ActronAir vs Panasonic vs Mitsubishi – Which Ducted Air Conditioning System is Best?
When it comes to determining which ducted air conditioning is best for you, there are many factors to consider. Whether you’re building a new home/building or renovating your current one, there are a lot AC brands to choose from such as ActronAir, Panasonic, and Mitsubishi.
How To Evaluate An Aircon: The Metrics
How do you choose which aircon to invest in? Well, first you need to understand how to measure performance. Key performance metrics include the following:
- Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)
- Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)
- Integrated Energy Efficiency Ratio (IEER)
- Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)
- Coefficient of Performance (COP)
- British Thermal Unit (BTU)
Firstly, it is vital to understand the term “British Thermal Unit” (BTU), which is “a measure of the heat content of fuels or energy sources” according to the EIA. They note “It is the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of liquid water by 1 degree Fahrenheit at the temperature that water has its greatest density (approximately 39 degrees Fahrenheit).”
The Metrics Explained:
The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is an energy performance rating representing a ratio of cooling output in BTU to electric energy input in watt-hours within set conditions. An EER of at least 12 is generally excellent for portable AC units. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is similar to the EER but instead accounts for varying outdoor temperatures such as through summer and winter. To give you an idea, AC systems require a minimum SEER value of 13.
For commercial and industrial settings the most reliable metric is the Integrated Energy Efficiency Ratio (IEER). It is calculated using the AC unit’s EER at varying load percentages. Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) is the counterpart of SEER in the unit’s heating mode. An HSPF of at least 8.2 is an ideal rating. Lastly, the Coefficient of Performance (COP) is a ratio of heating and/or cooling output to energy input. The COP value is calculated by averaging all the previously mentioned metrics; the greater the COP value is more energy efficient it is. Generally, this value lies between 2.3 and 3.5 for aircons. However, you cannot compare the COP for aircons that run on different energy sources i.e. electricity, gas or oil.
ActronAir Ducted AC System
ActronAir is a Sydney-based, Aussie air conditioning manufacturer founded in 1984. In terms of ducted AC units, their best models include Classic, ESP Platinum, and UltraSlim. They are perhaps the most reliable brand on this list, being the only brand on this list to fill all orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Actron Classic is a dependable ducted unit is fitted with a fixed scroll compressor allowing it to run all year round in comfort.
The Classic has a much higher capacity (to remove heat/cool air) compared to its competing units. For example, at 46 degrees Celsius, the unit continues to run with 85% more capacity compared to conventional inverters. Furthermore, it has a wide operating range of -10 to 50 degrees Celsius and can almost instantly bring the temperature up to its capacity, unlike other conventional inverters that can take several minutes to do so.
This ActronAir unit also features Classic Zoning. This allows for greater energy efficiency by dividing your house into as many as eight zones to manage temperature settings in specific areas based on cooling requirements.
AC models in the Classic Series 2 range have an EER rating from 3.26 to 3.39 and a COP (heating) rating from 3.63 to 3.91, depending on the model.
Energy Smart Performance (ESP) Platinum
The Actron ESP Platinum is engineered to provide superior performance and efficiencies. It has an operating range of -15 to 50 degree Celsius. Its compressor is the world-leading Tru-Inverter Variable Speed Scroll technology, which can deliver the perfect cooling and heating temperature down to a fraction of a degree and thus, massively increase energy efficiency. In addition, the inverter can cool or warm a room five times faster than standard inverter systems. What’s more, is that it can maintain the temperature within +/-0.3°C at the sensor location while, unlike other inverter systems that provide highly fluctuating temperature changes.
The ESP Platinum unit also boasts of a wide capacity range. It is designed to withstand the extreme temperatures in Australia, where conventional units shut down. On the other hand, it can also adjust its airflow down to 20% of its capacity, unlike competing units that can only run down to 40% capacity.
AC models in the ESP Platinum (QUE) range have EER rating from 3.26 to 3.37 and COP (heating) rating from 3.35 to 3.73, depending on the model.
ActronAir’s UltraSlim low-profile ducted system is the perfect choice for homes where space is a premium. Regardless of its very compact size at only 249mm high, it is packed with high-end features, minimising energy consumption. Such advanced technologies in this low-profile unit include programmable timers, DC fan motors, and DC rotary compressors.
This ActronAir unit has a superior operating range from -25 to 50 degrees Celsius, which is most perfect for the Australian climate. It is run by an inverter twin-rotary compressor with DC technology that brings the inverter compressor up to 35% more efficient compared to an AC inverter unit.
The Ultra Slim range also uses an innovative fan that doesn’t produce loud noise, unlike any other AC unit. It has a five-speed setting that brings the unit to at most 40% more efficient than the alternative technology.
AC models in the Ultra Slim range have an EER rating from 3.31 to 3.45 and a COP (heating) rating from 3.53 to 3.90, depending on the model.
ActronAir’s Que model is their range-topper, with a plethora of features and outstanding reliability. It is perhaps one of the most technologically advanced systems, with a master timer, scheduling features, and energy usage statistics amongst an array of other features, all of which can be viewed and controlled from its hand-held console. The master timer allows you to schedule when you want your aircon to turn off and on. The scheduling feature is similar but gives you control over which individual zones you want activated. You can view the system’s performance statistics to keep of its energy usage as well. The Que is arguably the technology leader in its class.
Panasonic Ducted AC System
The Panasonic ducted AC system is engineered to be splitable with high static and large airflow capability for exceptional flexibility.
Panasonic’s indoor range of ducted air conditioning systems is extremely compact, as they measure 360mm to 558mm and a height from 377mm to 486mm, depending on the specific model. The compact build allows for flexibility in installation and absolute subtleness in your home’s overall design.
Panasonic maintains a compact approach with its outdoor units, although they are understandably less compact than their indoor units. Outdoor units measure 996 x 940 x 340mm for the 7.1kW model to 1,500 x 980 x 370mm for the largest models. In addition, its intuitive technology allows maximum efficiency and performance.
Regarding noise, both the indoor and outdoor Panasonic ducted AC units operate in utmost silence. In fact, Panasonic’s units are among the quietest in the world.
What makes Panasonic stand out in the AC manufacturing industry is its dedication to improving air quality. The company’s ducted AC system comes with its trademarked Nanoe X technology as a standard. This technology removes allergens, viruses, bacteria, and particles as small as 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) to ensure you’re breathing clean indoor air.
Other features of Panasonic ducted AC units include:
- Automatic fan operation
- Automatic restart function
- Self-diagnosing function
- Dry mode
- Anti-corrosion on heat exchangers
- Highly flexible control system with several customised options
- Sturdy construction to resist harsh Australian weather elements
- Full 5 years warranty on parts and labour
The smallest unit model (7.1kW) in the ducted AC range from Panasonic has a 3.48 EER rating and a 3.88 COP rating, while the largest model (22.4kW) has a 3.09 EER rating and 3.52 COP rating.
Mitsubishi Ducted AC System
Mitsubishi’s most popular ducted air conditioning units are the PEA-M-GAA and the PEA-M-HAA series models and are available in 10kW, 12.5kW, and 14kW capacities. Its low-profile contender is the PEAD-M-JAAD series. Its large-capacity units with cooling and heating capabilities are the Ducted PEA-RP-WJA and the Ducted PEA-RP-WHA series.
All Mitsubishi ducted AC units, except for the low-profile models, feature a high static pressure design for high airflow. Mitsubishi provides a variety of airflow options, coupled with a flexible duct design. The low-profile models come with a wide-ranging external static pressure.
The ducted Mitsubishi cooling and heating system features an unobtrusive and discreet design, only showing its grills, making it perfect for large residential and office spaces. In fact, Mitsubishi’s ducted systems offer a variety of diffuser designs to best suit the look of your home interiors.
What’s more, is that constant improvements in the design of the fan blades and grill ensure it operates with utmost silence.
PEAD-M-JAAD ceiling-concealed units
The low-profile PEAD-M-JAAD units measure merely 250mm in height, making them ideal for compact spaces. They have an EER rating ranging from 3.20 to 3.74 and COP (heating) rating from 3.82 to 4, depending on the specific model.
PEA-M standard units
The standard-capacity PEA-M models both come with R32 refrigerant.
The PEA-M-GAA units feature computerised dehumidification, flexible duct design, and a maximum piping length of 75m. They have an EER rating ranging from 3.41 to 4.18 and a COP rating from 3.73 to 4.46, depending on the specific model.
On the other hand, the PEA-M-HAA units have a two-piece construction design, separating the fan deck assembly and the indoor unit heat exchanger for more convenient handling and installation. Additionally, they are engineered for two-way maintenance access. The PEA-M-HAA units have an EER rating ranging from 3.21 to 3.77 and COP (heating) rating from 4.03 to 4.13, depending on the specific model.
Powerful PEA-RP units
The larger PEA-RP models are both available with a three-phase power supply, with the PEA-RP-WJA series having a single-phase option. It is engineered with a two-piece construction for convenient installation. Despite their powerful performance, they still operate without noise.
The PEA-RP units have an EER rating ranging from 3.19 to 3.60 and COP (heating) rating from 3.25 to 3.62, depending on the specific model.
Conclusion – Which has the best-ducted system?
Which manufacturer has the best-ducted air conditioning system? Actron Air, Panasonic or Mitsubishi? Sadly, there is no one answer for this question, as the ultimate choice depends on your personal preferences and the size of the area you wish to heat. Here are examples though:
- For the best all-rounder, we recommend ActronAir. It is a reliable local brand, meaning their units are tailored for the Australian weather more-so than their competitors. Furthermore, their cooling technology is a class-leader, reliability is also outstanding with minimal operational noise. They have also been the only brand to fill all their orders during the pandemic, so if you want reliability and quality service from a company, this is it!
- For small spaces, your best bet are the low-profile units such as Actron’s UltraSlim, Mitsubishi’s PEAD-M series, and even the entire range of Panasonic’s ducted system
- The low-profile units are also the ideal choices for those seeking aesthetics.
- Ducted AC units with zoning solutions are best for large houses or buildings with various rooms. All three manufacturers offer such convenience but they differ in terms of additional control features.
- Large spaces can benefit from the high-end, high-capacity premium range offered by the three manufacturers.
- AC units in the premium range are also great to have when you’re looking for powerful performance. Take note, however, that they aren’t cheap.
- If you’re more concerned about indoor air quality, Panasonic is your best choice due to its Nanoe X technology.
Get in touch with your local AC dealer to get the best-ducted air conditioning system! If you’re in Western Australia, Complete Air Systems is Perth’s go-to local company, offering services for both residential and commercial clients. Contact us today!