Consumer Reports: Best Air Conditioners for $300 or Less

Last Updated May 26, 2011 1:57 PM EDT

As we approach a new summer, Consumer Reports has released its review of the best air conditioners for the budget-conscious. Here are their recommended picks at prices below $300 - as well as some of their tips hvac system types on how to spend wisely.

Note: All the models Consumer Reports tested meet the 9.7 Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER), which is now a must for small and midsize models below 8,000 British thermal units (Btu) per hour, or the 9.8 EER required for larger, 8,000- to 13