AC Buying Guide in 2023

Choose your AC according to your room's area/volume, BEE Star Rating, Protection features, Modes, Convertibility & Budget.

The demand for air conditioners has increased, especially with nights becoming hotter. If you wish to purchase an AC for the first time, this AC buying guide should help you decide on the most optimum AC for your home.

What do you look for in an AC?

Your air conditioner should deliver excellent cooling while consuming as little power as possible. At the same time, it should be easy to install and portable. It should be within your budget. It should have smart features like convertibility, Wi-Fi, smart diagnosis, etc.

Are you asking for too much? Of course not, because you have excellent AC brands like LG, Samsung, Voltas, Godrej, Lloyd, Carrier, Haier, Whirlpool, and others offering all these features. So, let us now discuss the factors determining your choice of the ideal AC for your home.

Various factors determine your choice of air conditioner for your home.

  • The type of AC
  • The AC capacity
  • The Star Rating
  • The Extra features
  • The Budget
  • Recommended AC models

Different Types of Air Conditioners

Let us begin this guide by discussing the different types of air conditioners available.

Window AC

This type of air conditioner is also known as a single-unit AC or a mono-block AC because the entire appliance is packed inside a single unit. A window AC’s advantage is its ease of installation and removal. So, if you live in rental accommodation or move around a lot, you can choose a window AC. Besides, they are less expensive than split ACs.

However, the primary drawback of window ACs is that they block a significant portion of your window. Secondly, these units can be noisy and lack the sleek appearance of split ACs. Besides, these units are not recommended for large rooms because of their limited airflow.

Split AC

The split AC, or multi-unit AC, is more common today. This type of AC has two units, the Outdoor Unit (ODU) and the Indoor Unit (IDU). The ODU contains the compressor and the condenser, whereas the evaporator and the blower constitute the IDU. These units are connected by insulated pipes, usually made of copper.

Unlike window ACs, split ACs are more complicated to install and remove. Reinstalling a split AC is expensive because it invariably requires a gas refill. Besides, installing these air conditioners requires drilling holes in the wall to allow the passage of the connecting tubes.

These air conditioning units are more expensive than window ACs but are more energy efficient. People residing in their own residences can choose split ACs.

Split ACs deliver faster cooling and better airflow. However, much depends on the distance between the IDU and ODU. The further they are, the less efficient the performance. Compared to window ACs, split ACs require more maintenance. But these ACs make less noise because the compressor is outside the room.

Portable AC

As the name suggests, portable AC offers the benefit of shifting the appliance from one room to another. These units resemble a mini window AC but can be moved around the house to deliver localized cooling wherever needed.

In addition, these air conditioning units have a hose attached to the unit that should hang outside a window to enable convenient water draining.

These air conditioning units are excellent if you do not want to spend on multiple air conditioning appliances for your home. You can place the portable AC in the living room and take it to your kitchen and bedroom whenever required.

However, these units have drawbacks because they make more noise, occupy prime living space inside the rooms, and are more expensive than split ACs. Besides, we recommend portable ACs for cooling smaller spaces.

Choose your AC according to your room’s area/volume.

Your choice of an air conditioner depends mainly on your room size. The higher the cooling area/volume, the higher the AC’s capacity, also known as tonnage. You can refer to our post on AC tonnage calculator per square foot to decide on the ideal AC for your room.

This thumb rule should help you decide on the right tonnage.

Rooms up to 120 square feet area – 1-ton AC

  1. Rooms up to 170 square feet area – 1.5-ton AC
  2. Rooms up to 250 square feet area – 2-ton AC
  3. Rooms up to 300 square feet area – 2.5-ton AC
  4. Rooms up to 400 square feet area – 3.5-ton AC

Other factors also play a role, such as false ceilings, furniture in the room, direct exposure to sunlight, etc. However, Indian bedrooms are usually between 125 and 175 square feet in area. So, a 1.5-ton AC is ideal for Indian conditions.

Besides, you get convertible ACs today that can work at varying capacities ranging from 40% to 120% of their original capacity. Prominent brands offering convertible ACs include LG, Samsung, Voltas, and Panasonic.

The Star Rating – The Degree of Efficiency and Power Saving

One aspect you must always look out for in ACs is its BEE Star Rating. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency categorizes ACs on a scale of 1-star to 5-star, depending on their cooling efficiency and power consumption. You can refer to our comprehensive post on BEE Star Ratings to know more on the subject.

In addition, our post on star ratings for AC can also provide valuable insights.

Anyone will say that a 5-star AC is more efficient than a 3-star AC model of the same brand. However, the 5-star AC is also considerably more expensive than a 4-star or a 5-star AC. So, you must weigh your options before blindly selecting a 5-star AC.

Articles on the web say that a 5-star AC consumes less power. Hence, they are more economical in the long run. However, since they cost substantially more, you incur an upfront cost. The point is whether you recover the increased costs through power savings. Let us see how to deal with such issues.

We advise consumers to focus on the BEE star rating label that provides valuable information concerning the ISEER, AC type, cooling capacity, and power consumption. It can help you select the ideal AC for your home within your budget. This example should simplify things.

We shall look at three comparable LG AC models with similar features but varying BEE star ratings.

Star Rating5-star4-star3-star
Annual Power Consumption685.26 units838.67 units968.04 units
Average Electricity expenses @ Rs 8 per unitRs 5,482Rs 6,709Rs 7,744
PriceRs 45,490Rs 42,490Rs 37,990
Difference in pricingRs 3,000 more than the 4-star modelRs 4,500 more than the 3-star model
Annual savings in power consumptionRs 1,227Rs 1,035
Cost recovery2.45 years4.35 years

The above calculations show that an LG 5-star AC can recover its additional initial cost over a 4-star AC within two and a half years. Compared to a 3-star model, it will recover its cost within three and a quarter years.

Similarly, the 4-star AC will recover its additional cost within four and a half years. Therefore, considering ACs can function comfortably for eight to ten years, investing in a 5-star AC is better because the power savings are more.

However, much depends on your usage patterns. Secondly, the AC consumes more power as it gets old. Nevertheless, a 5-star AC is more efficient than a 3-star or a 4-star AC of the same brand. Therefore, spending more initially should be fine, especially when you can recover the costs within a reasonable period.

Look at the AC features available today

While the fundamental function of an air conditioner is to cool the rooms and provide comfort, ACs offer various features. Some are necessary, whereas many features are cosmetic and do not significantly affect the appliance’s performance. Let us discuss some prominent features available in ACs that buyers should look for.


Types of AC Compressors

The first thing to look for in an AC is its compressor. Conventional compressor-equipped ACs are cheaper than those equipped with inverter technology. The inverter compressors are more efficient and offer better cooling. In addition, they make less noise and are more durable. But inverter compressor ACs are more expensive than air conditioners with conventional compressors.

Dual Inverter and Triple Inverter compressors

LG and other prominent AC models offer dual inverter compressors that are more efficient than single inverter compressors. In addition, Samsung offers a triple inverter compressor AC. However, the difference in the performance levels of dual and triple inverter ACs is insignificant.


Generally, an inverter AC allows compressors to work at varying capacities. However, users cannot choose their preferences. The convertibility feature in modern ACs like LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Voltas, and others allows users to set their preferences and choose a specific mode to ensure better performance.

Convertible ACs work from 40% to 120% of the original compressor capacity. Today, AC brands offer 4-in-1 to 8-in-1 convertibility modes, allowing consumers an extensive choice.


LG AI Dual Inverter AC

Some AC brands like LG offer an AI mode where sensors present in the AC sense the room temperature, the ambient conditions, and the number of people in the room to determine the cooling demands. Accordingly, it sets the compressor capacity in the defined range to deliver optimal cooling and save power. However, the AI mode is a marketing gimmick to increase prices.

Protection features

Almost all the latest AC brands offer copper tubes instead of aluminum because copper delivers better heat exchange performance. However, copper is more expensive than aluminum. Therefore, it increases the AC’s pricing. In addition, the top brands offer anti-corrosion protection to prevent rust formation on the pipes.

LG offers Ocean Black protection, whereas Samsung offers Durafin Ultra Layer protection. Blue Star offers Blue Fin protection, whereas IFB offers Gold Fin protection. The functionality is similar as each technology protects the expensive AC components from rust, corrosion, and other chemical exposure.

Multiple operational modes

Almost all ACs offer different working modes, including Sleep Mode, Monsoon Mode, Dry Mode, Fast Cooling Mode, Fan Mode, etc. We advise you to go through the features and understand how they work. But they do not make much of a difference to the overall cooling performance of the AC.

LG 2 Ton AC

Stabilizer-free operations

Indians contend with voltage fluctuations almost everywhere. Therefore, we use external voltage stabilizers to protect the expensive AC components from damage. However, the latest AC brands offer stabilizer-free operations by ensuring the compressor can work in an extensive voltage range from 130V to 260V. In addition, some ACs offer inbuilt stabilizers that eliminate external voltage stabilizers or boosters. Therefore, depending on the voltage fluctuations in your area, you can decide whether to install an external voltage stabilizer.

Other notable features

The latest AC models in 2023 offer air purification modes using HD filters, ionizers, and PM2.5 and PM1.0 anti-bacterial filters to trap and neutralize contaminants and provide fresh air circulation inside the room.


Usually, the top AC brands use R32 refrigerant because of its excellent ozone depletion properties and zero global warming potential. The R410A is also an excellent refrigerant, but it is highly combustible.

Some features to note

Almost all ACs offer automatic restart, 2-way air flow, etc. Some ACs offer 4-way air flow to enhance air throw performance. Samsung offers innovative Wind free technology to ensure high comfort levels.

Smart ACs

Some AC brands like LG, Samsung, and Panasonic offer smart ACs compatible with Wi-Fi. They come with features like Alexa and similar app compatibility where you can control the AC’s functioning using your voice commands. In addition, the latest ACs offer facilities to control their operations using your smartphones through specific apps. These apps also diagnose problems with the AC and communicate with the service center to resolve them quickly.

Budget is a critical deciding feature.

The pricing

Your budget is crucial in deciding the AC you buy for your home. For example, 3-star ACs are considerably cheaper than 4-star and 5-star ACs. However, they consume more power. Therefore, they are not beneficial in the long run. On the other hand, 4-star and 5-star ACs have a higher initial cost outlay, but they prove economical.

Warranty and After-Sales Service

Another critical aspect you must note is AC brands’ warranty and after-sales service facilities. The AC units usually feature a one-year product warranty. Inverter compressors come with a 5-year or 10-year warranty. It is better to go for AC brands that provide excellent installation and after-sales services. You can go through AC reviews to gauge customer opinion before purchasing the appropriate AC for your home.

Annual maintenance contract

Almost all the top AC brands in India offer AMC on their products. However, we advise you to review the respective manufacturer’s AMC plans before subscribing to them. Sometimes, they can be expensive. However, your local AC mechanic can handle almost all AC-related issues better and cheaper.


This comprehensive AC buying guide should help you choose the ideal air conditioning appliance for your home. But, of course, purchasing an AC that suits your needs is always better than matching your neighbor’s preferences. After all, you will use your AC, not your neighbor’s.


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