Can windows air conditioners out-perform split system air conditioners?

If you are like most Australians this year, you have felt the heat! With sweltering days through summer and humidity through the roof, there is never a bad time to install a split system air conditioner in your home. If you are in the market for a new split system air conditioners system, the choice can be confusing, and whatever path you go down you will want to ensure you have done all the research into all the options available for your property and budget. Two of the most cost effective systems in terms of purchase price, installation and running costs are that of the window air conditioner and the split system air conditioner unit.

Both these systems are fixed into a single space or room from which although it can be removed, it takes significant time and effort. Both systems are generally considered quite efficient in terms of running costs and have a range of options and features, which can increase or decrease the output, efficient and other variables. So, which one is better? To work out whether window air conditioners can out-perform their split system air conditioners equivalents, there are a range of issues we will look at in an attempt to provide the best information to help you make your decision.split system Air Conditioners

How does a window air conditioning system work?

Window air conditioning units are self-contained units, which sit on a windowsill of your home. The condenser sits outside, while the indoor unit sits within the home, usually flush with the window it is popping out. This allows for the unit to have a semi-permanent nature about it and is perfect for rental homes should the tenants want air conditioning they can essentially ‘take with them’.

The window air conditioner works by cooling the inside air by pushing the air over an evaporator, by using the internal fan. The hot air is pushed outside through the external side of the unit, while the cool air is circulated through the room. It is the complete all in one cooling machine.

How does a split system air conditioner work?

Working on a similar concept as the window air conditioner, the split system air conditioner has two separate sections, connected via pipes. A condenser is outside on an external wall of your home and a head unit place in one or more rooms inside your home.
The head units are usually placed high on an internal wall, allowing for the cool air to be circulated the room with little to no distribution to your floor space.
Installation of a split system air conditioner unit is more permanent than your window unit installation, and this should be considered when looking to choose a system to best suit you and your family’s needs. For more information on split systems visit our page.

Installation a split system air conditioner or window air conditioner

Installing either of the two units, it is always considered beneficial to have a licensed and qualified air conditioning specialist come to your home to complete the task. These experts understand exactly what to do in terms of getting your split system air conditioner installed in the best place and being most efficient.

When it comes to the window unit, although it is preferable that you have a professional install it for you, there is little doubt that you can do it yourself. Requiring no more than a few brackets secured to the window frame of your home, you can have cool air into your home in no time.
The thing to be very careful on is installing the system so it is flush with the window frame and there is little to no gap for air, rain or anything else to come through your window.

The split system air conditioner unit, on the other hand, requires a professional to install at all times. There are wholesale changes required to your home as well as the connection and installation of pipes, the condenser and wall unit to your home.
The performance of your system be it a window or split system air conditioner will largely depend on a licenced and professional installer installing your unit into your home – as it should be done.


It is no secret that the split systems air conditioner in terms of initial costs and installation will cost more in the initial purchase.
Your split system air conditioner units start from around $650 to $3500+ for the purchase of the system, then $120 per hour for installation. When getting the system installed, you are best to allow between 4 to 8 hours for installation depending on the size and complexity of the job, access to the internal/external walls and your location.

In contrast, your window air conditioners start from around $395 for a 1.6kw to around $1250 for a 6kw unit and can be installed as a DIY – ideally with two people where possible as they are very heavy units!


One of the key differences in performance of the two units is the noise they omit. As the window unit is an ‘all in one’, the noise comes from the head unit/condenser straight into the room in which the cool air, is being pushed into. This can make the units very noisy for a sitting or sleeping room. In contrast, with the split system air conditioner units, the condenser unit is placed outside on an external wall of the home or office – making them a lot quieter to operate.


Depending on the size of the area that you are cooling, the size of the unit will determine the efficiency. As a general rule the required space per unit is as follows:

• 2.6kw 10 – 25sqm – small study or bedroom
• 3.5kw range – 25 – 35 sqm – large bedroom or sitting/dining area
• 5-6kw – 35 – 60sq m – office – lounge room with adjacent rooms
• 7-8kw 60-80sq m – Large open plan office, space or lounge

With the majority of window units being under 6kw, this accounts for the smaller spaces being suited for the window unit, unless multiple units were installed.

In addition to this, split systems are generally more efficiency than window units due to the difference in insulation. Window air conditioning units typically allow some heat from outside to enter through the unit and gaps in the window frame in which the unit is installed.

So can the window unit outperform the split system air conditioner?

In simple terms, the answer is no. However, like anything with air conditioning systems for your home, the solution that you need is suited your specific situation and the tailored situation for your needs.

For example, you may be looking for study unit that is cost effective and can be moved over winter. Or you may be renting so anything you do or install needs to be removed when you leave – making the window unit the best-performing air conditioner for your needs.

Alternatively, you may be looking for a quiet solution for a bedroom or open space, in which case the split system is more suitable air conditioning unit for you and your home.

In summary, a window unit will outperform a split system when:

– You are renting and want to remove the unit when you leave
– If you are on a smaller budget
– Where you don’t have access to external walls
– Where you have a small space

A split system air conditionir unit will outperform the window unit when:

– You are looking at add value to your property’s rental prospects
– Larger spaces
– Multiple rooms
– Quieter air conditioning solution
– Most suitable for sleeping areas

There is no right or wrong solution when looking for an air conditioning solution. That being said, you should always visit an air conditioning specialist, not just a retailer when you are looking for the best solution for your home. The key is a specialist will be able to look at your home, review the size, the cooling options and offer a range of brands and products that will suit any budget.

Rite Price Heating and Cooling can provide a tailored solution for all your heating and cooling needs including split system, window, portable, ducted, commercial, residential just about anything in the market.
There is no question that a window or split system air conditioning unit will keep you and your family cool in the blistering Australian heat, but it is paramount that you pick the solution for you, not the one a sales person is getting the best commission on.

So rather than working through if a split system or window unit is best for your need, look at all available solutions, speak with the experts and get them to fit it professionally. This will lead to the best product and service for your needs and ultimately the best performance. To find out more about the range of split system and window air conditioners available from the team at Rite Price Heating and Cooling, speak with one of our expert team of air conditioning specialists to arrange a free quote and a detailed overview of the performance and features of the air conditioning system of your choice.

Get A Free Quote

Quote Form