Few things ruin a summer quicker than losing your air conditioner. Whether your AC is broken, out-of-date or just too expensive, you may feel stuck in the unfortunate situation of having an uncomfortably hot house. Or worse, you could have a house that has never had AC, so you would need to run entirely new ductwork to cool each individual room. If you’re stuck in this situation, consider choosing a ductless air conditioner. Going ductless means choosing an inexpensive and simple system that can easily be installed by professionals without tearing open any walls. This complete review of the best ductless air conditioner options on the market today will give you everything you need to find the right cooling system for your home. You won’t have to suffer through a hot and stuffy summer again.
What Is a Ductless Air Conditioner?
Ductless air conditioners, also called split units or a mini-split, utilize most of the same technologies of a window air conditioner or a central air unit. These innovative systems house a condenser outside your house, and a small unit mounted on the ceiling or wall that acts as a vent. These two systems are connected by conduit, which allows cool air to be pumped from the condenser to the wall unit. It’s a far more effective and efficient system than a window-mounted air conditioner, and it doesn’t need all the extensive ductwork of a central air system. If your house isn’t already ready for a central air unit, you’ll find a ductless air conditioner far easier to accommodate. Otherwise, professionals may need to tear into multiple walls and flooring in order to run new ductwork.
Is It More Energy-Efficient?
Because you are able to control the temperature in each room, a ductless air conditioner can be very energy-efficient. The upfront cost may be more than a central air unit. However, the running cost will be less, so you’ll save energy and money after operating it throughout its lifetime. There are two general reasons these models are usually more energy-efficient. First, it uses electricity, rather than expensive natural gas or propane for your heating needs. For air conditioning, you’ll save plenty of money by having multiple units in your house. That way, you can adjust the temperature for each room. This will ensure not only consistent temperature control, but also the ability to lower the amount of cold air being blown into rooms you aren’t using.
Can I Install a Ductless Air Conditioner?
Ductless air conditioners are far easier to install than central air units, provided you don’t have any ductwork in your house. If you already have the ductwork installed, a central air unit is slightly easier to install. In either case, it’s best to leave the work to professional HVAC experts. It can be complicated, and you will be working with electricity and refrigerant.
What Is a Mini-Split?
Mini-split is another name for a ductless air conditioner. It refers to the two parts of the system, both inside and outside. The outdoor compressor is far smaller than a typical central air unit, which helped give it the name. Many individuals are confused by the term, because the indoor vent is quite larger than traditional ductwork and vent systems. The indoor unit may look bulky and take some getting used to, so consider a wall that will not only give you easy connection with the outdoor unit, but will also provide inconspicuous air conditioning in your home.
Can a Ductless Air Conditioner Heat My House?
If it works so well as a replacement for your air conditioner, it’s only natural to consider these units for heating as well. Thankfully, with the addition of a heat pump, you’ll be heating your house as effortlessly as you cool it in the summer. It’s not, however, designed for extreme temperatures, so you may not find it as efficient if you regularly experience sub-zero temperatures. Many customers choose to supplement a wood stove or gas furnace during extremely cold months. In general, if the temperature ever falls below 30 degrees in your area, you may consider having a backup heating option.
Do I Need to Clean the Filter?
Just like other air conditioning and heating systems, a ductless air conditioner comes with a replaceable air filter. Check your owner’s manual, and be sure to check the filter regularly. Each filter is rated for different duration and effectiveness. Having a dirty filter will not only decrease the effectiveness of your ductless air conditioner, it can also decrease the energy efficiency of your system. Many ductless air conditioners come with washable filters. While you will still need to monitor the filter to make sure it stays clear of obstructions, these filters make it much more cost-effective to keep your ductless air conditioner running. Simply rinse and dry the filter, and replace. These filters may become too worn-out eventually, so be sure to replace any filter that has large holes or other damage.
What Is SEER?
One of the ways to measure how powerful your air conditioner is operating is the SEER rating. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. However, it isn’t always an accurate representation of the true energy efficiency of an air conditioner. It can be more of a marketing strategy than a scientific measurement, but it’s a helpful tool to compare larger and smaller air conditioners.
How We Reviewed
These ductless air conditioners are some of the best-rated models on the market. Each one was chosen after carefully considering professional opinions, customer ratings and reviews, and the individual features and functions. While each model offers the same basic design, there are many additional factors to consider when purchasing the best ductless air conditioner. Each system works in a very similar way, with similar parts and LCD controls. Consider the warranty, customer ratings and SEER rating in order to help you purchase the unit that will work best for your situation.
Ductless air conditioners have a fairly low range of prices between brands. Each one operates with largely the same features, similar installation procedures and sizing. The main price difference is the size of house the system is designed to heat and cool effectively. Check out the SEER rating, BTUs and warranties on each system to compare high-end choices with more cost-effective models. The least expensive system on the list is $975.51, and the most expensive is $1,602.00. Keep in mind that some systems don’t include any conduit or lines needed to connect the two units, which can add as much as $500 to the price. These prices reflect mid-ranged and competitively priced systems. Some systems cost as low as $600, while you can spend over $2,000 on a large system. If you want to add multiple indoor units, the price will increase even more dramatically.
Best Ductless Air Conditioners
- Classic America Mini Split Inverter Ductless Air Conditioner/Heat Pump. Uses 220-230 VAC electrical power, 15 SEER High...
- Indoor unit has a modern and sleek appearance. The outdoor unit provides a powerful, dependable and efficient...
- Installation kit includes: 16 Feet Insulated Copper-Aluminum Refrigeration Tubing, Wiring Cables, Cable Tie - Pipe Wrap,...
This system has a standard SEER rating and BTUs, but provides one of the most cost-effective units on the list. It comes with 16 feet of conduit, in order to place the indoor unit in the perfect spot. Take charge of your house’s temperature using lots of great functions, such as a timer, sleep-mode, air swing and three different fan speeds. In order to save even more money, the filter is washable. With regular maintenance, this system will save you plenty on your next heating bill. Customers love how quiet and effective this unit operates. However, if you are planning to install it yourself, the instructions can be quite complicated. It’s best installed by an HVAC professional. You’ll get two units for the price of one, with two indoor vents to keep two different rooms at the perfect temperature.
- Required, but not included: 1/4" x 3/8" line set | The new LIVO+ Wall Mount units are the latest addition to the Gree...
- These 16-SEER heat pump systems are built around Gree's G10 Inverter and variable compressor technology, using...
- Each Livo+ mini-split indoor unit is designed to heat and cool a single room, and will blend seamlessly into any decor.
Another excellent, two-for-one option, the Gree system offers two indoor units, a heat pump and a 16 SEER air conditioner to offer great temperatures for 600 to 1000 square-feet of living space. It’s quiet and energy-efficient, and works well in a variety of homes. If this system doesn’t offer the power you need, consider a larger system by Gree. This brand offers ductless air conditioner units with heat pumps and as much as 30,000 BTUs. This 18,000 BTU unit is a great example of cost effectiveness and energy efficiency. This kit doesn’t contain everything you need, so you’ll need to purchase additional connections for installation.
- Mini Split Ductless Air Conditioner and Heater - 17 SEER
- 4-in-1 Design - With air conditioning, heating, dehumidifier and fan
- Low Ambient Kit - Cool and heat your room even in temperatures as low as 5F
While this ductless air conditioner doesn’t have the same BTUs or SEER rating of other, similarly priced models, the Senville SENL-24CD comes with all the line sets you need to install the indoor unit up to 16 feet away from the outdoor compressor. It’s a quiet model, and comes with a five-year warranty on the compressor. Customers love how silent it is, and how effective it is. If you’re looking for a way to add extra air conditioning and heating another room or garage, this is an excellent choice.
- Energy Star 20.5 SEER, Variable Speed Inverter Compressor, Complete Package!!! 25 ft Full Installation Kit! R410a...
- Whisper-quiet operation; Refrigerant Leak Detection; LCD display, Electroplated Coils
- HEPA Filter Included; Quick access, Washable air filters; Turbo mode; 3 fan speeds
The most expensive ductless air conditioner also has one of the highest SEER ratings. This high-quality choice is a best seller, and includes an LCD display, an easily accessible and washable filter and very quiet operation. The DuctlessAire model also includes 25-feet of line set, which gives you plenty of flexibility when choosing the right location to install the indoor unit. Customers love the efficiency of this unit. If you need a smaller model, consider the 22 SEER option that only has 12,000 BTUs.
- Save money all year-round with a highly efficient ductless mini split inverter+ heat pump system
- Ultra-silent and beautifully built: perfect for home or light commercial use
- Use for both cooling and heating: 12000 BTU/hour, with 17 SEER and 9 HSPF efficiency
The Pioneer WYSO12-17 has some of the most customizable options available. The 24,000 BTU unit is an excellent choice for a variety of rooms, but Pioneer features air conditioners are small as 9,000 BTUs or as large as 36,000 BTUs. Consider which size you need for your heating and cooling needs. The LCD remote has several functions, and the kit comes with 16-feet of lines for full installation. Customers love how efficient and silent this air conditioner operates. However, it’s slightly more expensive than other models with comparable SEER ratings.
- 20.5 SEER Variable Speed DC Inverter GMCC TOSHIBA Compressor 208-230V; Heating and Cooling Ductless Mini Split System
- Package Includes: Indoor Unit w/wall bracket; Outdoor Unit R410A pre-charged; Wireless Remote control with LCD Display;...
- AHRI Certified; Super Quiet Operation; Low Ambient Heating (-4°F) and Cooling (5°F); LED display, 24 Hour Timer, Quiet...
While the Air-Con 18,000 BTU model is less efficient for heating your home, it has the highest SEER rating on the list. While SEER rating isn’t always the most accurate at predicting energy consumption, it’s probable that this unit will be more energy-efficient than its competitors. The ductless air conditioner comes with 15 feet of lin, and has plenty of adjustable settings. Customers love how dependable and quiet it operates, and it is very highly rated. However, it may not be powerful enough to work as your only source of heating if you are in a very cold climate.
Classic America Ductless Air Conditioner With Heat Pump
Gree Ductless Air Conditioner With Heat Pump
Senville SENL-24CD Ductless Air Conditioner With Heat Pump
DuctlessAire Ductless Air Conditioner With Heat Pump
Pioneer WYS012-17 Ductless Air Conditioner With Heat Pump
Air-Con Ductless Air Conditioner With Heat Pump
Ductless air conditioners are a smart way to give you energy-efficient heating and cooling. Choose the right system, and you’ll have a comfortable house with a lower energy bill than your central air system. Be sure to hire an HVAC professional, and take all the stress out of installation concerns. Once you try out a mini-split unit, you won’t want to go back.