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How to Get High Quality AC Without Breaking the Bank

4 minute read

By Chelsea Dolan

Air conditioning is a necessity when you’re living in a hot climate, but it’s not affordable for everyone to install. The average central air conditioning installation cost can range anywhere from $3,979 to $5,486 depending on the size of your home.¹ Luckily, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to stay cool this summer. You can search online for simpler AC units that are budget-friendly and effective.

There are different types of air conditioners to choose from. From ductless AC to window units to portable AC, you can save a lot more money and stay cool without installing a central system. It’s easy to find quality systems with a search online.

Chayatorn Laorattanavech / Shutterstock

Here are some of the best air conditioners to buy without breaking the bank.

Best Value: Ductless Air Conditioning


If you’re looking for a system that’s similar to central AC but more affordable, then ductless AC is a good option. It consists of a single condenser and wall-mounted units in the rooms you want cool that are connected with a wire. The system can be as simple or complex as you want it to be, and the installation price will save you thousands compared to central air with costs starting at $2,000.²

There are different types of ductless AC you can choose from that all provide similar benefits. It’s an efficient way of cooling that can save you as much as 20 to 30 percent on utility costs each month since it operates on less power.³ They’re easy to install, more eco-friendly and can even clean the air using its multi-stage filtration system.

Best Basic AC: AmazonBasics Portable Air Conditioner with Remote

Price: $307.93⁴


For a compact and sleek option, check out this portable air conditioner from AmazonBasics. You can choose between a 10,000 BTU unit which is powerful enough to cool a 400-square-foot room with up to nine foot ceilings, or the 14,000 BTU unit that can cool up to 550 square feet.

This energy efficient air conditioner has a slide-out filter that makes it easy to manage. It can also alert you when it’s time the filter needs to be cleaned out. This dripless exhaust system is small, sleek and can be rolled around for easy transport. Plus, it comes with a remote for easy control over its speed and cooling settings.

Best Features: Shinco SPF2-086 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

Price: Starting at $299.99⁵


Keep any 200-square-foot room cool with this 8,000 BTU portable air conditioner from Shinco. This three-in-one device has cool, fan and dry settings using multiple speeds. It comes with a window exhaust kit and wheels for easy set up. You can direct the air where you need it most in the room using the front manual louvers.

This AC unit also has a dehumidification function for up to 60 pints per day. There’s a permanent washable filter screen, so there’s no “check filter” warning needed. It’s a tech savvier option thanks to its LED screen control panel and remote.

Best Overall: Ivation 10,000 BTU Portable AC w/ Dehumidifier

Price: $329.99⁶


This 10,000 BTU AC unit is fast-acting portable and comes with five functional modes. Along with standard cool, fan and dry settings, this Ivation unit can automatically increase temperature by two degrees on economy mode or automatically adjust to programmed temperature. Take control one step further by choosing your air strength with low, medium and high settings.

You can choose a precise degree anywhere from 62°F to 86°F or use it as a dehumidifier and remove up to 61 pints of moisture per day. It cools a room up to 350-square-feet and can fit comfortably in small rooms.

Compare Ductless AC Units Online

Keeping your house cool doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars. There are less expensive options that will work efficiently without breaking the bank. Many AC units also double as a dehumidifier, giving you an investment that can be used all year round.

If you’re looking for a similar experience to central AC, ductless air conditioning is a more affordable and flexible option. Portable AC units are the cheapest way to cool smaller rooms and are easy to install.

Before adding the first AC unit you see to your shopping cart, search and compare prices from various companies. This will ensure you find an air conditioner that will effectively cool your home and cost within your budget.

Chelsea Dolan