AC Buying Guide | What To Look For In An Air Conditioner

October 1, 2023AC Buying Guide

Buying an air conditioner unit or AC unit is no small decision. For many families, it is an investment that can shake up monthly home budgets. So whether it is an AC for the room or an air conditioning unit for an auditorium, we do not recommend buying this kind of appliance on a whim. The ShoppingGreedy team has curated this air conditioning buying guide to help you make an informed purchase while you search for an AC for sale. You need to pay attention to these parameters before you seize some random air conditioning unit on Amazon or from some other online retailer.

Air Conditioner Types – The Crux of any AC Buying Guide

Air Conditioning units are not limited to just window air conditioners or the split AC variant. Air conditioners typically fall under one of these categories.

Central Air Conditioner

In a central air conditioning unit, the compressor and condenser reside in an outdoor unit while ducts regulate air indoors. Temperature and other settings are controlled via a thermostat. The main advantage of a central AC is its ability to cool multiple rooms. However, the disadvantages of a central air conditioner are its cost, inefficiency in the case of blocked ducts, and the need for extra space to set up the outdoor unit.

Mini-Split Air Conditioner

A mini-split air conditioning unit or split AC is similar to a central air conditioner. Instead of a duct-based system, a box-like system with blowers makes up for the indoor unit. Split air conditioner installation makes sense if you want to focus on individual rooms and want more energy efficiency than a central air conditioner. However, a split AC unit installation is going to cost you more than a window air conditioner. Moreover, a split AC is not recommended for large spaces and homes.

Window Air Conditioner

A window air conditioner or window AC unit looks like a box – with a part of it protruding outside the house and the rest of it inside the room. Window air conditioning units are the top choice for cooling a small room or home (such as a studio apartment). The advantages of window AC are many. They are easy to install, have low operating costs, and do not occupy floor space as they are wall-mounted. Some disadvantages of window air conditioning units are their noise levels and incompatibility with irregularly shaped walls.

Portable Air Conditioner

A Portable air conditioning unit is a portable version of the window air conditioning unit. Portable ACs come with a hose – either single or dual – for water drainage. If you are looking for on-the-spot cooling and an air conditioning unit that is easy to move and store, then a portable AC is a good option to buy. However, it fails in the case of large rooms or spaces. Portable air conditioning units are also known to make a lot of noise.

Air Conditioner by Room Size – Bookmark this AC Buying Guide for Reference

There is no hard-and-fast rule as far as an air conditioner room size calculator goes. Here is an approximate air conditioner room size chart. Use this AC tonnage chart as an estimate when you buy air conditioner online.

Room Size AreaAC Tonnage
Up to 175 sq. ft1.5 ton
Up to 250 sq. ft2 ton
Up to 300 sq. ft2.5 ton
Up to 400 sq. ft3 ton

Air Conditioner Efficiency Rating – The Perks of Referring to an AC Buying Guide

Air conditioner efficiency over time can significantly alter your electric bills. In order to calculate your AC energy efficiency rating, pay attention to the air conditioner’s rating in British Thermal Units (BTU). To determine the efficiency rating of your air conditioner divide the AC BTU by the AC energy consumption in watts to get the energy efficiency ratio. For example, if the air conditioner rating is 10000 BTU and its consumption is 1000 watts, then the AC energy efficiency ratio (EER) is 10000/1000, i.e., 10. Higher EER translates to increased savings in the long run. It is to be noted that air conditioners with high EER tend to be expensive at the time of purchase! Bookmark this ShoppingGreedy AC buying guide in case you forget the calculation of AC EER!

Air Conditioner Energy Star

Energy-Star-certified air conditioning units are proven to save energy and reduce your bills over time. Energy Stars range from 1 to 5, with the amount of energy savings rising with each additional star. Even though a 5-star AC might be more expensive than a 3-star AC in terms of the initial cost, it leads to more savings in the long run.

Budget – Any AC Buying Guide is incomplete without mentioning this Factor

How much can you spend? Air conditioner prices start at USD 25 and can go all the way up to USD 30000. Before you start sweating, air conditioners in the five-figure range are often for commercial spaces. A homeowner can get a high-performing air conditioning unit for under USD 1000.

Features – Did you know about them before reading this AC Buying Guide?

Here are some air conditioner features to have on your watchlist if you are okay with spending a few extra bucks, rather than settling for a low-priced standard AC unit.

Air Conditioner Operating Modes

While most users rarely think beyond heating and cooling modes in an air conditioner, the device has tons of other settings worth exploring. Some of these include a dry mode, energy saver mode, and turbo mode, among others. The latest AC models take it a notch higher with never-heard-before settings like an “AI mode”. As a rule of thumb, do not end up buying an air conditioner just because it comes with a plethora of operating modes. Do you intend to use those modes? Give it a thought.

Compressor Technology

Check if the air conditioner comes with a traditional compressor or an inverter compressor. While inverter compressors are known for better cooling abilities and low noise levels, they tend to increase the air conditioner’s retail price. If you are adamant about going with an AC with an inverter compressor, check if it offers a dual inverter compressor or a triple inverter compressor. However, the difference in performance between the two is not much in the case of small spaces and homes.

Air Conditioner De-icing Feature

The outdoor unit of air conditioners tends to accumulate ice in places where temperatures touch zero. This results in decreased efficiency of air conditioning units. The AC de-icing feature is useful in such instances. However, if you stay in areas with moderate or hot climates and come across two air conditioners with the exact same specifications barring the de-icing option, do not pay more for the one encompassing this feature.

Stabilizer Requirements

Some air conditioners cannot cope with varying voltage fluctuations. Such units require an external stabilizer. However, today’s AC units support stabilizer-free functioning. Our suggestion is to go with stabilizer-free air conditioning units.

Air Purification

Air conditioners now go beyond dust filters. Many air conditioners include an air purification feature too. For those suffering from allergies, asthma, or other breathing ailments, investing in an air purification-enabled AC unit will prove to be useful.

Presence Detection

While the best practice is turning off your air conditioner when not in use, we tend to forget at times. If you often forget to switch off the AC unit (or fear doing so) when moving out of the place it is put up in, consider buying one that includes a person presence detection option.


Air conditioners are not resistant to the forces of nature and misuse – dust, corrosion, and wear & tear. Confirm if your shortlisted air conditioning unit comes with some sort of protection plan. For instance, Ocean Black protection for air conditioners by LG.

Smart Operations

You can control air conditioners from mobile apps! That means no more worrying if you forget to turn off your AC and are miles away from home. In fact, “smart air conditioners” also enable you to finetune the settings in ways that you would have never thought of.

Conclusion – Share the AC Buying Guide with Others!

That’s a ton of factors to assess before you buy AC online! If this blog post has got you thinking, it means the ShoppingGreedy team was successful in its objective of saving you from an impulsive purchase. Do follow ShoppingGreedy for more informative blog posts on buying electronics and other appliances online. Happy shopping!

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