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Best Window Air Conditioner With Heat in 2021

If you’re considering an investment in powerful cooling and heating for a single room in your home, a Window Air Conditioner With Heat might just be the solution you’re looking for.

The first domestic room cooling appliance was sold by Frigidaire in 1929 before the first truly window-mounted air conditioner that resembles what we use today was developed and marketed in 1932 as the Thorne Room Air Conditioner. 

During the 1950s, and post-WWII, Americans were suddenly earning more and more disposable income. As a result, there was a boom in the development and sale of household appliances such as the refrigerator, gas stove, washing machines, microwaves, and- of course, the window air con unit.

By the 1970s, owning an air conditioner had become something of a status symbol and window air conditioners became popular, as they are today, for their affordability, easy installation, and ability to be used as a heat pump during the cold winter months. 

I’ve worked in the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) industry for over a decade, working with thousands of customers, and hundreds of different models of AC units. I’ve seen the positive impact the best window air conditioners can have on the everyday life of entire families, all year round. 

You can trust in my expertise, experience, and dedication to finding you and your home the best window air conditioner with heat in 2021.

Window Air Conditioner With Heat: Pros & Unique Features
Ideal to cool or heat a smaller room in your homes such as a bedroom or office
Quick and easy to install
Variable fan speed for accurate temperature control
Inexpensive upfront costs
Can be used as a heat pump- heats your home during the winter and cools it down during the summer
Small and unobtrusive designs
Innovative features for smart temperature settings control
Most come with remote control and smart features
Window Air Conditioner With Heat: Cons
Unsuitable for cooling multiple rooms at once
Most units only work on double-hung windows
Not expected to last longer than around 8 to 10 years
Not the best warranties, usually limited to only 1-year

Window Air Conditioner With Heat Buying Guide

The best window air conditioner with heat is one that can keep you and your family comfortable all year round, cooling in the summer and heating in the winter. There are some important factors to consider when picking out the AC unit best suited to your needs, and I’ve listed these below.

Heating Capability

One of a window air conditioner’s biggest advantages is that you don’t need to worry about purchasing separate AC units and heaters that will only end up being locked in a store cupboard for 6 months of the year anyway- so more bringing out the fan in summer and the space heaters during the winter!

Air conditioners with heat are also sometimes known as portable heat pumps and during the cold winter they work in the same way as regular heat pump air con does- but in reverse

When used as air conditioning in the summer, warm indoor air is pulled into the unit and passed over the internal evaporator which acts as a refrigerant coil. This cooled air is then circulated back into the room, and the condenser ejects the heat from the absorbed air into the outdoor atmosphere.

In winter, the positions of the condenser and evaporator are reversed, so the condenser moves indoors and the evaporator is outside. The unit now acts as a heat pump– absorbing heat from the outdoors even when it’s very cold since the refrigerant used is usually even colder.

Unit Heating And Cooling Capacity

Understanding the right capacity size for you and your home is an important first step when purchasing your window AC. It needs to be large enough to provide adequate cooling and heat to keep you comfortable, but an oversized unit will leave you too hot or too cold while wasting energy and adding unnecessary costs to your energy bills. Why pay for what you don’t need?

First, measure the dimensions of the room that you wish to control the temperature within, and multiply its length by its width. For instance, if the room in question is 18.7ft long by 18.7ft wide, it will be roughly 350 square feet. You can then use this number to work out the British Thermal Unit (BTU) rating you’ll need from your prospective AC unit. 

The BTU rating of a unit represents the area is square feet that the unit is suitable to heat or cool. When considering that around 20BTU equals 1 sq ft of heating and cooling capacity, these are the average ranges that you should bear in mind depending on your room size:

5,000 BTU to 8,000 BTUs– Suitable for rooms between 150 and 350 square feet. They’re usually the smallest and cheapest window units and will work in an office or single bedroom just fine.

8,000 BTUs to 12,000 BTUs- Designed for use in areas between 350 and 550 square feet. This makes them suitable for bedrooms, living rooms, and dining areas.

12,000 BTUs to 18,500 BTUs- These larger, more expensive units can handle temperature control in a garage, large living room, or even an entire studio apartment, sized between 600 and 1,000 sq ft.

You should also consider how much direct sunlight the room receives, how well insulated it is during winter, and the type of climate you reside in. You may be able to get a window unit with 5-10% less BTU in a shady room, or you may need to increase it if your room is particularly chilly during the colder months. This handy BTU calculator considers all these factors.

Energy Efficiency Rating

How efficient a window AC unit is at turning consumed energy into the hot and cold air is measured by its Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) rating. This differs slightly from the Season Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating that is used when measuring central air conditioners and heat pumps. 

The main difference is that the SEER accounts for how energy efficient the unit is during the whole season at different temperatures, and also accounts for when the unit is switched on and off. Since window AC units are designed to be safely used at a steady capacity without being turned off, the EER measures energy efficiency at one temperature.

The best window air conditioners will have a higher EER rating, meaning they’ll use energy more efficiently and save money off your seasonal energy bills. They may also be certified by Energy Star for meeting the strict criteria set by the US Environmental Protection Agency for gauging how energy efficient an appliance is.

Unit Dimensions

The window AC unit’s comparatively small physical size makes them ideal for placing in a single room. However, you’ll still need to consider the dimensions of any window AC unit and whether this will align with the size of the window you intend to install it in.

Most modern window AC units are designed with aesthetics in mind, and rival companies do their best to fit the latest and best technology into the smallest package. Even so, some larger BTU window units can look cumbersome and out of place in a small window space.

Window air conditioners are also heavier than, say, a portable air conditioner. Some larger BTU units can weigh between 120 and 140 pounds, so you may need to enlist the help of an extra person to help you move the unit around without also putting your back out!

Window Air Conditioner With Heat Models

Now that you’ve learned what to look out for when looking for a window AC unit, it’s time to look at some specific models. Here are some of the favorites I’ve come across in 2021.

Midea U Inverter Window Air Conditioner 12,000 BTU

Midea U Inverter Window Air Conditioner 12,000 BTU
Editor’s choice
Check price on Amazon
Quiet operation between as low as 42 decibels
Washable and reusable air filter
U-shaped design allows the window to be opened

Midea was established in China in 1968, and now has factories in twelve countries across the world, employing 150,000 people, and boasting total sales revenues of $40.5billion. 

The first thing I noticed after installing this unit (not as easy as other models- the included instructions are vague and downright confusing), is that it’s almost whisper-quiet. 

In fact, it can operate effectively at 42 decibels, which is quieter than some refrigerators! This is impressive for a 12,000 BTU model that can cool and control the temperature in an entire studio apartment. 

The unique U-shaped design is another of the Midea U Inverter’s most appealing features. You can slide your window frame into the middle of the unit, and open and close the window as you please! You’ll also leak out less cool air and leak in less warm-air too. 

The extra unit controls like variable fan speed and different cooling speeds, a 24-hour timer, sleep mode, and eco mode, are all welcome features that give you plenty of personalization options. Plus, you can choose from three fan speeds for maximum comfort. 

The U Inverter was the first window AC unit to be awarded Energy Star certification, with a high EER rating of 15.0. It has to be considered one of the best window AC units on the market today for energy efficiency.

What We Like:

  • First window AC to achieve Energy Star certification
  • Wi-Fi enabled with smart features for wireless temperature settings control
  • Quick cooling speeds
  • Quiet operation between as low as 42 decibels
  • Variable fan speeds
  • Long-distance airflow
  • Washable and reusable air filter
  • U-shaped design allows the window to be opened

What We Don’t Like:

  • Installation is not as easy as other units
  • Some difficulty getting unit to connect to Alexa
  • Included instructions aren’t great

LG LW8016HR 8,000 BTU 115v

LG LW8016HR 8,000 BTU 115v
Runner up
Check price on Amazon
Capacity to heat and cool a medium-sized space up to 550 sq ft
Multiple fan speeds for customizable cooling and heating
Quiet performance at 50 decibels

South Korean brand LG has become one of the most recognizable consumer electronics manufacturers worldwide. They’ve built quality smart TVs, refrigerators, and sound systems for years- but how does one of their most popular window AC’s hold up?

Well, this LG model handles cooling very well, and can easily do in a space of up to 550 sq ft. That’s very impressive given its discreet size and stylish design. And it’s easy to control from an intuitive digital display. 

Unfortunately, this unit’s heating mode lets it down– and quite badly, I have to say. Instead of using a more energy-efficient heat pump to absorb heat from the outside air, this model instead uses heat coils when in supplemental heat mode. The resulting heat just isn’t near enough to heat up the same space it managed to handle the cooling of so well.

If you don’t mind not having the choice of being able to sufficiently heat or cool your home, then this may be one of your best options at the price.  But if you need a unit that will provide a means of heating as well as keeping you cool, you’re best looking elsewhere.

What We Like:

  • Capacity to heat and cool a medium-sized space up to 550 sq ft
  • Multiple fan speeds for customizable cooling and heating
  • Digital display
  • Quiet performance at 50 decibels
  • Auto-restart features
  • Comes in more different BTU sizes than other competitors

What We Don’t Like:

  • Heating uses coils which are less effective and energy-efficient than a heat pump
  • Slower to cool a room than some models
  • Low EER rating

Frigidaire FHWH112WA1- 11000BTU Heat Pump

Frigidaire FHWH112WA1- 11000BTU Heat Pump
Runner up
Check price on Amazon
Washable filter with ‘clean filter’ alerts
Programmable 24-hour timer
Remote control

Frigidaire is an American company as old as the window AC unit itself. Its founders actually invented the first self-contained refrigerator in 1916, and the company is now synonymous with quality commercial home appliances. 

As you’d expect from a brand with such an established reputation, this unit is very good at what it does- turning a cool space into a warm one- and vice-versa. When eco mode is enabled, the unit turns off and on at different intervals, maintaining a constant set room temperature and ensuring energy isn’t wasted while doing so.

A programmable 24-hour timer lets you set your heating and cooling needs around your schedule, and there’s a useful-if a little basic- remote control included so you needn’t leave the comfort of your sofa to adjust temperature and fan settings. Sleep mode ensures super-quiet operation and a steadily and automatically rising temperature throughout the evening.

Physically, it’s a solidly build and nice-looking thing. It can operate effectively to pump heat or cool air into a room of up to 550 square feet, and with a good set of features at this price, I can definitely give it my seal of approval. 

What We Like:

  • Eco mode keeps the room at a set temperature by automatically turning off and on at regular intervals
  • Washable filter with ‘clean filter’ alerts
  • Programmable 24-hour timer
  • Remote control 
  • Sleep mode

What We Don’t Like:

  • Dry mode for dehumidification is not very effective
  • No remote control batteries included

Window Air Conditioner With Heat Prices

Although ACs with heat is almost always cheaper than a central AC unit, their pricing can vary depending on whether your purchase with accessories such as a remote control, or with installation included, and this can vary from seller to seller.
I’ve compiled some of the average prices you can expect to pay for a basic, mid-range, or premium unit, and how much this will cost if you opt for extra features and installation.

Estimated cost Basic Mid-range Premium
Unit only $ $-$$ $$-$$$
Unit and accessories $ $-$$ $$-$$$
Unit, accessories, and installation $-$$ $$ $$-$$$

Who Can Install My Window Air Conditioner With Heat?

One of the most popular benefits of window ACs is that they are regarded as being notably easy to install, especially compared with the process of installing a central air conditioning system. 

Most window AC units operate by using standard 240v mains outlets, and as such, you should not need to enlist the services of an electrician to carry out the installation. Many models also come with a useful installation kit included.

Of course, if you don’t feel confident installing a window unit yourself, or if you have difficulty lifting and moving a heavy unit, then it’s best to use a specialized expert who can put your mind at ease and install your unit efficiently and safely.

You should bear in mind though that installation of a window unit alone can cost between $90 and $200– often much of the cost of the unit itself!

Window Air Conditioner With Heat: Frequently Asked Questions

Can Window AC Be Used As A Heater?

Yes, they can! Window air conditioners with heat can function effectively as both an air conditioner and a heater, so you can cool your room in the summer and heat it during the winter. This eliminates the need to purchase and maintain a separate air conditioner and heater to provide your heating and cooling. 

Which Brand Of Window Air Conditioner Is The Best?

As we’ve already seen, most brands produce and sell window units that have pros for and cons against them, so it’s not easy to pick out a single best window AC unit. 

It mostly comes down to the cooling and heating capacity you need for your home, the dimensions of a unit that your window can accommodate, how energy efficient it is, and your budget.

I’d recommend sticking with some of the best-established and well-known brands such as Frigidaire, LG, Koldfront, and Midea to ensure you get a quality unit. 

Do Window Unit Heaters Work?

Window ACs are one of the best options available for cooling and heating a single room since they are easy to install and have inexpensive upfront costs. They are also more energy-efficient than other similar solutions such as a ceiling fan or portable AC.

However, some units aren’t as effective in heating mode as when they are cooling, so if heating is important to you it’s worth considering alternative options

Can You Leave A Window Air Conditioner On 24/7?

Window air conditioners are designed to be operated 24/7, so it’s perfectly safe to leave your window AC unit on at all times. Window AC units will not suffer from performance issues if you forgot to turn them off since there are no internal components that can overheat or melt

If a window AC unit is left off continuously during especially cold winter months, the coils inside can freeze over. It’s actually beneficial to leave windows air conditioners on and consistently running during these times. 

My Final Thoughts

Window air conditioners are a perfect choice if you’re looking to heat and cool an individual indoor space

They are built to cool the air or used as a heat pump to bring in warmth and are made with heating and cooling capacities of between 5,000 BTU and as high as 25,000 BTU. That’s enough to effectively operate in a space between 150 square feet and 1,500 square feet.

If you want to control the temperature of an entire house, consider the installation of central air conditioning instead. Otherwise, a window AC with heat is a great affordable, easily installed, and energy-efficient option.