5 Best DIY Mini Split Systems – (Reviews & Buyer’s Guide 2020)

If you want air conditioning that is more efficient than portable units yet easier to install than full duct systems, you cannot go wrong with the right DIY mini split. 

That said, mini splits do not come cheap. Both the price tag and the cost of installation will deal significant damage to your wallet. It is no surprise, that DIY kits have become so popular. A DIY-ready mini split might be expensive upfront, but it offers great value by enabling you to do the installation yourself. 

If you are in the market for a DIY mini split, you can trust both our list of the top picks and our breakdown of what to look for in a kit for the best starting point.

So, what is the Best DIY Mini Split?

Last update on 2020-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Although opinions online vary, some mini split models stand out as the best of the bunch. We have scoured the internet for expert and user reviews to bring you the top five most recommended DIY mini split units. Whether you are a first-time shopper or replacing an unreliable system, these models will very likely fit the bill.

1. Pioneer WYS Series SEER Mini Split System Set – The versatile option

Pioneer Air Conditioner WYS009G-19 Wall Mount...
  • Save money all year-round with a highly efficient ductless mini split inverter+ heat pump system
  • Ultra-silent and beautifully built perfect for home or light commercial use
  • Comes with every needed component in the box, including an easy-install 16ft copper piping kit
  • Use for both cooling and heating: 9000 BTU/hour with 18 SEER and 9. 5 HSPF efficiency
  • Free tech support and a 5 year coverage on the compressor
  • Voltage: 208~230 VAC, 60 hertz, 1 Phase (standard household 2 line power, l1-l2-g)

Last update on 2020-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  

Pioneer is well established in the mini split market, and as expected, their DIY solutions are top-notch. Their WYS series ranges from a modest 9,000 BTU to a robust, multi-zone 36,000 BTU unit, along with both 120-volt and 220-volt power systems, All models across the range are remarkably popular among DIY enthusiasts, primarily because they come with comprehensive installation kits.

The setup will be straightforward if you are handy and have had some experience with DIY installations. Besides, Pioneer kits come with wall-mounted indoor units and an outdoor evaporator that requires a solid surface for placement. If you reckon that finding an even spot for the outside unit will be difficult, you can lay a small concrete pad or choose from the ready-made pads available on the market. 

Like most other DIY mini splits, the refrigerant comes conveniently and safely locked in the system and is released after installation. Moreover, to make the electrical work involved a bit easier, the kit comes with insulating copper tubing with flare connections and interconnecting signal wiring. 

Besides excellent DIY features, the WYS line of mini split offers commendable energy efficiency with a 19 SEER inverter that eliminates hard starts and stops during temperature regulation to save on power and boost the system’s longevity. The units also have a decent heating and cooling range, and wireless worldwide remote access is also available in an optional module. All systems are safety tested and approved by ETL, so you can carry on with your DIY work without worry. 

DIY Pioneer units are renowned for their relatively easy installation, but if you happen to stumble, you can reach the Pioneer experts any time of the day via a hotline. 

Pros

  1. Generous installation kit
  2. Versatile power options for 120-volt and 220-volt supply systems
  3. Energy efficient 
  4. 24-hour after-sale services

Cons

  1. Outdoor unit does not feature a base pad for stable placement
  2. Requires a vacuum pump to release the refrigerant

Certainly, Pioneer has been in the home appliances game long enough to understand what DIY-enthusiasts look for in a mini split. If you buy any unit in the WYS Series, you will be happy with the versatility, energy efficiency, and most importantly, easy installation. 

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2. Senville SENL Energy Star Mini Split System – The quietest DIY mini split 

Senville SENL-12CD Mini Split Air Conditioner Heat...
  • Mini Split Ductless Air Conditioner and Heater - 19 SEER
  • 4-in-1 Design - With air conditioning, heating, dehumidifier and fan.
  • Low Ambient Kit - Cool and heat your room even in temperatures as low as 5F
  • Includes Easy Installation Kit with 16 Ft. Copper Line Set
  • Whisper Technology for Quiet Operation, Great for Bedrooms, Additions, Living Rooms and Commercial Applications. Self Service did not work, need to make manual changes to product bullet features.

Last update on 2020-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  

Senville is another popular brand that offers an entire mini split kit with everything you need to install your new system. The SENL range comes in different sizes, from 9,000 BTU to 24,000 BTU. As expected, the mini split comes pre-charged with refrigerant, but you will need a vacuum pump to vacuum out the line set and release the refrigerant. 

Installing the Senville will not be as much a walk in the park as with the Pioneer units but if you are handy, you can install one in a day or two with the right YouTube video. Undoubtedly, the most complicated part of installation will be the wiring. If you do not have prior electrical experience, with say a ceiling fan or dryer, it would perhaps be best to outsource this part of the process to an electrician. 

If you power through installing your Senville SENL, you will be rewarded with a system that runs ultra-quietly with excellent all-climate performance. Notably, all units come with an Energy Star rating to guarantee efficiency, and they are designed and developed with great quality materials for commendable durability. Moreover, with built-in Wi-Fi compatibility and wireless smartphone connectivity, you can control your mini split system from virtually anywhere.  

Pros

  1. Quiet operation
  2. Commendable all-climate performance with wide heating and cooling ranges
  3. Energy Star rating 
  4. High-quality build

Cons

  1. Semi-professional skills required for installation
  2. Line sets do not come vacuum-sealed

The SENL range of DIY mini splits may not be the easiest to install, but like all other Senville products, they offer excellent performance, high efficiency and long-term reliability.

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3. MRCOOL DIY SEER Ductless Heat Pump Mini split – The most DIY-friendly mini split 

MrCool DIY 18k BTU 20 SEER Ductless Heat Pump...
  • Control your MrCool DIY 3rd Gen mini split with the included wireless remote, IR Wifi Thermostat, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or an app from your Android or Apple device.
  • The 3rd Generation MrCool DIY mini split has an anti-mildew feature that activates in Cool, DRY or Auto mode. This keeps the fan running on low for roughly 10 minutes to dry condensation that can lead to mildew growing.
  • New SmartHVAC app: wifi control - compatible with Alexa and Google assistant - you can control your DIY anywhere with your Apple or android smart device and an Internet connection
  • Easy Do-It-Yourself installation: The included 25ft Quick Connect line means no special tools, training or equipment are needed. Gold fin condenser means it's corrosion resistant; Perfect for coastal conditions!
  • 7 year compressor, 5 year parts Warranty. Low Ambient Cooling: Cooling down to 5°F - this makes the MrCool DIY unit great for computer server rooms, greenhouses, or any other application that requires cooling year round. Unit is Energy Star rated.

Last update on 2020-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  

MRCOOL entered the mini split market with the sole purpose of filling the gap in the DIY section and so far, they have not let up their promise. Sure, a MRCOOL will likely cost more than its equivalent Pioneer or Senville model, but they offer the most straightforward DIY experience that money can buy. 

In addition to a full installation kit, your MRCOOL will come with line-sets that are already in a vacuum. These sets, which the company cleverly calls “quick-connects”, have seals that break when you bolt them onto the outside condenser, eliminating the need for vacuum pumps and gauges. The seals are reliable, even in the long-term, and the unit also comes with leakage detection to alert you in case of seal failure. 

MRCOOL mini splits come in size choices ranging from 12,000 to 36,000 BTU, and therefore, you can get the best suited capacity for your home or office. The variable-speed inverter ensures high energy efficiency, and with a low ambient cooling of up to 5°F, a MRCOOL unit can be the ideal system for applications that require cooling all year round, such as greenhouses and servers. MRCOOL models also feature Android and iOS wireless compatibility for convenient temperature control while on the go, and Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for an interactive voice-controlled experience 

Pros

  1. Comprehensive installation kit
  2. Pre-vacuumed refrigerant lines out of the box
  3. Leakage detection for seal failure monitoring
  4. High energy efficiency with variable-speed compressor functionality

Cons

  1. Costlier than most other competitors

MRCOOL mini splits are targeted specifically to the DIY market. If you do not have confidence in your workshop skills, these units are the way to go.

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4. Daikin 17-series SEER Wall-Mounted Ductless Mini split – The best value for the money

DAIKIN 18,000 BTU 17 SEER Wall-Mounted Ductless...
  • 10 Year Parts Warranty. HeatandCool is a Daikin manufacturer online authorized distributor, We provide FREE Technical support for all your needs and process Warranty by our in-house experts.
  • Daikin 17 SEER Wall-Mounted Ductless Mini-Split Inverter Air Conditioner Heat Pump System (230 Volt)
  • Includes: Indoor Fan Coil, Outdoor Condensing Unit, Remote Control, Maxwell 15 Ft. Installation Kit, and Outdoor Wall Bracket
  • Energy Efficient - 17 SEER, 9 HSPF.
  • Coverage Area of 1,000 Sq. Ft. Applications: Primary living areas (master bedrooms), hot or cold rooms, renovations & remodeling, basements, attics & garages.

Last update on 2020-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  

Daikin has been at the top of the HVAC manufacturing industry for decades, thanks largely to their high-performance, reliable, and long-serving units. Equally, the 17-series range of wall mounted mini splits is no exception, and it offers excellent value for its price. 

All units in this line feature one or more streamlined and aesthetically pleasing wall-mounted indoor units that will blend well with virtually any interior design. The outdoor unit runs quietly, and with variable-speed inverter control, a Daikin mini split will use just enough power to maintain your desired room conditions with minimal fluctuations. 

Daikin units are lauded for including features that let users create their unique ecosystems, such as wide louvers and auto swing and comfortable mode settings. They also come with pleasantries like undisturbed comfort, advanced filtration and wireless control for maximum convenience.

The 17-series line ships with a generous installation kit, but a considerable degree of skill is needed for activities like running the copper line-set and pumping down the system with a vacuum pump. Nonetheless, if you manage to get it working, it likely won’t require any tinkering for a long time. 

Pros

  1. Stylish indoor units
  2. Energy-efficient
  3. Feature-packed
  4. Reliable, long-term service

Cons

  1. Relatively demanding installation

Daikin have remained at the top of the air conditioner game primarily for offering the perfect balance between features and price. For that reason, if you want the best value for your money, you cannot go wrong with a DIY-ready Daikin mini split.

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5. Klimaire KSIV SEER Ductless Mini split Units – The promising new-comer

Klimaire 12,000 BTU KSIV 19 SEER Ductless...
  • Klimaire highly efficient 19 SEER KSIV012-H119-S(W) DC Inverter system includes indoor unit, outdoor unit, remote control, 15-ft. installation kit with accessories, interconnecting cables and Wall Bracket.
  • Outdoor Unit is pre-charged and accommodates up to 25 ft length of refrigerant lines. Includes a built-in base pan and a compressor heater to improve efficiency and reliability. Anti-Corrosive Golden Fin.
  • Auto-Clean Function cleans and dries the evaporator to prevent mildew grow and keep it fresh for next operation. Ultra-quiet low noise design indoor unit operates as low as 25 dB(A). Cools and Heats an application area of up to 550 sq. ft.
  • KSIV Series offers extraordinary features such as low ambient heating and cooling down to 5°F, customizable infrared remote-control settings, Self-cleaning, turbo operations, sleep-mode, auto restart, follow-me, and many more.
  • 5 Year Manufacturer Compressor Warranty. Feel free to contact us, We offer Free Technical Support.

Last update on 2020-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  

Klimaire may be the youngest mini split brand on our list, but in recent years, it has grown to be a formidable competitor. Not only are Klimaire ductless mini split systems known for their awe-inspiring energy efficiency, but all of them also come with an Energy Star rating. 

The indoor units feature Klimaire’s “Quick-hook design” for fast and easy wall mounting, and the outdoor unit is pre-charged to accommodate as much as 25 feet of refrigerant tubing. It also includes a built-in base pan for easier outside placement. 

The Klimaire KSIV line comes with numerous impressive features, but arguably the most remarkable is its ability to maintain the desired temperatures while concurrently cleaning the air. A Klimaire KSIV unit comes with an air ionizer that eliminates bacteria, viruses, mold, and other microorganisms that could adversely impact your health. It is also equipped with a carbon filter to combat unpleasant odors and harmful gases.

As one of the youngest players in the mini split game, Klimaire particularly keeps its units technologically endowed. In addition to seamless mobile wireless connectivity, models also feature intelligent remote-control functionality, thanks to an automatic temperature sensor that enables you to control the temperature of the precise space where the remote is located. 

Klimaire mini splits are some of the most affordable in today’s market, which means you could be tempted to splurge on professional installation. Nonetheless, if you are confident in your DIY skills, you will find the installation kit and accompanying instructions exceedingly useful. Not to mention, the unit will clean itself every time it toggles to low fan speed, which means you won’t be spending much time and effort on maintenance.

Pros

  1. Top-notch energy efficiency
  2. Easy wall-mounting with “quick-hook” indoor unit design
  3. Air-cleaning capabilities
  4. Excellent bang for the buck
  5. Automatic self-washing on low fan speed

Cons

  1. The line-sets are not pre-vacuumed

Despite being relatively new in the game, Klimaire have established themselves among the greats in the temperature control market. If you are looking for a comprehensive feature set but do not want to splurge on the more established brands, a Klimaire DIY-enabled unit will serve you just right. 

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How to Choose a DIY Mini Split Air Conditioner

Now that you know the models to look out for when shopping for a DIY mini split, you might feel the rush to pick any of the five units above. To make the best choice, however, it pays to grasp the primary aspects that make a DIY mini split ideal for your needs and preferences. 

1. Upfront Cost

A decent single-zone ductless mini split unit will set you back close to $1,000 without installation. Of course, the more the indoor units you have, the more you will need to spend. And depending on the model, installation costs can range from half to three times the unit’s shelf price. So, although a DIY model will require you to take on the risk of damaging your new system, it is well worth it. 

DIY mini splits are relatively new to the market, but models from well-known brands like Pioneer, Senville and Mitsubishi are typically more expensive than those from newer, lesser-known companies like Klimaire. Regardless of the brand, however, the price of a mini split will typically be higher if it has a rich feature set and a full installation kit and tops the list of the most efficient units. 

2. Ease of installation

When compared to central ducted systems, mini splits are significantly easier to install. Hence, you can fit separate systems on a room-by-room basis without much damage to your walls or plasterwork. 

 

That said, installing a Do-It-Yourself mini split still requires a considerable amount of handy work. Even if you have relevant previous experience, you will want to choose a unit that makes the installation process as easy for you as possible. Consequently, the highest rated DIY-ready systems come with installation kits that feature;

  • An easy to assemble wall-mount bracket
  • Easily bendable and pre-vacuumed refrigerant lines
  • Hooks for mounting the indoor units
  • Some basic hand tools
  • Easy to follow instructions. 

3. Energy Efficiency

Like all other cooling systems, mini splits have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating, which indicates the amount of electricity the unit will use during a typical cooling season. Ratings on current systems range from 13 to 33 SEER, and the higher the number, the lower your energy bill will be in the summer. 

Go for a DIY mini split with a high SEER rating to spend less on electricity

Go for a unit with a high SEER rating to spend less on electricity

Size matters

In addition to the SEER rating, mini splits also feature a measure of cooling capacity in British Thermal Units (BTU). A unit’s BTU corresponds to the size of space it cools, so be sure to take the right measurements of your rooms before you go out shopping. 

Confirm that the capacity of your DIY mini split of choice corresponds to the aggregated size of your rooms

Confirm that the capacity of your mini split of choice corresponds to the aggregated size of your rooms

An oversize unit will be inefficient and costly to operate while an undersized system will be ineffective. A “Manual J” heat load calculation is the most reliable way to determine the right mini split capacity to get.

4. Additional modes and features

One of the key benefits of doing the installation yourself is that it saves you money that you can later add to your purchasing budget to get a more feature-packed system. A unit with several operating modes, such as heat, cool, dehumidify, fan-only and sleep will give you more freedom to customize the feel of your space. 

Extra features improve a DIY mini splits user experience

Extra features improve a mini split’s user experience

Additional features like air-cleaning and self-washing capabilities are also great to have, as are niceties like a programmable timer and an intuitive mobile app. Some high-end models even come with an energy-saving built-in occupancy sensor that ramps up the operation of an indoor unit when you enter a room and turns it down when you leave.

Wrap Up

Essentially, a mini split is an excellent option for room-to-room temperature control. It is more effective than a window air conditioner, and because it lacks ducts that are typically prone to leaks, it can be a lot more efficient than a central HVAC system. Moreover, if your ducts do not serve the entire house or you do not need to condition every room, a mini split can be the perfect supplement. 

Mini splits that come with DIY kits give you the chance to explore your handy side while saving you the money you would need to hire a professional. The five systems we have reviewed offer friendly and well-equipped installation kits that will help you set up your unit in no time. However, it goes without saying that due care is needed to prevent damage, or worse, self-harm. If you do not have prior experience with electricals, for instance, it is best to finish laying out the units and then get a qualified electrician to do the wiring.

All in all, the right DIY-friendly mini split will serve you well. And, because installing it yourself will give you more familiarity to the unit, you will likely be invested in keeping it in excellent operating condition for the long term.