Are Portable Air Conditioners Good?

portable air con

Thinking Of Buying a Portable Air Conditioner? Make sure you read this first and save money plus time.


Summer is almost here and the weather is warming up. Our summers are predicted to get hotter every year and a string of consecutive 40 degree days or above will be common. Using an AC brings relief and comfort, it’s more a necessity than a luxury these days. 

But which air conditioners work best? Is a portable air conditioner any good at cooling your house or is a split system the right answer – even for renters? 

So portable AC or split system?

Portable Air Conditioner 

Buyers often believe portable AC units are good for being able to be moved around the house, for instance, the living room during the day and bedroom at night. They work by drawing air from the room, drying and cooling it down. They need to be connected via their tube to a window for the hot to be blown out the window. 

Portable air con is usually easy to set up and the only maintenance is emptying the water tank. Often renters purchase portable air cons if the rental home has no AC or none in the bedroom. But it would be worth taking a look at installing a split system. Landlords can use the cost as a tax deduction and to sweeten any deal you could offer to pay what you would have for a portable AC. 

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Split System AC

This type of air con is named because it is actually split into two units. The inside wall-mounted unit and the outside unit. Split systems can also be used as heaters which is a great feature (read our blog for more info

The inside unit blows the refrigerated cool air into your home and the outside unit expels the hot air. They are quiet and energy-efficient – the right size plus power for the space. 

Portable AC vs Split System AC


Pro – Portable Air cons come in castor wheels and can be moved around. So unlike a split system, the portable air-con can be moved. 

A split system can be wall-mounted in a position most effective for cooling and aesthetically pleasing.  

Con –  Portable AC isn’t exactly smooth though, the units even though on wheels are heavy and cumbersome. They weigh around 20kgs. 


Pro – Cheaper than split systems, portable AC costs anywhere from $400 to $1000. Split systems start at $1650 for a 2.5KW including installation. 

Con  a top of line portable air con is close to the starting price of a split system air con including install. A 2.5KW split system including install from Max Power is $1650


Pro –  a split system is 2.5KW for a small area (like a bedroom) and a larger space like a living area usually has 5KW power. 

ConAccording to Canstar Blue both systems, portable and split cost on average 50 cents an hour to run. But a portable system only goes up to at most 2KW of power.

Often portable air cons are only suitable for smaller rooms around 20m². So you are paying the same but getting much less AC power. 

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Pro – Portable units do not need to be installed and save on that cost. 

Con – Split systems must be installed by a licensed electrician.. You can buy your own unit and pay the install only cost. Max Power Electrical charges from $650. Or we provide the unit and include install with the price. Full price list here


Pro – Split systems are quiet. 

Con – Portable aircons are noisy.

Lifespan and Reliability

Pro – Spit systems will last longer than portable ACs making them more reliable. They can be serviced and maintained by electricians extending their lifespan. 

Con – Portable systems get moved around and can only be cleaned to a certain extent. Both of these factors contribute to them breaking down more easily and not lasting years and years like a split system.

Whichever type of AC you decide on, as a general rule, call a professional to check if the device is working properly before each cooling season.

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