What We Like
Very quiet model
Easy to operate
Includes remote control
Excellent, energy-efficient cooling
What We Don't Like
Installation is time-consuming and complex
Air conditioners are like first aid kits and jumper cables. They’re blithely off the radar until needed, and then when suddenly they are (it usually feels sudden, even if we should have seen it coming), they’re needed right now! This urgency breeds short-term solutions such as borrowing, impulse buying, or making do.
This year, instead of waiting until the last minute, my husband and I decided to try out AC unit options early so we’d be happy with the final model before the coming 90- to 100-degree days. We started with the LG LW1216ER 12000 BTU Window Air Conditioner, touted as being one of the best for large spaces. Find out how the AC unit fared and if it lived up to its allure.
Setup Process: Challenging
At 81 pounds, this unit is heavy and requires two people capable of heavy lifting to transport it and install it into a standard double-hung window with an opening of 16 inches high and 27 to 39 inches wide. The plastic straps around the box are useful in maneuvering it, especially if you need to take it upstairs like my husband and I did, and it comes with a mounting kit.
The installation process of this window-mounted unit is more complex than some other units but worth the effort. We had to really carefully read the instructions and decipher the diagrams closely, as the process is a bit more nuanced than expected.
The installation process is more complex than some other units but worth the effort.
For example, some of the steps included: attaching the curtain panels with screws (which we did too early and had to remove and then redo later), sealing insulation panels to the back of the curtains (make sure you measure everything carefully before you cut and seal the panels), removing the inner workings of the AC from the outer shell, and securing the empty shell in the window via screws before re-inserting the internal AC unit back into its container.
We made the mistake of screwing in the curtain panels the wrong way and had to start again. All told, we spent almost an hour and 45 minutes on installation, but it could have been a mere hour or so if we hadn’t initially skipped ahead.
The process is time-consuming and somewhat intricate, but we considered it time well spent for the quality of AC we got. If you don’t have a partner in crime to help you tackle this, you can usually purchase installation service (around $100 depending on the store and where you live).
LG really thought of everything. Once installed and plugged into a standard outlet (the 115-volt plug doesn’t require any special wiring), the large, heavy model doesn’t look obtrusive. The unit is sleek, white, and has a geometric, sophisticated look (for an AC unit). Since the container itself actually gets screwed into the windowsill, it also seems secure. It has a feeling of permanence and doesn’t wiggle around, which makes us feel safer.
Unlike our last AC, which had very small, hard-to-decipher buttons, the ones on this unit are intuitive and easy to navigate. We love that you can select an exact preferred temperature and adjust it one degree at a time, rather than using a dial, which we think often ends up getting a room cooler or warmer than desired.
We liked that we could save electricity (and money) by using the auto-cool function and the 24-hour on/off timer.
Foam insulation panels, which are placed on the back of the curtains, are included with the AC unit and help to make the unit more energy efficient. There are also three cooling and fan speeds. We liked that we could save electricity (and money) by using the auto-cool function and the 24-hour on/off timer. Setting the air conditioner to turn on just before we got home meant we could enjoy a cool, comfortable house without having to keep it on while we were away. When we were home, four-way air direction vents allowed us to aim the cool air where we wanted it most.
Performance: Efficient and quiet
Our last air conditioner worked OK, but not great. Plus, it was very loud, so we were on the hunt for a model that addressed these issues.
This Energy Star-certified AC unit far exceeded our expectations. With 12,000 BTUs, it’s designed to manage a room up to 550 square feet and offers a 12.1 energy efficiency ratio (EER). The EER is the ratio of the cooling capacity (BTUs) to the power (watts) it uses; the higher the ratio, the better. Energy-efficient units (those with the Energy Star label) operate at least 10 percent more efficiently than minimum government standards.
It also offers dehumidification of 3.8 pints per hour to help remove excess moisture from your space, as well as LG-patented Gold Fin anti-corrosion coating, a protective shield that helps units last longer.
We were especially stunned by just how quiet the machine is.
This AC quickly cooled our large bedroom, which has a square footage of about 450 square feet. When we tested it with our attached bathroom door open (which bumped up the combined square footage to about 525), it quickly air-conditioned that added space as well.
We were especially stunned by just how quiet the machine is. We’ve tried many models and have never experienced one that made such little noise while also working so well as the LG LW1216ER.
Helpful Features: Auto restart, easy cleaning, and remote control
This model includes a power failure auto restart function, which enables it to go back to its last setting when turned back on. It also features a slide-out washable filter for easy maintenance. The bonus of an included remote control takes ease of use to the next level—and possibly enables a little laziness, but we’re not complaining!
This unit sells for around $380. Other 12,000 BTU units retail from around $350 to upwards of $650, so the LG model is on the low end of this range and very reasonable in comparison—especially considering its excellent energy rating, quiet cooling ability, and the bonus of the remote control.
LG LW1216ER 12000 BTU Window Air Conditioner vs. Frigidaire FFRA1222U1 12,000 BTU Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner
Both the LG and Frigidaire models have similar specifications, including 12,000 BTUs for cooling up to 550 square feet and remote control, which seems to be becoming a more common feature in larger AC units.
Weighing in at 76 pounds, the Frigidaire is 5 pounds lighter. It’s also a bit more expensive, retailing at around $429, but it doesn’t offer better features. In fact, the Frigidaire model is not an Energy Star model and is reportedly quite a bit louder than the LG unit, making LG the clear winner on both counts.
- Product Name LW1216ER 12000 BTU Window Air Conditioner
- Product Brand LG
- UPC 048231378994
- Price $379.99
- Weight 81 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 23.6 x 22.2 x 15 in.
- Batteries 2 AAA batteries required for remote
- Window Requirements 16 x 27-39 in.
- Estimated Cooling Area 550 sq. ft.
- BTU Performance 12,000 BTU
- CEER (Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio) 12.0
- Rated Amps 9.3
- Watts 990
- Voltage 115
- What’s Included AC, remote control, and installation kit
- Warranty 1 year (parts and labor)