Ductless mini splits provide many benefits over other air conditioning systems. For one, they are easier and cheaper to install than traditional HVAC systems. This is especially true for multiple rooms that require heating or cooling. Secondly, they are much more efficient than other air conditioners.
In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about mini splits, and provide our recommendations of the best mini splits for each category.
How Do Ductless Mini Splits Work?
Ductless mini-splits are cooling and heating systems composed of two units: an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. Their name comes from the fact that the compressor and refrigerant coils are split between the inside and outside of the house.
Both units are connected by a narrow conduit that circulates the refrigerant and delivers it to the coils housed outside.
To learn more about how mini splits work, check out our guide: What’s a Mini-Split AC System?
The Best Mini Splits for 2023
There are different types of mini splits to accommodate various needs and layouts. To help you choose the best mini split for your home, we’ve gathered a list of the best mini splits for 2023, covering each category of ductless mini split model.
Single-zone mini splits
As the name suggests, single zone mini splits are designed for cooling and heating a single space or room. It consists of one outdoor unit and one indoor unit. Some single zone mini splits offer only cooling, while others include a heat pump to provide supplemental heating.
Best single zone mini split:
Friedrich FPHW121A 12000 BTU Floating Air Pro Series Single Zone Mini Split with Built-In WiFi – Heat and Cool – Energy Star – 115V
The Energy Star FPHW121A mini split is a 115 Volt, cooling with heat pump system. It features high efficiency ratings including a 22.0 SEER and 13.0 EER. The 12,000 BTUs will cool a room that is about 600 sq. ft., while the 13,000 BTU heat pump will work hard to keep you warm.
Features include inverter technology for improved energy efficiency and longer lifespan; built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, and Amazon Alexa and Google Home voice assistant support.
As part of the Friedrich Floating Air Pro series, it also has FastPro Technology for easier installation and maintenance. The mini split is designed to provide easy access to the entire indoor unit, including piping, wire terminal, the fan and fan components. This makes installation of the refrigerant lines and wiring faster and much more manageable. Interior parts like the return air filters and the entire blower wheel assembly can be easily removed for cleaning or servicing and re-installed quickly.
Friedrich FPHW121A 12,000 BTU single zone mini split system includes both the FPHSW12A1B wall unit and the FPHSR12A1A outdoor compressor. Inverter T...
Friedrich FPHW121A 12,000 BTU single zone mini split system includes both the FPHSW12A1B wall unit and the FPHSR12A1A outdoor compressor. Inverter T...View Product
Dual-zone mini splits
Dual zone mini splits can service two zones or rooms. Both indoor air handlers are connected to a single outdoor unit, and each zone has its own temperature setting.
Best dual zone mini split:
Friedrich FPHMR18A3A 18000 BTU Floating Air Pro Two Zone Mini Split Air Conditioner with Heat Pump
The FPHMR18A3A gives you the option of adding zone comfort control for two separate spaces. The 18,000 BTU unit has a connected capacity of up to 24,000 BTUs. The outdoor unit features Low Ambient Operation making it a great year round option for heating and cooling for most of the US. It will operate in the Cooling Mode when outdoor temperatures are as low as 14°F up to 115°F. The range in which this unit will heat is equally as wide and it will heat when temperatures are as low as -13°F up to 75°F.
It features Friedrich’s Precision Inverter Technology, offering a variable speed compressor to keep up with your comfort control needs while still being energy efficient. Depending on your installations of non ducted, ducted, or mixed units, the FPHMR18A3A gets great energy ratings, as shown below:
|Non-Ducted Indoor Units Only||12.5||22.0||11.0|
|Ducted Indoor Units Only||11.5||19.0||9.6|
|Mixed Non-Ducted and Ducted Indoor Units||12.0||20.5||10.3|
Base Price shown is for outdoor unit only. You can choose up to 2 indoor units below with a total connected capacity of 24,000 BTUs. The price displayed will up...
Base Price shown is for outdoor unit only. You can choose up to 2 indoor units below with a total connected capacity of 24,000 BTUs. The price displayed will up...View Product
Multi-zone mini splits
Multizone mini splits can service multiple rooms. Depending on the brand and BTU capacity, a multizone mini split compressor can handle up to 8 indoor units.
Best multizone mini split:
Bosch BMS500-AAM036-1CSXRA 36000 BTU Configurable Quad-Zone Heat and Cool Split System
While rated at 36,000 BTU cooling capacity, this quad zone system can handle a total connected capacity of up to 48,000 BTUs. The system will adjust its load as needed.
The system offers heating and cooling operation range down to -13°F while delivering 100% heating capacity at temperatures as low as -5°F. Each indoor unit is controlled with its own remote or wired wall thermostat (available separately). Additionally, the multi zone systems can be operated with a BCC WiFi thermostat and is compatible with a 24V thermostat.
This EnergyStar-certified multizone mini split features Inverter Drive Technology provides optimum power control and extremely efficient operation by automatically changing the condenser power. The result is speedy, flexible operation that uses less electricity.
Bosch Climate 5000 Series 36,000 BTU Quad-Zone Outdoor Condenser Unit offers heating and cooling operation range down to -13°F while delivering 100% heating...
Bosch Climate 5000 Series 36,000 BTU Quad-Zone Outdoor Condenser Unit offers heating and cooling operation range down to -13°F while delivering 100% heating...View Product
Mini Split Heat Pump
A mini split heat pump offers a cooling and heating solution in one. The heat pump can provide supplemental heat during the cold season. The heat pump functions by reversing the closed-loop coolant system: instead of the refrigerant getting heat from indoors, it collects heat from the outdoors and delivers it inside the home.
Best mini split with heat pump:
Bosch 12000 BTU Climate 5000 MAX Performance Single Zone 22.5 SEER Mini Split System
With inverter drive technology, Bosch’s Climate 5000 systems are Energy Star Rated. It can operate at low ambient temperatures and delivers 100% heating capacity at temperatures as low as -5°F, with no additional hardware or accessories required. It also includes a factory installed base pan heater that keeps the condensate from freezing in extreme conditions. This system will also cool at low temperatures for national usability.
This model is equipped with a Self-Cleaning Mode that helps to remove additional particles internally and excess moisture, with blue-fin technology, reducing or eliminating mildew. With today’s focus on indoor air quality, the Bosch units help alleviate some of the causes of unhealthy air.
Other features include Intelligent Eye Mode, where an infrared sensor detects the activity or lack of activity of people in a room and automatically adjusts the fan speed to accommodate what is happening in the room; and Humidity Control, which allows the system to increase the comfort level by lowering the humidity, not the temperature.
With inverter drive technology, the Climate 5000 systems are Energy Star Rated. Inverter technology will save you money in the long run, by lowering you...
With inverter drive technology, the Climate 5000 systems are Energy Star Rated. Inverter technology will save you money in the long run, by lowering you...View Product
Mini Split Concealed Duct
One of the cons of a mini split system is being conspicuous and interrupting the interior decor of a home. A concealed duct mini split is more discreet by hiding the whole system almost completely behind a wall or ceiling, with only the grille being visible. This also allows the room space to be maximized, making it an ideal choice for smaller homes or tighter spaces.
Best concealed duct mini split:
Daikin FDMQ15RVJU / RX15RMVJUA 15000 / 1-1/4 Ton BTU Concealed Ducted Ceiling Single Zone Mini Split with Heat Pump System
This concealed duct model with heat pump offers 14,400 BTUs cooling capacity and 18,000 BTUs heating. It will efficiently cool a room that is about 550 – 700 sq. ft. and boasts an EER of 12.7 and a SEER rating of 20.2, with an HSPF of 10.3.
Out of the box, this mini split system will keep cooling with outdoor temperatures between 50°F and 115°F and will heat with temperatures as low as 5°F up to 65°F. Low ambient cooling capabilities are also available with this system. By cutting a jumper or changing a dip switch setting, this unit will cool down to 14°F.
The major advantage to the FDMQ Medium Static unit is the ability for longer duct runs giving the consumer numerous installation opportunities and the ease of implementing high MERV filters. The slim profile of this unit, less than 10″ high, allows for installation in tighter ceiling spaces than other ducted units.
Energy efficient, comfort control is yours with a Daikin single zone mini-split. This unit is a cooling system with a heat pump. Each single zone system comes c...
Energy efficient, comfort control is yours with a Daikin single zone mini-split. This unit is a cooling system with a heat pump. Each single zone system comes c...View Product
Ceiling Suspended Mini Split
As the name implies, ceiling suspended mini splits can be mounted out of the way and focus air down to efficiently cool large areas.
Best ceiling suspended mini split:
Daikin FHQ42MVJU / RZR42TAVJUA 42000 BTU Class SkyAir Commercial Ceiling Suspended Cooling Only 14.0 SEER Single Zone System
The innovative SkyAir system from Daikin is designed to quietly blend into the ambiance of shops, restaurants, small offices or home environments. The outdoor unit is for use with 42,000 BTU wall mount, ducted, cassette and ceiling suspended indoor units.
This system includes the outdoor inverter compressor unit as well as the indoor Ceiling Suspended Unit. It is a heat pump system and will operate down to 0° in the heating mode and to 23°F in the cooling mode.
The indoor unit features low sound levels. The outdoor unit is also built to last and comes with an Anti-corrosion Treatment of Outdoor Heat Exchanger Fin.
The innovative SkyAir system is designed to quietly blend into the ambiance of shops, restaurants, small offices or home environments. The outdoor unit is for u...
The innovative SkyAir system is designed to quietly blend into the ambiance of shops, restaurants, small offices or home environments. The outdoor unit is for u...View Product
Ceiling Cassette Mini Split
Also known as ceiling-mounted mini splits, ceiling cassette models are installed up on the ceiling instead of the wall. Their recessed nature makes them invisible, with only an inch-thick grille protruding from the ceiling. They also greatly maximize the amount of livable space.
Best ceiling cassette mini split:
Bosch 18000 BTU Climate 5000 Single Zone 20.0 SEER Ceiling Cassette Mini Split System
This 18,000 BTU ceiling cassette model offers a sleek, non-intrusive look that blends seamlessly into any room. The grille dimensions are 25.5″ x 25.5″ and it has a thickness of just 2″, making it inconspicuous.
This model boasts Low Ambient Capability that can cool and heat in outdoor temperatures as cold as -13°F. It also includes a factory installed base pan heater that keeps the condensate from freezing in extreme conditions. This system will also cool at low temperatures for national usability.
It has a 12.5 EER, 20.0 SEER, and 3.22 COP.
With inverter drive technology, the Climate 5000 systems are Energy Star Rated. Inverter technology will save you money in the long run, by lowering...
With inverter drive technology, the Climate 5000 systems are Energy Star Rated. Inverter technology will save you money in the long run, by lowering...View Product
Floor Standing Mini Split
Floor standing mini splits rest on the floor up against a wall. While they are visible and take up space, they are ideal for cases where the unit may not be mounted on the wall or ceiling.
Best floor standing mini split:
Daikin FVXS12NVJU / RXL12QMVJU9 12000 BTU Aurora / 20 Series Heat/Cool Single Zone Mini Split System
This floor-standing unit offers 10,200 BTUs AC capacity and 13,000 BTUs heating. It will efficiently cool a room that is about 450 – 500 sq. ft. and boasts an EER of 12.0 and a SEER rating of 20.0.
Even if the outdoor temperatures drop as low as 14°F, this unit will keep cooling. It will continue to cool with outdoor temperatures ranging from 14°F up to 115°F. When you add the optional wind baffle (KPW937E4), your system can operate in the cooling mode with an outdoor temperature as low as -4°F.
Standard features include Econo and Stand-by modes, mold resistant washable air filter, auto-swing (horizontal and vertical), auto fan speed, night set mode, dry function, fan only and on/off timer. This heat pump includes features such as auto changeover and hot start function.
For the top-of-the-line in comfort control and energy efficiency, Daikin has your answer. The Aurora Series is an excellent choice. This unit is a cooling sys...
For the top-of-the-line in comfort control and energy efficiency, Daikin has your answer. The Aurora Series is an excellent choice. This unit is a cooling sys...View Product
How to Choose the Best Mini Split for your Needs
Shopping for a mini split involves more than just looking at the capacity and price sticker. These are the five factors you should consider to ensure you get the best possible mini split for your home.
How many rooms or spaces do you need to heat and cool? A single zone unit is designed for one room or space, whereas a multizone unit can accommodate multiple rooms.
A mini split’s cooling and heating capacity is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). The higher the BTU, the larger the space it can handle. To determine the right size for your home, you need to take into account both the physical size and heat load of the zones.
Refer to our handy Mini Split Sizing Guide to make the process more convenient.
For each room, map out the installation area for the mini split. This will determine what type of mini split you need. Wall and floor mounted units are typically the easiest to install but stand out and take up room, whereas concealed duct and ceiling cassette models are more inconspicuous and maximize the space.
Most single-zone mini splits typically run on a 110-120 volt plug, the standard wiring for most homes. However, multi zone mini splits may need 220-240V. When choosing a mini split, make sure your home has the right voltage.
Check out our wiring guide for mini splits.
- Energy efficiency
To get the most efficient mini split for your budget, look for these things that impact energy efficiency:
An EnergyStar certified mini split means it uses up to 60% less energy than standard heating and cooling systems.
☑ EER and SEER rating
EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio and is an objective measurement of how efficiently a unit is engineered to run. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is a measurement of how efficiently a unit will operate over the course of one cooling season.
On January 1, 2023, this was changed to SEER2 which more accurately measures the real-world energy consumption of mini splits and heat pumps. Check out our SEER2 guide to determine the minimum rating for your region.
In 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency started phasing out R410-A, a refrigerant commonly used in AC and heat pumps. This has been replaced by A2L refrigerants that are more efficient and eco-friendly.
To future-proof your system, look for a mini split that uses A2L refrigerants like R32.
☑ Inverter technology
Inverters can lower the power consumption of devices based on demand. Instead of running full blast all the time, an inverter mini split is able to adjust its consumption automatically to meet the desired temperature, then dial back its operation. This lowers electrical consumption and greatly extends its lifespan.
Here’s our list of the best inverter mini splits.
Best Mini Split FAQ
How much do mini splits cost?
The mini split system itself can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $9,000, which is a very wide range so there are options for different situations and budgets.
Factors that affect the price include the BTU capacity, single or multizone capacity, brand, inverter technology, and efficiency such as EnergyStar certification, SEER, and refrigerant.
How much is the mini split installation cost?
The installation of a mini-split typically costs around $800 to $3,000 per zone. To know more about installation costs, check out our Mini Split Cost Guide.
What are the best mini split brands?
Friedrich Air Conditioning is an American brand that has made a name for itself in the AC industry. Founded in 1883, the San Antonio, TX-based company specializes in mini splits, window ACs, and humidity control products. We carry a comprehensive line of Friedrich mini splits as well as PTAC, VTAC, and through the wall units.
With a rich history dating back to 1886, Bosch continues to be a leader in several fields, from automotive and power tools to electronics and home appliances. The company’s mini splits embody meticulous German engineering, and we offer a range of the best Bosch mini splits and controllers.
Daikin is a Japanese multinational brand that specializes in air conditioning with 98 years of history. Daikin mini splits are trusted the world over, and Total Home Supply carries the best Daikin mini splits for both single and multizone applications. You can find out more in our Daikin Mini Splits guide.
MRCOOL is a pioneer in the do-it-yourself cooling and heating market. The brand’s DIY ductless mini splits are the only true DIY HVAC on the market to date. We carry the best MRCOOL mini splits, including spare parts, components and accessories.
Are ductless mini splits worth it?
Yes. Ductless mini splits are much more efficient, which translates to utility savings in the long run. They also provide individual zonal control and are quieter during operation.
What are the pros of ductless mini splits?
✔ Installation – Unlike traditional HVAC systems that require extensive ductwork, wiring, and vents, mini-splits usually need only a small hole in the outside wall to run the refrigerant line and drain tube.
✔ Individual zone control – Mini splits provide greater control for heating and cooling each room of the home. Each indoor unit is its own climate zone, and a single outdoor unit can be connected up to five or more indoor units.
✔ Efficiency – Ductless mini splits are renowned for their energy efficiency. Ductwork accounts for 30% of energy losses in traditional AC systems. Since mini splits do not require ducts, they are much more efficient, which translates to greater energy savings in the long run.
✔ Flexibility – The different types of mini splits can be wall-mounted, suspended from the ceiling, mounted flush from a drop ceiling, simply placed on a floor stand.
✔ Quiet operation – Mini splits emit minimal sound, producing as little as 25 dB compared to 50-80 dB for most window ACs.
What are the cons of ductless mini splits?
❌ Price – Mini splits carry a higher price tag, costing roughly between $1,500 – $2,000 per ton (12,000 BTU per hour) of cooling capacity. However, this is offset by the cheaper installation cost, and the long-term utility savings from its energy efficiency.
To know more about the advantages and drawbacks of ductless mini splits, check out The Pros and Cons of Mini Split Systems.
Ductless mini split installation: Is DIY installation possible?
Yes, a DIY mini split installation is feasible. Here’s our guide to Ductless Mini Split Installation for both DIY and professionals.
How many mini splits do I need?
This is determined by the number of zones, or rooms, you wish to heat or cool. A single-zone mini split can service one room or space, while a multi-zone mini split can handle multiple rooms, all connected to a single outdoor unit.
Which is better: ductless mini split or central air?
Each type of AC system has its own pros and cons. Check out our head-to-head comparison of Mini Splits vs Central Air.
How do I determine which line set I need?
All ductless mini splits require an AC line set. Here’s how to choose the right mini split line set.
What mini split accessories do I need?
There’s a whole ton of mini split accessories, from wires and line set covers to condenser pads, drain tubes and condensers, and grilles. Thankfully, we have a Mini Split Accessory guide.
What are the essentials for mini split maintenance?
Like any HVAC system, mini splits require regular maintenance for optimal performance. Here’s how to clean and maintain your mini split system.