Window air conditioners can be heavy. The heaviest units weigh over 100 lbs. Just moving them into place is a struggle in itself. To make your life easier, you would, of course, prefer a lightweight window air conditioner, right?
Lighter window air conditioners are easier to carry, easier to install, and in almost all cases, you don’t have to on AC quality by shedding those extra pounds. Swapping heavy steel for durable aluminum should not affect energy efficiency or cooling output, but it will make a window air conditioner a lot lighter.
Here’s the thing:
Same-capacity lightweight window AC units can be up to 30% lighter than the heaviest units. If you make coils out of aluminum rather than copper, you will have 70% lighter coils. Compressor – the heaviest part of window AC units – can be made out of cast steel or aluminum as well.
Example: The lightest hOmeLabs 8,000 BTU you will find in the list below (under #2) weights only 50.12 lbs. The heaviest 8,000 BTU window AC unit weights more than 70 lbs. You can probably carry 50 pounds of weight. 70+ lbs is a stretch even for bigger guys.
Figuring out which are the lightest window air conditioners on the market is quite easy:
Just open specs sheets of 100s of window AC units, check the total weight, put that total weight into a table and rank them from the lightest to the heaviest. Obviously, that can take quite a lot of your time.
To help everybody out, we did exactly that and made a list of the best lightweight window air conditioners on the market. Further on, will find a spec-by-spec comparison table of the lightest 5,000 BTU, 8,000 BTU, 10,000 BTU, and 12,000 BTU window AC units (these are the most popular sizes).
The list is made with one essential thing in mind:
A lower weight of window AC should not affect its performance specs.
That means that we obviously want a lightweight window AC unit but we also want to see high energy efficiency (10+ EER rating), adequate cooling output, and durability. We even went so far as to introduce a new spec – BTUs per lbs – denoting how much cooling power a window AC unit has per pound of weight.
First of all, however, we are going to quickly look at exactly how heavy these window AC units are, what materials make up the lightweight units, and what are the other specs (like EER rating, BTU output, coverage area, price) that you need to check before you buy a light window air conditioner:
How Heavy Are Window AC Units In General?
The lightest window AC unit (#1 Frigidaire Mini-Compact FFRA051WAE) weighs only 35.27 lbs and produces 5,000 BTU of cooling output. The world’s biggest window AC unit – the massive 25,000 BTU KEYSTONE KSTAW25C – weighs 130.1 lbs. As we see, there is quite a lot of range as far as the weight of window air conditioners is concerned.
The fair way of looking at the window AC weight is by capacity. A 5,000 BTU window AC will always be lighter than a 25,000 BTU unit.
Here are the benchmark weights for window AC units with the same capacity (from the lightest units to the heaviest units):
|Window AC Capacity:||Lightest Weight:||Average Weight:||Heaviest Weight:|
|5,000 BTU||35 lbs||40 lbs||45 lbs|
|6,000 BTU||40 lbs||45 lbs||50 lbs|
|8,000 BTU||50 lbs||60 lbs||70 lbs|
|10,000 BTU||55 lbs||65 lbs||75 lbs|
|12,000 BTU||65 lbs||75 lbs||85 lbs|
|15,000 BTU||80 lbs||90 lbs||100 lbs|
|18,000 BTU||100 lbs||115 lbs||130 lbs|
|25,000 BTU||130 lbs||150 lbs||170 lbs|
This is quite a useful table if you want to check if the unit you’re looking at is really lightweight or not. Just check the capacity (Example: 15,000 BTU) and check this table. 100 lbs is quite a lot for a 15,000 BTU window AC unit, especially if you can get one that weighs only 80 lbs.
Now, what exactly is the difference between lightweight and heavyweight window air conditioners? Simple. It’s the materials:
What Materials Are Lightweight Window Air Conditioners Made Out Of?
All window air conditioners must have the basic parts. You can see them all depicted in this diagram of a window AC unit:
Needless to say, the total mass of any window AC unit is the sum of masses of these individual parts. If you can make a lighter version of the compressor, fan, coils, or outer shell, you have a lighter air conditioner.
Example: Hot and cold coils (evaporator and condenser coils) can be made out of either copper, steel, or aluminum. If you check the following metal densities, you can see that copper is the heaviest and aluminum is the lightest:
- Copper density: 8,940 kg/m3 or 558 lb/ft3.
- Steel density: 7,850 kg/m3 or 490 lb/ft3.
- Aluminum density: 2,712 kg/m3 or 169 lb/ft3.
This means that coils made out of aluminum are about 70% lighter than those made out of copper. Even steel coils are 12% lighter than copper ones.
Similarly, compressors can be made out of cast iron (heavy) or aluminum (lighter).
In the list below, you will see that many parts of lightweight window AC units are entirely or partly made out of aluminum.
Low weight is not everything. When checking specs, you have to, in addition to checking the total weight, look out for these specs as well:
Factors Other Than Weight You Should Check
You don’t only want to have a lightweight window AC. You also want an energy-efficient one, quiet and reliable unit, and moderately priced (you should go for price-performance rather than the minimum dollar amount, of course).
Here are 4 factors that the best lightweight window air conditioners have:
- High energy efficiency (EER rating). More energy-efficient units will spend less electricity and can save you $100s if not $1,000s in the 10-15 year lifespan window AC units have. An average window AC has an EER rating of about 10 (this is an Energy Efficiency rating). You should get a 10 EER or higher unit.
- Weight-performance (BTUs per lb). This is a measure of cooling output versus weight. In the comparison table below, you will see how much cooling output the lightweight window AC units can produce. Always shoot for at least 120 BTU/lb. 150 BTU/lb or higher is perfect.
- Noise levels. Window AC units are not as quiet as mini splits, for example. Nonetheless, make sure the max. noise levels AC produces is less than 60 dB. You can also check which window air conditioners are the quietest here.
- Reliability. You want a durable unit. The best data point for ensuring reliability is, believe it or not, the brand. Choosing well-known brands with a good track record is the best guarantee for reliability. Top brands for lightweight window AC units include Frigidaire, LG, hOmeLabs, Black + Decker, Mitsubishi, and so on.
- Price-performance. Window AC units cost anywhere from about $180 to $900. For the lightest window units, you are likely to spend a bit more (but the cost difference is not all that significant). Have in mind that units with higher capacity (BTUs) will cost more; be aware of not only price but price-performance.
With all this in mind, let’s look at the list of the best lightest window air conditioners currently on the market:
4 Best Lightest Window AC Units
1. Lightest Smallest 5000 BTU Window AC: Frigidaire Mini-Compact FFRA051WAE
|Cooling Capacity:||5,000 BTU|
|Coverage Area:||150 – 250 Sq Ft|
|BTU Per Lbs:||142 BTU/Lbs|
|Energy Efficiency:||10.0 EER Rating|
|Dimensions (LxWxH):||15.25 x 16 x 12 Inches|
5,000 BTU are the smallest and lightest window air conditioners. Weight-wise, they range from about 35 lbs to 45 lbs. Frigidaire Mini-Compact FFRA051WAE is the lightest smallest window AC unit on the market with 35.27 lbs.
Pretty much anybody can pick this unit and install it themselves. 5,000 BTU lightweight window units can adequately cool down smaller rooms (from 150 to 250 sq ft). This is a small unit for small rooms.
It has an average energy efficiency for a window AC unit. The EER rating is 10.0; in the perfect world, it would be a bit higher.
Due to the use of lightweight materials, the Frigidaire Mini-Compact FFRA051WAE can produce 142 BTU of cooling output for every pound of weight.
This is also the cheapest lightweight unit on the market. Its price tag is less than $200.
All in all, if you are looking for the absolutely lightest window AC unit, the Frigidaire Mini-Compact FFRA051WAE is it:
2. Lightest 8000 BTU Window AC: hOmeLabs 8,000 BTU
|Cooling Capacity:||8,000 BTU|
|Coverage Area:||Up To 350 Sq Ft|
|BTU Per Lbs:||160 BTU/Lbs|
|Energy Efficiency:||11.9 EER Rating|
|Dimensions (LxWxH):||18.54 x 15.55 x 13.4 Inches|
8,000 BTU window AC units are capable of adequately cooling up to 350 sq ft of space. Weight-wise they are quite interesting. That’s because the lightest 8,000 BTU units weigh a bit more than 50 lbs; you need strong hands to lift them by yourself. The heaviest units, however, weigh about 70 lbs; those are a big struggle to lift by yourself.
That’s why you actually get the most benefit from buying a lightweight 8,000 BTU window AC unit. hOmeLabs 8,000 BTU is the lightest unit on the market with 50.12 lbs in total weight.
On top of that, it’s a superb unit by itself. It has a very high 11.9 EER rating and is thus about 19% more energy efficient than an average-efficiency unit.
With such a low weight, the weight-performance is 160 BTU per lb.
Admittedly, hOmeLabs is not the most well-known brand. However, they focus on price performance. The hOmeLabs 8,000 BTU unit is both durable, has high energy efficiency and it is available for less than $300:
3. Lightest 10,000 BTU Window AC: Frigidaire FFRE103WAE
|Cooling Capacity:||10,000 BTU|
|Coverage Area:||Up To 450 Sq Ft|
|BTU Per Lbs:||175 BTU/Lbs|
|Energy Efficiency:||12.0 EER Rating|
|Dimensions (LxWxH):||21.5 x 19 x 14.5 Inches|
10,000 BTU window units are the most popular. They have up to 450 sq ft coverage area and you can pretty much install them in any room. The question we want to answer here is this:
Can you lift it by yourself?
Frigidaire FFRE103WAE is the lightest 10,000 BTU window air conditioner. It weighs 57.3 lbs. This is something guys with strong hands will be able to lift. 10,000 BTU units, however, can weigh up to 75 lbs as well; those are very difficult to lift by yourself.
All in all, Frigidaire FFRE103WAE is an amazing air conditioner. It has one of the highest energy efficiencies with a 12 EER rating. This yields a weight-performance ratio of an incredible 175 BTU per lb.
The model might be lightweight but it is one of the older models. It also costs about $350 which may be quite a lot but it’s an about average price for a 10,000 BTU window unit:
4. Lightest 12,000 BTU Window AC: BLACK+DECKER BD12WT6
|Cooling Capacity:||12,000 BTU|
|Coverage Area:||Up To 550 Sq Ft|
|BTU Per Lbs:||177 BTU/Lbs|
|Energy Efficiency:||12.0 EER Rating|
|Dimensions (LxWxH):||19 x 21.5 x 14.6 Inches|
BLACK+DECKER BD12WT6 is one of the most reliable 12,000 BTU units (1 ton). It is also the most lightweight window air conditioner of this size. 12,000 BTU is enough cooling capacity to adequately cool spaces up to 550 sq ft.
Weighing only 67.7 lbs, the BLACK+DECKER BD12WT6 has a weight performance of 177 BTU per lbs. This is the highest capacity per pound of weight of all the reviewed window air conditioners.
On top of that, you have an incredibly high 12 EER rating. This will reduce the prices of running the BLACK+DECKER BD12WT6 by about 20% compared to the average-efficiency 12,000 BTU unit. With a below $350 price tag, it is also very moderately priced.
All in all, the BLACK+DECKER BD12WT6 is one of the best lightweight window air conditioners in general:
All in all, you know have a good illustration of how heavy window AC units are. With these picks of lightweight units by capacity, you now have 4 good options for the lightest window air conditioners.