What Is a Smart Air Conditioner?

The high tech way to stay cool

Smart air conditioners use internet and Wi-Fi technology to help you control the air conditioning in your home in a wide variety of ways—whether you're inside or not.

What Is a Smart Air Conditioner?

Frigidaire Smart Air Conditioner
 Frigidaire

Smart air conditioners are air conditioner units that connect to the other smart appliances in your home to better control your home's comfort level. They look similar to standard room air conditioners.

Typically, smart air conditioners are mounted to windows or walls, instead of being centrally located in your home. Much like other smart home technology, smart air conditioners can be programmed to cool on your terms. You can turn them on and off remotely.

What Makes a Smart Air Conditioner Smart?

The core requirement for smart air conditioners is the ability to connect to Wi-Fi. Through a Wi-Fi connection, you can control your air conditioner remotely using your mobile device.

Man using tablet to control the smart air conditioner in his home
GregorBistor/Getty Images 

Smart Air Conditioners vs. Smart Thermostats

A smart air conditioner is not the same as a smart thermostat. Thermostats are most commonly used with central air systems, not individual smart conditioning units.

A thermostat is responsible for sensing the air in your home and telling your air conditioner unit when it's time to start cooling.

An air conditioner, on the other hand, holds the components necessary to generate the cool air. When it comes to smart technology, both a thermostat and an air conditioner can be managed using a Wi-Fi connection.

Most smart air conditioner units come in small sizes and are made specifically for individual rooms. This means you would need to purchase separate units for different rooms you want to cool.

How Does a Smart Air Conditioner Work?

You turn on a smart air conditioner via a smartphone, tablet, or another mobile device. Some air conditioner units also can be connected to home assistants such as Alexa for easy voice activation.

Smart air conditioners typically don't require a remote for functionality. The air conditioner begins to generate cold air to circulate throughout the rooms in your home when you give the command via a Wi-Fi connected device or by voice.

The Pros and Cons of Smart Air Conditioners

Like all smart technology, smart air conditioners have both pros and cons you should weigh before making a purchase.

The Pros of Smart Air Conditioners

Smart air conditioners have several pros to offer:

  • Convenience: You can turn your air conditioner on or off using your smartphone or device whether you're at home or out. This means you have full control over your home's atmosphere as temperatures rise and fall.
  • Smart home connectivity: If you have other smart devices in your home, such as automatic window blinds or lights, you can connect all these devices to control the temperature of your home better. For example, if you live in a hot climate, you can program your air conditioner to turn on, your blinds to shut, and your lights to dim to cool your home.
  • Multiple options: Smart air conditioners come in various types, including in-window, portable, in-wall, and split units. Multiple options allow you to choose an air conditioner that works best for you, your home, and your temperature needs.
  • Long-term cost savings: Smart air conditioners come with a hefty initial price tag, but you save on energy costs by turning your air conditioner off when you're not home.

The Cons of Smart Air Conditioners

Along with a healthy list of pros comes a short, but important, list of cons:

  • Price: Smart air conditioners are pricey because they are relatively new to the market. Depending on the size of the unit you choose, they can range in price from $300 to thousands.
  • Multiple units required: Smart air conditioners don't work centrally, so multiple units are required to cool your entire home.
  • Installation: Installing a smart air conditioner can be difficult, depending on the unit you choose. They also take up valuable space in your home. For example, a window unit needs to be installed in the lower half of the window, rendering it unavailable for use.

Is buying a smart air conditioner right for you? If you're looking for a simple way to cool a couple of rooms in your home and have full control over the settings even when you aren't at home, you could benefit from smart air conditioners. If you need to cool your entire home while staying on budget, consider looking at other options, such as units without built-in smart technology.