It’s a difficult question that depends on a number of factors. For example, the answer is going to be very different for someone who lives in a McMansion, compared to someone who lives in a cave. The main things that you will need to consider include your living situation, the size of your home and what kind of budget you have.
Are You Renting, Moving Soon, or Only Leaving in a Casket?
Your living situation will have a large impact on which type of air conditioner is best. If you are renting a house that doesn’t have air conditioning, it might be best to speak to your landlord first. You might even get lucky and they will install a system for you. After all, it is an investment that can make their home more valuable. Not everyone can be that fortunate, and if they say no, renters will be stuck with two choices, a portable unit or a window unit.
Portable units can be easy to deal with, but they are also the least efficient. They are free-standing and relatively easy to move, however you will still need to install and seal the exhaust through a window. If you can, purchase a unit with a double hose, because they are more efficient.
Window units tend to be more efficient than portable units, however they may not fit all window types. They are normally made for double-hung windows, so if your room has a different type you may need to do some modifications before you can install a window unit. Again, this is up to the discretion of your landlord – if they say no, you might be stuck with a portable unit and the higher power bills.
If you are a homeowner who is considering moving houses soon, you should think carefully about which type is best for you. Window units and portable air conditioners are often relatively cheap and can be brought with you, however they are generally inefficient.
Wall hung split systems, multi head split systems, and ducted air conditioners usually have a greater up front cost, but they also won’t rack up your power bill as much. Another advantage of going with these options is that they can add value to your home for the eventual sale.
Those who own their homes and plan to stay put can choose any air conditioner they please. In most cases, wall hung split systems, multi head split systems or ducted air conditioning are probably the best choices. In the long run, a ducted system may end up costing the least, because they tend to be more efficient. They usually have higher installation costs and require greater modifications to your home, but there are many variables involved. If you are tossing up between the two, it’s a good idea to get a HVAC professional out to your home. They can analyse your unique situation and give you the best advice.
How Big Is Your Space?
Do you only want to control the temperature of your bedroom? Is it just a studio apartment? A standard 3 bedroom, two bathroom? A mansion or a massive loft? Whatever the answer is, it’s going to make a big difference to which air conditioner is most suitable.
For smaller spaces such as single rooms, a wall hung split or multi head split will likely be the best choice. These options should also suit a studio apartment if your building doesn’t already have a ducted system.
If you live in a larger space, such as a house or a mansion, it is generally best to use a multi head split system or ducted air conditioning. The bigger the house, the more advantageous a ducted system will be, due to economies of scale. Wall hung split systems can be cheaper to install in smaller places, but you will need multiple wall hung split systems to condition a large house, not to mention that ducted systems will generally be cheaper over the lifetime of the air conditioner.
What Does Your Budget Look Like?
Often, the best air conditioner for your home will be the one you can afford. Perhaps you were trying to make it through one last summer before saving up, but the heat is just getting too overwhelming. If you don’t have a lot of money, your only options may be a portable air conditioner or a window unit, because they tend to have lower upfront costs. Getting either of these could end up costing you more in the long run due to the increased power usage, so you need to take that into consideration when making your decision.
If you decide that you need one now, but don’t have the money for a wall hung split, multi head split or ducted air conditioning system, it might be worthwhile to run the numbers and see if getting a loan for them would work out cheaper than the extra power costs of a portable or window unit. If you have the money up front, in most situations it will be best to go with the multi head split or ducted system. Otherwise, you will just be spending more on your energy bills each year.
The Best Air Conditioner For You
Once you have considered all three of these variables, it should have narrowed down your choices. When you are more clear about which type you need, you can also think about the individual features that you would like, such as reverse cycle, Wi-Fi control and zoning. There are many different options out there, so take the time to do your research. Air conditioning is a long term investment that can cost a significant amount of money. The right decision will keep you happy for years, while the wrong one might just have you cursing every time the power bill comes around.