Portable Air Conditioners vs Split System Air Conditioning

As summer gets closer, many of us start thinking about how we’re going to stay cool during Brisbane’s hottest months. Air conditioners are more of a requirement than a luxury in a hot and humid climate like ours. If you’re ready to take the plunge and invest in air conditioning then all you really need to decide is which type of system is right for you.

Portable and split system air conditioners are the two most budget-friendly options, and it has made both types of air conditioning popular across Australia. But, before you spend your hard earned money, we want to dive into the pros and cons of portable and split system air conditioners.

The Cost

Cost is going to be one of the major deciding factors for most people. Portable air conditioners are tempting because of the low purchase price, but their ongoing running costs can be quite steep. On the other hand, split system air conditioning is energy-efficient, but it requires professional installation that drives up the cost of staying cool.

So which is cheaper? While there isn’t a simple answer to this question, most households will find that installed split system air conditioners are more affordable than portable units in the long term. As much as portable air conditioners have a tempting sticker price, the units themselves are relatively low-powered and inefficient. Compared to the technology found in split system units, portable air conditioners are lagging behind and they can put a serious dent in your power bills.

Cooling Power

It’s important to match your air conditioner to the room it’s cooling. Regardless of the type of air conditioning you’re using, an undersized unit will struggle to keep a large space feeling comfortable. Unfortunately for portable air conditioners, their power output is often limited by their physical size. Being small enough to fit into a corner of your room means that most portable air conditioners will have less cooling power than a split system unit.

To make matters worse, portable air conditioners rarely work as well as their bigger cousins. That means portable units with the same power rating will struggle to cool larger spaces that a split system could handle without an issue.


Flexibility of use is the biggest point in favour of portable air conditioners. The ability to pick the unit up and move it around means you can bring it with you to any room of the house. If you want an air conditioner that can be used in multiple spaces but don’t want to pay for several split systems, a portable air conditioner is the answer.

This is an especially big deal for those who are renting. Your landlord probably won’t allow you to install a split system air conditioner, and you wouldn’t be able to take it with you when you left. A portable air conditioner requires no installation and no permission from your landlord. Plus, you’ll be able to take it to your next property when you move!

Space Efficiency

The last thing to consider is the space that’s taken up by each type of air conditioner. This one comes down to personal preference. While the internal wall units of split system air conditioners are discrete and unobtrusive, the systems often have large and unsightly outdoor units. Depending on the design of your home, your air conditioning installer can try to hide this unit from sight, but they can’t get rid of it completely.

On the other hand, while portable air conditioners take up floor space while in use, they can be tucked away in a cupboard when they’re not needed. If you’re someone who values uncluttered spaces or doesn’t like the look of split system units, a portable air conditioner could be a good way to stay cool without needing ducted air conditioning.

Stay Cool This Summer with Air Conditioning Installation by Technicool!

Choosing between portable and permanent air conditioning options ultimately comes down to meeting the needs of your home and budget. While portable air conditioners struggle to compete with split system air conditioning, they do offer benefits that make them the right choice for some households. But, if you’d like an energy-efficient cooling solution, talk to Technicool about our split system air conditioning options today!

Our experienced team is available to work with residential and commercial clients throughout Brisbane. We tailor our air conditioning installations to meet the needs of your property, so you can stay cool and keep your power bills under control at the same time. Contact us to make an appointment with our team today!

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