Central AC vs. Ductless Mini-Splits: A Comparison for Homeowners

man installing ac

Choosing the right cooling system for your home can be a daunting task, especially with the wide variety of options available in the market. Two popular choices among homeowners are central air conditioning (AC) systems and ductless mini-splits. In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive comparison between these two systems, helping you make an informed decision based on your specific needs and preferences.

Efficiency and Energy Consumption – Winner:┬áDuctless

When it comes to energy efficiency, ductless mini-splits have a clear advantage over central AC systems. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, mini-split systems can save up to 30% more energy than central AC systems. This is mainly due to the fact that ductless systems deliver cooled air directly to each room, eliminating the energy loss associated with ductwork in central AC systems.

Installation and Cost – Too Close to Call

Central AC systems typically require more extensive and expensive installation processes compared to ductless mini-splits. This is because central systems need ductwork to distribute cooled air throughout the house, which can be a complex and time-consuming process. On the other hand, ductless mini-splits only require a small hole in the wall to connect the indoor and outdoor units, making the installation process quicker and less invasive.

However, the upfront cost of ductless mini-split systems can be higher than that of central AC systems, depending on the number of indoor units required. It is essential to weigh the long-term energy savings against the initial investment when making a decision.

Flexibility and Customization – Winner: Ductless

Ductless mini-splits offer more flexibility in terms of installation and customization. Since each indoor unit can be controlled independently, you can easily create different temperature zones in your home, catering to the preferences of each family member. This is not possible with central AC systems, which cool the entire house to a single temperature.

Moreover, ductless mini-splits can be installed in various types of buildings, including those without existing ductwork or with limited space. This makes them an ideal choice for older homes, apartments, or room additions.

Aesthetics and Noise – Too Close to Call

Some homeowners may find ductless mini-split systems less visually appealing than central AC systems, as they require wall-mounted indoor units. However, modern mini-split systems come in various designs and colors, allowing you to choose one that complements your home's interior.

In terms of noise, ductless mini-splits are generally quieter than central AC systems. The indoor units operate at a low noise level, ensuring a peaceful and comfortable environment in your home.

Maintenance and Air Quality – Winner: Ductless

Both central AC and ductless mini-split systems require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity. However, ductless systems have an advantage in terms of air quality, as they come with built-in air filters that can be easily cleaned or replaced. This helps maintain a healthier indoor environment by reducing allergens, dust, and other pollutants.


Ultimately, the choice between central AC and ductless mini-splits depends on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. If you value energy efficiency, flexibility, and customization, a ductless mini-split system may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a more traditional and discreet cooling system, a central AC system might be a better fit.

At SUNDANCE Energy, we understand the importance of choosing the right cooling system for your home. Our team of experts can help you evaluate your needs and provide a tailored solution that suits your requirements. Contact us today to learn more about our AC installation services and how we can help you make the best decision for your home.