The Ultimate AC Buying Guide

ACs are becoming more of a necessity these days, versus being a luxury statement compared to the good old days. With the temperatures soaring to new heights, people are opting for ACs like never before, and the demand is ever-evolving. But, with so many brands, and a range of products available on the market today, the process of buying an AC gets quite confusing and complicated. And on top of this, each brand markets ACs with unique features to stand out from the rest, making it even more difficult to understand these specifications.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve simplified everything you would ever want to know, helping you make the process easier than ever. From understanding the types of ACs, their budget, features, energy efficiency, and more, we’ve got everything covered for you.

Read through what we call the best and ultimate buying guide to learn more.

Types of ACs

Currently, there are three types of ACs available on the market, suitable for various purposes as per your requirements. On our list are the Split ACs, Window ACs, and Portable ACs, each designed uniquely, with varied cooling options, and pricing. Here’s a quick comparison of each type.

1. Window ACs:

Window ACs, sometimes referred to as room air conditioners, have just one unit and are ideal for smaller rooms. All of the parts and components for this type of AC are contained in a single casing. The AC is typically installed or fixed in a window, so only the front panel faces the interior of the room, with the other half remaining outside. It is simple to install, can be moved easily from window to window, and can be plugged into any traditional electrical outlet, effortlessly.

Generally, Window ACs are relatively affordable to operate and maintain. However, they are often not well suited for cooling larger rooms because they provide little insulation from the sun and wind. This means that during peak summertime hours when the sun is shining brightest inside your house, you’re likely going to spend more money on electricity.

 The Components: Window ACs come with a fan motor, evaporator fan, condenser coils, drain pan, compressor, evaporator coils, filter dryer, capillary tube, air inlet grill, and an air outlet grill.

The Advantages

Easy to install/uninstall

They are affordable

Highly energy efficient

Portable

Come with built-in heaters for winters

The Disadvantages

Not a great option for efficient cooling

Are too loud

2. Split ACs:

It is well known that Split ACs are an improvement above conventional Window ACs. Given that it has two independent units—an indoor unit and an outdoor unit—this kind of air conditioner is by far the best. The indoor unit comes with components like a filter, and distributor, while the outdoor unit consists of a condenser and compressor. Both these units are connected to each other by copper tubing. As opposed to window air conditioners, these are ideal for larger spaces and have outstanding features.

When compared to Window ACs, Split ACs offer higher airflow and are popularly known for offering faster cooling. They are a bit costlier than the traditional Window ACs but with two units in the offering, they are great in providing better cooling, and heating performance than a single unit. This is important if you live in an area that has hot summers or cold winters, as single-unit air conditioners can only cool or heat one room at a time. Importantly, Split ACs typically run quieter than a standard AC unit.

The Components: Split ACs come with an evaporator coil, compressor, condenser coil, expansion valve, air filter, refrigerant, thermostat, fan, etc.

The Advantages

Easy and flexible installation

Aesthetically pleasing than Window ACs

Quieter than other AC types

Low and easy maintenance

3. Portable ACs:

The Disadvantages

Expensive

Outdoor installation costs as per proximity

Portable air conditioners, which often rest on the floor, are great for cooling tiny rooms or areas. They are becoming increasingly popular, and are a great alternative to Window ACs due to their convenience and ability to be used in a variety of situations. From festivals to outdoor activities, portable ACs can help keep you cool and comfortable when the temperature gets too hot or humid. This kind of air conditioner is also ideal for people who don’t want to spend money on two air conditioners in different rooms but want to be able to move it to the place they use it the most.

For those who are interested in buying a portable AC, make sure you consider a few factors like weight, size, portability, etc. Some models offer adjustable temperatures or fan speed settings so that you can customize your experience specifically for where you will be using it. More importantly, some models have built-in rechargeable battery packs which makes them convenient and easy to use on the go.

The Components: Portable ACs come with an evaporator, condenser, fan, expansion valve, and compressor.

The Advantages

Very easy to install versus other types

Excellent comfort

Portable

Less expensive

The Disadvantages

Not energy efficient

Noisy

Cools small spaces only

The Comparison - Window ACs vs Split ACs vs Portable ACs

 

Window AC

Split AC

Portable AC

Cooling

Better Than Portable AC

Excellent Cooling

Moderate Cooling

Easy of Installation

Easy

Difficult

Very Easy

Installation Place

In Window Only

Anywhere

Anywhere

Noise

Loud

Minimal Noise

Too Loud

Power Saving

Less

Better Than Others

High

Price

Cheaper

Expensive

Mid-Range

Portability

No

No

Yes

Determining The Cooling Capacity

roon-size-and-tonnage

Room Size & Tonnage

Considering the size of your room, and the required tonnage capacity, use the BTU rating for faster cooling options.

Noise Level

Noise Level

An AC unit with the best noise level is below 40 dB, while those above the said decibels may hamper your health, and sleep.

average city temperature

Average City Temperature

If you live in places that experience harsh summers, a 1.5-ton AC is suitable for medium-sized rooms. However, other factors do come into the picture.

number of occupants

Number of Occupants

The more people in a single room, BTUs of 600/person/hour should be considered, including factors like AC unit placement.

Height of the Ceiling

The Height of the Ceiling

Ceilings with standard height offers great cooling versus those above the required measurements.

the-location-of-room

The Location of Room

If you’re room is facing to the east, or west, or has big windows, then it is advisable to buy an AC with more BTU for effective cooling.

Smart Home Compatibility

Smart Home Compatibility

Helps connect to the smart devices in your home for easy operation of the AC.

Aluminium Coil Vs Copper Coil

Particularly with the types of air conditioners we previously mentioned above, there are numerous elements that affect which kind is superior over time. To clarify which sort of coil is best for an air conditioning system, however, there are a few more considerations. Which metal is it—the aluminium or copper? On which is superior, the discussion grows. However, in this section, we go through how they differ in terms of the advantages they offer and also gain a better grasp of their significance.

The Importance of Coils

A refrigerant gas that is compressed from a gaseous state to a liquid state and then changes back to gas is essential to effective air conditioning. The entire process, which includes compression, condensation, an expansion valve, and evaporation, absorbs the heat present in the space.   Generally, the heat present in the inside air gets transferred to the outside air, and this transfer of heat takes place in coils. By absorbing the heat from the air moving over it, the refrigerants in the evaporation coils evaporate or transform from a liquid to a gas. In the course of this process, the air from the room is now cooled and brought back into it. Through the compression process and condensation coils, the refrigerant (in its gaseous condition) is moved, discharging heat into the air around it. Using the exhaust fans, this warm air is now expelled. This principle is the same across all systems, despite changes in the size of systems. It should be noted that the types of coils used in such systems are of great importance. They should have the finest material, and should be affordable, durable, and also easy to clean, and maintain.

What’s Majorly Preferred?

When it comes to air conditioners, most people prefer using copper coils over aluminium ones. Copper is a better conductor of heat than aluminium, and this means that it can dissipate heat more effectively. Importantly, copper does not corrode or tarnish as aluminium does. In fact, because of these advantages, copper is often used in electric wires and electrical appliances where prolonged exposure to moisture may be hazardous. The below table provides a quick comparison of the two for better understanding.

Here’s a quick difference:

 

Copper Coil

Aluminium Coil

Heat Transfer

Has a higher heat transfer coefficient

Has a lower heat transfer coefficient

Reliability & Strength

Stronger

Not Stronger and Damages Quickly

Repairable

Yes, easily

No, replace with new coils

Durability

Highly Durable

Less Durable

Pliability

Poor Pliability

Fairly Piable

Cost

Expensive

Cheaper

Maintenance

Easy To Clean & Maintain

Difficult

Corrosion

Can Corrode

Can Corrode

Inverter Vs Non-Inverter AC: Which Is Better?

An inverter AC is a type of air conditioner that uses an electronic control system to manage the power input and output. This allows for more efficient use of energy, which in turn reduces emissions and saves you money on your electricity bill.

Inverters also have a high degree of thermal stability, meaning they are less likely to break down than traditional ACs. This technology is becoming increasingly popular as it offers many benefits over traditional ACs, including improved indoor air quality due to reduced moisture levels, longer operating life due to adaptive controls, and better performance in hot weather conditions.

Non-inverter motors, on the other hand, only operate at maximum speed and switch off automatically once the room temperature reaches the required level. This On-and-Off process utilizes more energy than is necessary and generates more noise, which ultimately makes it less efficient than inverter motors.

Non-Inverter Air Conditioner

Non-Inverter Air Conditioner

Continuously switching between sprinting and resting wastes more energy.

Inverter Air Conditioner

Maintaining a steady pace and making small adjustments is more energy-efficient.

For Example

Every air conditioner on the market right now is pretty unique and is made for a particular peak load. A 2.5-ton air conditioner, for instance, is intended for specific room sizes, as opposed to a 2-ton air conditioner, which typically serves smaller rooms.

Generally speaking, a regular air conditioner with a 2.5-ton capacity will always run at peak power requirements when the compressor is turned on, whereas an air conditioner with inverter technology will only draw the amount of power necessary to maintain the temperatures even when it runs continuously.

Based on the need to cool a particular room, it adjusts more automatically, changing its capacity. This contributes to reduced power usage and consumption of lesser units of electricity.

Inverter Vs Non-Inverter - Comparison

Description

Advantages of Inverter AC

Disadvantages of Non-Inverter AC

Energy Efficiency

Excellent

Okayish

Cost

Expensive

Lesser

Noise

Quiter

Loud

Technology

Smart

Simple

Cools

Faster

Slower

Life

Longer Life

Average

Operation

Flexible/Adjustable

Fixed

But which is better? Quick Read

Inverter ACs are better than non-inverter ACs if you’re looking to save energy and money. They work by converting the alternating current (AC) into direct current (DC), which is less energy intensive. Also, inverters tend to last longer and operate more quietly than non-inverters. Other benefits of inverters include the ability to shift frequencies within a range, sending power where it is needed most. This can be useful for businesses that need extra flexibility when it comes to powering their operations or for people who have multiple devices that use different frequencies of electricity.

Power Consumption: What Are EER & ISEER Ratings by BEE?

What Are They?
BEEBureau of Energy Efficiency
EEREnergy Efficiency Rating
ISEERIndian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio

The Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) of an air conditioner is calculated, and awarded by a statutory body under the Ministry of Power, Government of India, called the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). The agency has made it a mandate for all heavy electrical appliances to possess an energy efficiency rating, including the ACs. As per the rating agency, the higher the rating, the higher is the power efficiency – meaning such units consume low power for the cooling room(s). Meanwhile, ACs that have higher ISEER ratings cost more. Here’s a clear understanding of how EER and ISEER are calculated:

EER = BRU/Hr/Watt

As EER changes as per seasons, the BEE introduced ISEER rating, which is calculated for ACs as follows:

ISEER = Cooling Seasonal Total Load (CSTL)/Cooling Seasonal Energy Consumption (CSEC)

This value is used to decide the exact ISEER rating of an AC, post the above process. The ratings of ISEER are quite different for Split ACs, and Window ACs. With the change in values of ISEER ratings, there might be a change from time to time. However, we bring to you the current ISEET ratings, and values below:

 Window ACsSplit ACs
ISEER Star LevelMinimum ISEERMaximum ISEERMinimum ISEERMaximum ISEER
53.3 4.5 
43.13.2944.49
32.93.093.53.99
22.72.893.33.49
12.52.693.13.29

The Savings

But how much money can one actually save annually? The amount of energy used and the amount saved varies from star to star. We took into consideration a 1.5-ton unit to confirm the following chart so that you would have a good idea of the various star ratings. Please be aware that the calculations are made for an 8-hour operation per day for a period of five months in a year.

Source: Bureau of Energy Efficiency
Star RatingEERCooling Capacity (Watts)Input Power (Watts)Units Consumption / DayPer Unit Charge (approx.)Electricity Cost/MonthCost Saving per year (w.r.t. Base Star)
kWhRsRsRs
Base Year2.55200208017420400
12.75200192615418001200
22.95200179314416801800
33.15200167713415602400
43.35200157613415602400
53.55200148612414403000
1 BEE Star
Rs 1200
Source: Bureau of Energy Efficiency

Energy Saving Tips For AC

room temperature

25°C to 27°C
Set Room Temperature​

sunny day

Expecting Sunny Day
Turn On AC Early

average city temperature

Adjust AC Lower
Towards The Ceiling

service

Service Regularly &
Keep Filters Clean​

Install AC

Install AC In
Shady Areas​

star rated Ac

Prefer High Star
Rated ACs ​

AC Temperature & Savings

According to the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, a body of the Ministry of Power, the best AC temperature, considered to be healthier even in humid weather conditions, is 24 degrees. This is purely backed by studies, and temperatures up to 25 degrees are said to be comfortable for the human body. Also, ASHRAE Standard 55-2013 Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy backs this point. 

Features To Look Out For When Buying An AC

  • Wi-Fi Compatibility
  • Self-clean Feature
  • Activity Sensors
  • App Control
  • After Sales Service & Additional Warranty
  • Auto Start
  • Dehumidification
  • Four-Way Swing
  • Sleep Alarm

1. Wi-Fi Compatability & Voice Assistant

The majority of air conditioners on the market today, especially high-end models, have smart features like Wi-Fi connectivity that can be used to connect to your smartphones, devices, or voice assistant services for a variety of tasks. One can control the temperature in their room using these capabilities, even if they are not at home.

Some voice assistant features, such as Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant, can be used to control the AC or they can be set up to carry out tasks automatically when certain conditions are met. For instance, you may set up your air conditioner to turn on as soon as you enter your house and shut off when you leave. When you arrive, the auto-on feature will ensure that the temperature in your room is optimal. It is advised that customers opt for air conditioners with voice assistant compatibility and mobile applications for both Android and iOS in order to operate them more conveniently. Currently, certain air conditioners provide voice commands in Hindi and English.

Some of the common features include:

  • Setting the required power and timer.
  • Controlling the speed, and temperature settings of the air conditioner.
  • Auto-restart and pre-cool capabilities.
  • Controlling the zoning system of the air conditioner.

2. Self-clean/Auto-clean

One of the most important features of an air conditioner is its self-clean/auto-clean feature. This function helps to keep your unit clean and efficient, preventing any build-up that could cause problems down the road. It also saves you time and energy by eliminating the need to clean it yourself.

The auto-clean function works by detecting airborne bacteria and dust mites, which are then destroyed using ultraviolet light. This prevents them from spreading throughout your home and causing irritation or allergies. In addition, this feature ensures that your AC is operating at its peak performance all year long, no matter what the weather conditions may be like outside.

How Often Should You Use It?

It is important to remember that this feature should only be used when the humidity levels are high, as it can cause damage to the compressor. Otherwise, you may use it every 15 days, or weekly once when the atmospheric moisture is high.

3. Activity Sensors

The activity sensors in air conditioners are a great way to keep your home or office space comfortable while you’re away.  Your AC unit can perform better overall and use less energy if you integrate smart sensors into it. This might include features like intelligent heating or cooling depending on the number of people occupying your home, the temperature outside, the season, or even the time of day.

By monitoring these parameters with an app or widget on your phone or computer screen, you can adjust your AC unit to save money on power costs and shield you and your family from hazardous heat waves. Here is an illustration of how these sensors identify a person’s presence and absence in order to provide or withhold the necessary cooling.

4. App Control

It might be challenging to stay on top of all the most recent trends with the number of new devices produced each year. The adoption of app control functions in air conditioners is one trend that is taking off. This enables users to remotely control many features of their air conditioning units, such as the temperature and humidity levels. This is especially helpful if you work long hours or are away from home, or if you have young children who require extra attention during summer heat waves. The app control feature can also be used to check on the health of your system and take any necessary corrective action if there are any problems.

Here’s how the app control feature helps:

  • Location-based controls: Helps you control your AC wherever you are. Rushing out and forgetting to turn off the AC? Using the app control feature, it is easy to turn on or off your AC easily.
  • Turbo mode: Allows users to operate and set the desired room temperature with a single click of a button – either turbo cooling, or heating.
  • Weekly Scheduling: Your smartphone can be used to programme multiple timers to arrange your air conditioning according to your needs. For instance, you can programme your air conditioner to turn on at a specified time between the hours of the night and the early hours of the morning and to function in cool mode all day until dusk.
  • Others: Track your AC activity, know more about the air filer status, usage statistics, and more.

5. After-Sales Service & Additional Warranty

When you buy an air conditioner, it is important to pay heed to the after-sales service and additional warranties that are offered. By doing so, you can be sure that if there are any problems with your AC during the warranty period, they will be taken care of quickly and efficiently. Also, by having this type of coverage in place, you can avoid any unnecessary hassle or stress when trying to repair or replace your unit down the road. Be sure to ask about what type of repair or replacement assistance is available should something go wrong.

6. Auto Start

The majority of air conditioners on the market now include auto start features that resume on their own after a power outage when the electricity is restored. When the power comes back on, the AC resumes by itself and then returns to the required temperature settings initially set before the power outage. If you reside in an area where power outages are common, this feature should be taken into account and is a must.

7. Dehumidification

All air conditioners on the market produce normal humidity while cooling a place, but some of them offer a dehumidification mode that helps reduce the humidity. This system makes use of a compressor to raise the temperature of the refrigerant, ensuring that the moisture in the air is sucked out, and then condenses in the cooled heat exchanger. For those who reside in areas with uncomfortably high humidity levels, this function is highly advised.

8. Four-Way Swing

The majority of air conditioners have a two-way swing feature for distributing air in a space. While the ability of the AC to adequately cool the space is unaffected by this, having the necessary airflow every few seconds influences how cool you feel. The four-way swing system seen in some modern air conditioners helps disperse air both horizontally and vertically. This streamlines the procedure and makes adjusting the airflow simpler. For those who value ventilation in particular regions of their homes, this function is advised.

9. Sleep Mode

Sleep mode is an important feature in air conditioners because it helps to save energy. When the sleep mode is activated, devices such as AC units go into a lower power consumption mode that reduces your electricity bill. This can be especially beneficial if you have a high-rate plan and your household uses a lot of energy throughout the day. Additionally, when the sleep mode is turned on, infrared sensors monitor room temperature and humidity levels to ensure that these are within acceptable limits. If they aren’t, then the AC unit will start up automatically to maintain optimal conditions for sleeping or staying cool indoors during the summer months.

AC Gimmicks To Stay Away From

When it comes to ACs, there are a lot of fake tricks and features that consumers might be unaware of. So, in this buying guide, we will cover some of the most common tricks and features that are fake so that you can make an informed decision when purchasing an air conditioner. We would also like to remind you that while ACs may seem like a simple purchase, it is important to do your research before making any decisions since there are many different models and specifications available on the market.

#1: The Air Conditioner Comes With A 10-Year Warranty

This is one of the most popular scams out there, as nearly all air conditioners come with only a 3 or 5-year warranty at best. In fact, many brands don’t even offer warranties at all, while some offer warranty for just one year, despite the 10-year claim, eventually forcing the customer to pay for labor, transportation, and other incidental expenditures.

If your air conditioner does not work properly within those specified periods of time (3-5 years for regular use), then definitely contact the manufacturer for assistance rather than paying extra money for what could potentially be a scam repair job.

#2: COVID-19 Virus Filtration Claims

Many sellers are using anti-bacteria or COVID-19 virus filtration claims to attract buyers. These claims may be false and could result in you getting a faulty product that can harm your health. Always do your research before making any purchase, and make sure the product you’re buying has been approved by an accredited testing laboratory.

#3: Hidden Fee

Be wary of hidden fees and charges associated with ACs and appliances, particularly those sold through third-party sellers on sites. Always read the terms and conditions carefully before making a purchase, and make sure to ask questions about any additional costs involved (for example installation/delivery fees). Make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into before signing up for anything!

#4: Mosquito Repellent Feature

There are currently some companies advertising their ACs as having a special feature that repels mosquitoes. This characteristic could entice many people to buy such things in India, where there are many mosquitoes. It is crucial to recognize that such features are ineffective and may even be harmful to your health if there are any poisonous gases present.

FAQs

Even though India has a wide variety of AC brands, it’s crucial to pick the one that best suits your individual wants and demands. Some of the most popular options include Samsung, LG, Blue Star, Voltas, Daikin, and Hitachi. Each brand has its own unique features and benefits that you may find appealing. It is also important to research each option thoroughly before making a decision so that you can make an informed purchase.

To find out, measure outside temperatures on different days of the week and see which are lower and which are higher. If outdoor temperatures consistently trend downward throughout all seven days of the week as compared to what your current AC can handle, then it might be time for an upgrade.

Central AC units are larger, more powerful machines that use refrigerants to cool your home. They’re typically installed in large buildings or homes where there’s a lot of interior space to spare. On the other hand, regular AC units are much smaller and lighter devices and are ideal for small spaces like apartments or condos where space isn’t at a premium.

AC gas systems are typically not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Instead, the manufacturer usually offers a limited lifetime warranty on parts and labor only.

The 5-Star AC consumes less electricity as compared to the 3- and 4-Star ACs.  This is because 5-star ACs have more advanced features that require less energy to run.

Dual and single inverters are the two most common types. In comparison to conventional AC equivalents, dual inverters provide greater dependability and performance. In terms of energy efficiency, they are superb.

The amount of current an air conditioning unit needs will vary depending on the size and type of unit. Generally, central AC units require around 15-60 amps, but this can differ based on the model and configuration.

AC can be damaged by low voltage, but it is usually only a minor issue that needs to be addressed by a qualified electrician. Low voltage flows through the wires of an AC system at a much slower rate than regular electricity, and as a result, disruptions in the flow may cause damage. These damages may range from simply losing power to complete system failure. If you notice any unusual noises or smells coming from your AC unit, or if it isn’t performing as well, as usual, it’s best to call a qualified professional for an inspection.

Checking your air conditioning warranty is an easy process that can assist you in troubleshooting issues or pursuing damages compensation. Find your AC unit’s serial number first. This is typically written on a label inside the appliance or close to the compressor. Next, get in touch with your preferred air conditioning contractor and request that they conduct a system diagnostics report. By doing so, they will be able to inspect the AC unit for any malfunctions or potential damage and give you an estimate of how much it would cost to repair or replace specific parts.

It’s A Wrap!!!

Well, isn’t that easy? All the information you just read is what makes the AC buying guide we’ve got for you so comprehensive. We took care to cover all topics related to air conditioners, making sure that nothing ever gets left out. So, if you have decided on a new AC that doesn’t make your home feel like a sauna and helps save on energy costs as well at the same time, then these are some of the things which it should possess.

Do you want further details on the top AC brands or on their different types? To ensure you make the best decision possible, we have put together a list of the top AC brands as well as the best inverter ACs in the market. You will be able to read about their features, learn more about their ratings, and do a lot more. Feel free to contact us if you need any assistance.

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