Window Air Conditioner Alternatives


Let’s face it, window air conditioners, despite being widely used and proven, do not always meet our expectations. In view of a whole range of cooling and efficiency issues that are associated with window air conditioners, it seems very hard not to consider jumping the gun for replacement.

But it is understandable. Like most traditional air conditioning systems, window air conditioners are not designed to tackle the constantly evolving cooling demands and efficiency requirements that we grapple with today.

If you own a decade-old window air conditioner that has become clunky and totally energy-hog, then decision to replace the system would be very easy. But this is not always the case. To the detriment of many of us, we wait until it breaks down before we even consider looking for a replacement.

But hear this: You don’t have to endure getting inadequate cooling comfort and continuously paying high electricity just because your window air conditioner is still working. Your main concern should be: is it working for you.

When you decide to finally replace your window air conditioner, it would be best to look beyond the same type of system. Remember that you are always free to find a better substitute for your current window AC system.

To help you find the right system for your home, this article discusses some of the cooling systems that can serve as an alternative your window air conditioner.

Portable Air Conditioner

If what you’re looking for is a system that you can really control, provide you with immediate spot cooling, and something that you can move around almost anywhere whenever you need to, then a portable air conditioner might work as another alternative to your window air conditioner.

A self-contained unit, portable air conditioners is designed as unitary system where all of its key components are housed together in one single package. These systems are usually wheeled and is normally placed on the floor directly facing the area where you want the air to be distributed. Unlike window ACs where the warm air is exhausted out of the room by having the exhaust vent part of the unit facing outside the house, portable ACs let out the warm air and moisture that are taken inside the room through a window kit or a drain hose. The condensate that gets accumulated is normally removed manually. With this kind of system, ventilation and insulation are very important to be able to fully maximize its capacity.

Portable air conditioners can work both as a cooling system and a humidifier. With this system, you will not have to worry about any installation procedure. All you need to do is to set it up, which you can easily accomplish by just using the manual in the kit that comes with the unit. As its name suggests, a portable air conditioner is a portable system, which is probably its biggest advantage. By being portable, it enables you to have a ready system that you can use anytime, bring anywhere, and utilize in any way as long it pertains to spot cooling. If you live in a rental place where you are basically restricted to install any air conditioning system even if you want to (which is, at best, financially impractical too), then a portable air conditioner is a very attractive option.

When looking at portable air conditioners as an alternative cooling system, the most important thing to be concerned about is whether it is a better a system. When it comes to performance and efficiency, you will have to ask if it is really a better alternative to your window AC. Or the very least, you should ask yourself whether portable air conditioners can really provide you with the level of comfort and savings that you’re looking for.

A portable air conditioner is a good choice if it actually suits your specific needs and situation. But here’s the thing: you cannot expect much. As a system, portable ACs have limited cooling capabilities. They can’t really cool a large area. It also requires proper ventilation to be able to release the exhaust heat that it discharges. As a humidifier, it generates condensate water, so you will have to constantly drain this water on a regular basis, which will be quite a chore if you’re really not keen on doing it. Aside from being a little bit noisy when in operation, portable ACs are also not as energy-efficient as a system. But there’s an upside: at least you’d not be wasting too much because you’ll only be using it when you need to.

Spot Cooler

A type of portable air conditioning system, a spot cooler is a stand-alone and self-contained unit where its important components are also placed and integrated in one highly insulated housing cabinet, which is usually of plastic or metal. As a cooling system, the spot cooler cools the room the way any air conditioner does—removes the heat from indoors through heat transfer and dehumidifies the room to remove the humidity.

The best thing about a spot cooler is you can use it to cool specific areas where traditional AC systems like window air conditioners will be very limited and not effective. It is a very low maintenance system. You can practically use it wherever you need to. Wheeled, compact, and very portable, it enables you to quickly cool a targeted space. Because you can turn it on and off anytime, the energy-savings would be very substantial. For unique applications, you can do whatever adjustments that you need to. If necessary, you can also extend the air pipes to help the air adequately reach the targeted area and distribute the air without any impact on the level of comfort.

Ductless Mini Split System

Originally designed as an upgraded version of a window air conditioning unit, a ductless mini split system was actually conceptualized as an alternative to window air conditioners. Built to work the latter’s limitations, mini split systems appear to be better in many aspects, whether in terms of cooling performance, energy-efficiency, flexibility, and environmental-friendliness, among others.

As its name suggests, a ductless mini split is a split-type system that consists of an outdoor compressor/condenser unit that is installed outside the house and an indoor air-handling unit that is mounted inside the home. These two main components are linked together by the refrigerant lines, power cable, and the condensate drain that are all passed through a small hole in the wall.

A reversible system, most ductless mini split system are engineered to work both as an air conditioner and a heat pump. This means that you can use for cooling and heating, which is practically a big advantage if you’re looking for a system that you can use year-round.

With the mini split system, the normal configuration is one compressor is connected to one or more indoor air handlers that are distributed and installed in each room inside the house. In this setup, you can turn on or turn off the unit in a room without affecting the operation of the rest of the systems. Generally speaking, the indoor units can be controlled independently of each other, effectively allowing you to set a different temperature in each room.

Unlike window air conditioners, ductless mini split systems have quite a few smart options for control. Aside from handheld or wireless remote controllers that come with the unit, some really advanced mini split solutions can be controlled directly from your smart phone or tablet.

Ductless mini split system is an innovative cooling and heating solution, a character that makes it among the best alternative to your window air conditioner.


When you’re looking for a replacement for your window air conditioner, the cost difference between the similar window unit that you currently have and the solutions that you can use as a substitute will definitely become an important factor in your final decision. With that said, let us look at how a ductless mini split system and spot cooler compare with window air conditioners in terms of costs.

First off, let’s start by saying that there’s no other air conditioning system out there that is more affordable than a window air conditioner. You can actually get a decent unit in a retail store for only $150, or even less if you’re lucky to get a discounted price through an online purchase.

The most that you can pay for a window AC—and this already includes a premium brand of a high-capacity, high-performance window AC model—is $600. When you add all the extra costs, which include accessories at $10 to $15 on the average and $300 to $600 for the installation, then you can expect to pay around $1000-$1500 for the whole thing. That’s just about a fraction of a price that you will incur if you go for other systems. In fact, that figure is even less than the actual price of a single unit of other advanced systems. All things being equal—outside of cost—most people will probably pick a window AC any time of day.

But then again, air conditioners are not equal as most things in the real world. But what window air conditioners lack in many aspects, they make up by being the lowest-priced system available. But of course, it is fair to say that the lower cost of a window air conditioner is only proportionate to its quality as a system. As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for,” right?

The bottom line is, if you’re bent on spending less, then you can’t really expect yourself to get more. Nobody has to settle for less or deserve one either, which is the exact same reason why going for the best alternative to window air conditioners is a smart choice even if you’ll have to pay more.

And talking about paying more, you can expect exactly that, but at least you’ll get the best value for your money. Why? Because compared with a window air conditioner purchase, buying a ductless mini split system is like paying for an investment. Normally priced at $1,500 up to $5,000, ductless systems seem like very expensive, but it’s not when you consider the benefits. Take note that a ductless system pays for itself. Being highly energy-efficient, mini splits will enable you to save significant amount of money from your reduced electricity bills.

If you want to go somewhere along the middle of the price range and still get a good system, then a spot cooler is another great option. The system is not cheap but not very expensive either.

What’s the Best Alternative to Window Air Conditioner?

Hands down, ductless mini splits are the best substitute for your inefficient and low-performing window air conditioner. And here are some of the reasons why:

• Better performance. Ductless mini splits are built with advanced components and features that make them the most precise in terms of cooling and heating. With this kind of system, maximum comfort for you and your family is assured.

• High energy-efficiency. Ductless mini splits have some of the highest energy-efficiencies even when compared to any type of air conditioning system. The implication is significant: you will be able to cut your energy use and lower your power bills.

• Flexibility. Being a split system, ductless mini splits can be installed anywhere and be used in any type of application. It doesn’t what type of room or environment either; ductless definitely delivers.

• Environment-friendly. Built recyclable materials and ozone-friendly refrigerant called R-410A, ductless mini splits enable you to reduce your household’s carbon footprint.

If you think that ductless mini split system is a little bit expensive for you or doesn’t suit your needs at this point, then spot coolers is a good option as well. As you will find out, spot coolers can do wonders for you in terms of getting adequate level of cooling comfort, especially if you are requiring a system that is flexible and portable enough to be used anytime and anywhere.

To find a great selection of ductless mini splits and spot coolers, you can visit

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