Portable Ac Vs Split Ac India: Which one is Best?

“Let’s find out which one is worthy to invest – portable or split AC”

Portable AC or Split AC – which one is worth buying? This one of the common dilemmas faced by people while purchasing a new air conditioner.

What works best for one may not work for another. To help you figure out the best cooling system for you and your budget, we bring this blog for you.

To keep it simple, we will weigh up the merits and drawbacks of both the portable AC and split AC units. This will make it easier for you to determine the right option.

Before discussing the differences, let us first try to understand what they are and how they work.

What Is A Portable Air Conditioner?

portablle ac

A portable air conditioner, as the name suggests, is that type of air conditioning unit which is portable. In other words, you can carry it from one place to another or move it between the rooms.

Usually, air conditioners come in wall or ceiling-mounted designs or window-attached designs. Unlike any of these, a portable unit is a floor-standing device that comes equipped with wheels, making it flexible enough to move it around. Coming to its size, it is almost the height of your bedside table.

How Does A Portable AC Work?

The working mechanism of a portable air conditioner is simple. It draws indoor air in and expels it out of the window through a single duct.

What Is A Split Air Conditioner?

split air conditioner

A split air conditioning system is the most commonly used AC unit in most homes. It is a wall-mounted device that has two components, namely the indoor unit and the outer unit. While the indoor unit gets installed indoors on the wall, the outdoor unit placement is (outside) on the other side of the same wall.

How Does A Split AC Work?

We all know that the indoor unit comprises the evaporator and the outdoor unit, a compressor, and a condenser. The compressor compresses the refrigerant gas, which circulates through the coils and changes to a liquid. The condenser condenses this liquid, and it passes through the condenser coils to the expansion valve. After reaching the valve, it transforms to gas again. During this transformation, it releases heat and adopts a cold temperature. This gas now returns to the compressor, and the cycle repeats.

The indoor unit takes the heat from the room and allows it to pass through the evaporator coils, lowering its temperature. The blower in the indoor unit blows back this cold air and circulates it throughout the room until it reaches the defined temperature. After reaching the set temperature, the system will turn off automatically.

A split air conditioner enables you to lower the temperature by 10 degrees in no time. It also helps to extract the moisture from the space, leaving no room for any damp.

Below is a quick comparison of Spilt air conditioner vs. portable air conditioner to enlighten your understanding:

Design It is a wall-mounted device that is heavy and bulky. It is a free-standing unit that is lightweight.
Flexibility Since they are wall-mounted devices, you cannot move them around. You can carry them only after dismantling them. You will need a professional’s help to dismantle the unit as you cannot do it yourself. You can easily move them around from one place to another.
Installation You need a professional for installation, requiring additional costs. A portable AC is easy to install.
Noise The indoor unit does not create any sound. However, the compressor outside can generate noise. A portable AC creates more noise than other cooling systems.
Technology A split AC uses highly advanced technology and has special features. Portable air conditioners do not have special technologies and additional features.
Energy Consumption Relatively low Relatively low
Capacity Lower than split AC Higher compared to portable AC
Cost High when compared to portable AC units. Affordable

Let us look at the advantages and disadvantages of both portable and split air conditioning units.

Overview of Benefits and Drawbacks of Portable AC:

Pros Cons
Mobility Ineffective for cooling larger areas
It doesn’t require installation Not energy-efficient
Can be used as a heater Tend to create more noise

A Detail Description of Portable AC Benefits:

1. Mobility

As discussed earlier, the upside of using a portable AC unit is that you can easily move them as and when needed. Unlike a split AC, you will not have to fix it in a single room. You can move it between the rooms. Since it is a self-contained body with wheels, you can even move it effortlessly from one apartment to another.

Being compact in design, you can easily hide them when not in use, further freeing up the floor space.

2. Unit Cost

A portable AC unit is very cost-effective in comparison with a split AC. However, it is advisable to consider other factors that consume more electricity.

3. Installation

Unlike other air conditioning units, portable ACs do not require any installation as they come fully assembled. All you need is an electric outlet to connect the unit and a window to vent out the exhaust warm air outside. Moreover, you will not have to incur any installation costs and wait for a professional to install the unit.

4. Used as a Heater

Many portable air conditioners that are available these days come with a dehumidifying and heating feature.

A Detail Description of Portable AC Drawbacks:

1. Cooling Capacity

Portable air conditioners are incapable of cooling larger rooms or spaces. If you want to get the right amount of cool air, then carefully choose a unit that exactly matches the size of your room.

2. Low Energy Efficiency

Another considerable drawback of having portable air conditioners is that they are not energy efficient. They consume more electricity, contributing to a spike in your utility bills.

3. Noisy

Portable air conditioners create a lot of noise. Since it has all the components in a single unit, it tends to be very noisy.

4. Occupies Floor Space

Although they are small in size, they still occupy the floor space. Moreover, you need to position your unit close to the window. This can limit the space, and also, you may have to accommodate your furniture accordingly in the room.

Overview of Benefits and Drawbacks of Split AC:

Pros Cons
A split AC is energy efficient It has a high upfront cost. The price might be high, but it’s a long-term investment that will soon pay off
Offers a greater cooling capacity It needs a professional for installation and also a proper placement for installation.
Does not require much space The outside unit can generate a lot of noise
Versatile and easy to maintain
Functions with great quietness

A Detail Description of Split AC Benefits:

1. High Energy-Efficiency

The upside to having a split air conditioner at home is that it has high energy-efficiency and also high cooling capacity. It does not consume more energy, and hence you do not have to worry about the soaring electricity bills. Although you may have to pay upfront for the unit and installation, you will be spending less in the long-term in comparison to a portable air conditioner.

2. High Powered Cooling

Another significant advantage of a split AC is that it is efficient in cooling larger rooms. Multi-split AC systems are available in split units that have several indoor units and a single outdoor unit. Such systems are capable of cooling several rooms or larger rooms in the home through just one outdoor unit.

3. Space Requirement

All split air conditioning units are wall-mounted devices and hence, do not occupy your floor space like a portable AC unit. Additionally, there are various designs available in these systems that can complement your room décor.

4. Quiet Operation

The other benefit of a split air conditioner is that they offer quiet operation. Since the location of the compressor that generates is outdoor, it reduces the noise in the room when operating.

A Detail Description of Split AC Drawbacks:

1. Expensive

As mentioned earlier, a split AC is very expensive in comparison with portable air conditioners. Additionally, you may have to incur the installation charges. However, you can benefit in the long run because of the high energy efficiency and also the high-powered cooling.

2. Installation

The split ACs require a professional to install the unit, which is an added upfront cost. However, they are easier to install in comparison with other air conditioners such as ducted central units. Moreover, the installation process takes just a single day.

3. Less Suitable When Renting

Since split AC units are wall-mounted devices, they are not suitable for those living in rented flats or apartments. It may be difficult for you when you have to move. You will have to dismantle the entire unit if you want to carry it.

4. Outdoor Unit Can Be Noisy

Another drawback of a split AC unit is that the outdoor unit containing the compressor can make a loud noise. This could be an issue depending on the locality you are living in.

Which Is the Best? Split AC or Portable AC?

Comparatively, a split AC unit has more benefits than a portable air conditioner. If you want us to recommend, our inclination would always be towards a split AC for its energy efficiency and cooling capacity. They can be the best option to save your electricity bills when compared to other cooling systems.

However, it is always the user who has to decide the right option suitable for his needs and requirements. Portable air conditioners can be the safest bet for the renters as they can carry them along whenever they move.


I hope this article helped you gain deeper insights into the merits and drawbacks of portable and split air conditioners. When you have to choose between either of the units, pay attention to the key parameters like energy consumption, cooling capacity, and space. When you consider them as the priority, you can effortlessly make a wise decision.

If you have any questions or need more information about portable ACs or split ACs, you can write to us in the comments section below. We would be happy to help you.

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