Published on July 3, 2021

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Photography by Julia Stevens

By now there’s a cute millennial brand for everything: toothbrushes, mattresses, irons—you name it. And oftentimes they’re replacing something that’s traditionally not cute. While the air conditioner unit may be a little late to the party, in my book it was the most urgent category of all.

For those who live without central air, let me paint you a picture: We’re forced to shove an ugly 50-something-pound box into our window, blocking the view (timed perfectly with when trees are finally green again) and replacing it with a big white appliance—all while holding onto it for dear life so that it doesn’t fall out of the window. And you can forget Instagramming your living room—not even a custom roman shade or neighboring plants can make such a monstrosity charming. 

But all of that is irrelevant now, as brands like Windmill have made their way onto the scene. If you hop on its site, you’ll see the words take care of our air floating across the screen and images of trendy apartments popping in and out. Team Domino felt it was our duty to get one for ourselves and see what it was all about. Our findings? It’s just as great as we imagined.

Let’s talk looks: Rather than through thick, dark slats, Windmill sucks in air from an evenly perforated surface. Clicking on the small concealed buttons signals the temperature in digital numbers to briefly light up and appear, whereas many older units have a small screen with a permanent sleep-disrupting bright light. Other sleep benefits? The remote control (aka your new summer sidekick) will allow you to stay in your comfy position and at the right temperature. 

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Courtesy of Windmill

Installation was a breeze (pun intended)—that is, after you’ve transported the 60-pound box to your designated window—and from the moment you slide the accordion foam blockers out without their getting jammed, it’s clear that the quality is superior. But that’s the last you’ll see of them. You can cover them with cleaner-looking cosmetic side panels that also help with insulation. Setup is as simple as plugging in, and then you’re instantly cooling down. If you want to connect to the app (because of course there’s an app), you can control the machine from anywhere. 

Now for the most important part: the sound. I personally love to sleep with white noise, and this machine has the perfect whisper—no buzzing or rumbling. You’ll hear slight variations as you switch between eco mode and different intensities, but it’s hardly disruptive. 

Like an air purifier, the unit delivers fresh, clean air with dual filtration. And like every millennial brand, there is a subscription option—get your antimicrobial-protected mesh and activated carbon filters delivered automatically. 

As someone who is not so tech savvy and even has a negative interest in anything “smart home,” I can genuinely say that the Windmill is the least complicated WiFi-enabled gadget I’ve tried. You can take advantage of as many or as few of the functions as you’re comfortable with, and even if you’re just pressing on and off, you’ve got yourself a premium cooldown. 

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