two outside ac units

There is nothing better than coming home to fresh, clean, and perfectly conditioned air. It makes that breathe of relief all the sweeter, allowing you to shed the cares of your day away and relax. After all, with the extreme Texas summer temperatures, conditioned air is a must. When you have an excellent new air conditioning system, you can rest assured that your home will always be a comfortable haven for you.

At Select Air Conditioning & Heating, we are often asked about whether a central air conditioning unit is better than a ductless mini-split. Our team has decided to create this guide to help better inform our customers about which air conditioning unit type will best meet their needs. Here is how a central air conditioning unit and a ductless mini-split compare to each other:

Central Air Conditioning Units

Central air conditioning units are what homeowners usually think of when they think of air conditioning. These units are powerful and make use of ductwork to move conditioned air through the home. Here is the breakdown of these powerful units:

Cost of a Central Air Conditioning Unit

A central air conditioning unit.

Central air conditioners have a low initial cost. However, this cost can be driven up if the home where the central air conditioner is being installed doesn’t have existing ductwork. Since central air conditioners rely on the ducts to transport the conditioned air around the home, homes have to be modified if they don’t already have them. Installing ductwork involves ripping up walls and ceilings to create a passageway for the ductwork, which is why the cost tends to be higher for older homes with no previous air conditioning.

For homes that already have previous ductwork installed, this is a cost-friendly option and works well for families who are on a budget.

Range of the Conditioned Air

Central air conditioners work well with larger homes as the ductwork allows the conditioned air to reach all parts of the home. This creates a nice even cooling, creating a comfortable environment for the family.

Integration With Air Quality

Central air conditioner systems are flexible and work well with other air quality control products, such as humidifiers and air purifiers. Incorporating these add ons can improve the quality and health of your air, which is extremely important for families with individuals who may have respiratory problems such as asthma. As an added bonus, air quality products help reduce the strain on your ductwork, helping to reduce the frequency that cleanings and repairs are needed and improving efficiency.

Things to Consider With a Central Air Conditioning Unit

While central air conditioning units are powerhouses in the HVAC world, there are some things to consider with these units.

Utility Bills

Central air conditioning units are powerful but they are not the cheapest option when it comes to utility bills. Unlike Ductless splits, which we will discuss later in this blog, homeowners cannot control the temperature of individual rooms. This forces the central air conditioner to work harder to ensure that all rooms are the same temperature, which leads to higher utility bills in comparison.

Duct Maintenance

Duct maintenance is an important part of caring for your central air conditioning unit. Your ductwork has to be properly cleaned and checked to ensure that there are no blockages or air leaks. This needs to be done at least once a year.

Ductless Mini-Splits

Ductless mini-split systems are the most advanced piece of technology in the HVAC industry. They use variable air compressors to run as little or as much as they need to. Here is a closer look at these incredible units:

Built With Energy Efficiency in Mind

Ductless mini-split systems have a SEER rating of over 30. This is due to their variable speed compressors that allow the system to run as needed. Unlike most standard central air conditioning units that have one or two speeds, ductless mini-split systems can conserve energy instead of constantly having to switch on and off.


One of the things that make the ductless mini-split so unique is its zoning. Zoning allows for homeowners to create custom temperatures for different parts of their homes. For example, if one family member likes to be warmer, they can make their room warmer without affecting the temperature in the rest of the house.

How is this possible? Ductless mini-split systems make use of heads, which are multiple indoor units that can be placed in different parts of the home. Each head can run independently of the other, allowing for one to be set on cool, the other on heat and the last one turned off. This is ideal for families with different heating and cooling needs and saves on energy.

No Ductwork Is Needed

Ductless mini-splits work well for older homes where no ductwork is installed. While the unit itself is more expensive, it can offset costs as the homeowners do not have to pay the extra labor and parts to install ductwork. 

However, the opposite can be said for homes that do have existing ductwork. The extra cost may not be worth it. This is especially true for larger homes as only five heads can be placed on a single ductless mini-split.

Things to Consider About a Ductless Mini-Split

As with the central air conditioning unit, there are some things to keep in mind when considering investing in a ductless mini-split system.

Filtration System

Ductless mini-splits have air filters but they are not as powerful as a central air conditioning system. This is important to keep in mind if you have family members with respiratory problems. Air purifiers can be outfitted for a ductless mini-split system but this may not be available for some zoning options. Always ask your trusted HVAC specialist for more information when considering air quality.


Mini-split systems collect excess moisture in its condensate line to help control the humidity in the home. Some homes may need to be outfitted with a condensate pump to help move the moisture inside of the line to the drain outside. This can increase the overall cost of the unit.

Which Unit Is Better for My Home?

Each family and home is different, and depending on your unique needs can change this answer. If you have a smaller home with no previous ductwork, for instance, a ductless mini-split may be the perfect option for you. If your home requires more air quality control products to aid the health of a loved one, then a central air conditioning unit may be better for your home.

Whatever your needs are, you can trust that the dedicated team at Select Air Conditioning & Heating can help you find your perfect AC unit. From central air conditioning units to ductless mini-splits, we have the solutions available to help keep you cool all summer long! Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an appointment.