5 Best Air Conditioners For a Rental Property in 2024

Last Updated: January 2024

Rental Property Air Conditioners

Rental property air conditioners (also called an A/C) are a great property improvements to make sure your tenants are comfortable. There are many different types of air conditioning units available for rental properties. While some can be installed by the tenant themselves, such as a window-unit, others like the central air systems require a professional construction tradesperson to install.

Best Rental Property Air Conditioners

Best OverallBest WindowBest PortableBest Mini-SplitBest Central

Senville LETO Series Mini Split Air Conditioner 18000 BTU
Amazon Basics Window-Mounted Air Conditioner
Amazon Basics Window-Mounted Air Conditioner
SereneLife SLPAC10 Portable Air Conditioner
SereneLife SLPAC10 Portable Air Conditioner
Pioneer Air Conditioner WYS009A-20 Wall Mount Ductless
Pioneer Air Conditioner WYS009A-20 Wall Mount Ductless
American Standard – Heating & Air Conditioning

Below we explore the top rental property air conditioner options based on 5 different factors that landlords and property managers look for in their rental property.

Best Overall A/C

Senville LETO Series Mini Split Air Conditioner Heat Pump, 18,000 BTU 208/230V

Type

Ductless Mini-Split

Pros
  • Provides both heating and cooling for year-round comfort
  • More efficient and targeted airflow than larger central systems
Cons
  • Requires professional installation and drilling exterior holes
  • More expensive than cheaper alternatives such as window A/C’s
Why We Like This A/C Overall

This is a great overall value unit that has all of the top features, along with smart capabilities. At 18,000 BTU this unit is powerful and comes with a convenient full-install kit.

Best Window A/C

Buying Options

Amazon Basics Window-Mounted Air Conditioner with Mechanical Control, 5,000 BTU

Type

Window Mounted

Pros
  • Very economically priced for cooling down a room
  • Easy and fast window installation
Cons
  • Requires exterior-window for installation
  • Limited cooling and smart capabilities
Why We Like This Window A/C

This unit is an economical window unit that easily installs in a window (minimum 13” wide). Assuming you have a Prime membership, you can get delivered directly to your rental property.

Best Portable (Freestanding) A/C

SereneLife SLPAC10 Portable Air Conditioner & Dehumidifier, Window Mount Kit, 10,000 BTU

Type

Portable (Freestanding)

Pros
  • Stronger than a window A/C unit and less expensive than a mini-split
  • Easy portability and installation to vent hot air outside
Cons
  • Requires valuable floor space for unit
  • Unit needs to be in proximity to exterior vent location
Why We Like This Portable A/C

Delivering 10,000 BTUs, this unit is great for medium-sized cooling needs and can also be moved around easily with its handy built-in wheels.

Best Mini-Split A/C

Pioneer Air Conditioner Heat Pump WYS009A-20 Ductless Inverter+ Mini Split 110/120V, 9,000 BTU

Type

Ductless Mini-Split

Pros
  • Provides both heating and cooling for year-round comfort
  • More efficient and targeted airflow than larger central systems
Cons
  • Requires professional installation and drilling exterior holes
  • More expensive than cheaper alternatives such as window A/C’s
Why We Like This Mini-Split A/C

For under $1,000 USD, this unit is a great value if you decide to install a mini-split system. Although professional installation is required, these units are a great alternative to costly central air systems.

Best Central A/C Brand

American Standard – Heating & Air Conditioning

Type

Central Air

Pros
  • Provides even cooling throughout the property
  • Desirable tenant feature that also increases property resale value
Cons
  • Expensive to install and maintain with high initial investment
  • Reduced energy efficiency in larger spaces
Why We Like This Central Air Brand

Central air systems are long term investments for any property. Most units will function perfectly fine, but we like American Standard for their great industry reputation among customers and HVAC professionals.

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Rental Property Air Conditioner FAQ

Different Types of Rental Property Air Conditioners

Air conditioners come in many shapes and sizes to fit the needs of any home or business. Common air conditioner types include the window mounted air conditioner, wall air conditioner, portable air conditioner, ductless mini-split air conditioner and central air. Each has its own advantages, drawbacks and features that affect their usability in different types of rental properties. We take a look at each type below:

Window Mounted

Window Mounted AC

Window-mounted air conditioners are the most cost-effective option and can be easily installed in a window or through a wall. Window mounted air conditioners are suitable for providing cool air directly into one room at a time. The only drawback is that they can be quite noisy and take up valuable window space.

Wall Installed

Wall Installed AC

Wall installed models offer similar features as window units, but require a few extra installation steps for setup. Wall installed units can commonly be found in hospitality properties such as hotel rooms and older residential apartment buildings. They are quieter than window units, but you will need to modify the wall in order to install them.

Portable

Portable AC

Portable air conditioners provide maximum flexibility as they can be moved around and placed in any room. They are relatively inexpensive, but require ducting tubes to be connected to exterior fresh air. The only drawback to portable air conditioners is that they can be noisy and take up valuable floor space.

Ductless Mini Splits

Ductless Mini Splits

Ductless mini split air conditioners (often just called “mini-splits”) offer energy efficiency like central air systems, but with the convenience of being able to add additional units as needed. As the name implies, they do not have any ducts and come in 2 components – the interior unit (evaporator) and exterior unit (condenser). These systems do require professional installation.

Central Air

Central Air

Central air conditioners are the most expensive option, but provide the highest level of comfort and efficiency. They are quiet and reliable, but require a complex installation process that involves running ducting throughout the structure and upgrading the electrical panel. Larger units often found on commercial rental properties can be very large, expensive to replace, and require routine maintenance.


Air Conditioning Service & Installation Pros

How to Hire a HVAC Pro

How to Hire a HVAC Pro for a Rental Property

Maintaining a comfortable environment in a rental property is paramount for tenant satisfaction, where air conditioning systems play a major role. Understanding how to hire the right HVAC pro to install a rental property A/C unit can make the job a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Where to Find Rental Property Pros

How to Find Rental Property Contractors and Service Professionals

Finding qualified, honest, and reliable service pros can easily be done with online service directories. These platforms directly connect customers and service providers who can do everything from rental property painting to installing apartment built-in microwaves.

Are Landlords Responsible for Providing Air Conditioners?

Short Answer: Maybe – It usually depends on whether or not air conditioning is considered an essential service in the local jurisdiction and is listed as an amenity on the lease agreement.

Whether landlords are required to provide air conditioning in a rental unit depends on local laws and regulations, as well as the specific terms of the lease agreement. In some jurisdictions, air conditioning may be considered a luxury rather than an essential service. In such cases, landlords might not be legally required to provide air conditioning in rental units. However, if air conditioning is considered an essential service in your area, your landlord may be required to provide it.

Even if air conditioning is not considered an essential service by local laws, a lease agreement may require a landlord to provide air conditioning if it is specifically mentioned as an included amenity in the rental unit. In this case, the landlord would be contractually obligated to provide air conditioning. If you’re unsure about the requirements for air conditioning in rental units in your area, it’s a good idea to review your local laws, as well as your lease agreement.


Are Landlords Responsible for Repairing Air Conditioners?

Short Answer: Maybe – It will depend on whether or not repairing air conditioning is considered an essential service in the local jurisdiction, or not fixing the issue threatens a tenant’s physical health or safety. 

When it comes to repairing air conditioners in tenant leased units, it usually depends on whether or not air conditioning is considered an “essential service” or if not fixing the issue threatens a tenant’s physical health or safety. Some jurisdictions require landlords to provide and maintain essential services, such as heating, plumbing, and hot water. However, air conditioning might not be considered an essential service in all areas.

In jurisdictions where air conditioning is considered an essential service, the landlord may be responsible for repairing or replacing a broken air conditioning unit. In other areas, the responsibility may fall on the tenant, especially if the air conditioning unit was installed by the tenant or if the lease agreement specifically states that the tenant is responsible for the maintenance of the unit. It’s important to review your lease agreement and local laws to determine whether your landlord is responsible for repairing a broken air conditioning unit in your rental unit.

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