Window AC vs Ductless Mini-Splits a Quick Comparison

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Want to find answers to your burning questions about the differences between a ductless mini-split and a window AC? Then you’ve come to the right place. Window air conditioners and ductless mini-split systems are two types of air conditioning systems that are commonly used in residential and commercial settings. But figuring out which one is best for your home can be a challenge. Read on for a quick comparison of the two to help you decide which one is the right fit for your needs.

If you’re looking for a more detailed breakdown comparing the advantages and disadvantages of each then please consider checking out our article: Window Air Conditioner vs Ductless Mini-Split | What’s the difference?

Window AC Unit

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  • Heating / Cooling: Can be purchased as an air conditioner only. However, there are some newer models available that are dual-function and are capable of providing both heating and cooling. Making this a great candidate for year-round use.
  • Flexibility: Window air conditioners are typically heavy. They also require a window or specially designed opening in a wall to be installed properly. Due to their weight, they often need brackets installed on the outside of the window to help keep them properly supported.
  • Energy Efficiency: Most modern window air conditioners have a great energy efficiency (EER) rating. However, they tend to be less energy efficient when compared to ductless mini-splits. This is partly because they use a fixed-speed compressor. This compressor is designed to operate at full power until the desired temperature is reached.
  • Functionality: Designed to cool one room, but can be used to cool a variety of spaces as long as a window is available for use.
  • Noise: Tend to be a bit noisy. Though more expensive units can be less of a nuisance. All window air conditioners will likely be a bit noisy. Especially during their dehumidifying cycle.
  • Installation: Fairly easy installation that does not require an HVAC professional. No experience is necessary. Additional assistance may be needed in order to lift and support the unit to put it in place. Units that sit in the window will benefit greatly by putting a support bracket in place. Because of their portability, these units are ideal for renters.
  • Cost: Inexpensive to buy when compared to ductless and traditional HVAC systems. However, can become more costly when multiple units are needed to cool more than one room in a home.
  • Lifespan:
    8-10 years on average

Ductless Mini-Split

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  • Heating / Cooling: Offer a convenient way to heat and cool one room or area of your home. Also available as multi-zone mini-split systems that can provide heating and cooling to multiple areas of your home or business.
  • Flexibility: Ductless mini-split systems require a small access hole. Just big enough for refrigerant lines and electrical wiring to pass through (approx, 3″). No need for a window. Giving you greater flexibility on their placement. These units can be hung from walls or suspended from a ceiling and are easily operated via remote control.
  • Energy Efficiency: Oftentimes more energy efficient than window air conditioners. In fact, according to Forbes a standard mini-split will consume 40% less energy than a traditional window AC unit. Thanks to their use of inverter technology. Which allows the unit to vary the speed of the compressor and adjust cooling output based on the room’s needs.
  • Functionality: Capable of heating/cooling multiple rooms at once. Mini-split systems are easily expandable to accommodate an entire home.
  • Noise: Generally quieter than window air conditioners. This is because the compressor is located outside the building and the indoor unit operates at a lower noise level.
  • Installation: Cheaper and easier to install compared to a traditional HVAC system. Ductless mini-splits however, do require an HVAC professional like the ones at Air Dynamics HVAC to install them. This is because the system incorporates an outdoor condenser component with smaller wall-mounted cooling units called zones. Making them an ideal choice for homeowners but not for renters.
  • Cost: Can be more costly to initially install. However, these units are more energy efficient. Allowing you to recoup some of those costs in monthly energy savings throughout the year.
  • Lifespan:
    20 years on average
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For a more comprehensive breakdown comparing the advantages and disadvantages of window AC units and ductless mini-split systems click here.

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