As temperatures rise, the first thing that springs to mind is a cool place to unwind. A room air conditioner may be an affordable and efficient alternative to running the central air conditioner in your home if you just need to cool one or two rooms.

You certainly won’t be the only one looking for relief from the heat, and almost 6 million room air conditioners were made available for purchase in 2021, an increase of nearly 10 percent from the year before. This shouldn’t be too shocking, considering that many of us were working from home instead than in a cool office.

Cooling costs make up around 13{ed0550874d9fb5f225901d3b1293f2ee143521819b7531b35439ce9af65052fa} of a normal family’s yearly electrical bill. So, selecting an appropriate unit is essential. If the room is too large, the air conditioner will not be able to effectively chill it. A large one will bring the temperature down so fast that it won’t have time to dry up the area before you step in it. Keep reading to learn about our air conditioner testing and rating procedures, as well as tips for selecting the best room air conditioner for your needs.

What We Look for While Evaluating Air Conditioners

At Consumer Reports, we put window air conditioners through rigorous testing in a laboratory environment. Each of the three window AC models we evaluate has its test area increased or decreased according to the size of the space it is cooling. We start timing how long it takes for the temperature to decrease by 10 degrees after the chamber hits 90 degrees Fahrenheit after we switch on the air conditioner.

Moreover, we test the air conditioner to ensure it maintains the set temperature. Since noisy air conditioners are a possibility, we also measure the decibel output of each model at both the lowest and maximum settings.

Watch out for energy suckers!

The tighter seal you can make around a modern, Energy Star-certified air conditioner, the less electricity it will consume. Buying a new central air conditioner may be a difficult decision for homeowners, especially those who have never searched for HVAC systems before.

Perfect Choices

Make the right choice, and you’ll have a more comfortable home to live in, lower monthly energy bills, and a more reliable cooling system. If you don’t do your research, you might end up paying more to have your cooling system installed, spending more money on energy costs, having to replace your air conditioner earlier than intended, and having your home not be as cool as it could be. Do you want to know where to look for the best option? A central air conditioner is a major investment, so here are four tips to help you make the right decision.

Tune into the Dissonance

In our noise tests, the only discernible noise was the device’s fan on versions rated Excellent and Very Good. A series of tests were run on each of these gadgets to determine how much ambient noise they each generated. Even on the lowest setting, the noise from a “Fair” rated air conditioner is likely to be annoying, and it is certain to drive even the most jaded among us over the edge at the highest.

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