7 Most Efficient Mini Split AC Units in 2024 (20+ SEER)

CEO Khai Intela
The ductless mini-split AC units are revolutionizing the air conditioning industry with their exceptional energy efficiency. These units are known for their SEER rating, which measures their energy efficiency. The most efficient mini-split air conditioners...

The ductless mini-split AC units are revolutionizing the air conditioning industry with their exceptional energy efficiency. These units are known for their SEER rating, which measures their energy efficiency. The most efficient mini-split air conditioners have a SEER rating above 20, making them incredibly powerful and cost-effective.

In recent years, the popularity of ductless mini-split AC units has skyrocketed. Air conditioning engineers and experts recommend them as the top choice for cooling down one or multiple rooms at an affordable price. Their energy cost-cooling power ratio is unmatched by other AC types.

In this article, we will explore the best mini-split air conditioner systems in 2024 based on their specifications, particularly their SEER rating. LearnMetrics has compiled a list of the top 7 mini-split systems, providing a thorough comparison and reviews.

But before we dive into the specifics, let's understand what a mini-split system air conditioner consists of and the benefits it offers.

What Does a Mini Split System Air Conditioner Consist Of?

The mini-split system is designed to keep the noise and commotion outside the house, ensuring a quiet, comfortable, and energy-efficient indoor environment. It is comprised of four main parts:

  1. Outdoor unit: This unit, typically attached to an outer wall, houses the compressor, which compresses the refrigerant.
  2. Indoor unit: This unit is mounted on the inside wall of the room and includes cooling coils, an air filter, and a blower. It ensures efficient cooling and circulating of the air.
  3. Refrigerant lines: These lines connect the outdoor and indoor units, enabling the exchange of refrigerant between the two. To install them, you may need to drill a hole in your wall.
  4. Remote control or mobile app: With a remote control or a smartphone app, you can easily adjust the temperature, set timers, and control various functions of the mini-split AC unit.

The following image illustrates the components of the indoor and outdoor units:

look inside the ductless mini split air conditioner with air filter, blower, evaporator, and the outside unit with condenser coils and compressor

While you always have one outdoor unit, you can connect multiple indoor units, depending on your requirements. However, for the purpose of this list, we will focus on the best one-zone mini-split AC systems.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Ductless AC?

Using a ductless air conditioner offers several advantages over traditional ducted AC systems or room air conditioners:

  1. No ducts: As the name suggests, a ductless unit eliminates the need for extensive ductwork. It can function as a stand-alone AC or be integrated into the central air conditioning system.
  2. Zone cooling: With a ductless AC, you have the flexibility to cool specific rooms or zones according to your needs. If you want to cool down only your bedroom, you can simply install the indoor unit on that wall. This makes it ideal for basements or rooms without windows as well.
  3. Quiet operation: The outdoor unit, which contains the compressor and generates most of the noise, ensures that the indoor mini-split AC unit remains quiet. Noise levels can be as low as below 50 dB, surpassing the noise levels of window or portable air conditioners.
  4. Superior energy efficiency: Many reputable brands offer mini-split units with SEER ratings above 20. By cooling only the areas you need, you avoid wasting energy on unused spaces, resulting in significant energy savings.
  5. Heating capability: Ductless AC units often include highly efficient heaters, allowing you to use them for both cooling and heating purposes.

3 Key Factors to Consider When Buying a Mini Split Unit

Not all ductless AC units are created equal. Here are three crucial factors to consider when selecting the best mini-split system for your home:

1. Right Capacity in BTU (Be Aware of Voltage)

Before purchasing a mini-split AC, it is essential to determine the appropriate capacity based on the square footage of the room(s) you want to cool. Multiply the room size in square feet by 20-30 to estimate the required BTU value. A higher multiplier guarantees sufficient cooling power.

For an average household, the following BTU capacities are recommended based on room size:

  • 9,000 BTU: 100-350 sq ft
  • 12,000 BTU (1 ton): 350-500 sq ft
  • 18,000 BTU: 500-700 sq ft
  • 24,000 BTU (2 ton): 700-900 sq ft
  • 30,000 BTU: 900-1,100 sq ft
  • 36,000 BTU (3 ton): 1,100+ sq ft

Note that 12,000 BTU units are the most commonly sold 1-zone mini-split ACs. However, higher-capacity units may require a higher voltage, such as 208/230V, compared to the standard 110/220V. Installation costs may increase for high-capacity units due to the necessary voltage upgrade.

2. Which Are the Best Ductless AC Brands?

Considering the brand's reputation is crucial when choosing a reliable and long-lasting mini-split AC unit. Established brands have a track record of producing high-quality units, often priced above $1,000. These brands include MrCOOL, PIONEER, Bosch, GREE, LG, and Mitsubishi, which are trusted by installers and known for their reliability.

However, lesser-known brands like DELLA and Klimaire offer reliable models at a lower price point. These brands might not have the same level of experience as the big names, but they strive to build a reputation by delivering cost-effective solutions. Such brands can provide SEER 19 12,000 BTU ductless mini-split air conditioners priced below $1,000.

3. Energy Efficiency and Price (SEER and HSPF)

Energy efficiency is a crucial consideration when purchasing a mini-split AC. Two key metrics that determine energy efficiency are SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) and HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor).

SEER measures the cooling efficiency of the AC, while HSPF focuses on heating efficiency. Higher SEER and HSPF ratings indicate greater energy efficiency. It is important to evaluate both metrics since a mini-split AC is used for both cooling and heating purposes.

The yearly electricity cost can be significantly affected by SEER and HSPF ratings. Calculating the cost difference between the #1 AC and the #7 AC on the list reveals potential savings. For example, the yearly cost difference between the #1 MrCOOL with a SEER of 22.5 and the #7 Klimaire KSIV with a SEER of 19 is $40.45. Over 20 years, this amounts to a savings of $809.02.

Bear in mind that higher SEER and HSPF ratings often come with a higher price tag. Established brands invest in creating high-efficiency units, while smaller brands assemble units with lower prices but still respectable SEER and HSPF values.

Based on these three factors and other considerations like dehumidification rates, airflow, and noise levels, LearnMetrics has compiled a list of the best 12,000 BTU ductless mini-split AC units for 2024.

Comparison of the Best 12,000 BTU Ductless Mini Split AC Units

Let's delve into the details of each mini-split AC unit. We'll focus on the specifications of 12,000 BTU models to provide an objective comparison. Most models also offer other cooling capacities, such as 9,000 BTU, 18,000 BTU, 24,000 BTU, 30,000 BTU, and 36,000 BTU.

#1 MRCOOL DIY DIY-12-HP-115B 3rd Gen (Best DIY Mini Split AC Unit)

Feast your eyes on the MRCOOL DIY DIY-12-HP-115B 3rd Gen model. With remarkable specifications, this unit stands out in the market. MRCOOL, with its extensive experience, has engineered this 3rd Gen DIY model, boasting a SEER rating of 22.5, surpassing most competitors. The cooling efficiency of this unit is truly exceptional.

But that's not all; the heating efficiency is equally impressive, with an HSPF rating of 10. This means the MRCOOL unit is nearly 15% more energy efficient than average mini-split AC units. The inverter compressor in the outdoor unit enables it to achieve an outstanding 533 CFM airflow.

Despite its incredible power, the MRCOOL unit remains remarkably quiet. The noise levels are primarily generated by the outdoor unit, and even then, they don't exceed 50 dB. The maximum noise level of the outdoor unit is just 49 dB, ensuring a peaceful indoor environment.

With built-in dehumidification function, this unit can remove up to 2.5 pints of moisture from the air per hour. However, it's worth noting that this model requires a higher voltage of 220/240V, which may necessitate an upgrade to your electrical system.

Undoubtedly, the MRCOOL DIY 3rd Gen model sets the bar high for ductless mini-split AC units. While it comes at a higher price point, it offers unmatched performance and reliability. The 5-year warranty for parts and 7-year warranty for the compressor further reinforce its credibility. This model is available in various sizes, including 12,000, 18,000, 24,000, and 36,000 BTU.

#2 GREE Vireo+ 22 SEER (Most Reliable Mini-Split Air Conditioner)

When it comes to reliability, the GREE Vireo+ 22 SEER model stands out. With superb energy efficiency (22 SEER), Wi-Fi connectivity, and a proven track record, GREE has developed one of the most reliable mini-split AC units on the market.

The rotary compressor in this model generates up to 400 CFM airflow, ensuring efficient cooling. However, higher airflow results in slightly higher noise levels, with the GREE Vireo+ reaching up to 45 dB. Nevertheless, its reliability and market reputation make it a preferred choice.

#3 COOPER AND HUNTER Sophia 21.5 SEER (Energy Star Quietest Mini-Split With DIY Installation)

COOPER AND HUNTER offer the Sophia Series, which combines exceptional specifications with an affordable price point. The 21.5 SEER rating makes it an excellent choice for energy efficiency. One standout feature of this unit is its incredibly low noise levels, with indoor units ranging from 36.5 dB to 25 dB.

The DIY installation process sets this unit apart from others. With the included installation kit, you can easily install it yourself, provided you have some technical skills. The Sophia Series is available in 12,000 BTU capacity and can be powered by standard 115V or 230V voltage, depending on your needs.

#4 Bosch Quiet 20.7 SEER (Reliable Mini-Split With the Best Warranty)

Bosch is a renowned brand in the HVAC industry, known for its reliability. The Bosch Quiet 20.7 SEER model prioritizes durability while still providing impressive specifications. With a SEER rating of 20.7 and an HSPF rating of 9.6, this unit guarantees energy efficiency.

The noise levels of the indoor unit remain below 40 dB, making it one of the quietest options available. However, the airflow capacity is relatively lower compared to other models, with a maximum of 306 CFM. The '5 Year Parts / 7 Year Compressor' warranty further solidifies its reliability.

#5 PIONEER Diamante 20 SEER (Cheapest Mini-Split Air Conditioner With Superb Energy Efficiency)

PIONEER offers the Diamante series, which defies expectations with its high specifications and affordable price. The secret lies in the ingenious decision to incorporate Toshiba's ASN98D22UFZ compressor. This compressor, renowned for its reliability, enables the PIONEER Diamante to achieve a SEER rating of 20, an HSPF rating of 10, and an airflow of up to 383 CFM.

Despite its impressive specifications, the Diamante remains cost-effective. The noise levels of this unit stay below 40 dB, ensuring a peaceful environment. Additionally, it includes a highly efficient heater for winter use and a dehumidifier, making it a versatile choice.

The Diamante series is available in various capacities, ranging from 9,000 to 36,000 BTU. The 12,000 BTU unit can operate on standard 115V or 208/230V voltage, providing flexibility for different setups.

#6 Della 12,000 BTU 20 SEER (Good Mini-Split for Less Than $1,000)

For those seeking an affordable option without compromising on performance, the Della 12,000 BTU 20 SEER model is an excellent choice. This 4-in-1 ductless air conditioner offers cooling, heating, fan, and dehumidifier functions, all for a price below $1,000.

Moreover, the Della unit comes with an installation kit, allowing you to save on installation costs and potentially perform the installation yourself. This model emphasizes energy efficiency, with a SEER rating of 20, ensuring significant savings on electricity bills. While the airflow and noise level specifications are not provided, the Della unit delivers a cost-effective solution.

#7 Klimaire KSIV 19 SEER (Up-And-Coming Inexpensive Mini-Split AC Brand)

Klimaire, a newcomer to the HVAC industry, introduces the KSIV series as its flagship mini-split AC. With a reasonable price tag and a SEER rating of 19, this unit offers commendable specifications. Noise levels are impressively low, ranging from 38 dB to 25 dB for the indoor unit, ensuring a quiet environment.

Klimaire includes an installation kit with the KSIV model, simplifying the installation process. The low noise levels can be attributed to the KSIV012-H119-S(W) DC inverter compressor, which generates a reduced airflow of 292 CFM.

While Klimaire may lack the extensive experience of established brands, the KSIV model provides solid cooling and heating capabilities at an affordable price. The KSIV series is available in various capacities, from 12,000 to 30,000 BTU.

Help Us Upgrade and Improve the List With Your Suggestions

At LearnMetrics, we strive to provide comprehensive lists to help individuals make informed decisions about their mini-split systems. If you have personal experience with a specific AC unit or are an HVAC installer, we encourage you to share your insights and thoughts below.

We continuously update our lists to include the latest models with high specifications. Your suggestions and feedback are invaluable in achieving this goal.

Thank you for choosing LearnMetrics as your resource for discovering the best ductless mini-split AC units. For those interested in multi-zone mini splits, check out our other lists for dual zone, 3-zone, 4-zone, and 5-zone systems.

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