There are many reasons why you may think a portable air conditioner could be the ideal option for your home. They are portable and can be moved around. They seem to cost less. But a ductless air conditioning unit is much more efficient and more than pays you back in the long-term.

Let’s look at the main differences between ductless air conditioning systems and portable units and why investing in ductless units is more reasonable.

This is the reason why you would have to purchase a portable AC with higher cooling power to be able to cool the same sized room compared to a same-capacity ductless unit. The cooling efficiency and effectiveness get significantly reduced if this type of unit is not vented properly. On the other hand, ductless air conditioners are by far the most efficient cooling systems. There is no ductwork in this case and the air unit is mounted on a wall. You don’t have to worry about the loss of energy through the ducts. Most of the current ductless AC systems have very high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios (SEER), Energy Efficiency Ratios (EER) and they are Energy Star rated.


Portable air conditioners are designed for better portability. They are designed to be easily moved from one space to another. Some come with easy-roll casters already pre-fitted, others are made to be fit with caster kits you can buy separately. This may seem to be an advantage over ductless air conditioning units which are typically permanently installed. However, ductless systems are capable of cooling entire rooms with a higher level of precision while portable units are only effective in small rooms. Portable units only lower the temperature by a few degrees within a few feet of their location. If your room is 90 degrees that will provide mild relief while creating a large draw on your energy bill.

Portable air conditioners are in high demand because of vigorous reasons. The notable benefit is its mobility. But when compared to a window AC or ductless AC, there are many drawbacks to it. Cooling range can be a concern, water management can be another. Portable units are only able to lower the temperature of a room by a few degrees before the operating costs far outweigh the benefit.

On the other hand, ductless air conditioners can circulate cool air throughout the building without any ductwork. They are more affordable than central HVAC systems but cost more than portable units up front. However, they are much more efficient, offer more precise control over temperature and humidity consistency, and save you more money in the long-term.

Space Considerations

Portable ACs require some floor space for working efficiently. A unit that is just 17 inches wide will still require at least a 4 to 5 feet long exhaust hose to remove warm air effectively. Ductless systems require the minimal indoor space in the case of wall-mounted blower systems. The biggest part of the air conditioning unit is located outside your house.

Energy Efficiency

Portable air conditioners are less energy-efficient and not as powerful as either ductless systems or other conventional AC units. Portable units require more energy to exhaust the hot air. Their exhaust hoses, on the other hand, can indirectly emit the heat back into the room. If you are using single-hose portable air conditioner, they can create negative pressure in the room. This can force warmer air from other rooms to push into the room.

Noise Levels

When it comes to conventional through-wall or window air conditioners, you don’t have to worry about noise. They have their working components located externally. But that is not the case with portable ACs. The entire unit is placed inside and this can be disturbing. On the other hand, ductless systems give you even quieter cooling than almost all kinds of room air conditioners. The condenser is the loudest component and it is located outside your home.

Advantages of Ductless Systems

There are many more long-term benefits of installing ductless air conditioning units.

High Energy Efficiency

Ductless HVAC systems don’t require any ductwork. You don’t have to worry about air losses either through the ductwork or hose. Air is blown directly into the room through the indoor air handler. Another efficiency advantage is that these units need to meet the same HSPF and SEER standards for the central HVAC units. Still, most of the modern ductless systems exceed the minimum HSPF and SEER standards by far. That is not the case with a portable unit.

Zoned Cooling

Zoned cooling is another big advantage that comes with these ductless units. You can benefit a lot in terms of comfort using this feature. Different family members can have different preferences for temperatures. This system allows each zone (or room) to have its own thermostat. So people in different rooms can have different temperatures to suit their preferences.

Big Savings

You are able to save more on your utility bills because this system gives you the ability to cool specific zones or rooms at specific times. You can save big in the long-term. Most homeowners are often surprised when they realize the amount they can save on their utility bills and have a consistently cool space. With these systems, you don’t have to push the unit to keep working throughout the day to cool the entire building. You will be cooling just the place where it is needed.

Cleaner Cooling

Another advantage of using ductless air conditioning systems is that they use a highly efficient filter for removing allergens and particulate matter. They make it easier for you to breathe. The filters can be easily cleaned and reused.

Overall, ductless air conditioners are much more energy-efficient compared to portable air conditioners. They are also much quieter. They can be so efficient and effective that many models are rated higher than the conventional systems. They also have lower cost of maintenance and last much longer. Besides, the cost of installation is also less because no complex ductwork is required. These units are much more reliable. Even if they cost more initially, you are making a long-term investment. The unit will last longer and you will not have to spend again to replace your cooling system. You don’t have to worry about any noise or draft or any other issues that come with portable units.

Visit our ductless service page for more information on the units and pricing. Or call for a free estimate now!


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