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The Ultimate Air Conditioner Buying Guide

Australia is one of the hotter countries on Earth, and Australian summers can be unbearable at times. Because of this, a good air conditioning unit is essential. On a scorching summer day there is nothing quite as good as pressing a button, and having your whole house start to cool down. But, buying an air conditioner is not a simple affair, there are a lot of different factors to consider, do you want an outdoor unit or an indoor unit, what size air conditioner do you want, how powerful the air conditioner should be, etc. To help make your life easier, we have compiled this air conditioner buying guide, so you can walk into the store knowing exactly what you want.

Types of air conditioners

Portable Air Conditioner

These are the least powerful type of air conditioner, and can really only cool a small to medium sized room. That being said, they are very cheap and easy to set up. So while they may not be very powerful, that is made up for by the fact that you can quickly run into any hardware store, grab one, bring it home, and have it working within 15 minutes.

Split System Air Conditioner

Split system air conditioners get their name from the fact that they consist of both an inside and outside unit. Split systems only cool one room, and they do it by sucking the heat out of the room and blowing in cold air. The indoor unit is wall mounted, while the outdoor unit acts as a standalone compressor that removes heat from the air. Most split system air conditioners are installed high up on the wall, but you can find models where the indoor component is installed on the floor, or in the window. You can find some split system air conditioners that have more than one indoor area, allow you to cool multiple rooms. Split systems are very quiet and effective at cooling one room, but they can be a bit of a hassle to install, costly, and unfortunately cannot cool an entire house.

Reverse System Air Conditioner

As you can probably tell from the name, these types of air conditioners can reverse the cooling process, so, they can provide both cooling and heating. These types of air conditioners are usually more expensive than split system ones, but the extra cost may be worth it for those who live in areas with variable climates.

Window Mounted Air Conditioner

These units are able to easily cool medium to large sized rooms. They are also easy to control, just press a couple of buttons and the air conditioner starts working. The downsides to these models are that they can be very large and noisy, they can be power hogs, and they can be a bit of a hassle to install properly, especially if you get a model that does not fit your window.

Ducted Air Conditioner

Ducted air conditioning is by far the most expensive type way to cool your house. It will probably cost you a couple thousand just to get everything installed. You will also need a powerful compressor unit to pump cool air throughout your house. But, if you want to keep your entire house cool, then your only real option is to go for ducted air conditioning.

Air Conditioner Buying Guide – Which one should you go for?

There is no real way to say which air conditioning system you should get, since it depends on your own needs. The biggest thing to consider when buying an air conditioner is the size of the area you want to cool. If you buy an air conditioner that is not powerful enough, then it will burn out trying to cool the area you want. If you buy an air conditioner that is more powerful than you need, then you are just spending more money than you need to.

A good rule of thumb to follow is that an air conditioner needs 20 BTUs of power for every 6 square centimeters of space. So if you have a room that is 36 square centimetres, you will need an air conditioner that is roughly 120 BTUs to comfortably cool the room. There are of course variables to consider, such as if the room is very shaded or if the room gets a lot of sun. If a lot of people are regularly in the room, you will need a more powerful machine. So use the above info as a rough guide.

Efficient use of energy

If you care about saving a bit of money on your energy bill, you will want to look for an efficient air conditioner. Thankfully, every commercial air conditioner should have an efficiency rating somewhere on the box. Look for a blue logo, which will have a certain amount of stars on it, the amount of stars indicate how efficient the air conditioner is. More stars mean that the unit runs more efficiently, which saves you money.

Features to look for

Once you have a general idea of what you want type of air conditioning you want, then you can begin considering what features you want to see on your air conditioner, here are some of the more common ones:


This will only be on the really high end air conditioners. Prescience sensors allow an air conditioner to determine if someone is in the room or not; if the sensors do not detect anybody, then the air conditioner will automatically be turned down to a lower level. This is a good way to reduce the energy usage of the air conditioner.

Sleep function

Some air conditioners will automatically turn down to a lower level when you activate the sleep mode, this helps keep the room quieter and keep the room at a comfortable temperature.

Oscillating louvres

Louvres can be used to direct the air flow, so you can direct the cool air to where it is needed most (more useful for bigger rooms).

Dry mode

Some air conditioners come with a “dry mode,” using this mode makes your air conditioner remove extra humidity from the air, which helps cool the room without speeding up the fans.


So, that’s it. With all this information you should be able to easily and quickly pick out the perfect air conditioner that meets all your needs.