Differences Between Split System & Ducted Air Conditioners

Installing a new air conditioning system is a big investment, so it makes sense to do plenty of research beforehand to work out what type of system is going to work best in your property. Here we take a look at the differences between split system and ducted air conditioners, alongside what to consider when deciding between the two. 

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Split System vs. Ducted Air Conditioning

What is split system A/C?

As the name suggests, the various parts of the system are “split” between the interior and exterior of the property. The condenser (the part of the system that either removes heat from the air, or adds it) is located outside the home in a split system set-up. Inside the home are one or more indoor units (also known as evaporators). These are connected to the condenser via tubing. Each evaporator unit is intended to cool a single room.

What is a ducted air conditioner?

In a ducted system, the condenser is located in the property, usually in the attic. Ducts carry cooled (or warmed) air from the condenser to every room in the property. The ducts end in vents, which are usually covered by a discrete grid. Although the temperature of each room can be set individually, ducted A/C tends to be seen as a “whole house” air conditioning solution.

What are the performance differences between split system and ducted air conditioners?

As well as using a different method to transfer hot or cold air, ducted and split systems have several other differences.


In the longer term, a ducted system frequently works out as more energy-efficient, particularly if the entire house needs to be kept cool. In contrast, if only a small part of the home needs to be temperature controlled, a split system can work really well.


As a ducted system is a whole-house solution, it’s quite a major investment. Installation requires considerable work whilst the ducts and condenser are installed. The entire installation needs to be completed in one go before the system can be operated. A split system can be installed one evaporating unit at a time, with others being added when necessary (or when finances permit).

Ease of operation

Both types of air conditioning have controls which allow it to be adjusted on a room by room basis. Some systems operate wirelessly, using bluetooth.

Cost and Value

A ducted A/C system is a major investment, with prices starting from somewhere around $10,000. It adds value to a property and is often more energy-efficient to operate. A basic split system with a single evaporator unit will cost around $2,000, but will only provide cooling in one room. Other evaporator units can be added over time, but this may then impact on the overall efficiency of the condenser.

If you need further information on the type of A/C system that’s going to be best for you and your family, the Chill-Rite team are here to help.

Contact us online or give us a call on (02) 6885 2254 so one of our expert staff members can solve your query today!