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In the sprawling city of Brisbane, where the summer heat can become oppressive, HVAC systems play an indispensable role in maintaining a comfortable living and working environment. Whether it’s a bustling commercial building or a serene home, the choice between different types of air conditioning systems is a crucial one. At the heart of this decision-making process lies the comparison between portable air conditioners and split system units.

Air-rite Solutions provide an array of services, encompassing everything from the initial installation to regular HVAC maintenance and prompt HVAC repairs. With the rise of more and more industrial businesses in Brisbane, the demand for a robust industrial air conditioning system is more significant than ever. These systems require specialised attention, something that a comprehensive HVAC maintenance plan can provide.

When it comes to personal comfort or large-scale industrial cooling, understanding the difference between portable AC and split systems is essential. Both systems have their unique advantages and challenges, making the decision a complex one. This article aims to clarify the distinctions between these two popular cooling solutions. It examines their efficiency, flexibility, costs, and other vital factors, all of which contribute to making an informed choice. Whether you’re an individual seeking a convenient home cooling solution or an industry leader in need of an expansive industrial air conditioning system, the insights offered in this article will guide you to the best solution, tailored to your specific needs.

Emphasising the need for regular HVAC maintenance and potential HVAC repairs, this article also sheds light on the importance of partnering with experienced HVAC Brisbane professionals. With the right expertise, you can ensure that your chosen cooling system functions at its peak efficiency, providing comfort and reliability all year round.

What is Portable AC?

Portable Air Conditioning Units

Portable AC does not have to be used in only one room of the house. These devices are not bulky and you can move them around according to your current needs. They use air from the room, dry it and then cool it down. Hot air then travels through a tube from back of the device to the window.

Portable ACs are easy to set up because they come already assembled. However, a water tank has to be occasionally emptied.


  • Mobility
  • Can be used as a heater


  • Low power (often around 2kW)
  • Cannot cool larger rooms
  • Watch out for that electricity bill because these are not very energy-efficient devices
  • These devices are not cheap

What is Split System AC?

Split System Air Conditioning

Split System AC is called that because it’s made of two units—the inside unit and the outside unit. Both are mounted on a wall and usually the same wall. The design of split systems has greatly evolved and it doesn’t really interfere with the interior of the room. If your apartment is small, this is probably a good solution for you, because being hung on the wall, it doesn’t take any space at all.

Split system AC can also be used as a heater as opposed to their portable counterparts, these ARE energy-efficient. The unit can be easily controlled and programmed with a remote and is also quiet.

Cleaning is also quite simple. All you have to do is take out the filter, which can be easily detached from the unit and wash it with warm water. After the filter is completely dry, you can put it back in.


  • Designed to save energy
  • They do not take up a lot of space
  • They can also be used as a heater
  • Easy to maintain
  • Diverse functions


  • Price might be high, but it’s a long-term investment that will soon pay off
  • Requires installation by a professional
  • The unit located inside does not make noise. However, the outside unit can be louder.

Other Things to Consider

Room Size

Do not buy a product that is too big for the room you wish to cool down; otherwise, it will cost you more money. At the same time, make sure that the device is not too small for the room because it will not be efficient. Do not hesitate to contact the manufacturer or the retailer to help you calculate what would be the most suitable solution for you.


When it comes to air conditioners, a cheaper product often means greater expenses in the future. Pricier units are energy-efficient and the maintenance is simple and cheap. Cheap ACs might require regular professional maintenance and your electricity bill will probably be significantly higher. Look for an affordable, not cheap, solution.


Another critical factor in a decision-making process is reliability, a.k.a. warranty. Choose a renowned manufacturer that offers an extended warranty period.


Choose a product that includes features you need, for instance a timer, remote control by using your mobile device, dehumidification, air purifying, night mode, etc. This is also an area where split system beats Portable AC.


As mentioned, split systems are quite easy to maintain. All you have to do is remove the filter, clean it with warm water, wait for it to dry, and put it back in. With portable ACs the situation is a bit trickier. You have to clean the filter plus make sure that the tube and the unit are in the right position. The outside unit also requires some maintenance and you should consider hiring a professional for a regular “check up”.

Whether you have a split system, portable, or even commercial air conditioning unit, as a general rule, call a professional to check if the device is working properly before each cooling season.


If you want to purchase a portable AC, make sure you check its decibel level. Typically, this type of AC is not quiet and if you are a light sleeper, a split system might be the way to go for you.


A professional will advise you where to place your AC unit for maximum effect. Additionally, the maximum distance between indoor and outdoor unit is 15m. So, if you live in a building where meeting this requirement is not possible, consider buying a portable AC.

Bottom Line

Portable AC in a Living Room

After a thorough examination of both portable and split system ACs, it all boils down to this – personal needs and preferences. Split system ACs can be more expensive, but the investment is likely to pay off in the long run. They are efficient cooling systems that are easy to maintain and come with a great number of available functions such as a timer, air purifying and dehumidifying. On the other hand, being able to move the cooling unit from one part of the house to another – is quite handy!

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