Living in a place with no air ducts or any kind of installation restriction can be quite a pain when trying to get air conditioning.
On the one hand, a ductless home means paying extra to that end. And on the other, installation restrictions can throw the whole plan out of the window. This is where a ductless mini-split system comes in handy.
A mini-split system is ideal for people who cannot get a window or ducted AC. Pioneer Mini Split has been a trusted name in this industry for a while, and if you are considering buying one, this is a brand you can consider. We have gathered some essential information to give you a detailed review of the brand. Hopefully, it will make the buying process a bit easier.
So, without further ado, let’s begin!
Pioneer Mini Split Reviews
- Pioneer Mini Split Reviews
- Why Pioneer Mini Split?
- Advantages Of Mini Splits
- Buyer’s Guide
- Recommended Models
- Frequently Asked Questions
Pioneer Mini Split – Who Are They?
Pioneer Mini Split is a part of Parker Davis HVAC Systems Inc. which is a big player in the air conditioning industry. It is known to manufacture and supply high-quality mini splits in the USA and has been in business since 1995. Over the years, it has become a big enough business that directly supplies AC units in North America.
Often confused with the titans in the electronic world, Pioneer Electronics, this brand is entirely different. It may have the same name, but Pioneer Electronics is a stereo and electronic equipment brand, whereas Pioneer only manufactures HVAC systems. Despite the same name, there is no commonality between them. Pioneer Electronics is headed from Japan, whereas Pioneer has its HQ in Miami.
If you’re looking for good quality HVAC systems that can heat and cool the house, Pioneer is the one to trust. It also makes smaller units (12,000 BTU or less) for people not looking for large-scale ones. All the units have a straightforward user interface and a digital operation that makes them easy to use.
Why Pioneer Mini Split?
Other than being a superior manufacturer, Pioneer has been in the business for over 20 years. And although it might not be a brand everyone immediately turns to, it has a lot to offer that cannot be ignored.
When it comes to figuring out if an AC is energy efficient, the best way would be to see the SEER rating. SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is a standard developed to check how much electricity the AC will consume. According to this standard, a high SEER means low electricity consumption.
When it comes to Pioneer’s mini-split systems, the SEER rating starts between 16-18, which is quite higher than the standard requirement of 13. Since the rating is high, you know the AC will not be consuming a lot of electricity. However, it is crucial to remember that a high SEER means increased cost of buying
Despite the cost, it is advantageous to have an AC with a high SEER rating. You may have to pay a bit more upfront, but it saves money and is better for the environment in the long run. Moreover, these ACs have energy-saving modes and timers that can be used to make them more efficient.
As we mentioned, because of the high SEER rating, most mini-splits cost a bit more than other ACs. However, with Pioneer, that is not exactly the case. This is because the brand has priced its models at a more affordable range than most other big brands. But make no mistake, just because it costs less doesn’t mean the quality is compromised.
This brand aims at making superior quality air conditioners at prices that won’t hurt your pocket. Another great thing is that their products are environment-friendly as well. The credit for this goes to their new and improved refrigerants that are made to be more eco-friendly.
Single Product Brand
Now, we all know that big names tend to make their presence felt in multiple industries. Sometimes it works, and they become the household name for all sorts of products. And, sometimes, they fail in more than one industry. But what about the brands that stick to one type of product?
You may think the lack of expansion is silly, but it is a great business strategy. Being present in just one market means ensuring the company is as good as, if not better than, the big names. This is the case with Pioneer since it only manufactures and supplies mini-split systems.
Being in the market for more than 20 years has allowed them to perfect their craft and always have glowing reviews.
We were pretty impressed to see that Pioneer units are protected under two different warranties. One of them is for the parts and the other for the compressor. The parts are covered under a two-year warranty, while the compressor is protected under five years.
Another great thing is that Parker Davis will replace and repair any part that is under warranty. That’s not all; the remaining warranty from the original will stay with the repaired/replaced part too. Just remember to follow the instructions when installing to ensure everything stays within warranty.
Mini-Splits – Why Are They Unique
In case you still aren’t sure about mini-split systems in general, this section is for you. Let’s start with talking about what a mini-split air conditioner is. These systems have outdoor and indoor units that together form the whole air conditioner. This makes them ideal for houses that cannot install window ACs and do not have ducts.
Since there isn’t a need for ducts or windows, it is easier to install in any room, including garages or rooms under renovation. Plus, they operate at a lower decibel level, and so it’s easy to forget that it is running in the first place. This is great since window ACs can be pretty loud and obtrusive, and disadvantageous if there are babies or light sleepers in the house.
Since most of the units are pretty powerful, they work really well in high traffic areas of the house like the kitchen and living rooms. They are quite unique in terms of usage compared to duct-based ACs since each can be controlled individually. We know window ACs are the same, but there is a world of difference in terms of efficiency.
Let’s have a look at some of the advantages of having a mini-split AC.
Advantages Of Mini Splits
Most mini-splits have a cooling as well as heating option making them perfect for any season. This is an excellent option if you are looking to heat/cool just one room instead of a house. Plus, some of the models have updated heating pumps that do not consume a lot of energy. This not only makes it effective but also energy efficient.
Further elaborating on using this on a per-room basis, with a mini-split AC, you can control the temperature of each room individually. This is not the case in central cooling/heating since the whole system is controlled by one thermostat. However, with a mini-split AC, you can keep every occupied room at a different temperature.
The system is like this because each air conditioning unit has its own thermostat and temperature control button, which is not the case with central heating.
Efficiency is a significant benefit when it comes to mini-split systems. Firstly, they are a better and safer alternative to traditional heating systems. This is because it does not create heat but moves it instead. Hence, it uses less energy than most electrical heaters.
Secondly, when it comes to duct AC’s, there are chances of duct leakages. That leakage uses up 30% energy at least, and the mini-splits system can lessen or even eliminate that. Another way mini-split ACs are more efficient is through energy-saving features.
Almost all Pioneers models have timers and sleep modes that ensure only the required amount of energy is utilized. This is a refreshing change from most window and duct ACs as they barely have anything beyond on/off.
Sitting in an enclosed room with dirty air can be dangerous to your health. But this is not something to worry about with a mini-split AC. Most of these units have filters in them that ensure you breathe clean and healthy air. These filters are usually removable and can filter out dust, mold, and allergens.
The fact that they are removable makes them easy to clean. This way, you are absolutely sure that healthy air is circulated in the room.
Easy to Install
No matter how good or efficient any AC unit might be, it is never considered an option if it’s a pain to install. So, if you are looking for something that won’t take up a lot of time and money during installation, then mini-split ACs are a great option.
No matter how big or small your space is, a mini-split AC is available in all sizes, making it easier to find the ideal one. Moreover, it has multiple mounting options like wall mounting or ceiling cassette, making it easy to adapt to any space.
Now that we have covered what mini-split ACs are and how they can benefit our homes, let’s move on to picking the right one. Even if you have a brand like Pioneer picked out, there are many models to choose from, which can make the buying process quite tedious.
When it comes to picking the right mini-split system, here are some of the things you might want to consider:
Total number of rooms and size
This is an essential feature since it will enable you to pick a suitable unit. Each AC unit has a different capacity to heat/cool, and it has to be proportionate to the size of the room. A unit too small combined with a room too big can lead to the AC completely shutting down.
When it comes to the whole house, it is crucial to map out how the ACs need to be fitted for optimum cooling/heating. Since the right capacity and correct zone planning are essential, let’s elaborate on BTU and zoning the house.
A British Thermal Unit or BTU is the cooling/heating capacity (per hour) of the air conditioner. The general rule of thumb is that big rooms need more BTU. Hence, if you’re looking to heat/cool an average-sized room, say around 400-500 sq feet, then 9K BTU should be enough. This way, as you keep sizing up the room, the BTU will have to increase as well.
However, the BTU needed for a room can fluctuate based on multiple factors. It is not one fixed number that corresponds to room size but more like a general range. While the actual heating/cooling capacity should be mentioned on the unit, there are a few other things to consider.
Direct sunlight in any room will make the room warmer than shaded rooms. So if your room is in the path of direct sunlight or even if it is heavily shaded, the BTU will differ. Usually, for rooms that do not get a lot of the sun, BTU required can be reduced by 10%.
Same goes for occupancy. If more than two occupy a room, then BTU needs to be higher. Additionally, the age of the home plays a massive factor since the older the home, the older the insulation. If the house has been around for a while, the required BTU will increase by 30% at least.
Now, let’s talk about splitting the house into zones for effective air conditioning. For mini-split ACs, a zone is considered as the area one AC unit will cover. In most homes, each zone is one room. However, it is also possible for one unit to cool more than one room, as long as a unit with the suitable capacity is strategically installed.
This is known as a multi-zone system where one AC is used for two or more rooms. As opposed to that, many households also follow a single zone system where one AC cools/heats one room only. It is entirely your choice, and the only thing to worry about is the BTU to ensure it is getting the job done.
If you opt for a multi-zone system plan, please note that multiple indoor units are powered by one outdoor unit. This is important because even outdoor units have specific BTU ratings that need to be followed.
As we mentioned earlier, one of the great things about a mini-split system is its adaptability in terms of installation. There are many ways they can be installed, making this an essential factor to consider when buying the ideal one.
This type of installation is the most common for mini-splits, so there is a range of models that can cater to your needs. They all have different configurations and sizes, making it easier to fit in any space of the house. Plus, installation time is minimal, and it is also more affordable compared to the others.
The best way to wall mount would be to install it close to the ceiling. We recommend getting a professional to help out with the installation. However, if you choose to go down the DIY route, you will need to drill a three-inch hole to connect the parts. Also, make sure the wall is straight and has no slants.
This type of installation is not recommended for houses that have high windows or narrow walls. It is best to keep the system away from any obstacles.
In case there is a lack of unslanted walls in the house, you can also go for a ceiling cassette unit. This will have to be installed in the ceiling behind a grill. It is ideal for people that are looking for an unobtrusive and seamless look in the room. Usually, the BTU for these units starts at 9K and goes up to 48K.
You will find this type of installation in a lot of commercial spaces. However, it can be done in any space if there is a 10-14 inch clearance between the joist and ceiling. One great thing about these units is that it has a built-in drain pump which helps with removing condensation from the unit.
Concealed Duct Units
If you are looking to install the AC unit in an attic or space with a dropped ceiling, we suggest going for this type of installation. Ductwork is needed for units like these so that the air can travel through the ducts in that Zone. The air then comes out of a grill which is all that is visible.
Now you must be wondering how these are any different from central air systems. This installation type is like a mix of a traditional central air-con system and a regular mini-split system. And, unlike central air conditioners which are for the whole house, this type can be done in specific zones.
The next factor to take into consideration when buying a mini-split is the compressor type. This may seem a bit technical, but hear us out. There are two types of compressors – rotary and inverter.
The former turns on/off at regular intervals to constantly maintain the temperature. The inverter type will use just enough power to meet the set temperature and then automatically turn off. It only comes back on when more power is required.
Most people go for inverter compressors since it does not use full energy, unlike the rotary ones. Plus, it helps reduce the chance of damage to the circuit or any voltage trouble by not going on and off time and again.
This is what makes any device extra special. It’s not just about the ease in usage, but multiple functions add to its value. This is in the case of mini-split air conditioners as well. One of the most common features in some models is a heat/cool option appreciated by everyone.
Although it entirely depends on what you’re looking for, here are some of the features that most customers appreciate:
An important feature appreciated by many is the energy-saving modes. Most mini-splits have a decent Energy Star Rating. A model with this rating indicates that it can save energy, and it does so by almost 30%. You can also take a look at the SEER or EER rating of the unit as they indicate the efficiency.
Some models also have a “dehumidify” feature which is excellent for people who live in humid climates. The mini-split will help remove extra moisture from the air, making the surroundings dry and cool.
Sleep Mode And Timer
As we mentioned earlier, mini-splits are quiet air conditioners already. But with the “sleep” option present in some models, the AC will maintain the temperature and operate quietly in the room while you snooze peacefully.
Along with the sleep mode, the AC can be used with the timer function. The timer will allow you to set the AC for a specific amount of time. When used with sleep mode, you can have it turn off at night and save more energy.
Plus, the timer can also be used for when you need to come back home. It can be set to turn on at a specific time, so you always come home to a comfortable temperature setting.
Another interesting feature is this one. If you live in a place that faces many power outages, this could be of use. The automatic restart function allows the mini-split to come on by itself when the power comes back. Not only is this convenient for your comfort, but it also ensures there is no damage to the compressor.
Much like all AC’s, these can be controlled using a remote, and everything you need is on that remote. With some of them, even the airflow can be adjusted. This way, you can have the air directly at you or spread out in the room which just the click of a button
Full Set Kit
One of the biggest mistakes people make is not checking if they are buying a full set kit. Most people assume everything is included but are taken by surprise when they realize that’s not the case.
So while buying a mini-split AC, make sure that it comes with the indoor and outdoor unit as well as an installation guide. This way, you will not have to spend extra to complete the unit and will have all the essentials in one go.
Now we know there is no point talking about everything in such detail without mentioning a few recommended models by Pioneer. So, read on to see which models stood out for us. Also, it is worth noting that all Pioneer mini-split AC’s come as a full set kit with indoor and outdoor units.
For anyone that’s on the lookout for a highly efficient and affordable mini-split AC, this is one worth considering. This one is a 12000 BTU, wall-mounted unit that is guaranteed to keep your house cool (or warm, the choice is yours). It has a SEER rating of 19.5, so you know it will not be consuming more energy than it should.
It also has quite a lot of features you might appreciate. We particularly liked the temperature sensor in the remote. This allows it to automatically alter the temperature to a level where it is comfortable. Additionally, when switched to heating, this unit also has an “anti-cold air” function where the fan blows air at the lowest temperature.
Another great thing is that it can detect leaks and immediately stop the system to avoid further damage. The unit can also be accessed via Wi-Fi using a module that can be bought separately. With this, you will be able to control the unit using your phone.
Wall mounting a unit is not possible for everyone. In case you are looking for a unit that can be installed as a ceiling cassette, this is the one to go for. Since ceiling cassettes are discreet, this is the perfect option if you do not want the unit to be fully visible.
It has a BTU rating of 12,000 that makes it perfect for most large rooms, but that’s not the impressive bit. The SEER rating for this unit is 21.5, which makes it super energy efficient and ideal for extreme temperatures. It is also a quiet unit and runs at a decibel level of 43.
One interesting feature this unit has is the temperature compensation function. As we all know, hot air rises, which can be difficult for most AC’s to deal with in sweltering climates. But that’s not the case with this one, as this unit mixes the hot air with other layers of air and cools the room faster.
Apart from that, it has some more features like leak detection, anti-cold air function, and is remote controlled. In case the room this unit is in is not occupied by anyone, then the unit can be set at 46F, which will keep the room from becoming too hot or too cold.
We have discussed that large rooms need more BTU. So, if you have ample space that needs effective cooling/heating, take a look at this unit. This unit has an 18,000 BTU rating and a SEER rating of 19, so not only is it effective, but it also will not waste energy.
This is not very different from the other two Pioneer models reviewed so far but is highly recommended for larger spaces. It has all the essential features like the leak detector, remote control, and anti-cold air function.
Considering the BTU rating and functions, this can easily be used in any mid-large room (650 square feet or less). Despite the power and size, it runs at a decibel level of 43 and will not make significant noise. It is ideal for any residential or commercial space that needs to be quiet and peaceful.
Certain people prefer wall or ceiling-mounted units but let’s not exclude the floor-mounted ones. Now, to be clear, this is not to be left on the ground but to be installed on a wall closer to the ground. Traditional wall-mounted units are mounted on a wall that’s closer to the ceiling.
Now, moving on to some specifics. This unit has a cooling and heating power of 12,000 BTU and is perfect for rooms sized between 350-450 square feet. Additionally, it also has a SEER rating of 20.5, making it super-efficient. Not only will it save money but also conserve energy.
One very interesting feature in this model is that it has vents above and below that let out the air. The choice is yours to select one or both the vents for optimum cooling/heating. It is also equipped with other features such as an anti-cold air function and a leak detector.
If you are looking for a very quiet indoor unit, the search ends here. This particular Pioneer unit functions at 25 decibels. It is so soft that you’ll forget it is on. It has a BTU rating of 12000 and a SEER rating of 21.5, making it an ideal energy-efficient choice for mid-sized rooms.
Interestingly, it has three airflow levels which further helps save cost and assists the unit in performing more effectively. Users have left glowing reviews for the heating function of the unit. This is the case because the unit is from the inverter++ line that has improved heat pumps. Other than that, it has all the basic features like anti-cold air and leak detection.
Effective air conditioning does not have to come at a cost, and this unit is proof of that. This Pioneer mini-split AC unit is perfect for anyone on a budget. This unit has a BTU rating of 9000, making it ideal for any room up to 350 square feet. Plus, it has a SEER rating of 19, which makes it exceptionally energy efficient.
It is also equipped with basic heating and cooling features. We know no matter how small a unit may be, it can make a lot of noise in a small room. However, this is not the case with this AC. It runs at a decibel level of 38 and so is perfect for light sleepers or even a baby’s room.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I install the units myself?
Since there are quite a few parts that need fixing and also different types of installations, we recommend having a professional deal with this. They may not look that difficult to install considering they are ductless, but a small mistake can cause massive trouble.
Pioneer offers warranty as long as the installation is done correctly and without any damage. Hence, it is best to hire someone with expertise for this.
How long do these units last? How can I make it last longer?
The Pioneer mini-split AC’s, when maintained properly, can last for about 10 years. If the AC is starting to make noises or is not cooling as well as it used to, it might be time to replace it.
We recommend taking proper care of the system throughout its life so that it can last longer. The best way would be to clean the filters and remove dust and debris periodically. It also helps to have the unit serviced by a professional.
Are mini-splits the right option?
If you are looking to save money overall, we would recommend buying a mini-split AC. These cost more upfront but can help save money in the long run. Moreover, they also provide tremendous value and effective air conditioning without wasting a lot of energy.
And there you have it; an in-depth review of Pioneer Mini Splits. We know this is a long one, but it is certainly packed with information that can be useful for any new mini-split buyer.
Installing a unit like this in this house guarantees effective cooling/heating. And while it may be expensive at first, it ultimately saves money by bringing down the electricity bill. It also improves the air quality inside the house. This is one product that can be used all year round.
On that note, we shall now take your leave. But don’t worry, we will be back soon with more such guides and reviews.
See you next time!