AC Shopping Guide: A Comprehensive Handbook

With Uganda’s tropical climate, a reliable air conditioning system is not just a luxury but a necessity for your comfort and well-being. Whether you’re looking to beat the heat during scorching summers or maintain a cozy atmosphere during the rainy season, Abanista has got you covered.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make an informed decision when purchasing an air conditioner. From understanding different types of AC units to selecting the right size and features for your space, we’re here to simplify the process and ensure you find the perfect cooling solution tailored to your needs.

Choosing the Right AC Type for Your Room

There are six main types of ACs: Split AC, Window AC, and Portable AC, Floor standing AC, Ceiling Cassette AC, and Ductable AC. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, and your choice should align with your specific requirements.

AC Shopping Guide Step 1:

  1. Split AC
    • Advantages:
      • Faster Cooling for Larger Rooms
      • Low Noise
      • Can Be Installed on Any Wall
      • Aesthetically Pleasing
    • Disadvantages:
      • Costly
      • Higher Maintenance Expenses
  2. Window AC
    • Advantages:
      • Relatively Affordable
      • Easier to Install/Uninstall
      • Ideal for Smaller Rooms
    • Disadvantages:
      • Noisy
      • Unsophisticated Design
      • Not Ideal for Very Large Rooms
  3. Portable AC
    • Advantages:
      • Portable and Easy to Move
      • Suitable for Cooling Multiple Rooms
      • Easy Installation
    • Disadvantages:
      • Pricey
      • Noisy
      • Messy Installation
  4. Floorstanding AC:
    • Advantages:
      • Ideal for Large Spaces
      • Flexible Placement
      • Enhanced Airflow
    • Disadvantages:
      • Takes Up Floor Space
      • Some Models Can Be Expensive
  5. Ceiling Cassette AC:
    • Advantages:
      • Discreet and Space-Saving
      • 360-Degree Air Distribution
      • Suitable for Larger Areas
    • Disadvantages:
      • Professional Installation Required
      • Initial Cost Might Be Higher
  6. Ductable AC:
    • Advantages:
      • Centralized Cooling for Multiple Rooms
      • Hidden Installation
      • Customizable Zoning
    • Disadvantages:
      • Complex Installation
      • Higher Initial Investment

Determining Room Size and Required AC Capacity

AC Shopping Guide – Step 2:

Calculate your room size and decide the ideal AC capacity for effective cooling. AC capacity is measured in tonnage, but a more accurate measure of cooling speed is the BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating.

  • 1 KW/Hr = 3,412 BTU
  • 12,000 BTU = 1 Ton

Proper sizing is very important for efficient air conditioning. Buying a larger capacity room air conditioner than is required won’t make you feel more comfortable during the hot summer months. In fact, a room air conditioner that’s too big for the area will perform less efficiently and less effectively than a smaller, properly sized unit. The reason: an oversized unit will cool the room(s) to the thermostat set-point before proper dehumidification occurs, making the area feel “clammy” and uncomfortable.” A small unit running for an extended period operates more efficiently and is more effective at dehumidifying than a large unit that cycles on and off too frequently.

Based on size alone, an air conditioner generally needs 20 Btu for each square foot of living space. Other important factors to consider when selecting an air conditioner are room height, local climate, shading, and window size.

Verify that your home’s electrical system can meet the unit’s power requirements. Room units operate on 120-volt or 240-volt circuits. The standard household receptacle is a connection for a 120-volt branch circuit. Large room units rated at 120 volts may require a dedicated circuit and room units rated at 240 volts may require a special circuit.

If you are mounting your air conditioner near the corner of a room, look for a unit that can direct its airflow in the desired direction for your room layout. If you need to mount the air conditioner at the narrow end of a long room, then look for a fan control known as “Power Thrust” or “Super Thrust” that sends the cooled air farther into the room.

Consider factors like the number of windows, heat sources, sun exposure, ceiling area, and the number of occupants. Other features to look for include: A filter that slides out easily for regular cleaning, Logically arranged controls, A digital readout for the thermostat setting, A built-in timer. Refer to the table below to determine the appropriate tonnage for your room.

Room SizeBTUTonnage
100-120 sq. ft.6,000 BTU0.5 Ton
120-150 sq. ft.9,000 BTU0.75 Ton
150-180 sq. ft.12,000 BTU1.00 Ton
180-250 sq. ft.18,000 BTU1.50 Ton
300-350 sq. ft.24,000 BTU2.00 Ton
350-500 sq. ft.36,000 BTU3.00 Ton

Inverter vs. Non-Inverter AC: Making the Right Choice

Inverter vs Non-Inverter AC: Two main types of ACs exist – inverter and non-inverter. Inverter ACs are typically more power-efficient but come at a higher cost. It’s crucial to understand that an inverter AC doesn’t require an external power inverter; this is a common misconception.

  • Advantages of Inverter AC:
    • More Energy-Efficient
    • Low Noise
    • Longer Life
  • Advantages of Non-Inverter AC:
    • Cheaper Than Inverter ACs
    • Cools Faster

Understanding Dual Inverter ACs

Normal inverter ACs use a single-cylinder, single rotary compressor. In contrast, dual-inverter ACs employ advanced BLDC motors with twin rotators. This design provides a phase difference of 180 degrees, enabling operation at a wider frequency range and offering better cooling efficiency.

Energy Efficiency of Room Air Conditioners

A room air conditioner’s efficiency is measured by the energy efficiency ratio (EER). The EER is the ratio of the cooling capacity (in British thermal units (Btu) per hour) to the power input (in watts). The higher the EER rating, the more efficient the air conditioner. When buying a new room air conditioner, look for the ENERGY STAR label.

Voltage Stabilizer Necessity for Your AC

Most new ACs come with a built-in voltage stabilizer for protection against high and low voltages. However, it’s essential to check operational limits, especially if your region experiences extreme voltage fluctuations. In such cases, a more potent external voltage stabilizer may be required.

Prioritizing AC Warranty and Service Quality

Warranty duration and service quality are vital considerations for any high-value device, including ACs. ACs typically come with a 1-year brand warranty and an extended warranty for the compressor, the most crucial component. Pay attention to the compressor warranty, with some brands offering as little as a three-year warranty, while premium brands may provide up to a ten-year warranty.

AC Repair and Maintenance

Regular AC maintenance is essential for optimal functioning. Consider acquiring an Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) plan from a reputable service provider. Abanista’s Comprehensive AMC plan, for instance, offers up to two years of repair and maintenance support, including preventive maintenance visits, unlimited repairs, free gas charging, and spare parts coverage.

Additional AC Features to Consider

  1. Auto Start:
    • Allows the AC to restart automatically after a power outage, restoring the previous temperature settings.
  2. Dehumidification:
    • Some ACs come with an additional dehumidification feature, useful in areas with high humidity.
  3. Four-Way Swing:
    • Enhances air dispersal by allowing horizontal and vertical airflow adjustments.
  4. Sleep Timer:
    • Automatically turns off the AC after a set period, reducing power consumption and providing convenience.
  5. Smart Features, App Control, and Wi-Fi Connectivity:
    • Premium ACs may offer smart features, allowing remote control via smartphone apps or voice commands through voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri.
  6. Turbo Mode:
    • Accelerates cooling by running the AC at maximum power, though it consumes more energy.

AC Features to Avoid

  1. Mosquito Repellent Feature:
    • Some brands claim ACs have mosquito-repellent features, but these have proven ineffective.
  2. Triple Inverter AC:
    • Despite the perception that triple inverter ACs might outperform dual inverter models, the triple rotary design can result in compressor imbalance.
  3. Anti-Bacteria or COVID-19 Virus Filtration Claims:
    • Some brands assert their AC filters remove bacteria or even the COVID-19 virus. Judging the practical effectiveness of such features is challenging, so it’s advisable not to base your AC choice solely on these claims.

Installing and Operating Your Room Air Conditioner

A little planning before installing your air conditioner will save you energy and money. The unit should be level when installed, so that the inside drainage system and other mechanisms operate efficiently.

Don’t place lamps or televisions near the air-conditioner’s thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.

Set your air conditioner’s thermostat as high as is comfortably possible in the summer. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be. Don’t set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner; it will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense.

Set the fan speed on high, except on very humid days. When humidity is high, set the fan speed on low for more comfort. The low speed on humid days will cool your home more effectively and remove more moisture from the air because of slower air movement through the cooling equipment.

Consider using an interior fan in conjunction with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air through your home without greatly increasing electricity use.

Remember that efficient operation of any air conditioning system relies on a properly insulated and air sealed home. For more information, see home energy assessments and detecting air leaks.

Some of the most reliable brands of ACs in Uganda


Daikin air conditioners are known for their innovative technology and energy efficiency. They provide reliable cooling solutions for residential, commercial, and industrial applications, with a reputation for durability and performance.

Mitsubishi Electric:

Mitsubishi Electric air conditioners are praised for their high quality and energy efficiency. These units offer reliable and consistent cooling, making them suitable for various settings.


Samsung air conditioners are recognized for their performance and innovative features. These units deliver reliable cooling solutions with a focus on energy efficiency and advanced technologies.


Carrier air conditioners are recognized for their durability and efficiency. They provide reliable cooling performance, often incorporating advanced features to enhance comfort and energy savings.


Trane air conditioning units are known for their durability and reliability. They focus on energy efficiency and innovative technologies, delivering consistent and effective cooling in residential and commercial environments.


LG air conditioners are appreciated for their performance and durability. With a focus on innovation, LG units often feature advanced technologies and deliver efficient and reliable cooling for homes and businesses.


Fujitsu air conditioning systems are known for their high quality and energy efficiency. These units provide reliable and effective cooling solutions, catering to the needs of both residential and commercial users.


Lennox air conditioners are recognized for their reliability and efficiency. They offer durable cooling solutions with a focus on advanced technologies to enhance overall performance.


York air conditioning units are known for their reliability and performance. These units deliver effective cooling in residential and commercial spaces, with a reputation for durability and energy efficiency.


Panasonic air conditioners are praised for their reliability and energy efficiency. They offer a range of products for residential and commercial use, delivering consistent and efficient cooling.


Gree air conditioning units are known for their efficiency and reliability. With a range of products catering to different needs, Gree provides cooling solutions that are durable and effective.


Haier air conditioners provide reliable cooling solutions at an affordable price point. Known for their durability, Haier units offer effective and efficient cooling for residential and light commercial applications.


At Abanista, we pride ourselves on offering a wide selection of top-quality air conditioners from leading brands, all carefully curated to meet the unique demands of Ugandan households. Whether you’re shopping for a compact unit for your bedroom or a powerful system to cool your entire home or office, you’ll find a diverse range of options to choose from, each backed by our commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction.

Our knowledgeable team of experts is here to assist you every step of the way, providing personalized recommendations and guidance to help you find the ideal AC solution for your specific requirements and budget. Plus, with our convenient online platform and nationwide delivery service, shopping for your new air conditioner has never been easier or more accessible.

So, whether you’re upgrading your current cooling system or investing in your first AC unit, trust Abanista Uganda to deliver unparalleled quality, reliability, and value. Let’s beat the heat together and create a cool, comfortable oasis in your home or workplace. Start exploring our AC shopping guide today and take the first step towards a cooler, more refreshing environment all year round!