If you're wanting to eliminate that hot and sticky feeling in your home for good, then you'll want one of the best ductless air conditioners. They offer a powerful cooling system that's easy to install, so you don't have to worry about any hard work. Unlike the best central air conditioning units and the best window air conditioners, you'll be upgrading your cooling system through a handy system that's mounted on a wall indoors. If you want to get more for your money, you'll be glad to hear that the best ductless air conditioners can double up as a heater when the temperature drops back down, saving you money on another appliance.
We've rounded up the best ductless air conditioners that won't disappoint, including models from Gree, Bosch, and Emerson. That means rave-worthy features such as night modes to make sure nothing disturbs your shut-eye and smart-enabled systems that will let you bark orders from a remote smartphone. Luckily, the best ductless ACs won't have to thin out your wallet too much either as single zone systems can set you back around $800. If you have a bigger budget, however, multiple zone systems will provide a cool supply of air to several rooms at once, usually for the sum of a few grand.
Whether it's a single zone or multi zone system you opt for, the best ductless air conditioners (also known as mini splits) shouldn't drain your energy. That's why we've focused on models that have a good SEER rating. While you're reading through our best ductless air conditioner reviews, you'll want to remember that these machines are a permanent cooling solution, so you won't be able to switch it's location in the house once it's been fitted.
If you’re looking for a more flexible type of AC, the best portable air conditioners might do the trick. While you’re at it, check out our guide to the best thru wall air conditioners too.
1. Daikin FTXB18AXVJU: Best ductless air conditioner for large spaces
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The Daikin FTXB18AXVJU is a powerful single zone ductless air conditioner that can cool or heat spaces up to 1,000 square feet in size. This makes it a great choice for workshops or open-plan residential spaces. It is pricier than some of the other single-zone systems on this list, so if you don’t need wider coverage you can save money by opting for one of those instead.
This system is energy efficient too, utilizing a range of technology to help keep usage low and energy bills cheaper. Air purification is achieved through the use of a titanium apatite photocatalytic air-purifying filter.
Despite the powerful airflow output, the Daikin FTXB18AXVJU is quiet, it’s often able to effectively operate at low speeds so the sound levels stay low for minimum noise interruptions.
- Read our full Daikin FTXB18AXVJU review
2. Cooper & Hunter Ductless Mini Split AC/Heating System: Best high BTU ductless air conditioner
This Cooper & Hunter air conditioner comes ready to go with a 16ft copper line set, communication wires and a drainage extension so that you can get it up and running quickly. However, the manufacturer does require a professional to install it in order for the warranty to be valid, which is important to bear in mind.
It's battery powered and has a BTU of 24,000, making it a great choice for larger rooms such as open plan living and dining spaces. On average, a 24,000 BTU model will cool an area of up to 1,000 square feet, so you won't need to worry about investing in multiple air conditioner units. Not only does it work as a cooling system, but it also works to heat a space. Considering the slightly higher price of this Cooper & Hunter model, it's useful to get two products in one to make the investment more worthwhile.
Whisper technology makes this air conditioner an ideal option for a bedroom too. It has a quiet operation setting which causes less disturbance when you're sleeping - but it could also be handy for office spaces for optimum concentration. It can be connected to your WiFi too, making it even simpler to turn on, off and adjust the settings.
There's a limited seven year warranty on the compressor of this unit and a five year parts warranty, so you're well protected. With this in mind, as we mentioned above it's important to have a professional install it.
3. Emerson Quiet Kool 19S-EACH12R1W: Best budget ductless air conditioner
The Emerson Quiet Kool 19S-EACH12R1W may not be the most powerful ductless air conditioner on this list, but it will be plenty powerful for a wide range of spaces. On top of that, it’s one of the cheapest on the market so you could save money by opting for this model.
This budget ductless air conditioner has enough power to effectively heat or cool spaces up to 550 square feet. It’s a single zone model, so it can only be used to improve the airflow of one space.
This system has a good range of convenience features too. A digital display is useful for easy readout and ease-of-use while the WiFi connectivity allows for control via Alexa or Google Assistant. Along with features like auto defrosting and automated cleaning technology, as well as compressor intelligent pre-heating, this is a budget system that offers great value for money.
- Read our full Emerson Quiet Kool 19S-EACH12R1W review
4. Pioneer WYS012G-19: Best ductless air conditioner for small spaces
For such an affordable ductless air conditioner, the Pioneer WYS012G-19 offers a good range of features all within a compact and sleek system. It’s even cheaper than our best budget pick, but the lower coverage area means the Emerson Quiet Kool 19S-EACH12R1W offers slightly better value.
The Pioneer WYS012G-19 offers some good usability options that still make it a great choice for anyone looking to cool or heat a single small space. The dimmable LED display is great for at-a-glance information that won’t disturb your sleep if you decide to install it in a bedroom. Night mode also aids more comfortable sleep.
This system has four operating modes to choose from; cooling, heating, dehumidification, and ventilation. The included remote control is also useful for customizing your airflow output from across the room.
- Read our full Pioneer WYS012G-19 review
5. Senville LETO Series Mini Split Air Conditioner: Best ductless air conditioner with smart tech
The Senville LETO is one of the most expensive ductless air conditioners on the list, but it offers a high performance that makes it worth the extra cost. It has a four in one mini split system which includes air conditioning, built-in heat pump, dehumidifier, fan and turbo system, so you have the ability to use it in many different settings.
It's a single zone air conditioner, but it has a cooling area of 1250 square feet, so it has the capability to cover a significant area. It's also a powerful choice thanks to the 24,000 BTU, making it great for professional spaces that require a high-performing machine.
It's also a good option for homes, as it has an attractive modern design that you won't mind having on show, so whether you want to cool down your bedroom or need it for a living space, you'll be pleased with the white look.
Another plus is that the Senville LETO can be connected to Amazon Alexa. This is a real win if you're using it in a personal capacity, especially if you have other smart devices around your home. You can use voice or app control to change the settings on your air conditioner from anywhere, so if you forget to turn it off after you've left the house or want to pre-cool a room before you arrive home, you can do so easily. Not only is this convenient, but it can also lower energy usage by 40 percent, so you can worry less about the impact on the environment.
6. COSTWAY Mini Split Air Conditioner & Heater: Best affordable ductless air conditioner
The COSTWAY mini split air conditioner is a super affordable choice, so if you're looking at completing a home or office upgrade for less than this will be a suitable option. It has a sleek white design that will easily complement a range of different interiors, so you won't resent it being mounted on a wall in your living or sleeping areas.
It's equipped with a high-power compressor and a 1-ton heat pump, and it uses innovative technology to change the power frequency without opening and closing the compressor. This improves energy efficiency, making it better for the environment and lowering your running costs. It also has an automatic defrost function which can prevent damage and further improve energy efficiency.
The COSTWAY air conditioner has five working modes, so you can pick from auto, cooling, dehumidifying, heating, and fan mode - depending on the season. It also has four fan speeds - sleep mode, eco mode, iFEEL, and turbo function - so you can customize your bedroom environment. It comes with a remote control too, so you can easily turn it on and off from the comfort of your couch or bed. Unfortunately this choice doesn't connect to Amazon Alexa but it does have a timer that can be set so that your air conditioning is controlled throughout the day.
It also has a self cleaning function that automatically cleans the interior at a temperature of 134.6 degrees Fahrenheit, ensuring it stays hygienic. Amazon users have given it an overall rating of four stars and have noted how great the product performs for the price. The main negative reviews mention that the unit stopped working shortly after purchasing and support was limited, but this seems to be a select few cases.
What is a ductless air conditioner, and how do they work?
A ductless air conditioner does pretty much the same job as a traditional central air conditioner, just without the ducts. If you’re wondering how that works exactly, the appliance takes the warm air and moisture from your room and runs it over cold evaporator coils.
As happens in a regular central air conditioner, the heat is absorbed into the coil and converted into cold air by a refrigerant. In return, the machine emits a blast of cool air into your room.
But where does the hot air go? Well, while a traditional AC unit channels the hot air through your home’s ducts and outside, the ductless air conditioner unit is connected to an outdoor unit instead, which dumps the heat outside your home without the need for installing ducts.
Aside from that, the main difference between these two types of air conditioners is that a ductless air conditioner unit usually works on one room (or a couple, if it’s a multiple zone system), while the ducts associated with the central air conditioner divvy out cool air throughout an entire house.
Buying advice for the best ductless air conditioners
There are so many ductless air conditioners on the market, so it can be tricky to sift through to find the best one for you. We suggest starting by picking out a reputable brand such as Bosch or Daikin and then take a look at the features.
If you have multiple rooms in need of cooling, a multi-zone design will allow you to impact more than one space. Alternatively, if you want to focus on one room then a single zone model will suffice.
After you've decided on a single or multiple zone ductless air conditioner, the most important thing to look out for is a powerful model with high British Thermal Units (BTU).
Whether you're handling a large space, live in a hot climate, or in a poorly insulated home then the BTU is especially important. The higher the BTU, the more power you'll have to keep the temperature constant against these higher demands.
After power, you'll want to take into account other features that matter the most to you and will impact your daily life. If your home gets excessively cold in the winter months, you might want to choose a model that will double up as a heater to save you money in the long term. Similarly, if you're looking to limit any disturbances at night, models that come with specific sleep modes will be best suited to your lifestyle.