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10 Types of Air Conditioners Explained: Choose the Perfect Cooling Solution for Your Home

Indoor and outdoor parts of several types of AC units. In the scorching heat of summer, having an air conditioner at home is essential. However, with more than 10 types of air conditioners to choose...

Image Indoor and outdoor parts of several types of AC units.

In the scorching heat of summer, having an air conditioner at home is essential. However, with more than 10 types of air conditioners to choose from, finding the right one can be overwhelming. To help you make an informed decision, we'll delve into the different types of air conditioners, their average sizes, and price ranges.

Two Types of Air Conditioners

The concept behind an air conditioner is simple. It consists of two sets of metal coils - one that collects heat from your home, and another that disperses the heat outside. The refrigerant, a liquid mixture, facilitates the heat transfer between the two coil sets.

Based on this principle, air conditioners can be divided into two main categories:

Stand-Alone AC Units (5 Different Types)

These AC units house both coils in a single device, usually located inside the house. Stand-alone units offer convenience and are easier to install and move around. However, they have lower capacity compared to split-system AC units. Some of the types of stand-alone AC units include:

Portable Air Conditioners (Price Range: $200 - $800)

Most Popular, Especially For Single-Room Cooling

Portable air conditioners are a top choice for many due to their ease of use and mobility. These compact units come with wheels, allowing you to move them around your home effortlessly. Portable air conditioners vary in capacity, from 5,000 BTU to 14,000 BTU, and can cool spaces ranging from 400 to 450 square feet. However, they require an air vent to release hot air outside.

Image A portable air conditioner is a stand-alone AC unit with an air vent to release hot air. It comes on wheels, and you can move it around freely.

Window Air Conditioners (Price Range: $100 - $800)

The ‘Through-The-Wall’ European Air Conditioners

Window air conditioners, popular in Europe, are installed within a single shell, either in a window or through the wall. These units are ideal for spaces with thinner walls and offer both cooling and heating options. Window air conditioners are more affordable and easier to install compared to split-system AC units. They also come with features such as remote control and different variations like casement or vertical air conditioners.

Image A window air conditioner faces the indoors on one side and the outdoors on the opposite side. It can be installed through a window or a wall.

Wall-Mounted AC Units (Price Range: $300 - $1000)

Best For Older Buildings Without External Unit Permit

Wall-mounted air conditioners are suitable for older buildings that do not allow external AC units. With professional installation, these units can be mounted on the wall, ensuring efficient cooling. They require two air pipes through the wall to release the hot air outdoors. Although they take up some space and may heat up the wall behind them, they are a great alternative for heritage buildings.

Image A wall-mounted AC unit is installed up against a wall. Two pipes go through the wall to release the hot air outdoors.

Floor-Mounted Air Conditioners (Price Range: $200 - $800)

Becoming Obsolete With Portable Air Conditioners But Can Also Be Used As Heaters

Floor-mounted AC units are similar to wall-mounted units, but they are mounted on the floor instead. However, these units are becoming less common due to their space-consuming nature. While they offer excellent energy efficiency, they lack the portability and convenience of portable air conditioners.

Spot Coolers for Boats, Ships (Price Range: $1000 - $4000)

Big Industrial Mobile AC Units (Specialty Use)

Spot coolers are specifically designed for boats, ships, and airplanes. With their high capacity (over 30,000 BTU), they can effectively cool mid-sized boats. These units are unique because they are placed outside the cooling area and draw warm air out while blowing cold air in.

Image A 'Spot Cooler' air conditioner is big and used to cool down whole boats. The two pipes take care of the exchange of hot and cold air.

Split-System AC Units (5 Different Types)

Split-system air conditioners consist of two separate units - one installed inside the house and a larger, noisier unit placed outside. These units offer quiet operation and high cooling capacity. The split-system AC units include:

Central Air Conditioners (Price Range: $4000-$8000)

A Wholesome Solution For Every Home (Most Popular)

Central air conditioners use a ducted air pipe system that spreads throughout your entire space. Although installation can be complex and costly, central air conditioning is a popular choice for over 50% of homes in the US. This type of AC requires expert installation and can cool your entire home effectively.

Image The powerhouse of a central air conditioner is the outside unit attached to the house or located in the yard.

Wall-Mounted and Floor-Mounted Air Conditioners (Price Range: $400 - $3000)

Same As Stand-Alone AC Units But With A Quieter And Stronger Split-System Installation

Wall-mounted and floor-mounted air conditioners can be either stand-alone units or part of a split-system installation. These units offer quieter operation and higher efficiency compared to stand-alone AC units. They are suitable for various room sizes and can be combined to create a system with a larger cooling capacity.

Ceiling Type of Air Conditioner (Price Range: $1000 - $10000)

Aesthetic High Capacity Units Perfect For Offices

Ceiling air conditioners, commonly used in offices, are installed on or suspended from the ceiling. These cassette-like units have a modern design and distribute cool air vertically. Ceiling air conditioners offer both power and aesthetics, making them a popular choice for commercial spaces.

Image Ceiling air conditioner: It is both elegant-looking and powerful. Perfect for offices.

Mini-Split System Ductless Air Conditioners (Price Range: $500 -$5000)

Currently The Most Popular Big Type Of Air Conditioners

Mini-split air conditioners are a popular choice due to their energy efficiency and ease of installation. These units do not require ductwork and offer high capacity cooling. The compressor, which generates the most noise, is located in the outdoor unit, ensuring quiet operation indoors. Mini-split systems are available in various capacities and can be customized to cool multiple zones or rooms.

Image Wall-mounted air conditioner setup: The outdoor part is the noisy, ugly ventilator and compressor part. The inside part is a quiet, beautiful cooling part. You can easily adjust the temperature with remote control.

Pick the Perfect Air Conditioner for Your Needs

When choosing an air conditioner, it's important to consider your specific requirements. Factors such as the size of your space, noise levels, and installation constraints play a significant role in making the right choice. Additionally, be conscious of energy efficiency ratings to avoid high energy bills.

By understanding the different types of air conditioners and their features, you can now make an informed decision to keep your home cool and comfortable during the hot summer months. Remember, selecting the right air conditioner that fits your needs is crucial for your comfort and energy savings.

Short update: Technological advancements have led to the creation of new types of air conditioning units, such as battery-powered air conditioners. These portable units, powered by 12V or 24V lithium-ion batteries, offer over 2,000 BTU cooling power while being completely mobile.