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5 Best Ductless Air Conditioners of 2021

A ductless air conditioner, AKA a mini-split, is a hardworking, energy-efficient way to cool down your indoor spaces. Here are five of the best.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

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Ductless Air ConditionerBanksPhotos/Getty Images

Choosing a Ductless Air Conditioner

Choose the best ductless air conditioner (mini-split) for your space based on your needs and budget.

When shopping for a ductless air conditioner, consider the following:

Check Btu and room size

  • 350- to 400-square-foot spaces should have a unit with around 9,000 Btu.
  • 400- to 599-square-foot spaces should have a unit with around 12,000 Btu.
  • 600- to 1,000-square-foot spaces need a unit with 18,000 Btu.
  • 1,001- to 1,300-square-foot spaces would do well with a unit with 24,000 Btu.

Energy efficiency

The bigger the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) and HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) numbers, the better. Higher numbers mean better energy efficiency. The minimum SEER is 15 and HSPF is 7. For the most energy-efficient ductless air conditioner, look for a SEER of 20 or higher and an HSPF of 8 or higher.

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Most Reliable Ductless Air Conditioner

Gree, one of the largest air conditioner manufacturers in the world, is known for its exceptional units that work exceedingly well in almost any climate. The Gree Vireo ($1,079) is one of its more powerful, energy-efficient ductless air conditioners.

This unit carries a 22 SEER rating. It’s a sturdy, smart mini-split that promises to run with whisper-quiet operation and quickly cool down rooms for years to come.

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Best Budget Ductless Air Conditioner

The Pioneer Diamante ($780) is a powerful mini-split for less than $800. The hard-working little unit carries ratings of 20 SEER and 10 HSPF with airflow up to 383 cubic feet per minute (CFM).

Pioneer uses inverter technology rather than a rotary type, which is the standard compressor for mini-splits. Pioneer offers units ranging from 9,000 to 36,000 Btu at a lower price than other manufacturers. The average price for a 36,000 Btu mini-split is around $3,000, while Pioneer’s Diamante runs around $2,200.

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Best Single-Zone Ductless Air Conditioner

A single-zone ductless system is great for a single room or small area that needs some temperature control. It’s a better option than a large system that would take more effort to install and maintain.

With a SEER rating of 25, this quiet and compact mini-split is a beautiful cooling and heating beast that can handle a room up to 800 square feet. The LG Art Cool Premier ($1,670) has a 24-hour timer and sleep mode to keep the room cool or hot as you need it and not waste energy.

The LG’s four-way swing disperses air quickly in a wide area rather than straight down or in one central area, as other single-zone mini-split models do.

The remote is easy to use and has a clear display to operate the unit within the room. LG built an advanced dehumidifier into its mini-split that can take out 3.2 pints per hour in a small, humid room when in the AC mode. The extended piping — up to 164 feet compared to around 50 for most other systems — lets you install the indoor unit higher and farther away from the outdoor unit, which is ideal for smaller spaces.

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Best Multiple-Zone Ductless Mini Split

A multi-zone system can offer remote control heating and cooling throughout the entire home with only one outdoor unit that can generally handle up to eight indoor units.

The Senville Aura Series ($2,798) lets you control the temperature of each room or area with individual thermostats. It has four indoor air handlers with four installation kits to connect each unit in different rooms to the 36,000 Btu outdoor unit.

Each air handler has a dehumidifier, timer, ionizing air filter and turbo mode. The unit has the latest Follow Me feature that lets the remote act as the thermostat. When you activate the Follow Me mode via the remote, air is aimed directly to wherever the remote is in the room.

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Easiest DIY Installation for Ductless Air Conditioner

While many mini-splits tout the DIY angle for installing, it’s not always easy to mount these 60-plus pound units and charge the refrigeration line. So the designers at Cooper and Hunter made it as simple as possible for the average DIYer to install their ductless air conditioner on the wall.

The Cooper and Hunter Sophia ($1,199) offers a modest 21.5 SEER rating on the 12,000 Btu 115-volt model and a 25 SEER on the 9,000 Btu unit (same price!) 115-volt model.

The DIY installation kit includes a 16-foot pre-flared and insulated copper line set, communication wires, a WiFi smart kit adapter and the indoor and outdoor units. The manual walks you through the simple connection instructions after you drill a hole in the wall for the wires and tubing.

“I was amazed at the quality of this unit,” writes one Amazon reviewer. “Super easy installation and great instructions.”

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All prices and links were current as of publication.

Kimberley McGee
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist based in Las Vegas. She specializes in health and wellness, food, travel, real estate and home improvement and decor trends. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, People, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today's Parent and dozens of other publications. McGee can create a variety of content, including articles, blogs, case studies, newsletters, and more. She has a knack for capturing the tone and authentic voice to tell a brand's stories.

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