Window Type vs. Split Type Aircon: Which Is Better?

Now that the intense Philippine summer is just around the corner, more people are rushing to buy a new aircon for their home. Aside from the capacity, one question that will surely come up is what configuration to buy: a window type vs. a split type aircon? What is the difference between the two anyway?

To put it simply, a window type aircon is easier to install, cheaper upfront, and easier to maintain versus a split type aircon. However, they tend to be noisier, slower to cool, and less aesthetically pleasing than a split type model. On the other hand, a split type is quieter, sleeker, and faster cooling than a window type aircon. But it is also a lot more expensive, harder to install, and harder to maintain than a window type aircon.

In this article, we will flesh out our rationale on the window type vs. split type aircon debate to help you decide which model is better for your home.

The difference between window type vs. split type aircon

Air conditioners work by taking the heat off the air, transferring this heat outside, and then blowing the same air (now devoid of heat) in to the room. It does this by continuously evaporating and condensing a refrigerant gas. For this, it employs the evaporator, blower fan, condenser, and the compressor.

The first two parts (evaporator and blower fan) are responsible for making the cold air and distributing it to your room. Hence, these parts are located inside your room.

Meanwhile, the other half (condenser and compressor) are responsible for pumping and cooling the refrigerant gas used in the cooling process. These parts generally produce heat and noise hence they are usually located outdoors (a portable aircon has these parts indoors).

The difference between the window type vs. split type aircon lies with their differing configurations.

A split type AC has its indoor and outdoor parts separate, only being connected by a copper tube. For a window type, the indoor and outdoor parts are consolidated in one unit. However, the outdoor part is hanging outside your room.

Here are the implications of their difference in design:

Installation

Because the window aircon is packaged in to one unit, it is significantly easier to install than a split type AC. Basically, you just have to install the brackets, lift the unit to the pre-made hole in the wall, and then plug it in. Done.

The split type has a more complex installation procedure. First off, you will need to install the indoor bracket and attach the indoor unit on it. Next, you’ll need to bore a hole for the piping to go through. After that, comes the assembly of the wiring and the piping. This is just half of the battle.

Now that you’ve got the indoor part sorted out, you have to contend with the outdoor unit. First, you’ll have to install the bracket for the outdoor unit, then set the unit on top of it. Now, you’ll need to connect the wiring and the piping from the indoor unit to the outdoor unit. Whew.

Needless to say, it is not recommended to do this on your own. In fact, most air conditioner brands in the Philippines offer a free installation promotion for the first few meters of installation. Also, your warranty will be voided anyway if you’ll have your split type aircon installed by someone other than a HVAC installer certified by the brand.

Winner: Window Type AC. Its plug and play installation is unbeatable.

Price

Owing to its simple design, the window type aircon is more affordable than its split type counterpart. By how much though?

I will lay out a crude study I did based on the SRPs of Abenson’s current listings (as of January 2021) of 1.0 HP split type and window type models (including inverters, non-inverters, manual control, and with remote control models). Here are my findings:

The average suggested retail price of 1.0HP split type air conditioners is ₱37,402.38 compared to the ₱23,976.26 average price for the same capacity of window type aircon. That is a difference of ₱14,426.12 for the same capacity.

Aside from the additional material cost of splitting the air conditioner into two units, split type ACs typically have more advanced features compared to window type aircons, which accounts for the drastic difference in price.

Winner: Window Type AC. it is significantly more affordable compared to its split type counterpart.

Noise

Split Type AC - Outdoor

Since the compressor (the part that does most of the actual work) of the split type air conditioner is set up outside of your room, it is a lot more quiet compared to the window type AC.

While the window type AC does have its outdoor part hanging outside of your room, the vibrations caused by the compressor will reverberate throughout the unit, and thus will be louder than a comparable split type model.

How loud is it really? Consider this: a window air conditioner’s noise levels are at 50-70 decibels. For a split type, the noise levels average at around 32 decibels.

Winner: Split Type AC. Its configuration allows it to operate more quietly than a window type aircon.

Energy efficiency

What’s more efficient: a window type aircon or a split type aircon? Most of you may say that the split type will win this round. Well…it does. Kinda.

Both window type and split ACs have almost comparable energy consumption figures.

However, the big difference maker on a model’s energy consumption is not how it is configured; the efficiency depends on whether or not it is equipped with an inverter compressor.

Simply put, an inverter is a device that controls the frequency of the incoming electrical current that goes to the compressor; this allows the compressor to operate at variable speeds, and thus save energy.

We’ve done a deep dive on the inverter vs. non-inverter air conditioner debate before. Go check it out!

Now, inverter window air conditioners do exist, it just so happens that there are a lot more inverter split type models in the market than there are non-inverter split types, hence why it seems that split type ACs tend to be more energy efficient.

But again, the higher energy efficiency is by virtue of the inverter rather than the split-type configuration.

The other argument you can make for the split type is that because of its wider louver, it can cool down a room significantly faster than a window type AC, which is true. To what extent this helps save electricity is up for debate (and number-crunching!).

Winner: It’s a tie. The moral of the story is that you should buy an inverter air conditioner.

Looks

Window Type AC

With its sleek and sophisticated design, the split type wins this round hands down.

A split type air conditioner doesn’t block sunlight and doesn’t use up window space. It also sits high atop your wall, keeping it out of sight most of the time.

Window ACs are bulky and looks utilitarian. Their rear are notoriously ugly that some neighborhood’s HOAs ban their use because they can be an eyesore on the street.

Winner: Split Type AC. It’s not even a fair contest.

Maintenance

Due to its compact design, window type air conditioners are way easier to maintain than split type ACs. In fact, you can do most of the maintenance procedures yourself with no issue (although it is best to still have your unit serviced by a HVAC technician).

Split type models have complex builds, and hence it is advisable to call in an HVAC technician to maintain your unit for you. This makes its cost of maintenance significantly higher compared to window type units.

Winner: Window Type AC. It’s simple design makes its maintenance cost lower.

Conclusion

The decision between buying a window type AC vs. a split type aircon mostly boils down to preference, restrictions, and budget. Make sure to think it over before committing to one type of air conditioner; remember, this unit will be a part of your life for a decade or even more.

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