Mini Split-System Overview
If you find yourself constantly searching for ways to beat the heat without breaking the bank and don’t know where to turn, we want you to keep reading.
If your oscillating fan just doesn’t cut it anymore, you’re going to want to keep reading as well.
If you’re frustrated with small, mobile air conditioners that you have to take in and out of your windows each time the seasons change, or are looking to upgrade to a modern and powerful cooling system, read just a little further.
If you’re just plain sick of being hot all the time, a Split-System Air Conditioner may be the solution you have been yearning for.
What is a split-system air conditioner?
A Split-System Air Conditioner is as you might have guessed, an air conditioning unit comprised of two separate pieces: an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit is placed on an internal wall, and contains a cooling coil, blower and air filter.
The external unit is located outside of your home, adjacent to the room where the indoor unit is housed. This part of the AC system contains the compressor and tubing that conducts energy to the interior unit so that you as a heat-loathing individual can rejoice in the euphoria evoked from modern air conditioning.
Why get a split-system air conditioner
If you happen to live in a home without air conditioning and would like to make the jump, a split-system AC unit is a viable option. A Split-System can be installed in as few as one room, to as many as you would like across your entire home.
Central A/C vs. Split-System Unit
Unlike Central Air, which requires the installation of extensive ductwork the Split-System setup allows you to target the rooms you use most, or the rooms that are the most in need, such as a room that spends a majority of the day in direct sunlight. A split-system A/C is a significant upgrade from standard room air conditioners.
Even though it does not require a complete redesign of your interior ductwork, a Split-System AC unit will require some construction. Since tubing needs to be installed connecting the two pieces of your unit, it is a project, though a far less invasive project than other permanent cooling options.
Besides the actual construction process, installing a few Split-System Air Conditioners is less expensive than installing Central Air. For many people, one of the biggest advantages of opting to go Split-System is the option to do so in pieces, so that all costs are not incurred at once and you can space out installation, which may cause some minor inconveniences while happening.
Split-System A/Cs & Heating Options
Besides just cooling, these units are year-round appliances and offer heating capabilities when the need arises. Taking all this into consideration (and plenty more), we’ve compiled a list of 5 premier Split-System Air Conditioning units suited for every type of room in your home.
With our guide, we are laying the foundation necessary for consumers to make informed decisions to provide you and your home with the most affordable efficient cooling available.
Here are the best ductless mini split-systems with installation kits:
1. Best Overall: Senville SENL-09CD 9,000 BTU Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner with Remote, Heat Pump, Fan & Dehumidifier
Senville SENL-09CD Review
This sensational Senville Split-System Air Conditioner has been providing premier relief for years. The lasting positive reputation of the Senville SENL-09CD Mini Split Air Conditioner is proof that in today’s age of the internet, when customers are provided with simply work well, they stick with it. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that this multi-use system is the highest rated product on our list.
Besides air conditioning and heating, this unit comes with a dehumidifier and fan. Given that it is a true 4-in-1 product, the 9,000 BTU model is a bargain with a list price of just $699.99. Considered a “bedroom” level system, it is capable of covering rooms between 100-450 square feet.
Additionally, Senville offers 3 more powerful models, with the most expensive 24,000 BTU unit featuring a list price of $1,019.00. Power measurements aside, our favorite feature with all Senville split-systems is their whisper technology, making it one of the quietest brands on the market. Additionally, this system has built-in washable and replaceable filters. Controlled by an easy-to-use remote, accessibility is yet another plus here.
The biggest drawback of this unit is a double-edged sword in that it requires professional installation. On the negative side, this is usually an extra cost incurred by consumers, however, having it professionally installed provides assurance that it will be done the right way. We’ve found that most forward-thinking consumers who will be installing multiple units do so at the same time so that they can minimize the amount of times a professional will perform work in their home, thus saving money.
Original Retail $699.99
2. Most Energy Efficient: Senville SENA-09HF/Z 9,000 BTU Ductless Energy Star Certified Mini Split Air Conditioner with Remote, Heat Pump, Fan & Dehumidifier
Senville SENA-09HF/Z Review
You asked and Senville delivered. The Senville AURA series is one of the most energy efficient Split-System Air Conditioners available, marked by its Energy Star and AHRI (Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute) certifications. Like most Split-Systems, it is capable of providing cooling and heating assistance.
Given the pedigree of this system, it is no surprise that with advanced technology, the price tag is a little higher than the SENL-09CD. As a kickback from Senville, each purchase from an authorized seller comes with a strong warranty program. This means that along with an energy efficient unit, you have a 3-year warranty on parts and a 7-year warranty on the compressor. Additional protection plans may also be available from the seller, if you’re inclined to get added protection.
The minds behind the AURA series left no stone unturned in their pursuit of a user-friendly Split-System unit. Most mechanical fixtures of this unit are located in the condenser, installed outside of your home, thus reducing the noise inside your home dramatically.
Besides superior mechanics, technology is your friend with this unit. Controlled by a mobile remote, it has a built-in thermostat that provides easy access to the accurate temperature within your home. With climate control right at your fingertips, it’s a consumer delight. I mean, who doesn’t love being able to adjust the temperature without getting up (especially when you’re under the comfort of a blanket in the cold).
While this AURA series model is a bit pricier compared to the LETO series, the value, efficiency and quality of the AURA speaks for itself.Original Retail $999.99
3. Best for Large Spaces: MRCOOL DIY 24,000 BTU Ductless Mini Split System with Wireless-Enabled Smart Controller, Remote, Heat Pump, Fan & Dehumidifier
MRCOOL DIY-24-HP-230AE Review
The MRCOOL Comfort Made Simple DIY Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner—what happens when tech people get it right. With features galore, the most expensive system on our list has no problem showing the world why it’s worth the big price tag it dons.
Pushing 24,000 BTU, this powerful ductless mini split-system for your home has a list price of nearly $2,000. Designed to cool or heat a 1,000 square foot room, there are not many spaces that this unit has not been built to take on.
DIY is in the product name for a reason. While some mini split-system units require the expertise of professionals to install, this unit features a 25ft “Quick Connect” line that does not require any experience to set up. Additionally, the condenser is resistant to corrosion meaning that parts residing outside your home wearing out is not a concern.
Here’s when the technology comes into play and puts this unit upon a pedestal compared to everything else on the market. Nothing is worse than waking up in the middle of the night, significantly more hot or cold than when you fell asleep. Thankfully, this MRCOOL unit comes equipped with a “sleep mode” designed to regulate temperature throughout the night and keep you sleeping peacefully.
Additionally, the unit can be controlled with an app that is connected to Wi-Fi and compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple/Android smart devices.
An easy to use setup and a clear step above the competition is enough to build a 4.5-star overall rating for this dynamic MRCOOL split-system setup. If we were to list all of the highly rated features of this unit, we’d be here all day, however the ones that we did provide tell quite the story, a story that if it’s not convincing enough to be a ringing endorsement, we don’t know what else we can do.Original Retail $1,778.00
4. Best on a Budget: Klimaire KSIV009-H119-S(W) 9,000 BTU Ductless Mini-Split Inverter Air Conditioner with Heat Pump, Fan & Dehumidifier
Where to buy:
Klimaire KSIV009-H119-S(W) Review
No frills needed with the Klimaire KSIV Ductless Mini-Split Inverter Air Conditioner. Those who have purchased one of these know that there are no surprises, there is however a sense of reliability to this unit that is hard to replicate.
At 9,000 BTU, like most units on our list, this unit is capable of heating or cooling a room as large as 350 square feet. With a list price of under $700, this is a reasonably priced unit that provides effortless temperature regulation. While additional protection plans can be purchased from most sellers, it may not be necessary as there is a 5-year manufacturer warranty and an underappreciated benefit, unlimited free tech support.
When you purchase a unit like this, most people’s first thoughts are how can I install this correctly. Once you get past that, maintenance and upkeep are next up. Fear not, as the KSIV series does the work for you with self-cleaning abilities and auto restart. Since most consumers are not experienced HVAC professionals, having a system that works for you is an easy way to provide value beyond heating and cooling.
When it’s cold out, the last thing you want to encounter is a heating system not capable of functioning under extremely low temperatures. Thankfully, this is a non-issue since the system features a built-in compressor and automatic defrosting so it is always ready when called upon.Original Retail $669.98
5. Best with Inverter: PIONEER WYS009GMFI19RL 9,000 BTU Inverter+ Ductless Mini Split System with Heat Pump, Fan & Dehumidifier
PIONEER WYS009GMFI19RL Review
Wildly popular and wildly effective, the Pioneer WYS Series 19 SEER Inverter + Ductless Wall Mount Mini Spit System Set packs a punch all year long. Capable of air conditioning, heating, dehumidification and ventilation, you’ll be able to find a permanent solution to temperature regulation.
The base model has a cooling capacity of 9,000 BTU/H and a heating capacity of 9,800 BTU/H, meaning that even the least expensive model is capable of providing significant relief. The list price on this unit is priced at $708, but if you have the need for a more powerful unit, Pioneer offers incremental increases in size and power, topping out at the 36,000 BTU unit with a list price of $2,018.
Besides being easy to install, the indoor unit sits in your home hardly noticeable. The base is solid white, with the exception being a small LED display that shows temperature, which is easy to see from across the room. Though tubing coming from the exterior unit is visible outside your home, only the unit itself is placed on your walls, meaning no visible ductwork.
With each purchase you receive a complete installation kit containing all of the internal workings required to get the system up and running. Once installed, the unit is controlled using a wireless remote, taking away the burden of needing direct access to the unit to make any changes.
Recommended for rooms between 200-350 square feet, cooling and heating rooms on the higher end of that range is well within this Split-Systems range when functioning independently. When working collaboratively, the effects multiply as a few of these units spaced throughout a home epitomizes the meaning of “the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts.”
Saying that this system is popular or that people love it is an understatement. This has been a best-selling split system for quite some time. With the amount of competition and other brands constantly releasing new models, this is no easy feat and something that did not happen overnight. Based on its entire body of work, this is an elite product across the board.Original Retail $708.00
Mini Split-System Buying Guide
You’ve made the decision to control the temperature in your home with a Split-System Air Conditioner and Heating system. It’s an expensive endeavor, but one that, if done correctly, it can cool and heat your home while saving money through energy efficiency.
While there are plenty of brands, sizes and types on the market, it’s important to know what you are looking for so that you can make an informed purchase. All of the systems on our list are capable of heating and cooling, however only a few have built-in dehumidifiers. For some, a dehumidifier is an absolute necessity, and thanks to modern technology it is readily available, but not on all models.
Let’s face it, some people are handier than others. It’s a fact of life and nothing to be ashamed of. It is, however, something that requires honest reflection of before purchasing a system that will need to be installed.
There are some units where the manufacturer explicitly states that it requires professional installation. Other units are capable of being installed by the average user. If you find yourself regularly struggling to perform common household maintenance, you will probably require the assistance of a professional, an additional cost that you need to be prepared for.
When items begin to be added to your budget after purchase, it can be overwhelming. If you are aware of all the costs you might need to pay for, it is far better than being surprised by sometimes expensive bills for installation, or fixing the mess created by your installation “attempt”.
A final area of concern, or rather opportunity to save money, is a self-examination of your home. With a Split-System setup, it is common for multiple units to be installed throughout your home. If you live in a home where doors between rooms are regularly closed, having multiple units makes sense, though the price can add up.
For those with an open concept home, air is able to circulate more freely, without the obstruction of physical barriers. In this case, it may be worthwhile to purchase a larger, albeit more expensive unit, since it will be capable of providing for a larger space.
The way we look at it, any chance you have to save money is an opportunity worth vetting fully. People everywhere have their preferences, but by taking a look at cold hard facts, we think that you’ll be able to use our guide to find a system that works for you and your home.