Difference Between Split AC, Windows AC & Portable AC

Air Conditioners, popularly called as ACs, have become the need of the hour. The reasons start from increasing heat due to global warming, to providing the best levels of comfort to the inmates. Gone are the days, when an AC was considered a luxury item.

Adjusting to the user needs and requirements, the AC technology has also undergone numerous changes and transitions. Starting from the conventional models, now you can find households with smart ACs, that offer better control to the users, and are equipped with compatibility to smart home devices.

Be it any model, currently, the ACs are available in the market under three major categories: Split, Portable, and Window. Thus, in our blog of the day, we would be discussing in detail these and mention the differences between each.

Split AC [ Air Conditioner ]

As defined by the name, split ACs are available in form of two separate units- indoor and outdoor. The indoor unit consists of the main box that blows cool air within the room and provides ambient conditions to the inmates. It is installed at a specified height, as per the user’s convenience. The outdoor unit is formed by the compressor and works as the running mechanism for providing cool air within the room. It is generally installed on the rooftops of the houses.

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The following are the pros of going for a split AC:

  • Energy efficiency, in terms of the technology used, higher BEE star rating, lesser utility cost, and more savings to the household (irrespective of the higher initial cost).
  • High power cooling to larger rooms and spaces within the same household, and not taking much time for the overall activity. These days, you can also find multi-split AC, that has multiple indoor units connected to a single outdoor unit and therefore, prevents the extra costs of the new setup in individual rooms.
  • Saves up on the floor or window space, as these units are generally compact and ease up the process of installation.
  • Lesser levels of noise during operation and thus give a sound sleep to the inmates.
  • Smart technology, in terms of compatibility to the smart home appliances, smarter modes for energy conservation, self-cleaning filters, and automatic timers to turn off the AC after reaching ambient conditions.

The following are the cons:

  • The initial cost would be high for the buyers, and higher tonnage would need you to invest heavily.
  • The installation requires only a skilled workforce and needs to be done carefully (especially setting up the connection between indoor and outdoor units within 40 meters of distance).
  • The maintenance frequency would be high for the outdoor unit if you have purchased a conventional unit.

Portable AC

As defined by the name, portable ACs are the units that can be moved freely within the rooms. They are equipped with caster wheels that enhance the swift movement between the rooms. The setup is very simple and just requires you to make up a section for passing the duct to the nearest window for ventilation.

The general working model of a portable AC is by drawing up the warm air from the room, drying and cooling the same, circulating the cool air within the space, and expelling the hot air via a duct to the outside environment.

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The following are the pros for taking up this category:

  • Higher value on the mobility, within the house, as well as in the cases of shifting or relocation. With this, you do not have to take any further tensions of shifting the ACs.
  • There is no requirement for special installation, and you can also try out the overall procedure without any supervision.
  • The cost of each unit is reasonable, and you would get the required expectations on performance and utility savings.

The following are the cons:

  • It consumes a significant amount of floor space, and thus you need to keep up this point in mind while placing an order for any of the models.
  • The units are often noisy and may hinder your sleeping cycles.
  • The energy efficiency and power are lesser than split ACs and hence differ in performance based on the room sizes.

Window AC

Window ACs are the first models of the air conditioner category to have hit the markets. The entire unit is installed outside of the living space, and thus you can expect lesser clutter within your room. However, it requires special installation instruction and a workforce to create the slot of installation near the window.

The following are the pros of the model:

  • Cost-effective and can provide relief to the pockets of the buyers.
  • Lesser noise of operation in the latest brands.
  • No requirement to set up any exhaust elimination unit from the rooms.
  • Adequate cooling to smaller and medium-sized rooms.
  • Energy-efficient.

The following are the cons:

  • Extra labor in setting up the unit near any window.
  • Problems of dripping water from the exhaust unit outside.
  • Hassles while relocating the unit from one location to the other.
  • Regular maintenance to the overall unit, and the panels holding up the same.

Understanding the differences

Now that you have learned about the basics of each category, it is time to get into the differences between these categories. The following points outline the different areas:

  • Space requirement– Window AC consumes the major amount of space since it requires special drilling near any window. It is followed by split ACs, that need to be installed at a height, and the simplicity comes on portable ACs (where you just need to expend some floor space for the cooling unit).
  • Weight- Window and portable ACs are generally heavier than split ACs, due to a single unit of cooling and exhaust and often cause difficulties in the initial setup. Split AC has a lesser weight than the indoor unit, but the outdoor unit can turn out to be heavier based on the efficiency and power requirements.
  • Power consumption– It is dependent on the technology of the compressor. Split ACs offer the least power and utility consumption, owing to the higher star ratings and multiple settings for usage. It is followed by portable AC (intermediate value) and then the window AC, which consumes higher power and can burn holes in the pockets.
  • The noise of operation– Split ACs are generally noise-free, as their external unit lies outside of the room. It is followed by window AC, which may produce an extra noise within the tolerable range. But, portable ACs produce the maximum noise due to the presence completely within the room. Therefore, buy the latter only from reputed brands.
  • Cooling space– Spilt ACs are highly dynamic in terms of cooling the spaces within medium to larger sized rooms. Window and portable types are highly dependent on room space, and therefore often pose as the limiting factors for the households.
  • Ease of installation– Portable AC tops in this factor, as it does not have any special instruction, and requires just an outlet duct to be connected to the nearest window. It is followed by split AC, which requires skilled efforts for connecting the interior and exterior units. Window ACs consume maximum effort during the installation.
  • Types of refrigerant– Window and split ACs use R-22 and R-32 refrigerants as the cooling agents. Portable ACs use the recent substitute of R410A.
  • Outdoor unit- As defined by the name, split AC has a separate outdoor unit and needs to be installed within 40 meters of range of the indoor one. Window and portable ACs have a single unit.

Therefore, we conclude on our take of the differences between the three categories of ACs. Let us know your queries in the comments section.

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