Best 20,000 – 24,000 BTU Air Conditioners: Portable, Window, Room

The pandemic has forced many of us to work from home. For some people, remote working is easy. They have a home office fully equipped with a seamless internet connection and a desk. They sit on their plush office chair and work from their laptop. They have an air conditioner that can combat summer heat for cool, refreshing air. However, some people cannot adjust as well. They do not have the luxury of having all these necessities to work or pursue their degrees at home.

And since summer is nearly here, people are looking for ways to stay comfy as much as possible. Heat can take a toll on people, either health-wise or via loss of concentration. It happens to the best of us. If you stumbled upon this post to look for a cost-efficient way to cool your home, you’ve come to the right place!

air conditioning unit

Just like when you’re shopping for other things for the home, you have to consider an array of factors when you’re buying these. It’s no different from buying a lawn tractor or extension cord. Make sure that what you’ll get is efficient and functional. It needs to be worth the price. The number of factors and brands on the market can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to this. To help narrow down your search, I’ll outline the important features you must look for. I’ll list some brands that offer the best 20,000-24,000 BTU air conditioners!

What you should know before buying

Things to consider
Size of the spaceLimitations
  • Room size

You must check for the correct wire gauge size of an extension cord before purchasing to avoid mishaps in your home. It’s also important to take note of your room size before you buy one. This is because the required cooling capacity depends on the size of your room.

  • They come in different BTU levels, and each BTU rating corresponds to a certain cooling capacity. For every BTU rating, there is an equivalent room area/size that it can accommodate.
  • Units with a low BTU per hour level cannot efficiently cool a large room.
  • A powerful model will waste energy if placed in a room that’s too small.

Read on to reach the section, “Room size of a 20,000 & 24,000 BTU unit & how much it powers.” You’ll get to know more about the relationship between room size & BTU! For now, take note of your room’s size as accurately as you can!

  • Limitations of your room/space & installation type

They come in different types and sizes. There is no “one-size-fits-all.” This is why you should carefully choose the unit that your room can accommodate. Here are some examples of how some factors of your space can limit your choice:

  • Maybe your room has quite a lot of available floor area, but you only have one window. A free-standing model might work best for you.
  • If you have more than two available windows and not much floor space, a window-mounted model will be better.
  • If your window cannot handle the weight of the unit, a through-the-wall model might be a perfect match for you. It requires you can alter your walls to house such a unit.
Types
PortableWindow
Whole houseThrough the wall

PORTABLE

When portable air conditioners were first introduced, the units were mostly small in size. They were amazingly compact and cheap, yet powerful enough to cool down a single room. Compared to others, these were the smallest in size. They had a cooling power of 2,000 BTU or 3,000 BTU, perfect for a small bedroom of up to 1,000 square feet. As technology progressed, PACs expanded in size and power. That is, all while remaining portable.

This type is compact and self-contained. It’s a free-standing system, perfect for use if you want something lightweight and portable. Installation of a PAC is a breeze compared to the window and through-the-wall units. All you need is an empty spot on the floor to situate the unit and a nearby window to install a venting system. If you live in a solo room and you’re looking for something cheap and convenient, I recommend these!

This unit is also the best choice for people who live transiently. You can easily move the portable model from one room to another. There is no need for tedious renovations when installing it. Some units even have wheels and handle to aid portability, and some have smart features for ease of usage. What’s also great is that there are now mini, rechargeable ones on the market. They can be powered via batteries. You can even use them in a tent or RV for extra protection against the heat!

There are now a lot of models that can cool down large areas with increased cooling power and capacity. Nowadays, you can find ones with 9,000 BTU to 21,000 BTU cooling power. Many of these units are multifunctional. They can function as a fan or dehumidifier. Some units can even function as a heater, too!

Another thing that you must know before purchasing is that there are different drainage systems to consider. Standard ones need manual water removal, so you need to empty the catch basin periodically. If you’re a busybody, you might opt for a portable one with a gravity and condensate pump instead.

A drainage hose is also installed, which carries the condensate outside via your window or a different drainage spot. Another great alternative is self-evaporative features. The water evaporates out of the same hose that the venting system uses. That way, there’s no need to install any additional hose for drainage.

If you need one with flexible installation options and is relatively cheaper, include portable options on your list!

WINDOW

In terms of ease of installation, window models come second after portable ones. Most window models surpass PACs in cooling power and the number of smart features. Window unit cooling capacities can reach up to 28,000 BTU or more! Window units don’t need that much maintenance compared to PACs. It’s because the drainage and venting systems are incorporated into one whole unit.

A window model is a popular choice in homes and rental spaces. It’s more of a temporary fixture than a permanent one as a PAC. Installation is relatively easy. It can be done multiple times without paying a hefty amount of money for installation fees or renovation.

The window model is installed within the boundaries of your window as one big unit. However, there is no “one size fits all” for this type. You have to measure your window before purchasing to ensure fit. Also, you should consider the number of windows that you have.

Maybe you only have one window in your room, and you enjoy opening it to let some fresh air in. Opt for PACs or through-the-wall options. This is because window units can make the window unusable after installation. It can block light or hinder the opening of the window. But suppose you have multiple windows in your room, or you’re not fond of keeping your window open. Installing a window unit won’t be a problem at all.

Suppose you’re set on buying a window model for your place. You have to make sure that not only is your window big enough to fit it within its boundaries. You also need to ensure that it’s sturdy enough to handle the weight! Some people put a metal encasing called a bracket outside the window. It supports the part that hangs out of the window. This keeps the window from collapsing under the weight by distributing the weight to a larger surface area. However, this would entail extra fees for manufacturing the bracket and its installation.

Suppose you’re capable of making brackets on your own. You might want to check out these handy tools that can make the task so much easier. It includes things like engine-driven welders and extensions cords. We also have guides on plasma cutters and welding glasses.

THROUGH THE WALL

Are you looking for a model that’s sturdy and can last long, and power through even the harshest heatwaves? Through-the-wall models should be on your list! In terms of cooling capacity range, through-the-wall and window-mounted options are comparable. In terms of lifespan, through-the-wall ones are relatively sturdier than window-mounted ones.

A sturdier body usually entails more weight. A through-the-wall model must be accommodated by a strong concrete wall that can withstand the unit’s weight. Among all three types, it’s pretty obvious that this is the one that requires more effort and fees when it comes to installation.

This is why through-the-wall models are only preferable if you have complete jurisdiction over the place you’re staying in. You’d have to make a rectangular hole in your wall. Similar to window ones, this is also just one big unit. It has no extra or separate parts for vents or drainage. Its installation also requires an accurate measurement to ensure that the sizes of the hole and the unit match up.

Window ones might need a bracket for the part that hangs out of the window. Through-the-wall models can sit lined up flushed with the exterior wall. They need no additional paraphernalia for support because their vents are located solely at the very back of the unit. This eliminates the extra cost for a bracket!

APPLIANCE SAFETY

ac unit being installed

I’m pretty sure we’re all terrified of the possibility of an electricity line or power outlet overloading or short-circuiting. There’s always a concern when dealing with high-wattage appliances such as these home additions. Many bad things can happen with just one mistake.

Appliances get damaged, and accidental fires happen. This is why it’s important to choose the proper size and type of electrical wires and cords. Like ACs, these things come in different types and sizes and have different voltage capacities. Here are some helpful guides to help you pick the right type of extension cord. You can learn more about amp wires for 20-60 amp extension cords and amp wire sizes for 70-600 amp.

What to look for

The next step is to look for these noteworthy features after deciding on which type of installation would work best for you:

Noise Control

A 50-80 dB range is what you should look for if you don’t want to get distracted by the whirring sound that units make. The quiet hum won’t distract you from work or keep you awake at night with this decibel range.

Filter Type & Performance

These days, it’s important to always opt for antimicrobial filters like HEPA filters. These can keep the worst of your allergies away even when it’s the pollinating season.

Filters are replaced periodically, which is why it’s important to buy one that uses a filter that’s easy to find in the market.

If you want to cut down on costs, you can opt for a unit that has a washable filter instead.

Energy efficiency

Find one that is Energy Star Qualified to ensure that it is energy efficient. The higher the rating, the better it is to consume the lowest energy possible while yielding powerful results.

Warranty

A long warranty is something that people usually overlook. Still, it’s one of the most important things you should look for. This will save you from costly repairs and reassure you that there will be professionals on call. They are willing to help and come right away to repair it.

Cooling Capacity/Power

This one’s a no-brainer. You should pick one with the right cooling capacity to ensure maximum efficiency and avoid wasting money and energy. To know more, read below!

Room size of a 20,000 & 24,000 BTU unit & how much it powers

In a nutshell, this is how they work. It takes in air from the room. It condenses it into a liquid to evaporate the heat out of it. Then the resulting cooled-down liquid is processed again to become cool air. In the form of hot air, the heat is released through the venting system while the cool air is blown into the room. The moisture or condensate that the AC unit accumulated from dehumidifying the air is released via the drainage system.

For this entire process to happen, it must expend a certain amount of energy. This is where the British Thermal Unit (BTU) comes in:

  • BTU is an international measure of energy. It describes the amount of energy that’s needed to increase the temperature of 1 lb of water by 1°F.
  • 1 BTU = it’s the energy needed to increase the temperature of 1 lb of water to 1°F.
  • Rule of thumb: 1 square foot = 20 BTU per hr

It uses the evaporation process to make cool air. It means the BTU per hr of the unit must be enough to power a cycle in a certain amount of time to process the air in a room. Large areas contain more air. It must be strong and quick enough to process all the air within the room at a certain time frame to cool the entire room effectively. Depending on how much hot air each unit can process, they are labeled with a certain BTU level and cooling capacity.

As noted above, 1 sq. ft. would require 20 BTU per hr. Therefore, larger spaces require higher BTU levels. With this information in mind, one would usually think that opting for a high BTU would work best in any situation. It is not true! You have to pick the proper BTU as per your room size, or else you’ll end up wasting money and energy.

If your room is only 150 square feet in size, a 6,000 BTU option unit is a much better choice than a 9,000 BTU option! The latter is made to be efficient in a 350 square feet room. If placed in a much smaller room, it would undergo each cooling cycle too quickly. It is programmed to process more air in an hour, resulting in wasting precious energy. Likewise, a 4,000 BTU option would not work in a 350-square-foot room. It is not programmed to accommodate that large area. For your reference, check the chart from Energy Star below:

which size AC for a room

Source: Energy Star

A 20,000 BTU AC unit would work efficiently in an area of 1,000-1,200 square feet. A 24,000 BTU AC unit would work best in a room with an area of 1,400-1,500 square feet.

However, bear in mind that some factors can influence the BTU per hr that you’d need:

  • room’s exposure to sunlight
    • sunny – ↑ BTU
    • shaded – ↓ BTU
  • crowded area – ↑ BTU. Each person generates body heat.
  • appliance present/used in the area
    • use of kitchen oven and/or stove – ↑ BTU

To gauge the proper amount of adjustment that must be done, consult the provider before purchasing one.

Brands with the best 7,000-25,000 BTU models

With the number of brands reaching thousands, browsing the multitude of options to pick the perfect one can be overwhelming. To help narrow down your search, here are some brands that are worth taking a closer look into:

Important brands
HomelabsDaewooArctic King
KenmoreGE AppliancesFrigidaire
HaierLG Electronics 
rooftop air conditioning units

LG Electronics

LG Electronics is a famous and trusted brand for various appliances, from smartphones and LED TVs to home appliances. They make everything from refrigerators to air conditioners. Based in South Korea, LG has continuously innovated and expanded to other parts of the world since its launch in 1958. They have solid adherence to their philosophy and brand image, “Life’s Good.” It is one of their pillars towards success. They keep improving existing products or developing new ones to improve their consumers’ life quality.

Nowadays, LG has a lot of home appliances & air solutions that are booming in the market. LG always incorporates energy efficiency and eco-friendliness when designing smart products. Their models are powerful, and Energy StarⓇ qualified. They can lower the energy consumption to 70% without compromising the quick cooling cycle. These also have a low-noise operation, so you won’t have to worry about them becoming distracting and noisy.

That is, even if you ramp up the settings to the highest option. The amount of smart features LG products have is astounding, boasting remote and smartphone controls. They have auto temperature adjustments and many more features. It’s also amazing that most filters of LG products are antimicrobial and washable. You can rest assured that the air you’re getting is safe to inhale and won’t trigger any allergies.

Haier

For 12 consecutive years, Haier has been reigning as one of the top brands in major appliances. They have consistently brought high-quality and user-friendly home appliances through the years. It turned Haier into what they are now—trusted by many and highly successful.

Haier products are also Energy Star qualified and eco-friendly, saving up to 63% of your energy expenditure. Haier ones also have smart features, with some models equipped with self-cleaning filters! You can choose from a wide array of BTUs available, ranging from 4,000 BTU to 30,000 BTU. You can surely find the one that’s perfect for your room!

Frigidaire

Without a doubt, Frigidaire is one of the leading brands of cooling appliances. It isn’t surprising that people treat the brand name synonymous with “air conditioner” or “refrigerator.” It is a well-known and widely used Frigidaire appliance are.

Ever since 1918, Frigidaire has been pioneering a lot of cooling appliances. They brought the first home refrigerator and room air conditioner into the American market. The company ventured towards manufacturing other home appliances many years ago. They’ve become a favorite of their consumers!

As one of the most sought-after brands, Frigidaire has never failed its customers to provide top-notch products. They always make sure that their products are powerful, smart, energy-saving, and sturdy.

Here are some of the best-selling Frigidaire models that you might want to check out:

  • Frigidaire FFRE2533S2 25,000 BTU Window-Mounted
    • Max cooling capacity: 1,600 sq. ft.
    • 10.3 Energy Efficiency Ratio
    • Low-noise operation: 58.2 dB
    • Washable Filter with Auto Filter Check
    • Clean air ionizer
    • With 3 fan speeds & 8-way air directions
    • The remote control can act as a thermostat.
  • Frigidaire FFRH2522R2 25,000 BTU Window-Mounted with Supplemental Heat
    • Max cooling capacity: 1,600 sq. ft.
    • 9.4 Energy Efficiency Ratio
    • Cooling function: 25,000 BTU w/ 3 fan speeds
    • Heating function: 16,000 BTU – w/ 3 heat speeds
    • Low-noise operation: 58.2 dB to 63.2 dB
    • Washable Filter with Auto Filter Check
    • Remote control
  • Frigidaire FFRE25L3S2 25,000 BTU Window Unit
    • Max cooling capacity: 1,600 sq. ft.
    • 10.3 Energy Efficiency Ratio
    • Low-noise operation: 58.5 dB
    • Antibacterial Mesh Filter with Auto Filter Check
    • Multi-Directional Air Control
    • Remote control

GE Appliances

GE Appliances is also a Haier company, so it’s not surprising that GE is also one of the top brands for major appliances. GE is focused on designing products for homes. They offer high-quality, eco-friendly home appliances.

Their Smart GE Room products are gaining a lot of attention because of how advanced the smart features of these units are. Even up until now, they’re still continuously improving these smart features to make home living easier. Furthermore, GE’s products are powerful yet energy-saving and are equipped with antibacterial mesh filters.

A notable feature of the Smart GE Room models is fixing a schedule for your unit using your smartphone. It works as long as you’re connected to WiFi, which is great! If you want a highly convenient smart unit, make sure to check out GE Appliances.

Kenmore

Kenmore has been in the field, providing top-notch innovative home appliances for over 100 years. Whether you’re looking for an appliance for cooking, cleaning, or cooling, Kenmore can surely provide for you. The low-power start-up feature of their models became a favorite of many. It allows the units to yield powerful results and cool rooms within a matter of minutes while using the lowest energy possible. Due to this feature, Kenmore has been awarded the Energy Star Award multiple years in a row.

This brand competes with other leading brands regarding rapid cooling technology with a wide BTU range. They have antimicrobial filters and smart features for your family to enjoy, too. If you want a powerful unit with low energy expenditure, Kenmore should be on your list.

Arctic King

Arctic King stays true to its name. Their models are not only of high quality, but they’re also sturdy and user-friendly. But what sets Arctic King apart from other brands is their pricing—everything’s budget-friendly! This is the perfect choice for people looking for an affordable option to cool down a room efficiently. They also offer other units that boast multiple unique & smart features at a reasonable price.

If you think buying a cheap yet powerful option is too good to be true, purchase your Arctic King model. See it for yourself! As a testament to their amazing achievements and developments, Midea has been included in the Fortune Global 500 since 2016.

Daewoo

Suppose you’re looking for a brand that prioritizes sustainable growth and eco-friendliness when designing robust home appliances. Daewoo is the perfect one for you! WINIADAEWOO Electronics America aims to minimize its impact on the environment. It focuses on finding ways to improve the energy efficiency of its products without compromising function and practicality.

Daewoo units have two energy classes that allow users to control cooling power and energy consumption. A lot of their products are also multifunctional, equipped with Heating-Cooling Technology. If you want a 2-in-1 beast that can double as a heater, this is a great pick!

Homelabs (hOmeLabs)

Homelabs is famous for the outstanding dehumidifying capacity of their air purifiers and dehumidifiers. Humidity affects how hot an area is. One that can effectively lower the humidity can cool an area more quickly than others. This feature makes Homelabs a lot more effective in combating heat in very humid areas. If you live in an area with stifling heat and humidity, you should check out Homelabs!

Another noteworthy feature of these products is their air purification performance. It’s as if they combined their very best air purifier with their unit! This is a great choice for people with allergies and other respiratory problems. Allergens and other microbes will get filtered out before the unit releases the air into your room.