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The Difference Between Window ACs, Portable ACs & Ductless Mini-Split Systems

Posted On: July 16, 2019
Window AC Unit

What’s the Difference & Which One Should I Buy?

When you’re in the market for a new cooling system, central air conditioning systems are just one option—and they may not be the best choice for your home and your needs.

Here’s a look at the differences between window AC units, portable AC units, and ductless AC systems. This information can help you make the right choice for your Twin Cities home and comfort needs.

Is a Window AC Different Than a Portable AC Unit?

Portable Air Conditioner UnitA window AC unit is a small, packaged air conditioner that fits in your window. It’s designed to cool one room at a time.

A portable AC unit is similar but slightly different. It provides one-room cooling, sitting on the floor with a hose that mounts to a window as a hot air exhaust.

With these cooling systems, you must empty a condensate pan occasionally as the unit collects humidity from the air.

What is a Ductless AC Unit?

Ductless Mini-Split SystemsA ductless air conditioner, also known as a ductless mini-split system, has two components:

  1. One sits outside the home, just like the condensing unit of a central air conditioner.
  2. The other is the indoor air handler that mounts to a wall inside of the home.

These two components are connected by a conduit that runs through a small hole drilled in the wall. Up to five indoor units can connect to a single outdoor unit, providing you with zoned air conditioning when and where you want it.

Cost of Window & Portable AC Units vs. Ductless AC Units

Window ACs are usually the least expensive and easiest option to install. Portable units come in at a close second.

In contrast, ductless mini-splits tend to be the pricier option because of the additional components and more involved installation process. However, because these cooling systems allow you to avoid installing ductwork where none currently exists, ductless units are much more affordable than upgrading to central air conditioning.

Appearance of Window & Portable AC Units vs. Ductless AC Units

An air conditioner perched on a windowsill may not be the most attractive look, especially if you’re concerned about curb appeal. Portable units can be even more of an eyesore because they sit on the floor with a flexible hose leading to the window.

On the other hand, ductless AC units mount high on the wall or ceiling, with sleek, streamlined jackets that help them blend into the décor. The outdoor unit can be positioned up to 50 feet away to ensure an aesthetically pleasing installation.

Convenience of Window & Portable AC Units vs. Ductless AC Units

If you enjoy opening the windows when the weather is beautiful outside, you’re out of luck after installing a window unit. This cumbersome appliance usually remains in place all summer long because of its weight. Portable air conditions can also be inconvenient if you want a fresh outdoor breeze because you’ll need to remove the portable air conditioner’s hose from the window so that a breeze can enter.

Ductless air conditioners can be far more convenience in these situations. Since they don’t use the window, you’re free to enjoy the view and a pleasant breeze whenever you want!

Functionality of Window & Portable AC Units vs. Ductless AC Units

Window and portable AC units have different features, depending on their make and model. However, they tend to operate quite loudly, and they are restricted to air conditioning only. So, when temperatures drop, you’ll need another system to meet your heating needs.

Ductless mini-splits are versatile systems. Because they’re actually miniature heat pumps, they can heat and cool your home, offering year-round comfort. Depending on the system you choose, a ductless mini-split may also come with wireless remotes, timers, and multiple fan settings for optimal comfort and performance.

So, if you’re trying to decide whether to get a ductless AC unit or a window or portable units, ductless ACs are usually the best way to go. While they may cost a little more upfront, the performance, appearance, and convenience of these systems make the higher price tag well worth it!

Need More Advice? Time to Schedule AC Installation? Contact Us

If you have more questions about different types of cooling systems—or if it’s time to schedule air conditioner installation for your Twin Cities home, please contact Genz-Ryan Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning!

Simply call (612) 223-6158 or contact us online for more answers and an installation estimate. And don’t forget to check out our specials to save even more on your next system or service!

Proudly Serving The Twin Cities!