Daikin Air Conditioner Buyer’s Guide – HVAC Brand Review

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Wading through the hundreds if not thousands of HVAC units available is stressful. For every brand there are dozens of models, price points, features, options, and bells and whistles that seem to go on and on.

In order to narrow down the search for a trustworthy brand, we want to help you learn about the brand Daikin.

They’re a well-known, often-recommended brand with great customer service. They also produce some of the most reliable AC units on the market.

The Best of Daikin

Daikin has been in the North American market since 2004. But their impact on the HVAC world, dates as far back as 1951 when they produced Japan’s first air conditioning unit. They are currently a sister company of Carrier in the US, another top name HVAC brand. There are many reasons to opt for a Daikin unit. Perhaps the biggest draw is the fact that Daikin has long been a leader in state-of-the-art HVAC design.

One technology that is creeping up as a technological standard in AC units is something known as VRF (or VRV) technology. VRF/VRV stand for Variable Refrigerant Flow or Variable Refrigerant Volume. VRF is a somewhat-complicated system that is designed to reduce power consumption and increase AC efficiency. It allows for a system that relies on refrigerant rather than using refrigerant to heat water.

VRF also allows for a single outdoor unit to control several indoor handlers at different levels. You have more control over your home’s temperature. Daikin was instrumental in the development of this technology. It is appearing more and more often in other brands as the technology continues to improve.

One of the main benefits of VRF is an improvement in energy efficiency. Efficiency is held to a high standard by Daikin, with their highest level unit reaching a 24.5 SEER rating. At an affordable price, Daikin has found a number of ways to increase efficiency without bumping up prices.

Daikin is one of the few companies that offer a long-lasting warranty standard on every unit. The standard Daikin warranty is 12 years. The warranty covers many of the highest-risk parts over the lifetime of your AC unit. Just remember to register for your warranty within the 60-day window after your purchase!

The Drawbacks

While Daikin is an excellent company, there are some things to be aware of. Daikin is generally known for good customer service, but the story is a bit different at the international level. Since Daikin is a Japanese company, customers may end up in “international waters." This may be frustrating when trying to solve problems.

Daikin’s long-lasting warranty is mostly excellent. But it’s worth knowing that it only covers the cost of replacement parts, not the labor for repairs.

Some of the lower-priced Daikin units may be at risk of breaking down soon after installation, especially without proper care.

How Does Daikin Compare to the Competition?

Daikin is a name known for quality and reliance when it comes to air conditioning units. They have a range of units that perform very well and help to keep cool indoors even when the sun is beating down outside. But why choose Daikin out of all the other manufacturers? Let’s take a look at how Daikin compares to the competition.

World Wide Availability

Daikin units are available in a total of 130 countries worldwide. This makes it easier to find air conditioning units around the world with considerable ease. That’s not all, its availability also means that customer service and getting repairs or replacements will also be easier.

Sustainability 

Daikin strives to manufacture sustainable units, which is one of the major features that make it stand out from its competitors. It is the company’s priority to produce electronics that are energy-efficient and are friendly for the environment. 

Variety

Another one of the characteristics that make Daikin stand out from the rest is their variety. When it comes to air conditioners, Daikin makes sure to produce units that can cater to a variety of different needs any customer might have.

Comparison of the Best Daikin Air Conditioners

Since each unit mentioned in this review has a different set of specifications, we have included a table to help differentiate between each one. The table will give you a general overview of the products mentioned in this review so that it is easier to develop an idea of what each product is capable of.

Model Name

Capacity (Ton)

Energy Efficiency (SEER)

Compressor Type

Condenser Fan Motor (i.e., single vs. two)

DS13SA

1 ½  -  5

14

Energy Efficiency Scroll

Single

DX13SN

1- 5

14

Energy Efficient 

Single

DX14SA

1 ½  -  5

15

Energy-Efficiency Scroll

Single

DX16SA

1 ½  -  5

16

High-Efficiency Scroll

Single

DX16TC

2 - 5

17

Two-Stage High-Efficiency Scroll

Two

DX18TC

2 - 5

19

Two-Stage High-Efficiency Scroll

Two

DX20VC

2 - 5

23

Variable Speed Swing

Two

Quick Take: Best Daikin Air Conditioner

These are our recommendations for the best Daikin air conditioner:

  1. DX13SN
  2. DX13SA
  3. DX14SA

Review of the Best Daikin Air Conditioners

Now that we have gone over the specifications of these units and have an outline for each one, let’s start with the more detailed reviews. These will discuss the features in detail and discuss the pros as well as the cons for some top Daikin air conditioner units. 

PROS

  • The DX13SN has a capacity of 1 ½ - 5 tons
  • Offers great durability in addition to UV protection
  • Unit is energy efficient and performs while utilizing minimum energy units 
  • It features a powder paint finish and is made from heavy-gauge galvanized steel
  • Copeland® CoreSense technology helps to monitor any areas that might need to be fixed 

CONS

  • It may be a bit difficult to find parts that are perfect for this air conditioner unit

Why it Stands Out to Us

This unit has a single-speed condenser fan motor. Despite that, it is able to cool indoor spaces without any issues. The total capacity of this air conditioner is 1½ to approximately 5 tons. This means it can remove a considerable amount of heat. Furthermore, this unit from Daikin has up to 14 SEER cooling, meaning it is quite energy efficient. Moving on, the design and make of this unit are excellent. It is made primarily from high gauge galvanized steel, which is covered with a powder paint finish. This provides the unit with durability and protects it from external damage. 

The DX12SN is a 13-SEER, single-stage AC unit. This is part of Daikin’s “nominal” line, making it an excellent low-cost unit. It is rated at a 3-ton capacity. Depending on the model, you can get a cooling capacity of 18,000 BTU/h to 56,000 BTU/h. The unit runs at an average of 72 dB making it relatively quiet for the level of power it has.

Bottom Line

The DX13SN is a good option if you are looking for an air conditioner with a single condenser fan motor. It has a good size, and it will not be a hassle to find the perfect place for it within your home. Moreover, it is made from high-quality material that is strong and durable, so it is very unlikely that it will need frequent repairs. The performance of this unit is also commendable as it provides efficient cooling while cutting out the additional costs. 

PROS

  • Provides up to 14 SEER cooling
  • Made from sturdy materials so it can last for a longer time
  • Unit is durable and is equipped with excellent UV protection
  • Operates quietly to maintain the optimal environment indoors 
  • Energy-efficient performance that provides more cooling while using less energy

CONS

  • It may be a bit difficult to understand the setup and installation instruction for some users 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This whole-house air conditioner is surely one of the best from Daikin’s wide range of air conditioner units. It has a capacity of 1½ to 5 tons, which means it can keep the whole house cool without any problems. Furthermore, it has a quiet operation, which means there will be little to no distraction caused when it is running. It has an energy-efficient scroll compressor as well as a single-speed condenser fan motor. However, that is not all. The condenser coil of this unit is crafted from 5mm refrigeration grade premium copper and aluminum fin.

Daikin’s DX13SA is another 13-SEER, single-stage unit that adds extra features not available on the DX13SN. This unit boasts a foam compressor sound blanket which reduces the volume to an average of just under 70 dB. It also has Copeland CoreSense, an internal computer which tracks potential errors. It works like your car’s computer, giving codes that a tech can work from.

Bottom Line

It is clear to see that Daikin really does not compromise with quality when it comes to their products. Each and every aspect of the unit is crafted with masterfulness. Furthermore, it is made sure that the components from each unit are sturdy and can hold their own against strong forces like bad weather or sudden impact. Apart from that, the DX13SA provides a relaxing atmosphere for the user as it continues to work without making a racket. Despite it being a single speed fan motor, this air conditioner can certainly do its job and outperform many of its competitors in terms of cooling and energy saving as well. 

PROS

  • Provides up to 15 SEER cooling
  • Compressor type of this unit is energy efficiency scroll
  • Has a total capacity of approximately 1½ tons to 5 tons 
  • Equipped with sound control blanket to provide a quieter performance
  • Quite affordable even when compared to other Daikin air conditioner units

CONS

  • No additional features are included in it

Why it Stands Out to Us

Scroll compressors only have two moving parts in all. That is why they are able to work more smoothly and more quietly, as well. The efficient and quiet performance that this unit provides is what makes it stand out to us. In addition to that, it is very well designed and is made to be resistant to bad weather and strong impacts as well. The galvanized steel body provides UV protection as well as durability to the unit. Moreover, it is bound to last the user a very long time and can easily remove a large amount of heat from your home. 

The DX14SA packs 14 SEER into the same compact, low-volume design of the other DXS models. It has the Copeland CoreSense feature and high-density foam compressor blanket in a single-stage unit. This unit is rated for 18,000 to 30,000 BTU/hr of cooling.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for an affordable cooling unit for your place, this one might be the one for you. It has all the important features that are needed in an air conditioner. Plus, it is pretty energy efficient, so it’s a win-win situation if you plan on investing in this one as it can provide comfort, and it does not cost that much either. The DX14SA has a SEER rating of up to 15, therefore, it is all the more useful when it comes to saving power. The durability of this air conditioner makes it worth the buy even more. 

PROS

  • Possesses a 5mm condenser coil
  • Unit has a SEER rating of up to 16 SEER
  • Does not produce a lot of noise and functions properly
  • Qualified by Energy Star which is the international standard for energy efficiency
  • Equipped with a high-efficiency scroll compressor that can provide optimum performance

CONS

  • Finding the appropriate parts for repairs can be a bit difficult as only certain types of parts work with this Daikin unit

Why it Stands Out to Us

First of all, the unit is pretty durable as it is made from galvanized steel with a powder paint finish. The finish provides UV protection, and the main material used ​ensures that it is protected from harsh weather and from other damage as well. The unit comes along with an in-line filter drier, which was installed by the factory. In addition to that, it is also equipped with a 5mm refrigeration grade premium copper and aluminum fin condenser coil. This helps the unit to cool the place evenly and efficiently. Thanks to the scroll compressor, the entire unit runs quietly as well. 

The DX16SA is the lowest-cost Daikin unit to have Energy Star partner status because it is highly efficient at 16 SEER. It is rated as high as 57,000 BTU/hr for improved cooling. Part of what makes it so efficient is its patented scroll compressor from Copeland. This unit is the highest efficiency of Daikin’s “standard” line (indicated by the S in the unit number).

Bottom Line

The DX16SA is yet another great budget option from Daikin. It offers a great set of features and is also available at a lower price tier compared to many of the other manufacturers. Despite having a single speed fan motor, this unit alone is capable of cooling the entire house when it is used as per Daikin’s recommendations. Considering how strong the unit is externally, it cannot be damaged nor needs to be maintained often. When we do a full comparison of its features to its price, it is easy to conclude that this air conditioner is definitely worth the money. 

PROS

  • Air conditioner has a total capacity of 2-5 tons
  • Equipped with the Daikin One+ smart thermostat
  • Unit has a two-stage high-efficiency scroll processor
  • Engineered with the sound control blanket which minimizes any uncomfortable or distracting noises
  • Qualified by Energy Star which means that the unit abides by international standards of energy efficiency

CONS

  • No newer technology installed in the air conditioner which would make it an attractive choice for many other buyers

Why it Stands Out to Us

The answer to this question is quite simple. This whole-house air conditioner is not your average run of the mill cooling device. It provides up to 17 SEER cooling, which means that it is more energy-efficient than a regular cooling unit would be. Furthermore, it has a two-stage high-efficiency scroll compressor, which enhances the performance of the air conditioner even more. The design of the unit may look pretty simple, however, the unit itself is quite durable and is crafted from Daikin’s signature galvanized steel with a powder paint finish. 

The DX16TC is Daikin’s lowest-cost two-stage system. It is rated for 16-SEER like the DX16SA but contains some features not available in lower-cost models. These features include compatibility with ComfortNet, a smart-home AC control system, extended diagnostic info, and greater power from the unit. The DX16TC is rated for 24,000 to 60,000 BTU/hr.

Bottom Line

The main reason we added this unit to our review was that it definitely functions very well, and it has a great design too. The scroll compressor ​ensures that no matter how much the unit runs, it does not produce any sound that would make the user uncomfortable. In addition to that, Daikin equips its air conditioners with the ability to signal the user whenever there are any issues with the device. 

PROS

  • Offers a performance of up to 19 SEER
  • Unit has been qualified by Energy Star
  • Equipped with the Daikin ONE+ smart thermostat
  • Has a two-stage high-efficiency compressor which works exceptionally well
  • Equipped with sound minimizing technology to maximize comfort levels for the users

CONS

  • Availability of parts may be difficult for this air conditioner in some places

Why it Stands Out to Us

The DX18C has to be one of the most energy-efficient units by Daikin. However, that is not all. It is also extremely Eco-friendly as well. It has a two-stage compressor that uses a chlorine-free R-410A refrigerant. The total capacity of this air conditioner is 2 to 5 tons, so it can be easily regarded as a heavy-duty air conditioner. Furthermore, it has a really good build which allows it to last a long time. 

Daikin’s DX18TC expands on the features available in the DX16TC with even higher efficiency. While the model number indicates the unit is rated 18 SEER, the manual actually indicates this unit can function as high as 19 SEER. Across the 3 models available, this unit, at 3 tons, can cool between 35,000 BTU/hr and 57,000 BTU/hr.

Bottom Line

If you are wanting to invest in an air conditioner but wanting to reduce your carbon footprint at the same time, this unit is the one for you. It takes care to reduce the amount of energy used for cooling, and it ​ensures not to use any harmful chemicals. Overall, it is a pretty safe option to use, plus it has a large capacity.

PROS

  • Model offers 23 SEER energy-efficient performance
  • Equipped with variable speed swing and Scroll compressors
  • Energy Star qualified this model to be the Most Energy Efficient-2019 
  • Air conditioner unit is an inverter, meaning it can be used in the winter as well
  • 7mm refrigeration grade, premium copper tubing and aluminum fin condenser coil

CONS

  • Customer service experiences have been reported to be confusing in some regions 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This air conditioner has a lot to offer. Not only is it energy efficient enough to be qualified by Energy Star, but it also works as an inverter so that users do not need to invest in a different unit altogether. Apart from that, it is strong and sturdy and functions quietly as well, thanks to the sound control blanket feature. It is made from galvanized steel that is coated with a powder paint finish. This finish provides it with UV protection. In addition to that, it also has a baked enamel finish, which keeps the system safe from damage caused by bad weather conditions. 

This unit is Daikin’s highest-efficiency split system AC, handling between 2 and 5 tons at 20 SEER. Unlike the models above, this is a variable-speed system. It has the other high-end Daikin features such as expanded diagnostic info, the patented variable speed system, and a safe, chlorine-free refrigerant.

Bottom Line

For those looking for a one-stop solution, this unit by Daikin is a good option. Moreover, the variable speed swing compressor is bound to give an excellent performance. It has all the basic features that an air conditioner should have and more. It has a capacity of 2 to 5 tons, which means cooling larger areas should be no problem at all.

Finding the Best Prices

The cost of a new AC system can feel overwhelming, but finding the right price isn’t always a challenge. Here are a few tips for making sure the price is right.

First and foremost, don’t give up quality for a lower price. When finding a contractor to install your unit, a cheap quote may be enticing. But do your homework on the people making the bid! Daikin warranties explicitly do not cover damage incurred by improper installation. Low-bidding contractors tend to have low-bid methods when it comes time to install.

Second, if you can - buy in the fall or winter! Kind of like seasonal clothing, AC units have a definite off-season. Companies often run specials to keep inventory moving during the winter months. When other people aren’t thinking of anything but their home heater, the time is ripe for deals. Contractors will also drop prices in the winter so that they continue to get business in slow months.

As an addition to the last two points, when getting bids, always take at least 3 bids. More quotes means you’re likely to find a better deal. And sometimes you can even come back with a counter-offer based on someone else’s services.

Finally, check for rebates, offers, and government or community incentives, especially if you’re shelling out for a high-efficiency model. So many programs at local and national levels are encouraging people to switch to higher-efficiency methods. This often means they’ll either give you a rebate or some form of discount towards your new AC model.

What Kind of Warranty Does Daikin Offer?

As we mentioned before, Daikin is well known for its customer service and provides as much for the customer as possible. This reflects in their warranty policies. The units discussed in this review are whole house units. For these units, Daikin offers two types of warranties. Let’s take a look at what these are. 

Limited Parts Exchange

This is a warranty that has a time stature of 12 years, depending on the model you choose to invest in. It will cover any defects in materials or workmanship in units that have been used normally and have been maintained otherwise. 

Limited Unit Replacement

As the name suggests, this is a unit replacement warranty, and the time period for this one ranges from 6 to 12 years. It depends on which unit you are buying. The warranty will allow for a unit replacement under certain circumstances detailed in the warranty document. 

Company History

Daikin was initially founded by Akira Yamada as “Osaka Kinzoku Kogyosho” in Osaka, Japan in 1924. The company initially fashioned radiator tubes for aircraft.

Beginning in 1933, Daikin began researching fluorine-based refrigerants. These developments lead to Japan’s first packaged air conditioner, produced in 1951. By the time the company took up the name Daikin in 1968, it had already established itself as a leader in home AC.

In 2004, Daikin entered the US market as part of its international expansion. Its success led to them working alongside Carrier to begin producing new refrigerants and AC developments. It is currently a publicly traded company valued over $28 billion.

Conclusion

Daikin’s reputation precedes it as a manufacturer of high-quality, top-of-the-line AC units. They have continued to advance technologies with the VRV units and push the envelope on reducing environmental impact. The units they have on the market cannot be beaten for home AC systems and are affordable for the level of quality they give.

Daikin would be an excellent choice for just about any home situation. They have a wide range of products fit for almost every setup.