Are you tired of relying on window air conditioners but don’t have the budget for a new central air conditioning system? Then ductless AC units may be the solution for you. Mini-split systems are perfect for older homes where ductwork isn’t installed, as they’re built directly into the wall or ceiling.
We use top construction materials databases to estimate how much a ductless AC unit costs for your home. We also gather quotes from top HVAC contractors and read through countless reviews to give you the most accurate information possible.
- The average cost of a ductless AC unit for homes is $2,995.
- Systems size has the biggest impact on the overall cost of your ductless AC installation.
- We don’t recommend installing this units by yourself—it’s best to leave it to a professional.
How Much Does It Cost to Install a Ductless AC Unit?
A new ductless air conditioner costs between $1,300 and $4,435 to install, with the national average being $2,995. This cost is for a single-zone system, so the total cost may be higher if you need a multi-zone system to properly cool your home.
|Low Cost||Average Cost||High Cost|
How Do Costs Differ By Ductless AC Unit Type?
The type of ductless mini-split system you install significantly affects its overall cost. Wall-mounted and floor-mounted mini-splits are the most affordable, but you may pay up to $2,000 more for an inconspicuous ceiling-mounted system.
|Ductless AC Unit||Low Cost||High Cost|
Ceiling-Mounted Mini-Split Air Conditioner
Ceiling-mounted mini-split systems — ceiling cassettes — deliver the greatest airflow. These mini-splits are installed directly on the ceiling and look similar to bathroom exhaust fans. As the most expensive type of ductless mini-split, ceiling-mounted ductless AC systems cost an average of between $3,030 and $3,805.
Floor-Mounted Mini-Split Air Conditioner
Floor-mounted mini-splits are not installed in the floor like central AC units; instead, they are located at least 6 inches above the floor. You may be familiar with these systems from hotel rooms, as they are commonly found there. For this type of ductless mini-split, expect to pay between $1,300 and $4,435.
Wall-Mounted Mini-Split Air Conditioner
Wall-mounted ductless mini-splits are the most common type of mini-split and cost between $1,805 and $4,435 on average. These units are installed higher on the wall and can be used in any room.
Learn where and why you’d install a ductless mini-split system.
How Does System Size Affect Ductless AC Unit Pricing?
The size of your ductless mini-split system has the biggest impact on cost. Not only does the size of the system affect the number of zones you need, but it also means you’ll have to pay more for mini-split installation costs because you have a larger project.
If you install a ductless mini-split in one room, you can get by with a smaller unit for $1,805. If you install multiple zones, you’ll have to pay $4,435 or more for larger units that meet your cooling needs.
|Home Size||British Thermal Units (BTUs)||Mini-split Tonnage||Average Cost|
|450 square feet||9,000 BTUs||0.75 ton||$1,805|
|600 square feet||12,000 BTUs||1.0 ton||$2,035|
|900 square feet||18,000 BTUs||1.5 ton||$2,910|
|1,200 square feet||24,000 BTUs||2.0 ton||$3,330|
|1,800 square feet||36,000 BTUs||2.75 ton||$3,455|
|2,000 square feet||40,000 BTUs||3.0 ton||$4,435|
Which Factors Impact Ductless AC Unit Cost Estimates?
Before investing in a ductless air conditioning system, there are a few mini-split pros and cons. The size of your home is just one factor that will affect the initial cost of a ductless mini-split system — you also need to decide which brand to buy, how many zones you need, and more. When looking for the best ductless mini split unit for your home, you should consider the following factors:
- Number of zones
- Room size and ceiling height
You may not be able to control the square footage of your home or the number of zones you need, but you can strategically choose which brand you install. Some brands cost significantly more than others, with Fujitsu and Mitsubishi leading the way in cost. While you might pay $4,800 for a mini-split system from Panasonic, you can spend as much as $12,000 to install a ductless AC system from Fujitsu.
|Ductless AC Brand||Low Cost||High Cost|
|Daikin AC Costs||$1,220||$8,100|
|Fujitsu AC Costs||$2,200||$12,000|
|Mitsubishi AC Costs||$1,200||$8,700|
|Panasonic AC Costs||$1,200||$4,800|
|Rheem AC Costs||$1,200||$8,300|
Read our review of the top air conditioner brands on the market to learn about which ones we recommend.
The efficiency of a cooling system is measured by its seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER rating. This rating is represented by a number on a scale from 0 to 33 SEER.
The minimum standard SEER rating is 15 for southern regions and 14 for northern regions, but you can spend extra on mini-split systems with efficiency ratings of 20 SEER or more.
You can expect to pay around $3,000 for a standard efficiency mini-split system with 14 to 19 SEER. Expect to spend up to $5,000 for split AC with a high efficiency rating of 20 SEER or more.
Number of Zones
The larger your home, the more zones you’ll need to keep each room cool — and the more zones you need, the more expensive your ductless air conditioning system will be. If you only need one or two zones for a single room, you’ll pay between $2,000 and $8,000 for your entire system. However, if you have a larger home, you could pay up to $13,500 for a multi-zone ductless system AC.
|Number of Zones||Low Cost||High Cost|
Room Size and Ceiling Height
Ductless mini-split air conditioner systems are designed with the standard 8-foot ceiling in mind. If you have higher ceilings in your home, you should add at least 20% to the BTUs your home needs. This will increase your ductless AC cost because you will need a larger ductless system or more zones — it will also impact how many mini-splits you need.
Professional vs. DIY Ductless AC Unit Installation
To install a ductless AC system, you need to know about electrical and HVAC systems, which are not the easiest DIY tasks. Although these units are easier to install than ducted systems, we recommend you work with a licensed HVAC technician to ensure your ductless unit is installed correctly.
Doing Ductless AC Unit Installation Yourself
We recommend hiring a professional HVAC technician and electrician to install your ductless mini-split system. If you trust top-rated HVAC providers to install your ductless AC system, you can rest assured that it’s installed correctly, that you benefit from local rebates, and have access to workmanship warranties.
But if you do decide to install the unit yourself to save on labor costs, you will follow these steps for ductless AC installation:
- Choose an exterior wall for your indoor unit, ideally near your outdoor unit.
- Find studs, drill holes, and hang your mini-split unit.
- Unfold your refrigerant lines and push through holes to your outdoor unit.
- Connect the control wires and connect the pipes.
- Connect your mini-split to your thermostat.
- Turn on your ductless mini split and enjoy.
Hiring a Professional for Ductless AC Unit Installation
To get connected with an HVAC provider to install your ductless mini-split air conditioners, follow these easy steps:
- Find local experts near you: Use the button below to contact one of the best HVAC professionals in your area.
- Get a quote from a few options: Always get at least two quotes before you decide which air conditioner installation to use. You’ll find the up-front cost differs by provider, so you can save money by shopping around.
- Consult them about their recommendations: Ask the HVAC technician which type of ductless system they recommend. These professionals know the industry well and can determine the best system for your home.
- Choose a ductless mini-split AC quote: Review all your quotes and estimates, then choose the one that best fits your cooling needs and budget.
- Install your ductless mini-splits: Your HVAC provider will set up a time to come to your home and install your indoor air handlers and outdoor condenser unit and connect each to your home’s ductless system.
So, Is a Ductless AC Unit the Cost?
If you have an older home that doesn’t have ductwork installed, ductless AC units can be the most cost-effective way to properly heat and cool your home. On average, a ductless mini-split air conditioner costs between $1,300 and $4,435 to install, but that cost can double or even triple if you need multiple zones to cool your home. However, this cost is still significantly less than installing a central AC system and spending thousands of dollars on new ductwork.
Now that you know more about what a ductless AC unit costs, check out these FAQs that other homeowners have asked about ductless air conditioners.
FAQs About Ductless AC Units
Are ductless air conditioners worth it?
If you have an older home, don’t have ductwork, or want a better way to cool an individual room, then a ductless air conditioner is worth it. Not only will you save money on AC installation if you choose a ductless system, but these air conditioners can save you money on your utility bills — if you choose an energy-efficient model.
How many square feet can a ductless air conditioner cool?
The number of square feet a ductless air conditioner can cool depends on its size. A large ductless AC system with 36,000 BTUs can cool up to 1,800 square feet, but smaller 9,000 BTU units can only handle up to 450 square feet of living space.
Do ductless AC units use a lot of electricity?
The total amount of electricity a ductless AC unit uses depends on its efficiency rating and the outside temperature. Compared to central AC systems, ductless AC units lose up to 30% less energy, making them efficient.
What is the difference between a ductless AC and a window air conditioner?
Both window AC units and ductless AC units pull air from the outside, cool it, and push it into your home, but they are installed differently. A window AC unit is installed in the window sill, but a ductless AC unit is installed directly into the wall or ceiling of your home.