Best Attic Air Conditioners – 2021 Buyer’s Guide

| Last Updated: December 22, 2021

Having an attic is not only fun but also very useful, and it doesn’t even matter if you’ve transformed it into a living space or are just using it as a collector of anything and everything discarded.

What’s important is to acknowledge its crucial function in the energy efficiency of the house.

This article will highlight that and many other functions the space above your main house has. You’ll also get recommendations on the best AC solutions for the attic.

Comparison of the Best Attic Air Conditioners

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Featuring a limited 5 year warranty on all built-in defects
  • Sleek profile offering a quiet performance
  • Made to last and provide energy efficient air conditioning
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  • Offering a fan, heater, and a dehumidifier
  • Cooling at temperatures as low as 5 Fahrenheits
  • Highlighted by whisper technology for quiet performance
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  • Best for the Money
  • Covers an area of up to 500 square feet
  • Highlighted by a simple quick connect line design
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  • A rugged design set at 26 pounds
  • Including a sleep, eco energy and intelligent heating mode
  • Covers an area of up to 750 square feet
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  • For large sized rooms of up to 1500 square feet
  • Highlighted by a powerful performance of 24,000BTU
  • With a user friendly wall mount remote control
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Factors to Consider Before Buying an Air Conditioner for the Attic

Whether you’re using the attic as a room, a storage space, a workshop, or for anything else, it’s a good idea to keep the temperature there under control. Let’s see what you need to know about attic ACs before buying one.

Choices for the AC Type

You have a few AC options suitable for attics. Depending on your goals, consider a central air conditioner, a mini-split, or a portable system. While many factors can influence your decisions, it’s nice to have the options to choose from.

Among those factors are the budget, the HVAC system goal, how much construction work you’re aiming for, and if you just need a solution for keeping the temperatures steady in the room.

Whole House or Attic Square Footage

No matter the type you choose, you need to know how large is the area the AC is going to be serving. Once you’re aware of the square footage, choosing a suitable unit will be easy. Use BTU/area charts to identify the right cooling power for the appliance.

Your Energy Efficiency Goals

Once you know the BTU, think about how energy efficient your house will be for each unit option you’re considering. This will help you to control your environmental footprint and save on bills in the long run.

Attic Insulation and Ductwork

If your attic isn’t well-insulated, you might see money seeping through the cracks there. Make an effort to minimize the energy loss by covering all the damages and check the ducts for leakage.

How Much Maintenance are You Going to Need?

Depending on how much maintenance you’re ready to go through, you might need to reconsider your AC types. Installing a central AC can be more expensive and take days. Alternatively, a wall-mounted unit takes a few hours and a technician to install.

Review of the Best Attic Air Conditioners

As we can see, there are a few factors to consider while choosing an AC for your attic. We’ve compiled a list that offers help in getting the best system out of the best.

Best Overall

Pioneer WYS012AMFI19RL

Pioneer Air Conditioner WYS012A-19 Wall Mount Ductless Inverter+ Mini Split Heat Pump, 12000 BTU-110/120V

Specifications

BTU (DOE): N/A

Coverage Area: 450-750 sq.ft.

Dimensions (in): 31.5×7.5×11.75

Weight: 19 lbs.

Decibel Level: N/A

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Review

This is one of the latest Pioneer air conditioners, packed with the latest functionality, including wireless internet access for easy control from your smartphone.

It adds a few bells and whistles to the primary cooling, heating, dehumidification, and ventilation features. One of those is the automatic restart, where the AC recovers to the latest setting if the power goes off.

The night mode turns the unit into a silent and sneaky operation. You won’t even know, but the system will adjust the temperature according to your body temperature, helping you sleep better and wake up relaxed.

Bottom Line

The unit comes with all you need for installation and precharged with the R410a refrigerant. It can cool during summers of up to 122 F, so it’s an ideal choice for a hot attic.

With tested safety features and smart functionality, it can also stay unsupervised for a week or two and keep running at a given schedule.

Pros

Full installation kit included

Washable permanent air filters

WiFi connection and smart features

Temperature setting range of 62 to 90 F

Free technical support and a five-year warranty

Cons

More efficient cooling than heating

Runner-up

Senville SENL-12CD

Senville SENL-12CD Mini Split Air Conditioner Heat Pump, 12000 BTU 19 SEER

Specifications

BTU (DOE): N/A

Coverage Area: 450-750 sq.ft.

Dimensions (in): 26×10.43×21.26

Weight: 66.14 lbs.

Decibel Level: 25 dB

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Review

Senville’s LETO series is designed to accommodate hot and cold ambient temperatures. This particular model can cool about 750 square feet without any issue. 

It offers the four main functions, plus lets you turbo cool/heat the room if you need a fast temperature change. Turn on the low noise mode when you sleep and start the “Follow me” feature to adjust the temperature according to your location in the room.

The filters are easy to access and clean with a vacuum or rinse with water. Just remember to let them air dry completely before placing them back in.

Bottom Line

If you’re searching for a relatively affordable and modern unit for your attic, opt for this one. It provides all the necessary functionality for keeping the space cool in summer and comfortable in winter.

Pros

Built-in washable filters

Modern and sleek design inside and outside

Four-in-one design with ventilation and dehumidification

Quiet operation with sleep mode, self-clean, and turbo modes

“Follow me” mode that adjusts the temperature according to your location in the room

Cons

A tricky process with the copper lines (in case of DIY installation)

Best for the Money

Mr Cool DIY-12-HP-115B

MRCOOL - DIY-12-HP-115B25 DIY 12k BTU 22 SEER Ductless Heat Pump Split System 3rd Generation - Energy Star 120v (DIY-12-HP-115B)

Specifications

BTU (DOE): N/A

Coverage Area: 500 sq.ft.

Dimensions (in): 40×36.5×32.5

Weight: 98.3 lbs.

Decibel Level: N/A

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Review

Are you concerned about the costs of a professional installation? MR. Cool’s DIY line is all about hooking it up yourself. While handy users won’t have any difficulty with it, the company still recommends getting a technician to do it in the fine print.

This AC is one of the highest energy efficiency units on our list. It comes with a remote but can also work via a smartphone app and connect to voice assistants for convenience. It can also work unattended due to automatic controls and easy smartphone access.

The low ambient cooling feature makes it a good find for spaces that need an AC all year round. Your attic should be one of those.

Bottom Line

This unit is an excellent acquisition for homeowners with the desire to DIY their house. With high energy efficiency and a seven-year warranty on the compressor, this product will last you for the years to come and save money along the way.

Pros

Energy efficiency rating of 22

DIY installation and leakage detection

Variable-speed DC inverter compressor technology

Seven-year compressor and five-year parts warranty

Remote and smart controls via a smartphone application

Cons

Advertises DIY installation but has a legal disclaimer to invite a technician

Honorable Mention

Della 12,000 BTU

Della 12000 BTU Mini Split Air Conditioner Ductless Inverter System 17 SEER 115V with 1 Ton Heat Pump, Pre-Charged Condenser and Full Installation Accessories Kit AHRI

Specifications

BTU (DOE): N/A

Coverage Area: 450-750 sq.ft.

Dimensions (in): 34.4×11.5×8

Weight: 26 lbs.

Decibel Level: 30-41 dB

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Review

This Della mini-split is one of the most affordable options among the 12,000 BTU units we mention. Although it only has a SEER of 17, it’s efficient with lower temperatures. If you’re living in a zone where the winters get cold, this unit can be what you need for your attic.

One of its highlights is the intelligent functionality with self-diagnostics and adaptability. Plus, you don’t have to clean the filter very often due to the self-cleaning feature.

It rocks four main features, including heating, cooling, ventilation, and dehumidification. The company advertises the unit as one that can be set to the right setting and forgotten about, which is just what you need for an attic. It runs on schedule and saves you on bills by adjusting the modes whenever required.

Bottom Line

The AC comes with the complete kit of installation material, although it offers a shorter line than most other units on the market (16 feet lines are standard). This Della unit can efficiently condition the air for a large, 1,500 square feet attic.

Pros

Silent operation between 30 and 41 dB

Auto-defrost and self-diagnosis/cleaning

Advertised as a “set it and forget it” model

Suitable for low ambient temperatures of up to -4℉

Simple, complete-control remote with a temperature sensor

Cons

10 feet line set instead of the standard 16 feet

Editor’s Pick

Daikin 24,000 BTU

Daikin 24,000 BTU 17 SEER Wall-Mounted Ductless Mini-Split A/C Heat Pump System 15-ft Installation Kit and Wall Mounting Bracket 220V

Specifications

BTU (DOE): N/A

Coverage Area: 1,500 sq.ft.

Dimensions (in): 50x46x21

Weight: 128 lbs.

Decibel Level: N/A

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Review

This model is a heavy-duty air conditioner to cover up to 1,500 square feet. Although with 17 SEER, it doesn’t shine in the energy efficiency department, it holds up pretty well at other criteria.

Due to clever louver engineering, the unit can cover a large room, while the turbo mode will allow you to feel the temperature change almost instantly. 

Daikin’s 24,000 BTU unit also offers the most years of parts warranty on our list. You can rest assured that your attic will cool, heat, and ventilate to the highest standard.

Bottom Line

This powerful yet sleek unit is here to cool and heat your attic in the most delicate, quiet, and efficient manner possible.

The unit is engineered so that the indoor system operates at low speeds, making as little noise as possible. The inverter technology adapts the operation for the most optimal setting.

Pros

Ten years of parts warranty

Built to cool and heat large rooms

Inverter technology for maximum comfort

Reaching all the corners with wide-angle louvers

Quiet operation with as low as 37 dB (for the indoor unit)

Cons

One of the lower SEER on our list

Why Put an AC in the Attic?

There are a few specific reasons you’d want to control the temperature in the attic. In this section, we’re focusing on an AC that cools down and warms the room itself.

Your House Will Become More Energy Efficient

Attics can get scorching hot in summers and dreadfully cold in winters, making the whole house susceptible to the drastic heat changes throughout the year. If you manage to keep the temperatures steady in your attic, you’re creating a “protective dome” over the house. 

Prevent Frequent Construction Work

As you might remember from your school years, materials expand when hot and shrink if it’s freezing. If your space has drastic temperature changes between summer and winter, the house might suffer.

By keeping the attic temperature consistent, you’re stopping the damage to its framing. Damages there can transfer to the whole house in the form of warped walls and peeled paintwork.

Less Damage to Your Roof

As explained above, hot and cold can damage not only the wooden framing but also your roof cover, leading to leakages and a degraded roof.

Advantages and Disadvantages of an Attic Air Conditioner

If you’re considering an air conditioner for your attic, make sure you know what to expect. Here are a few pros and cons of attic air conditioners (for mini-split and central units).

Effortless Cooling of the Entire House

The attic is the hottest spot in the house during summer. If your home is built with materials that heat more than others, it’s going to be a hell on earth. Keeping lower than usual temperatures in the attic can benefit the rest of your house significantly.

Reduced Electricity Bills for the Whole House

Let’s elaborate on the previous point and the whole house efficiency. Although you’re adding an extra unit in the attic, a reduction of the overall electricity bills is due after installation.

Central Attic Systems Save Space and Installation Costs

If you’re only using the attic as a storage space (not a living area), you might benefit significantly from installing the central AC unit there. It stays out of the way, saving you space in the basement or outside. The installation costs are also much cheaper for an attic unit, as the technicians don’t have to do extra work to cover up the ducts.

Attic ACs Can Use More Energy

This heading might seem counter-intuitive. In the end, having an AC running in the attic is supposed to save you money, right? But we’re only talking about the one unit itself and only in the attic area compared to other rooms.

The solution still drops the whole house operation cost drastically.

Leaving Problems Undetected

Another issue with central units that rest in the attic is that homeowners fail to notice the small problems in time. These trivial issues like leakages and minor failures can accumulate and harm the whole system, leading to higher maintenance costs.

We recommend that you check the system periodically, even if you don’t intend to repair anything. Being prepared for the problems will help you later.

What Type and Size of Air Conditioner Do I Need for My Attic?

It depends. If you’re installing a mini-split or a portable unit to cool just the attic, you need to use its area to determine the BTU of the AC. Installing this system will only cool or heat the attic, not the whole house.

On the other hand, if you’re installing a central AC in the attic, using it as a storage space, you need to determine how big your house is and how many rooms it has. This will help you find the central unit capacity for the whole house.

We recommend that you get a professional evaluation not to make mistakes. Installing a whole-house system is expensive and requires trained technicians. 

Who Should Not Buy an Attic Air Conditioner?

Although having an air conditioning unit in the attic can help keep your house in a better shape and make it more energy-efficient, there are situations when installing one isn’t the best idea. Although most of them are connected to the attic and roof renovation, they’re worth mentioning.

Leaky Roof

This one’s probably the most evident. If your roof isn’t doing its job properly (i.e., protect the house from sun and rain), adding an AC in the attic can’t help you. The first step would be to fix the roof cover.

The leakage refers to both air and water. In this case, you’re only adding to the energy bill without solving the root issue.

Old Windows

Your roof might be okay, but there can still be air leakage in the house. Old wooden frame windows usually have cracks and openings that let the air in.

Even if they’re made from newer materials like aluminum, PVC, or composite, you’re not always protected against leakage if they’re already a few years old. Check the windows against wind and fix the screws to ensure proper insulation before installing a new AC.

Non-Insulated Attic

While insulation in the windows is easier to spot, you have to search thoroughly for other cracks. 

Your roof might be doing its job well, and still, you might be hearing the wind through the walls. In this case, you need complete attic insulation with proper materials so that the AC can be efficient.

Old Ductwork

Another, even less evident issue might be the holes and tears in the ductwork. To identify it, you might need the help of an HVAC professional. Let them determine their usability before you start thinking about a new AC unit in the attic.

Conclusion 

Searching for the best air conditioner for your attic doesn’t have to be hectic. Once you know what to look for, there are plenty of options on the market. If you plan ahead, get your attic insulated, and all the leaks fixed, installing the suitable AC will be as easy as pie. 

People Also Ask

Now that we’ve discussed all the pros, cons, and AC types that can work in the attic, let’s answer a few additional questions regarding the topic.

Can You Put an AC Unit in the Attic?

Absolutely. Regardless of what unit it is and its goal, you can have an AC in your attic. If you use it as a living space, a mini-split wall unit will be an excellent solution. In case it’s just a storage space, a central AC unit can go there.

Can an Attic AC Cool the Whole House?

Yes and no. If you opt-in for a whole-house unit and install it in the attic, it will. However, if you’re using a separately installed mini-split or a portable AC to keep the attic temperature under control, it won’t cool the whole house.

Is Having an Air Conditioner in the Attic Dangerous?

If you install the unit well and take up proper precautions (insulation around the setup, good ducting), it shouldn’t be dangerous. If we’re considering the mini-split option, some models allow for unattended operation.

Still, you better check the space periodically to ensure that the systems are working well.

Do Attic Air Conditioners Leak?

If the condensate system works well and there are no other issues with the AC, there’s no reason for it to leak. Conduct periodic checks on the system to ensure proper operation, and your attic air conditioner will serve you for years.



My name is Bob Wells and I am a retired HVAC tech from Washington state. I am currently retired and no longer do much with HVAC, however, I feel like I have a lot of knowledge in the subject and I wanted to create a website where I could talk about what I've learned and help upcoming HVAC techs. Find more info about me and HVAC Training 101.