Frigidaire FRA053 Review

Vital Statistics

  • 5,000 BTU portable air conditioner.
  • Capable of cooling a single room up to 216 square feet.
  • Simple, easy to access controls.
  • Window kit for venting hot air included.
  • Antimicrobial filter for a healthier environment.

Your grandma’s favorite heavy appliance manufacturer stakes their claim to 21st century relevance with the Frigidaire FRA053 portable air conditioner. This is not a unit that’s going to cool down your banquet hall (if you have a banquet hall) but it will keep the study or the kid’s room or even a smallish kitchen cool and comfortable.

The boxy design could use a reappraisal from the marketing department but there’s nothing patently objectionable about it. Some might even find it sophisticated and simple. What you may not find so sophisticated is the noise level; which is a tad higher than we like.

Pros

  • Easy to install – As far as the unit itself goes it’s no more than a matter of taking it out of the box and plugging it in. However, as with all such units, you’ll need to hook up the exhaust hose first. To do so Frigidaire provides an expandable window panel and flexible 6’ hose. Simple hook up one end of the hose to the appliance and the other end to the window panel, plug it in and you’re good to go. What could be easier?
  • Convenient dual controls – The FRA053 comes with both unit based and remote control capability. The built in controls on the unit are clearly laid out and easy to understand and use. A couple seemed a bit more sensitive than we’d consider ideal but it was not a significant issue. Switching to remote control is no-muss no-fuss so you can easily adjust all aspects of the unit’s performance while you eat or while you’re lying in bed. Temp response is not optimal but not bad for a 5,000 BTU air conditioner.
  • Build quality – What the FRA053 lacks in looks it makes up for in build quality. The unit has a nice solid feel to it without feeling heavy. Nothing feels plasticky or fragile and the controls seem like they’ve been given some thought as far as ergonomics and legibility. All in all for the price the basically solid feel of the unit and the well-thought out controls were something of a pleasant surprise.

Cons

  • Design – Here’s where we diverge from some other reviewers who seem to think the design of the FRA053 is something pretty special. For us it was something pretty ordinary, a bit on the boxy side and lacking somewhat in imagination. There’s sometimes a fine line between gracefully minimalist and plain. In our humble opinion it leans more toward the latter than the former. That said it was easy to move about and set up.
  • Power – At 5,000 BTUs this unit isn’t going to set any records for cooling or be of much use in a large living room or kitchen. While it’s rated for up to 216 square feet we’d say whoever came up with that number must be an eternal optimist. That’s not to say that it’s all bad. The unit will actually excel in a small enclosed room and one of our reviewers claims that it worked lights out in his basement recreation room which is quite large. We attribute that mostly to the lack of windows and low ceilings. Nonetheless results are results.