Most and Least Reliable Room Air Conditioner Brands

Among members with room air conditioners, 72 percent own window units. And many say they’re likely to replace it with another window unit when it’s time for a new one. One in 5 members plan to upgrade to central air conditioning or a split-ductless heat pump system. (You can read about both types in our central air conditioner buying guide.)

Almost three-fifths (60 percent) of all room air conditioner purchases made by CR members took place at Amazon, Home Depot, and Lowe’s. Costco has healthy sales of portable air conditioners, accounting for 12 percent of all purchases, but the warehouse club giant accounted for relatively few window unit sales, at only 5 percent.

According to our survey, members paid a median price of $280 for window units and a median price of $407 for portables.

Buying an AC? Below are the top window ACs in the sizes we test—small, medium, and large—and the top-scoring portable ACs. Keep in mind that as a group, portable ACs perform worse in our tests than window units. But not every home can accommodate a window unit and some buildings prohibit them. If a portable AC is your only option, choose one from a highly reliable brand.