When the Montcalm County Animal Shelter in Michigan needed new air conditioners, they opted to replace the old window units with a mini-split AC system.
Why? To quote the Humane Society’s director, “It would save energy and money, and it would work better.”
Mini split systems are gaining popularity because they are relatively affordable and ductless. Replacing your system doesn’t mean you have to update your ductwork.
Most importantly, they provide welcome cost savings, especially during those hot summer months. While there are ducted mini-split units out there, this article focuses on the ductless AC units.
Read on for information about mini-split systems and reviews of the best systems available.
What Are Mini Split Systems?
Most heating and cooling systems are called split systems. They have interior and exterior components. Central air conditioning systems have interior and exterior components as well, but they also use ducts to move the air through your house.
A mini split AC unit doesn’t require ductwork. Instead, these ductless AC units have a condensing component that expands and compresses refrigerant. It pulls both moisture and heat from the air in your home.
The split AC unit then sends cool air into the house through lines connected to the interior component(s). These components include blowers, air handlers, and evaporators. The air handling units are with the walls and ceilings.
They are installed throughout the home. Though, they aren’t window units. So, your window space remains free and clear.
Mini-Split AC System Benefits
A mini-split air conditioner can have multiple air handling units. This means you can create multiple cooling zones in your home. You can control the temperature in different rooms.
And, because they don’t use air ducts, they don’t have the same rate of energy loss as central air conditioner systems.
Versatile and Easy Installation
Mini-split systems are easier to install than central AC systems. You will still need a licensed HVAC company install your system. Though, they can do so quickly. Also, they can install the handling units in different ways.
Meaning, the units can hang from the ceiling, on a wall, or mounted flush if you have drop ceilings. There are even floor standing models.
Extra Features to Look Out For
Mini split systems have convenient remote controls and run more quietly than window units. Some models have a dehumidifier mode to keep out moisture.
They also have automatic modes that adjust the temperature throughout the day. And, many have programmable timers that let you adjust the temperature automatically.
All mini-split AC models provide better air quality because they are ductless. There is no place for dust, mold, and allergens to collect.
Benefits of Having Multiple Zones
A single-zone mini-split AC is the least expensive option. Though, many homeowners rave about the multi-zone split HVAC systems because you can control the temperature in each room separately.
You can also lower or shut off the air conditioning in a room that no one is occupying. This option brings significant cost savings. Anyone looking to purchase a mini-split AC should definitely consider a multi-zone system.
Most mini-split AC systems can accommodate up to four zones. There are models available that can handle up to six zones. Each zone (room) has a handling unit. Refrigerant lines connect it to the outdoor unit. These lines are long enough to allow for zones on different floors.
Mini Split AC Systems and BTUs/Power
You measure mini split AC unit’s power in BTUs. The higher the BTUs, the more area the unit can cool. For example:
- For a 150-250 square foot room, you need a mini-split AC with 5,000-6,000 BTUs.
- For a 250-350 square foot room, you need a mini-split AC with 6,000 to 8,000 BTUs.
- For a 350 to 450 square foot room, you need a mini-split AC with 8,000 to 10,000 BTUs.
- For a 450 to 550 square foot room, you need a mini-split AC with 10,000 to 12,000 BTUs.
- For a 550 to 700 square foot room, you need a mini-split AC with 12,000 to 14,000 BTUs.
- For a 700 to 1,000 square foot room, you need a mini-split AC with 14,000 to 18,000 BTUs.
Check the Voltage Requirements
Most mini-split ACs come with the typical 110- to 120-volt plug. Though, the larger units may require a 220- to a 240-volt outlet.
You may need to have an electrician come out and upgrade your existing outlets to accommodate your new mini-split AC.
Understanding Compressor Types
The external component of a mini-split AC is the compressor. There are two types: a rotary compressor and an inverter compressor.
Rotary compressors, the most common type, turn the AC on and off to regulate the temperature in your home. The AC operates full force to cool the room. Then, it cycles off and on again as needed based on temperature.
Inverted compressors are a newer, energy-efficient technology. Inverted compressors don’t operate at full power. Instead, they use only the amount of energy required to attain the set temperature.
Mini split AC systems with inverted compressors cost more. Though, you will save money on your energy bills.
Invest in Reusable Filters to Keep Maintenance Costs Low
Any AC unit needs clean filters to operate correctly, even mini-split AC systems. If you choose a unit with reusable filters, you’ll save money in the long run. Disposable filters get expensive.
Mini-Split AC Systems Pricing
Mini-split AC prices vary based on the number of BTUs. Prices for these systems range from $600 to $3,500 for a single-zone AC unit. The price increases as you add zones. Again, there is added benefit from investing in a multi-zone system.
Below are reviews of the ten best mini split AC systems available.
1. PIONEER Air Conditioner Inverter+ Ductless Wall Mount Mini Split System
The Pioneer Air Conditioner Inverter+ Ductless wall mount system is our top choice. It heats or cools, giving you year-round comfort in your home. This unit rates at 18000 BTU. With that amount of power, you can be assured it will work throughout your home.
This is AC and heat pump has a high-efficiency inverter. It cools or heats quickly. It features a remote control so you can change without leaving the comfort of your favorite chair.
Check the current price on Amazon with this link.
2. Senville SENL-18CD 18000 BTU 15 SEER Split Air Conditioner and Heat Pump
The Senville SENL-18CD split air conditioner and heat pump comes in as a close second to the Pioneer. The Senville has 18000 BTUs. The system comes with an inverted compressor by Toshiba, which has a five-year warranty.
This mini split unit has a low ambient kit, which means it cools or heats even during extreme temperatures.
The Senville features “whisper technology.” It operates with almost no audible sound. Because of this, it performs well in smaller spaces where extra cooling is needed. The installation kit is concise and makes for easy installation.
Here is the direct link to this product listing on Amazon.
3. MRCOOL DIY 24K BTU 16 SEER Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump
The MRCOOL Ductless BTU 16 SEER mini-split air conditioner has a seven-year warranty for the compressor. The parts carry a five-year warranty. Engineers designed the MRCOOL for ease of installation.
It comes with everything a technician needs to install the AC system. It also contains an instruction booklet in case someone less familiar with HVAC is installing the unit as a DIY project.
This compact mini-split AC system includes pre-charged line sets. You don’t have to add refrigerant during installation.
This unit cools well no matter the room. It comes with a handy remote control app. You can download, connect to your Wi-Fi, and control the unit from your phone or tablet.
Check the price on Amazon here.
4. 12,000 BTU Innova Ductless Mini-split Air Conditioner
The Innova 12,000 BTU ductless mini-split AC operates quietly. It cools without adding noise distraction. It comes with a one-year parts warranty and a five-year warranty on the compressor.
The outdoor unit is pre-charged with eco-friendly refrigerant. In addition, the system includes all the accessories you need for installation, including 16 feet of copper wire and a manual.
The indoor unit has an attractive modern look. That look is enhanced by a bezel-less display along with a hidden LED display. You won’t see the LED display when the unit is turned off.
To see this and other mini splits available on Amazon use this link.
5. Pioneer Air Conditioner Inverter++ Ductless Wall Mount Multi-Split System
The Pioneer Air Conditioner Ductless Wall Mount Split System comes with a high-efficiency converter. The system cools your space with efficiency but without wasting energy. This Pioneer system also features a five-zone heat pump.
This split system AC from Pioneer has five indoor units, each with its own a remote control. If you have a small home, this allows you to put a heating or cooling unit in the rooms you use the most.
This unit includes a complete installation kit, including a 16-foot line set. You can also request customization by placing a special order with Pioneer.
Check it out on Amazon by clicking here.
6. 24000 Btu 20.5 SEER Ductless Mini Split DC Inverter Air Conditioner
The SEER ductless AC system is a powerful unit with a split DC inverter. It has a removable and washable panel for ease of maintenance. It features a compressor by Toshiba with a seven-year warranty. The unit itself has a five-year parts warranty.
This mini-split AC unit has some attractive features such as auto-defrost and intelligent pre-heating. It also has a self-clean mode that you can use as needed.
The installation kit comes with insulated copper tubing, 15 feet of communication wire, a drain hose, a power cable, and a wall cover. And of course, the system comes with a remote control.
This link takes you to the listing on Amazon for this mini split.
7. PIONEER Air Conditioner
The Pioneer Air Conditioner rates in at 12000 BTU. This unit features a high-efficiency inverted compressor. You’ll receive formidable cooling that won’t inflate your power bill.
This ductless mini-split is also a heat pump that is easy to install. The installation kit includes everything you need to install the system.
This compact AC has the expected remote control. The system features multiple settings for cooling and heating. You’re able to maintain a comfortable temperature.
This Pioneer system also has a convenient vacation mode to lower usage when you’re away for an extended period.
Click here to see it on Amazon.
8. Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump
Cooper and Hunter’s Ductless Mini-split Heat Pump connects to your Wi-Fi so you can control the system with any compatible smart device. This min split AC is energy-efficient.
So, you don’t see an ugly increase in your electric bill. The Energy Star certification is assurance that you can enjoy your new cooling unit without paying a hefty price later.
This unit is compact and comes with an installation kit, which includes 15 feet of wire. This heat pump is wall-mounted and is embedded with an activated carbon filter. It also comes with an anti-corrosion coating designed to last.
Take a look with this link.
9. Senville 9000 BTU Mini-Split Air Conditioner
The Senville 9000 BTU Mini-Split Air Conditioner has advanced DC converter technology. It provides powerful performance and high efficiency. This unit is quiet enough to use in any room.
It also works well in non-residential spaces like offices and other workspaces. It comes with a remote control for easy control.
This mini-split AC comes with a complete installation that includes a sixteen-foot copper line.
Click here to check the price on Amazon.
10. Okyotech 18,000 BTU 1.5 TON 14 SEER Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioner
The Okyotech mini-split AC features 3D airflow technology to provide smart heating and cooling. This unit is compact and works well in those small spaces where a full-size unit just won’t fit.
It operates quietly, so it is suitable for any space. The Okyotech has a convenient sleep mode as well as a 24-hour timer mode.
This AC unit works with efficiency with a capacity of 18,000 BTU. With it, you can cool you a space as large as 900 square feet. All this makes it a solid choice for apartments and smaller homes.
If this seems like a good fit for what you need, here’s the product listing on Amazon.
Mini-split Air Conditioner Systems for Hot Climates
All in all, mini-split systems provide an affordable option when it comes to cooling your home. If you live in a tropical climate, you understand the need to keep your home cool during those extended summer months.
Mini-split AC systems give families options. Some like a chilled bedroom at night, even in August. A mini-split system allows them that luxury without freezing out the rest of the family.
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