In many states, air conditioners make life bearable during the hot months. But unfortunately, these cooling appliances are also known for being noisy – which can be an unwelcome source of distraction at work and loss of sleep at home.

If you’re looking for the best quiet air conditioner to give your ears a rest – we recommend the Pioneer WYS012-17. Featuring a high-efficiency inverter, remote access and minimum noise level of 40 decibels, when it comes to subtle cooling, this unit is tough to beat.

Interested to learn more about our choices? Read on and check out our in-depth reviews of each model, as well as our handy buying guide.

  • Multi-split design
  • Ultra high efficiency inverter and ductless mini plot heat pump
  • 40-57 db
  • 12,000 BTU
  • Wireless Internet remote access programming functionality
  • Warranty: 2-year Parts, 5-year Compressor

  • Window-mounted
  • Energy Star 12.2 efficiency rating
  • Full-function remote control and 24-hour on/off timer
  • 6,000 BTU
  • 44dB or less
  • Warranty: 1-year Parts, 5-year Compressor

  • Window-mounted
  • Control unit from your smartphone using the KWIFI accessory
  • 5,800 BTU
  • 43 dB or below
  • Auto fan helps to control temperature more precisely
  • Warranty: 1-year Parts, 5-year Sealed Refrigerant Warranty

  • Portable design
  • 12,000 BTU
  • Activated carbon filter
  • < 52 dB
  • Auto drain fully exhausts condensate
  • Premium casters for increased mobility
  • Warranty: 1-year Limited

If your aim is quiet operation above all other features, then you won’t need to look any further than the Pioneer WYS012017.

This model capitalizes on a multi-split design, which keeps most of the louder mechanical components of the unit (like the compressor) outside of the room you’re using. Inside, you utilize a large, monolithic bar that produces all of the cooling power (and heat) you need without the noise.

With a minimum noise level of 40 decibels, it’s not going to get quieter than this. Due to the design choice, however, installation is going to be difficult depending on your home’s design, and there’s no real way to use this unit in adjacent rooms without serious work. Still, the multi-split category is perfect for those who need air conditioning that’s built to last and are willing to put in the extra time and cost associated with it.

If this sounds like you, and you live in an environment where heating and cooling are equally as important, then this unit should serve you well.


  • Quietest overall operation
  • Multi-Split design more effective in cooling
  • Heat pump included adds functionality
  • High BTU rating
  • Ductless suction


  • Complex installation
  • More expensive than most other units
  • Not easily portable

Window-mounted units like the Haier Serenity Series ESAQ406T find the middle ground between the silence of a multi-split unit and the portability of a windowless unit. This model performs well while still providing quiet operation and easy access for filter cleaning and maintenance. As our budget pick, the Haier Serenity Series ESAQ406T is one of the quietest and most affordable units available, averaging about 44 decibels during operation. The included remote control is also quite versatile and makes it easy to program and forget about this unit.

The energy efficiency is sure to appease the more environmentally conscientious, but this does come at the cost of cooling power. We recommend this Haier unit for smaller rooms in drier environments, as this unit will struggle to dehumidify and cool larger spaces enough for comfortable use.

Despite these aspects, this is a window-mounted unit that’s fully functional and great for those who don’t want to think about emptying pans or manually adjusting a unit. The Serenity Series is highly versatile, easy to maintain, and certainly worth consideration for a bonus room or detached office.


  • Window-mounted design easier for maintenance and access
  • Great for smaller rooms
  • Great included remote and digital display
  • Highly energy-efficient


  • Weak cooling power for larger rooms
  • Weak dehumidification
  • Difficult installation

For those who want a window-mounted unit that still offers a sleek, modern design, Friedrich’s Kühl series of air conditioning units offer a happy medium with a few smart features built into the unit.

The Friedrich Kühl Series SQ06N10C air conditioning unit works at a quiet 43 decibels on most settings, thanks to the built-in auto fan feature that ensures the quietest operation at all times. Other features include the KWIFI Wi-Fi functionality that can be purchased separately. Through it, you’ll be able to control the temperature and the fan via your smartphone.

While the sleek design and ease of use are major pluses, the real issue with this unit is a lack of strength. While quiet, this unit will struggle to cool rooms any larger than 250 square feet. Likewise, the high price is a lot to pay for a unit that comes with no heat pump and poor dehumidification.

The Friedrich Kühl series is perhaps best utilized by smaller rooms and apartments that need a simple and easy-to-use unit to cool down low-humidity environments.


  • Sleek, clean design
  • Highly energy efficient
  • Noise-cancelling design
  • Built-in Wi-Fi control
  • Automatic fan speed effective for accurate cooling


  • Expensive
  • Weak dehumidifier
  • Struggles to cool larger rooms
  • Low BTU rating

When it comes to portable air conditioners, perhaps there’s none more effective nor quieter than the Winter Elite ARC-122DS. This model uses a dual hose setup to pull in air and release air from different locations, resulting in speedy operation that can compete with the likes of multi-split units like Pioneer.

Humid spaces need not fear as the Whynter unit both pulls humidity out of the air while also dealing with the residual condensate automatically. Other features include an activated carbon filter and easy-to-use remote, which make operation almost as simple as on the Kühl Series unit.

Portable air conditioners are not known for their space conservation methods, however, and this unit is no different. You’ll take up a few square feet of space with this unit, which may pose a problem in certain smaller locations.

Still, if you’re set on a portable unit and need quick and quiet operation, this is one of the best options on the market today.


  • Dual hose design quickly cools rooms
  • Quick dehumidification
  • Easily programmable
  • Easy-to-use remote control needed
  • Auto drain eliminates the need to manually drain condensate


  • Unit is large and bulky
  • Dual hose assembly somewhat difficult to install
  • Low airflow when compared to other units
  • Somewhat loud compared to other units

Comparison Chart

Pioneer WYS012-17Haier Serenity Series ESAQ406TFriedrich Kühl Series SQ06N10CWhynter Elite ARC-122DS
Dimensions (in)31.5 x 7.4 x 11.618.1 x 21.2 x 12.421.4 x 19.8 x 1417 x 29.5 x 16
BTU12,000 BTU6,000 BTU5,800 BTU12,000 BTU
Dehumidification2.5 pts/hr1.5 pts/hr1.2 pts/hr3.2 pts/hr
Noise Level< 40-57 db< 44 dB< 43 dB< 52 dB
Weight (lbs)1955.67260
Warranty2-year Parts, 5-year Compressor1-year Parts, 5-year Compressor1-year Parts, 5-year Sealed Refrigerant Warranty1-year Limited

Buyer’s Guide:

Quiet Air Conditioners

If you live in a state which experiences hot or humid conditions, whether seasonally or year-round, you will likely already be familiar with air conditioners. It’s no secret that many standard models can be noisy and distracting, especially if you’re trying to work, watch your favorite show or get some sleep on a humid night.

Therefore, quiet air conditioners offer the perfect solution for those who cannot ignore the annoying hum of standard AC units. As they are much quieter while working, these models are a great option if you frequently find yourself having to choose between a hot, yet tranquil, environment or a cool, noisy one.

Each of these four air conditioning units utilizes different methods for cooling your room without creating unnecessary noise pollution.

Still, some products work better than others for certain homes, so if you’re not sure which product works best for you, consider comparing your needs to the following criteria:


Decibels give homeowners the most objective method of measuring noise pollution, but if you’re not sure of how the decibel system works, you may be in for a rude awakening.

The decibel system is exponential. Therefore, a 50-decibel unit is going to be half as loud as a 60-decibel unit. For example, the Whynter unit, while quiet, is two times louder than the Pioneer unit.

At the same time, each of these units is still quiet and shouldn’t be too much of a bother. In fact, 50 decibels is about the same as a quiet conversation at home, while 60 decibels resembles general office hubbub background noise. If quiet operation is your sole concern, though, then paying close attention to the decibel ratings on each of these units is going to lead you to the right product.

Just remember that using these units on high settings or with the fan on might yield different decibel ratings than the minimum power setting.


Also worth bearing in mind is the cooling power of the unit you’re considering, which is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs).

The higher the BTU, the better cooling you can expect. Some categories of air conditioners are better than others, so make sure you consult our table above to be sure of the category you prefer.


The dehumidification capabilities of each unit is something that needs to be considered.

For humid locations, a high dehumidification rating (which is measured in pints per hour) is better than one with less. If you live in a temperate location, you shouldn’t need to worry about the dehumidifier, however it’s worth considering if you live somewhere where the summer months are especially brutal.

Unit Type

We’ve gone through units in three different categories: portable, multi-split, and window-mounted.

We’ve discussed the pros and cons of each, but for quick reference, consider the following before determining which category is right for you:

  • Quietest overall operation
  • Well-rounded features
  • Automatic condensate disposal
  • Usually offers heat pump functionality
    • Most difficult to install

    • Tends to be the most expensive air conditioning unit
    • Tends to be the most difficult to operate


  • Mostly quiet operation
  • May or may not come with heat pump
  • Tends to balance functionality with affordability
  • Weakest dehumidification
  • Can be difficult to customize
  • Offers little customization
  • Easiest to install
  • Often is most powerful unit
  • Tends to focus on cooling power over quiet operation
  • Tends to be the loudest air conditioning unit
  • Tends to bulky
  • Tends not to offer heat pump functionality

Also be aware that some homes and locations will be incompatible with certain categories. For example, a multi-split unit like the Pioneer may be one you like, but if your home has a brick exterior it might be difficult to find a place to burrow a hole to funnel through the external compressor.

Be sure to do your research and make sure the category you want is compatible with your home before committing to a purchase and having a rude awakening during the installation process.

Final Thoughts

While we think any of these four units could be the best quiet air conditioner for some, not all will work in your home. For the best and quietest overall operation, you cannot beat a multi-split unit like the Pioneer WYS012-17. By design, these types of air conditioning units ensure that the compressor and other mechanical parts are kept far away.

Otherwise, units like our budget pick the Haier Serenity Series ESAQ406T and the Friedrich Kühl Series SQ06N10C offer quiet window-mounted operation that works best for bonus rooms and similar locations. Installation may be more difficult than with portable units, but it still considered easier than dealing with a multi-split unit. Finally, portable air conditioners like the Whynter Elite ARC-122DS offer the strongest cooling power in exchange for louder operation and a bulkier design.

Whichever you might choose, we hope that we’ve pointed you towards an air conditioning unit that will keep you cool while also keeping quiet so that you can focus on the things that are truly important.

Further Reading