HVAC Learning Blog
Learn from the experts in ductless mini split systems
Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner Reviews
TABLE OF CONTENTS
DUCTLESS MINI SPLIT COMPARISON TABLE
THE PROBLEM WITH TRADITIONAL AIR CONDITIONING
WHAT IS A DUCTLESS MINI SPLIT SYSTEM?
GREE DUCTLESS AIR CONDITIONER OVERVIEW
GREE DUCTLESS AIR CONDITIONER REVIEWS
MITSUBISHI DUCTLESS AIR CONDITIONER OVERVIEW
MITSUBISHI DUCTLESS AIR CONDITIONER REVIEWS
LG DUCTLESS AIR CONDITIONER OVERVIEW
LG DUCTLESS AIR CONDITIONER REVIEWS
PANASONIC DUCTLESS AIR CONDITIONER OVERVIEW
PANASONIC DUCTLESS AIR CONDITIONER REVIEWS
WHICH DUCTLESS MINI SPLIT SYSTEM IS BEST?
Planning to go ductless for your next AC system? There are many choices out there, but if you’re looking to get the best mini split air conditioner model for your home, then comparing some of the best available options is a good way to start prior to purchase. In summary, here is a short table of what you can expect to learn in this post about some of our most popular ductless brands:
Let's get into detail about each brand and what it offers, but first, let’s ask: Why ditch the ducts?
THE PROBLEM WITH TRADITIONAL AIR CONDITIONING
When Willis Haviland Carrier invented the modern air conditioning system, he gave mankind one of its biggest leaps in the mastery of nature — the ability to control the indoor temperature. A century later, the billion-dollar industry that he spawned continues to evolve — changing the way we experience temperature comfort.
Today, temperature comfort is not just about having a system that can make you warm or cool; it remains about control, just as Carrier has drawn and envisaged. As climate changes and people’s lifestyles and habits evolve, the need for complete control over comfort has become more important than ever — and just as daunting.
Despite the many advancements in HVAC technology, there remains new comfort challenges. Unfortunately, these are the challenges that most conventional cooling and heating solutions can’t easily confront or tackle. Here’s a short list of some of the most common issues experienced with traditional HVAC systems:
- Temperature inconsistencies
- Inefficient use of energy
- Noisy operation
- Poor air quality
- Inability to eliminate humidity
- Inflexibility of the system
- Complex installation procedures
- Not being eco-friendly
- Costly maintenance requirements
- Weak system performance
In other words, the traditional AC systems, despite the recent HVAC advancements, leave much to be desired, taking away the most fundamental benefit that a modern air conditioning system is supposed to be providing — complete control over comfort at a lesser cost, lower energy-consumption, and higher money-savings.
And as comfort, cost, and energy-efficiencies become the primary requirements, real control over temperature means control over the things that really matter — control over the exact temperature that you need; control over the amount of energy that you consume; and control over the money-savings that you wish to earn. Unfortunately, no traditional system, despite its many advantages, is really living up to the billing.
“Where Traditional AC Systems Fail, a Mini Split System Delivers”
Amidst these new demands in air conditioners, a relatively new technology has emerged — ductless mini split systems. Where many types of traditional AC systems fail, a ductless mini split solution effectively delivers.
Not only are ductless AC systems superior to traditional HVAC systems when it comes to temperature control, efficiency, and overall performance, but they’re also better than your typical window units for many of the same reasons and more. While your average window air conditioners are lightweight and DIY-friendly, they come with some major downsides. They’re noisy and bulky and introduce security issues that you simply won’t get with a ductless mini split option.
WHAT IS A DUCTLESS MINI SPLIT SYSTEM?
As a system, ductless mini split is not new. Ductless mini split systems have long been popularly used in Europe and Asia, but they only recently gained their popularity in the United States. A ductless mini split system is a type of compact air-conditioning system that doesn’t require ductwork and which consists of an outdoor compressor unit and an indoor evaporator unit, the air handler.
Aside from the electrical wire, a ductless mini split has a piping system that’s passed through a small hole in the wall, connecting the indoor unit and the outdoor unit. This pipe system is composed of two copper tubes called a suction line and a liquid line, which are collectively called the line set. Specifically, these pipes are also called the refrigerant line because they transport the liquid substance called refrigerant throughout the system.
This refrigerant constantly changes state and follows a cyclic process. It is the one responsible for absorbing and releasing heat that is essential in the cooling and heating, which is primarily the function of a mini split system. In other words, you can use a mini split unit either as an air conditioning system or a heat pump solution.
Another thing to note about the ductless mini split system is that they don’t just function as air conditioners. In some cases, they also serve as heaters, which makes them quite appealing for consumers who want a single unit to keep the thermostat at the ideal temperature year-round. This can also be an appealing upgrade for homeowners who have a gas furnace and want to take advantage of some electrically generated heat throughout the chillier months.
If you’re interested in a mini split installation with a heater, be sure to choose an option with a mini split heat pump. All of the brands we cover in detail below offer mini split systems with built-in heat pumps, which means they have the capability to both cool and heat your home. Make sure you’re choosing a model with this option if and reference the unit’s heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) to determine which model has the most efficient heat pump.
As a System, What Makes a Ductless Mini Split Unique?
Ductless mini split systems offer the kind of powerful performance, efficiency, and versatility that you would normally find lacking in other systems, whether it’s a window-type unit or a central air conditioning system. Their high-degree of energy-saving capabilities and features, coupled with their structural and operational flexibility to any cooling or heating applications, make ductless systems the best alternative to traditional systems.
So, besides all of these great advantages, why would someone opt for a ductless system over central air? Homeowners who live in old homes that were not built with ductwork find that these systems provide impressive performance without having to rip up walls and ceilings. And, for modern dwellers, there is arguably no home improvement project that will help boost the salability of a home quite as much. In other words, if you’re looking for a great way to boost home value, a ductless mini split system is probably a wise investment.
TOP-RATED DUCTLESS A/C BRANDS
To help you ditch the ducts the right way, check out the strengths of these top mini split AC brands:
GREE Ductless Air Conditioner Review
Arguably, no other brand has dominated the HVAC market more than Gree in recent years. A veritable industry leader, Gree is the largest HVAC manufacturer in the world today and, as of 2019, the Gree Brand ranks 4th in overall market-share in the U.S.
Gree mini split products are characteristically among the most advanced, energy-efficient, and innovative that you can get your hands on in any HVAC market. As a brand, there’s not so much name-recall about Gree, but here’s an interesting fact: One of every three air conditioners in the world is produced by this company.
In fact, in the last 20 years, many of the top AC brands that you are more familiar with get their technology and system from Gree. You can name a respected brand by random, for example, and there’s a good chance that some of their AC models are built by Gree. When it comes to mini split systems, Gree has some of the best product lines.
But if you’re looking for a particular Gree mini split system that fits your home and specific requirements, you can check out Sapphire, Vireo+, and Livo+ models. Many of these systems are Energy Star rated and boast of exceptional SEER rating of up to 39.5. Each of these models are also super-efficient, highly advanced, built with an ozone-friendly refrigerant called R410A, and powered by the energy-saving G10 inverter technology.
If cost is a concern, take note that Gree models are comparatively less expensive than other brands, yet they have comparable (or superior) high-efficiency refrigeration, airflow, and control systems, which are the right elements to have in an AC unit. In fact, most Gree mini splits are so advanced that they have been integrated with smart features and intelligent control capabilities. Just imagine an air conditioner that you can remotely control and manage through your smartphone, and you’ll get the idea.
Official sources state that a Gree model can help you reduce up to 65% of your energy consumption, without any impact on performance. Thus, for maximum comfort and savings, any Gree mini split unit will certainly be worth your expense. As for warranties, current Gree models are offered a five-year parts and compressor warranty. This includes a FULL Unit Replacement with confirmed failure of a major refrigeration component. Also, there is a one-year warranty on the remote. When compared with other warranty offerings from other brands, this one from Gree could be said to be one of the most comprehensive.
For a mini split option, Gree models are no doubt among the best choices. ComfortUp is the largest online reseller of Gree Ductless Systems: we have the most stocked inventory, warehouse locations all over the U.S. and can offer the best pricing. These are just some of the reasons why, here at ComfortUp, Gree mini split solutions are among our most excellent offerings. But, of course, you can’t just take our word for it, so here’s some of what our happy customers say:
Mitsubishi Electric Ductless Air Conditioner Review
Mitsubishi Electric is a well-established brand that produces some great mini split choices. Known for its durable, high-quality products and technologies, Mitsubishi ups the ante by introducing its Zoned Comfort Solution™, a series of highly-efficient and high-performance single-zone and multi-zone cooling and heating mini split products. For single-zone applications, Mitsubishi offers solutions for cooling only and another for both cooling and heating in addition to cooling with Hyper Heat. If you’re looking for some of the most advanced mini split systems, Mitsubishi has a lot to offer.
Mitsubishi mini splits are equipped with a full range of powerful functionalities that include the energy-saving inverter-driven compressor that can radically reduce your energy-consumption, the Hyper-Heating INVERTER (H2i) ® technology that allows you to stay comfortably warm even when the outside temperature plunges down to -13° F, and the hot-start technology for quick heating and elimination of drafts.
In terms of efficiency, Mitsubishi’s zoned comfort mini split solutions are up to 40% more efficient than traditional systems. Mitsubishi mini splits also utilize thermal imaging, which enables the system to scan the room, find the hot and cold spots, and direct the airflow where it is needed to balance the temperature. All the Mitsubishi models also come with air filters that provide advanced multi-stage filtration, which is among the best today. These filters are washable and can last up to 10 years. Moreover, the Mitsubishi units are built with the ozone-friendly refrigerant called R410A, and a set of smart wired, wireless, and handheld remote controllers.
Like the Gree mini splits, Mitsubishi mini split solutions also provide remote access and control via smart mobile devices. For your unique applications, Mitsubishi mini splits are offered with different indoor unit designs and configurations, enabling you to easily install the system depending on your personal requirements.
You’ll have an array of excellent air handler choices, which include the wall-mounted, horizontal-ducted, ceiling-cassette, ducted air-handler, and floor-mounted types. The best thing is, you can choose to mix and match one or more of these indoor units or air handlers with one outdoor unit.
Mitsubishi Electric is deemed as the industry leader in the U.S. when it comes to powerful ductless heat pumps and air conditioning systems. So, if you're looking for the right comfort solution for your home, don’t miss out on Mitsubishi Electric ductless mini split systems.
In terms of cost, Mitsubishi units do come with a premium price tag, due mostly to their brand recognition and advanced systems, but if you opt to pick one, the benefits would be enormous. Don’t limit your options and, as you look around for the right system, check out Mitsubishi mini splits and see if any particular model suits your specific needs, budget, and requirements.
LG Ductless Mini Split Review
LG is best-known for quality electronics systems, so it’s not hard to imagine that its ductless technology brings with it the same kind of excellence. As another top producer of duct-free systems, LG can give any competitor a run for their money. LG ductless mini split systems come in different sizes and styles and specifically built for various unique applications — whether it’s for residential or commercial use.
Like Gree and Mitsubishi, LG’s mini split solutions are highly efficient and powerful and made for single-zone and multi-zone applications. When it comes to its single zone systems, LG offers a range of models with different styles of indoor units. These include the The Art Cool Single Zone products which are unique in so many ways.
As a one-to-one duct-free split system, these models are best for single rooms. They would fit it perfectly and blend so easily no matter the style or the design of the room environment. What makes the Art Cool single-zone models stand out, however, are their unique designs. These include the LG Art Cool™ Premier, Art Cool ™ Gallery Inverter models, Art Cool™ Mirror mini split systems, the Art Cool™ Mirror HSV2 Series, and the customizable Art Cool ™ Gallery Inverter models that you can personalize with an artwork or photograph.
All of these models are powered by the energy-efficient inverter technology. The LG single-zone systems are offered either with high static ducted indoor units or low static ducted units that are also compatible with multi-zone systems. The LG single-zone systems are available in 9,000, 12,000, 18,000, 24,000, or 36,000 Btu mini split configurations. As for its multi-zone systems, LG offers an array of powerful heat pump systems with an outdoor unit that can be used for up to eight different zones.
Also considered high-efficiency, these units that are available today are environment-friendly and have the best energy-saving capabilities. Many of these products are also Energy Star-rated by the Environmental Protection Agency. In fact, hundreds of LGs solutions gained the ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient designation. So, if you’re looking to save more from your electricity costs, an energy-saving LG mini split unit would be one of your perfect choices.
LG mini split models boast of modern modular designs, cutting-edge features, and smart capabilities, making them one of the most advanced systems today. The LG ductless models come with different types of control systems and communication gateways. The systems are also not just energy-efficient, but also completely powerful and durable, thanks to their high-speed cooling capabilities, robust design, and the GoldFin™ Anti-Corrosion coating that helps the systems last for many years.
They also operate quietly at just 26 dB, are built with high-performance variable-speed compressors, and come equipped with Mitsubishi’s own Multi Power System™ that features dual compressor technology. When it comes to filtration, LG mini splits utilize plasma air purifying technology, which is highly advanced. Designed smart, these solutions also feature some automatic louvers. If you’re looking for powerful highly advanced mini split models for your home, LG ductless solutions are among the best options available.
Panasonic Ductless Air Conditioner Review
For its ductless mini split systems, Panasonic offers a Total Home Comfort Solution and Total HVAC Solution, a series of models that include mini split cooling and heating units and ventilation fans that can be integrated to work as a single, ductless comfort system.
Like its competitors in the market, Panasonic brings these systems with 100% assurance on efficiency, performance, and quality. Touted as best-in-class systems, Panasonic‘s heating, cooling, and ventilation systems make up one package of a system that delivers year-round comfort for homes and properties.
Among its main advantages are versatility, quiet operation, high-energy efficiency, and easy-to-use smart controllers. Available with assured high energy-efficiency compliance (ASHRAE 62.2, LEED and Energy Star 3.0.), Panasonic split models are available for single-zone and multi-zone applications. For the single-zone solutions, the choices for indoor units include the wall-mounted, 4-way ceiling cassette, and low-profile ducted. The models have rated capacities of up to 24,000 Btu/h and a maximum SEER of 31.
With regard to the multi-zone solutions, Panasonic offers a few series of units that include multi-outdoor and multi-indoor units that are available at different capacities, with the highest rated at 40,000Btu/h.
Compared with other top brands, Panasonic is not far behind. In fact, Panasonic mini split systems are also among the most advanced and highly efficient units that are currently in the market. When shopping for your mini split solution, take time to check out the different Panasonic models. Being in one package, these systems are really easy to evaluate based on your specific needs.
Gree, Mitsubishi, LG, Panasonic Mini Splits: How Each One Stands Out
To help you decide which one suits best your needs and application, here are some additional insights on how the aforementioned systems stand out.
To effectively gauge the performance of mini split systems, it is important to look at how powerful they provide cooling and heating as a single system. In this context, Mitsubishi and Gree obviously have an edge due to their more advanced technologies, especially on heating capabilities. Take note that not all mini split systems, however advanced, can operate more effectively in a subzero climate.
Mitsubishi, on the other hand, has a hyper-heat system that enables you to stay warm even during extreme weather. It’s capable of providing 100% heating capacity at between 0° F and 5° F outdoor ambient, and up to 85% heating performance down to -13° F outdoor ambient. The latest product launch from Gree, Sapphire, provides superior heating performance down to -22° F. In terms of cooling performance, all four are at the same level.
In terms of energy-saving, all four brands are certified energy-savers, especially when compared with traditional systems. Despite the fact that these systems use advanced compressor technology, they have varying efficiencies.
Compared with conventional systems, for example, Mitsubishi is 40% more efficient while Gree mini splits can lower your energy use by as much as 65%.
LG ductless mini split units, on the other hand, offer their own degree of efficiency. Most LG systems have high SEER. Besides, they would not gain the ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient designation for nothing.
With regard to Panasonic, their mini split efficiencies are also significantly higher than normal systems. With an exceptional maximum SEER of 31, Panasonic mini split systems are worth every consideration as well. If Superior Efficiency tops your priority list, you can not beat Gree Sapphire.
Mini split solutions are best-known for being built using advanced technologies. Technology and advanced systems engineering are often what separate mini splits from traditional systems. Powerful inverter and compressor technologies usually make up the backbone of these highly advanced systems.
With Gree, you’ll get its excellent G10 inverter technology, on top of its other offerings like a condenser coil, intuitive sensing of indoor temperature, infrared-powered remote controllers, smartphone interface for remote access and control via smart mobile devices, smart operations modes, auto clean function, and even a self-diagnosis functionality.
Mitsubishi, on the other hand, also provides an inverter-driven compressor technology, hot-start technology for quick heating, thermal-based indoor temperature sensing, smart, wireless remote controllers, and remote access through smart mobile devices as well.
In terms of technology, Panasonic and LG are also advanced but it would be unfair to compare them with Gree and Mitsubishi because their systems are focused on certain strengths. Panasonic, for example, has an excellent ventilation system that is also customizable and can be integrated with sensors and LED light for maximum performance and efficiency. LG, on the other hand, has a really advanced set of control technologies that include both smart control systems and communication gateways, including specialty accessories.
Your mini split’s filtration capability determines how safe, clean, and healthy the indoor air is that you’re getting from your comfort system. The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that the air we breathe at home is in fact two to five times more polluted than the air we inhale outdoors. This one fact alone makes filtration an important consideration when choosing your next mini split system.
Moreover, the quality of air filters will also have an impact on your comfort and total cost of ownership of the system. Ideally, air filters are required to be replaced at least every three to four months, but manufacturers usually provide a recommendation on how frequently you should replace them.
With Gree, Mitsubishi, LG, and Panasonic mini split solutions, you would not have problem with air filters at all, nor the associated issues related to quality or cost of maintenance.
Gree, for instance, provides a combination of some highly advanced air filters that include the photocatalytic, catechin, active carbon, and silver ion filters that can effectively eliminate bad odors and at least 99.9 % of organic air pollutants, bacteria, and other harmful airborne contaminants.
Mitsubishi, on the other hand, boasts of washable air filters that are not only just as effective but can also last up to 10 years.
LG, for its part, provides a plasma-based indoor air purifying system, which also offers an excellent air treatment technology.
Panasonic, in addition to its high quality air filters that are designed to reduce moisture and airborne contaminants, provides helpful vent fan accessories for better air filtration, such as the WhisperGreen Select 50-80-110 CFM and the WhisperComfort Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV). Take note that both help enhance indoor air by removing pollutants and preventing the development of mold and mildew.
Overall, Gree, Mitsubishi, LG, and Panasonic mini splits look to be equal when it comes to providing better filtration for quality indoor air.
Warranties, Rebates, Tax Credits, and Other Incentives
The associated warranties, as well as incentive programs and rebates do not only make your new AC more attractive but also serve as a great way to maximize all the possible savings that come with the purchase. Remember that the higher the efficiency of the system, the more incentives and rebates are usually offered. These incentive programs are initiated to encourage homeowners to choose more efficient systems that are less energy-hog and less harmful to the environment.
As far as warranties go, it's important to note that EVERY manufacturer requires that the mini split system be installed by a state-licensed HVAC contractor in order to be eligible for warranty. If you were to have a warranty concern, you will have to provide proof of proper installation before a Tech Support Team will provide warranty assistance. It's also important to remember that EACH brand's warranty only covers parts and does not include any concession to cover labor or troubleshooting expenses.
Many brands and specific systems qualify for various tax credits, incentives, and rebates at different levels — federal, state, or local level. Available rebates are always changing and differ based on your geography, so it's best to check with your local agencies or use this ZIP CODE Rebate Finder provided by Energy Star.
It’s Not Universal
The truth is, mini splits from Gree, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, and LG are alike and different in so many ways. It’s always a difficult task comparing all these excellent systems, given their specific qualities and advantages, but if you really have to choose, don’t forget to consider your specific need and situation.
Mini splits are great systems, but getting the best deal out of it is not always about getting what’s the most technologically advanced, what has the highest SEER, or what offers the best components. Everything still always boils down to what suits your exact need and budget.
So, when you’re out shopping for your mini split system, don’t forget to compare the systems, but compare wisely — based on what can give you the best comfort and convenience at a lesser cost, or what can save you money both in the short-term and the long-term without compromising your comfort.
Other Brands to Consider
When browsing ComfortUp, you’ll notice that we offer more than these four brands. We also carry Boreal, Rheem, Daikin, and others. Be sure to explore our complete selection of ductless mini split systems to find an option that’s right for you, your home, your climate, and your budget.
Here at ComfortUp, we offer some of the best brands of Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioners. You can shop Ductless Mini Splits here or hit the chat button below for any questions or to help find the perfect system for your needs. Welcome to ComfortUp!