Air Conditioners: Portable vs Split System

Multi Split System Heating

When the heat gets to you and fans are just not enough to cool you down during the summer months, you may find yourself looking for an air conditioner.

Then the next question would be: should you get a portable unit, or should you go for a professionally installed one like the split system?

To help you decide, here is a quick comparison between the two.

Portable air conditioners

A portable air conditioner is ideal for cooling single and smaller rooms. These units work by drawing in the air inside your house and expelling it through a window kit. One of the main benefits of a portable unit is that, well, it is portable. Most models have wheels and are small enough for you to move them between rooms, which means you can use them as and where you need them. However, they do take up some floor space.

Setting up a portable unit is easy. All you have to do is buy it from the store, transport it home, set up the window kit (which usually includes a window slider and exhaust hose), and turn it on. That’s it!

Portable air conditioners are usually cheaper in unit cost than the other AC systems, so it may be more affordable upfront.

Unfortunately, portable units are not known to be very efficient. Their power levels are usually only about 2kW, which means they are only good for small spaces. If you try to use them in larger rooms, the unit would have to work harder to cool down the air, which would mean more electricity consumption and higher utility bills. And still the room wouldn’t be cool enough.

Split system units

A split system air conditioner has two main parts – an indoor unit that gives you the conditioned air, and an outdoor condenser. The split system is among the more popular air conditioning systems in Australia, because they are relatively easier to install when compared to a ducted system. It can usually be installed within a day, although you’d need a qualified technician to do it for you.

Split systems are much more powerful than portable units, with some premium models offering power levels from 3kW to 9kW. This makes them ideal for cooling large areas in homes. They are also often packed with features, including air purification.

Some split system units can be used for heating too, and most can be controlled with a remote. Split systems are also very quiet, and do not take up any floor space.

One of the biggest drawbacks, however, is that split system air conditioners typically are more expensive to purchase compared to a portable unit. Don’t forget to factor in the installation costs, as well as regular maintenance.

Split systems are also a permanent fixture, so once you set it up in a room, you cannot move it anywhere else.

So, which is better?

Split system air conditioners are definitely one of the more popular ways to cool (or heat) a home, but to decide which is better for you, you will need to consider several factors:

Budget: Besides the upfront purchase cost, also take into account the installation, running and maintenance costs.

Cooling needs: Are you looking for a system that will blast cool air and bring down the room temperature significantly? Or do you need just an extra cooling support that doesn’t have to be very powerful?

Room size: If you’re looking to cool a small room, the portable unit may be sufficient. But for larger rooms, split systems may be a better bet.

Flexibility: A portable unit can be moved from room to room while a split system air conditioner stays put.

Overall, there is no one best solution for all situations, and you will need to select one that suits your requirements. At Dale Air, we have several cooling options available, including split systems. Speak to us to find out more, or to get a free quote.