A newer company in the industry, Pioneer has been manufacturing and selling ductless air conditioners since 1995. They’ve built a reputation for quality and efficiency by focusing solely on air conditioning products.
While they manufacture a smaller number of air conditioner models than some competitors, all of Pioneer’s units are ENERGY STAR rated. Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratings (SEER), sit squarely in the middle of the road, at 16.0 – 22.8. A SEER rating reflects the cost to remove heat from a space, and a higher number indicates a lower cost.
The British Thermal Units (BTUs) range on Pioneer’s models combined with their price range indicates that they’re intended for residential use. Units retail for as low as $700 and go up to $2,000, with a BTU range from 9,000 to 36,000. The more heat the unit removes, the higher the price. Pioneer’s units provide adequate cooling for one to two rooms.
All units have remote controls that allow you to change your unit’s settings without getting up from the comfort of your couch. Automatic air-sweeping louvers in each model automatically vary airflow direction, while capacity adjustments keep your room at the ultimate comfort level.
Pioneer’s warranty is comparable to industry standards and competitors. They cover parts for two years and the compressor for five years. To keep your model running efficiently, it is recommended to service it annually at a minimum.
| All of Pioneer’s models are ENERGY STAR rated|
Pioneer sells several cheaper models
Can buy direct from the manufacturer for lower prices
Higher SEER ratings available from other companies
Shorter warranty period on parts
Pioneer Ductless Overview
- Efficiency (SEER rating): 16.0 – 22.8
- Price level: $698 – $1,988
- Model options: 14
- Warranty: 2-year limited parts warranty, 5-year limited compressor warranty
- BTUs: 9,000 – 36,000
Pioneer Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner Prices by Model
*All information accurate as of 03/02/2020. MBH represents every 1,000 BTUs
Energy efficiency – SEER rating
Pioneer manufactures its mini-split air conditioner units with energy efficiency in mind. All of their models are ENERGY STAR rated and all have SEER ratings above the national minimum. Pioneer also provides estimated annual operating costs for all of their models on their website, which takes the guesswork out of assessing a unit’s impact on your utility bills.
A SEER rating measures an air conditioner’s efficiency by dividing the heat (BTUs) removed from a room with the amount of electricity, measured in watt-hours, it took to remove that heat. The higher the rating, the less it will cost to run the model. However, there’s often a trade-off between a high SEER rating and a model able to remove more heat.
When shopping, it’s important to compare the balance between energy effectiveness, price, and how much cooling you need in your home.
When selecting an air conditioning unit, take the time to review its warranty. A strong warranty indicates that a company believes in, and stands behind, their products. It provides reassurance that you’re making the right choice and can rely on your unit to maintain your home’s comfort level. Additionally, it’s important to know that the repair process will be positive in the event your air conditioner breaks down.
Pioneer’s mini-split air conditioners come with a two-year limited parts warranty and a five-year limited compressor warranty. Under the parts warranty, if any internal part becomes defective under normal use, the company will repair and replace it at their cost. However, the defect must relate to materials or workmanship, and it’s ultimately up to the company if they will repair or replace it.
The same exclusions apply to the five-year compressor warranty; it must fail due to issues in materials and workmanship. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have your unit professionally installed and serviced. This protects you if anything breaks during the warranty period – the company cannot claim that the parts’ failure was due to improper installation or lack of servicing.
Installation and maintenance
Pioneer sells direct-to-consumer, which is rare among air conditioning manufacturers. However, this means that you’ll have to find a professional HVAC installer in your area or install the unit yourself. Many independent distributors and big-box stores (such as Lowe’s) offer this service in addition to the sale of the unit.
While Pioneer does include installation kits with their models, it’s not recommended to do it yourself unless you have experience working with electrical. Installing a mini-split involves drilling holes in the walls, feeding tubes through them, and electrical hookup.
Compare to Other Air Conditioner Brands
*All information accurate as of 03/02/2020.
Pioneer Ductless vs. LG Air Conditioners
A large South Korean consumer electronics brand, LG sells its products worldwide. Because they’re so prevalent, it’s easy to find local dealers and installers in most metropolitan areas. It won’t be a struggle to get your unit serviced, either.
LG caters to a broader market than Pioneer. They sell thirty-three models, which cover a wider SEER rating of 16.5 – 27.5. If you need to cool a larger space or live in a hotter climate, some units have BTUs up to 48,000. However, their top-of-the-line models cost $5,970 versus Pioneer’s $2,498, with installation.
LG’s parts warranty lasts three years longer than Pioneer’s and includes labor. Their limited warranty on the compressor is the same, at five years.
Pioneer Ductless vs. Senville Air Conditioners
Senville is another smaller brand, manufactured in California, which appears to focus on the same market segment as Pioneer. Their units have similar SEER ratings and cooling capacity.
Senville’s SEER ratings go from 17.0 – 22.5, a tighter band than Pioneer, and their maximum BTUs only reaches 24,000. However, prices for both their bottom and top models are slightly less, with installation.
Senville’s parts warranty for their more expensive models lasts for a year longer than Pioneer’s, which gives you slightly more coverage. Cheaper models have the same coverage.