reminder. Likewise, you can find these controls on your remote, or on your mobile device using the SmartHQ app. Enable the Wi-Fi connectivity and monitor, adjust, or schedule operation on the app, or pair your AC unit with Alexa or Google Assistant.

The unit includes an EZ Mount kit for easy installation in a single or double hung window. Even a lone able-bodied person can install this unit easily. You’ll only need a window at least 13 inches high and 24 inches wide, basic mechanical skills and tools, and the ability to lift 50 pounds. This unit is also available in higher capacities, with equivalently bigger builds but still below 15 inches high.  

Pros
• High energy efficiency with 11.4 CEER and Energy Star rating
• Wi-Fi and voice controls
• Easy installation
• More BTU options with unit height below 15 inches
Cons
• Not the quietest 8,000 BTU model

Best 5,000 BTU Unit: Frigidaire FFRE053WAE

Frigidaire FFRE053WAE Air Conditioner

Cooling Capacity: 5,000 BTU

Coverage: 150-250 sq ft

Profile Height: 12 inches

CEER Rating: 12.1

Refrigerant: R-32

Min. Noise Levels: 50 dB

Other Sizes: 6,000 BTU; 8,000 BTU; 10,000 BTU; 12,000 BTU

Another popular brand of home appliances that many homeowners trust is Frigidaire. They are known for high quality and high efficiency products at the middle to higher end in terms of price. Frigidaire offers a wide variety of window air conditioners with 5,000 BTU up to 25,000 BTU capacity. When talking about low profile window ACs, Frigidaire has a line of compact models (below 15 inch in height) ranging from 5,000 BTU to 12,000 BTU. If you’re installing a window AC in a small room, it only makes sense to choose a space-saving unit with a low profile. Enter Frigidaire’s FFRE053WAE model. 

This compact window-mounted AC stands at around 12 inches high, minimizing the window space it occupies. While most 5,000 BTU units feature mechanical controls, the Frigidaire FFRE053WAE has electronic controls similar to bigger models. The 5,000 BTU cooling power is enough to cover up 150 to 250 square feet, perfect for 10’x15’ to 10’x25’ bedrooms. Like a majority of Frigidaire units, it is also Energy Star certified, with a 12.1 CEER rating. 

Frigidaire features all the standard function modes, including Cool, Dry, Fan, and Auto function, multiple fan speeds, as well as the energy-saving Eco mode, Sleep mode, a 24-hour On/Off timer and a Filter reminder. Also included is a remote control for hassle-free adjustment of settings from across the room, with a remote sensing feature to monitor the temperature from the remote’s location, keeping all areas of the room cool and comfortable. 

It is quiet enough for small rooms, with a minimum 50 dB noise levels on low fan speed (115 CFM) and 57 dB on high speed (140 CFM). However, if you’re a light sleeper, like a few other users, you may find this unit a little loud. To avoid this, if your room area is on the larger side of the range (200 square feet or above), then you might be better off with a 6,000 BTU unit.

Perhaps the best thing about Frigidaire products is the long-term reliability. Frigidaire appliances are built with high quality, durable materials so your unit can last upward of 10 years, well beyond the standard one-year warranty.

Pros
• High energy efficiency with 12.1 CEER and Energy Star rating
• Smallest unit with digital controls
• More BTU options with unit height below 15 inches
• Frigidaire is a reliable appliance brand
Cons
• Can be too loud for its size

Best 6,000 BTU Unit: LG LW6017R

LG LW6017R Window Air Conditioner

Cooling Capacity: 6,000 BTU

Coverage: 260 sq ft

Profile Height: 11 inches

CEER Rating: 11.3 (EER 11.5)

Refrigerant: R-32

Min. Noise Levels: 52 dB

Other Sizes: 5,000 BTU; 8,000 BTU; 10,000 BTU; 12,000 BTU

LG is a well-known manufacturer of home appliances, including window air conditioners available in a wide range of cooling capacity and supplemental heating power. Like the Frigidaire unit above, LG LW6017R further reduces the window space the AC unit takes up. Standing at around 11 inches, this 6,000 BTU model has the lowest profile among standard type window ACs. The clean look makes it a nice addition to your modern minimalist bedroom aesthetics. 

The 6,000 BTU cooling power is enough to cover up to a 260 square feet area, although you may want to keep it down to 200 for optimum performance and noise levels. Like most LG products, the LW6017R window air conditioner has high energy efficiency, with an 11.3 CEER rating and an Energy Star certification. At 520W power consumption, yearly operating costs amount to as low as $51. Furthermore, it’s fairly quiet with noise levels around 52 to 57 decibels, although some users report that it may be louder in actual use.

It features the standard function modes (Cool, Dry, Fan) and fan speeds (Hi, Med, Low), as well as an Energy Saver mode which the unit defaults to when turning on. It maintains the temperature between 60°F (16°C) and 86°F (30°C) and extracts up to 1.8 pints of moisture from the air per hour. You can also find a delay on/off timer and a Clean Filter reminder. Adjust and monitor operation with the electronic controls on the top panel or using the included full function remote control. 

This compact 6,000 BTU window AC fits into any window at least 12 inches high and 21 to 35 inches wide. If you need something a little bigger, LG also offers higher capacity units up to 12,000 BTU, with profiles below 16 inches. 

Pros
• High energy efficiency with 11.3 CEER and Energy Star rating
• Smallest unit with digital controls
• More BTU options with unit height below 15 inches
• LG is a reliable appliance brand
Cons
• Can be too loud for its size

New Low-Profile Unit to Try: Windmill AC

Windmill AC Low Profile Air Conditioner

Cooling Capacity: 8,300 BTU

Coverage: 350 sq ft

Profile Height: 13 inches

CEER Rating: 11.9 (12 EER)

Min. Noise Levels: not indicated

Other Sizes: None

While the rest of our picks come from well-known brands of air conditioners and other appliances, we’re also impressed by this new Windmill air conditioner. It’s so new that in fact, it’s the only product currently offered under the Windmill brand name. It is designed and manufactured by experts in the AC business to provide all the modern features you may need in a window air conditioner, along with excellent customer service. The unit stands at around 13 inches and delivers 8,300 BTU power in spaces up to 320 square feet. 

Gone are the ugly window grates in favor of its more modern look. Upon first look the only part of controls visible is the digital temperature readout. The buttons sit on a recessed area at the top right portion of the panel. The auto-dimming LED display shows you the temperature, mode selection, and WiFi connectivity. You can use the included remote control, the Windmill mobile app, or even Google Assistant and Alexa for voice control. It’s so easy to control your AC unit no matter where you are. This low profile AC is packed with so many features that you’ll be surprised by how affordable it actually is. Also, the 11.9 CEER rating is just 0.1 short from achieving the 12.0 requirement by Energy Star.

The air it blows gets filtered twice, through the antimicrobial mesh filter, then the activated carbon insert for fresher, cleaner air. The top vents blow air up and out into the room instead of at your face. To top things off, the unit is also very easy to install. It fits into a single or double hung window at least 14 inches high and 23 to 37 inches wide. The window kit comes already assembled, but the unit itself is a little heavy so the easy installation process may require more than two people. The biggest (and possibly only) drawback is it’s only available in the one size, 8,300 BTU, at this time. Although, a 6,000 BTU model is currently in the works and should be out in the market soon.

Pros
• Compact, modern design
• High energy efficiency with 11.9 CEER rating
• Wi-Fi and voice controls
• Auto-dimming digital display
• Easy installation
• Great customer service
Cons
• Only one size available
• Smaller brand with few reviews

What Is a Low Profile Window Air Conditioner?

Window air conditioners are great for saving floor space, but they also block your window or prevent its use altogether when installed. If this is a problem for you, then you may find low-profile window ACs extremely useful.

Low-profile window ACs are those below 16 inches in height (or 15 inches if we’re being very particular). They are not that much different from the standard window unit. Aside from saving a few inches of space on your window, these low-profile units can be just as durable, quiet, and energy efficient as any other window AC. In fact, some units (like the Midea U-shape and Soleus Air Saddle ACs) are quieter and more efficient due to the hybrid design, and they even allow full use of the window while the unit is installed. 

However, today most window ACs considered “low profile” are those in the lower range of cooling capacity (5,000 BTU to 8,000 BTU) since they house fewer components inside the unit. In the coming years, though, we can expect more brands to adopt some similar form of the U shape and saddle designs. 

Benefits Of Low-Profile Window Air Conditioners

Firstly, low-profile window ACs are much more compact and portable than a traditional unit. They are lightweight and easy enough for one person to carry. If necessary, you can even move it from window to window easily. For example, you can use the unit in your living space during the day, then take it to your bedroom at night. While it can be a slight nuisance, you can save even more money by purchasing a single unit for use in multiple areas.

While low-profile units still require a window for installation, many of them are designed to allow window use up to a certain degree. This lets in more natural light and allows you to see the view outside. Some units even allow you to open and close your window so you can let fresh air into the room when the AC isn’t in use.

Furthermore, since these models are more lightweight, you can also save on shipping costs and make transporting and installation even easier. Most traditional window ACs require at least two people to properly install the unit, but with a low profile model, most homeowners can install the entire unit, level it, and get it working within a few minutes.

Another important benefit you can get from a low-profile window AC is the higher energy efficiency. It’s a given that they’re more efficient than central air conditioning and more efficient units help lower your monthly bills and reduce energy waste that ultimately harms the environment. Low-profile window ACs are some of the most energy efficient models in the market today. Almost every low profile model is Energy Star certified, with CEER ratings between 11 and 15. With their unique designs, they are also some of the quietest window AC units.

Given the right BTU capacity, you can use low-profile window ACs in every room of the home. They come in a wide range of BTU outputs, so you can ensure you get the right model for your space. Many modern options also allow for mobile app and voice control operations, timers, wireless communications, and other features that make using and operating these machines a breeze.

Finally, compared to standard window units and even most portable AC models, low profile models are cheaper to produce. Because their manufacturing costs are lower, you can see greater savings between $300 and $600 over a similar window AC.

How to Choose a Low Profile Window Air Conditioner

When searching for a low-profile window air conditioner, it may be tempting to choose the smallest you can find. However, there are multiple other factors you must consider to make sure it’s the best unit for the room you want to cool.

Capacity

Just as you would for any other appliance, you want to make sure you get the correct size window air conditioner. Neither an undersized nor oversized unit will be as effective and efficient as you want. 

An undersized unit will not cool the room as needed, and it will have to run at the highest setting to try to cover the entire room, resulting in warm, uneven temperatures. This is both ineffective and wasteful of energy. 

On the other hand, using a bigger unit may seem like a more effective solution because it can cool the same room more quickly at a lower setting. However, the unit will cycle on and off more frequently and it won’t remove enough moisture in the air, resulting in a cool and clammy room. Also, a bigger unit will consume more power and produce higher noise levels.

Coverage Area

When choosing a window AC, you must first know the total area of the room. Manufacturers usually indicate the square footage recommended for each model. The area of coverage is often related to the BTU rating of the unit. BTU or British Thermal Unit is a measure of an air conditioner’s capacity to cool (or heat) a given square footage area. Its formal definition is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by 1°F. When talking about air conditioners, the BTU rating is the amount of heat it can remove from the room in one hour. 

As a rule of thumb, an air conditioner needs at least 20 BTU to cool a square foot area. So, a 6,000 BTU unit can cover around 250 to 300 square feet, an 8,000 BTU unit can cover 350 to 400 square feet, and so on. Although, take note that the right AC size you need does not only rely on the total area of the room. Take note of other factors such as the outdoor temperature, whether the unit is in a shaded area or under direct sunlight, as well as the number of occupants and type of activities performed inside. They can add (or reduce) the amount of heat your air conditioner will need to handle.

Energy Efficiency

Air conditioners can be power-hungry appliances. Energy efficiency is an air conditioner’s ability to use less energy to get the same work done. Greater energy efficiency helps cut down your energy bills and reduce pollution. The Energy Efficiency Ratio or EER refers to the ratio of the cooling power (in BTU/h) compared to the required energy (in Watts) to power the air conditioner. For example, a 6,000 BTU unit that uses 500W has an EER rating of 6,000 / 500 = 12.

A higher EER means higher energy efficiency. For low-profile window ACs, an EER of around 12 or more is considered energy efficient. Additionally, the Department of Energy’s new metric for energy efficiency, the Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio or CEER, is the ratio of measured cooling output (in BTU/h) to power consumption (in Watts) when actively cooling and when the unit is on standby. 

To easily determine an air conditioner’s energy efficiency before you purchase, look for an Energy Star certification. This label is only given to units that meet the EPA’s minimum requirements for energy efficient air conditioners (at least 12.0 CEER rating for low-profile units with louvered sides). Energy efficient ACs can save energy by at least 10% more than the average unit of the same size. See the Energy Star product criteria here for more information.

Noise Levels

Most “quiet” window air conditioners produce noises below 60 dB, but the quietest can go even lower than 50 dB. For comparison, a whisper is around 30 dB, rainfall is around 40 dB, while a normal conversation goes from 50 to 60 dB. In most cases, window air conditioners become noisy due to any or all of the following: a loud compressor, high airflow, or poor insulation.

A regular compressor makes the most noise during the start of its cycle. You’ll hear it kick in with a loud buzzing noise as it turns on to lower the temperature. On the contrary, an inverter compressor does not cycle on and off at the highest capacity, but maintains the lowest speed possible to keep the temperature. This means your air conditioner produces less noise and you also save energy.

The airflow rate (in CFM) is the amount of air the unit can process per minute, and the higher it is the more noise. A higher cooling capacity requires higher airflow to effectively cool the given area, and thus bigger air conditioners (10,000 BTU and above) often produce higher noise levels. Running your unit on a higher fan speed also makes more noise.

Extra Features

Most compact window ACs (5,000 to 6,000 BTU) still use mechanical controls. Look for an air conditioner with digital controls for a more precise setting as opposed to adjustable knobs, so you can simply input the exact temperature you want. Also look at other features the unit offers, including multiple function modes and fan speeds, as well as a programmable timer. This gives you greater control over the unit’s operation and energy use. Most of the units we listed above also include Wi-Fi capabilities so you can control your unit from your mobile device or with voice commands.

Refrigerant

As of 2020, the R-22 refrigerant has been phased out. All refrigerant appliances, including air conditioners now use a more environmentally friendly refrigerant, usually R-410A. You’ll also notice some manufacturers use R-32 in their air conditioners, like Frigidaire and LG. Although both types are rated at 0 ODP on the Ozone Depletion Scale, R-32 has a global warming potential around 30% lower than R-410A. 

Warranty

Finally, you must also consider the warranty included with your window AC. Most manufacturers offer a minimum one-year limited warranty on parts and labor, which you can extend when you register the product. Some may also provide an additional longer warranty for the AC compressor. A longer coverage gives you confidence in the quality of the product and assurance that you can return the unit or request free replacement parts in case any issue occurs. Nevertheless, a one-year warranty from big brands like Frigidaire and LG is better than the same coverage from no-name brands with poor service.

Conclusion

Low profile window air conditioners are great space-savers with multiple other benefits including lower cost, easier installation, and more use for your window. These models are typically small in BTU capacity, so they may not be ideal for some. But they are most useful for many homeowners, especially in smaller homes or apartments. If you’re already decided on buying one for yourself, then our first recommendation, Midea U Inverter, is an excellent choice for its unique design that guarantees higher energy efficiency and quieter operation. But if you think it’s not for you, then you can choose from any of our other picks or use our buying guide to choose your own unit.

Related Articles

Best Dehumidifier for Garage

There are many factors to consider when looking for the best dehumidifier for your garage. This includes the size of your garage, the temperature, and

Read More »

DeLonghi DD70PE Review

When the humidity levels rise, mold inevitably makes an appearance, putting your health in danger. To ensure proper, healthy levels of humidity indoors, you should

Read More »

Indoor Hygrometer

Maintaining an improper humidity level indoors can cause a lot more than structural damage to the building and decay of furniture pieces as it can

Read More »