Best Apartment Air Conditioners For You And Your Tenants

Landlords who manage rental units that don’t have central AC will need to consider if they will provide or permit apartment air conditioners. The best air conditioner for a rental property will attract tenants who want a cool, comfortable home year round, but how do you ensure you can provide that?

Learning about the air conditioners that are best suited for apartments is key. Knowing how to choose the right unit, what type of AC functions best in the space, and how to provide your tenants the same information will help keep everyone happy.

Today’s reviews cover the best apartment air conditioners based on cost, size, efficiency, and other features. Tenants and landlords alike have been impressed by these units.

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Table Of Contents On AC For Apartments

Today, we’ll be covering the best air conditioners for apartments, including a buyer’s guide that can help tenants and landlords find the right unit for their specific needs.

Image Product Features Rating
Midea 8,000 BTU U-Shaped Smart Inverter Window Air Conditioner Midea 8,000 BTU U-Shaped Smart Inverter Window Air Conditioner

(Best Overall)

  • Ultra-quiet when running
  • Incredible energy savings
  • Smart control options
Frigidaire Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner, 5,000 BTU Frigidaire Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner, 5,000 BTU

(Best Budget)

  • Includes adjustable side panels for perfect fit
  • Easy-to-program timer
  • Energy Star certified
BLACK+DECKER 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control BLACK+DECKER 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control
  • Compact and fits into small rooms with ease
  •  Easy to set up
  •  Great user control

Review Of The Best Air Conditioners For Rental Property

1. Midea 8,000 BTU U-Shaped Smart Inverter Window Air Conditioner

Midea 8,000 BTU U-Shaped Smart Inverter Window Air Conditioner


The Midea 8,000 BTU U-Shaped Smart Inverter Window Air Conditioner is a lightweight, ultraquiet unit with a lot of flexibility. The 8,000 BTU rating makes it a good option for areas up to 400 square feet.

Key Features 

  •  Ultra-quiet
  •  Incredible energy savings
  •  Smart control options

This Midea AC runs very quietly compared to similar units. While you can still hear it operating, it won’t inconvenience your daily tasks (or drown out TV). It can run at a sound level as low as 42 dBA thanks to the U-shaped design and high efficiency.

This Midea model has gained an Energy Star certification for its incredible energy savings. It uses up to 35 percent less energy than comparable units while still functioning very well and keeping things consistently cool.

The AC unit is wi-fi enabled and can be controlled using an app on your phone. Additionally, the unit can be synced with voice-control systems such as Alexa or Google Home.


  • Long-distance airflow keeps cool air moving consistently
  • First window air conditioner to receive Energy Star “Most Efficient” certification
  • Installation easy to do and suitable for multiple window types


  • Brackets may not fill entire window space, which is easily remedied with insulation tape
  • Blinds and shades need to be adjusted to fit over the air conditioner, a common issue with window units
  • Smart app doesn’t pair with all devices, but the unit still easily controlled with user-friendly buttons

Overall, the Midea U-Shaped Air Conditioning Window Unit is a fantastic, efficient option for tenants who will enjoy being able to use their window while also having an AC unit in it when needed.

2. Frigidaire Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner, 5,000 BTU

Frigidaire Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner, 5,000 BTU


The Frigidaire Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner, 5,000 BTU is a very common size and option for landlords due to its price and ease of use, but it has even more to offer when taking a close look at the features.

Key Features 

  • Includes adjustable side panels for a perfect fit
  • Easy-to-program timer
  • Energy Star certified

This Frigidaire window-mounted air conditioner is a great option for landlords and tenants who want a small, affordable unit that fits any room. The adjustable side panels make it easy to accommodate lots of different window sizes.

The easy-to-program timer is incredibly helpful to renters who may want to control when the air conditioning comes on and shuts off, allowing their home to start cooling down as they head back from work at the end of a hot day.

Finally, the unit has great efficiency ratings from Energy Star. It will keep those electricity bills down without the tenant having to work hard at finding the optimal operating conditions.


  • Low running cost
  • Doesn’t cycle between on and off too frequently
  • Affordable and efficient


  • 5,000 BTU unit best suited to small bedrooms under 300 square feet
  • No drip holes; intentional design as it reserves condensation to cool the unit
  • AC remote has no backlight but is very user-friendly

This Frigidaire unit is the top budget option on today’s best air conditioner list, not only for its great price but also because it’s very efficient, which keeps your electric bill from running too high.

3. BLACK+DECKER 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner With Remote Control

BLACK+DECKER 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control


Next is the BLACK+DECKER 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control. This option is great for those who aren’t able to install a window unit or want the mobility of being able to move the AC to where it’s most needed in the apartment at any time.

Key Features 

  •  Standing AC unit is compact and fits into small rooms with ease
  •  Easy to set up
  •  Great user control

This portable, standing unit is a great choice for those who want to be able to have AC without needing to install it in a window. As window units aren’t possible in all apartments, this makes it a great option in those cases.

And the setup is easy. There’s no bracket to mount, but there is a small hose adapter included. Simply wheeling the unit into place and setting the adapter will have it running in no time.

Between the top-mounted LED display and the remote, it’s very simple to program this unit. I can be programmed within a 24-hour time frame to run exactly when and how you want it to.


  • Simple, portable design makes the unit easy to clean
  • Handles cooling, ventilation, and dehumidifying all in one unit
  • Cools small rooms up to 200 square feet


  •  Hose adapter is bulky but necessary; once in place it’s easy to adjust
  •  Dehumidifier limited in capacity but can be easily emptied
  •  LED display on unit very bright, which is key for easy viewing at night

This Black-and-Decker unit is a great choice for those who aren’t comfortable with or able to bracket mount a window unit but still want to cool a small space with ease and efficiency.

Buyers Guide For Best Air Conditioner For Rental Property

When choosing the right air conditioner for a rental property, there are a number of important considerations. The most vital factors are going to be the type of unit and the amount of space that needs to be cooled.

Let’s take a closer look at everything buyers should look for when choosing the right apartment air conditioning.

Apartment Square Footage

First, calculate the square footage of the space that needs to be cooled. This number is essential in ensuring that the AC capacity will be appropriate. You’ll also want to consider if the space dictates multiple units due to layout or other factors that may prevent even cooling.

All AC units that you consider should have a recommended square footage they can effectively cool. Make sure you choose a unit that aligns with the size of the apartment.

Unit Cooling Capacity (BTUs)

Air conditioner power is typically measured in BTUs, also known as British Thermal Units. BTU determines how powerful the unit is in the balance of heating and cooling. AC units with higher BTU ratings will be more powerful; these units will be stronger and better able to cool large spaces.

The unit in an apartment should have 20 BTU per square foot. In other words, a 200-square-foot room or apartment is best cooled by a unit with a minimum of 4000 BTU (200 ft x 20 BTU). This same calculation can be applied to rentals of any size. You can use an AC unit with lower BTU, but remember that it may not work as well or efficiently.

Type Of AC Unit

Another thing to consider is the type of air conditioner that will suit the space. From layout to size, not all apartments will match all AC units or vice versa. Rentals without adequate windows, for example, will need portable or mini split AC units. Apartments with the right-sized windows can handle window AC units, but the space still may be better suited to a ductless mini-split option.

Consider the layout and size of the space before finalizing what type of unit you purchase


Of course, the cost of a particular AC unit is going to be a factor in choosing which one to invest in. Balancing your budget while choosing a unit that will last for years to come is key. You want to ensure the air conditioner is powerful, reliable, and durable without breaking the bank.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is important, too, especially for whoever is paying the electric bill. Units that are more efficient will cost less to run and keep units cooler. The higher the rating, the more efficient the unit. Make sure to choose the most energy efficient unit possible to keep costs down while keeping the temperature down at the same time.

Bonus Features

Finally, consider any bonus features that tenants might love to see in the space. Smart AC units that learn your preferred cooling patterns and those that can be controlled from your cell phone are particularly popular with modern renters. Consider your ideal tenant and what they would expect to see from their AC unit when choosing the best fit.

FAQs: Apartment Air Conditioning

How do apartment window AC units work?

Window AC units work by intaking outside air, cooling it over an evaporator coil, and then pushing the cold air inside. Simultaneously, hot and humid air from inside is pulled into the unit and either cooled or released to the outdoors. The exact function will depend on the type of unit, but most work by these general guidelines.

How much does it cost to cool an apartment?

On average, it costs between $0.06 and $0.88 per hour to run an AC unit. The exact cost depends on how strong the air conditioner is and what power rating it has. Additionally, the efficiency of the unit and the cost of electricity in your area will need to be considered in order to estimate the exact cost.

The three main things to consider as you calculate the cost of running a specific air conditioner unit are as follows:

  1. What is the input power (W) of the unit?
  2. How much does electricity cost in your area?
  3. How long is the unit typically running?

By gathering this information, you can use a simple air conditioner calculator to put together the average cost of running an AC unit per hour in a specific location.

What is the best AC temp to save money?

The Department of Energy recommends setting the AC to 78 degrees Fahrenheit to keep the space cool while also saving money. While this might take some getting used to if you are typically setting your thermostat to a lower temperature, most people find it to be a good indoor temperature during spring and summer. Ideally, you want to set the temp as high as you are comfortable with, and raise the temperature setting higher whenever you leave the house.

Does switching an AC unit on and off save money?

Some people believe that letting an AC unit run at low speeds rather than turning it on and off saves more money. Others believe you should let AC run as long as needed before turning the unit off. Which opinion is more correct?

The final answer is dependent on the exact AC unit and property, but it is typically best to turn the air conditioner on and off as needed. AC units typically run most efficiently at high speeds. This means that letting the air conditioner run on high for 20 minutes, rather than on low for one hour, to cool down a room is likely to cost less money.

The Best Apartment Air Conditioners: Summary

Among these great apartment air conditioner options, it’s clear that the Midea 8,000 BTU U-Shaped Smart Inverter Window Air Conditioner is the best choice for most landlords and their rental units. It provides great comfort and flexibility in cooling without being expensive to operate, and that’s essential when dealing with AC units in the rental space.