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The key to picking out a great air conditioner and getting your money’s worth (especially if you don’t have a chance to try the air conditioner out personally) is to understand what the specifications mean.

So, in this guide, we’re going lay out the most important things you should be aware of when choosing an air conditioner.

Meanwhile, we’re also assuming you’re looking for a wall-mounted air conditioner.

PS: If you want a portable air conditioner, we have a separate post for that!

7 Things To Consider When Choosing An Air Conditioner

Don’t just pick an air conditioner based on the price, brand and appearance alone. Pricey models are not necessarily what you might need.

And there are other arguably more factors to consider!

1. Energy Efficiency

To get the most out of air conditioner, you’ll want one that keeps your electric bills low.

And that means you need to look for an energy efficient air conditioner. A quick peek at the Energy star rating is an easy way to determine this! More stars is better.

Therefore, there are many new air conditioner models with a 5-star energy efficiency rating.

Mitsubishi 1HP Inverter R32 Air Conditioner MSY-JP10VF

At the very least, get an inverter air conditioner with 4-star rating. In fact, inverter air conditioner models start at 4-star rating.

If you want more technical way of checking the energy efficiency (e.g., between two 5-star air conditioner models), you can check the CSPF or EER rating from the technical specifications.

These are the:

  • Cooling Seasonal Performance Factor (CSPF)
  • Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)

Both should be as high as possible.

At the time of writing, the highest CSPF that we found among various inverter air conditioner models in Malaysia is 6.96.

2. Inverter Vs Non-Inverter

You’ve probably already heard that inverter air conditioners are more energy efficient than the older non-inverter technology!

If you’ve always wondered why:

With non-inverter motors, there’s only one fixed speed (i.e. max speed). And once it reaches the desired room temperature, it turns off. Turning on again later when the temperature rises again. This makes a lot of noise. And takes more power!

On the other hand, inverter air conditioners are able to adjust and regulate their compressor motor speed without having to switch off completely which saves on power!

If you’d like a more in-depth analysis, have a look at our Inverter VS Non-Inverter Air Conditioner guide, where we run through everything you need to know about the two systems.

3. R410A Vs R32

Refrigerants are necessary in air conditioners. Fridges use them too.

They are contained inside the cooling coils (as liquids) to absorb heat. When they get hot enough, they evaporate. And that is what the exhaust fan pushes outside!

There have been multiple refrigerant changes in the air conditioner industry to eliminate those that contribute to global warming!

At least for household appliances in Malaysia:

Even the previous R410A has a global warming potential. And the newer R32 refrigerant is currently the most environmentally-friendly refrigerant we have today.

Nowadays, most air conditioners in Malaysia use R32 refrigerant. Brands will happily highlight this fact anyways.

Air conditioners that are still using R410A are considered outdated models.

4. Noise Level

Chances are, you’re going to have the air conditioner on while you sleep:

So unless you’re a heavy sleeper, you may want to double-check that the air conditioner you get is at least between 40 to 50 dB!

Better still, below 40dB!

Below is a table of the average noise levels of air conditioners according to their respective horsepower. You should get air conditioner with noise levels equal to but preferably lower than the average value.

Horsepower (HP) Noise Level (dBA)
1 40
1.5 42
2 45
2.5 47

5. Size Of The Space You Want To Cool

In air conditioner terms, the area you want to cool is measured in square feet (sq ft).

To know which air conditioner is suitable for your room size, look at the Rated Cooling Capacity (measured in BTUs per hour) or horsepower (HP)!

Here’s a quick guide on how much BTU or HP you need for your room size:

Room Size (sq ft) Rated Cooling Capacity (BTU/h) Horsepower
100-150 5,000 1
150-250 6,000
250-300 7,000
300-350 8,000
350-400 9,000
400-450 10,000
450-550 12,000 1.5
550-700 14,000
700-1,000 18,000 2
1,000-1,200 21,000
1,200-1,400 23,000
1,400-1,500 24,000
1,500-2,000 30,000 2.5
2,000-2,500 34,000

Note: If the room is sunny or has many sources of heat, you may want to get an air conditioner with a higher cooling capacity.

And if you find the air conditioner inadequate for a larger room size, you can always get a stand fan to help circulate the air!

6. Smart Features To Consider

  • WiFi enabled (so you can control the air conditioner through your phone!) via a built-in WiFi adaptor so that you can connect to your air conditioner through smartphone via the respective App. The App typically allows you to control and monitor the room temperature of your air conditioner
  • Humidity sensors – these enable the air conditioner to more accurately adjust settings automatically for a more comfortable environment (i.e., doesn’t dry your skin out as much)
  • Built-in timers – there are timers that go up to 24 hours but most air conditioner models are limited to 12 hours. Timers are usually hour-based too (and not based on time of day)
Some Air Conditioner Models Can Be Controlled Remotely With Your Smartphone
Some Air Conditioner Models Can Be Controlled Remotely With Your Smartphone – Photo by RyanKing999

7. Other Features To Consider

To justify higher pricing, premium models of air conditioners may come with many other features. These include:

  • 4-way auto swing (basic models usually only have an up or down swing mode).
  • Long range air flow (from the time of writing, the longest we have seen is 15m for indoor air conditioner models)
  • Easy to clean exteriors or a self-cleaning function (For HITACHI, it’s called Frost Wash) to reduce the effort required to maintain your air conditioner

PS: You’ll still need to seek an expert air conditioner cleaning service once in a while (e.g., when the refrigerant is finished).

  • Air purifying features and odour removal
  • UV sterilization (this one became more prominent in recent years, to address concerns over Covid-19)
  • Long warranty period for the compressor (besides a long general warranty – this is typically for 1 to 3 years)

Conclusion

With this guide on how to choose the right air conditioner for your home, you should have enough knowledge to make your own decision on which models to choose.

If not, we have another post on our recommendations for the best air conditioners in Malaysia! Don’t forget to pick a model based on the size of the room you want to use it in!

Janice

Janice is the editor for BestBuyGet.com. Wanted to be an author as a kid, got a D in English (First Language), but somehow now a content writer with an engineering background. Bakes, does yoga, plays the piano, reads, and most other introverted indoor hobbies. Also an active volunteer at Zero Waste Malaysia.