Connecting Windmill to my Wi-Fi and the app took a few tries but was otherwise simple. I controlled Windmill primarily from my phone out of laziness, but more often than not, upon opening the app the temperature display was set in Celsius. Sometimes it was Fahrenheit, but most of the time it would come up in Celsius, and I couldn’t find this as a setting in the app so I eventually just looked up the conversion to learn that I prefer my AC set at 23 degrees Celsius. (Windmill also confirmed they will be making improvements to the app which will update automatically for users.)
As a company, Windmill prioritizes reducing their impact on the environment—and as consumers, we all should, too! The actual device uses an R32 refrigerant with 68% less global warming potential than what’s commonly used (410a). Plus, the app allows users to control the unit from outside of the home—for all those times you forget to switch it off on the way out the door. Every Windmill unit comes with an antimicrobial filter that can be easily removed from the magnetic front cover, and when cleaned monthly, will improve the unit’s efficiency. Since refrigerant leaking into landfills is one of the leading causes of global warming, Windmill partnered with Earth911 to help customers find a nearby recycling facility to responsibly dispose of their old AC units. (Alternatively, if you schedule an installation with TaskRabbit, they will recycle the unit for you.) To top it all off, Windmill will also offset carbon emissions of each AC unit it sells through verified forest carbon projects using Pachama.
At first glance, I thought the unit was a little too hi-tech looking for my personal taste, especially with the perforated front panel. But I really appreciate the soft edges of the unit, the disappearing display, and the minimalist frame. One review described Windmill as the “iPhone of air conditioners” and I have to agree—the overall effect is easy on the eyes, and there’s a certain “cool factor” to having one, pun intended. As mentioned earlier, I also thoroughly enjoyed the packaging, instruction manual, and online experience of Windmill; it’s sophisticated, approachable, and easily digestible. If you cringe at bad graphics and unconsidered design, you’ll appreciate Windmill!
I would highly recommend Windmill to a friend shopping for a new AC unit. Besides the laborious step of cutting the plastic cosmetic panels, I found installation to be easy (again, with the help of a partner), and it operates quietly and efficiently. I also think it’s a no-brainer to purchase an appliance that is more environmentally-friendly than others on the market, especially when the price is competitive (most 8,000 BTU units go for $300–$500). Sadly, as I recommend this product to you, dear Clever reader, I learned the 2020 batch of Windmill ACs has already sold out. But they are offering a preorder for spring 2021 delivery (with a $60 discount), so consider checking this task off your list six months in advance—there’s no better time than the present!