Those window AC units sure are tall, right? They can limit the natural light coming in from the window. Not every window air conditioner has a 16+ inch profile.
The low-profile window air conditioner can shave a few inches of its height dimensions. And those are not even the units with the absolute lowest profile window air conditioners.
How low are actually the low-profile window AC units?
Everything below 16 inches is considered ‘low-profile’. You have quite a few window AC units with 15-inch and 14-inch profiles.
The super low-profile AC units – like the #2 Midea U Inverter and #3 GE Profile PHC06LY on our list below – have the lowest profile for conventional window AC units at about 12.5-13 inches.
That’s a reduction of about 3 inches or 20%; all the parts, from the compressor to the blower and refrigerant lines are squished tightly together.
But it gets better. Much better:
In 2018, Hammacher Schlemmer introduced the revolutionary ‘Over-The-Sill’ design of a window air conditioner. The now-famous Soleus Air Exclusive window AC unit has broken all the low-profile records. How far below 12.5 inches did it go?
Down to 3 inches.
That’s not a typo. Soleus Air Exclusive rises only 3 inches over the window sill. That’s an 80% reduction in window AC profile. It leaves all the low profile window air conditioners with 10-inch+ height in the dust:
This type of remarkably low-profile AC window unit is only possible due to over the sill design:
The air conditioner doesn’t sit on the window sill. It sits over the window sill:
As you will see in the comparison of the best 3 low-profile window air conditioners, the bulk of the #1 Soleus Air Exclusive is not on top of the window sill. Rather, the compressor, blower, refrigerant lines are position parallel to the wall.
To illustrate the difference, you can skip to the comparison of the low-profile window AC units, featuring the #1 Soleus Air Exclusive, #2 Midea U Inverter, and #3 GE Profile PHC06LY. These are 3 window AC units with the absolute lowest profile currently on the market:
For everybody who is buying a low-profile window AC or any other type of AC, let’s go through a very short intro to:
- Properly sizing low-profile window AC units (BTU output and recommended square footage).
- Energy-efficiency of low-profile air conditioners (determined by EER, and the new CEER rating).
Those are two metrics/specifications you should always check when buying any kind of air conditioner. Let’s start with the capacity and coverage area:
Low-Profile Window AC Unit Capacity (BTUs) And Coverage Area (Sq Ft): How Big A Unit You Need?
Obviously, you need to right the right side of a low-profile window air conditioner for your room. The main thing that you want to avoid is buying a unit that won’t have sufficient capacity to adequately reduce the indoor room temperature during the summer.
Low-profile window air conditioners generate anywhere from 6,000 BTU to 12,000 BTU of cooling effect. That is enough to cool down rooms from 300 sq ft to about 550 sq ft.
Midea – a company that designed the #2 Midea U Inverter unit – includes this photo for window AC unit sizing:
As you can see, here are the rough coverage area estimates for low-profile units:
- 6,000 BTU low-profile window AC unit room size is up to 300 sq ft.
- 8,000 BTU low-profile window AC unit room size is up to 350 sq ft.
- 10,000 BTU low-profile window AC unit room size is up to 450 sq ft.
- 12,000 BTU low-profile window AC unit room size is up to 550 sq ft.
As a general rule, EPA recommends that for every 1 sq ft of living area, you should get add 20 BTU. You can more accurately determine how many BTU air conditioners you need using this calculator.
What happens if you have a bigger space to cool down?
Example: “I have a 700 sq ft space I want to cool down with a low-profile window air conditioner. Which one should I get?”
Solution: Low profile units have, on average, smaller capacities. If you have a bigger 700 sq ft space to cool down, you should buy 2 units. 2 #1 Soleus Air Exclusive 8,000 BTU units have a combined cooling output of 16,000 BTU and can cool down areas up to 750 sq ft. They will do a good job cooling down 700 sq ft space.
How Energy-Efficient Are Low-Profile Window AC Units? (In Short, Very Efficient)
Most people who are buying an air conditioner first look at the price of the unit. That’s only natural. However, a smart consumer first looks at the energy-efficiency ratings, such as EER and CEER.
After 10 years, the price of the low-profile window unit will be lower than the electricity that the unit spent. Where you can generate the biggest savings is not by choosing a cheaper unit but by choosing an energy-efficient one.
Fortunately, all low-profile window AC units have been designed in recent years. That means they have:
- Most of the modern energy-efficiency boosters.
- Energy-efficient compressors (even inverter compressors).
- Silent overall operation.
As such, #1 Soleus Air Exclusive and especially #2 Midea U Inverter units can have at least 30% higher energy efficiency than standard units. While most units have a combined energy-efficiency rating (CEER) below 10, the Midea U Inverter, for example, can achieve a CEER rating of 15.
All low-profile window air conditioners in the table below are Energy Star rated. That means they have top energy efficiency and can generate over $700 in savings over the next 15 years (compared to standard-efficiency units).
Best Low Profile Window Air Conditioners (Minimum Profile Height)
- Soleus Air Exclusive By Hammacher Schlemmer: Best Low Profile Window AC Unit With Absolutely Lowest Profile (Under 3 Inches)
- Midea U Inverter: Most Energy-Efficient Low Profile Window Air Conditioner (Up to 12,000 BTU).
- GE Profile PHC06LY: Small And Reliable Low Profile Window Air Conditioner.
1. Soleus Air Exclusive: Best Low Profile Window AC Unit With Absolutely Lowest Profile (Under 3 Inches)
|Profile Height:||Below 3 inches|
|Models:||6000 BTU, 6000 BTU with Wifi, 8000 BTU|
|Coverage Area:||Up to 375 sq ft|
|Dimensions (HxWxD):||28.9 x 18.7 x 15 inches|
Even among the low-profile window AC units, the Soleus Air Exclusive units are a class of their own. Hammacher Schlemmer has invented the world’s first over-the-window air conditioner that drastically reduced the height of the window AC unit. The result is the ultimate 80% reduction in profile.
To put into perspective what this Soleus Air Exclusive new design offers, let’s list the profile heights:
- 16+ inch profile: Standard window AC units.
- 12-16 inch profile: Low-profile window AC units.
- 3-inch profile: Soleus Air Exclusive.
That’s just incredibly low-profile for a window air conditioner. The engineering solution that enables this is that the bulk of the unit is positioned not on top of the window sill but rather parallel to the inner and outer wall.
This design comes with few other advantages that may be just as important as the extremely low profile, including:
- Super silent operation. This is because the compressor – the main source of noise – is located on the outer side; not on top of the window sill.
- Superb energy-efficiency. Soleus Air Exclusive is Energy Star rated and can achieve CEER rating, and thus energy-efficiency that results in 30% less electricity being used.
Basically, Soleus Air Exclusive is a window AC unit that is designed as a mini-split AC. It comes with low noise levels, high energy efficiency and is available in 6,000 BTU and 8,000 BTU cooling capacities.
The bigger 8,000 BTU Soleus Air Exclusive can cool down up to 375 sq ft. If you a larger room or are looking to cool several rooms with the lowest-profile window AC, you just buy 1 unit for each room.
Be mindful that units with WiFi connectivity add $20 to the overall cost. WiFi means that you can control it via smartphone but doesn’t add to the cooling or efficiency specification.
Overall, the Soleus Air Exclusive is one of the most brilliantly engineered window air conditioners in general. It has the lowest possible – 3 inch – profile; far below anything else on the market. On top of that, it’s one of the quietest and most energy-efficient window AC units available at a rather affordable cost:
2. Midea U Inverter: Most Energy-Efficient Low Profile Window Air Conditioner (Up to 12,000 BTU)
|Profile Height:||About 13 inches|
|Models:||8000 BTU, 10000 BTU, 12000 BTU|
|Coverage Area:||Up to 600 sq ft|
|Dimensions (HxWxD):||21.97 x 19.17 x 13.46 inches|
Midea U Inverter is overall considered to be the best window air conditioner you can buy in 2021. It’s not primarily designed as a low-profile window AC unit but it does have only a 13-inch profile; far below the 16+ inch standard height.
This unit also features a new U-shaped design. It reduces the Midea U Inverter’s profile but that’s only a secondary consequence. The primary reason for the U-shaped design is to be able to open a window to bring in fresh air. The almost 20% reduction in profile, however, is why people love the Midea U Inverter so much.
Similarly to Soleus Air Exclusive, the modern tech that went into designing Midea U Inverter enables for:
- Record-level energy-efficiency. With a 15 CEER rating, Midea U Inverter is the most energy-efficient window AC unit. Per average cooling season, even the biggest 12,000 BTU model will spend at most $58 worth of electricity.
- Whisper silent. Midea U Inverter generates up to 9 less noise than standard noise level window ACs.
On top of that, every Midea U Inverter comes with WiFi connectivity. Basically, you can control this unit via your smartphone.
Midea U Inverter offers 3 models: 8,000 BTU, 10,000 BTU, and 12,000 BTU with coverage spaces up to 375 sq ft, 450 sq ft, and 550 sq ft, respectively.
With Midea U Inverter you’re not only buying one of the best low-profile units. You’re actually buying the highest-rated window air conditioner in 2021:
3. GE Profile PHC06LY: Small And Reliable Low Profile Window Air Conditioner
|Profile Height:||12.5 inches|
|Coverage Area:||Up to 300 sq ft|
|Dimensions (HxWxD):||21.25 x 12.43 x 18.13 inches|
GE Profile PHC06LY is your standard low-profile window air conditioner. There are no revolutionary new designs or inverter compressors. It’s a plain and simple window air conditioner with a low profile made by GE; one of the best-known companies in the world.
This standard window AC unit has a total profile of 12.5 inches. That’s a +20% reduction in profile height compared to standard height units. It is, however, broader and longer.
GE Profile PHC06LY might not be the best low-profile window air conditioner but it has two advantages compared to #1 Soleus Air Exclusive and #2 Midea U Inverter:
- It’s made by a well-known brand (GE); they have an excellent track record for reliability.
- It’s cheap. It costs below $400 which is quite incredible for such a low-profile unit.
The one drawback the GE Profile PHC06LY has is that it has a smaller cooling capacity. It can generate a maximum of 6,150 BTU cooling output, enough to cool down spaces up to 300 sq ft. That means that you have to buy several of them to adequately cool larger areas.
In short, GE Profile PHC06LY is a standard and reliable 12.5-inch cheapest low-profile window air conditioner:
This is the long and short of the low-profile window air conditioners. If you have any questions about the profile heights, you can pose them in the comments below.