1. Home

Window Air Conditioner vs Ductless Mini-Split Cooling System

Which Type of Air Conditioner is Best for Your Home?

By

There are some stark differences between a window air conditioner and a ductless mini-split air conditioning system, but understanding the unique features and constraints of each type, can help you to decide which is best for your home.

Window Air Conditioners

This is probably the most popular type of air conditioner for many reasons, but it may not be the best choice in terms of efficiency, convenience and versatility. Its best features include price - window models are the most affordable and the easiest to install. Although you usually need help installing one due to the bulky design, you can often get one functioning without having to pay for professional help, simply by following instructions. Operation is simple and you can find models that have a quieter design or other convenience features.

On the down side, a window air conditioner must be positioned in a window and that means less light and view to the outdoors. The air conditioner must be rightly sized to the window opening and you have to give some consideration to how the remaining (open) gap around the air conditioner will be filled. Some use wood to fill in the space, but this reduces visibility even more; others use a form of transparent polycarbonate glass. Keep in mind that there is a security risk with a window air conditioner. There isn't much holding it in there and removal from the outside (depending where it is located) could provide an easy unwanted entry to some.

Compare Prices

Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners

While a ductless mini-split system is cheaper and easier to install than whole-home central air, it still requires a qualified technician and a small investment. The system incorporates an outdoor condenser component, with smaller wall-mounted cooling units called zones, that are installed where you need them most. Placement of these cooling zones can be on an interior or exterior wall, with no window required. Some systems have one to two room units that can be networked, while others may have more. And some systems include heating as well as cooling, so they are more versatile than a window air conditioner.

However, since installation is intrusive, a ductless split system is not a good choice for a renter. But for the home owner, they are a worthy investment since they require no duct work, are usually more efficient than other types of room coolers, quieter to operate and often have convenient remote control capability. Prices can vary but they are generally in the thousand dollar range and higher, depending on the size and number of zones.

Compare Prices

Compare prices of air conditioners to learn more about styles and features so you can find the best one to fit your home and budget.

Read More About Air Conditioners:

Air Conditioner Buying Tips
Comparing Central Air & Room Air Conditioners
Learn to Save Energy Year Round - Energy Tips
What the CEE Rating Means For Air Conditioners
Go to Main Cooling Page
Go to Home Page

Air Conditioner Refrigerants are Changing; Some are Being Phased Out

Promotional Feature: View this video series to learn how to take good care of your house.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.