Difference between a Window and a Wall Air Conditioner

By: | Updated: Dec-12, 2017

Getting AC is no longer considered a whim or a luxury. With ever-increasing global temperatures, a well vented and cool living space falls into the comfortable and decent living conditions. This being said, how will you choose between a window or a wall air conditioner? This article will outline the differences between the two.

Summary Table

Window Air ConditionerWall Air Conditioner
Made up of one unitMade up of two units
Is placed on the windowsill; half inside, half outsideHas two units; one is placed inside and one is placed outside
Smaller capacityHigher capacity
You can install it yourselfYou need professional help installing it
No holes are requiredHoles are required to fix both devices onto the walls, and one hole must allow a tube to go through the wall and connect the two units
Is a temporary installationIs a long term installation
Better suited for a tenantBetter suited for a homeowner
Occupies window spaceOccupies wall space
Will have to be removed during winter monthsDoes not need to be removed during winter months
More affordableMore expensive


window air conditioner unit
A window air conditioner unit

A window air conditioner is a unit you place in your window to vent and cool the air in a room. The device is probably among the most affordable options on the market. It is easy to install as it is usually fixed in the window. You can do this by yourself, provided that you take the right measurements. Brackets are installed next to the unit for extra security and to seal the interior. As it takes up part of your window, the unit will block the natural sunlight from coming into the room.

Easy installation means that you can fix it and remove it by yourself. One important aspect to be aware of is the need to remove the air conditioner from the window during winter months. Therefore, you must handle it with care and find a space for it when not in use. If you do not have any extra storage space, this might be an inconvenience.

The window air conditioner is a wise investment for anyone who switches homes often and is on a budget (if the apartments he/she rents do not have such facilities).

wall air conditioner unit
A wall air conditioner unit

A wall air conditioner, or a split air conditioner, is a device with two units. One goes outside, while the other is installed inside the house. The one outside is placed on supportive brackets and it ensures the device’s natural air flow. The one inside is fixed to the wall and it comes with a tube you must connect to the outside unit. This makes installation more difficult. You will have to call in a specialist to make sure that everything is fixed onto the walls and functional, implying higher costs. It is not recommended that you do this yourself.

Also, considering the type of installation required, this is not an option for people renting out apartments and who do not have the right to make any changes. Not to mention the fact that, although the setting is not permanent, it is still not mobile. This means that you cannot and need not take it off the wall. The outside unit is designed to operate in whatever conditions it may be subject to, be it severe cold or extreme heat.

The device itself is fairly expensive, but the price depends on the type of cooling system it has. It is also more powerful and can successfully cool the air in a room, an open living room, and even in a wider open space.

Window vs Wall Air Conditioner

So what is the difference between a window and a wall air conditioner?

Both a wall and a window air conditioner are great cooling options. What you choose depends on your budget, the space you have, whether or not you can make changes in your living space, and, of course, your cooling needs.

The devices differ in how they look and in how they work. The window air conditioner consists of one unit placed half inside, half outside. The device itself filters and cools the air coming from outside. The wall air conditioner, however, is made of two separate units. One goes outside and one is placed indoors. Therefore, in the case of the window AC, the same device does all the work of cooling and distributing the air, whereas in the case of the wall AC two separate devices split the tasks. Implicitly, the wall air conditioner will have a better cooling capacity.

As far as installation goes, a window air conditioner is a good option for someone who needs to handle this alone. It must be placed on the window sill and it is fixed with side brackets. The wall air conditioner, on the other hand, requires professional installation. The outside unit must be fixed onto the exterior building wall. The inside unit needs fixing onto the interior wall and the two units must communicate through a tube. This requires hole drilling in all instances, plus the hole for the tube that needs to come out on the other side completely.

Judging from this type of installation, the window air conditioner requires no holes and it is not permanent. Also, a window AC installation process does not require a cover-up and a paint job once it is done. A wall AC might.

Wall air conditioners are more of a long-term installation. A person renting out an apartment could not afford to make the changes necessary for the wall AC. Therefore, the window AC is the tenant’s solution, while the wall AC is the home owner’s solution. The downside of the window AC is that it will eat up window space and you will have less natural light coming into the room.

The window AC is not built to last on the windowsill during winter. The device can get damaged and the window brackets used to fix the device are not a good insulation from the cold weather outside. The wall AC, on the other hand, is built to last and you will not have to move it. Additionally, taking the window AC down means you will have to find a place to store it until summer.

Overall, the window AC is a solid option and a more accessible one. The wall AC is more expensive but more powerful and its installation is something you need to worry about only once.

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