Small air conditioners review 2009

Reverse-cycle air conditioners are the most efficient form of electric heating, as well as being effective coolers.
 
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  • Updated:6 Mar 2009
 

02.Results

The following models scored the best results in our test.

What to buy
Brand Price
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries SRK35ZGA-S / SRC35ZG-S $1093
LG R12AWN UB9 / R12AWN NB9 $1599
Panasonic CS-E12HKR / CU-E12HKR $1319
Fujitsu ASTA12LCC / AOTR12LCC $1499
 

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Results table

Full results for all models are shown in the table below.

PRODUCT FEATURES SPECIFICATIONS COSTS
Brand / model (in rank order, indoor / outdoor unit) Overall score (%) Cooling efficiency score (%) Heating efficiency score (%) Airflow score (%) Ease of use score (%) Noise indoor* / outdoor Cooling Heating Number of fan speeds Fast operation Quiet operation Real time clock Fan-only mode Dimensions of indoor unit (cm, H x W x D) Yearly running cost ($) Price ($)

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries SRK35ZGA-S / SRC35ZG-S
www.mhiaa.com.au

83 85 84 78 80 Quieter / quieter 3.4 4.1 3 27 x 79 x20 178 1093
# LG R12AWN NB9 / R12AWN UB9
www.lge.com.au
82 87 89 70 66 Medium / medium 3.4 3.9 5 29 x 89 x 21 170 1599
# Panasonic CS-E12HKR / CU-E12HKR
www.panasonic.com.au
81 77 85 87 70 Quieter / quieter 3.4 4.5 5 28 x 80 x 19 182 1319
Fujitsu ASTA12LCC / AOTR12LCC
www.fujitsugeneral.com.au
80 89 61 86 89 Quieter / medium 3.6 5.1 3 28 x 79 x 22 196 1499
# Daikin FTXS35EVMA / RXS35EBVMA (A)
www.daikin.com.au
76 79 80 71 69 Quieter / quieter 3.4 4.1 5 29 x 80 x 20 184 1359
Carrier 42NQV035M-A / 38NYV035M-A (B)
www.carrier.com.au
75 74 78 74 70 Quieter / medium 3.3 4.4 5 28 x 79 x 21 190 1529
Toshiba RAS-13SKV-A / RAS-13SAV-A
www.toshiba-aircon.com.au
75 74 78 74 70 Quieter / medium 3.3 4.4 5 28 x 79 x 21 190 1575
# Fujitsu ASTB12LDC / AOTB12LDC
www.fujitsugeneral.com.au
74 87 62 63 80 Medium / quieter 3.5 5.5 4 29 x 79 x 23 197 1599
# Daikin FTXG35FVMAW / RXG35FVMA
www.daikin.com.au
73 75 80 62 72 Medium / quieter 3.4 4.1 5 28 x 84 x 16 187 1350
Toshiba RAS-13SKVR-A / RAS-13SAVR-A (B)
www.toshiba-aircon.com.au
73 79 66 72 68 Medium / quieter 3.4 4.3 5 28 x 79 x 21 198 1937
# Kelvinator KSV35HRA / KSV35HRA www.kelvinator.com.au 71 64 83 70 67 Quieter / medium 3.3 3.8 3 27 x 80 x 21 196 790
# Samsung AQV12NSBN / AQV12NSBX
www.samsung.com.au
71 74 81 55 60 Medium / medium 3.2 3.9 4 29 x 82 x 20 187 1199
 

 

Table notes

Scores The overall score is made up of:

  • Cooling efficiency: 40%
  • Heating efficiency: 30%
  • Airflow: 20%
  • Ease of use: 10%

Price Recommended or average retail as of February 2009, or the price we paid.
# Newly tested models.
* Lowest fan setting.

(A) Discontinued and replaced by the FTXS35EVMA / RXS35EVMA.

(B) The Carrier is technically identical to the previously tested Toshiba RAS-13SKV-A / RAS-13SAV-A, and the Toshiba RAS-13SKVR-A / RAS-13SAVR-A is technically identical to the previously tested Carrier 42NQV035H-A / 38NYV035H-A. Toshiba and Carrier air conditioners are distributed in Australia by Carrier.

Cooling efficiency is weighted more than heating efficiency because in Australia reverse-cycle air conditioners are more often used for cooling than heating. Note that the scores of some previously tested models have reduced slightly from the previous article; we’ve rescaled the scoring as some new models are more powerful and efficient.

Measured capacity Reverse-cycle air conditioners are sold with rated heating and cooling capacities – you should choose one based on the cooling and heating capacity required for your room(s). The highest capacity we measured in our test is shown in the table (see How We Test, below).

Yearly running costs We calculate how much each model costs to deliver 1000kWh of full cooling, 1000kWh of partial cooling and 2000kWh of heating per year when running at its measured maximum capacity (based on electricity costs of 17 cents/kWh). We don’t include standby costs (for power used when the air conditioner is plugged in but not operating), as based on previous tests they’re likely to be only a few dollars a year. It may still be a good idea to unplug your air conditioner (if possible) when it’s not in use for long periods of time.

How we test

The Australian standard for air conditioners does not cover the relatively new technology used in reverse-cycle, inverter air conditioners. The standard allows manufacturers to fix the compressor speed at a certain “rated” capacity, however, CHOICE believes this is unrealistic, as it doesn’t reflect the way an inverter air conditioner is used in real life – it will rarely if ever operate in such a fixed mode.

Our test method differs from the one manufacturers use for energy label testing (see below), which is why the energy efficiency on the label and our results don’t always match. All the models rated close to their cooling efficiency but when it comes to heating, the Fujitsu ASTB12LDC / AOTB12LDC was clearly worse than rated. Fujitsu told us this is due to our test method and said that in normal usage their models meet their efficiency ratings.

A model that doesn’t meet its label claims isn’t necessarily inefficient or a poor performer, but you should be able to rely on the energy label for both cooling and heating capacity as well as energy efficiency. In our view, the current tests used by manufacturers don’t always show the whole picture.

Efficiency To determine their cooling and heating efficiency, our testers operate the air conditioners continuously at their maximum thermostat and fan settings – the results are a worst-case efficiency scenario for inverter models, as most of the time they’ll run at lower than their maximum capacity where they are more efficient. They use the test room and climate conditions in the Australian standard, measuring and rating the cooling/heating output per kW of power used. In addition, they measure each air conditioner’s cooling efficiency at 50% of the measured capacity.

Airflow The testers measure the indoor airflow (in litres per second) on each fan setting.

Ease of use They assess ease of use of the remote controls, instruction manuals and timers, as well as the ease of removing and refitting the air filters for cleaning.

Noise The testers measure the noise levels of the indoor unit with the fan on the lowest possible setting, and the outdoor unit while it is installed in our test room.