What is the Best Brand Air Conditioner?

What is the Best New AC Unit Money Can Buy 2018?

I serve on a few Advisory Boards and am a regular contributor to a few HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning) Industry news publications. A few months ago, a writer for one of these publications contacted me about a story she was writing about designing the perfect home comfort system for my “dream home”.

I personally think “comfort” encompasses a lot more than just temperature. Comfort needs to account for temperature, humidity, noise level, airflow and air velocity, and air quality. Beyond that even, I think true comfort is also having peace of mind.

By peace of mind I mean; the confidence in knowing my cooling and heating equipment is efficient enough that I can set it to maintain whatever temperature I want without concern of a ridiculous power bill as a result. Also, knowing my new HVAC System is highly reliable and covered by a great warranty.

When I design a new air conditioning and heating system for a client, I like to start with an interview to find out which of these are the most important to them and in what order, so we can find the brand and model that best suits their desire and budget. The point of the article the writer called me about however was based on the notion that money was no object. That got me to thinking and inspired me to write this article – what is the best new AC unit money can buy in 2018.

The Best AC Unit for Hot Climates Like Phoenix, AZ

Seeing as I’ve lived in Mesa, Arizona (a suburb of Phoenix) for twenty-five plus years, and my company, Magic Touch Mechanical serves the Phoenix Metro area, my “perfect home comfort system” is what I consider the best option for our desert climate. However, I think this system would be perfect in most parts of the country.


What Fuel Type AC & Heating Equipment is Best for my Perfect System 2018?

Fuel types include natural gas, propane, all electric, and hybrid (the ability to utilize electric or gas depending on conditions). For my perfect system, I choose an electric heat pump.

Electric heat pumps can be tied into alternative energy systems like solar and wind power and no gas is required for either heating or cooling. Modern heat pumps produce more than enough heat to handle even the coldest of days in central Arizona.

While a conventional heat pump might not be the right choice in a place like Minnesota on its coldest days, my perfect system heat pump is not so “conventional”, so don’t rule it out just yet my cold country friends! To understand what I mean by that, the exact brand and model I’ve chosen for my perfect system has the capability of providing heat in ambient temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit.


What Compressor Type is in my Perfect System?

If you’ve read some of my other articles, you may have run across one comparing different AC compressor types. The three types of compressor technologies compared in that article were:

  • Variable Speed Inverter Compressor
  • Two-Stage Compressor
  • Single Speed Compressor

This one doesn’t even require thinking – I choose the variable speed inverter compressor no questions asked. Variable speed inverters in my opinion mark the biggest game-changer in residential air conditioning and heating in my thirty years in the trade. This compressor type is something anyone living in Phoenix or similar climates should consider, and if you don’t know how it works, I recommend you use the search tool on our blog page and search the term “variable speed” for a lesson on what the benefits of this technology are. You’ll see why I chose this for my perfect system.


Split System, Package System, Ductless Mini Split System, or Hybrid Mini Split System?

My pick is a hybrid mini split heat pump system. A hybrid mini split utilizes one outdoor heat pump condenser connected to multiple indoor ductless air handlers and a ducted mini split air handler. This combination allows maximum versatility for “zoning” every room in the home with individual room-by-room air handlers, and a partially ducted area for common areas.


What brand air conditioner is the “Best Air Conditioner Money Can Buy in 2018”?

The big reveal, drum roll please…

My choice is the Mitsubishi FH Series Multi-Zone Hyper Heat ductless mini split heat pump!

The Mitsubishi FH Series checks all the boxes for what I consider to be the ultimate comfort system. Some of the key features include:

  • Variable Speed Inverter Compressor
  • Ultimate Energy Efficiency (the Mitsubishi FH boast some of the highest SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), HSPF (Heating Season Performance Factor), and EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings available on the market today
  • Infrared Room Temperature Sensor (scans the room with its built in IR sensor to assure the perfect temperature in the entire room – no more hot-spots or cold-spots)
  • Ideal zoning of each room (the ability to maintain different temperatures between occupied or unoccupied areas of the home – bonus feature; no more “thermostat wars”)
  • 12-Year Manufacture Parts Warranty (When installed by a Mitsubishi Diamond Contractor like Magic Touch Mechanical, this system has one of the longest all-inclusive parts warranties available)
  • Wi-Fi, remote control thermostats. Each air handler comes equipped with its own thermostat for each room and is capable of being controlled from away from home.
  • Reliability! We just don’t have breakdown issues with these systems. We have installed literally hundreds of them over the years and the failure rate has proven to be much lower than that of conventional air conditioners and heating equipment.
  • Ultra-Quiet. These systems are some of the quietest on the market today – I don’t want to have to turn my TV up when my AC kicks on!
  • Perfect Airflow & Velocity. If you’ve ever sat in an area in your home and felt like you were sitting in a wind tunnel because the air from one register (vent) is blowing right on you – or – you have vents that feel like nothing is coming out…you know what I mean. The Mitsubishi air handlers are designed to not only produce a steady “lull” of air, they are oscillating and adjustable.
  • Clean Air! I have a lung disease from 30-years of climbing around in attics and crawlspaces. Clean indoor air is very important to me. By eliminating most of the air ducts in the home, these units by design eliminate one of the largest sources of contaminants and dust in the home.


Why Mitsubishi Ductless? They’re not the only game in town.

My company, Magic Touch Mechanical in Mesa, AZ operates a little differently than most of our competitors. We are authorized dealers for multiple air conditioning brands including; Trane, Lennox, Goodman, Mitsubishi and a few others depending on the application.

Our philosophy is, “offer options not ultimatums”. We believe in letting our clients choose what works best for their needs and budget by showing them multiple options for their particular application. Most HVAC Contractors represent only one or two brands and then “push” their brand by subtly “bashing” the other brands. As a result, the customer might not wind up with the brand or model that was best for them, rather the one that was best for the contractor.

Frankly, I don’t have a preference because I make the same amount of money on a new AC unit install no matter what brand or model our client chooses…I just want them to choose Magic Touch Mechanical to install it!

When it comes to mini split ductless heat pumps and air conditioners however, there is a lot of junk coming out of Mexico and China that is rebranded (white-labeled) with a major manufacturers name on it. There’s also a lot of this equipment being sold online that looks and feels the same as the good stuff but built very poorly and even many that aren’t true inverter compressor units. Frankly, I wouldn’t install some of this junk on my dog house.

There’s a reason Mitsubishi is the top selling ductless brand in North America and I’m the one who takes the flack if there’s a problem with the equipment down the road. Besides, this article is about my perfect system…and I love this product!


The Runner(s) Up

Since this was my perfect system, money was no object. That said, money is always an object for us in the 99% group! Depending on the application, removing a conventional “ducted” air conditioning and heating system and installing the system I describe above can become significantly more expensive than a conventional equipment replacement.

My runner up spot is a tie between the Lennox XP25 and the Trane XV201 (with a slight lean towards the Lennox).

Both of these units check a lot of the boxes that I mentioned being important to me in providing the ultimate comfort experience. Both are variable speed, both are extremely quiet, both offer good warranties, and so on.

Neither are ductless, so lose several advantages of the Mitsubishi FH from both an air quality and efficiency point of view.

While both have proven very reliable, neither have the extremely low failure rate that Mitsubishi boasts. That said, I wouldn’t be sad to own either one – in fact I own equipment from both on several of my properties.