Through the Wall Air Conditioner

Through-the-wall or in-wall air conditioners, as the name suggests, are installed through the wall, saving a lot more living space compared to other types of AC. When choosing an AC unit for your room, one of the first things you must take note of is the right cooling capacity you need. Measured in BTUs, it determines the square footage the unit can effectively cool (or heat). Another important factor to consider is the energy efficiency ratio or EER, as well as the voltage requirements of the unit.

To make the task of choosing an in-wall AC easier for you, we have this list of the top 6 units in the market today. You can take your pick from this list, or use our buying guide to help you choose the best through-the-wall air conditioner for you.

Top 6 Best Through The Wall Air Conditioners in 2021

Best Overall: Koldfront WTC8001W

Koldfront WTC8001W Through the Wall Air Conditioner

Cooling Capacity: 8,000 BTU

Heating Capacity: 4,200 BTU

Coverage Area: 350 sq ft

EER Rating: 10.9

Power, Voltage: 890W, 115V

Dimensions: 20.38 x 24.25 x 14.5 inches

Weight: 65 lbs

Our top pick for in-wall air conditioners is none other than Koldfront WTC8001W. This top-rated unit has 8,000 BTU power to cool spaces up to 350 square feet, perfect for the bedroom, living room, or office. In addition to cooling, it provides supplemental heating with 4,200 BTU output for spaces up to 100 square feet. This unit is also energy efficient with an above average EER rating of 10.9 (or CEER 9.6) and connects to a standard 115V outlet.

Koldfront features easy to use electronic controls with digital thermostat and display as well as an LCD remote control. It maintains the temperature from 62°F (17°C) to 86°F (30°C) with four operation modes and three fan speeds with Auto option. You have the standard Cool mode, where you can set the temperature and fan speed manually; Energy Saving mode, where the fan cycles on for two minutes and will turn the compressor back on if the the room temperature exceeds the set temperature; Dry mode, where the unit runs on low speed to dehumidify the room up to 45 pints per day; and Fan Only and Auto modes. You also have Sleep mode for a quieter operation and less energy consumption when sleeping. The air louvers on the top can be adjusted four ways to direct the airflow.

While the Koldfront WTC8001W is quite easy to install through the wall, you will need to buy a separate sleeve, adding to the initial cost (which in total is still around average for its size). Overall, the Koldfront WTC8001W is the best standard-sized in-wall air conditioner you can find today. It’s efficient and easy to install, and can also provide supplemental heat in the cold months.

Pros
• Top-rated through-the-wall air conditioner
• High energy-efficiency with 10.9 EER rating and 9.6 CEER rating
• 8,000 BTU cooling
• 4,200 BTU supplemental heating
• Koldfront is a reliable HVAC brand
Cons
• Must purchase sleeve for installation separately

Best Budget In-Wall AC Unit: MIDEA MAT08R1ZWT 

MIDEA MAT08R1ZWT Air conditioner

Cooling Capacity: 8,000 BTU

Heating Capacity: n/a

Coverage Area: 350 sq ft

EER Rating: 10.6

Power, Voltage: 754W, 115V

Dimensions: 20.3 x 24.2 x 14.5 inches

Weight: 75.9 lbs

Midea may be a lesser known brand, but its low-cost AC units are considered some of the best and quietest in the industry. With a cooling capacity of 8,000 BTU, the Midea MAT08R1ZWT is the cheapest through-the-wall air conditioner you can get without compromising the quality. It can cover small rooms up to 350 square feet. This AC unit has an EER rating of 10.6, higher than most of our picks, effectively minimizing your electricity costs in the long run.

Midea features easy to use electronic controls, including four operation modes (Auto, Cool, Dry, and Fan), four fan speeds, ECO mode, Timer function and Sleep mode. The air louvers can be adjusted in four ways for your utmost comfort. Also included with the unit is a remote control so you can adjust the settings from anywhere in the room. However, this model doesn’t have a heating function, so it’s strictly for cooling and drying the room during hot and humid summers.

The lack of heating function paired with Midea’s pricing makes this unit the cheapest through-the-wall air conditioner in the market. Although, you’ll also need to purchase the sleeve separately. With the unit’s high energy efficiency, both short term and long term costs are considerably low. So, if you need a cost-effective, energy efficient in-wall air conditioner for a small room, Midea MAT08R1ZWT is probably your best option. 

Pros
• Lowest unit price (below $400 for 8,000 BTU unit)
• High energy-efficiency with EER rating 10.6
• Midea produces some of the best quiet ACs
Cons
• Doesn’t have a heater
• Midea is a smaller brand

Best 12,000 BTU In-Wall AC Unit Frigidaire FFTA123WA1 

Frigidaire FFTA123WA1 Air conditioner

Cooling Capacity: 12,000 BTU

Heating Capacity: n/a

Coverage Area: 550 sq ft

EER Rating: 10.5

Power, Voltage: 1140W, 115V

Dimensions: 20.62 x 24 x 14.5 inches

Weight: 90 lbs

Frigidaire is one of the biggest names in producing high quality HVAC appliances, including in-wall air conditioners. While there aren’t many models available currently, the best unit in the game is the Frigidaire FFTA123WA1. This 12,000 BTU wall-mounted air conditioner is quiet and powerful, with noise levels around 61 decibels. It’s also incredibly energy efficient, with an Energy Star certification and an EER rating of 10.5.

With its powerful cooling capacity, this Frigidaire in-wall AC is capable of cooling down medium to large spaces up to 550 square feet. It features all the standard function modes in most window and wall ACs, including Cool, Dry, Fan, and Auto modes, three fan speeds, as well as the energy-saving Eco mode, Sleep mode, 24-hour On/Off timer, and a Filter reminder. Also included is a remote control with a unique feature that senses the temperature and signals the unit to evenly cool the whole room.

Overall, you can trust that Frigidaire appliances are built with durable materials so your unit can last upward of 10 years, well beyond the standard one-year manufacturer warranty. The drawback is the unit is noticeably heavier than most other units, so installation may not be as easy.

Pros
• Best in-wall air conditioner unit from Frigidaire
• 10.5 EER rating with Energy Star rating
• High 12,000 BTU cooling capacity can cover up to 550 sq ft
• Frigidaire is a reliable brand
Cons
• Sleeve for installation has to be bought separately
• Very heavy at 90 lbs

Premium Option: Friedrich UCT12A10A

Friedrich UCT12A10A Air conditioner

Cooling Capacity: 11,500 BTU

Heating Capacity: n/a

Coverage Area: 550 sq ft

EER Rating: 10.5

Power, Voltage: 1130W, 115V/230V

Dimensions: 20.28 x 24.21 x 14.53 inches

Weight: 75 lbs

Friedrich is another brand for high-end appliances of premium quality, features, and of course, price. This Friedrich Uni-Fit Series through-the-wall AC has 11,500 BTU of cooling power in rooms about 550 square feet large. With a 10.5 EER rating, this Energy Star unit can help reduce energy waste and maintenance costs, thus saving money in the long run. Engineered with advanced technology for quiet operation, this sleek and compact in-wall AC can keep almost any room cool and comfortable. It’s available in 115V or 230V units to fit your home’s circuits.

The Friedrich Uni-Fit comes with the standard Easy to use digital controls with multiple functions and fan settings as well as a 24-hour programmable timer.  What we like about this unit is the built-in Wi-Fi control so you can create schedules, operate the 24-hour timer, turn the unit on or off, or adjust the settings from the Friedrich GO app on your smartphone. You can also use voice commands with Google Home or Alexa to make operation even easier anywhere you are.

Considering its unique features, the unit’s chassis can still fit in a standard 24.5 to 27-inch sleeve, which makes replacing an old unit easy. If you’re installing this as a new unit, you’ll need the Friedrich USC sleeve (sold and shipped separately). Uni-Fit means that the AC is compact and fits more than one sleeve size. It can even fit into a larger sleeve without major gaps using Friedrich’s Universal Fit trim ring that can fill gaps up to one inch on the sides and half inch on the top of the unit. While it’s a great air conditioning unit overall, The higher initial cost is a given. 

Pros
• Large cooling capacity and coverage
• High energy efficiency with 10.5 EER and Energy Star rating
• Uni-Fit design for more convenient installation
• Wi-Fi control and voice commands
• Friedrich is a reliable, high-end brand
Cons
• Higher cost
• No heating function

Best In-Wall AC for Large Rooms: Keystone KSTAT14-2HC 

Keystone KSTAT14-2HC Air conditioner

Cooling Capacity: 14,000 BTU

Heating Capacity: 10,600 BTU

Coverage Area: 700 sq ft

EER Rating: 9.3

Power, Voltage: 1500W, 230V

Dimensions: 20.3 x 24.2 x 14.5 inches

Weight: 78.3 lbs

While most in-wall air conditioners range from 8,000 to 10,000 BTU, larger rooms will need a much larger capacity if you want to cool them efficiently. The Keystone KSTAT14-2HC can deliver an impressive 14,000 BTU of cooling power, enough for spaces between 600 to 700 square feet. Additionally, it provides 10,600 BTU of supplemental heating. This unit plugs into a 230-volt outlet and consumes a maximum of 1500 watts when cooling.

This Keystone air conditioner is designed for easy operation using the electronic controls. It features multiple fan speeds and functions, including Cool, Dry, Fan, and Auto settings, as well as the Energy Saver and Sleep modes, and a 24-hour programmable timer. Also included is a remote control with the “Follow Me” temperature sensor to signal the unit to cool the room evenly.

Choosing a unit with a huge coverage area can mean you only need the one unit for the whole house instead of installing multiple in different areas. If you live in a small house or perhaps an open plan apartment, then the Keystone KSTAT14-2HC may be the only air conditioner (with supplemental heating!) you will need. As an added perk, it also takes less space than other types of AC—you simply need a hole in the wall.

Keystone in general, produces lower priced appliances and this powerhouse of an air conditioner is no exception. The energy efficiency is pretty average. With an EER rating of 9.3, the Keystone KSTAT14-2C is not one of the most efficient options. On the other hand, in-wall ACs of its capacity are quite rare.

Pros
• Largest cooling capacity and coverage up to 700 sq ft
• With 10,600 BTU heating output
• Remote control with “Follow Me” temperature sensor
Cons
• 9.3 EER rating is around average only
• Needs 230V to run

Best In-Wall AC With Heater: LG LT1037HNR

LG LT1037HNR Air conditioner

Cooling Capacity: 10,000 BTU

Heating Capacity: 11,200 BTU

Coverage Area: 450 sq ft

EER Rating: 10.0

Power, Voltage: 1000W, 230V 

Dimensions: 20.09 x 24 x 14.41 inches

Weight: 70 lbs

The LG LT1037HNR in-wall air conditioner is one of its kind. Produced with LG’s expert technology in air conditioning and heating, this is the best in-wall air conditioner with a true heater. It has 10,000 BTU cooling power, enough to cool down rooms up to 450 square feet. What sets apart this unit is the additional heating function capable of providing 11,200 BTU output. 

We’re not talking about supplemental heating like in most other units with this function. The 11,200 BTU heater works like a little furnace so it can warm the room on its own. This is a truly unique feature that makes this LG unit incredibly useful both in the summer and winter. However, to provide this cooling and heating power, it will need a 230V outlet. 

LG LT1037HNR is also energy efficient with a high EER rating of 10 (or a CEER of 9.7) and a 1,000W power consumption when cooling. It features all the standard function modes (in addition to default cooling and heating), removing up to 3.2 pints of moisture from the air per hour to keep the room cool and comfortable. Overall, this unit is the only in-wall AC that provides a true heater for year-round comfort and less energy waste. It can save costs in buying and operating a separate heater unit. Although, this added feature adds to the initial price.

Pros
• In-wall AC unit with a true heater (11,200 BTU heating)
• Energy efficient with a 10 EER rating
• LG is reliable manufacturer of HVAC appliances
Cons
• Higher price due to addition of the heater
• Needs 230V to run

Wall Air Conditioners vs Window Air Conditioners

A through-the-wall air conditioner works just like a window air conditioner, except it’s installed inside a wall and not in a window. It draws hot air from the room through the air intake. Inside the unit, the heat is absorbed by the evaporator coils, then the compressor raises the refrigerant temperature, and finally heat (along with condensate) is transferred out the back of the unit.

Compared to window units, an in-wall AC requires a more complex installation process, especially if you don’t already have a hole in the wall. However, with a wall unit, you have more options for placement. The unit slides into a wall sleeve for a more tight and secure fit. Window ACs, on the other hand, come with window sliders and accordion panels to install in single hung or double hung windows. In-wall units are available in capacities ranging from 8,000 to 18,000 BTU, while window units are available in 5,000 up to 36,000 BTU cooling capacity.

Through the Wall Air Conditioner Pros and Cons

Since through-the-wall air conditioners have a lot of similarities with window units, here are a few advantages in installing an air conditioner in-wall over other types.

Firstly, with an in-wall unit, you save a lot more space. You won’t have to sacrifice a window in your room and you can still enjoy the views and open your window to get fresh air any time. These units fit snugly into a sleeve inside your wall, which prevents unwanted drafts from creeping in.

In contrast, a window-mounted air conditioner can easily be dislodged and pushed inside the house, making it easier for a burglar to break in. Wall units are safer because they’re secured tight. And even if the unit was pushed through, it would still be hard for the average size person to fit through the sleeve hole.

It’s a given that wall-mounted air conditioners are much more efficient than central air conditioners, but they’re also more efficient than window units because they have a tighter seal around the unit which prevents cold air from escaping. In addition, they are typically quieter because walls reduce noises more than windows

On the other hand, some disadvantages to using an in-wall AC is the harder and more costly installation process. While most window units include a window installation kit, wall units may add extra cost for the wall sleeve and trim kit, increasing the costs by $200 to $500, plus professional installation, if necessary.

As you may have noticed, there are also fewer through-the-wall AC models to choose from. And once installed, they may be harder to remove for maintenance or repairs.

Wall Air Conditioner Brands

The best guarantee for reliability is a well-known brand with a good track record. For air conditioning units, Koldfront, Frigidaire, LG, Friedrich are the bigger brands with a good reputation and history in providing reliable products.

Koldfront through-the-wall air conditioners are best-sellers on various online sites. They range from 8,000 to 14,000 BTUs. Aside from the proven reliability, Koldfront ACs are some of the most affordable through the wall units. Some even include a wall sleeve for convenience. 

Frigidaire and LG are both higher end manufacturers of a wide range of home appliances, from refrigerators, dehumidifiers, and all types of air conditioners. Their in-wall AC lines range from 8,000 to 14,000 BTU capacity. They have models with cooling only and supplemental heat available. 

Friedrich is another premium quality appliance brand. They produce high-end air conditioners of different types. The Uni-Fit line of in-wall ACs is sized to fit into universal wall sleeve sizes for easy installation. Smaller brands that make top-rated in-wall air conditioners are Midea and Keystone.

How to Size a Wall Air Conditioner

Even the best through the wall air conditioner will not work efficiently if it’s not the right size for the room you want to cool. Since this type of AC is typically a permanent cooling/heating solution, you want to make sure you install the correct unit for the room.

An undersized unit will not cool the room as needed, and it will have to run at the highest fan speed and coldest temperature setting to try to cover the entire room, resulting in warm, uneven temperatures on different parts of the room. This is both ineffective and wasteful of energy. Not to mention very loud, which is exactly the thing you want to avoid.

On the other hand, using a wall AC that is bigger than you need may seem like a more effective solution. After all, it can cool the same room much faster at a lower fan setting. However, an oversized unit will cycle on and off more frequently, which will increase your electricity bill. At the same time, it won’t remove enough moisture in the air, resulting in a cool and clammy room. 

When choosing an air conditioner, 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 directly related to the BTU capacity of the unit, although the right size you need does not only rely on the area of the room. You must also take note of the temperature outside, whether the room is shaded or under direct sunlight. The number of occupants and the type of activities in the room will also contribute to the amount of heat your air conditioner will need to handle.

What to Consider When Choosing a Wall Air Conditioner

Coverage Area

An air conditioner’s capacity to cool (or heat) a given square footage area is measured in BTU or British Thermal Units. Formally, BTU is defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by 1°F. Or when talking about air conditioners, it 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, an 8,000 BTU unit can do 350 to 400 square feet, a 10,000 BTU unit can cool 450 to 500 square feet, and so on. As you can guess, a lower BTU often equates to more silent operation and less power usage. One BTU per hour is equivalent to 0.293 Watts, but your actual electricity cost will still depend on other factors, including the efficiency of the unit.

Energy Efficiency Rating

The Energy Efficiency Ratio or EER refers to the ratio of the cooling power (in BTU) compared to the required energy (in Watts) to power the air conditioner. For example, a 10,000 BTU unit that uses 1000W has an EER rating of 10,000 / 1,000 = 10.

A higher EER means higher energy efficiency. For in-wall ACs, an EER of around 10 or more is considered energy efficient. Although, note that EER is calculated using these conditions: 95F outdoor temperature, 80F indoor temperature, and 50% relative humidity. The actual efficiency of your unit may vary depending on the climate and seasons (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER).

Heating

Some through the wall air conditioners also provide heating power for year-round use. The heater installed in the wall AC units can provide supplemental heating (low BTU like the Koldfront WTC8001W) or can be used as a stand-alone heat pump (high BTU like the LG LT1037HNR).

Noise Level

Wall mounted AC units, like the window type, can be very noisy, although typically not as much as portable air conditioners. The most quiet thru-the-wall units produce noises around 56 to 60 decibels on low setting. The compressor is usually the noisiest part of an air conditioner, especially when it’s powering up at the start of a cycle. Although, compared to most window AC units, wall air conditioners may be a little quieter.

Voltage

Verify that your home’s electrical system can meet the unit’s power requirements. Room units operate on 115-volt or 230-volt circuits. The standard household receptacle is a connection for a 115-volt branch circuit. Large room units rated at 115 volts may require a dedicated circuit and room units rated at 230 volts may require a special circuit.

Conclusion

Through-the-wall air conditioners are more convenient than other types of AC in the sense that they save space and don’t take up your window. Just like most any appliance, it will not work efficiently if you don’t use the correct size for the room you want to cool. It can provide both cooling and heating solutions so consider your options carefully before making a purchase. Also look at the additional features the unit offers, including multiple function modes and fan speeds, as well as a programmable timer. Choose from our top picks or refer to our buying guide to help you choose the best through-the-wall air conditioner.

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