Many now cost as little as $100. And all models we tested meet the 9.7 Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) now required for air conditioners below 8,000 British thermal units per hour (Btu/hr.), and 9.8 EER for those with 8,000 to 13,999 Btu/hr. Most room A/Cs also meet or exceed the 10.7 EER needed to qualify for the voluntary federal Energy Star designation.
Digital temperature readouts instead of vague "warmer" and "cooler" settings are another plus on many new air conditioners. Many are also quieter, lighter, and smaller.
Frigidaire, GE, Haier, Kenmore (Sears), and LG are the leading brands. Cooling capacities range from 5,000 …