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  • Writer's pictureMargaret Hirsch


It’s shaping up to be a long, hot summer. Are you ready for it?

There’s no doubt that air conditioning is essential to temperature regulation, especially during the blistering hot months of our African summers.

Don’t sit and sweat – rather get the right aircon to keep you cool and comfortable for the summer season ahead. But, choosing between heating and cooling options is a difficult task. How do we know if we’re making the right decision for our space?

In this article, we’ll explain what to look for when choosing an aircon unit and how to spot good deals when it comes to air conditioner deals.

Keep reading to figure out the best aircon available for you!

What Do I Need to Know When Choosing an Aircon?

Do you work from an office or do you spend most of your time at home? No matter where you work, studies show that maintaining constant temperatures improves productivity. Choosing the right aircon, whether it’s for your home or office can be tricky. Besides the range of brands, types, and sizes, there are numerous other factors to consider.

For instance, you might consider the size of the room, how many people occupy the space, and what your cooling needs are.

If you want to buy an air conditioner, but aren’t sure where to start. Here are three basic points to keep in mind:

1. AC Brands

It’s always a smart idea to choose a well-known brand such as LG, Alliance, or Samsung. It’s not wise to buy a second-hand unit.

Remember, new aircon units come with a warranty, sometimes lasting up to five years! Buying new gives you peace of mind, the assurance of the reliability of your purchase.

2. Size vs Pricing

It’s imperative to take the size of the room into account before you buy your new unit. As a general rule-of-thumb, you multiply the length of the room by the width to determine the BTU requirement. We’ll explain what the BTU is in a little bit.

You can find information on the aircon capacity for a particular area on this page. Look under the heading what size of aircon do you need? If you need a precise assessment, a qualified aircon installer will be able to help you.

3. Aircon Supplier

Choosing a reliable make with an appropriate warranty is one thing. But, you’ll also need to consider the installation process. Not to mention future servicing and maintenance.

You do need to maintain your aircon to keep it performing well and running economically. Hirsch’s provides third-party aircon installation and maintenance services. You can even book an aircon service online. Find out how in this blog post.

Decisions, Decisions!

Once you have an estimated idea of the size you need, you’ll have narrowed it down a little, but, there are still some questions to answer.

A good starting point is understanding how air conditioners work. Below you’ll find a quick guide on the main types of aircons, how they run, their benefits, and a few examples. It sounds like a lot, but we’ll make it simple, promise!

Inverter Units

An inverter unit works with a self-regulating motor. It’s able to change its speed to maintain a constant temperature. Since the compressor speed changes, it can provide precise heating and cooling.

The amount of heating or cooling required from air conditioners is always variable. This depends on the outside temperature and the heat inside the room. Air temperature generally changes throughout the day.

If the cooling capacity needs to be increased, the compressor of an inverter unit will run at a higher speed. This increases the rate of the refrigerant flow. When you switch on an inverter aircon, the compressor operates at a high speed to cool the room down faster.

Inverter unit benefits:

      • Up to 40% cheaper to run

      • More energy efficient by consuming less power

      • Longer lifespans

      • Reaches the desired temperature quicker (meaning the unit doesn’t work as hard)

      • Less maintenance

      • Quiet running

      • No temperature fluctuations

Split Units

Split units consist of two parts. A compressor (the noisy part), which is normally fitted to an exterior wall. and the quieter, lighter unit with the control panel placed inside your home.

Most split unit aircon systems have heat pump components for warming on colder days. They usually come with a coarse air filter to protect the system’s coils. And, fine air filters to purify the air, removing pollen, dust, and odours.

Wall-mounted split systems are the most common aircon types for residential use.

Split unit benefits:

  • Provide efficient cooling

  • Operate quietly

  • Offer a high degree of control over the temperature settings

Window Units

Window units are self-contained air conditioners that are usually mounted in windows. They’re better for small rooms because their cooling capabilities are quite limited and they can only cool one room at a time.

Since window units have limited output, you may need to use fans at the same time to keep the air circulating. This method is not the ideal solution if you’re trying to keep your electricity costs down.

Window units are small so you install them yourself and you can move them around if you want to. The trouble with these units is that they obstruct your window space. This also makes them easy for burglars to reach. Another thing is that the compressor noise makes window units much louder.

Window unit benefits:

  • Easy to install

  • Easy to move

  • Energy-efficient if you install them in very small rooms

  • Affordable initial cost

So, then, which is the best air conditioner in South Africa? Unfortunately, this is a relative question with no straightforward answer. The ideal air conditioner for a small office is different from one for a sunny, open-plan apartment.

The first thing to do is to have an aircon installer do an assessment to recommend the size and type of unit that you need. Then, based on that recommendation you can choose a make and model according to your budget.


The letters BTU stand for British Thermal Unit which measures a unit’s cooling capacity. The BTU needs to be suitable for the room size you want your air conditioner to cool.

In South Africa, we usually go with 500 BTU per square metre. However, there are a few factors that influence the BTU requirement such as your ceiling height and insulation type.

EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio. It’s basically BTU divided by the kilowatts per hour that a unit consumes at full power. In short, a higher EER rating means a more efficient aircon and one that costs less to run.

BTU and EER are key factors when deciding on the most energy-efficient air conditioner.

Aircon Specials

If you’re asking, ‘how much does an air conditioner cost in South Africa?’ you’ve come to the right place! The good news is that there’s a range of air conditioner series for a wide budget range.

For a decent entry-level aircon, you can expect to pay between R6,000 and R8,000. For example, the Alliance Neocool 9000BTU (non-inverter) was recently listed in aircon specials at Hirsch’s for only R4,999. It normally retails at R6,099.

Here is a list of a few different split and inverter units along with the retail aircon prices:

Pricelist and Range

  • Alliance MidWall Non-Inverter Split Unit – R7,599

  • Alliance 12000 BTU Mirror Inverter Air Conditioner – R9,899

  • LG 9000BTU Air Conditioner with Dual Inverter Heating & Cooling Split Unit – R12,199

  • LG 9000BTU Dual Inverter ARTCOOL Air Conditioner – R16,499

  • Samsung 18000BTU Wind-Free Inverter Air Conditioner – R19,999

  • Alliance Inverter Wi-Fi Pro Midwall Split Aircon – R20,599

We’re just going to give you a little extra useful information on buying from Hirsch’s.

The website has a very effective search function. If you know what size or type of aircon you’re looking for, just type the desired features into the search bar and the products will start to populate the page.

Type in 12000 BTU air conditioners, for instance, and you’ll find offers such as the Samsung 12000BTU Non-Inverter Air-conditioner for R6,999, down from R7,799. That’s not a bad deal at all!

If you’re interested in a deals at Hirsch’s, take a quick look at our aircon specials. Another option is to type ‘air conditioner specials near meinto your search engine bar. (You’ll find Hirsch’s on Google’s first page.)

Cool Considerations

Did you know that in 2020, the Northern Hemisphere experienced its hottest August on record? Global warming is an unfortunate reality and with temperatures only expected to rise, you need to choose the right cooling systems sooner rather than later.

If we want to make sure we’re not wasting energy, we shouldn’t buy a unit that’s too big or too small for our needs. It’s also a good idea to check the BTU and EER ratings.

Inverter air conditioners are more expensive upfront but their running costs are lower, so they will have less impact on the environment than non-inverter units.

The most effective way to choose the right air conditioner for you is to speak to a qualified aircon installer. Of course, if you can get a good deal at the same time, that’s an added bonus.

Of course, you always have the option of looking at the regular air conditioner specials at Hirsch’s and you can even book an appointment with them here.

Remember to grab your air-conditioning here.

Stay tuned to our blog for exciting recipes, product knowledge and much more.

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