Hvac mini split system reviews

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Best-Rated Air Conditioner Brands

Mitsubishi Electric

Mitsubishi Electric air conditioner review

Not to be confused with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, this is another brand carrying the Mitsubishi name. Covering both domestic and commercial sides of the Australian market, Mitsubishi Electric is a one-stop shop for wall-mounted, ducted, console split, bulkhead, ceiling mounted and multi-head air conditioning systems. If you’re bored of the traditional white finish, some models come in a black or silver design for something different. Many of the brand’s air conditioners feature horizontal vanes to supposedly create wide and long airflow patterns, helping push air further into the room.

Some common features include voice control, Google Assistant and Alexa compatibility, i-Save Mode to save preferred settings, Long Mode to distribute the air more evenly throughout the room, and a blue fin condenser to slow down the corrosion process on the heat exchanger of the outdoor unit. Certain Mitsubishi Electric air conditioners are also regarded as Demand Response Enabling Device (DRED) compatible, so the range may be worth looking into if you want to get more control over your energy consumption.

Mitsubishi Electric air conditioners have a high-end price tag, with costs starting at the mid-$1,000 mark and reaching beyond $4,700.

Here are a few air conditioners from the Mitsubishi Electric range:

  • Mitsubishi Electric 2.5kW Reverse Cycle Split Inverter Air Conditioner (MSZAP25VGDKIT): $1,575 RRP*
  • Mitsubishi Electric 3.5kW Reverse Cycle Split Inverter Air Conditioner (MSZAP35VGDKIT): $1,910 RRP*
  • Mitsubishi Electric 5kW Reverse Cycle Split Inverter Air Conditioner (MSZEF50VGWKIT): $2,789 RRP*
  • Mitsubishi Electric 8kW Reverse Cycle Split Inverter Air Conditioner (MSZAP80VGDKIT): $4,220 RRP*

Mitsubishi Electric was another popular pick, earning five-star reviews for reliability, functionality and features, ease of use and value for money. It achieved a respectable four stars everywhere else, including for overall satisfaction.


Panasonic air conditioner review

Well-known for quality home electronics, Panasonic offers a wide selection of products to suit single-room, multi-room and whole-house air conditioning. Different types of models includes wall-mounted split system air conditioners, ducted air conditioners, inverter and ceiling-mounted cassette air conditioners. Majority of the brand’s cooling range include models from the AERO Series. These are available in 2.5kW, 3.5kW, 5.2kW, 6kW, 7.1kW and 8kW capacities.

Each AERO model contains nanoe X technology, an air purification system developed by Panasonic and Sensitive Choice. It’s claimed to limit the growth of bacteria, viruses, allergens, mould and pollution as well as deodorise the space and get rid of bad smells. Panasonic air cons additionally contain an antibacterial filter to remove contaminants. Some other features include voice control, Wi-Fi control, blue fin technology for added corrosion resistance, and a design that supposedly ensures the air conditioning is still effective despite hot temperatures outside.

Panasonic’s air conditioners start at a slightly higher price point than many other major brands – just over $1,000 – and top-of-the-range models can set you back closer towards the $3,300 mark.

Here are a few air conditioners currently available from Panasonic:

  • Panasonic 2.5kW AERO Series Reverse Cycle Inverter Air Conditioner (CS-CU-Z25VKR): $1,301 RRP*
  • Panasonic 3.5kW AERO Series Premium Reverse Cycle Inverter Air Conditioner (CS-CU-Z35VKR): $1,508 RRP*
  • Panasonic 4.2kW AERO Series Premium Reverse Cycle Inverter Air Conditioner (CS-CU-Z42VKR): $1,675 RRP*
  • Panasonic 7.1kW AERO Series Premium Reverse Cycle Inverter Air Conditioner (CS-CU-Z71VKR): $2,548 RRP*
  • Panasonic 8kW AERO Series Premium Reverse Cycle Inverter Air Conditioner (CS-CU-Z80VKR): $3,273 RRP*

Panasonic scored five stars for reliability, noise and ease of use, before ending on four stars for value for money, overall satisfaction and everywhere else.

Fujitsu General

Fujitsu General air conditioner review

Fujitsu General produces different types of air cons, including wall-mounted, multi-type systems, ducted, cassette, ceiling and floor-standing models for single-room, multi-room and whole-house air conditioning. Within its offering for the most popular type (wall-mounted), there are three ranges to choose from – Classic, Lifestyle and Designer. In each, a choice of reverse cycle or cooling-only options means that you can save the money you’d otherwise be paying for nothing if you don’t want the heating program. The Classic range features All DC inverter technology to lower power consumption. Fujitsu air cons are also DRED compatible.

The Lifestyle range is apparently Fujitsu’s most energy-efficient, with some models nabbing a five-star energy rating, while coming in a stylish, standardised style, so the whole home matches. The Designer sits at the higher end of the range, with a sleek, modern finish and extra features. Across the three ranges, many models include a ‘human sensor control’, which automatically turns the air conditioner off if there’s no detected movement for 20 minutes. When someone re-enters the room, the sensor picks up the movement and switches the air conditioner back on. No more accidentally leaving the air con on all day when you rush out the door! Additionally, some models feature a built-in wireless LAN interface, allowing you to remotely control the air con.

Similar to many other brands, prices generally start from the mid-$1,000 mark and reach up to $4,500.

Some models from the Fujitsu air conditioning range include:

  • Fujitsu 2.5kW Reverse Cycle Split System Air Conditioner (ASTG09KMTC): $1,619 RRP*
  • Fujitsu 3.5kW Reverse Cycle Split System Air Conditioner (ASTG12KMTC): $1,899 RRP*
  • Fujitsu 5kW Reverse Cycle Split System Inverter Air Conditioner (ASTG18KUCA): $2,689 RRP*
  • Fujitsu 9.4kW Cooling Only Split System Inverter Air Conditioner (ASTG34CMTA): $4,499 RRP*

Fujitsu General maintained five-star reviews for reliability, ease of use and functionality and features. It got three stars for connectivity, but bumped its score up to four stars for overall satisfaction and the remaining categories.


Samsung air conditioner review

With a focus more on ducted and commercial-grade air conditioning, Samsung now provides only a few domestic reverse cycle split system air conditioners with cooling capacities of between 2.5kW and 8kW. These are said to contain a large fan unit and wide blade to minimise energy consumption and distribute cool air quickly. Common features include Good Sleep mode, which automatically adjusts fan speed and airflow, as well as a removable Easy Filter Plus to collect dust and an Auto Clean function to remove moisture inside the air con and prevent bacteria from growing. Other features include a 24-hour timer and DRED compatibility.

Samsung’s air conditioners have fairly standard energy efficiency ratings, although many are rated two stars. The most efficient air con is also the cheapest in the range, with the 2.5kW split system unit rating four stars when operating on either the cooling or heating mode.

Here are some air conditioners from the Samsung range:

  • Samsung 2.5kW Wall Mount Indoor GEO Air Conditioner (AR09TXHYBWKN): $999 RRP*
  • Samsung 3.5kW Wall Mount Indoor GEO Air Conditioner (AR12TXHYBWKN): $1,199 RRP*
  • Samsung 5kW Wall Mount Indoor GEO Air Conditioner (AR18TXHYBWKN): $1,599 RRP*
  • Samsung 6.8kW Wall Mount Indoor GEO Air Conditioner (AR24TXHYBWKN): $1,899 RRP*
  • Samsung 8kW Wall Mount Indoor GEO Air Conditioner (AR30TXHYBWKN): $2,299 RRP*

Samsung proved to offer the best connectivity, achieving five stars. It also earned a respectable four stars for noise, before landing on three stars for reliability, value for money, overall satisfaction and in the remaining categories.


LG air conditioner review

LG is another global leader in home appliances, offering several split system air conditioners, multi-split system air cons as well as cassette and ducted air conditioning systems for larger open areas. It’s worth noting that LG’s line-up includes reverse cycle models, so there’s something suitable for year-round comfort. You can expect to see a few efficient air cons, such as LG’s High Efficiency 2.5kW which has a six-star rating for both cooling and heating.

The Active Energy Control function, which you can manage through the LG ThinQ app, is also a standard feature across the brand’s collection and allows you to set a cap on the unit’s energy consumption to improve efficiency. LG air conditioners also offer four-way air control – both vertical and horizontal airflow adjustments. Wi-Fi Smart Control is available with compatible models as an optional add-on.

Features to look out for in particular models include a sleep mode with ultra-low operating sound (19dbA), outdoor quiet mode – to reduce noise from the exterior unit – and multiple kinds of filtration and auto-cleaning systems. LG’s split system units can be found for around $1,200, with price points reaching over $3,400. LG air conditioners additionally have a generous 10-year warranty on compressor parts.

A few air conditioners from the LG air con range include:

  • LG Smart Series 2.6kW Reverse Cycle Split System (WS09TWS): $1,242 RRP*
  • LG High Efficiency 2.5kW Reverse Cycle Split System (WH09SK-18): $1,380 RRP*
  • LG High Efficiency 3.5kW Reverse Cycle Split System (WH12SK-18): $1,547 RRP*
  • LG Smart Series 6.3kW Reverse Cycle Split System (WS24TWS): $2,317 RRP*
  • LG High Efficiency 8.5kW Reverse Cycle Split System (WH30SR-18): $3,227 RRP*

LG was rated a respectable four stars for value for money, before landing on three stars for reliability, overall satisfaction and everywhere else.


Daikin air conditioner review

Daikin offers a variety of wall-mounted split system air conditioners, multi-split air con models and ducted air conditioning units. Its split system range includes several collections, including Zena, Alira, Cora and Lite systems. These are generally available as reverse cycle units, although some offer cooling-only alternatives. Most series offer capacities between 2kW and 9.4kW, except for the Zena line which maxes out at 6kW.

If you’re on the market for an air conditioner that’s suitable for people with allergies or asthma, all Daikin split system air cons (except the Lite systems range) are approved by the National Asthma Council Australia as part of the Sensitive Choice program. Some models also contain a heat exchanger with a slit fin design, which the brand claims can help with energy performance and capacity output. You can also expect a large cross-flow fan that can produce more air but with minimal sound.

Daikin air con models include:

  • Daikin Zena 2.5kW Split System Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner: price not advertised
  • Daikin Alira 9.4kW Split System Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner: price not advertised
  • Daikin Cora 2.5kW Split System Air Conditioner: price not advertised
  • Daikin Lite 2kW Split System Air Conditioner: price not advertised

Daikin rounded up this year’s results on four stars for the majority of areas, including reliability, ease of use, noise and functionality & features. It got three stars for connectivity, value for money and overall satisfaction.

Other air con brands

While the following brands did not receive the minimum sample size required to be included in our 2021 review, they may still be worth considering.

  • Dimplex: Best known for its portable air conditioners and portable heaters, Dimplex is not to be overlooked when it comes to split system air conditioning systems. Promising a quiet operation and dehumidifier functions, you can expect to pay anywhere between $500 and $2,000.
  • Hitachi: Provides several types of air conditioning systems including wall-mounted, ducted and multi-split systems. New models from Hitachi’s S-Series come with a generous six-year warranty, provided it’s purchased after April 1, 2021.
  • Kelvinator:Kelvinator is one of the most budget-friendly air conditioner brands in the market, with split system and window/wall air cons retailing from $570 to $2,750. Capacities usually available include 1.6kW to 9kW models.
  • Midea: A specialist in the world of washing machines, Midea is also a mid-range brand of split systems and window air conditioners. With prices ranging from as low as $800 to as high as $1,700, Midea covers a variety of budgets and offers some useful features, such as turbo and sleep modes, plus a self-cleaning coil.

Buying an Air Conditioner: Things to Consider

What to consider when buying air conditioner

Finding the right air conditioner can be a difficult task if you don’t know what’s important. Our survey found that price and energy efficiency were the two most important factors of consideration for consumers buying an air con. Here’s what our respondents said impacted which model they bought:

  • Price: 33%
  • Energy efficiency: 32%
  • Brand name: 16%
  • Design: 9%
  • Suitable for allergies or asthma: 5%

What size air conditioner should I get?

One of the first steps to finding the right air conditioner for your home is measuring the size of the space you wish to cool. This can help give you a better idea of the air con size unit (i.e. kilowatt capacity) you’ll need to look for when shopping to ensure that your new air conditioning system will be powerful enough to cool your whole house.

To do so, multiply the length of the room by the width. Ceiling height may also be considered if you have particularly high ceilings. Typically, you need a minimum of 1kW to 1.5kW of cooling capacity per 10m² of space that needs to be cooled. As a general guide use the following chart:

How much will the air conditioner cost?

Air conditioners usually retail between $600 and $4,500, with window air con units being the cheapest installable option. When you’re sizing up rooms for the right air conditioner, you’ll want to make sure that you’re going to get value for money in terms of both purchase price and running costs. Keep in mind these costs include both portable air conditioners and wall-mounted air conditioning systems. Here’s a breakdown of how much an air con unit will cost on average, based on capacity size:

Kilowatt CapacityAverage Price
2.5kW$600 to $1,800
3.5kW$650 to $1,900
5-6kW$1,100 to $3,000
7-8kW$1,600 to $4,000

Source: Appliances Online, August 2021. 

Canstar Blue’s latest research found that Australian households spend an average of $1,916 on new air conditioners, with the majority of people opting for a split system air conditioner. The survey also showed consumers kept the same model for an average of nine years before replacing it.

When it comes to keeping cool, it’s not just about finding the cheapest air conditioner, but one offering the best value. This takes into account upfront costs, installation costs and ongoing usage costs. Do you want an air conditioner that simply blasts cool air at you, or do you want one that provides a bit more in the way of features, energy efficiency and usability? While it might mean paying a higher price, you can be certain that you’re spending it on additional benefits, which can save you in the long run in terms of your electricity bills.

Energy efficiency

According to our survey, energy efficiency (32%) is the second biggest deciding factor for consumers picking a new air conditioner. A third of people surveyed (33%) have an air conditioner with three or four stars, while slightly fewer own a more energy-efficient model with five or six stars (29%). On the other hand, just 2% purchased a low-efficiency model with two stars or less. Although a chunky 32% of those surveyed admitted to having no idea how many stars their air conditioner had.

Typically, the higher the energy star rating, the higher the upfront cost. But it can help you reap the rewards later in the form of lower electricity bills.

old vs new energy ratings

Changes to energy ratings labels

In April 2020, the energy efficiency labels on air conditioners changed to more accurately determine how much households can expect their units to cost them. The rules set minimum energy performance standards and labelling requirements for air conditioners of up to 65kW in capacity – so pretty much any size unit you are likely to find in a normal home. This applies to single and double duct portable air conditioners, double duct portable reverse cycle evaporative coolers and ducted air conditioning. Portable air conditioners were previously exempt from regulations around the use of energy ratings labels. The previous rating method did not take into account the impact that climate has on air con performance.

The new ‘Zoned Energy Rating Label’ includes information on the energy efficiency and annual electricity usage of that air conditioner across three climate zones – hot, average and cold – instead of just one. It also takes into account the noise level produced by the unit when operating under full load.


Best air conditioner design

While appearance doesn’t seem to be an important factor for many – only 9% said it was an important factor for them in our survey – you might still look out for specific styles that suit your home. There are several brands that tap into the black appliance trend such as Mitsubishi Electric, while others also have silver finishes if white is too ‘ordinary’ for you. Additionally, brands like Daikin feature curved front panels for a stylish and elegant design.


Many brands now offer a variety of smart features on their air con models, including Wi-Fi connectivity. This lets you sync your smartphone or tablet to your air conditioner (and sometimes other home appliances) to change settings, monitor usage and troubleshoot problems remotely. While this might not necessarily be high on the priority list, it certainly adds to the convenience of having an air conditioner, especially if you can remotely turn on your air con on your way home from work.

What is the best air conditioner brand for me?

man turning on air conditioner

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Electric and Panasonic have placed as the top three brands in our latest air conditioner review and are seen to deliver on the functionality, reliability and value for money many consumers expect. Fujitsu General has also been a fairly consistent performer over the years. But despite the scores, it’s still important to compare a wide range of brands and models before settling on a cooling system.

Air conditioning capacity and energy efficiency are perhaps the most important factors to keep in mind when comparing models. Ultimately, there is no point in buying a system that is too large, or too small, for your property’s requirements. These are factors that will also have an impact on your ongoing energy costs. With power prices so high, energy consumption has never been more important. Buying a highly efficient model will likely cost you more upfront, but it should save you money in the long run. You’re also likely to get an all-round superior model if you’re willing – and able – to spend a bit extra.

When it comes to air conditioners, you typically get what you pay for. With that in mind, we hope our 2021 review has proved helpful in your air con search.

*Prices are taken from respective retailers, Appliances Online and The Good Guys, correct as of August 2021.

About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.

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Picture credits: Archideaphoto/Shutterstock.com, LightField Studios/Shutterstock, New Africa/Shutterstock.com

Sours: https://www.canstarblue.com.au/appliances/air-conditioners/

How much does a mini-split AC cost? What’s the price of a mini-split heat pump? What’s the best brand in the U.S. market? These are the questions answered in this ductless AC and heat pump buying guide. Our goal is to give you accurate information you can use to plan the budget for your air conditioning and heating purchase.

In this mini-split AC and heat pump guide we cover:

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We provide the detail you don’t find elsewhere, and that’s why homeowners come here to plan their project.

What is a Mini-split AC or Heat Pump?

Here’s an overview for those just starting to research these efficient systems that continue to grow in popularity.

  • Mini: This term refers to the fact that the outside unit of a mini-split system, technically called a condensing unit or condenser, is smaller than a standard split system outside unit. Maximum capacity of a mini split system is less than the capacity of a standard split system. It’s more compact, and it can be installed on the ground, an outside wall or the roof.
  • Split: This term means the system has an outside unit, the condensing unit, and an indoor unit called the evaporator or air handler. This differs from a package unit where the heat source and air handler are combined in one large cabinet. Each mini-split condenser works with up to eight air handlers in separate rooms or zones. Evaporators are installed in the ceiling (small), high on a wall (small and medium) or on the floor (large) based on project requirements.
  • Ductless: Mini-split systems are also called ductless systems because no ductwork is required. Refrigerant carries heat from the condenser to the evaporator when heating (heat pumps only) and from the evaporator to the condenser when cooling (AC-only and heat pump models) through separate lines installed through the wall (preferred) or roof (some commercial installations). An electrical power line runs between the two. A drain line from the evaporator runs to the outside to drain condensation when the unit is air conditioning and dehumidifying the space.

Some mini-split systems are AC-only models for warm climates; others are heat pumps that heat and air condition in cool climates.

Mini-Split vs. Traditional HVAC


AspectDuctless or Mini-SplitTraditional HVAC
NoiseVery quiet. Compressor unit placed outdoors. Internal units contain quiet fans.Window and through-wall air conditioners are much noisier. For traditional central air, noise depends on the placement of the compressor, often located in the garage or in a dedicated closet.
Zone Heating and CoolingYesYou can add zone control for traditional HVAC with extra $1500-$3000.
DuctsNo ducts, so changTraditionaltake filters and cleaning ducts are not an issue.Ductwork consumes significant internal space. Not an issue for homes designed around ductwork, but possibly a considerable disadvantage when retrofitting older buildings.
AestheticsEach head or cassette is visible in any room where mounted. While they can be placed with discretion, they cannot be completely hidden. Refrigerant lines must run to each zone inside or outside the building, but often are unsightly unless hidden inside walls.Ductwork and vents are usually located behind drywall, keeping them out of sight, with only a non-descript great opening where the air emerges. People don’t notice ductwork.

5 Factors Affecting the Cost of a Mini-split System

These four factors will determine your mini-split HVAC system cost.

1. Quality: As with all HVAC systems, ductless systems are available in a range of quality ratings. While not complete, this overview of top-selling brands helps sort them out:

  • Standard brands – moderate cost, 15 to 18-year durability: Haier, Pioneer, Gree, Classic America, Kingsfin, MrCool, Air Con, Kilmaire and Blueridge
  • Premium brands – higher cost, 17 to 25-year durability: Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, Daikin, Friedrich, Toshiba-Carrier, Bryant, Trane, American Standard, Lennox, LG, Panasonic

2. Performance: There are two issues to break down here:

  • Functions: AC-only units cost less than heat pumps that both heat and cool. Air conditioners usually have a +/-5kW electric heater to supply resistance heat, but that type of heat is inefficient and expensive compared to heat pump heating. Ductless heat pumps have small heaters too, but they’re only used for emergency heating if the heat pump fails.
  • Comfort: Compressors in some premium models have inverter compressors that are not only more efficient, they deliver quieter, more consistent heating and cooling without temperature fluctuations. They’re better at eliminating hot/cold spots, but they cost more than units with standard compressors.

3. Efficiency: Mini split system ACs and heat pumps range in efficiency from about 15 SEER to 38 SEER. This is a rating of the air conditioning efficiency, the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, that describes how much cooling can be accomplished per the energy used. It’s like gas mileage, and higher ratings are more efficient. The rating for heating is HSPF, or Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, and ductless heat pumps start at about 9.0 HSPF and range to about 15 HSPF heating efficiency. Efficient units cost more.

4. Size: One criticism of ductless systems is that they are not as large as standard split systems, but then, they are typically used to heat/cool smaller areas. Single-zone mini split systems range in size from about 9,000 BTU to 42,000 BTU. Multi-zone systems create the same number of BTUs, but they are split between two or more evaporators. For example, a 36,000 BTU condenser might serve four 9,000 BTU evaporators. The larger the system is, the more it will cost.

5. Single Zone or Multi-zone: Because multi-zone systems typically have two to five evaporators/air handlers, their equipment costs are higher.

What Size Do I Need

It’s important to properly size the unit to serve the space it is installed in. The disadvantage of the unit being too small is obvious – you won’t get enough heat or cool air. But a unit that is too large will have problems too such as producing temperature fluctuations and failing due to short-cycling.

Asking your HVAC technician to perform a Manual-J Load Calculation test is the best way to properly size your ductless system for the space it will serve. However, since we want to help you estimate the size of the system you’ll need, we’ve created this quick and quite-accurate table.

First, find your location on this map of climate zones in the United States.

Now, the warmer your climate is, the more BTUs of air conditioning you’ll need. It’s the reverse for heating in cool climates. Mini-split systems are not a good choice as the only heat source in climates where temperatures are regularly below freezing.

  • Zones 1 & 2 (hot): 22-30 Btu/sq. ft.
  • Zone 3 (warm): 20-24 Btu/sq. ft.
  • Zone 4 (moderate): 18-22 Btu/sq. ft.
  • Zone 5 (cool): 16-20 Btu/sq. ft.
  • Zone 6 (cold): 14-18 Btu/sq. ft.
  • Zone 7 (very cold): 12-16 Btu/sq. ft.

Air Conditioning: Now, let’s translate those numbers into space. Consider total space of 1,000 square feet which might be one very large space or several smaller zones, such as four 250 square foot rooms or zones, each served by an evaporator. Here’s the size of the system you would need in each climate zone to cool the space:

  • Zones 1 & 2 (hot): 1,000 x 24-30 = a 22,000 to 30,000 Btu mini-split AC or heat pump
  • Zone 3 (warm): 1,000 x 20-24 = a 20,000 to 24,000 Btu mini-split AC or heat pump
  • Zone 4 (moderate): 1,000 x 18-22 = a 18,000 to 22,000 Btu mini-split AC or heat pump
  • Zone 5 (cool): 1,000 x 16-20 = 16,000 to 20,000 Btu mini-split AC or heat pump
  • Zone 6 (cold): 1,000 x 14-18 = 14,000 to 18,000 Btu mini-split AC or heat pump
  • Zone 7 (very cold): 1,000 x 12-16 = a 12,000 to 16,000 mini-split AC or heat pump

Heating: The chart must be flipped for heating because the cooler your climate is, the larger the heat pump needs to be. It looks like this:

  • Zones 7 (very cold): 1,000 x 24-30 = a 22,000 to 30,000 Btu mini-split heat pump
  • Zone 6 (cold): 1,000 x 20-24 = a 20,000 to 24,000 Btu mini-split heat pump
  • Zone 5 (cool): 1,000 x 18-22 = a 18,000 to 22,000 Btu mini-split heat pump
  • Zone 4 (moderate): 1,000 x 16-20 = 16,000 to 20,000 Btu mini- heat pump
  • Zone 3 (warm): 1,000 x 14-18 = 14,000 to 18,000 Btu mini-split heat pump
  • Zone 1 & 2 (hot): 1,000 x 12-16 = a 12,000 to 16,000 mini-split heat pump

Check This Out! Use the exclusive Pick HVAC Mini Split BTU Calculator to get this calculation exactly right.

How to Choose Right Efficiency

There are several general rules to guide your choice, and most are just common sense:

  • Space in a cool climate requires a smaller air conditioner than the same space would need in a hot climate
  • Space in a cooler climate requires a larger heat pump than the same space would need in a hot climate
  • A replacement mini-split/ductless system needs less capacity if the space’s insulation has been upgraded or other energy-efficiency modifications have been made
  • The longer you intend to live in your current home or use your current commercial space (and pay monthly energy bills), the more sense it makes to choose a high-efficiency system
  • If you plan to sell soon, then it might not make sense to pay extra for greater efficiency, though listing a very efficient HVAC system on your sales sheet will attract energy-conscious buyers

How efficient should your ductless mini split system be? There are a couple ways to approach it.

By climate: For air conditioning, the hotter/longer/more humid your climate is, the more cost-effective it is to pay more for an efficient system. The same is true for heating in cold climates. The extra cost of it will be paid back in lower utility bills long before the system is retired, and you’ll be saving money every month past that point. Here’s what that looks like using the efficiency of the units available:

  • Zones 1 & 2 (hot): 24 SEER and more efficient air conditioning
  • Zone 3 (very warm): Minimum 21 SEER air conditioning
  • Zone 4 (warm): Minimum 18 SEER air conditioning
  • Zone 5 (moderate): Minimum 9.0 HSPF heating
  • Zone 6 (cool): Minimum 11.0 HSPF heating
  • Zone 7 (cold): Minimum 12.0 HSPF heating

By priorities: Many of our readers put eco-friendly sustainability at the top of their criteria list when choosing how to air condition and heat their space. If that reflects your values, then buying the most efficient mini-split system you can afford will give you peace of mind.

Thank you for using this information to research your mini-split HVAC system purchase. Perhaps your friends and followers on social media would appreciate reading about these ductless systems if you post a link to the information on Facebook, Twitter or other social media.

Mini-split Brand Reviews

Best Mini Split Systems 2020

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Single Zone Mini Split: Daikin Vs Fujitsu Vs Mitsubishi Vs LG

Japanese Brands

Daikin Mini Split Review

Fujitsu Mini Split Review

Mitsubishi Mini Split Review

Pioneer Mini Split Review

Chinese Brands

Gree Mini Split Review

Korean Brands

Samsung Mini Split Review

LG Mini Split Review

Mini-split Prices by Brands

Here are ductless split system prices for Standard and Premium brands in four categories. Keep in mind the factors listed above that affect price including air conditioning/heating capacities from 9,000 to 42,000 BTU.

Standard Brands:

  • AC-only single zone and one evaporator: $500 to $2,600
  • AC-only multiple zones and evaporators: $750 to $3,900
  • Heat pump single zone and one evaporator: $900 to $3,200
  • Heat pump multiple zones and evaporators: $1,100-$5,500

Premium Brands:

  • AC-only single zone and one evaporator: $950 to $3,500
  • AC-only multiple zones and evaporators: $1,200 to $5,400
  • Heat pump single zone and one evaporator: $1,550 to $5,700
  • Heat pump multiple zones and evaporators: $1,900 to $7,500

Mini-split AC Prices By Brands

BrandsSystem OnlySystem Installed

The price above is based on installing a new mini-split AC for a 1700-2200 sf house. In order to offer an equal comparison between each brand. The mini-split system includes the same: 2 x 20 SEER 18K BTU Outdoor Units and 6-7 Indoor Wall mounted Air Handlers

See costs in your areaEnter Your Zip Code

Mini-split Heat Pump Prices By Brands

BrandsSystem OnlySystem Installed

The price above is based on installing a new mini-split heat pump for a 1700-2200 sf house. In order to offer an equal comparison between each brand. The mini-split system includes the same: 2 * 20 SEER 18K BTU Outdoor Units and 6-7 Indoor Wall mounted Air Handlers.

Mini-split Installation Cost and Extras

How much does it cost to install a ductless AC or heat pump? Here are ductless mini split installation costs and the costs of extras you might need for the project.

Basic mini-split system installation: This step involves installing the outdoor unit, indoor unit or units and connecting the system’s wiring and refrigerant lines and running the drain line.

$1,700 to $2,300 | Installation of a single-zone mini-split system

$2,000 to $3,400 | Installation of a multi-zone mini-split system

Installation materials: These include insulated refrigerant lines, drain line and wall sleeve:

$130 to $375 | Installation materials are sold in kits with lines from about 25’ to about 100’

System inspection:  You might have to pull a permit for your new ductless split system if the building department in your community requires one

$0-$125 | New mini-split system inspection

Controls including Thermostats: There’s a wide range of controls available to suit your preferences. Depending on the system, your options might include a handheld remote, the wall-mounted wired thermostat in non-programmable and programmable models, a wireless Wi-Fi programmable control and smartphone app that works with a Wi-Fi control to allow you to monitor and adjust your system from anywhere.

Free        | Smartphone app

$20-$50   |Handheld remote, if not included with the system

$15-$100  | Non-programmable wall-mounted thermostat

$25-$124   | Basic programmable thermostat

$135-$375 | Wi-Fi programmable thermostat

For more info about installation cost, read our Ductless Air Conditioner Installation Cost

Want to DIY?

Read our new post: Best Single Zone Mini Split System for DIY and How to DIY Mini Split

Submitted Prices and Reviews From Visitors

Price Brand & Model & SizeHome LocationHome Size
$3,200Pioneer Wall-Mounted ACFort Worth, Texas2550 sqft
Last summer, our mini-split AC unit proved useless against the sweltering heat, which is why we decided to upgrade to the more powerful Pioneer 12000 BTU 230V mini-split system a few months ago. The unit is notably more industrious than the one we had although this comes at a cost: the whirring of the fan is a bit louder. Also, I noted a few accuracy issues with the inverter. The system keeps lowering the temperature of the room beyond the preset value (I had set it at 75 before I left for work. A few hours later my wife called complaining that the thermostat read 73). I intend to make calls to rectify this since I read that it is a common issue that stems from a faulty motherboard. Despite this minor hiccup, however, the unit runs well with noise levels that are bearable and smooth functionality. Once my problem is fixed, I would definitely recommend this to my friends.
$5,500Friedrich MC12Y3JMBoston, Massachusetts2800 sqft
I simply can’t say enough good things about the Friedrich MC12Y3JM Ductless mini-split AC. The lower price tag came with a lower BTU (12,000) but that was a sacrifice worth making in my opinion since it’s more than enough for my small condominium. The highlights of this unit are that it offers 4-way cooling and air flows that feel very natural (you won’t feel like you’re being blasted by air from an open window). Installation was swift, highly efficient, and very professional going by how excellently my unit is still running 6 months after installation. This is a purchase I am not likely to regret in the near future and I would totally recommend this unit for other small-apartment dwellers.
$6,950Senville Wall-Mounted ACLong Island, New York2340 sqft
I bought the Senville SENL-12CD mini-split AC about a year ago and it is still running well as new save for a few parts that have needed replacement over the past few months. One thing I and other buyers of this unit love are how quiet it is. We decided to go with professional installation mainly because the instructions provided in the manual are very unhelpful. Everything is vaguely described and surprisingly, the customer support will only get you more confused. Once properly installed, however, there is little we can complain about. Great unit overall!
$7,950MRCOOLGreen Bay, Wisconsin3,000 sqft
Immediately we found out that the MRCOOL 24,000 BTU ductless mini-split heat pump came with Wi-Fi connectivity that allowed us to easily control it via our smartphones, we were sold! The unit is touted as one of the easiest to install in the market but we’re the farthest thing from DIYers. Our busy schedules only allowed us a few hours to supervise the installation of the unit by professionals one afternoon, which was fairly straightforward. Since the installation was completed 3 months ago, we haven’t had any hiccups with what we think is an excellent ductless heat pump system that is well worth the buy.
$6,550MRCOOLAspen, Colorado3,400 sqft
Initially, we had wanted to go for the 24,000 BTU MRCOOL but my brother (who is admittedly more tech-savvy) talked me down to the 18,000 BTU unit, which he thinks is more than enough for my quaint little bungalow. Installation was an absolute breeze (I would have done it myself but I was offered free installation by the store I bought it from) and done fairly well, save for a few missing screws which I replaced as soon as the technician left. The ductless heat pump does exactly what it says it will, something I can attribute to the refrigerant it uses. I also enjoy how easy it is to set the temperature on the go via an app on my phone. The future really is here, guys, and this is the ductless mini-split heat pump you should be looking at.
$7,800DaikinEssex, Vermont2,200 sqft
I needed a powerful mini-split heat pump for my home in Essex and the 24,000 BTU Conair unit came highly recommended. The noise levels are bearable when the unit runs on medium to high speeds but once the speed is lowered, it is ghostly-quiet. The air system keeps my house warm enough on frigid nights and is delightfully easy to adjust during hot afternoons. The installation job was also very professional and the unit looks like it will last a few more years without any tinkering or repair jobs necessary.

How to Get the Best Mini-Split AC/Heat Pump Prices?

  • Firstly, keep in mind that installation quality is always the most important thing for residential HVAC project. So never sacrifice contractor quality for lower price.
  • Secondly, remember to look up the latest tax credit and rebates.
  • Thirdly, ask for at least 3 bids before you make the decision. You can click here to get 3 free estimates for your local contractor, and this estimate already takes rebates and tax credit into consideration and filter unqualified contractors automatically.

At last, once you chose the right contractor, remember to use the tactics from this guide: Homeowners Tactics When Negotiating with HVAC Dealer to get the final best price.

Finding a Ductless Heat Pump Contractor

Finding a good contractor to install a ductless heat pump is a bit more difficult than finding someone to install or service a forced air HVAC system, but it’s well worth it. Proper installation can mean the difference between cost savings and energy waste. This is especially for the refrigerant lines, where proper insulation is critical.

Probably the best way to find a certified contractor is searching from the website of the manufacturer of your preferred ductless heat pump. Fujitsu and Mitsubishi are the major manufacturers, and both companies have contractor search engines available.  Some states and utilities also have a list of contractors certified to these systems, so check with your utility company.

As with any home improvement project, due diligence is always good practice before hiring a ductless heat pump installation contractor.

More Words About New Ducted Mini-Split

Mini split is a term that has been synonymous with ductless for decades, but now mini splits are produced for ducted use too. Most of the brands are making ducted systems. This includes LG, Mitsubishi Electric, Daikin, Pioneer, Panasonic, Gree and Fujitsu.

Ducted mini split systems are preferred by home and business owners that don’t want a conspicuous wall, ceiling or floor unit competing with their décor.

These systems can be installed as retrofits in homes and businesses, making use of the ductwork.

Ducted Mini Split Options

As with ductless systems, ducted mini splits are available in single and multi-zone systems.

Single ducted mini-split system: A single indoor unit is served by one outdoor unit. There are two common installation options. First, the indoor unit can be installed in a wall between studs and covered with a grill made by the manufacturer for the purpose. The second option is to install the unit in the wall or floor ductwork near an air grate.

Multi-zone ducted mini-split system: These systems feature one large outdoor unit and two to eight indoor units. The indoor air handlers are installed in the wall or in existing ductwork near existing grates, so air is pushed a very short distance. Far less airflow is required with this type of installation than in a standard split system that forces air from one central location to multiple grates.

The benefit of using a very efficient ducted mini-split system vs. a low-efficiency standard mini-split system is that the unit can be smaller.

Matthew Lacey, the senior product manager for Daikin North America, says “With a ducted system, it may be possible to reduce the size of [a 4-ton] system to a 3-ton multi-zone system with one condensing unit outside connected via copper tubing to individual [indoor units] that serve each of the rooms.”

Other Resources

Best Window Air Conditioner in 2020

Central Air Conditioner Buyer’s Guide 2020

Sours: https://www.pickhvac.com/ductless/
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Top Rated in Split-System Air Conditioners

4.7 | 2,648 customer ratings
93% of the ratings are 4-stars or 5-stars

This is my first mini split system, works great! Super quite both inside and out, uses very little electricity, 110v means easy to run power to it. Does require some specially hvac tools you'll need to install.Copper line flare tool ($30)Copper line cutter ($10)R410a gauge/servicing set ($50)Vacuum pump ($50)Torque wrench set (open

        Read more

By Bryan

This is an initial review following installation. Installation was easy and took about six hours with two people.I live in Michigan near Lake Huron. I’m using the LETO 24000 BTU mini split in my man cave which is a detached building with a garage and a 700sqft finished living area. Temp outside is right around freezing when I

        Read more

By Kirk

My unit no longer provides heating or air conditioning and I have called the company 4x. Each time they say they will help and will call me later with s plan. Never a return call. Don’t know what to

        Read more

By judy myers

See all customer reviews

Sours: https://www.amazon.com/pcr/Top-Rated-Split-System-Air-Conditioners-Reviews/14554130011
Best Fujitsu Mini Splits Reviews ❄: Your Guide to the Best Options - HVAC Training 101

The Reliable

Pros and Cons of Mini-Split Systems

With the baby boomer population nearing retirement age, many will consider remodeling their home to allow elderly parents or their children to move back in. Ductless, mini-split air-conditioning systems are a great alternative to installing a complete separate heating and cooling system for an addition or renovated area. Our HVAC experts at Reliable Heating and Air can offer several options for installation. Keep reading for our list of the pros and cons of mini-split systems.

Ductless, mini-split air-conditioning systems have many potential applications in residential homes. The most common application are in multi-family homes where room additions or small apartments are being constructed. These systems are ideal where extending or installing air distribution ductwork is not feasible, such as basement man caves or mother-in-law suite additions. Like traditional central systems, mini splits have two main components: an outdoor condenser (containing the compressor) and an indoor air-handling unit. Power, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing and a condensate drain, link the outdoor section and the indoor section of the unit. Before you think about using a space heater I have written previously about space heater dangers and safety tips. There are several pros to owning a mini-split system.

The Pros of Mini-Split Systems:

  • They are small in size and flexibility for heating and cooling individual rooms.
  • Units can be zoned. Some models can have as many as four indoor air handling units, connected to one outdoor unit. Each zone has its own thermostat, so you only need to condition that space when it is occupied, saving energy and money.
  • In some applications, mini-split systems are much easier to install than a traditional central HVAC system. The hook up between the outdoor and indoor units only require about three inch hole through a wall for the conduit. This makes this an ideal unit for conditioning a basement space.
  • Since mini-split systems have no duct work, they avoid the energy loss associated with forced air systems.
  • Compared with other "add-on" systems, mini splits offer more flexibility in interior design options. Indoor air handlers can be suspended from a ceiling, mounted flush into a drop ceiling, or hung on a wall.
  • Mini-split systems offer higher security. These systems only require a small hole in the wall, where window mounted room units are an easy entrance for intruders.
  • Trane includes their "Auto Clean" feature on all ductless indoor units. Providing triple filtration, reduces moisture and keeps the air you breath clean.
  • More energy efficient since energy is no longer being lost in poorly insulated ductwork

The Cons of Mini-Split Systems:

  • Cost - mini split systems cost approximately 30% more than a traditional forced air equipment.
  • Installation calculations, by a reliable contractor are crucial - installers must correctly size each indoor unit and judge the best location for its installation. Over-sized or incorrectly located air-handlers often result in short-cycling, which waste energy and does not provide accurate temperature and humidity control.
  • Aesthetics - some do not like the appearance of the indoor components inside the home.

Mini-split systems are a good investment for many commercial structures as well. They allow spot heating and cooling that operates independently of a central system, allowing efficient, economical control for only those occupied areas. With a mini-split zone system, each office can have its own temperature control, eliminating employees arguing over thermostat control.

Trane offers mid-efficiency and high-efficiency ductless mini-split system options. Contact Reliable Heating and Air of Atlanta, GA at (770) 594-9969 to discuss if this could be a viable alternative for your application.

View our Ductless Mini Split options.

Sours: https://reliableair.com/blog/pros-cons-mini-split-system

Reviews split system hvac mini

Note: If you want to install a single zone system by youself, you can read our new post for more info: Best Single Zone Mini Split System for DIY

The mini split AC and heat pump market continues double-digit growth every year because the equipment is efficient, cost-effective and offers versatile installation options. But what are the best mini split system brands? This guide covers the top ductless HVAC brands for single zone, multiple zone and a newer category of heat pump, the cold-climate mini split system.

If you’d like to research mini split HVAC basics, brands, prices, options and sizing a system for your home, our comprehensive Mini Split Buying Guide is packed with information.

The units on this top ductless HVAC list aren’t necessarily the most efficient. They are the mini split heat pumps that will give you durable performance you can count on for 15-20 years or more.

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Best Single Zone Ductless Mini Split Units

A single-zone system is an outdoor unit (condensing unit) with one indoor unit (evaporator/air handler). The zone can be a single small bedroom or office or something as large as a spacious living room or garage or shared workspace. Units from 9,000 to 24,000 BTU are common.

In short, single zone units are used for spaces from less than 100 to more than 1,000 square feet.

This table gives the top single zone mini split units with basic features. There are additional details below.

ModelBTU Output12K Unit's
System CostWarranty
Mitsubishi MUZ-FH6K, 9K, 12K, 15K, 18K25.5/12$3,800-$5,1757/5
Fujitsu General Halcyon RLF/RLX9K, 12K,18K, 24K23/10.6$2,550-$5,5007/5
Gree Crown+9K, 12K, 18K23/10.5$2,485-$4,2755/5
LG Art Cool Premier9K, 15K25.5/12$2,885-$4,45010/10
Daikin Aurora / 20 Series9K, 12K, 15K20/12$3,100-$4,03512/12
BTU Output: We use "K" for 1,000 BTUs. Some brand literature uses MBH for 1,000 BTUs.
SEER/HSPF: For direct comparison, the ratings are for each model's 12K unit. Units smaller than 12K are more efficient; models larger than 12K are less efficient.
System Cost: This is the installed cost range for complete 12K systems.
Warranty: The first number is the compressor warranty. The second is the general parts warranty.

#1 – Mitsubishi MUZ-FH:

There’s a reason every mini split retailer sells Mitsubishi. The brand has an excellent reputation for performance and durability. The MUZ-FH is a super-efficient series available in multiple sizes, each with a compatible indoor wall-mount unit.

  • 48db operation
  • Hot-start technology waits until the indoor coil is hot before the blower starts
  • 3D i-see sensor scans the room and directs air to hot/cold spots where AC or heating are needed
  • Works with a range of indoor units
  • Effective in extreme cold
  • Compare Mitsubishi models using our Mitsubishi Mini Split buying guide

#2 – Fujitsu General Halcyon Wall Mounted RLF/RLX Series:

Fujitsu is perhaps the most trusted name in mini split technology. The 12,000 BTU system offers 23 SEER/10.6 HSPF efficiency and loads of features:

  • Heats and cools with variable-capacity inverter technology
  • 55-decibel outdoor unit
  • Advanced humidity control in AC mode
  • Wireless remote
  • 24-hour timer with sleep function
  • Safe restart after power outage
  • There’s more information on this brand and models in our Fujitsu General buying guide

#3 – Gree Crown+:

Gree is serious about efficiency, as this 30.5 SEER, 10.5 HSPF model shows – and it’s not even Gree’s most efficient heat pump! This is a cold climate air source heat pump that effectively heats in temperatures to -22F, an impressive feat. It’s apparent, by the way, that Gree has licensed its technology to Trane, and that says something about Gree quality and dependability. It’s the whole package for any climate.  The Gree Crown+ is full-featured:

  • Variable-speed, two-stage inverter technology
  • Heats and cools
  • Defrosts as needed, rather than continuously, to reduce energy use
  • RF remote
  • WiFi-enabled for remote monitoring and control
  • 7-speed fan with 4-way airflow
  • Learn more in our Gree Mini Split buying guide

#4 – LG Art Cool Premier:

This complete system with indoor wall mount units is not LG’s most efficient, but certainly its most reliable.

  • 9K (HYV1) and 15K (HYV2) outdoor units with compatible indoor evaporators
  • Hot start
  • 24-hour timer and sleep mode
  • Auto restart after power outages
  • Heats in outdoor temps as low as 14F
  • Advanced dehumidification of 3.2 pints per hour in AC mode
  • Get prices and additional information in our LG Mini Split buying guide

#5 – Daikin Aurora / 20 Series Wall Mount:

Daikin sells its heat pumps in complete systems. This unit is also sold as a floor-mount combination. It combines good efficiency with excellent performance.

  • Economy mode turns on automatically when the sensor determines the room/zone is empty
  • Hot start, so no blasts of cold air at the beginning of a cycle
  • Inverter swing compressor
  • 49db outdoor, 19db indoor noise
  • WiFi-control
  • Wireless remote
  • Browse more Daikin mini split information in our Daikin Guide

Note: If you want to install a single zone system by youself, you can read our new post for more info: Best Single Zone Mini Split System for DIY

Best Multiple Zone Ductless Mini Split Units

These systems include a single outdoor unit and 2 or more indoor units with 8 maximum for the largest systems. For example, a 36K outdoor unit might support four 9K indoor units three 12K indoor units, two 18K indoor units or some other configuration that adds up to 32K to 38K. The total can be close if not exact.

ModelBTU OutputSEER/HSPFIndoor unitsSystem CostWarranty
LG Multi VS24K, 38K, 48K, 60K23.5/10.5All types$5,225-$7,70010/10
Friedrich J Series9K to 33K28/12.5All types$3,375-$6,1507/5
Fujitsu General Halcyon48K17/10All types$4,975-$7,3657/5
Daikin MXS Series18K, 24k, 36K, 48K19.5/11.3All types$5,065-$7,53512/12
Mitsubishi MXZ Series13 units 20K to 60K20/11.4All types$5,200-$7,6957/5
See the Single Zone table above for explanatory notes on each column.
SEER/HSPF ratings vary widely with multi-zone systems based on number of zones and type of indoor units.

#1 – LG Multi VS:

The efficiency of these models is good; their reliability is excellent. These are hardworking heat pumps with few bells and whistles, and that makes them an excellent value. Four units are available from 24,000 to 60,000 BTU, aka 2 to 5 tons. Features include:

  • VRF variable-refrigerant flow optimizes efficiency and indoor comfort
  • Each indoor unit can be controlled separately with different temperature set points
  • Can heat one zone (living space) and cool another (a computer room, for example), transferring heat between them as needed
  • Excellent low-temperature heating to -13F

#2 – Friedrich J Series:

This is a fully variable system that modulates compressor capacity and fan speed to optimize climate control. Both cooling-only and heat pump models support multizone operation.

  • Twin rotary compressors for precise heating and air conditioning
  • Variable-capacity compressors adjust from lowest to highest capacity in 56 increments to reduce energy waste
  • Soft start technology – the fan ramps up slowly to meet AC/heating capacity
  • Electronically adjusted louvers work with sensors to direct air to where it is needed
  • Residential and commercial applications
  • Auto restart after power outage
  • 24-hour time with remote

#3 – Fujitsu General Halcyon HFI AOU48RLXFZ1:

This advanced-tech system offers flexibility to heat and cool from 2-8 zones in a single system. You decide which zones receive heating or air conditioning, and climate control is programmed separately for each one. While the outdoor unit’s capacity is 48,000 BTU, you can install a collection of indoor units totaling 62,000 BTU, though all can be running at full capacity all the time.

  • Up to 8 individually controlled zones
  • Ideal for large homes and office settings
  • Central remote-control option
  • Economy and away modes reduce energy use
  • Multiple indoor unit options
  • WiFi monitoring and control

#4 – Daikin MXS Series:

This is an efficient and versatile multi-zone split system from a global leader. The Daikin MXS Series top features are:

  • Multiple capacity outdoor units and indoor units
  • Suitable for light commercial application too
  • Long-lasting, washable filters
  • Wireless remote with LCD screen
  • Advanced dehumidification in AC mode

#5 – Mitsubishi MXZ Series:

Here’s another outstanding series from Mitsubishi Electric. The MXZ Series includes more than 10 outdoor units, and each one can be matched with a complete range of floor, wall and ceiling indoor units, six styles total. This allows you to customize your HVAC system to your exact needs.

  • Half the models in the series have Hyper Heat technology for heating effectiveness to -13F/-25C
  • 50db is the quietest model – that’s 3-5db higher than the quietest on the market
  • All models in the series cool and heat

Best Cold Climate Ductless Mini Split Heat Pumps

Heat pumps have been ruled out for use in very cold climates until recently. The cold-climate technology has improved significantly, and now many brands make units capable of heating effectively in temperatures well below freezing. They do it with traditional heat pump technology.

Among the models listed above are several capable of heating in freezing weather: Gree Crown+ (-22F), LG Multi V S (-13F).

Here are 3 more that stand out for heating effectively in the very coldest weather.

BTU OutputTop
System CostWarranty
Gree SapphireTo -22F9K-24K38/15$3,885-$4,8155/5
Fujitsu Halcyon XLTHTo -15F18K-36K22/10$4,200-$5,6357/5
Mitsubishi Electric MXZ H2iTo -13F12K-48K19.1/11.3$5,050-$7,5357/5

#1 – Gree Sapphire:

The ratings on this single-zone heat pump are the best available. It delivers 15 HSPF heating and is 90% effective in temperatures to -22F. It’s SEER AC rating is a sky-high 38 SEER. It shares features and technology with the Gree Crown+ in the Best Single Zone models list above.

#2 – Fujitsu General Halcyon XLTH:

This is the top multi-zone mini split heat pump in this category. It is effective to -15F and includes a base pan heater to prevent freeze-ups in extreme cold. The features of the Halcyon Series are included in the above list of Best Single Zone models, though this unit is capable of heating and air conditioning in 2-5 zones.

#3 – Mitsubishi Electric MXZ H2I:

This advanced mini split heat pump maintains 100% heating effectiveness to 23F, a point where most conventional heat pumps deliver about 60% of heating capacity. The effectiveness of the MXZ H21 is 76% at -13F (-25C). This system offers efficiency as high as 19.1 SEER and 11.3 HSPF. It’s designed for 2-8 zones with capacity from 12,600 to 48,000 BTU (1-4 tons). Factory-installed base heater prevents freeze up.

The Importance of Installation Expertise

The efficiency and performance of a quality mini split heat pump can be diminished by improper installation. While these systems are growing rapidly in popularity, the number of qualified installers isn’t keeping pace with demand. We can help you find an HVAC company in your area with good experience installing mini-split systems. Use our Free Local Quotes and you’ll receive written estimates from several of the top-rated installers in your area. They are prescreened to make sure they are licensed, insured and experienced. It’s a quick and convenient way to ensure you find an installer that knows what they’re doing. There is no cost or obligation for using the service.


LG Ductless vs Fujitsu? Which is better?

Both are high-quality brands with advantages.

LG makes more systems, so you have better options to fit your needs. The brand also makes bigger condensing units (heat pumps) – up to 60,000 BTU/h capacity ideal for large multi-zone installations.

Fujitsu units range from 9,000 to 24,000 BTUs, so aren’t ideal for large homes. However, for space up to about 1,000 square feet depending on climate, Fujitsu is just right. Most Fujitsu ductless systems are more efficient than LG’s.

Compare LG vs Fujitsu ductless air conditioners and heat pumps head to head with our:

How good are Daikin ductless systems?

And can you recommend a Daikin mini split system model?

Much of today’s top ductless technology was invented at Daikin. The brand remains among the very best.

One thing to notice from the model reviews above is that Daikin offers the longest warranties in the industry – 12 years on both the compressor and parts.

We recommend the Daikin Aurora 20 Series for single zones and the Daikin MXS Series for multiple zones.

There are a few details above, but see our Daikin Mini Split Review and Guide for full details.

Gree ductless vs Mitsubishi. Which is better?

Mitsubishi is considered the best overall brand of mini split heat pump. Sales are phenomenal.

Gree has strong points though. Consumer reviews are excellent. And the Gree Sapphire has two benefits – the highest SEER rating (38) and that it functions to the lowest temperature (-22F).

You might enjoy our Review Guides to both brands:

Which is better, a single zone or two zone system?

Both have their benefits.

The single-zone system will cost less, of course, because it has one inside unit. If the space you want to heat and air condition is open, then a single-zone system will work.

The two-zone system, while costing more, gives you the advantage of two places for indoor units. This often leads to better airflow and temperature balance. If you have two+ rooms, like a one-bedroom apartment with an open living/dining area, the two-zone system is preferred.

How much does a ductless system cost?

Most homeowners pay $5,500 – $7,500 for their system. But it depends on home layout, how many indoor units you need and total heating and air conditioning capacity required.

Small single-zone systems cost less than $3,000. Large systems with many zones exceed $10,000.

Our Mini Split System Buying Guide has complete ductless system pricing plus information on choosing the right system for your needs.

This page mentions how important installation experience is. What can go wrong?

The most common mistakes are:

  • Not sizing the system properly, so you don’t get enough heat and air conditioning or too much, causing short-cycling which will damage the compressor
  • Not properly matching the outdoor condensing units to the indoor units in a multi-zone system
  • Putting in too little refrigerant.
  • Installing the indoor units in non-optimal locations.
  • Miswiring the system or thermostat.

You can be sure to hire an experienced, licensed and insured installer by calling our 888 number or suing the Free Local Quote form.

There is no cost for using the service – and you have no obligation to accept any estimates provided.

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Sours: https://www.pickhvac.com/ductless/best-brands/
Best Fujitsu Mini Splits Reviews ❄: Your Guide to the Best Options - HVAC Training 101

Best split-system air conditioners in Australia

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How did we pick this list?

Our editorial team selected the products on this list based on key product specs as well as actual customer reviews on sites like productreview.com.au, The Good Guys, Harvey Norman and Appliances Online. For each category, we carefully identified parameters based on our research and selected the split system air conditioners with the highest review score within those parameters.

Read more detail on our methodology below.

The best split system air conditioners in Australia for all categories

Best Split System Air Conditioners
 Mitsubishi Heavy Industry Logo

Best Rated Split System Air Conditioners Brand: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is the clear winner in the split system air conditioning category, with top scores across the board. Consumers said the brand was the best for quietness, performance, features and functions and value for money.

See the full results

Best overall split system air conditioner: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Bronte SRK71ZRA-W / DXK24ZRA-W (7.1kW)


  • Suitable for a variety of homes
  • Many reviewers praise its cooling performance


  • Energy Star Rating could be slightly higher
  • Some buyers report that remote layout could be more user-friendly
Average online price: $1,673
eBay pricing: From $779.00 to $2620.00
Buy at eBay

Why we chose it

If you're searching for the best overall split system air conditioner for your home, you'll be hard pressed to find anything better than this powerful model from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The Bronte wall-mounted split system is designed to suit larger spaces, offers a wide range of convenient programs and helps ensure cleaner air inside your home. It's no stranger to positive reviews either, with a very impressive average score of 4.7/5 from over 240 ratings on productreview.com.au. This model was also the top overall pick in our guide to the best air conditioners, so it's no surprise to see it take the win here as the best overall split system air conditioner.

With a 7.1kW cooling capacity and 8kW heating capacity, this reverse-cycle unit is designed to be a powerful yet quiet performer. Its Jet Air Technology delivers an extra-long airflow of up to 18 metres, making it suitable for use in larger spaces like living rooms.

The Bronte uses Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' Clean Air Technology to remove smoke particles and allergens from the air, helping to create a healthier and odour-free home environment. It has a Fuzzy Auto Mode that automatically detects the right settings for your needs, plus an Eco Mode to help keep your power bills down. In an average climate, it scores Energy Ratings of 3 stars for cooling and 2 stars for heating.

Other features include up/down and side-to-side louvre swing, self-cleaning operation that dries the indoor unit and filter, and the convenience of a sleep timer. And with a wealth of glowing reviews behind it, the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Bronte 7.1kW reverse cycle model has clearly done an impressive job for many Aussie homeowners.

Best split system air conditioner for bedrooms: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Avanti SRK25ZSA-W / DXK09ZSA-W (2.5kW)


  • Lots of reviews praising its real-world cooling performance
  • Easy to use


  • Other options are more energy efficient
  • Some complaints that the remote control isn’t backlit
Average online price: $807
eBay pricing: From $829.00
Buy at eBay

Why we chose it

If you need a split system air conditioner for a smaller space such as a bedroom, the 2.5kW Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Avanti reverse cycle model is our top pick.

This model is easy to use, has garnered lots of real-world praise for its cooling performance, and offers a range of convenient timer and scheduling functions. The 2.5kW Avanti has also picked up a stack of positive reviews from happy buyers, with an average score of 4.7/5 from over 85 ratings on productreview.com.au. As a result, it's our top pick as the best split system air conditioner for bedrooms.

Perfect for guest rooms and kids' rooms, this Avanti model offers 2.5kW of cooling capacity and a heating capacity of 3.2kW. In an average climate, it scores 3-star Energy Ratings for both heating and cooling.

Many of the same features that make the Bronte (our best overall pick) so easy to use are also present on the Avanti. They include the Fuzzy Auto and Eco Modes, advanced fan blade technology and inclusions to help clear the air of allergens.

And with a sleep timer, quiet operation and a high-power setting, there are lots of good reasons why you should check out the Avanti 2.5kW split system air conditioner. Of course, if you've got a larger bedroom, you could also consider the 3.5kW and 5kW models in the Avanti range. Both models have picked up a stack of positive reviews of their own and are well worth a look in their own right.

Best split system air conditioner for large spaces: Kelvinator KSD90HWJ 9.0kW Reverse Cycle Split System Air Conditioner

Why we chose it

Need a large air conditioner to cool or heat a large room or open-plan space? Make sure you add the Kelvinator KSD90HWJ to your shortlist of options.

This 9kW reverse cycle air conditioner boasts 12 fan speeds, an LCD remote, and a host of useful settings to help you get the temperature in your home just right. It's also garnered its fair share of positive reviews, with plenty of happy customers at retailers like Appliances Online, The Good Guys and Bing Lee. With all of this in mind, it's our number-one pick as the best split system air conditioner for large spaces.

With its 9kW cooling capacity and 10kW heating capacity, the Kelvinator has plenty of oomph to tackle those big climate control jobs. It gets 2.5-star Energy Ratings for both heating and cooling, and it features a DC fan motor with 12 fan speeds so you can tailor the temperature to your liking.

If you're concerned about air quality in your home, the Kelvinator KSD90HWJ features a dust filter and a HEPA filter to remove bacteria and dust particles. It comes with an easy-to-use remote control too, and can also be controlled from your smart device using the Kelvinator Home Comfort app. The app lets you set the temperature, adjust the mode and choose the fan speed you want.

One of the other main features of this highly-rated split system air conditioner is its "Follow Me" feature, which uses sensors to track where you are in the room and send the airflow in your direction. And with a concealed digital display, auto air swing and a 24-hour timer, there's plenty of good reasons why the Kelvinator could be a welcome addition to your home.

Best small split system air conditioner: Kelvinator KSD25HWJ 2.5kW Split System Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner

Why we chose it

Searching for a small but efficient split system air conditioner for your home? We recommend checking out the Kelvinator KSD25HWJ 2.5kW Split System Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner.

This popular model is the perfect size for smaller rooms, offers handy features like Wi-Fi connectivity, and uses a combination of filters to help keep the air clean and healthy. It's also proven to be a hit with Aussie consumers, with a stack of positive reviews from customers at retailers like The Good Guys and Harvey Norman. That's why it's our number-one choice as the best small split system air conditioner.

With its 2.5kW cooling capacity and 3.2kW heating capacity, the Kelvinator is the optimum size to help keep spaces like home offices and bedrooms cool in summer and warm in winter. It scores 5-star ratings in both cooling and heating modes, so it's not going to push your power bills through the roof, while it also includes plenty of other features to maximise ease of use.

The DC fan motor boasts 12 fan speeds, while dust and HEPA filters help purify the air in your home. There's also a sleep mode that makes this unit convenient for bedroom use, while the auto air swing (up and down) helps spread airflow around the room.

Control can be taken care of by an LCD remote, while the digital display is concealed and dimmable — perfect for nighttime use. The Kelvinator KSD25HWJ also offers the added bonus of Wi-Fi connectivity, which means it can be controlled via the manufacturer's Home Comfort app too.

And with a sleek, slimline design, this model could be a good fit for a wide range of homes.

Best split system air conditioner for energy efficiency: Panasonic CS-CU-Z25VKR 2.5kW AERO Series Reverse Cycle Inverter Air Conditioner

Why we chose it

If low power bills or reducing your environmental footprint are priorities for you when choosing an air conditioner, you'll want to take a closer look at this Panasonic reverse cycle unit.

Not only does it boast impressive ratings for energy efficiency, but it also features a built-in air purifier and an abundance of user-friendly features. Add to that the fact that it's picked up a lot of happy reviews from Australian consumers, including an average rating of 4.5/5 from 95 The Good Guys customers, and it's not hard to see why this Panasonic 2.5kW AERO Series model is our pick as the best split system air conditioner for energy efficiency.

First, let's get the key figures out of the way. With a 5-star Energy Rating for cooling and a 5.5-star Energy Rating for heating, the Panasonic is one of the most efficient models on the market for air conditioners of this capacity. It has a 2.5kW cooling and 3.2kW heating capacity and is controlled by Panasonic's inverter technology.

One of the key features of this particular model is that it has a built-in air purifier. The nanoe-G air purifier helps rid your home of bacteria, allergens and other nasties, and also gets rid of unpleasant odours.

The Panasonic also includes other features to allow for quick and even cooling of your home. The iAUTO-X system uses high speeds and wide grilles to rapidly reach your desired room temperature, while the Aerowings help control air distribution to provide faster or slower cooling.

So if you're in the market for an energy-efficient air conditioner, this 2.5kW reverse cycle split system from Panasonic is definitely worth a closer look.

Best cheap split system air conditioner: Hisense HSA25R 2.5kW Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner

Why we chose it

Shopping for a split system air conditioner and have a maximum budget of $800? We recommend checking out the Hisense HSA25R, which can provide the heating and cooling you need without breaking the bank.

This reverse cycle air conditioner is easy to use, energy efficient, and features plenty of useful modes so it can be easily programmed to suit your needs. These strengths have seen it come in for plenty of praise from Australian consumers, including an average score of 4.5/5 from over 130 The Good Guys customer reviews. As a result, the Hisense is our top pick as the best cheap split system air conditioner.

This 2.5kW heat pump air conditioner has a 3.2kW heating capacity and 5-star Energy Ratings for heating and cooling. It works by absorbing energy from outside your home and transferring it inside, and it's loaded with useful features to help make home climate control a breeze.

It has an Eco Mode to keep running costs down, while the I Feel Mode uses the remote's built-in digital thermometer to automatically adjust the temperature accordingly. Quiet Mode helps ensure that you get a good night's sleep while the air conditioner is in use, and this unit also has a silver ion filter to remove bacteria and other impurities from the air.

All things considered, the Hisense HSA25R offers plenty of bang for your buck. And while this model has an RRP of $899, we found it retailing for anywhere from $646 to $799 at the time of writing. With this in mind, be sure to shop around to find the best available deal.

Best midrange split system air conditioner: Panasonic CS/CU-Z50VKR 5.0kW AERO Series Premium Reverse Cycle Inverter Air Conditioner

Why we chose it

If you're in the market for a high-quality midrange air conditioner, we recommend checking out this 5kW model from Panasonic. This reverse-cycle air con unit is suitable for use in a wide range of rooms, offers quite good energy efficiency for a model of this size, and also includes a built-in air purifier. And with an average rating of 4.6/5 from over 70 Google reviews, it takes the win here as the best midrange split system air conditioner.

The specs for this Panasonic are 5kW cooling and 6kW heating capacities, with Energy Ratings of 4 and 4.5 stars respectively. It also features a built-in nanoe-G air purifier, which uses nanotechnology to remove fine particles and harmful bacteria from the air in your home.

Powered by Panasonic inverter technology, this reverse cycle air conditioner provides quick cooling thanks to its iAUTO-X system. The system uses a wider intake grille, high fan speed, and Aerowings that allow you to concentrate the airflow on a narrow area.

Other than that, the Panasonic is loaded with other handy features to offer user-friendly climate control for your home. These include an Eco Mode to keep your power bills down, a Quiet Mode when you want to use your air conditioner overnight, and a Powerful Mode for those situations when fast cooling or heating is a must.

Dual 24-hour on/off timers are included for added convenience, and control is easy via the LCD wireless remote. So if you're searching for a midrange split system, there are plenty of good reasons why the Panasonic CS/CU-Z50VKR is worth checking out.

Best premium split system air conditioner: Fujitsu ASTG24KMTC 7.1kW Reverse Cycle Split System Air Conditioner

Why we chose it

Looking for a high-end air conditioner to cool and heat your home? Look no further than this stylish and practical unit from Fujitsu.

The ASTG24KMTC offers plenty of cooling and heating power to suit large rooms, and it's loaded with clever features to help improve energy efficiency and user-friendliness. It's also come in for plenty of glowing reviews from happy buyers, with an average rating of 4.5/5 from over 200 Google reviews, so the Fujitsu ASTG24KMTC 7.1kW model is our top pick as the best premium split system air conditioner.

Designed for medium to large rooms, this model has a 7.1kW and 8kW heating capacity. It has a 2.5-star cooling and 4-star heating Energy Rating, while its streamlined and stylish design ensures that it will be a welcome addition to any living space.

The ASTG24KMTC features an Economy Mode to maximise energy efficiency, while the use of Human Sensor Control is another pleasing feature. This allows the unit to detect when people are in the room and when it is empty, adjusting settings accordingly to minimise electricity usage.

In terms of air quality in your home, an Apple-Catechin filter absorbs dust, mould and other potentially harmful microparticles. A life-long ion deodorisation filter is also included to get rid of nasty odours and keep your home smelling fresh.

And with other features like Powerful and Low Noise modes, automatic airflow adjustment and louvres that swing horizontally and vertically, the Fujitsu is a refined home cooling and heating solution. Check it out if you're in the market for a premium split system air conditioner.

Quietest split system air conditioner: Mitsubishi Electric MSZ-AP25VG 2.5kW Reverse Cycle Split System Air Conditioner


  • Quiet Mode offers operating noise as low as 18dB
  • Energy-efficient performer


  • Capacity may not be enough for some
  • There are cheaper options available in this capacity
Average online price: $966
eBay pricing: From $850.00
Buy at eBayBuy at Betta Home Living

Why we chose it

If you're searching for a super-quiet air conditioner that won't stop you from having a conversation, hearing the TV or getting a good night's sleep, make sure you check out this 2.5kW air conditioner from Mitsubishi Electric.

Capable of whisper-quiet operation, this model is also an energy-efficient performer and offers all the useful features you need to keep your home at the perfect temperature all year round. It also boasts an average rating of 4.9/5 from over 15 Google reviews, so it takes the win here as the quietest split system air conditioner.

One of the headline features of the Mitsubishi Electric MSZ-AP25VG 2.5kW Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner is its Quiet Mode fan speed setting. This allows it to operate at a level as low as 18dB in heating mode — for reference, the CDC in the USA says a soft whisper has an average sound level of 30dB and normal conversation of 60dB — so you can rest assured it's going to provide minimal disruption to noise levels in your home.

With a 2.5kW cooling output and 3.2kW heating output, this model is designed to offer high-speed temperature control without compromising energy efficiency. It scores Energy Ratings of 5.5 stars for cooling and 5 stars for heating, so you won't have to worry about your electricity costs going through the roof once this air conditioner is installed in your home.

This Mitsubishi split system also features i-save Mode, which allows you to choose your preferred pre-programmed temperature at the press of a button. A Night Mode is available too and dims the operating light on the unit, turns off beeps and quietens the noise from the outdoor unit.

And with the convenience of Wi-Fi control also available via an optional adapter, there's a lot to like about this super-quiet air conditioner from Mitsubishi Electric.

Best cooling-only split system air conditioner: Fujitsu ASTG18CMCA 5kW Cooling Only Air Conditioner

Why we chose it

If you live in a hot climate and you only need something to keep you cool when the mercury rises, we recommend checking out this cooling-only air conditioner from Fujitsu.

The Fujitsu ASTG18CMCA boasts a stylish design, all the clever features you'd expect from a premium air conditioner, and a cooling capacity to suit medium-sized rooms. It's been well received by Australian consumers too, with an average rating of 4.6/5 from over 25 Google reviews. Taking all these factors into consideration, the Fujitsu ASTG18CMCA is our number-one pick here as the best cooling-only split system air conditioner.

This wall-mounted unit offers a cooling capacity of 5kW, making it a good fit for mid-sized rooms. It has a 3.5-star Energy Rating to help keep your power bills down, and its Human Sensor energy-saving mode ensures that your unit isn't pumping cool air at full capacity into an empty room.

Whichever way you look at it, the Fujitsu ASTG18CMCA offers plenty of handy features that make it easy to use and that will help make your home more comfortable. It automatically detects changes in temperature and adjusts airflow accordingly, while the louvres automatically swing horizontally and vertically to disperse air all around your room. Low Noise Mode helps keep the indoor and outdoor units quiet for nighttime use, while Powerful Mode is also available when you need to cool down in a hurry.

And with an Apple-Catechin filter and long-life ion deodorisation filter helping to improve air quality, this unit will help you stay comfortable in summer for many years to come.

eBay prices last updated on 19 October, 2021 at 02:01 am


brands considered
products compared
Best products chosen
  • We considered split system air conditioners from over 15 brands.
  • We chose our top picks based on customer reviews and key product specs.
  • The products on this list are chosen by our editorial team and are not selected based on commercial relationships.
  • Every effort has been made in this guide to provide a fair and balanced view on all air conditioners, from entry-level models right through to premium offerings.

    We started our search for the best split system air conditioners by finding the highest-rated products on productreview.com.au, The Good Guys, Harvey Norman and Appliances Online. We then compared these products against other highly-rated air conditioners in the same category. In addition to review ratings and comments, we also considered capacity, energy efficiency, ease of use and price to help us finalise our top picks.

    To choose the best air conditioner for energy efficiency, we compared models with a 2.5kW cooling capacity.

    To choose the best cheap, midrange and premium split system units, we split up the categories as follows:

    • Cheap: $800 or less
    • Midrange: $801 - $1,700
    • Premium: $1,700+

    We considered split system air conditioners from the following brands:

    • ActronAir
    • APAC
    • Carrier
    • Daikin
    • Dimplex
    • Esatto
    • Fujitsu
    • Hisense
    • Kaden
    • Kelvinator
    • Kogan
    • Mitsubishi Electric
    • Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
    • Panasonic
    • Rinnai
    • Samsung
    • Sharp
    We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. However, Finder may receive compensation when you click some links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners and why you can trust our guides.

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How to compare split system air conditioners

When comparing split systems, consider the following key factors:


Split system air conditioners are generally pretty quiet but some models are loud enough to disrupt sleep or cause neighbours to complain. If you can, test out the noise levels in store or read user reviews before purchasing.

Also, check if there are any local council noise restrictions on air conditioners or strata rules for those living in apartments.

Fan speeds

Look for an AC with multiple fan speeds and a large airflow range. This will help cool down your room quickly when needed and can also keep the fan low once the room is the right temperature.

A wider range of fan speeds will also help reduce noise on low settings.

Demand Response Enabling Device (DRED)

If your AC model comes with DRED (also known as PeakSmart) and your energy provider uses the PeakSmart service, you can automatically switch to economy mode during peak energy periods. This reduces your power usage and saves you money.

Not all energy providers offer this service. If your current provider doesn't, consider switching energy providers.

Operating modes

An auto mode and an energy-saver mode can help you same money on heating energy by ensuring the air conditioner is only on when you need it to be. If you live in a humid area, look for a model with a dry or dehumidify setting.

Wi-Fi and smart controls

Newer models can often connect to your Wi-Fi so your AC can be controlled from your smartphone. This can be handy when you want to turn off your AC when you're out or want to keep an eye on the temperature remotely. While this function is usually built-in, some models require you to install a controller device.

Human presence detector

An aircon that can automatically sense when you're in the room and can lower the AC when you're out could be a big energy saver. While different brands use various terms for this function, such as motion sensor or people detector, they serve essentially the same purposes.

Temperature range

For those living in an area with extreme temperatures, it's important to check the operating range of your chosen aircon before purchase. A typical air conditioner can operate in temperatures from about -10°C up to 45°C.

Air filters and self-cleaning

Choose from a wide range of air filters that could help remove odours, mould, dust, allergens, germs and smoke from the air. For those with asthma or allergies, it may be best to pick a HEPA filter.

Automatic de-icing

If you live in an area with extreme cold, look for a model with automatic de-icing to avoid frost build-up on the heat exchanger coils of your outdoor unit in winter.

What is a split system air conditioner?

Split system air conditioners are more effective at cooling a home than large air conditioners.

A split system air conditioner consists of two parts: an indoor unit and an outdoor unit connected by ducts holding refrigerant gas. The system works together to cool large rooms or multiple rooms.

Split systems need to be installed by a professions technician so make sure to factor installation costs into your budget.

Sours: https://www.finder.com.au/best-split-system-air-conditioners

You will also be interested:

  • We’ve added more information on DIY mini-splits, like Mr. Cool.

May 10, 2021

A mini-split is an efficient, scalable way to add cooling or heating to specific rooms of a home. Also known as ductless mini-split air conditioners and heaters, they consist of one or more wall, floor, or ceiling-mounted indoor units connected to an outdoor compressor. They’re easier to install than a full ducted system, more efficient than window units or central HVAC, and they often make sense as a supplement to your existing heating and cooling equipment—giving a boost to an isolated area of your home. Add in thermostat-like controls alongside smart-home integration and mini-splits start to sound pretty great—but they aren’t cheap, with installation costs that can reach into the five figures. (Many local utility companies offer rebates to offset some of that.)

The exact mini-split equipment you need depends on your home’s unique heating and cooling requirements, and your options are limited to the qualified installers in your area—but we’ve researched this topic enough to be able to tell you about the scenarios when mini-split systems make sense and how to decide among the brands available. We asked installers, manufacturers, and homeowners who have mini-split systems to tell us what anyone considering one would need to know.

Who should get this

If you want to cool or heat specific rooms with better efficiency and less clutter than window ACs and space heaters—and less complexity than central HVAC—consider a mini-split system. Central HVAC usually forces air through several rooms—or the entire house—often heating or cooling rooms that aren’t even being used. “If you turn the water faucet on in the kitchen and every other water faucet turned on throughout the house...how efficient is that? That’s what central systems do,” says Mike Smith, senior marketing manager of Mitsubishi Electric, one of the prominent mini-split brands sold in North America.

Pros of a mini-split system

Mini-splits are popular as retrofits into existing construction, for a reason that also happens to be another big source of their efficiency: They don’t require costly duct work. This means they’re much easier to install than a traditional ducted HVAC system, and they can deliver more of the conditioned air they produce, too. According to Tim De Stasio, president of Southern Comfort Consulting and Service of Greensboro, North Carolina, “ductwork loses heat, especially in attics, and here in the South our attics can get up to 150 degrees.” This is not to say installation is simple, however.

Another appealing factor about a mini-split is a lot of flexibility in sizing the system to your needs. The system consists of two types of units: one outdoor condenser and the individually controlled air-delivering indoor units, which you have at least one of (or, maybe, four). These connect by a refrigerant line and a drain line. The indoor units vary in size based on what the room needs, and they’re typically mounted high on a room’s wall and are about the size of a long duffel bag. Some indoor units can also be mounted on the floor or recessed into a ceiling. The ceiling units are more discreet, but they require a much more invasive installation. The outdoor unit can be as small as a piece of luggage, but the more indoor units you have, the larger the outdoor unit needs to be to support them. “If you want to take care of more rooms in the future, you just leave a little extra capacity on the outdoor unit,” Smith said.

Mini-splits offer a lot of control, too, beyond their ability to be programmed like a regular thermostat. The best models can sense when someone is in the room (or not) and adjust the temperature accordingly, and then they can direct the air either away from you or toward you based on your preferences. Most models include a wireless remote and/or a wireless wall-mounted controller, and many can be controlled via smart phone or be integrated into a larger system like Nest or Alexa. We’ve tested a few standalone devices that act as thermostats for the individual rooms where the indoor units live.

Where mini-splits work well

A black mini-split unit on a living room wall.

Mini-splits can work as a small space’s primary system in a mild climate, but more often they’re ideal for rooms that don’t already have a heating and cooling system—like an addition, finished basement, attic bonus room, or a garage workshop. They can also add air conditioning to a high traffic area like a kitchen or living room, or even a room where you just might want a little extra temperature control like a nursery. For some homes, a couple of well-placed indoor units can handle the heating and cooling needs for most of the year.

Mini-splits also make sense in rooms that are off-kilter from the rest of the home’s heating system. De Stasio mentioned sunrooms, which are “pretty much glass ovens” that heat up and cool down much faster than the rest of the house. “The thermostat in the hallway 30 feet away has no idea that it’s 85 degrees in the sunroom.” A mini-split will allow you to condition that sunroom separately from the rest of the home.

For some homes, a couple of well-placed indoor units can handle the heating and cooling needs for most of the year.

Why not just get a window unit or portable AC?

All these advantages of a mini-split add up to increased comfort, especially when compared to the (much more affordable) options for treating single rooms: window air conditioners and portable ACs. For one, mini-splits are much quieter. With the system split between an indoor and outdoor unit, the only noise in the room is the fan needed to move air. There is none of the loud compressor hum that is typical of a window unit. In addition, most quality mini-split systems, much like the best whole-house systems, use variable-speed motors in their compressors. De Stasio explained, “On a mild day, a mini-split will actually run on a slower speed than on a hot day and save you energy, where a window unit will just come on and off on and off.” He added that this constant cycling of the window unit “consume[s] a massive amount of energy.” He explained: “Think of it like trying to push a car from a dead stop to 5 mph versus pushing it as it's already rolling forward. Which one requires more energy? The variable speed motors in a mini-split are never at a dead stop.”

Another downside to window units, De Stasio said, is that “every time that air conditioner shuts off and stays off for 20 minutes, you’re not doing any kind of dehumidification.” Since the mini-splits variable speed can dial down to near zero once the target temperature is reached, it’s actually at its most efficient when you leave it at the setting you find comfortable—win-win.

Beyond variable speed, a mini-split is comparably more efficient than a window unit due to its different construction. Mitsubishi Electric’s Smith explained that within the housing of the window AC are the same two components of a mini-split—the evaporator and a condenser. “Those two components of that system are separated by a very thin wall, and that thin wall is not doing a great job of keeping heat energy out.” With a mini-split, he said, the two components are “now separated by your insulated wall.”

The way a mini-split disperses air is better than a window unit or a portable AC. Smith explained, “When you’re trying to blow cool air into a hot room, the cool air will fall, so a window unit has a tougher time driving that cool air across the room because of the position of the window.” A mini-split is typically mounted high on a wall or even in a ceiling, giving it a much better throw of that cool air, with the ability to disperse it in a sweeping motion from side to side, up and down, or even directed towards a wall, if you want some circulation without a direct blast of air.

Last, a mini-split doesn’t occupy a room’s electrical outlet or affect the function of your windows. A window AC completely blocks a good chunk of the window, obviously. And even a portable AC hogs its share of the window space by requiring the window to stay shut tight against the vent hose hardware that every portable AC uses to dump heat outside.

Cons of a mini-split system

Mini-splits are never cheap. De Stasio told us a typical single-unit install costs roughly $3,000-$5,000, but if you’re looking to create a whole-house system—which needs multiple indoor units and a larger outdoor unit to support them—it can start getting cost-prohibitive. In 2017, a friend in Los Angeles installed a one-zone Mitsubishi Electric system with a single indoor unit for a total installed cost of about $4,500. In 2019, a friend in Hawaii installed a Mitsubishi Electric system with four indoor units (of three varying sizes) and a 42,000 btu, 5-zone outdoor unit to serve his entire house. The total cost came in just under $17,000. That’s a lot, but it may still come in under the cost of a comparable ducted system; on the other hand, the best window units and portables range from about $200 to $700 apiece.

You also have to commit to a location with the indoor units, and there’s no moving them around, like with window air conditioners or portable ACs. Ideally, the pipes go through the wall directly behind the unit, where they’re hidden. Depending on how the wall is constructed, this may cause the unit to be off-center on the wall, which you may not want. One mini-split owner we spoke to said that he wished he had understood this better. “In our bedroom, the unit is a little closer to the side wall than I'd like because they couldn't access the coupling without putting the unit where it is.” The other option in this situation is to have the pipes do a short run along the interior wall before going through it, but, as he said, “Generally, the units look best when the punch-through is hidden behind the unit rather than to the left or right of the unit.”

Even in the perfect location, mini-split indoor units take up a chunk of wall space and they’re not the most attractive things in the world, as we heard separately from two friends who recently installed them. It’s basically a boxy rectangle, or, as one owner put it, “a big stupid plastic giant lunchbox thing on your wall.” Some manufacturers offer a variety of colors, at least, and LG seems to be hearing these complaints with models like their Art Cool Mirror line. Another option is to get units that recess into the ceiling. But a ceiling installation will likely be more expensive and invasive.

Mini-splits can also struggle in extreme temperatures. According to Mitsubishi Electric, their best systems can operate at 100 percent capacity all the way down to an exterior temperature of about 23 degrees and will even operate at 75 percent at negative 13 degrees. Still, it’s something to consider when setting up a system for your home.

A related (more avoidable) downside is winding up with a system that feels undersized for your needs, even in less extreme weather, which happened to our LA friend. To play it safe, an installer might suggest going with a bigger outdoor unit, which has the flexibility to serve multiple indoor units. But the costs add up fast, and it can be tempting to try to get by with the minimum equipment possible. That may backfire if the system is underpowered. “I have to run the heat at 90 degrees for it to feel comfortable,” she says. “And then I have to run it all day.” On the bright side, she says, “the A/C works great.”

Last, mini-splits are nice in that they are all electric (and require no additional fuel or gas service, like with some traditional HVAC systems), but their electrical requirements are considerable. The 5-zone unit our Hawaii friend installed required a dedicated 40 A breaker for its 230-volt service, and his installation crew used a licensed electrical sub-contractor for the work, adding cost.

How we’d pick a brand

We found four leading brands in our research: Mitsubishi Electric, Fujitsu, LG, Daikin, and Panasonic (and a handful of smaller names, like Mirage). You probably don’t have a ton of choice on which exact pieces of equipment you need—that’s determined mostly by your home’s size, climate, and the heating and cooling needs you’re addressing. But you do have a choice to make on what brand you go with, and in a big market, you can take your pick among qualified installers recommended by each of those four manufacturers. We evaluated the options by looking broadly at the characteristics common to the brands as a whole—comparing things like warranty, aesthetic options, smart features, and other factors that would make a meaningful impact if we were shopping for ourselves. Here’s an overview by brand, in the order in which we would begin our search locally.

Mitsubishi Electric stands out in this field, for starters, by being among the most common and popular options available in North American markets. That translates to a larger pool of service technicians to choose from, better availability of more models, higher likelihood you’ll be able to design a system to fit your needs exactly, and potentially faster service for troubleshooting or repairs. They also have a reputation for durability. “I can count on one hand how many replacement parts I've had to put on a Mitsubishi mini-split system,” De Stasio said. “There are other brands where I can't say that.” If something does go wrong, Mitsubishi Electric’s limited 12-year parts warranty is among the best, and the brand’s popularity means lots of local utilities offer rebates. In Mitsubishi Electric’s brochure (PDF), you’ll find fairly limited aesthetic options for wall units, although matte silver and black wall unit finishes are available, and you can also consider ceiling mounts, floor mounts, or other special configurations. Mitsubishi Electric runs its smart features off a proprietary app, Kumo Cloud, which controls multiple zones via a clean-looking interface. The app seems to have picked up a lot of negative reviews initially (circa 2017), but usually works as expected according to several more recent reviews. We’ve just begun testing the app in summer 2019 and will update this guide with our notes.

LG is another big company that has advantages similar to Mitsubishi due to the company’s size, stability, and market saturation. You can find qualified LG installers in many metropolitan areas. Depending on the equipment involved, LG’s warranty can last up to 12 years, similar to Mitsubishi Electric’s, and LG’s local utility rebates vary by city, but they often cover at least some relevant mini-split equipment. LG’s catalog shows lots of aesthetic options on finishes for the wall units, and LG’s SmartThinQ app offers system-wide controls and reliable functionality. The app can potentially benefit some folks by also controlling other LG smart appliances at home, which would be convenient—and, to LG’s credit, after watching a lot of appliance makers’ apps have their ups and downs over the years, SmartThinQ’s roughly 3.5-star average across about 3,000 reviews is definitely above average for the category.

Daikin is another worldwide company that offers a large selection of units. They have a wide ranging network of installers and, like Mitsubishi and LG, a 12-year warranty for many of their products. The company offers many rebates as well as multiple control options.

Daikin and Fujitsu are fine alternatives to Mitsubishi Electric and LG. These may be lesser-known brands, but they both have wide-ranging networks of installers in most North American markets. The Fujitsu and Daikin warranties can last up to 12 years and both companies offer plenty of rebates. and local utilities offer rebates for lots of Fujitsu equipment, both in mini-split and conventional AC machinery. A minor reason we’d look to Mitsubishi Electric or LG first is that Daikin and Fujitsu offer relatively narrow choices on the look of the wall units, but fortunately, the various combinations of the system’s equipment still offer enough flexibility performance-wise to meet most homes’ needs. Daikin and Fujitsu offer similar smart-home functions to its competitors.

There are other manufacturers out there, but we can’t really imagine bypassing these four options for a niche brand with weaker availability, selection, and customer support.

How we’d pick an installer

Who you hire to install a mini-split system is as critical and difficult a decision as choosing the equipment itself. The machinery’s performance shouldn’t vary much, and defective units will be covered by warranty—but the commitment you make to an installer will determine how well the mini-split system functions in your space. A good HVAC firm will know what equipment to use—especially for tricky jobs that require some expertise and experience to design around—and the technical skill the pros bring to the installation will affect its initial performance as well as whatever service calls you make over the years. No pressure!

It is technically possible to install a mini-split yourself—how-to videos on This Old House look straightforward enough, and there’s a forum full of Reddit homeowners who say they’ve done it—but self-installation is probably not worth the risk. For one thing, even a perfect DIY installation may void the unit’s warranty, exposing thousands of dollars of equipment to the risk of not being covered on a legitimate claim. Beyond that, De Stasio told us, “There is so much that can go wrong if it’s not professionally installed. Your typical homeowner does not have the tools to do it or the instrumentation to take the measurements to know that it’s been done right.” Getting the right size unit is not as simple as calculating the area of a room, for example. “A 400 square foot room in New Hampshire requires a different amount of heating and air conditioning than a 400 square foot room in Florida.” A good HVAC installer will do a proper heat load calculation, which means, as explained by Todd Washam, director of industry and internal relations at The Air Conditioning Contractors of America, they “measure the windows, the tree overhangs for the shading, the pitch of your roof, the square footage, what type of floors, and the insulation in your attic and walls.”

There are companies, like Mr. Cool, that offer models that are marketed for DIY installation. These units are less expensive, but the installation process is not for the beginner, or even intermediate DIYer. It involves electrical work, plumbing, checking for refrigerant leaks, and drilling a 3½ -inch hole through the side of your house (and another one for the electrical line). This is not something that most people want to undertake just to save a couple thousand dollars. And after all of that, the warranty is shorter than the one provided by companies like Mitsubishi and LG. These DIY models are certainly an option, but not one to be taken on without carefully considering what you might be getting yourself into.

To give yourself a good chance at a satisfying mini-split installation, here’s how we’d approach the contractor hiring process for this job:

Ask locals who they used: If a mini-split makes good sense for your house, you’re probably not alone in your area. Start by asking homeowners in your community for recommendations for (or warnings against) local HVAC firms.

Seek mini-split experience: Seek some confirmation—photos of previous jobs, customer testimonials, Yelp reviews—that this crew has done a few mini-split installations before and their work has satisfied others. Equipment manufacturers can give you a bit of a head start: You can search for a qualified contractor in your area at the sites of Mitsubishi Electric, Fujitsu, Panasonic, LG, and other makers.

Set up a site visit and interview: For no charge, your prospective installer should come over, walk the property, talk about your needs, and discuss the equipment options available. Take notes on any models or sizes suggested, so you can do your own pricing research independently afterward. Ask detailed questions—could you potentially add another indoor unit in the future? Will this indoor unit adequately serve the entire space it’s meant for? Do they offer an ongoing service plan? Will the work be inspected? What kind of warranty does the contractor offer on the labor (independent of the manufacturer’s warranty)? Satisfy yourself that the installer understands the nuances of your space and the way the equipment can be configured to address your needs. This job requires engineering and design skills on top of technical know-how; your goal is to ensure you can get all of that.

Look for a personal connection: You’re getting into a relationship with this contractor. You’ll be in touch throughout the installation, and in the future for service calls, warranty claims, or other troubleshooting. Is this person reliable and responsive, or do you have apprehension about having them in and out of your house in the short term and in the future? Can you trust them?

Get three quotes: If there are multiple qualified installers in your area, call two or three of them. This is a multi-thousand-dollar job, but we’d advise this even for simpler work—it really gives you a clear sense of what the market for this work is like and often helps you weed out options you’re less comfortable with, giving you the confidence to commit to the best place available.

Request written estimates: At minimum, you should see a one-page quote outlining the work involved and the prices before you agree to start the job. Even better—detailed manufacturer’s information, from the pro, on each piece of equipment going into the job.

Weigh the options: If you’re deciding between some options—say, a 2-zone version of your system versus a 4-zone, ask for written estimates for both configurations. At the outset, when you’re asking lots of questions, be on the lookout for pushback, a dismissive attitude, or impatience—you should have questions, even some very basic ones, and it’s a good sign if a pro can answer them respectfully.

The outdoor element of a mini-split ac unit.

Specify equipment placement: Take pictures of the proposed locations of the installations, both on the indoor and outdoor units, to confirm their exact placement as part of your agreement. This is a final decision and can be a source of dissatisfaction among owners.

Make plans for maintenance: Mini-split maintenance is usually minimal but is also best done by an HVAC technician, at least until you watch them enough times to know the ins and outs yourself. It mostly consists of keeping the equipment clean and the drain line clear. De Stasio says, “At the end of the day, it’s a disinfectant cloth, it's a shop vac, it’s a water hose gently washing the outside coil. The tasks themselves are things that a homeowner can do, but a professional is going to know how to do them safely and how to do them thoroughly.”

What about smart controllers?

We tested three smart thermostat devices: the Ambi Climate 2, the Flair Puck, and the Sensibo Sky. At their most basic, they allow you to easily control your mini-split from your phone. Unlike manufacturer options such as Mitsubishi’s Kumo Cloud, which do the same thing, these 3rd party options do not require expensive professional installation. Though none of the three have so far lived up to our expectations, the Ambi and the Flair are much better than the Sensibo. We’re continuing to watch new releases and version upgrades and will test any that we think look good.

The Ambi Climate 2 is the most in-depth of the three. It attempts to monitor your home, AC use, and external temperatures then adjust your AC throughout the day. We like the set-it-and-forget-it use of it and how it adapted to our routine, but the app’s depth, amount of upfront information, and optional user settings makes it more complicated to use than others we tried. The controller units are not wall mounted but unobtrusive within most modern decor. Our experience with customer support was good but not great.

The Flair Puck is much simpler. The app is cleaner and much more straightforward, but it doesn’t try to do as much as the Ambi. It’s more like a modern replacement for the physical controllers that come with the mini-splits. It’s convenient, but it lacks some of the basic mini-split controls, like adjusting air direction, which the Ambi provides. The pucks can be wall mounted or stand alone and look like miniature Nest units though they aren’t as substantial. We like that you can also control the AC unit directly from the puck, which you can’t do with the Ambi. Flair’s customer service was excellent and very responsive. It’s also compatible with Ecobee sensors, Alexa, and Google Assistant.

Both the Ambi and Flair had issues with connectivity, especially with dual band WiFi. The signal strength of the units to the AC is hit or miss. When it works we were able to set them up over 25-feet away without an issue, but the best range seems to be closer to 12-feet. Good enough for a small room, but tougher in larger ones.

Another downside is that Flair and Ambi are not directly compatible with Apple’s HomeKit. Ambi does integrate with Siri shortcuts and has a 3rd party work-around for HomeKit, but it needs to be running 24/7 on your home computer in order for it to work.

The Sensibo Sky was our least favorite of the three. We found the overall design unappealing, the app was difficult to use, and the controllers were difficult to connect to our AC units. They also sent us a few oddly formatted and what can best be described as vaguely spam-y looking emails.

About your guides

Doug Mahoney

Doug Mahoney is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter covering home improvement. He spent 10 years in high-end construction as a carpenter, foreman, and supervisor. He lives in a very demanding 250-year-old farmhouse and spent four years gutting and rebuilding his previous home. He also raises sheep and has a dairy cow that he milks every morning.

Harry Sawyers

Harry Sawyers is the senior editor covering home improving, HVAC, and gardening at Wirecutter. He previously worked at This Old House and Popular Mechanics magazines; before that, he restored historic houses and mowed lawns for a living. He lives in a house in LA with his wife, three boys, a dog, and a lot of Wirecutter recommendations.

Further reading

  • The Best Air Conditioner
  • The Best Portable Air Conditioner
  • Cool Down With Chill Week

    Cool Down With Chill Week

    by Joshua Lyon

    It’s Chill Week here at Wirecutter, and we have plenty of tips and treats to help you cool down, from canned cocktails to a possible cure for night sweats.

  • How to Get the Most Out of Your Travel Reward Points
Sours: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/the-best-ductless-mini-split-air-conditioner/

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