MRCOOL Advantage VS MRCOOL DIY

We sell a lot of different MRCOOL products. That includes mini-splits and central air systems. It also includes the MRCOOL Advantage and the MRCOOL DIY. When it comes to those two systems, a lot of people have questions. What's the difference between the MRCOOL Advantage vs MRCOOL DIY? Aren't they basically the same thing? Aren't all MRCOOL products the same?

The simple answer is: no. MRCOOL products are not all the same. The Advantage and the DIY are not the same thing either. These are different systems intended for different needs. That might not be obvious to a typical consumer who doesn't pay attention to the intricacies of the HVAC industry (e.g. - basically everybody).

So when it comes to MRCOOL Advantage vs MRCOOL DIY which one should you get?

MRCOOL Advantage VS MRCOOL DIY - Similarities

Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way. The Advantage and the DIY are both ductless mini-split heat pumps. That means they have a small installation footprint, they can heat, they can cool, and they're relatively inexpensive compared to a big conventional HVAC unit. Plus, they're going to be more energy efficient than your average window a/c or electric heater.

Which is nice.

Buy what about application? Most people would use either an Advantage or a DIY for the same sort of thing. Do you have a garage or workshop you want to heat or cool? Advantage or DIY would both be good for that. Is there a part of your house that has never really been as comfortable as you want? A mini-split like the Advantage or the DIY is a perfect solution. Looking to heat a basement or cool an attic, but you don't want to expand your central air? The Advantage or the DIY can do those things.

And both are flexible in terms of where they can go. Do you have a historic home that just doesn't have the space for conventional duct work? A mini-split like the Advantage or the DIY can fit. Are you in a high-rise condo without the room to plant a big condenser? A mini-split condenser can be wall mounted on the exterior of a building very easily.

Of course, this wouldn't be about MRCOOL Advantage vs MRCOOL DIY if there weren't important differences. So let's talk about those.

MRCOOL Advantage vs MRCOOL DIY - Differences

Installation

The big test between MRCOOL Advantage vs MRCOOL DIY is about ease of installation. MRCOOL DIY sells itself as a do-it-yourself, amateur-friendly product, and it is. It has pre-charged Quick Connect lines and special fittings. Basically, all you have to do is plug in the DIY lines, and you're pretty much good to go. It is the easiest split system to install on the market. It is made to be user-friendly and simple.

The Advantage is not that. The Advantage is not intended for do-it-yourself. This is a professional-grade product intended to be installed by a trained and licensed HVAC technician. The lines should be cut, brazed, and vacuumed. The system should be properly charged during installation. No significant installation work should be performed by an amateur. As a matter of fact, if you do buy the Advantage and install it yourself and you're not an HVAC pro, then you just completely voided your warranty. You bought it, you broke it, sorry.

This is a clear win for the DIY in the MRCOOL Advantage vs MRCOOL DIY contest.

Efficiency

While both the Advantage and the DIY are reasonably efficient by current Department of Energy standards, the DIY is the clear winner here. The Advantage is, on average, an 18 SEER system. The DIY, on average, is 20 SEER. 2 SEER may not sound like much, but that can add up to significant savings over the long term.

The real value is in what that higher energy efficiency delivers for the DIY. We're talking about the EnergyStar certification and incentives. There are a lot of incentives for energy efficient equipment out there. Of course, your equipment has to be efficient enough to meet those incentives, and a lot of programs require they be EnergyStar rated. Most of the DIY line is Energy Star rated. None of the Advantage units are. Which means that if there is a good rebate in your area, the DIY will probably qualify for it, but the Advantage won't.

And some of these energy efficiency incentives can get quite lucrative. They can add up to hundreds of dollars in rebates. Which is savings upfront before you even start to calculate how much the higher efficiency performance will save you over the life of the system.

So, if you're interested in efficiency (and saving money), the DIY comes out ahead.

Price

When it comes to the price tag on the box, the Advantage is the obvious choice. The Advantage is an economy line product, and it has a price tag to reflect that. The Advantage is, quite simply, cheaper upfront than the DIY. Now, as we mentioned above, that upfront price is not the only price you're going to pay for an HVAC system, since they all require energy to function. Still, saving money at the point of purchase is nothing to sneeze at.

How much do you really save money going with the MRCOOL Advantage vs MRCOOL DIY? Let's compare the MRCOOL Advantage 12k vs the. MRCOL DIY 12k. The Advantage is $767.27. The DIY is $1286.10. Buy the MRCOOL Advantage vs MRCOOL DIY and you'll save $518.83. That's a good deal, right?

Maybe

The Advantage is a pro product. It is not intended for do-it-yourself installation. If you're planning to put in your own mini-split to save money and you get the Advantage, congratulations, your warranty is gone. You saved $500. Hopefully your unit lasts. Hopefully you didn't do anything wrong with the installation.

Of course, should you buy the Advantage with the intention of hiring an HVAC guy to install it to keep that warranty, you're probably not saving much or any money overall. Most HVAC professionals are going to charge at least $500 in labor (or more depending on where you live) to install any kind of HVAC system. Getting the Advantage with its cheaper price tag for a pro to install is usually more expensive than just getting a DIY.

Which is why that we argue the DIY is actually the superior choice when it comes to price. You can spend $500 more on the DIY, install it yourself, and receive years of solid warranty protection. And you will have a more energy efficient unit, can qualify for rebates, and you don't have to pay an HVAC contractor to install it.

So, getting the Advantage to save money doesn't really make a lot of sense unless you're actually already an HVAC professional. And, if you are, then buy the Advantage, you'll love it. If you're Joe Homeowner, get the DIY. MRCOOL made the DIY for you. You can thank us later.

Which Do You Need?

The MRCOOL Advantage vs MRCOOL DIY all comes down to whether or not your are an HVAC professional (mostly). Hopefully we've been able to shed some light on the similarities and differences between these popular systems, so you can make the right choice for your home. Of course, if you still have questions about either, you can ask in the comments below or reach out to us here. You can also call us directly at 270-575-9595.

Thanks for visiting Ingram's Water & Air Equipment!

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