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A quiet-running system with 16.5 SEER inverter technology for energy efficient, precision-controlled operation. The unit features an LED display, self-diagnosis, intelligent defrost, and pre-heating. It comes with a five-year warranty on the compressor.
As with all mini split air conditioning systems, this one can be a little tricky to install. DIY is not recommended.
The stealth LED mode is a slick feature that turns the display on and off as needed. Unit has a quiet mode that operates at a noise level of 27.5 dB. The turbo mode is useful for quick heating or cooling. Offers remote operation and has a dehumidifier mode.
Remember, this is a budget model so it may not offer the durability that is found in higher priced units.
This well-built, quiet, and easy-to-install system is very reliable. Cools quickly. Offers remote access to controls through the MRCOOL app. Comes with pre-charged line sets, and the connect line doesn't require special tools or training to install.
The line that comes with this set is 25 inches long, which might mean extra tubing for some shorter installs.
Extremely quiet. Includes a remote control with an LED readout that is simple to use. Has a heat pump unit for colder weather. LED temperature display on the interior unit.
While this kit does come with installation instructions, the setup can be tricky and might be best handled by a professional. DIY is not generally recommended for these units.
The single-zone cooling offers a viable solution for areas which fall outside of your home's heating/cooling areas as well as rooms that just run hot or cold.
While this is a quality unit, the company does not have the best customer support.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
When the weather heats up, most of us rely heavily on an air conditioner to help keep our home cool and comfortable. If you don’t want the eyesore of a window AC unit or the high expense of central air conditioning, you have another option: the mini split air conditioner. This appliance serves as the perfect middle ground.
But while a mini split air conditioner is less expensive than a central air system, it’s still an investment, and it’s important to choose the right one. That means knowing how many zones and BTUs would work best for your home as well as what modes and other features would help keep your home as comfortable as possible.
If you are interested in a ductless cooling system for your home—one that has the ability to deliver different air temperatures to different zones—it’s a good idea to read a comprehensive buying guide on the best mini split air conditioning units available.
The most common home heating and cooling systems are known as split systems because they feature both interior and exterior components. Like a central AC system, a mini split air conditioner has both interior and exterior components. However, a mini split air conditioner doesn’t need ductwork to move cool air through your home.
Instead, the mini split air conditioner’s exterior compression or condensing component compresses and expands refrigerant in the system to remove both heat and moisture from your home’s air. The cooled air is then sent into the house through lines that connect to the interior component(s). These components usually consist of air handling units, blowers, and evaporators. The air handling units are installed in the wall or ceiling throughout the house to cool the space effectively.
There are many reasons why a mini split air conditioner can be an ideal option for your home.
Because a mini split air conditioner can feature multiple air handling units, you can set up multiple cooling zones throughout your home, thereby controlling how warm or cool specific rooms are. If you spend a lot of time in one particular room, this is a great advantage. Why? Because you’re not wasting energy trying to cool off the rooms you aren’t using.
Mini split air conditioning systems are usually easier to install than other heating and cooling systems. You’ll still need an HVAC professional to install it, but the work can be done quickly, which allows you to use your new system as soon as possible.
Looking to save money? One way to do this is to cut back on your energy costs. The lack of ductwork means that mini split air conditioners usually don’t suffer the same energy losses as central air conditioners. Keep in mind that the energy loss from central AC often makes up nearly 30% of the system’s energy consumption.
The air handling units for mini split air conditioners can be installed in a variety of ways, allowing you to control the way your home’s interior looks. The units can be hung from the ceiling, installed in a wall, or mounted flush in a drop ceiling. There are even some floor-standing options.
Mini split air conditioners usually have remote controls that make it easy to adjust the system, even if you’re across the room.
Window AC units can provide a way for intruders to make their way into your home. With a mini split air conditioner, there are no openings to your home’s exterior, making your home more secure.
In addition to the usual heating and cooling options, mini split air conditioners offer other features and modes that make them even more useful. Some models can dehumidify a room.
Dirt, dust, and other debris can easily accumulate in HVAC system ducts. Because a mini split air conditioner is ductless, you don’t have to worry about the air in your home being full of allergy-triggering dust and dander.
Mini split air conditioners usually offer extremely quiet operation, especially compared to noisy window units.
Perhaps the biggest drawback is the upfront cost of a mini split system, which can easily climb over $1,000 in price. Further, it’s advised that you have a professional install it rather than making it your next DIY project. Why? Installing a mini split system requires some specific know-how that only an HVAC professional is likely to have. For example, an HVAC pro will know what size system you need and where to place it. If you were to buy a system that’s too large for your space—or if you were to install it in the wrong location—the machine could short-cycle, wasting lots of your energy (and money).
Another drawback of these systems is their aesthetics. Mini split air conditioners are not as attractive or streamlined in appearance as some other HVAC system appliances. What’s more, you will have to find a place to drain condensed water from your outdoor unit, which is not necessarily a “pretty” sight, although you could certainly find a piece of outdoor decor to camouflage it.
If you live in a large home with rooms you don’t use—or rooms where you would like to focus more or less cool air—a mini split can help you save money by concentrating the air conditioning to the rooms where you want it.
Mini split air conditioners are available in both single-zone models designed to cool air in a single room and multi-zone models that can cool air in several rooms in your home. A single-zone mini split air conditioner is usually the least-expensive option; you can expect to pay a little more for each zone that you add.
The reason why many homeowners enjoy multi-zone mini split air conditioners is that the temperature for each zone can be controlled individually. If you have a system with two zones, you can set a different temperature for each room based on the preferences of the person in the room. It’s an ideal option if there’s someone in the household who’s always cold and someone else who’s always warm.
A multi-zone mini split air conditioner can also help save energy—and money—because you can turn off the air conditioning in a room that doesn’t need it or increase the temperature in a room that doesn’t need quite as much cooling. With a central AC system, you’re unable to do this, which can unnecessarily run up your energy costs.
Most mini split air conditioners can have up to four zones, though there are some models that allow for as many as six. Each room or zone has its own indoor air handling unit that connects to the outdoor unit via refrigerant lines. Because these lines can be fairly long, you can have zones on different floors of your home to make sure the entire living space is comfortable.
Like any air conditioner, mini split air conditioner power is measured in BTUs. The greater the number of BTUs, the more square footage it can cool in your home. Some manufacturers actually list the size of the area that a unit can cover. This makes it easier to choose a model, but it helps to have an idea of how many BTUs are necessary to cover a particular room size.
Many mini split air conditioners come with the usual 110-volt to 120-volt plug. However, if you purchase a larger model, you may need a 220-volt to 240-volt outlet, which typically requires having an electrician upgrade an existing outlet to prevent blown fuses or fire hazards.
The outdoor portion of a mini split air conditioner is called a compressor, and you can typically choose between two types: a rotary compressor and an inverter compressor.
Rotary compressors are the most common type; they essentially turn the air conditioner on and off to regulate temperature. The air conditioner initially operates at full power to cool the room; it then cycles on and off based on the temperature.
Inverted compressors offer a newer technology that helps save energy. These compressors don’t automatically turn on at full power. Rather, they use only the amount of energy necessary to reach the desired temperature. You’ll pay more money upfront for an inverter compressor, but you may find the long-term energy savings make it a worthwhile investment.
All mini split air conditioners have a cooling mode, but some models offer additional functions to help make your home as comfortable as possible. You may want to look for an air conditioner that features the following modes.
Many mini split air conditioners come with a remote control that allows you to adjust the temperature or turn the unit on and off from across the room. This is a particularly helpful feature if you plan to install the interior air handling unit in the ceiling or high up on the wall.
You may also want to consider a model that features a programmable timer. That allows you to choose specific temperatures for your room based on the time of day to help you save money.
Like any air conditioner, a mini split air conditioner requires filters for proper operation. To save money, choose a model with reusable filters that you can clean and put back in the unit rather than those that must be replaced. Filters can be fairly expensive, so if you have to replace them, it can add to the operating cost of the unit.
Mini split air conditioner prices usually vary based on how many BTUs they offer. In general, you can expect to pay $600 to $3,500 for a single-zone unit.
A mini split air conditioner with 5,000 to 9,000 BTUs generally costs somewhere between $600 and $750. We don’t recommend investing in a mini split air conditioner that costs less than this unless you’ve come upon a great sale. Systems that put out between 9,000 and 12,000 BTUs can cost up to $1,000.
For a system that puts out 12,000 to 18,000 BTUs, you could spend anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000. Over 18,000 BTUs, you could pay as much as $3,500.
Keep in mind that these prices are for single-zone mini split air conditioners. With every zone that you choose to add, the price will increase.
A. Yes. Installing a mini split air conditioner is more difficult than setting up a window or portable air conditioner. It’s not a DIY project. Manufacturers recommend that you have the air conditioner installed by an HVAC professional. In fact, a DIY installation of your mini split AC could actually void the warranty.
A. If a mini split air conditioner is installed properly, it can last between 10 and 20 years. However, that’s only if you maintain the unit properly by cleaning it regularly, replacing the filters when necessary, and having it checked out annually by an HVAC contractor.
A. The indoor air handling units for a ductless mini split air conditioner are typically installed horizontally on the wall. You can have the component installed flush with your ceiling if you prefer, though this type of installation doesn’t work with all ceilings. It’s also possible to have the unit mounted to a ceiling stud or even in a vertical upright position on a floor. Keep in mind that these customized installations typically cost more.
A. In northern regions of the U.S., a SEER rating of at least 14 is recommended. In the hotter regions of the country, a minimum SEER rating of at least 15 is recommended.