Best Ductless Air Conditioners – 2021 Guide

Before you buy an air conditioner for your home or office, there's a lot you need to think about.

ACs don't exactly come cheap.

The most important thing you need to consider is getting a unit that's efficient and guaranteed to stand the test of time.

Comparison of the Best Ductless Air Conditioners

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Will easily cool down at 12000 Btu
  • Very easy to install on the wall
  • Everything needed for complete installation included
View Latest Price ?
  • Energy star compliant for your safety
  • Auto cleaning option for low maintenance
  • Clear and easy to read LCD display
View Latest Price ?
  • Best for the Money
  • An easy to use remote control included
  • Up to 9000 Btu cooling system
View Latest Price ?
  • Best Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner & Heat Pump
  • Comes with a 4-in-1 design for optional uses
  • Very quiet operation with whisper technology
View Latest Price ?
  • Best Wall Mounted Ductless AC
  • Everything needed for complete installation included
  • Can easily be controlled via a smartphone app
View Latest Price ?
  • Best 18000 BTU Ductless Air Conditioner
  • Built-in water pump for improved cooling option
  • Strong and durable casing for durability
View Latest Price ?
  • Best 24000 BTU Ductless Air Conditioner
  • Easily cool down a large 1000 square feet area
  • Very easy to install option without experience
View Latest Price ?

How to Choose a Ductless Air Conditioner

There are three main things you need to focus on when choosing the best ductless AC.

Capacity

This is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs) and is an indicator of the AC's cooling power. It tells you how much heat your air conditioner can remove in an hour.

If you're cooling a small room, a mini-split AC with a lower BTU rating will work just fine. If you're cooling a larger room, on the other hand, you'll need to get a unit with a higher BTU.

Whether or Not it Uses Inverter Technology

Inverter ACs are a lot more energy efficient than their non-inverter counterparts. Their compressors run at different speeds depending on the heat load of the specific room they're cooling. They also tend to have a longer lifespan compared to non-inverter systems.

Energy Rating

You want to get a ductless AC with a high SEER rating. Higher ratings mean increased energy efficiency, which will save you loads of cash on your electricity bill.

Review of the Best Ductless Air Conditioners

We've reviewed the top ductless ACs on the market right now. Here are the best mini-split air conditioners in each category.

Best Overall:
PIONEER WYS012G-19

Pioneer Air Conditioner WYS012G-19 Wall Mount Ductless Inverter+ Mini Split Heat Pump, 12000 BTU-208/230V

PROS

  • High energy-efficiency
  • Whisper-quiet operation
  • Price-point isn't too bad either
  • Ideal for home and light commercial use
  • BTU rating makes it ideal for cooling relatively large spaces

CONS

  • The five-year warranty is too short
  • May start to ice-up after a while if the filter isn't cleaned often

What Recent Buyers Report

Users seem quite happy with the unit. They especially like how quiet and energy efficient it is. It looks great and cools the rooms quite fast. You will, however, need a professional to install it for you.

Some buyers reported that it started to ice-up after a couple of uses, but that was easily resolved by cleaning the washable filter it comes with. Other than that, the reviews have been mainly positive.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The WYS012G-19 is an all-round performer. It's an all-in-one air conditioner, reverse-cycle heat pump, dehumidifier, and ventilator, and boasts the latest in HVAC technology.

The AC comes with an indoor and outdoor unit, a 16-inch installation kit, and remote control functionality. With a SEER rating of 17.5, it is by far one of the most energy-efficient ductless ACs we've encountered.

This sleek 12,000 BTU inverter air conditioner is ultra-silent making it ideal for home or light commercial use. It works well in areas with ambient temperatures that range between 32-122°F. Its indoor temperature setting ranges between 62 and 92°F.

Bottom Line

The WYS012G-19 comes with a host of features that make it the best overall ductless air conditioner we've come across. It looks great, is energy efficient, and multifunctional. It works well in areas with exceptionally high humidity, and salty air is a definite plus.

Runner-up:
DuctlessAire DA1221-H2

DuctlessAire Energy Star Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner and Heat Pump Variable Speed Inverter 220V, 25ft Installation Kit (12000 Btu 21 SEER)

PROS

  • Easy to install
  • Whisper-quiet operation
  • Sleek and compact design
  • Extremely energy-efficient
  • Powerful cooling capability

CONS

  • Slow remote control response
  • Self-installation voids warranty

What Recent Buyers Report

The one thing that stood out to most buyers is just how quiet it is. It is compact, looks good, is easy to install, and has an exceptionally quiet mode of operation.

One drawback several users noted was the slow response of the remote when changing the settings. On the flip side, it is extremely effective in cooling down relatively large spaces. Most buyers were happy with their purchase.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The DuctlessAire offers some great features regarding its BTU capacity, noise, size, and energy efficiency. We like the fact that it's small, so it's less obtrusive compared to some of the other ductless ACs on the market.

It comes pre-charged with an R-410a refrigerant that's rechargeable once it runs out. It also has a refrigerant leak detection, self-diagnosis, and auto-protection function to ensure your air conditioner is operating optimally throughout.

Its 20.5 SEER rating means you don't have to worry about getting a huge electricity bill by the time summer's over. For a 24,000 BTU AC, it is one of the most energy-efficient mini-split air conditioners out there.

Bottom Line

The DuctlessAire's whisper-quiet operation, and cutting-edge features like the self-diagnosis, auto-protection, and refrigerant leak detection functions, are just a few of the attributes that make it stand out from other ACs in its class.

It is made from high-quality components that are built to stand the test of time. Is it worth it? We certainly think so.

Best for the Money:
Klimaire KSIV 19

Klimaire 9,000 BTU 19 SEER Ductless Mini-Split Inverter Air Conditioner Heat Pump System with 15-ft Installation Kit and Wall Bracket 115V

PROS

  • Whisper-quiet operation
  • Great value for the money
  • Extremely energy-efficient
  • Has a self-cleaning feature
  • Supports low-ambient cooling

CONS

  • The five-year compressor warranty is a little short
  • Plastic lock tabs inside the unit appear a bit flimsy

What Recent Buyers Report

Some of the amazing features of this particular unit that stood out to most buyers include the auto-clean function that runs a self-cleaning operation on the evaporator to keep it fresh. It also prevents mildew from forming.

It is ultra-quiet, easy to install, and has several features that you wouldn't expect from an AC in its price range, which is something most users liked.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Ductless ACs don't exactly come cheap, and those on the lower end of the price spectrum aren't typically energy efficient. The KSIV 19 from Klimaire is the exception to the rule.

This high-performance wall-mount air conditioner delivers outstanding value for the money. It uses a DC inverter system and comes with a 15-foot installation kit, with all the interconnecting cables and accessories you need for a quick and easy DIY setup.

We particularly like that the outdoor unit comes with a built-in compressor heater and base pan for enhanced efficiency, as well as pre-charged refrigerant lines, which is something you don't often get with new mini-split ACs.

Bottom Line

The Klimaire KSIV 19 runs like a dream. It even works when the outdoor temperatures are as low as 5ºF.

Thinking of going away for vacation? That's not a problem for this AC. It maintains the room at a consistent 46ºF without racking up a huge electricity bill in the process. It's an absolute steal.

Best Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioner & Heat Pump:
Senville SENL-12CD

Senville LETO Series Mini Split Air Conditioner Heat Pump, 12000 BTU 110/120V, Works with Alexa, White

PROS

  • High SEER rating (19)
  • Versatile and multipurpose
  • Works in low ambient temperatures
  • Installation kit included in the purchase
  • Delivers outstanding value for the money

CONS

  • May require professional installation
  • 2-year warranty on parts is quite short

What Recent Buyers Report

The unit is easy to install if you're an avid DIY-er, but most buyers seem to prefer having a professional HVAC technician do it for them. Users like the fact that it integrates a heat pump, which further adds to its functionality.

All in all, the majority of buyers appear to be quite happy with their purchase.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Wouldn't it be great if you had an air conditioning system that could cool you down in the summer and heat your living space when temperatures drop in the winter? The SENL-12CD from Senville does both.

This AC comes with a built-in heat pump that's designed to work even in five-degree temperature. This 12,000 BTU unit also has an integrated fan and dehumidifier and uses Whisper Technology for ultra-quiet operation.

It is designed with an inverter making it one of the most efficient climate control systems on the market right now.

Bottom Line

The Senville SENL-12CD can cool and heat relatively large spaces of up to 750 square feet. The fact that it combines cooling and heating technology into one sleek and compact package makes it a winner in our books. It's worth checking out.

Best Wall Mounted Ductless AC:
Daikin 17 SEER

DAIKIN 12,000 BTU 17 SEER Wall-Mounted Ductless Mini-Split Inverter Air Conditioner Heat Pump System 15 Ft. Installation Kit & Wall Bracket (230 Volt), 12, 000 BTU

PROS

  • Deodorizes the air
  • High SEER rating (17)
  • Cools and warms up spaces within as little as 20 minutes
  • Wall-mount design makes it ideal for spaces without a viable duct-dependent option
  • Variable-speed inverter responds to ambient room temperature to maintain the desired conditions

CONS

  • Self-installation may void the warranty
  • The unit doesn't come pre-charged with refrigerant

What Recent Buyers Report

Users like the "Powerful" feature that allows the unit to lower or boost the temperatures within a space in about 20 minutes. This is regardless of whether or not it was already operating at full capacity.

The air-purifying filter it comes with is also a hit among consumers. It keeps the air circulating in the space nice and clean. Overall, most buyers seem happy with its performance.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Daikin is no stranger to the HVAC world. The company has a sterling reputation for creating some of the most durable feature-rich air conditioning systems around. Their impeccable attention to detail is quite apparent in the Daikin 17 SEER mini-split AC.

It integrates a heat pump and air conditioning system and is designed for spaces of up to 550 square feet. With a SEER rating of 17, the Daikin ranks among the most energy-efficient wall-mount systems. This means you don't have to worry about it racking up massive electricity bills at the end of the summer or winter.

Bottom Line

The Daikin 12,000 BTU AC offers an affordable, energy-efficient solution for your heating and cooling needs. It is ideal for attics and ceiling voids that don't have a viable duct-dependent option for air conditioning. Simply mount it on the wall, and you're good to go.

Best 18000 BTU Ductless Air Conditioner:
Cooper & Hunter Dual 2 Zone

Dual 2 Zone 9000 12000 Ductless Mini Split Ceiling Cassette Air Conditioner Heat Pump Multi Sophia Series

PROS

  • Easy to operate
  • High SEER rating (21.3)
  • Whisper-quiet operation
  • Dual-zone air conditioning
  • Backed by a seven-year warranty

CONS

  • Comes with a premium price-tag
  • Requires professional installation

What Recent Buyers Report

The majority of buyers are impressed by how silent and easy to operate this ductless AC is. You can set it up in two different rooms and have a 9,000 BTU cooling capacity in each of them while saving a ton of money in electricity bills, which has made it quite popular among consumers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

One of the main things that make the Cooper & Hunter multi-split AC stand out is its cost. For an 18,000 BTU unit, as well as all the remarkable features it comes with, you would expect a hefty price tag attached to it. Compared to other ductless air conditioners in its class, this particular unit is quite affordable.

We also like the fact that it comes with two ceiling cassettes that allow for dual-zone cooling. Now, that's a feature you don't come across every day. You can install it in two different rooms to cool or heat the spaces without getting a whole other AC unit.

Bottom Line

With a 21.3 SEER rating, the Cooper & Hunter mini-split AC beats out most of the dual-zone brands on the market right now. Its two 9,000 BTU heads, built-in water pump, remote thermostat, and quiet operation are just some of the features that make it one of the best dual-zone ductless air conditioning systems we've come across.

Best 24000 BTU Ductless Air Conditioner:
MRCOOL DIY-24-HP-230B

MRCOOL DIY 24k BTU 20 SEER Ductless Heat Pump Split System 3rd Generation - Energy Star 230v, 24,000 BTUs (DIY-24-HP-230B)

PROS

  • Easy to install
  • Five-degree low ambient cooling
  • Compatible with most digital assistants
  • Has an integrated leakage detection alarm
  • Supports Apple and Android remote smartphone app control

CONS

  • Comes at a premium price
  • Needs to be hardwired to a 230V power supply

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are generally quite happy with the performance of this unit. They especially like how powerful yet energy-efficient it is. They also like that it is digital-assistant-ready.

It comes pre-charged, so you can install it quite easily without any special equipment, tools, or training. However, you will need to have some DIY experience to do it, particularly when it comes to hardwiring.

Why it Stands Out to Us

One look at the MRCOOL DIY-24-HP-230B, and you can immediately tell it comes with some pretty incredible specs. There aren't many ductless ACs with a 24,000 BTU capacity that manage a SEER rating of 20 and up. This means you can cool up to 1,000 square feet of space without having to spend a small fortune in the process.

We especially like that you can download the MRCOOL Smart HVAC app to your Apple or Android device and control it from wherever you may be. It is also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant.

Bottom Line

Everything about the MRCOOL DIY-24-HP-230B is outstanding. From its sleek appearance to its remarkable energy efficiency, it's hard to find a system that can beat its features and specs.

The fact that it is also digital-assistant-ready is a definite plus. It's worth the purchase.

What is a Ductless Air Conditioner? What is a Mini-Split? Are They the Same?

Ductless ACs are also called mini-split air conditioners. Unlike central ACs that have ducts that carry air to different parts of a home or apartment complex, ductless air conditioners work a little differently.

They suck in heat, excess moisture, and warm air from the home's interior and dump it outside. They then blow cold air out to cool the specific room they're installed in.

MRCOOL DIY-24-HP-230B

How Do Ductless Air Conditioners Work?

Ductless ACs have three main functional components:

  1. An Evaporator – This is the sleek and compact blower unit that's mounted on the wall to draw in the hot air and strip it of moisture and heat

  2. A Conduit – This is the refrigerant tubing that connects the internal evaporator to the external condenser

  3. A Condenser – This is the external unit that dumps hot air outside

What Size Mini-Split Do I Need?

The size of the ductless AC you need to get ultimately depends on the size of the space you want to cool.

What Size Mini-Split For Garage?

Ideally, a small room would only need a 6,000 BTU ductless AC. This would also suffice for a small garage.

A bigger garage would probably need an 8,000 BTU mini-split. If you're looking for something to cool an entire 1,000-1,500 square foot home, a 21,000-24,000 BTU mini-split would suffice.

How Many Mini-Splits Do I Need?

The number of units you require will largely depend on the size of your home. An average-sized two-bedroom apartment, for instance, will likely only need a single mini-split. A larger home would require two to three units with an integrated converter.

Comparison Overview

If you're torn between getting a mini-split vs. central air, or you're confused about what exactly a heat pump is, here's everything you need to know about them.

Mini-Split vs Central Air

Both mini-split and central air conditioning systems are designed to reduce the ambient temperatures in a room. There are, however, significant differences between them. Here's a list of some of the notable ones.

  • Central air requires lower upfront costs compared to what you would spend to purchase mini-split units

  • Central air is discrete, meaning you don't have obtrusive components mounted on walls as is the case with ductless systems

  • Central air is centrally controlled, so you have to contend with a "one-size-fits-all" temperature for all rooms, whereas mini-splits give you more control

  • Mini-splits are generally more energy-efficient than central air conditioning systems, which experience significant energy losses as the air travels up the ducts

  • Mini-splits usually have variable speed inverters that control the speed of the fans in response to the heat load for improved efficiency

Mini-Split vs Heat Pump

A standard heat pump is usually part of a central heating and cooling system that uses external air to heat an interior space during winter. It reverses the process to cool it in the summer.

Mini-split or ductless heat pumps, on the other hand, function by blowing heated (or cooled) air directly into the room. Ductless heat pumps are less expensive compared to installing ducts and can be customized to control the specific temperature of each room.

They are also far more efficient compared to standard heat pumps and can be installed anywhere in a room – in the ceiling, wall, or even floor.

How to Install a Mini-Split

As we mentioned before, mini-splits are ideal for rooms where ductwork isn't available for central air. Installing a ductless mini-split AC is relatively easy. Here's how to go about it.

1. Ensure you have all the parts you need as per the installation manual the unit comes with and check that they have no visible defects before you begin the installation process.

2. Next, line up all the tools you need for the job. These include:

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Drill and drill bits

  • Hex keys/Allen wrenches

  • Hole saw

  • Philips and flat blade screwdrivers

  • Safety glasses

  • Torque wrench

  • Utility knife

  • Wirecutter and stripper

  • Work gloves

3. Pick the ideal location for the unit and install the wall mount. You'll need to drill holes for the electrical wires, drain hose, and feed lines.

4. Proceed to connect the electrical wires to the multi-conductor wire inside the mounted unit.

5. Install the outdoor condenser and connect the drain hose, copper line set, and multi-conductor wire to it.

6. Cut and flare the copper lines as required and then pressurize the system. Check to ensure there are no leaks before releasing refrigerant into the tubing.

7. Power on and test the system to ensure everything is in good working order.

Be sure to refer to the video linked below for an in-depth overview of the steps we've outlined.

How to Clean a Ductless AC Unit

To keep the unit in great working condition, cleaning it twice a year helps to keep the air that's circulating indoors pure and allergen-free. Here's how to clean a mini-split AC.

  1. First, turn off the unit and disconnect it from the power source before you begin

  2. Next, open the shroud and take out the filters. Clean them or replace them as needed. It's always a good idea to clean your air filters monthly

  3. The next step involves removing and cleaning the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) components. These vary depending on the specific model you have. For instance, you might have one that relies on negative ion technology to purify the air

  4. Attach a mini-split bib-kit to the sides of the wall-mounted AC and use a pump sprayer to deep clean the evaporator coils

  5. Follow this up with a light rinse while ensuring that you don't overwhelm the unit's drainage capacity

  6. Once the evaporator coils are clean, apply a bacteriostat and fungistat to keep the growth of dangerous microorganisms at bay

  7. Proceed to clean the outdoor condensing unit paying close attention to the insulation wraps and refrigerant lines

  8. Remove excess debris from the unit's exterior and then spray the coils clean

Conclusion

Before you settle on any of the top-rated ductless air conditioners we've reviewed in this guide, ensure you pick the one whose features are best-suited to your individual needs. Although some units might be pricier than others, their high SEER rating will save you loads of money on electricity bills in the long run.

People Also Ask

We've compiled the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions by buyers.

Can Ductless AC Cool Multiple Rooms?

Yes and no. Ductless systems are generally designed to cool single zones. However, you can install one or two systems in different zones of the house to cool the rooms in those particular areas. It helps if the house in question has an open-plan design.

Alternatively, you can get multi-split ACs that come with multi-zone ceiling cassettes that you can install in each room.

How Far Can You Run Ductless AC?

Most line sets ran between 15 and 25 feet long. Nonetheless, depending on the multi-zone unit you're installing, you can get 50-foot long line sets. This comes in handy if you plan to connect multiple rooms in your home or office space.

How Much Does Ductless Air Conditioning Cost?

It depends on the specific unit you get. The average 12,000-18,000 BTU mini-split AC costs between $659 and $909. Those with sophisticated features and higher BTU-ratings of 20,000 and up may cost $1,700+.

Multi-split systems are the most expensive of the bunch, with prices ranging anywhere between $2,500 and $3,500.

How Much Does it Cost to Install a Ductless Mini-Split?

If you have some DIY experience, and you install it yourself, it won't cost you a dime. Keep in mind that doing this could potentially void your warranty.

On the other hand, professional HVAC installation costs between $300 and $1,500, depending on the project's complexity. Installations for multiple indoor units are bound to drive up the costs.

How Long Do Ductless Systems Last?

With proper care and bi-annual maintenance, ductless systems can last for more than 20 years. You would be surprised at the number of ductless systems installed in the 80s that are still functional to date.

Basic maintenance involves cleaning or replacing the filters as needed. It also involves professional cleaning and servicing of the evaporator coils and other internal components of the unit.

Do Ductless Air Conditioners Also Heat?

Yes, they do. Ductless ACs can produce hot air if you install a heat pump on the outdoor unit. It reverses the direction of refrigerant flow depending on whether you want to heat or cool your indoor space

Most of the units we've reviewed in this guide come with an integrated heat pump.