All window air conditioners have to be fixed. It’s almost impossible for the window sill alone to support all the weight of a heavy AC unit.
That’s why every elevated outdoor air conditioner (be it window unit, or outdoor mini-split unit) needs to be fixed in place by an AC support bracket. In some places, most notably New York City, you are required to have no matter how heavy your AC is.
These brackets need to be strong enough to support the weight of the air conditioner, easy to install (no-drill units), and last for at least 10 years. The best window AC support brackets are made out of heavy-duty premium steel. With up to 200 lbs support capacity, they can fix even the heaviest outdoor air conditioner units.
Almost none of the window AC units or outdoor mini-split units comes with the support bracket included. It’s on you to buy that to properly fix your AC in place.
Obviously, not all window air conditioner brackets are top of the notch. The primary specification to check before you buy the best window air conditioner mounting support bracket is the support capacity (a function of quality of material used, and the general geometry of the bracket).
Secondarily, you also have to check if the bracket will fit your window and wall dimensions. Here we talk about window width and exterior wall thickness.
Lastly, the installation difficult matters as well, as well as the price. Window air conditioner brackets are quite inexpensive given how valuable they are (they prevent your unit from tip over and fall; putting the unit and people, cars, etc. below it in danger). Even the best window AC support brackets don’t cost more than $100, for example.
Based on these specifications, LearnMetrics recommends 4 specific brackets to support your air conditioners. We will go through all the parameters you need to check before buying a bracket for air conditioners (or two; they are generally bought in 2-packs or in bulk). If you just want the best AC support brackets on the market, you can skip to the list, comparison table, and reviews of the best brackets for air conditioners:
To properly fix an air conditioner with the support bracket, check the following parameters for every bracket you’re intending to buy:
Support Capacity Of Window AC Brackets (Most Important Factor; Up To 200 lbs)
Support capacity is basically how much weight can a bracket for an air conditioner hold up in the air; for 10+ years, mind you.
The smallest brackets have a 50 lbs support capacity. The biggest brackets for air conditioners can hold up to 200 lbs. If you check in the table below, the #1 TOP SHELF TSB-2438(best overall bracket for AC on the market) and #1 Ivation Bracket both have 200 lbs support capacity.
Now, pretty much everybody has an inclination to buy the strongest 200 lbs bracket. That’s actually quite a smart choice; it’s certainly the safest choice. Even if you need only a 100 lbs bracket, a 200 lbs bracket wouldn’t be unreasonable.
However, if you have a really small window air conditioner or a lightweight outdoor mini-split unit, do check the lightweight brackets. They have a more appealing look (a big bracket on a small AC just looks off) and are less expensive.
An example of the best lightweight bracket for AC is the #4 AC Safe AC-080 (you can check it in the table below); it has a support capacity of 80 lbs.
Of course, how strong your bracket should depend on both:
- Weight of the air conditioner.
- Distance how far the air conditioner looks over the window sill.
Everybody understands why weight is important. How far out an AC is looking over the window sill is another matter. The key here is to understand that we’re talking about torque; the farther out the air conditioner sticks, the larger the torque on the bracket, and consequentially you will need a stronger bracket to support the AC unit.
Let’s talk dimensions:
Window Width And Exterior Wall Thickness (Will AC Support Bracket Fit?)
Two geometrical specifications you will find listed with every AC support bracket are:
- Window Width. Example: Your window has to be at least 24-inches and at most 38-inches wide.
- Exterior Wall Thickness. Example: “This support bracket adapts to the exterior wall thickness of 4” to 11”.”
Window widths are quite self-explanatory. If you have very narrow windows (below 24-inch width), you won’t be able to install a support bracket for your AC. The bracket itself is too wide for that window. That usually tricky in the case of vertical or casement window air conditioners where you have a 20-inch or less window width.
The is an upper limit for window width as well; you will hardly find an AC support bracket that you can mount on 40+ inch windows.
Exterior wall thickness is primarily important because you need to drill into it to create holes to mount the AC support on. The new no-drill brackets for air conditioners like #3 Ivation Bracket and especially #1 TOP SHELF TSB-2438 don’t require drilling but still list the exterior wall thickness in the specification sheets (it’s not really relevant anymore).
Check that you have the current window and wall width.
How To Install A Window AC Support Bracket Under Your AC? (Tools? Drills)
The older generation will remember that you can’t install the bracket for an AC unit without some hardcore drilling. Not everybody – especially the younger population – knows how to drill. And not everybody owns a drill.
That’s why the new-age brackets like #1 TOP SHELF TSB-2438 and #1 Ivation Bracket are the so-called “window AC bracket no drills”. This means that you don’t have to drill into the wall to create space for the screws.
These no-drill brackets are mounted from inside the room. You usually attach the wings and legs in place; the whole installation procedure is described in the manual you get with the bracket.
At most, it should take about 10 minutes to properly install a window AC support bracket without drilling and without using any specialized tools.
The no-drill brackets save you a lot of trouble. However, they are in the $70 to $100 range. #1 TOP SHELF TSB-2438, for example, costs almost $100 partly because it doesn’t require literally drilling in the wall to install. As we’ll see in the review of TOP SHELF TSB-2438 below, it is also made out of the best materials – premium 18-gauge steel.
The window AC brackets that do require drilling like #2 Jeacent Bracket and #4 AC Safe AC-080 usually cost less (even below $50) but are more difficult to install, and they can carry less weight.
If you have to depend on screws in the wall to support your AC, you can’t really guarantee these brackets will hold 200 lbs in the air. These cheaper and harder-to-install brackets can support 180 lbs AC weight.
With all of this in mind, let’s look at which specific window AC brackets are currently the best on the market:
Best Brackets For Air Conditioners In 2023
1. Overal Best Shelf Window AC Bracket With No Drilling: TOP SHELF TSB-2438
|Support Capacity:||Up to 200 lbs|
|Exterior Wall Thickness:||6″ to 12″|
|Window Width:||24″ to 38″|
|Material:||Premium 18-Gauge Steel|
|Dimensions (LxWxH):||13″ x 26″ x 12″|
TOP SHELF TSB-2438 is universally considered to be the best window support bracket for air conditioners. It’s made out of premium 18-gauge steel, has 200 lbs support capacity, and doesn’t require drilling. This superb bracket costs about $100.
Engineers love this bracket due to two main reasons:
- Superb geometry and the best material (18-gauge steel). This enables the TOP SHELF TSB-2438 to have a 200 lbs weight capacity.
- Ease of installation. You don’t need any tools or drilling. Just attach the wings and legs in place, and you’re done.
Obviously, the main drawback is the price. That premium steel and the fact that you can DIY AC bracket installation with ease do cost a bit.
But, if you can afford $100 for a window bracket, TOP SHELF TSB-2438 is the best there is. It is the best universal window air conditioner support bracket:
2. Top-Rated Support Bracket For Air Conditioners (Up To 165 lbs Support): Jeacent AC Bracket
|Support Capacity:||Up to 165 lbs|
|Exterior Wall Thickness:||2″ to 15.2″|
|Dimensions (LxWxH):||17.3″ x 3.7″ x 1.4″|
Jeacent AC bracket is the best of the cheaper a-bit-of-hassle installation brackets for all kinds of air conditioners. With 165 lbs support capacity, it can support even the very heavy unit (with exception of those over 200 lbs).
This bracket is placed on the window sill with 3 screws; you have to drill the holes yourself, however. Jeacent AC bracket has only 1 leg. This leg is exceptionally broad. It has a full width of 3 5/16 inches, which provides stability. However, in heavy winds, 2 leg brackets for AC are still better.
You can install it on almost every window. However, you should be aware of the window dimensions requirements:
- Window sill has to be less than 16 inches wide. That’s usually not a problem; only very few people have 16+ inch window sills.
- To place the base, your window sill must be at a minimum 1 1/4 inches deep.
- For screws, you will need at least 2 1/2 inch window sill depth. If your sill is less than that, you won’t be able to screw the screws properly.
You can even install this AC bracket on a sliding window if the lip or stool doesn’t exceed 1 7/8. With these dimensions, the Jeacent AC bracket is the best air conditioner support bracket for sliding windows. You can’t install it on casement windows, however.
Because it only has 1 leg, people usually buy them in packs of 2. That protects your air conditioner in heavy winds. The pack of 2, for example, costs only about $50. This is one of the best and cheapest brackets for AC:
3. Ivation Window Air Conditioner Mounting Support Bracket: Top Rated AC Bracket
|Support Capacity:||Up to 200 lbs|
|Exterior Wall Thickness:||4″ to 11″|
|Window Width:||24″ to 38″|
|Dimensions (LxWxH):||10″ x 19.2″ x 20″|
Ivation window air conditioner mounting support bracket is the ultimate modern bracket for AC. It has the 200 lbs support capacity, fits almost all single and double-hung windows, and it’s incredibly difficult to install (installs from indoors; no ladders, grilling, screws).
The key part is the big 200 lbs support capacity. As you can see from the geometry, the Ivation window air conditioner mounting support bracket has two legs; each supporting 100 lbs. This is a symmetrical bracket design.
The bracket itself is made out of a premium steel plate. This plate is then coated with epoxy to prevent decay (like rust); the bracket can be exposed to the outdoor environment with ease.
It has standard requirements as far as window and wall dimensions go. 4″ to 11″ for exterior wall thickness and 24″ to 38″ window with.
The best part is the installation. Ivation window air conditioner mounting support bracket is a new-age bracket that requires no tools, drilling, or even ladders. You simply secure the bracket in place from indoors. That’s very useful if you, for example, live on the 14th floor in New York City.
All in all, the Ivation bracket for an air conditioner is one of the best ones currently on the market. It’s made out of long-lasting and strong premium steel, and has a no-hassle installation and standard window and wall dimension requirements:
4. Best Light-Duty Support Bracket For Small Window Air Conditioners: AC Safe AC-080
|Support Capacity:||Up to 80 lbs|
|Exterior Wall Thickness:||4″ to 11″|
|Dimensions (LxWxH):||12″ x 3.8″ x 1.8″|
All window air conditioners don’t require 200 lbs support capacity. AC Safe AC-080 is an example of the best lightweight AC support bracket with only 80 lbs support capacity.
Compared to no-drill brackets, the AC Safe AC-080 is harder to install. But, in general, you can DIY quite easily.
The best thing about AC Safe AC-080 is the price. It does only hold 80 lbs, does require drilling, but it costs only about $35.
If you’re looking for a cheap window AC bracket for a smaller window AC unit, the AC Safe AC-080 is a reasonable choice:
That’s it for window AC support brackets. The reasoning here is easy; better safe than sorry. Pick a bracket that will fit your window and will be able to support the full weight of your air conditioner.