The best ductless air conditioners are ideal for that one room that’s always far too warm in the summer and cold in the winter, or you want to improve the airflow across multiple rooms in your home. While these systems aren’t best suited for the whole house, they’re still surprisingly versatile and can be a much cheaper alternative to even the best central air conditioners.
The best ductless air conditioners, also known as mini-split ACs, are comprised of at least two units. An indoor unit sits on the wall of the room it is serving, sucking warm air in, then absorbing heat and moisture from the air before blowing cool air back into the room. All the heat and moisture it has collected is sent to the outside unit via a conduit. The conduit is a thin cable that contains the power cable, refrigerant tubing, and a condensate drain. The outside unit is a condenser that receives the heat and pushes it into the air outside. Dual or multi-zone ductless air conditioners have more than one indoor unit, allowing them to service multiple rooms.
Traditional central air conditioners use a system of ducts to deliver cool air across a whole residence or workplace. However, many older properties don’t have ductwork built-in and installation can often cost thousands of dollars. Ductless air conditioning can be a more cost-effective option, especially if it’s only one or a few rooms that need improved airflow. If you already have ductwork installed, then ductless options tend to be a more expensive option as the systems themselves are often more costly.
One of the advantages of the best ductless air conditioners is that they offer zoning. By installing one or a few indoor units you are able to adjust the airflow of just one unit and, therefore, just the room it services. So if you wanted to set your bedroom to be cooler than the rest of your home, you can easily set that with a ductless air conditioner unit in that room.
Below, you’ll find our ductless air conditioner reviews and advice on what to consider before you buy.
1. Gree MULTI24HP312: Best ductless air conditioner for multiple zones
The Gree MULTI24HP312 may be the most expensive ductless air conditioner on this list, but it offers the widest coverage, and with three indoor units, it provides a more affordable alternative to installing new ductwork for a conventional air conditioning system. The three indoor units enable installation in three separate spaces and all three can be individually controlled.
As a premium model, the Gree MULTI24HP312 has a wide range of convenience extras. Three infrared remote controls come with this model, or you can connect the system to Gree’s app, enabling you to control the units from your smartphone.
The Gree MULTI24HP312 has also been created with durability in mind. If you’re splashing out on an expensive system you want to know that it will last. From anti-corrosion technology to five-year warranties on both parts and the compressor, this premium system is designed to last.
- Read our full Gree MULTI24HP312 review
2. Daikin FTXB18AXVJU: Best ductless air conditioner for large spaces
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
3. Bosch 8733954447: Best ductless air conditioner for dual zones
The Bosch 8733954447 provides powerful cooling and heating across two separate zones thanks to the two indoor units included with this system. It is pricier than single zone units, but with the extra hardware included as part of the system, it’s to be expected.
This is also a good quality system that’s durable and well-designed. It’s Energy Star certified too, so energy usage will be lower than some other ductless air conditioners, helping to keep monthly bills lower.
The Bosch 8733954447 also has one of the best warranties of any ductless air conditioner in this round up. It offers a 10-year compressor warranty, five-year parts warranty. Combined with Bosch’s reputation for quality products, this system is likely to last for many years to come.
- Read our full Bosch 8733954447 review
4. 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
5. 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