Window AC vs Split AC: Which One Is Better In 2021?

Last Updated on April 14th, 2021 by RefrigeratorPro Team

We see that lot of buyers struggle with their buying decision because of lack of knowledge about the products. Window AC and split AC are one of those products! Split ACs are costlier than window ACs, therefore buyers mostly want to understand if they can go for window AC instead of split ACs.

Window AC vs Split AC

Don’t worry, we will unravel all the key differences between both types of ACs in this article, so that you can make an informed buying decision.

What is Window AC?

Window AC

As the name suggests, window ACs are mounted on a window. This is because ACs need a place to throw heat that they extract from the room. Since all the component of this AC such as- compressor, fan, condenser coils are housed inside a single unit, they have to be mounted on a window. Front portion of the AC faces the room and the exhaust portion face the outdoors.

Window ACs come with lower cooling capacity and thus are more suitable for smaller rooms. They are also easier to install and uninstall as compared to split AC.

Related: Best Window AC in India

What is Split AC?

Split ACs are mounted on the wall and do not need a window to get installed. They are called split AC because they come with two units-indoor unit and outdoor unit. Indoor unit  consists of evaporator and fan and is placed inside the room for cooling. While the outdoor consists of condenser and compressor and it is placed on the outer portion of the wall so that it can throw out the extracted heat.

Also, please note that split ACs are of two typesFixed Speed (Non-inverter) AC or inverter AC. Inverter ACs have inverter compressor that gives better performance, lower noise, more energy efficiency and long life.

Window AC vs Split AC

Here is the head to head comparison of window AC and split AC.

Window ACSplit AC
Medium cooling efficiencyHigh cooling efficiency
Easy to Install and uninstallDifficult to Install and uninstall
Not very costlyExpensive
High noise levelLow noise level
Lasts for few yearsAlmost double lifespan as compared to window AC
Maximum tonnage is 2 tonsNo maximum tonnage
Less environment friendlyMore environment friendly
Less range of modelsWide range of models
Basic featuresMore number of features

How to Choose Between Window AC and Split AC?

You should look at following aspects to decide which type of AC is best for you.

Capacity

The heat extraction capacity of an AC represents the amount of heat it can extract in one hour. It is measured in tons. Usually, window ACs come in the range of 0.75 to 2 tons. And Split ACs usually come in 1 ton or more capacity. There are very few sub-1 ton split ACs in the market.

Ideal capacity of the AC will  majorly depend on the size of the room and the number of people in the room.

Below chart shows the ideal AC capacity based on the area of the room. (It considers 5 people in the room).

Room SizeAC Capacity
100 sq. ft.0.8 ton
100 to 150 sq. ft.1.0 ton
150 to 250 sq. ft.1.5 ton
250 to 400 sq. ft.2.0 ton

This is an important aspect because if you buy a lesser tonnage AC then it will consume more power.

1.5 ton ACs are most popular ACs in India. We recommend a 1.5 ton to 2 ton AC for a regular Indian household. Also, as a rule of thumb, you should buy window AC for only smaller rooms.

Cooling Efficiency

Split ACs come with separate indoor and outdoor unit. This allows for better heat extraction and release. Window ACs are mounted on a window, which is not the best method for operation of an air conditioner. Moreover, split ACs were brought into the market specifically to improve upon the drawbacks of window ACs, therefore split ACs are always better in cooling performance over window ACs.

Buying Cost

Split ACs are priced higher than similar capacity window ACs. For example, starting price of split ACs is around 25,000 rupees irrespective of tonnage, while window ACs can start from 15,000 rupees as well. This is big difference.

However, as you increase the tonnage, the price difference between the two types becomes minimal.

These figures are just for giving you an idea. Premium AC brands such as Daikin and Carrier can cost even more. As a rule of thumb, more features typically command higher pricing.

Energy Consumption

Energy consumption does not depend on the type of AC. It depends on the star rating. BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency) has mandated all room ACs with a anergy efficiency star rating. 5 is the maximum rating and it means most energy efficient and 1 being least energy efficient. Typically, you will not find 4 or 5 star rated ACs in less than 1 ton AC models.

Another thing that you should keep in mind before purchase is the ideal capacity. Smaller AC in large room will consume more energy as compared to a large capacity AC. This is because it has to work extra hard in extracting heat from the room.

Also, Inverter technology further improve the energy efficiency of an AC. But, there are very less window ACs in the market that come with inverter technology, this means that you will find more split ACs with higher energy efficiency. Thus, a 5 star inverter AC is the most energy efficient AC available.

Reading Suggestion: Inverter AC vs Non Inverter AC vs BEE Energy Rating

Noise

One of the biggest differentiators between split AC and window AC is that window ACs produce more noise because the noise causing compressor housed inside one single unit, which is close to the user in the room. Whenever this compressor switches on, it creates noise. This can be quite inconvenient. However, since the compressor in split AC is on the outside, its noise does not affect the users in the room. Sound on comes from air distribution through ductworks and vents.

Noise is further reduced in inverter ACs. For example, Dual inverters are known to be whisper silent. LG, Panasonic, Sanyo come with dual inverters.

Split ACs usually come in noise range of 20 to 35 dB. 30 dB noise is similar to ruffling of leaves. Window ACs usually have a noise range of 40 – 60 dB. This is almost double of split AC.

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Installation And Maintenance

Window AC are much easier to install as compared to split AC. For installing a split AC, you have to secure the mounting plate on the wall, drill holes for pipes, install outdoor condenser and secure electrical supply and pipes. As you can see, this requires help of a professional

On top of this, window ACs are also easier to maintain as they are simpler machines. Split ACs need more maintenance and it is always recommended to get them serviced regularly.

Due to all this, window ACs become ideal for people living in rented accommodation so that they can easily install and uninstall it.

Lifespan

Split ACs are more modern technology and many of them come with inverter technology. Inverter compressors usually come with a warranty of 10 years. This means that the AC brand is anyway ready for servicing it for such a long time. This shows how long lasting these ACs are. Typical lifespan of split ACs is 15 to 20 years. On the other hand, average lifespan of window AC is 8 to 13 years. This is quite a big difference.

Impact on the Environment

Many window ACs still use R22 refrigerant (banned in many parts of Europe), which has high global warming potential and even ozone depletion potential. On top of it, it is also less efficient in extracting heat. This adds to the overall burden on the environment. Thus, users who want to reduce their carbon footprint can go with split ACs or window ACs with R32 refrigerant.

Reading Suggestion: R32 vs R410A vs R22 vs R210 refrigerants

Colour & Variety

Window ACs usually come in only 2 or 3 basic colours such as white, gold. In fact many top brands have window ACs with only in white colour. On the other hand, split ACs come in variety of colours such as brown, beige, red, white, blue, gold and even multicolours. This means that split ACs give more choice to customers in terms of design.

Additional Features

Window ACs typically do not come with many features. Some of the features available in window ACs are economical mode, turbo cooling, sleep mode, double or single filtration, self-diagnosis etc.

On the other hand, split ACs have almost all these features apart from added features. Some of these added features can be inverter technology (for lower noise and lower energy consumption), dehumidifier, auto restart, multi-level filtration, phone connectivity, IOT, in-built stabilizer, LCD remote etc.

Prestige

Split ACs are more modern ACs that are costlier, efficient and come with so many additional features. Due to this certain level of prestige has got attached to split ACs. It is no wonder that reputed AC brands are mostly promoting split ACs and the number of window ACs in the market has gone down over the years. In fact some brands such as Daikin, Mitsubishi etc. don’t even sell window ACs in India. Window ACs have their own utility, but overall, split ACs have cemented their position as an aspirational product.

Verdict

Both split ACs and window AC have their own pros and cons and based on the above mentioned factors you can decide ideal AC for your home or office.

Split ACs are better than window ACs in cooling efficiency because of better technology, ensuring more comfort. They make less noise due to their inherent structure where condenser is placed outside. This adds to their convenience factor.

Split ACs also have bigger lifespan and can last for 15 to 20 years. This goes well with the fact that is a one-time investment. Also, they are suitable for almost all types of rooms, small and large.

On the other hand window ACs are priced lower, which is their biggest benefit. These ACs are also easier to install and uninstall, making it ideal for mobile families. These are not a bad option if you have smaller rooms as it can cool small rooms quite effectively.

That’s about it. We hope that this article helped you understand the differences between window and split AC. You can now go ahead and purchase the best AC according to your needs.

Do let us know your views or questions in the comments section. We will be happy to help.

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