window air conditioner vs central air conditioner

Window Air Conditioner vs Central Air Conditioner: Which is Right for You?


When it comes to air conditioning your home, deciding between a window air conditioner and a central air conditioner can be quite difficult. window air conditioners are a much simpler option than a central air conditioner, which involves more components, including a condenser unit that sits on the outside of the building. Read on to learn more about the differences between these two air conditioning options.

Quick Summary

Window air conditioners and central air conditioners have distinct differences which should be considered when choosing between the two. A window air conditioner works best in tight spaces or smaller homes while a central air conditioner, which consists of an outdoor condenser unit with pipes leading to an air handler, is best suited for larger buildings or multiple rooms. Central air conditioners offer more features for larger buildings such as temperature zoning, wherein you can set temperatures for different rooms, and are more energy efficient than window models. However, central air conditioning units are more expensive to purchase and install. When choosing which air conditioning system is best for you, it is important to consider your home size and needs, as well as your budget.

Window Air Conditioner vs Central Air Conditioner: Choosing the Right Option for You

When it comes to cooling your home, you have two distinct options: a window air conditioner or a central air conditioner. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you’re trying to decide which one is right for you and your home, here are a few things to consider when choosing between a window air conditioner and a central air conditioner.

What are Window Air Conditioners?

Window air conditioners are great for cooling a single room or a small area. These types of air conditioners are easy to install and are relatively inexpensive. While they typically don’t cool a large space, they are perfect for cooling only what you need.

What are Central Air Conditioners?

Central air conditioners are much more complex systems than their windowed counterparts. They use a condenser unit that is placed outside the home. This condenser includes a set of pipes which then bring cool air into the air handler. Central air conditioners provide much larger coverage and typically cool the entire house. They may require more effort to install and can be more expensive, but they are more energy-efficient than their windowed counterparts.

Pros and Cons of Window Air Conditioners

  • Cheaper and easier to install than central air conditioners
  • Easy to move from room to room or take with you when you move
  • Help maintain desired temperature in only one room or small area
  • Not as energy efficient as central air systems
  • Higher installation cost compared to window units
  • Lower cooling capacity compared to central air systems

Pros and Cons of Central Air Conditioners

  • More energy-efficient than window air conditioners
  • Provides even cooling throughout the entire home
  • Requires a professional to install
  • Costly to install, operate, and maintain
  • Not as easy to move if you plan on relocating
  • Can cool the entire house but not individual rooms


Ultimately, your decision will depend largely on your specific needs, as well as the size of your home. Window air conditioners are great for cooling only one room or a small area, while central air conditioners are better for cooling an entire house. Consider both options and make the best decision for you and your home.

Related Products

1.) GE Window Air Conditioner 8000 BTU, Wi-Fi Enabled, Energy-Efficient Cooling for Medium Rooms, 8K BTU Window AC Unit with Easy Install Kit, Control Using Remote or Smartphone App

If you’re looking for powerful, energy-efficient cooling for a medium-sized room without spending a fortune, the GE Window Air Conditioner 8000 BTU is a great option. It has 8K BTU cooling power and its easy install kit make installation a simple job for a DIYer. Plus, you can control the temperature using a remote or a smartphone app!

But when it comes to window air conditioners vs. central air conditioners, the former remains the clear choice for cost savings. Central air conditioning systems can cost upwards of $5000, while window air conditioners are typically in the range of $300. They also require less installation effort.

  • Easy installation kit with 8K BTU cooling power
  • Wi-Fi enabled & controlled with a remote or smartphone app
  • Energy-efficient & cost-effective compared to central air conditioners

The GE Window Air Conditioner 8000 BTU makes an excellent choice for cooling medium-sized rooms. With its energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and convenient installation procedure, it’s an ideal option for those looking for quality and convenience.

2.) SereneLife SLACHT108 Portable Air Conditioner Compact Home AC Cooling Unit with Built-in Dehumidifier & Fan Modes, Quiet Operation, Includes Window Mount Kit, 10,000 BTU + HEAT, White

When considering window air conditioner vs central air conditioner, the SereneLife SLACHT108 Portable Air Conditioner offers the perfect combination of convenience and comfort. This air conditioning system features a built-in dehumidifier and multiple fan modes for quiet operation, making it an ideal choice for anyone looking for an energy-efficient cooling system. The window mount kit lets you install the unit quickly and easily, and the 10,000 BTU + HEAT rating ensures your living space will be perfectly cooled or heated. Additionally, the SereneLife air conditioner is much smaller than traditional central air systems.

  • Compact home AC cooling unit
  • Built-in dehumidifier & fan modes
  • Quiet operation & energy-efficient
  • Window mount kit included
  • 10,000 BTU + HEAT rating

The SereneLife SLACHT108 Portable Air Conditioner is ideal for anyone looking for a flexible, easy-to-install alternative to a central air conditioning system. With its energy-efficient design and convenient window mount kit, this unit offers the perfect combination of convenience and comfort.

3.) LG 6,000 BTU Window Conditioner, Cools 250 Sq.Ft. (10′ x 25′ Room Size), Quiet Operation, Electronic Control with Remote, 2 Cooling & Fan Speeds, 2-Way Air Deflection, Auto Restart, 115V, 6000, White

The LG 6,000 BTU Window Conditioner is the perfect way to beat the summer heat. Not only is it small and energy-efficient, but it can cool up to 250 sq. ft. of space – perfect for the 10′ x 25′ room size – with 2 cooling and fan speeds, 2-way air deflection, and auto restart. Plus, it operates quietly and provides both remote and electronic controls for easy use.

Window air conditioners are often times a more cost-effective and practical solution to central air conditioners which are larger and more expensive to maintain. With an LG window air conditioner, you can enjoy savings on installation costs, enjoy the same level of temperature control and the same comfort, but without having to take up too much space.

  • Small and energy-efficient
  • Cools up to 250 sq. ft. of space
  • 2 cooling and fan speeds
  • 2-way air deflection
  • Auto restart
  • Quiet operation
  • Remote and electronic controls

A window air conditioner is an ideal option for those who want to cool a certain area of their home,

4.) GE Window Air Conditioner 5000 BTU, Efficient Cooling For Smaller Areas Like Bedrooms And Guest Rooms, 5K BTU Window AC Unit With Easy Install Kit, White

When it comes to cooling an area as small as a bedroom or a guest room, a window air conditioner is a more economical, energy-efficient, and flexible option compared to central air conditioning. The GE Window Air Conditioner 5000 BTU is a 5K BTU window AC unit with an easy install kit and white finish that is perfect for areas like bedrooms and guest rooms. With such a compact and powerful unit, you can easily cool rooms with a tight budget and limited space.

  • This window air conditioner is economical and energy-efficient, so you can get the perfect temperature for your bedroom or guest room with a tightly managed budget.
  • With its installation kit and Sleek design, the GE Window Air Conditioner 5000 BTU is highly flexible and can fit almost all kinds of windows.
  • This AC unit has a 5,000 BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating, which is perfect for smaller rooms like bedrooms and guest rooms.

When compared to central air conditioning, the GE Window Air Conditioner 5000 BTU offers lower upfront costs, better energy efficiency, and more flexibility when it comes to installation and use. It is the perfect air conditioning unit for smaller areas like bedrooms and guest rooms.

5.) Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner with Dehumidifier and Fan for Rooms Up to 500 Square Feet, Includes Activated Carbon Filter & Storage Bag, Platinum/Black, AC Unit Only

The Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner is a great choice as an alternative to central air conditioning. Why is this product such a great option?

  • This product uses a single hose configuration and is designed to cool rooms up to 500 sq ft., and portable enough that it can be easily moved from room to room to provide cooling where and when you need it.
  • Setup is effortless, simply remove the unit from its box, place it near the desired area, and attach the necessary hose components.
  • Versatile functions, this unit can operate as an air conditioner, dehumidifier, or fan.
  • Additional filtering, this unit includes an activated carbon filter as well as a storage bag for when the unit is not actively in use.

This unit offers many of the same advantages and savings of a window air conditioner, with the added convenience and portability of being easily moved from room to room.

Personal Experience

   Choosing Between Central and Window Air Conditioner: What

I have personally experienced the differences between window air conditioners and central air conditioners. Window air conditioners are usually much smaller in size, and they work by drawing warm air from the room and cooling it down. Central air conditioners, however, involve much more. There is an outdoor condenser that runs coolant into an “air handler” inside the building. This air handler is what actually cools the air, with the help of the coolant from the outdoor condenser. In my opinion, window air conditioners are much easier to install, since they only need to be put into a window. Central air conditioners require much more installation work and are usually more expensive. In the end, the choice between window a/c and central a/c is largely dependent on the size of the space that needs to be cooled and the budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are window air conditioners better than central air?

No, window air conditioners are not necessarily better than central air. In general, central air conditioners are designed to cool larger spaces more efficiently than window air conditioners. However, window air conditioners may be more efficient in cooling a single room or small area. Ultimately, it depends on the needs of your space and cooling requirements.

Which costs more to run central air or window units?

Window units cost less to run than central air conditioning. Window units are much more affordable to purchase and install, and can be a great option for cooling one room or a small space in the home. While central air conditioning is more expensive to install and run, it can cool an entire home more effectively.

What are the drawbacks of window AC?

Window air conditioners are typically noisier than other types, can reduce the natural light in a home, only cool one room at a time, and are not typically attractive. They can also be a security risk, as they are easy to access from the outside of the home. For these reasons, window air conditioners can be less practical than other cooling solutions.

Which is cheaper central AC or window AC?

Central air conditioning (AC) is the more expensive option than window-based AC units, with most low-end units costing around $200 and maxing out at around $1,000. However, this initial cost should be weighed against other factors such as monthly energy bills, maintenance, and repair costs before making a final decision. Ultimately, window-based AC units are usually cheaper than central AC for most people’s budget.

Which window AC is best with price?

The best window AC for the price is the Godrej 1.5 Ton 3 Star Window AC, which is available for ₹27,700. It offers a reliable and competitively priced cooling solution. For a slightly more expensive, but more feature-rich option, the LG 1.5 Ton 4 Star DUAL Inverter Window AC is available for ₹34,200. Finally, for the highest performing window AC, one may consider the Hitachi 1.5 Ton 5 Star Window AC, which is priced at ₹40,190.

What is a cheap alternative to an AC?

A cost effective alternative to an air conditioning unit is a window air conditioner. They cost approximately $200-1000 per unit, making them a great budget choice. Portable air conditioners are also a good choice, and range in cost from $300-1500 per unit. Evaporative air coolers are a great value, as they range from $70-1000 depending on size and type.

How long do cheap window AC units last?

Window AC units may last up to 10 years depending on their maintenance and quality. Cheap window AC units tend to last 8 years or less due to their lower quality components and typically limited warranty coverage. To ensure a longer AC life span, it’s important to maintain and service the unit regularly.

How many square feet will a 12000 BTU air conditioner cool?

A 12000 BTU air conditioner will cool an area up to 400 square feet. It is perfect for small to medium-sized rooms. For larger spaces, a 13000 BTU air conditioner is recommended and it will cool an area of up to 450 sq ft.

Are window AC better than Central?

Window AC can be better than Central AC in certain situations. If you are looking to cool a single room, a window air conditioner will be more efficient. However, if you need to cool your entire house, multiple window air conditioners will use more energy than a single properly-sized central air conditioner. Ultimately, the right choice depends on your needs.

Is it more expensive to run central air or a window unit?

The answer to the question is: It is typically more expensive to run central air than a window unit. Installing a window unit is much more cost-effective, as it will only run for the specific room it is placed in. Additionally, central air is often much more expensive to install in the first place. Therefore, it is usually more cost-effective to install a window unit than to install and run central air conditioning for an entire home.

Should you use window AC with central air?

Yes, you should use window AC with central air if you live in a very hot climate or if a particular room in your house gets hotter than other rooms. Window AC units are perfect for cooling a single room, which can help create more comfortable temperature in the entire house. They can also help reduce the load on the central air unit, which helps save energy and money.

Is a central air conditioner more efficient than a window air conditioner?

Yes, a central air conditioner is more efficient than a window air conditioner. On average, a window unit uses between 500 and 1,440 watts of electricity while a central air conditioner in the average-sized home uses around 3,500 watts. This shows that, over the long term, a central air conditioner is much more energy-efficient, resulting in lower electricity bills.

What is the difference between window air conditioner and whole house AC?

The main difference between a window air conditioner and a whole house AC is that a window air conditioner will cool only the room it is installed in, while a whole house AC can cool an entire home. Additionally, whole house AC systems are more expensive to install and operate than a window system. Overall, a whole house AC offers the convenience of cooling a whole house while window air conditioners can save money but limit cooling to the room they are placed in.

Do I need a central air conditioning system?

Yes, you need a central air conditioning system if you are looking to cool your entire home. Installing a central air conditioning system will be more efficient in terms of energy use than several window air conditioning units. If you only need to cool one or two rooms, one or two window AC units can be more energy efficient.

Can I use a window AC unit?

Yes, you can use a window AC unit in a small house or mobile home. Window AC units are energy efficient, cost-effective and can provide adequate cooling. It is ultimately up to individual preferences, lifestyle, and budget to determine the best AC option for one’s home.

Final Thoughts

When deciding whether to install window air conditioner vs central air conditioner in your home, there is no single answer. Window air conditioners are simpler and cheaper to install but they do not provide the same cooling power and temperatures range as a central air system. Central air conditioning systems provide better cooling power, temperature control, and are more energy efficient, but require additional work and cost to install. Ultimately, it depends on your needs and budget.