What is a Package Unit AC?

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Updated February 3, 2023

If you are new to the world of indoor cooling devices, you may wonder what is a package unit air conditioner. Some of the best air conditioners, after all, come in this form factor. So what is a packaged AC, what are the benefits, and is it the right choice for your cooling needs? Keep reading to find out.


  • Package units, or HVAC packaged units, are air conditioners in which every primary component, including evaporator coils and heat pumps, is housed in the same single-unit cabinet.
  • This all-in-one design makes this a great choice for those new to central AC, as the installation is simple as the outdoor unit is put together away from the home.
  • Package A/Cs also offer decent SEER ratings, measuring efficiency, and are extraordinarily quiet during use.

What is a Package Unit Air Conditioner?

A package unit air conditioner, otherwise called an HVAC packaged unit, houses all components of a central AC together in one metal cabinet. This is helpful to know if you want to know the definition of an AC condenser. Packaged units work in contrast to other types of ACs, which house components throughout the property, if you want to know what is a compressor on an air conditioner and where to find it.

Insider Tip

No matter which type you choose, hire a pro for an annual HVAC inspection to suss out problems before they worsen.

There are some benefits to choosing a packaged unit, even if you still wonder about the definition of an AC in the first place.

Easy Installation

These AC units offer a newbie-friendly installation if you still are learning about seer ratings on air conditioners and other relevant factoids. The whole thing comes in one single metallic cabinet, which drastically simplifies the installation process. If you still wonder about specifics, like the definition of a 2-stage air conditioner, then the simplicity of a packaged design is a great fit. The easy installation lets you focus on other data points, such as learning what E4 means on an air conditioner.

STAT: Some packaged central air systems will also include a natural gas furnace or electric heating coils as well. (source)


Packaged HVAC units are typically installed outside, moving any potential noise sources away from the home and into the yard or elsewhere on the property. Traditional central units, window units, portable units, and nearly every other type of air conditioner make a significant amount of noise during use while cooling the indoor temperature. A traditional air conditioner unit can provide comfort through the cooling process, especially if you live in warmer climates, but their noise generation can still be distracting, so a quieter air conditioner package unit may give you a calmer mindset. The heating performance of an AC unit can also generate some noise that a homeowner can find noticeable.

Less Invasive

Typical central air conditioning units require multiple refrigerant lines to run to and from the various components. Packaged AC units, however, require just a single refrigerant line, due to the all-in-one nature of the appliance. This not only simplifies installation but also maintenance and repair, as repair pros will just have to check the one line during annual inspections.

Improved SEER Ratings

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is used to measure efficiency. Generally speaking, packaged units range from 13 to 18, which are considered decent ratings.


How to choose the right system?

Take a look at your personal needs and choose accordingly. If you are hung up on an energy-efficient model, consider packaged systems due to their adequate SEER ratings.

Is an HVAC package unit right for you?

This depends on preference and whether or not you want an outdoor unit with outdoor components. Many users prefer split systems with heat pump technology, along with a mix of indoor components and separate components.

Which HVAC system is easier to maintain?

Your typical indoor unit that cools indoor space is fairly easy to maintain, but the all-in-one nature of the packaged air handler makes them a great choice when it comes to maintenance.

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