Best 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner (2021 Review)

Are you looking for a new 12,000 BTU window air conditioner?

We’ve got you covered! In this proHVACinfo review, we’ll go over the following:

  • What are 12,000 BTU window air conditioners? (How are they different?)
  • Are there different types of 12,000 BTU window air conditioners?
  • How does a 12,000 BTU window air conditioner work?
  • What to look for in the best 12,000 BTU window air conditioner (Don’t buy without considering these 3 things)
  • The best 12,000 BTU window air conditioners (2021 Review)

Before getting into the details, let’s take a quick look at some of our favorite models:

ImageProduct
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Midea EasyCool
  • Efficient Cooling and Dehumidifying
  • Full-Feature Remote Control
  • Eco Energy Saver and Sleep Modes
  • Efficient Cooling and Dehumidifying
  • Full-Feature Remote Control
  • Eco Energy Saver and Sleep Modes
View on Amazon
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Friedrich Chill Premier
  • Wi-Fi Enabled
  • 24-hour Timer
  • Energy Efficient
  • Wi-Fi Enabled
  • 24-hour Timer
  • Energy Efficient
View on Amazon
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TOSOT 12,000 BTU Window AC
  • 3 Fan Speeds
  • Digital Remote
  • Auto mode
  • 3 Fan Speeds
  • Digital Remote
  • Auto mode
View on Amazon
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LG 12,000 BTU Window AC
  • Doubles as a heater
  • Easy Installation
  • Quiet Operation
  • Doubles as a heater
  • Easy Installation
  • Quiet Operation
View on Amazon
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Midea U Inverter Window AC
  • Innovative Design
  • Supports Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
  • Fast Cooling
  • Innovative Design
  • Supports Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
  • Fast Cooling
View on Amazon

What Is a 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner (are they any different)?

A 12,000 BTU window air conditioner simply a subset of window ACs that output 12,000 BTUs of power.

A common term when sizing window ACs is a “ton”, which refers to 12,000 BTUs per hour. So if you’re reading this article, you’re looking for a 1 ton unit.

BTUs (short for “British Thermal Units”) are the standard form of measurement for ACs.

Why do BTUs matter?

BTUs tell you how powerful your AC is, which in turn tells you how large of a room that AC can cool.

If you’re unsure how many BTUs you need, check out this link from energystar.gov which breaks it down by room size and BTUs.

Since you’re looking for a 12,000 BTU window AC, your room should be no bigger than 550 square feet (450 – 550 square feet is the sweet spot for this BTU rating).

Of course, that means a 12,000 BTU AC will also cool a room smaller than 550 square feet.

You might think “Great! I’ll get a 12,000 BTU unit for my smaller room to be sure I’m covered.” You’d be wrong!

Buying a window AC that’s too big is a common purchasing mistake. The reason is twofold:

First, a window AC that’s too big will cool a room too quickly. This might not sound like an issue, but cooling too quickly results in the AC switching off (when the desired temperature is reached) and back on too frequently.

This in turn results in quicker wear and tear on the AC and inefficient electricity consumption.

Both of these are tougher on your wallet!

The second issue is that, with an oversized AC, you lose out on the benefits of moisture control that accompanies window AC usage.

To avoid these problems, it’s important to buy an appropriately sized AC (again, check the link above if you aren’t sure).

One last thing to note: the size recommendations above assume a typical room with an eight foot ceiling.

You’ll have to use some judgment if your room has particularly high ceilings or if it gets extra heat from things like sunlight (like an outdoor sunroom) or from household appliances (like the kitchen).

If the above is true for you, consider sizing up one size.

12,000 BTU ACs are considered mid-sized, so they can be plugged into any standard US outlet as long as that outlet isn’t shared with another major compliance.

Some units have special features (like our LG example below) and have to run on dedicated 230-volt circuits, but that isn’t especially common.

Different Types of 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioners

Once you’ve refined your search down to a 12,000 BTU unit, you’ve already narrowed it down quite a bit!

The main differences among various window ACs that are all 12,000 BTUs will come in terms of their extra features, energy efficiency, noise level, etc.

We go into more detail on each of these considerations below, so read on to find out more!

How Does a 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner Work?

The basic function of 12,000 BTU window ACs is the same as window ACs of any other size. As mentioned above, the main difference is the cooling capacity.

That is to say, the various components are the same as less powerful units, those components are simply more powerful to facilitate the higher cooling capacity.

If you’re interested in specifics, check out this link on how air conditioning works!

What to Look for in the Best 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner

Even after you’ve settled on a 12,000 model, there are a few other factors to consider to make sure you pick the right model. Let’s take a look:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Noise level
  • Features

Energy Efficiency

The energy efficiency of window air conditioners is rated by the aptly-named Energy Efficiency Rating (“EER”). The EER indicates how many BTUs an air conditioner uses per each watt of power. The higher the EER, the more efficient the AC.

Units that meet strict energy efficiency standards earn the Energy Star label, so if you’re an eco-conscious consumer, keep an eye out for that label.

Generally, the 12,000 BTU ACs with the Energy Star rating use about 15% less energy than comparable models without the Energy Star rating (almost all units we reviewed for this article have the Energy Star designation).

Interested in how much you could save? Check out this article on how much it costs to run a window AC!

If the energy efficiency and direct cost savings aren’t motivation enough, depending on your state of residence, you may also get a rebate for purchasing an Energy-Star rated model.

Noise level

Noise is one factor that goes overlooked all too often by first-time buyers.

Nothing makes you question an AC purchase like excessive noise throughout the day (or worse, at night!)

This is especially true if the AC is for an office or bedroom, where quiet is especially important.

All window air conditioners are measured by their decibel (“db”) rating. Generally, window ACs run between 45 – 60db. That’s about the same as a refrigerator hum or a normal conversation between friends.

This link from the CDC can help put the decibel ratings into context.

Be sure to check the decibel rating before buying. Some models (including many we have reviewed below) are known for quiet operation.

Features

There are several extra features that manufacturers of 12,000 BTU window air conditioners include to differentiate their product.

Below are some of the common features you’re likely to come across.

Be sure to keep these in mind when weighing your options.

A programmable timer

A programmable timer or thermostat allows you to tell your AC to turn on or off to maintain a certain temperature.

In addition to seamless comfort, this feature helps you save on electric bills.

Remote control

This simple feature can really make using your AC more convenient (especially if it saves you from having to get out of bed late at night!)

Filter alert

A filter alert or dirty-filter indicator will help you to stay on top of when your air conditioner’s filter needs to be cleaned or replaced (if it’s not reusable).

Now that we’ve gone over some of the common features, let’s review our favorite 12,000 BTU ACs in detail.

Top Five 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioners Reviewed

Final Thoughts on the Best 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner

The best 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner is going to have the right balance of features in an appealing design at an affordable price. What’s your favorite AC unit off the list?

Stephen Marks

Stephen Marks

Stephen is an HVAC and home-repair enthusiast. He's here to answer any of your questions about HVAC!

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Stephen Marks

Stephen Marks

Stephen is an HVAC and home-repair enthusiast. He's here to answer any of your questions about HVAC!

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