Split Systems vs Ducted Air Conditioning

Split Systems vs Ducted Air Conditioning

Choosing the right type of air conditioner that fits your requirements is essential to ensure you get the most out of it. There are many air conditioning options available, but ducted systems and split systems are among the more popular choices when it comes to heating and cooling homes in Melbourne.

To help you make the best decision for your comfort, budget and energy consumption, let us look at the main differences between split systems and ducted air conditioning systems.

What are Split Systems?

Split systems are made of two main parts – an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit is located inside the house (usually but not necessarily mounted on the wall), and it dispenses the conditioned air into the space. The outdoor unit, meanwhile, is the condensing unit.

What is Ducted Air Conditioning?

A ducted air conditioning system is similar to a split system, in that it is also made up of an indoor unit and an outdoor compressor. However, a ducted system uses ductwork through the house – placed either in the roof or under the floor – to distribute the air. Most parts of the ducted system are concealed from sight, with only the vents or air grilles visible inside the house.

Differences between Split Systems and Ducted Air Conditioning

There are a few key differences between split systems and ducted air conditioning systems, including:

Installation and costs

The installation of ducted air conditioning systems is quite an invasive and large project, and it is best done when constructing a new home or during major renovations. Due to the extensive ducting work involved, installation costs can be quite high. The unit price is also expensive, easily running into the tens of thousands of dollars. In addition, not all houses are suitable for ducted air conditioners – your house needs to have sufficient roof space for the internal unit, and the ceiling or under the floor needs to be spacious enough for the ductwork.

Split systems, on the other hand, have a relatively low upfront purchase (depending on unit capacity) and installation cost. It is also generally quite quick and easy to install split systems, with most licensed technicians able to finish the job within a day. Moreover, since split systems are individual units that cool a single room, you can choose to install room by room to spread the cost out.


When used in single rooms and smaller spaces, split systems work very well – they cool or heat faster, and it is easier to control the temperature and features than a ducted system. However, the cooling and heating capacity of a split system will be limited to only the rooms or space where the units are installed.

Ducted air conditioners are ideal to cover larger areas or to control the temperature in the entire house. It may sometimes take a while for ducted air conditioners to reach the target temperature, but it is a great option to ensure every room is evenly climate controlled.


As split systems are designed to cool or heat individual rooms, you can just turn on the units when you use the space or when you need them. This means the running cost would be cheaper than a ducted system, and also more efficient as you won’t need to run the air conditioner in areas you do not need.

With ducted air conditioning, you will need to pay for the unit to heat or cool the entire house even when you are only using a few rooms. In this way, ducted systems may not be as energy efficient, unless you have a zoning system.


Most split systems these days come with a wall mounted indoor unit, which means it will definitely be visible inside the house. However, many modern units, such as the LG split system range, are compact and stylish, designed to fit in or complement your room decor.

Ducted air conditioning systems, on the other hand, are not intrusive at all, and are almost unseen inside the home, with only the vents and grilles visible. For this reason, many would find it to be even more aesthetically pleasing, as it definitely goes with any decor.

So, is a split system or a ducted air conditioning better for a Melbourne home?

The best air conditioning system for your home really depends on your budget, your needs, your property, and your preference. Having said that, it is also very important to go with a system that would maximise energy efficiency, reduce costs, and add value to your home.
Contact Total Electrics & Air-Conditioning today and let us help you decide on the system that most suits you.