It’s completely normal in the car: just switch on the air conditioning and after a few minutes you’ll be enjoying the cool air. In German apartments and houses, however, this is the exception – but why?

After all, it’s not exactly fun to roll around in bed when the temperature inside is 27 degrees.

Air conditioners for consumers promise the solution to the unbearable heat. But before you buy, you should think twice about whether the purchase is worthwhile, because there are several catches.

The consumer advice center is rather critical of the use of air conditioning units. The main argument is the relatively high acquisition costs and the power consumption, which can quickly add up to 60 to 140 euros per year, depending on the period of use. For comparison: A fan only costs 5 euros in electricity even for 90 days of 10 hours a year.

In the case of air conditioning units for personal use, a distinction is made between monoblock and split units.

The biggest problem is often how it works: Cooling devices have to lead the warm exhaust air outside somehow. In the case of a monoblock, this is done via a hose that is guided through an open window with a special attachment.

However, these seals are usually hardly effective and thus allow more new warm air into the room than a closed window with double or triple glazing. Small devices often cannot cool properly in rooms with large windows or direct sunlight.

Other counter-arguments for air conditioners:

The consumer center also points out that there are on average only 20 hot days per year in Germany. According to Statista, the average temperature in the last five years was only 12 days above 30 degrees Celsius.

It is therefore questionable whether the high acquisition costs for an air conditioner are worth it compared to the service life.

However, everyone perceives heat differently, so that even 25 degrees can be perceived as heat – especially in the bedroom, where the ideal temperature for a restful night’s sleep is between 18 and 20 degrees.

As already mentioned several times, you can also buy a fan instead of an expensive air conditioner. The moving air feels cooler when in fact it isn’t.

One underestimated method is not letting the heat in in the first place. You should therefore keep the windows closed during the day and only ventilate the room at night.

External blinds and thermal roller blinds, which you can easily clamp in the window, offer additional protection. You should also leave these down all day and only let in the most necessary daylight.

What many don’t have on their radar: ceiling fans above the bed can circulate a lot of air with large rotor blades. They run quietly and can therefore remain switched on all night. Here, too, there are good devices including lighting between 80 and 150 euros.

If you ultimately want to buy an indoor air conditioner, you should find out about the available products in advance. It depends on a few factors, including:

CHIP has tested almost 300 different devices for you and made a preselection for you. More information can be found in our detailed report.