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:
Our Top Five 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioners
- Midea EasyCool Window Air Conditioner (Our Top Pick)
- TOSOT 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner (Our Budget Pick)
- Friedrich Chill Premier Smart Window Air Conditioner (High-End Pick)
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
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 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.
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.
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!)
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)
1. Midea EasyCool Window Air Conditioner (Top Pick)
The Midea EasyCool AC is our top pick due to its overall good performance at a solid price point.
The Midea EasyCool has 3-in-1 functionality (including dehumidification and fan-only modes) in addition to sleep mode and an ECO Energy Saver mode.
In terms of aesthetics: the EasyCool has a traditional window AC design with LED display and several user-friendly controls on the front panel. It also comes with an easy-to-use remote control for added convenience.
Midea is one of the only manufacturers currently producing the innovative U-shaped ACs. Read on to learn about their latest model!
- ECO energy saver and sleep modes
- Full-feature remote control
- Has a LED digital display panel
- Easy installation (all mounting equipment included)
- Fast and efficient cooling and dehumidifying power
- A short parts warranty period of one year
- Some users reported issues with noise
2. TOSOT 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner (Budget Pick)
If you’re looking for a good AC that won’t break the bank, we recommend the 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner by TOSOT. It has several great features at a more modest price point.
This Energy-Star rated unit has a 3-speed fan blower and 4-way air direction control to give you complete control over the airflow in your room.
This AC comes includes a dehumidifier and a 24-hour programmable timer.
It also comes with a digital remote control. What sets this unit apart is that the temperature for the AC is located not on the AC itself, but on the remote! The benefit is that the AC operates based on where you’re located, not where the AC is (especially helpful for large rooms!)
Finally, it has a filter alert helps you know when your filter needs cleaned.
- High energy efficiency of 12.1 energy efficiency ratio (EER)
- Has a 3-speeds fan and 4-way direction control
- A 24-hour programmable timer
- Auto mode and sleep mode
- Digital remote control
- Louder than comparable units
- Some users reported the lights on the AC were too bright to be used while sleeping
3. Friedrich Chill Premier Smart Window Air Conditioner (High-End Pick)
Our high-end pick is the Premier Smart Window Air Conditioner by Friedrich.
In addition to some of the features our other top picks have, this unit comes with Smart Wi-Fi control including a smartphone app and voice command that syncs up to your Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
It also has a remote control 3 fan speeds, and 8-way airflow control. The AC also has a unique sleep mode, money-saver setting, and a 24-hour timer.
- 3 fan speeds with 8-way airflow control
- The high energy efficiency ratio
- Smart Wi-Fi capability
- Sleep mode and money-saver settings
- 24-hour programmable timer
- Small size
- More expensive than comparable units
Our high-end pick is this 12,000 BTU Window-Mounted Air Conditioner by well-known manufacturer LG. This model has an added heating feature which heats areas up to approximately 450 square feet.
This model has a solid EER (11.3) and a quiet operation of approximately 52 decibels. This AC features a 2-speeds cooling fan, 2-speeds heating fan, 24-hour timer, and digital remote control.
Important Note: Due to the powerful heating feature, this unit must be plugged into a 220-volt outlet
- Has both cooling and heating functions
- The high energy efficiency ratio
- Simple to install
- Low noise level
- Innovative features
- Can only run on its dedicated circuit (220-volt outlet)
The Midea U-shaped Inverter Window Air Conditioner is the latest technology from the same company that brought you the EasyCool window AC listed above.
U-Shape ACs are the future of window ACs; they have numerous benefits and are clearly where the manufacturers are headed. Right now, Midea makes the only 12,000 BTU window air conditioner on the market.
The U-shape cuts down on noise in a big way, which means this unit is up to 9 times quieter than traditional ACs (as low as 42 db!)
Moreover, it’s around 35% more energy efficient compared to other models AND WON THE Energy Star Most Efficient Certification in 2020.
That’s not to mention the modern design and Wi-Fi enabled remote (compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home).
Finally, the design allows you to seamlessly open and close the window while the unit is installed, not something you’ll find in a traditional window AC!
- Innovative design
- Quiet operation
- Supports both Google Assistance and Alexa voice commands
- Fast, efficient cooling
- 35% energy-saving capabilities
- The installation can be tricky
- On the more expensive side
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?