Window air conditioners are a necessary evil. No matter how heavy, leaky, noisy, energy-sapping, and eyesore-y, these units may be, they’re a summertime staple we simply cannot avoid. The hot-as-heck months of June, July, and August have long been ruled by these clunky cooling titans; crowding our windowsills, wreaking havoc on our interior designs and our monthly utility bills. But, it seems as if that reign may be coming to an end because, lately, we’ve noticed a crop of (what can only be described as) really ridiculously good-looking air conditioners popping up across our social media feeds.
Call it another drop in the pond of 2021’s design-forward household utilities (ahem, eco-friendly and internet-famous cookware), but there’s been a sudden surge of brands — like Windmill and July (so trendy, it completely sold out) — exclusively dedicated to making very attractive air conditioners. On top of a silhouette so unencumbered it borders on invisible, this recent class of what we’re calling “the status AC” matches its beauty with brains; designed to be more energy-efficient and eco-friendly than its prehistoric predecessors, equipped with features that make it easier to install, faster-cooling, and air-purifying. (More on this to come with an in-depth review of how the gadgets pass real-life inspection inside hot city apartments.) Below, take a longing gaze at four of the best looking window air conditioners to catch our eyes, well, ever — along with some enthusiastic feedback from the very cool (in both senses of the word) customers who bought them. The dark days of shutting off thunderous ACs during Zoom meetings and hiding unsightly units behind curtains are behind us.
The Windmill AC, $395
Right now, the Windmill AC is the talk of the town while its main competitor, July AC, is unfortunately sold out for the summer. This unit hides in plain sight — its elegant and thoughtfully designed vents (located on the sides) blow air upwards for better, more quiet airflow; its auto-dimming LED lights won’t keep you up at night; its curved edges help the unit blend seamlessly into the background. Windmill also uses a “responsible eco-friendly refrigerant (R32) with 68% less global warming potential” for its units and the brand partnered with the tech company, Pachama, to offset inevitable carbon emissions. You can also control it from anywhere as long as you have your phone handy, so no more running up the electric bill when you forget to shut it off before leaving the house.
The Hype: 4.8 out of 5 stars and 100 reviews
Cool Peeps say: “It looks great inside and outside has a nice design that is simple and easy on the eye. Works perfect with a low noise level (can hear tv and sleep well) and has a feature of blowing the fan upward. The remote control makes it easy to set at ECO temperature and it maintains that level perfectly. It is as close to central air in a window unit as your going to get. Best I have ever seen! Well priced for the quality and performance. Extremely easy to install too!”
We think TOSOT, one of the least trendy brands on this list, deserves a little more recognition. TOSOT truly wants customers to, “sleep like a baby,” with each unit’s sleek front panel and a sound level of 42 decibels — for context, light rainfall checks in at 50 dB while the average library remains at 40 dB. Although its nearly silent design is the star of the show, the Tranquility Window Air Conditioner also quickly cools down small spaces (8,000 BTUs), has adjustable vents for optimal airflow, smart temperature control, and can double as a humidifier.
The Hype: 4.5 out of 5 stars and 45 reviews on Google
Cool Peeps say: “5-star service and product. The air conditioners I purchased exceeded my expectations, particularly how quiet they are which was most important to me. The service was spectacular and I have no hesitation recommending TOSOT to anyone!”
The Kapsul AC unit goes beyond attractive and enters the realm of futuristic hi-tech home decor. If I saw this in someone’s apartment, at first glance I probably would not know what it was — now, we know it as “the future of smart air”. These units, as shown on-site, can be installed safely within minutes by just one person thanks to its ergonomic, easy-to-pick-up handles and slender 7-inch height. You can also easily control a Kapsul from your phone, receive stats on air humidity, and control multiple devices at once to efficiently cool larger spaces. Once you’re done with it for the summer, unlike most units, you can easily pull it out of your window and pop it under the bed until next year.
The Hype: 4.5 out of 5 stars and 72 reviews
Cool Peeps say: “Easy to set up (luckily fit my window perfectly without the expanding side panels but do be careful to measure!), quiet, and extremely efficient. Directing the air up works great with my ceiling fan then moves it around. In the midst of a heatwave, it cooled the room down completely and fast; I only needed to run it an hour or two even when the temperature hit the mid-90s.”
July AC, $385 (So Trendy, It Sold Out)
The first attractive summer status symbol air conditioner we ever laid eyes on, July, is unfortunately out of stock for summer 2021 but is still worth knowing about for any potential restocks (join the waitlist!). July ACs look hip enough to be sold at Urban Outfitters but pack the icy punch of the typical clunky cooling machine you whip out every summer. When fully stocked, they come in six different colorways, three premium materials, and you can purchase an air-purifying filter to do some extra cleansing. Some fancy features include but are not limited to: four cooling modes, three fan speeds, Alexa & Google Home compatibility, and automatic shut off. July also partners with Carbonfund.org to, “…offset the carbon emissions for one year’s use of every July [the brand] sells.”
When we get word of a restock, even if it’s snowing out, we’ll let you know right away.
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