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Portable air conditioners vs. wall units: which is better?

Portable air conditioners vs. wall units: which is better?
December 15, 2016 Star Air Conditioning

Portable air conditioners may seem like a cheaper steal than the outright cost of a split system, but which one is really saving you money in the long run?

Summer should be fun, but our sweltering temperatures can make this season difficult at times. Not only do temperatures rise, but tempers can too when people get hot under the collar! Your home should be a comfortable sanctuary where you kick back and relax with family on the weekend or chill out after a hard day’s work. But many people feel the heat unnecessarily in their home in summer simply because they don’t have a proper air conditioning system to cool it down when they need it.

So if you’re struggling along with just a ceiling fan (or bags of ice) and are seriously considering air con, then we think it’s a wise move. But which is better, a portable air conditioner or a split-system wall unit?

Keeping the power bill in check

We recognise that while keeping cool in summer is a priority, people do tend to worry about the electricity bill, meaning that they might dismiss air con of any kind as being too expensive. The good news is, air conditioners featuring new technology can actually save you money in the long term if they’re used correctly.

While you may not need a full ducted air conditioning system, a split-system wall unit in the main living area of the house can quickly provide cooling air when you need it most. You don’t even need to have it running all day for it to be effective.

A portable air conditioner may be more cost effective due to the lower initial purchasing price, and because there are no installation costs. However, its energy output is going to be a lot greater, especially if you have a larger, open plan room. One portable air conditioner may struggle, so you may need two, or even three to cope, and you’re not going to want to open that month’s power bill when it arrives.


New smart split-systems are easy to use and operated by a remote, making for extremely efficient temperature control. Some, like Samsung’s Triangle, can be controlled via Smartphone, so you can turn it on before you get home from work. It can also keep you informed when there is a problem, or the filter needs changing, so you can get onto it quickly and maximise performance and energy output, so it’s not working harder than it should.

A portable air conditioner is just that, portable. This means that it does offer some flexibility regarding where you use it as it can be wheeled into another room, as opposed to an air con unit which is fixed to the wall. Some portable air conditioners can also be used as a heater and a dehumidifier in the winter months. In saying that you can get a wall unit with reverse cycle air conditioning providing cool air in summer and warm air in winter.

The Decision

Still unsure? Making the switch to air conditioning can be confusing. Here are some key summary points.

How much can you afford to spend?
The purchase price of a portable air conditioner is going to be less than a split system, but if you can afford the initial outlay and installation of a split-system, it will cost you less in the long term.

What is the size of the room or rooms you want to keep cool?
If you’ve got a small room and a ceiling fan, then a portable air conditioner may very well suit your needs. But if you have a larger room then a portable air conditioner will struggle, and it will reflect in your power bill.

Do you rent or own a home?
Many renters assume that installing split systems are out of the question. But landlords are more willing to install air conditioning then you may think! Air conditioning not only benefits the tenants but increases the value of the property, So there’s no harm in asking!


If you’ve decided split-system air conditioning is best for your home, now’s a great time to put your plan into action. Get in touch with us to find out about how Star can help cool your home.

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