Which mini split air conditioners are best?
Mini split air conditioners are heating and cooling systems that allow users to control temperatures on a room-by-room basis. They are more efficient than whole-house AC systems, and because they use no ductwork, they are also more efficient and less expensive than traditional HVAC systems.
Split air conditioners are so-called because half of the apparatus is inside your home and half is outside. If you are looking for a mini split air conditioner for a 400-square-foot room, take a look at the Bosch Ultra-Quiet 12,000 BTU mini split air conditioner.
What to know before you buy a mini split air conditioner
Mini split air conditioners cool individual rooms just like window air conditioners, but there are some crucial differences. Mini split air conditioners have the vents inside like window units but are quiet because the compressor sits outside. They are more attractive than window units because the indoor part (the air handling unit) is smaller.
Window unit ACs block the light, and you cannot use the window for anything else. Mini split air conditioners are typically on the wall, where they are less intrusive.
What to look for in a quality mini split air conditioner
Number of zones
Single zone mini split systems have one outdoor unit (the noisy compressor) and one indoor unit (the part that regulates the temperature and fan speed and uses vents to direct the cold air). You buy one mini split air conditioner for each room. Single zone mini split systems are the easiest to install. They require only a small 3-inch hole in the wall to connect the indoor and outdoor units.
Multi-zone mini split systems have anywhere from two to eight indoor units connected to a single outdoor unit. The big plus is that you save on outdoor compressors while still maintaining the ability to heat and cool individual rooms to different temperatures.
The power of all types of air conditioners is measured in BTUs. Mini split air conditioner labels will list how many BTU the unit is rated to deliver. Measure the length and width of your room and multiply them together to get the square footage. Determine how many BTUs are needed to heat and cool each zone where you need a mini split air conditioner using this convertor.
- 150- to 250-square-foot zones need a mini split air conditioner that delivers 5,000 to 6,000 BTUs.
- 250- to 350-square-foot zones need 6,000 to 8,000 BTU systems.
- 350- to 450-square-foot zones need 8,000 to 10,000 BTU systems.
- 450- to 550-square-foot zones need 10,000 to 12,000 BTU systems.
- 550- to 700-square-foot zones need 12,000 to 14,000 BTU systems.
- 750- to 1,000-square-foot zones need 14,000 to 18,000 BTU systems.
- 1,000- to 1,300-square-foot zones need 24,000 to 30,000 BTU systems.
Automatic: This option senses the zone temperature and adjusts automatically to maximum comfort levels.
Timer: Use this option to save money by not heating or cooling the zone when you are away.
Fan: This option allows you to circulate air in the room even when not heating or cooling.
Dehumidify: If you live in a humid area, a dehumidifier will remove excess moisture from the air to make you feel even cooler.
Remote control: When you buy a mini split air conditioner with a remote control, you can mount your inside unit high on the wall near the ceiling, out of reach and unobtrusive.
How much you can expect to spend on mini split air conditioner
You can find single-zone mini split air conditioners with 10,000 or fewer BTUs for $600-$1,000. Mini split air conditioners that deliver 12,000 to 18,000 BTUs cost $1,000-$2,000. A four-zone system will cost from $4,000 upward, depending upon the features you want.
Mini split air conditioner FAQ
Can I install a mini split air conditioner myself?
A. If you are a skilled DIYer with a complete set of tools and a helper, you should have no problems installing a single-zone system. Otherwise, it is best to hire a pro. Check to see if installing it yourself will void the factory warranty.
What does SEER mean?
A. It is the industry term for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It is a complicated formula that calculates an average. Think of it as the higher the SEER, the more energy-efficient the mini split air conditioner.
What’s the best mini split air conditioner to buy?
Top mini split air conditioner
What you need to know: This mini split air conditioner cools and heats rooms up to 400 square feet.
What you’ll love: This Energy Star-certified mini split air conditioner has a timer, a wireless backlit remote controller and turbo and silent modes.
What you should consider: The small print on the remote buttons is hard to read.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top mini split air conditioner for the money
What you need to know: This mini split air conditioner is the choice of those whose top priority is a low price.
What you’ll love: The LED has a stealth mode that turns the display on and off as needed. The turbo mode heats or cools quickly and the quiet mode is for standard operation. There is also a dehumidifier mode.
What you should consider: Budget models typically lack the durability found in higher-priced units.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This remote-controlled conditioner heats and cools rooms up to 1,500 square feet.
What you’ll love: This quiet-running system has 16.5 SEER inverter technology for energy efficiency. It has a smart defrost and a pre-heating cycle. The compressor is warranted for five years.
What you should consider: This unit can be tricky to install if you have no prior experience.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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