Heat can make your home uncomfortable (some would say unbearable) during the summer without air conditioning. The most recent data from the US. Energy Information Association found that 90 percent of households have AC in the United States. 

When it comes to choosing the right air conditioning system, the different styles may be confusing.

Read on to learn more about the differences between a window unit vs mini split, so you can decide which one is right for your home.

Window AC Unit Facts

A window unit is exactly as it says: an AC unit that fits right into a window. These air conditioners are designed to cool just one room at a time.

If you want to cool multiple rooms of the home, you’ll need several units for each individual window and space. The cooling ability of this AC unit is measured in BTUs or British Thermal Units.

Most models plug directly into an electrical outlet. so they’re easy to install. it’s important to note that the window AC unit must fit the window and provide enough power to keep the room cool in relation to its size.


Mini Split Systems

A mini split or ductless mini split system can cool several rooms at once. Not only does it perform more powerfully, but you can also build on the system over time.

For example, if you set up your mini split system to cool just two rooms initially, you can always add to it later. Over time, a mini split can help to cool the entire home at once.

Both window units and mini split systems are typically made of plastic, metal, or a combination of both. But a mini split system tends to last much longer with an average lifespan of about 20 years or longer.

Window Unit vs Mini Split: Care and Maintenance

One consideration of having air conditioning is paying for the cost of energy it requires to keep your home cool. Maintenance is another cost that homeowners should consider when choosing the right system.

Window Unit Care

Window units use a filter screen that should ideally be cleaned at least once per month. A putty knife can remove the mesh filter, and then it can be washed with the grill using a mild soap and lukewarm water. Remove any mold with hydrogen peroxide.

The condenser and evaporator coils should be cleaned regularly using a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment. This will remove excess debris on the outside. A fin comb is recommended to straighten bent or crooked coil fins.

Mini Split Care

A ductless mini split system uses a filter, much like whole-home HVAC systems do. The filter should be cleaned once a month or replaced as needed.

Coils should be washed much like a window unit, and the exterior should also be cleaned and changed on a regular basis. It’s important to clean the pipes in the system since they distribute the air in your home. Most installation companies also recommend professional maintenance services on a mini split once per year.

Cost Differences

The cost for a window AC unit and a mini split system varies based on the brand, demand, and where you live. Window units cost less, with an average price of between $150 to $600 per unit. If you have it professionally installed, add another $200 or so.

A mini split system costs between $2,000 and $4,000 or more and should be professionally installed. The cost to install one varies greatly but is usually anywhere from $500 to $2,000.

While a mini split air conditioning system costs more, it also lasts longer. These systems also cool more space and tend to be more powerful and reliable than a standard window unit.

As for energy efficiency and cost, a mini split comes out as the winner. High-quality systems can cost homeowners up to 40 percent less than almost any other option available.


As for looks and aesthetics based on a window unit vs mini split, the mini split system is the winner by a mile. Window units are bulky and boxy, and they tend to make the exterior of a home unattractive. If the window unit is too small, extra plastic on each side can cover the gaps in a window, which is also not great to look at. 

A mini split system is sleek and compact, and it doesn’t protrude from the outside of your home. The unit is visible from the inside, but it’s much smaller and hugs the wall more closely so it isn’t quite as visibly invasive.

If you’re looking for something quick on a budget, a window unit is still a great choice. But if you’re looking for something slightly longer-lasting that isn’t as big and boxy, a ductless mini split system is the way to go.

Thanks to a compact design, mini split systems also work well to cool smaller homes or apartments. Window units also do a good job of cooling a smaller space, but they’re much more intrusive in terms of bulk and size. 


You can purchase a window unit at most big-box hardware stores or major retailers. Since they have a plug-and-play configuration, you can usually install them yourself. Make sure you have someone to help you, as the units can be heavy without assistance.

Mini split systems do require professional installation. These systems require the safe handling of refrigerants and some more skill to install, so it’s best to consult with your local HVAC company if you want to purchase one.

Not only are mini split systems better looking, but there is no ductwork required. This means the installation and maintenance are much less complicated than a traditional system that uses ductwork to distribute cold air throughout the home. 

Find the Right System for You

When it comes to a window unit vs mini split system, it’s all about price, longevity, and maintenance. Consider the information here to help you determine which one of these air conditioning systems will give you the cooling power you need to stay comfortable during the hot summer months.

If you’re ready to upgrade your system, call the team at Williams Service Company today!