Mini Split VS Central Air Conditioning: Pros and Cons

By | June 3, 2019

A mini split system doesn’t blow air through ducts but from one spot where the inside unit is located.
Mini Split VS Central Air Conditioning Pros and Cons
A central air conditioner cycles air through a building through ducts that blow out vents and returns to the A/C unit to cool the air again.
Mini Split VS Central Air Conditioning
mini split
The main advantage of a mini split system is initial cost, cheaper to run, and control over a section of a building to cool or not cool.
Mini splits are ideal when an open space needs to be cooled. Since there is no duct work the cool air doesn’t transmit past walls.
For this reason mini splits are used in many small business such as hotel/motel rooms, hair salons and so on.
Another advantage of a mini split is they are cheaper to buy and much cheaper to run.
Central Air Conditioning
Central air is the standard way most homes are cooled and heated with a unit sitting outside cycling air through a home via ducts.
A central air unit has the advantage of cooling an entire home to the same temperature.

Mini Split
The main disadvantage of a mini split is since there is no duct work cold or hot air wont travel past the room it is placed in.
Central Air Conditioning
Cost is the biggest downside to a standard central air conditioning.

The cost to install a unit and duct work is much more than a mini split system.

Since they cool the entire building electrical cost are lot more than a mini split.
Bottom Line
Mini splits and a standard central air conditioning unit both have their place.

Someone may only want to cool or heat one section of the house they are in and not the entire home, adding a mini split would solve this problem.

Some homes have add-ons that duct work was never run to that a mini split would work perfect for.

A central air conditioning unit will cool an entire home to the same temperature making them ideal for someone needing to cool a whole house.

When looking to buy a mini split or a central air conditioning unit everyone will have a different situation that will need to be evaluated.



6 thoughts on “Mini Split VS Central Air Conditioning: Pros and Cons

  1. Mike

    Hi Aaron,
    Excellent job very informative
    Do you mind if I ask the square foot of your home
    and the btu size of your wall unit?

  2. Ruben

    Hello. Need to upgrade my heating system. Tenants basement apt has hot water baseboards oil. My unit upstairs is electric baseboards. An HVac today suggested Mitsubishi mini splits hyper heat for upstairs. My question and worry is if these mini splits will take care of the extreme cold temps in Massachusetts without any other back up heating? I hear heat pumps do not do well in extreme cold

    1. Aaron Post author

      Extreme cold can effect a Heat Pump mini split system. A Heat Pump can struggle to heat a home as the temperature becomes colder and have to go into defrost mode.

      Defrost mode is basically turning on the air conditioning side of a heat pump which blows out cold air for 10-15 minutes while the condenser defrost.

      Heat Strips are often installed to heat when this happens. Heat Strips are like a big electric heater that uses electricity to heat elements that keep heating a home.

      There are other secondary types of heating besides heat strips but they are the most common.

      It is always best to listen to local HVAC techs since they know the weather and types of units that are best to use.

      It a good idea to get more than one opinion if you are unsure about a certain company or HVAC tech.

  3. Sharon Tolley

    I enjoyed watching your very informative video about split system AC. I live in northern Arizona and my primary cooling is an evaporative cooler, which works very well except for July thru August. I live in a linear mobile home and think the split system will work well. I’m thinking of having two smaller systems for each end of the home.

    What is the dimension of the compressor unit that you have? Do they come smaller? What is the brand you have? Can you recommend installers who are familiar with split systems in the Phoenix, Flagstaff, or Prescott areas?

    Thank you for any advice you can give me.

    1. Aaron Post author

      A split system size is matched to the space that needs cooled or heated by the BTU it uses.

      For example a 12,000 BTU unit can cool or heat a room up to 550 square feet.

      Here is an example of the current top selling mini split on Amazon the Pioneer Ductless Wall Mount Mini Split which has four different sizes.

      Most HVAC companies will have mini splits they recommend and have already.

      A popular option for trailers is split units that works the same as a mini split but use what is called a A-Coil that is placed into the bottom of the heater unit. It uses the same duct work as the heater and blower motor to blow cold air through the vents.

      A condenser is placed outside the same as a mini split and all that is run into the trailer is a line set to the A-coil that carries the freon in and out transferring heat or cold.

      I know a lot of HVAC technicians in my area but not around Phoenix. Different HVAC companies would need to be called for installations prices.


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