With temperatures soaring, most Singaporean homes are equipped with an aircon to defend ourselves against the heat. While considered to be an essential appliance for every new home, buying an aircon in Singapore might not be very straightforward. And like a fridge, washer, or television, you want to make sure you buy the right air conditioner for your home. Here is our aircon Singapore buying guide that will tell you how to buy your aircon, and which is the best aircon to buy in Singapore. While I hope you read through the entire guide, if you do not have time, make sure to go through at least sections 1 (quick tips on buying your aircon) and 2 (best air conditioners to buy).
2020 Aircon Singapore Buying Guide: Buying the Best Aircon in Singapore
Table of Contents:
This article was first published on 9 January 2020 and updated on 30 January 2020.
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Quick Tips on buying an aircon in Singapore
If you don’t have time to read through this entire guide, this section serves as a quick summary for you. Do check out the next section where we share a summary of the best aircon, short for air conditioner, to buy.
- The average life span of an aircon is at least a decade. If you maintain and clean it well, it can last up to 15 years. It is key to do regular aircon servicing (once every quarter) and chemical wash at least once a year.
- How much does an aircon cost? On average, a split system aircon (single unit with compressor) on average will cost about $1,000 to $1,500 for a good model. A multi-system will cost about $3,000 – $5,000 for a System 3 or 4.
- In summary, when buying an aircon, you first will decide which type of aircon you want. There are 4 types. The most common option for HDB flats would be the split type aircon. You will likely get a multi-split (1 compressor to multiple aircon units). It is the most energy-efficient type.
- Count the rooms you want to cool. For a regular 4-room flat, you will get a System 4 (which means 4 units). You will need to also know your area size in order to determine what capacity (BTU = British Thermal Unit) to get. Commonly, people get a 9,000 BTU aircon for their rooms and a 12,000 BTU aircon for the living room.
- Buy your aircon from a reputable brand. You won’t go wrong choosing from Mitsubishi, Daikin, Panasonic. LG and Samsung are also good choices.
- Buy an aircon that has a good energy-efficient rating (EER). A 5-tick rating is the best and could be worth paying a premium for.
- The last thing you want is to have your aircon interrupting your Korean drama. Get an aircon with low dB. Mistubishi Starmex runs at 19dB, which is very quiet.
- Make sure to get your aircon installed by a professional.
Make sure to apply for a credit card that will give you rebates so you have extra savings.
Best aircon to buy in Singapore
This is a summary of our product recommendations. You can find out more details on each model as you read the guide.
Top brands and models:
- Mitsubishi Electric Starmax Inverter Aircon
- Daikin iSmile System 3 Air Conditioner
- Panasonic Deluxe Inverter XS Series System 4 (3×9,000 BTU & 1×12,000 BTU)
- LG Art Cool Inverter Air Conditioner System 4 (click here for system 3) – this model is black in colour and is very sleek and beautiful
- Budget buy: EuropAce System 3 Aircon (2 Ticks) – 9k + 9k + 18k – Free standard installation worth $690
Central aircon in Singapore:
Portable aircon in Singapore:
- Best: Honeywell MM14CCS Portable Aircon
- Budget buy: EuropAce 12000 Btu 3-in-1 Portable Aircon with Dehumidifier that comes with a 5 years compressor warranty
How to buy an aircon for your home
Buying an aircon will depend on your home needs and preferences. Here are the things to consider when buying an aircon for your home.
1. What type of aircon in Singapore?
The first step would be what type of aircon are you planning to get for your home? There are 4 common models – window, split, central and portable air conditioner. Each has its pros and cons which I will share below.
This is a common sight in older homes as it was a popular option back in the day. Window aircons are single, standalone units. Due to its all-in-one build, it is better suited for homes that are short on space. It is cheaper to install, maintain and clean.
However, as it is installed by your window, it does take up your window space and you will have to carve out a slot in the wall or window area for the aircon unit to fit. Window units can also be noisy due to the compressor. Aesthetically, it does not look as nice compared to the split aircon.
This is the more popular choice for homes nowadays. The sleek design and body of split aircons suit modern homes better. It is also a suitable option to cool your entire home.
A split aircon has the main compressor placed outdoors, and the accompanying aircon units are installed indoors. The compressor supports and transports cool air into the aircon units indoors.
|Split systems are quieter, more powerful and energy-efficient compared to the window and portable aircons. They can be individually controlled. You will find handy built-in features such as air purifiers or ionisers, motion sensors and WiFi.|
Split air conditioners might be more costly to purchase and install. You will also need to build an outdoor frame to install the compressor, followed by wiring and piping works to connect the satellite air conditioners in the various rooms to the main one.
For a split air conditioner, there is a single split (one compressor to one air-conditioner) and multi-split (one compressor to multiple air-conditioners). You will also see the term System. If they say system 3, it means that 3 indoor air conditioner units are connected to 1 main compressor outdoors.
Central air conditioners are what you will see in bungalow homes, corporate offices, restaurants or hotels. They are very effective in cooling big spaces. Compared to split or window air conditioners, central air conditioners are able to cool down space evenly rather than select areas.
A central air conditioner is made up of a larger compressor installed outdoors and a connected indoor furnace with pipes that transport and push cool air through the vents into the air conditioner unit. You will then control the temperature using the main thermostat. Central air conditioners are aesthetically pleasing and space-saving as the unit is concealed in the ceiling.
This is a more cost-efficient solution for large spaces. but the cost to purchase, install and run it is definitely higher. The energy-consumption is also higher. You may also require more extensive renovation works to install it.
Recommended central aircon in Singapore:
Daikin Sky Air is a powerful central air conditioning system. If you live in a landed house, the Daikin SkyAir will cool your home quickly using a 360-degree airflow and Round Flow that results in uniform temperature distribution. Energy-saving and quiet, you can enjoy enhanced comfort. If your space is bigger, you can consider getting the Daikin SkyAir 34,000 BTU Ceiling Cassette (2,000 – 2,500 sq ft) or even the 43,000 BTU (that is able to cool spaces bigger than 3,500 sq ft).
Here is the price comparison for other brands (click the link to go to product page):
|Aircon Brand||24K BTU|
(1,400 – 1,500 sq ft)
(2,000 – 2,500 sq ft)
(>3,500 sq ft)
|Mitsubishi Electric Inverter||$2998||$3,475||$3,885 (42K)|
|Toshiba Inverter||NA||$3,685||$3,895 (45K)|
|Panasonic Inverter||$2,875||$3,395 (34K)||$3,665|
Portable air conditioners are good if you want cool air but not the commitment. It works similar to a mounted window air conditioner. It needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet, but the benefit is that you can move it around from room to room.
Portable air conditioners usually come with a window kit (a window slider an exhaust hose) to transport the hot air out of the room. The huge upside of a portable aircon is that it uses less energy, costs lower, and easy to set up and use.
You do not need any major installation to get it up and running. However, it is only useful for small spaces (usually around 450 – 550 sq feet) and takes a longer time to cool a place. It is also not as energy-efficient compared to other types of air conditioners.
Recommended portable aircon in Singapore:
Many of you will know Honeywell for its air purifiers. This Honeywell MM14CCS portable aircon cools, dehumidifies and circulates air in a 500 square foot room. With its high-tech modern look, it is a charmer in any modern home. Check out Tech Radar’s full review here. This model also comes in 10,000 BTU for a smaller space.
If you are on a budget, check out this EuropAce 12000 Btu 3-in-1 Portable Aircon with Dehumidifier that comes with a 5 years compressor warranty that you can buy for less than $500.
2. How many rooms are you looking to cool?
If you are planning to cool only a single room, consider a window or portable aircon. If you are getting a new HDB or flat and you are looking to cool your home and rooms, consider a split air conditioning system.
3. What is your area size?
You will get an aircon that is efficient in cooling your area. This is where we look at BTU. You want to get a capacity (BTU/hour) that corresponds to your area size, in order to cool your room effectively and efficiently.
British Thermal Unit (BTU)
BTU is the amount of heat your aircon can remove from a measured space per hour. A bigger BTU/hour will mean more powerful cooling but bigger, in this case, is not always better. If the BTU is too high for the respective space, it will cause your room to cool too quickly causing the aircon to cycle off too quickly, wasting energy and your space will be very humid. If your BTU is too low, it will not be powerful enough to cool your space adequately.
Measure the length and width of your room to get the square footage of the room you are going to cool. Use the BTU chart below to see how many BTUs you need to cool your space.
|100 – 150||5,000|
|150 – 250||6,000|
|250 – 300||7,000|
|300 – 350||8,000|
|350 – 4 00||9,000|
|400 – 450||10,000|
|450 – 550||12,000|
|550 – 700||14,000|
|700 – 1000||18,000|
|1000 – 1200||21,000|
|1,200 – 1,400||23,000|
|1,400 – 1,500||24,000|
|1,500 – 2,000||30,000|
|2,000 – 2,500||34,000|
4. What type of space are you cooling?
Depending on the type of space you are cooling, you will make some adjustments to the BTU required.
- Higher ceilings will require additional cooling power, so add on about 10% additional BTU.
- If you are living in a warmer climate, or if the room is exposed to sun, you can add 10 – 20% BTU. Conversely, if the room is heavily shaded you can reduce the BTU capacity.
- If it is a room that many people occupy at the same time, you can add 600 BTU/hour for each additional person
- Kitchens will need more cooling power as you will be adding heat to the room. You can add an additional 4,000 BTU/hour.
5. Which brand of the aircon should I buy?
The average life span of an air conditioning system is expected to last about a decade or more. With proper service and maintenance, it can last even longer up to 15 years. I suggest getting a reputable brand for your aircon in Singapore as you want it to be reliable.
These are the popular brands for aircons in Singapore:
6. Energy efficiency
It is key to get an energy-efficient aircon. For split conditioner systems, there are inverter and non-inverters. The inverter ones are more costly, but it is energy-saving and it also has a variable speed. Inverters are also of higher quality and quiet. You will find most models of today to be inverter systems.
Non-inverters use a mono speed and only run when the compressor is on. They tend to use a lot of energy. The compressor will also have a reduced life span as it is often on start and stops. Non-inverters are cheaper, and suitable if you are only planning to use the air-con at night.
Energy Efficient Rating
Look at the energy-efficient rating (EER) of the air-conditioner. This measures how efficient your air conditioner is in cooling the space. It measures the amount of BTUs per hour used up for every watt of energy.
Make sure to read the energy label when buying your aircon in Singapore. Do not just compare the price point alone, but also the energy label. An aircon might be more costly upfront, but if the energy efficiency is low, it will result in a higher electricity bill. Hence it will be more worth it to purchase a more energy-efficient air con at a slightly higher price as the cost savings will net off the higher upfront cost. You might end up saving more in the long run!
Do note that the cost rating is based on the premise that you use the aircon for 8 hours a day for a year. That is normal if you sleep with the aircon on at night.
7. Consider noise
Another important spec to consider when buying your aircon is the Decibels (dB). This is the level of sound your aircon makes. The last thing you want is for your aircon to be too noisy and you cannot get a restful sleep.
On average, aircons will emit around 60dB. As a guide, a conversation is about 60dB and a running motorcycle is around 100dB.
8. Aircon Installation
Condominiums and ECs come already equipped with aircons. For HDBs, you are required to purchase and install the air conditioning system for your home. It is important to make sure that this is done by a professional so that it is installed safely.
Installation (and disposal of old units) is usually included when you purchase the air conditioner, though there might be extra charges for additional parts. Otherwise, on average, installing your air-conditioner can range from $60 – $120 per hour. To install the air-conditioner for your entire home, it can take half to a full day. Do consider where you install the unit. If you are installing it at a corner, make sure that your unit can send the airflow in the right direction.
9. The Best Aircons to Buy in Singapore
Mitsubishi Electric is a well-known brand from Japan when it comes to aircons. Their Mitsubishi Electric MSXY-FN10VE Starmex Inverter Aircon (9,000 BTU) features:
- Long and wide airflow, allowing it to reach far ends of the room (as far as 12m), making it perfect for open-concept living rooms and kitchens.
- It features EasyClean technology and the inverter technology makes the aircon highly-efficient (rated 5 ticks).
- At 19dB, you will not hear it running in the background as it cools you down.
- They have a System 4 Aircon here to power your entire home (4×9,000 BTU).
Daikin is also another household name. They were the first to introduce multi-split-air conditioning systems (one compressor to multiple AC). Founded in 1924, this Japanese brand is well-known for its eco-friendly and energy-efficient air conditioners, which has led to over $17 billion sales sold in over 150 countries.
Daikin’s iSmile series is their latest series featuring a superb air quality PM 2.5 filter.
- Considering that Singapore goes through a haze period each year, this is a very useful feature as the PM2.5 air filter helps to remove pollutants. This results in cleaner air. If you have asthma or children at home, I suggest getting this model. It can also help you improve the quality of sleep at night.
- Energy-efficient with a 5-tick rating, it has a built-in WiFi system for you to link up to your smart home device so you can control it from your phone.
If you have a 3-room (2 bedrooms) flat, you can get the Daikin iSmile System 3 Air Conditioner that has 2×9,000 BTU units and a 1×18,000 BTU unit for your living room. It comes with free installation*. If you prefer a 3×9,000 BTU set, you can click here.
Panasonic has over 60 years of experience in making high-quality aircons in Singapore. Their Deluxe inverter XS Series features
- 5-ticks energy-efficient aircons with nanoe technology that removes up to 99% of harmful PM2.5 particles, bacteria, and dust.
- The Aerowings and shower airflow feature allows cool air to be distributed further and faster.
- Panasonic Inverter technology reduces power consumption and minimises temperature fluctuations
Check out the prices for the Panasonic Deluxe Inverter XS Series Home solutions:
10. How to maintain your aircon in Singapore
If you do not want your air-conditioner to spoil in a few years, proper maintenance is key.
Regular servicing and cleaning can extend the lifespan of your air-conditioner for as long as 15 years or more. It is recommended to do regular maintenance and servicing 3 to 4 times a year.
It is recommended to do a chemical wash at least once a year. If you use your aircon very often, I suggest doing a chemical wash once every 6-9 months. If you face problems with your aircon, such as no cold air, a leak, or a bad smell, you should get a chemical wash immediately. A chemical wash can help to retain 95% of your aircon efficiency.
Where to buy an aircon in Singapore
You used to only be able to buy an aircon from stores, but now you can purchase them online for the ultimate convenience and even enjoy discounted prices! Lazada is my go-to for shopping electronics. It is also a great place to compare prices.
If you prefer to see the aircon in-person, you can always pop by to any of the consumer electronics stores like Best Denki, Courts, Harvey Norman and Gain City near you to check it out before purchasing online.
Financing your home purchase
If you would like to take up a loan for your home purchases, consider a personal loan, as renovation loans do not give you the cash upfront. You can find the best personal loan suitable for you on Singsaver.
We hope that our aircon Singapore buying guide will help you to buy the right aircon for your home. Do also read our other buying guides below.
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