Window AC vs Ductless Mini-Split: Which Is Best for My Add-on Room?

December 21, 2018

what size mini split ac do i need

Stuck on which cooling system to choose?

Here’s our recommendation: A ductless mini-split AC is your best option in terms of overall comfort, safety and convenience.

However, ductless systems are more expensive than window units. So if budget is your #1 concern, a window AC is your best choice.

In this article, we’ll cover the following info:

  • The pros and cons of each type of AC

  • Additional questions to consider before you make a decision

Want a FREE quote to install a ductless mini-split system for your add-on room?

Pros and cons of window ACs & ductless mini-split systems

Below are the pros and cons of each type of air conditioning system at a glance.

Window AC


  • The unit itself is not expensive (most window ACs range from $150 to $400)

  • The labor to install the unit is minimal because it does not require an HVAC technician (meaning you can install most window ACs yourself)


  • Noisier than a ductless mini-split system

  • Blocks out an entire window, which limits the amount of light in the room

  • Is poorly insulated, meaning a lot of cold and hot air can escape via the window

  • A potential security hazard (thieves can steal the unit or remove it to enter your home)

  • Typically costs more to operate than a ductless system

Ductless mini-split system

Outdoor and indoor view of a ductless system

A ductless system consists of an indoor unit and an outdoor unit


  • The indoor unit is small, which means it can be placed almost anywhere in your room

  • Quieter than a window AC

  • Generally costs less to operate than a window AC unit (a ductless system uses about 30% less energy than any other type of room AC)

  • Adds value to your property


Still need help choosing a system? Ask yourself these questions

Are you a DIY repair type of person?

Window ACs are often sold directly to consumers without needing to be installed by a tech—which means the buyer is usually responsible for fixing the unit if it breaks down.

So if you consider yourself fairly handy, and you’re on a tight budget, a window AC might make the most sense for you.

How long are you planning on living in your home?

By design, window units are meant to be a temporary cooling solution. So if you’re planning on staying in your home for several years it is probably a better idea to invest in a ductless system.

Since ductless systems cost less to operate, you’ll save money on your monthly energy bills which will lead to long-term savings.

Are you renting or do you own your home?

If you’re renting, you might consider a window unit because a mini-split system might be too great of an investment.

On the other hand, if you own your home, a ductless AC can add to your home’s overall value

Want a FREE quote to install a ductless mini-split AC?

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