Best Air Conditioners to Buy Below $500

If you're among those who don't have access to central air-conditioning in your home, buying an air conditioner may be your only option to escape the scorching heat. But don't let the purchase decision knock the wind out of you. Here's a list of factors to consider when you're buying an air conditioner.

Things to take into account before buying

Energy Expenditure

Two key terms to remember are BTU and EER. British Thermal Unit (BTU) is the international measure of energy. The BTU you need is directly proportional to the size of your room. To cool an area of 500 square feet, you need between 7000 and 8500 BTU. This is also affected by components like weather, ceiling height, window size, and shade.

Energy efficiency ratio (EER) is the ratio of the cooling capacity (BTU per hour) to the power input (in watts). The higher the ratio, the better is the cooling capacity and energy efficiency.

Window Size and Portability

To avoid problems with installation, make sure that the dimensions of your window are aligned to those of the air conditioner. If you are going for a portable conditioner, consider placing it at a spot where the waste water can be disposed.

Cooling Area

This is a key factor in your purchase. Any changes in the area to be cooled can change the specifications of the conditioner you need. If you’re looking to buy an air conditioner for an area of about 500-600 square feet, this article provides a list of options and specifications.

Air Conditioners to Buy This Summer

We compared specifications like BTU, EER, dry air flow, and estimated cooling area to find the most affordable air conditioners in the mid-price range.


  1. Frigidaire FFRE1033UI: 

    At around $310 this model by Frigidaire is one of the most affordable ones in the market. With the same BTU and EER as air conditioners worth $400, this model is also comparatively lighter. However, these features are compensated by its heavy drain on electricity and high noise levels.

  2. Honeywell MN12CES: 

    Honeywell’s model is sturdy and durable, mainly because of its 80 lbs structure. Although priced at the higher end, its performance more than makes up for it. The humidifier works perfectly during rains and stops the room from becoming clammy.

  3. Haier HPC12XCR: 

    In the portable versions, Haier’s HPC12XCR is one of the premium air conditioners. With its high BTU and EER and lightweight structure, this model offers great value for money. The only drawback is the time it takes to cool down the room.

  4. LG LW1216ER: 

    This LG product has some interesting features like four-way air direction and power failure auto restart, which means it will turn back on at the same setting after a power cut. It also draws less power than models, offering users high savings on utilities. On the down side, it is heavy to handle and the noise level is on the higher side.

  5. Whynter Elite ARC-122DHP: 

    With four operational modes, air conditioner, fan, heater, or dehumidifier, the model offers intelligent power consumption, which is a bonus in this price range. While the noise level is low, the unit tends to heat up after a while.