Out of the four main types of air conditioning systems and units, which are the best for you? This guide should help walk you through each system, explaining how it works along with the pros and cons. After reading, you will be able to confidently choose which system is the best for you and your home.

Window Unit

Window units are the most popular choice among AC units. It is cheap, easy to find and easy to install. As long as there is a window in the room, this unit will work well in cooling down your house. Sometimes, these units can be heavy and bulky looking. Because the AC is all done in one place, window units also tend to be loud while in use. If you live in an area that is extremely loud and hot, window units may not be the best option for you because they may let in the noise and summer air into your home.

How it works:

Window units take in hot, moist air and blow it over a cooling coil. The cooling coil then absorbs the heat from the air and removes the moisture, making the room feel more dry which aids in cooling it. These unites then get the air moving around the room by pushing cool air out at high velocity.

Use if:

  • There is limited space in the room
  • The  room has windows
  • You want a more permanent option

Portable Unit

Portable units are extremely practical and can be set up quickly. These units can be brought from room to room wherever you go. They don’t take up a large section of your window but they are less energy efficient than the window unit. Portable units also tend to require occasional maintenance to empty out the water tank but there are some products out there with a self-evaporative system that doesn’t need regular upkeep.

How it works:

Portable units take in the air from outside through a hose and puts the air through a cooling system,similar to that of the window units, which blows out into the room. The exhaust air is then blown outside through a second hose.

Use if:

  • You don’t want or need AC in particular rooms (downsizing effort, retirees)
  • Your windows are too narrow for a window unit
  • Loud noise outside
  • Live near a highway or an area with bad air quality
  • You don’t need to cool every room at once

Ductless AC

Ductless Systems are becoming increasingly popular. Although their upfront cost is more than other units, they makeup for it in future savings by being extremely energy efficient. This system produces the least amount of noise and takes up the least amount of space in your home. The indoor units can be mounted high on the wall and out of the way. These systems are great for heating and cooling purposes, helping to monitor year-round temperatures. Because of the filter in the units, they do need to be washed monthly and require upkeep.

How it works:

There are two parts to the ductless system, the indoor unit and the outdoor unit. The indoor unit blows the warm air of your home over cold evaporator coils and absorbs the heat. The heat captured from the air is then sent to the outdoor unit which dumbs the heat outside and away from your home.

Use if

  • You are fighting over the ideal temp because you are able to create different temperatures in different rooms
  • Your home doesn’t have existing ductwork
  • You or others you’re living with are smokers because smoking in one room will not affect the rest of the house since there are no connecting ducts
  • You need a combined heating and cooling solution

Central AC

Unlike ductless systems, Central AC is controlled by a few thermostats around the house, keeping temperatures consistent throughout the home. Central systems are able to also control heating along with cooling in the household. The ducts wilter the air alog with keeping temperatures consistent all day long. Central AC is hard to install and can big a big project to undertake if the home doesn’t already have ducts and are a more expensive option when compared to portable and window units. Additionally, the ducts need to be maintained and cleaned once a year.

How it works:

When trying to understand how Central AC systems work, think of giant refrigerator for your house. An air handler or furnace is typically placed in a basement or attic of the home which pushes cool air around through ducts, cooling rooms as it goes. The thermostats are used to control the temperature with the touch of a button.

Use if:

  • You want a low maintenance option
  • Your home needs a long lasting solution
  • You want something that programs automatically and has little interaction required
  • You want year-round consistent temperatures with heating and cooling combined in one