If you’re in the market for an air conditioning system to beat the heat this summer, you may be focusing on the cost. But, while getting cheap air conditioning is certainly possible, you may want to consider your needs and requirements before simply choosing the cheapest unit you can find. In this article, we’ve outlined all of the information you’ll need to understand whether cheap air conditioning is really worth it.
Primarily, cheap air conditioning units will be what’s known as portable or standalone units. But, these units may not be right for you, as they tend not to provide performance that’s as good as a split unit. These split units are more expensive, but for those looking for peak air conditioning performance, they’re often the best option.
The cooling output of the air conditioning unit will also affect how cheap it is. We’ve included a section on this in this article, so you can get a good sense of how much cooling power you’ll need for your space. Also, some cheaper units can end up missing key features – read on to find out which features are often left off, and decide if those are deal breakers for you.
Portable/standalone air conditioning units
One of the most popular types of cheap air conditioning units are portable or standalone units. These units can be moved around, and typically only need to be plugged in to a standard socket, with a hose out of the window to vent hot air.
A portable unit could be a great choice for you if you’re in the market for cheap air conditioning. They’re best if you only have one room that you want to keep cool, as they’re generally only powerful enough to cool one room at a time. If you just want a little bit of air conditioning in your bedroom for the hottest part of the year, a portable unit could be right for you.
However, portable units do have some downsides. They are simply not as effective at cooling as split units, and they can even end up leaking heat back into your room. Plus, you’ll have to keep the window open to allow the exhaust hose to vent heat, which can be a security risk. Some portable units, especially the extremely cheap ones, can also be quite noisy, which is an issue especially if you’re trying to use one to cool your bedroom overnight.
So, if you’re in the market for cheap air conditioning, consider a portable unit if you only want cooling for a brief period of time and in a small room.
Split unit air conditioners
If you have a larger room to cool, or want to make sure that you’re getting efficient cooling for your money, you’ll generally want to choose a split unit. While these are generally more expensive than portable units – and you’ll have to pay for installation on top – they are significantly more efficient, and will provide guaranteed cooling in a fixed room.
Split units are fixed, usually to the wall of your home. They also require an outdoor unit to be installed. There are security benefits to this type of unit, as you won’t need to keep a window open as with a portable unit.
While split air conditioning units are more expensive than portable ones, they can still be a great choice if you’re looking for cheap air conditioning. They’re more efficient and quieter, and so, even with the added installation costs, can be a great investment if you’re looking for longer term cooling of your home.
Size and cooling output
Another factor which affect the price of an air conditioning unit will be the amount of cooling power it actually produces. Units will typically list the amount of BTU (British Thermal Unit) output they produce, so you can compare this number to see how powerful an air conditioner is. In general, more expensive units will have a lower output. It’s essential that you purchase an air conditioner that’s powerful enough to properly cool the space that you intend it to, otherwise – no matter how cheap your air conditioner – you’ll just be wasting money.
The other thing to bear in mind with cheaper units is that they may be less efficient. This means that, for the same amount of cooling output, you may end up spending more in electricity bills. You’ll want to choose the most efficient air conditioning unit you can for the right output, as less efficient units will just be wasted electricity – and you may find that the cheap air conditioning unit you chose ends up costing you more in the long run.
Extra features you might miss if you choose a cheaper unit
Some of the following features are not available on cheaper air conditioning units. It’s worth considering whether these features are important to you. An air conditioning unit is a serious investment, and you don’t want to regret not having the right feature set for your home.
- Dehumidifier mode. Some AC units will also function as dehumidifiers, which is perfect if you’re looking to dry a space as well as cooling it. Perfect for bedrooms or kitchens.
- Heater mode. Most split units – but not all portable ones – can be used as heaters, allowing one unit to be a dual purpose method for climate control in a space.
- Remote control. Having a remote control for your air conditioning unit means you won’t have to constantly get up to adjust the settings.
- Timer. A timer is essential, especially if you’re going to be using an air conditioning unit in your bedroom – you don’t want to leave it going all night.
So, now you know all the up and down-sides to a cheap air conditioning unit. Think carefully about any investment you do make into climate control, as it’s important to make the right one. By carrying out the proper research, you can decide for yourself if cheap air conditioning is really worth it for your needs.
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