Looking for the best air conditioner for your home? Compare the biggest brands with our customer satisfaction ratings.
* Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. Brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are listed in alphabetical order.
^ By clicking on a brand or ‘details’ button, you will leave Canstar Blue and be taken to our referral partner to compare. You agree that Canstar Blue’s terms and conditions apply to this referral. If you click on a brand that our referral partner does not cover, you will be taken to a brand page on Canstar Blue.
Canstar Blue research finalised in June 2016, published in June 2016.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Australians have no better friend than their air conditioner. It’s there for us in warm times, and it’s even got our back in the colder months. Air conditioners, we salute you! However, not all air conditioners are as reliable, effective and easy to use as we would like, so you’re advised to do your research before buying – otherwise you might be left feeling a little hot under the collar.
So where do you find the best air conditioner? Well, you start by comparing brands with our customer reviews. The ratings table you see above reflects the honest opinions of hundreds of Aussie consumers who have recently bought and used a new air con unit. No one knows better than these people which brands are really delivering on their cooling (or heating) promises.
This year we’ve had a changing of the guard, with Panasonic replacing Fujitsu General at the top of the table, securing five star ratings in every single research category:
A pioneer of modern air con innovation, Panasonic is leading the energy efficiency revolution in home cooling. Its invertor operating system allows air conditioners to vary the rotation speed of their compressors, which results in reduced energy consumption without compromising the set temperature. What’s more, Panasonic’s aptly-named ‘ECONAVI’ intelligent sensors monitor the movements of people in the room and can adjust the air conditioner’s output accordingly. So if there is no one in the room, it will reduce its cooling power and stop you wasting money.
In addition to awesome energy efficiency, Panasonic’s air conditioners also boast technology that ensures clean and purified air is being pumped through your home, called nanoe-G. The system uses ‘nano-technology’ consisting of ions and radicals to purify the air in the room and help protect against bacteria and viruses. Of course, air conditioner features like these do not come cheap, but Panasonic has scored a five-star rating on value for money, so we can assume customers think the technology is worth paying for.
You can find out more about Panasonic air conditioners, and the other bands featured in this review, by clicking on their name in the ratings table above.
Once you’re decided on the best air conditioner brand, it‘s time to narrow things down by choosing which type of air conditioner is right for your home. If you’re not familiar with the different types available in Australia, here is a quick rundown of the most common ones:
See our Air Conditioner Buying Guide for a more comprehensive overview of different types of systems and the types of features you should look out.
An air conditioner is likely to be the most expensive home appliance you’ll buy, so you need to understand exactly what you’re getting. Once you have decided which type of system you are going with, your next decision should be around size and power. This begins with determining the size of the room your prospective air conditioner is required to cool. Air conditioner sizes are measured in ‘kilowatt’ capacities. As a guide, these room sizes would require the following size air conditioners to produce effective results:
|Room size||Room examples||Air con kilowatt capacity|
|10-25 square metres||Small bedroom, study, office, small lounge||2.5KW|
|25-35 square metres||Mid-sized bedroom, average sized lounge||3.5KW|
|35-60 square metres||Large bedroom with ensuite, large lounge||5-6KW|
|60-80 square metres||Larger living space, open plan area, small shop, office||7-8KW|
While the brand of air conditioner you buy – and the type of features it comes with – will partly determine how much you pay, the cost of most models will ultimately be decided by their size. As the table above illustrates, the size and kilowatt capacity of air conditioners can vary greatly, which means prices do too. The following table shows what you can expect to pay for each size split-system unit:
|Room size||Average price|
|10-25 square metres||$500 – $1,000|
|25-35 square metres||$750 – $1,500|
|35-60 square metres||$1,000 – $1,800|
|60-80 square metres||$1,500 – $2,000|
It stands to reason that the larger your air conditioner and the room it cools, the more you will pay in ongoing electricity costs. The energy star rating of your unit will also play a big role. As a guide, the following table shows estimated annual running costs for three different room sizes, based on split-system units, 300 hours of usage throughout the year and an electricity price of 28c per kWh. You’ll find more help advice on the South Australian Government website.
|Room size||System size||Energy star rating||Annual electricity cost|
|Small room (10 sqm)||2.5KW||2.5 stars
|Medium room (35 sqm)||5.5KW||1.5 stars
|Large room (60 sqm)||8KW||1.5 stars
To make sure you’re getting maximum energy efficiency from your air conditioner, you need to ensure it’s running properly. Our survey of households found that 41% respondents have never cleaned the internal filter of their unit, while 37% have never cleaned the external unit, or even the area surrounding it. Failure to do so will mean your air conditioner needs to work harder to keep you cool, thus using more energy and increasing your power bills. If your air conditioner is long overdue some attention, we recommend our cleaning guide.
Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 3,000 Australian consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased a new air conditioner in the last three years – in this case, 635 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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