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Window AC Unit vs. Ductless Mini‑Split: Which Is Best for an Older MN Home?

So your older MN home does not have air ducts, and you’re stuck choosing between a window AC unit and a ductless mini-split for your old home. Which one is right for you?

Here’s the bottom line

If you’re a homeowner, go with a ductless mini-split system for the highest convenience, safety and comfort. But if you’re renting and/or on a tight budget, a window AC might be your best choice.

In this article, we’ll explain:

  • The pros and cons of Window AC units and ductless mini-splits
  • The factors that will help you choose between the two units

Window AC vs. Ductless mini-split: Pros & Cons

Here are the pros and cons of each air conditioner at a glance:

Window AC

window air conditioner

A window AC unit. Image source


  • Easy to install (low installation cost)
  • Low up-front equipment cost


  • Reduces light in your home (blocks window)
  • Security hazard (thieves can remove a window unit to enter your home)
  • Noisy (47–63 decibels, so the sound level of a computer or dishwasher)
  • Some homeowners don’t like how they look

Ductless mini-split system

ductless mini-split air conditioner

A ductless mini-split system consists of an outdoor condenser and an indoor evaporator. Image source


  • Compact size (so it can be placed almost anywhere)
  • Doesn’t require a window
  • Adds value to your property
  • Quieter than window ACs (30 decibels)
  • Safer (less prone to theft)
  • Can be set up to cool different parts of your home (called zoning)


  • More expensive to install
  • Requires a qualified installer

So, which cooling system should I get?

After looking at the pros and cons, it comes down to these 3 major factors you should consider:

#1: Your budget

Mini-split systems are expensive; they generally cost about $1,500 to $2,000 per ton of cooling capacity. So these may cost twice as much as window units of similar capacity (tonnage).

If you’re on a tight budget, and you just need a quick cooling solution, a window unit may be right for you.

#2: The size and space of your home

Do you have limited window space? Or are there multiple rooms you’d like to cool?

If so, a ductless mini-split system is probably the right fit for you. Mini-split systems don’t have to go on a window and can go on walls or even the floor (with floor-standing models). You can also program a mini-split system to cool different rooms in your home if you get multiple indoor units.

#3: Are you renting your home or a homeowner?

If you’re renting your home, a mini-split system might be too much of an investment, so a window unit would be your best option.

But if you’re a homeowner, adding a mini-split system adds value to your home (especially the zoning feature), so it’s worth the higher investment up-front.

Want an expert’s opinion of what cooling system you should get?

Contact MSP Air to schedule an appointment with one of our cooling specialists. We’ll visit your home to help you decide what option is best for you based on your needs and the above factors.

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