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Window Air Conditioner vs Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioner: Which is Better?

Window Air Conditioner vs Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioner: Which is Better?

If you’re shopping around for a new air conditioner in the Framingham-area, you might be split on which to get: a window air conditioner or a ductless mini-split system.

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Both cool at least one room and don’t require ducts, but which one is better?

We’ll show you the pros and cons of each and then let you make that decision for your own personal situation

Window air conditioners

Window air conditioners are seen all around the Framingham area because they are cheap and easy to install.


  • Relatively inexpensive – Compared to ductless mini-splits, window air conditioners may cost up to half as much when comparing systems with the same cooling capacity.
  • Easier to install – While they are big and bulky, if you follow the instructions, you can install it yourself without the need of a professional. Although, having a second person around helps the install go more smoothly.


  • Noisy– More expensive models reduce the amount of noise, but in general they buzz and shake when they turn on and run.
  • Security hazard – Thieves can take out the air conditioner from the outside to gain entry into your home.
  • Reduces light – Of course, putting in a window air conditioner takes up a window, and reduces the amount of sunshine your interior gets.
  • Ugly – Window air conditioners are not exactly nice to look at.

Ductless mini-split air conditioners

Ductless mini-split air conditioners can be installed in just about any home. They’re small and compact and can be perfect for people who own homes without ductwork but want to be able to stay cool in the summer.


  • Can cool more than one room – Many ductless mini-splits can handle up to four indoor units (which can cool 4 rooms) connected to one outdoor unit. Of course each evaporator unit adds to the cost. But it’s nice to have the option of adding more if you need it.
  • Installation flexibility – You can suspend the inside unit from a ceiling, or mount it flushed into a drop ceiling or hang on a wall. Wherever you put the indoor unit, you can control it with a remote control.
  • Very quiet – Unlike a window air conditioner, the ductless mini-split has all of the loud components, (compressors and motors) outdoors.
  • Keeps you safer – Ductless mini-splits only need a small, 3-inch hole in order to be installed.


  • Costs more – Mini-splits may cost up to twice as much as a window unit of a similar cooling ability. That’s about $1,500 to $2,000 per ton (12,000 Btu per hour).
  • Requires qualified installer – Although mini-splits don’t require ducts, they do need qualified contractors to size and install them correctly.


If you don’t have the budget, then window air conditioners will be your best choice. However, the convenience, safety and comfort of a ductless mini-split system blows window air conditioners away.

If you’re interested in getting a ductless mini-split air conditioner in your Framingham-area home, contact Nicholson Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing to get a free estimate.