Are you sweltering through another scorcher of summer or shivering through a surprisingly nippy winter? 

Choosing the right air conditioning system could be your ticket to year-round comfort.

In the world of cooling and heating, two champions reign supreme:

  • Ducted air conditioners
  • Split system air conditioners

But what’s the difference between these two, and how do they stack up against each other?

In this article, we’ll answer those questions by covering:

  • The pros and cons of both ducted and split systems
  • A deep dive comparison of ducted and split systems
  • Tips on how to choose the right A/C system for you

In short, ducted air conditioning is the big kahuna of climate control.

This system involves a central unit connected by a network of ducts hidden in your home’s walls or ceiling, delivering cool or warm air to multiple rooms simultaneously.

On the flip side, split systems are more like the trusty mate you can count on in individual rooms with an indoor unit that blows cool or warm air into the room and an outdoor unit that expels the heat.

Whether you’re renovating your home, building a new one, or just looking to upgrade your current system, this guide will arm you with the knowledge to make an informed decision.

Let’s get right into it.


  • For Large Homes or New Builds: If you’re building a new home or have a large space with multiple rooms, ducted system offers a seamless and comprehensive solution.
  • For Single Rooms or Small Apartments: Split systems are ideal for targeting specific areas, offering flexibility and cost-effectiveness, especially in smaller homes or apartments.
  • Consider Your Budget: Ducted systems are a bigger investment upfront, but they can pay off in the long run, especially in larger homes. Split systems offer a more economical option for smaller spaces or where individual room control is needed.
  • Aesthetic Preferences: If interior design is a priority, the discrete nature of ducted systems might be more appealing than the more visible split systems.

Ducted vs. Split Air Conditioning

Ducted Air Conditioning


  • Uniform Comfort: Ducted systems excel in providing consistent temperature across multiple rooms, ideal for larger homes.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: With only discreet vents visible, they maintain your home’s aesthetics without the bulkiness of visible units.
  • Zoning Capabilities: Many ducted systems allow zoning – controlling temperatures in different areas of your home independently.
  • Increased Property Value: Homes with ducted systems often have a higher resale value, seen as a premium feature.


  • Higher Initial Cost: Installing a ducted system is a significant investment, particularly in homes without existing ductwork.
  • Energy Consumption: If not properly zoned or used in a large house, they can be less energy-efficient, leading to higher power bills.
  • Requires Professional InstallationComplex installation means you’ll need a skilled technician, adding to the overall cost.
  • Not Ideal for Small Spaces: For smaller homes or apartments, the comprehensive nature of ducted systems may be overkill.

Split System Air Conditioning


  • Cost-Effective Installation: Split systems are generally cheaper and easier to install compared to ducted systems.
  • Energy Efficiency: They can be more energy-efficient, especially when cooling or heating individual rooms as needed.
  • Flexibility: Perfect for smaller homes or single rooms, and you can add more units as required.
  • User Control: Each unit can be controlled independently, allowing for different temperatures in each room.


  • Aesthetic Disruption: The indoor and outdoor units are more visible, which might not blend seamlessly with your home’s decor.
  • Limited Range: They might not be as effective in uniformly cooling or heating large, open-plan homes.
  • Multiple Units Required for Larger Homes: To condition multiple rooms, you’ll need several units, which can add up in costs and maintenance.
  • Potential for Uneven Temperature Distribution: In larger rooms, you might experience hot or cold spots far from the unit.

Weighing Up Your Options

When it comes to choosing between ducted vs. split systems for your Sydney home, several key factors can influence your decision.

Let’s break those down:


  • Ducted Systems: Efficient in uniformly cooling or heating large spaces, but their efficiency can drop if the house is not well-insulated or the system is not properly zoned.
  • Split Systems: Generally, more efficient for smaller spaces or when you need to cool or heat one room at a time. Their efficiency can be maximised by selecting the right size for each room.


  • Ducted Systems: These come with a higher upfront cost, both for the system and installation. However, they can be a cost-effective solution for large homes requiring uniform cooling or heating throughout.
  • Split Systems: More budget-friendly both in terms of initial purchase and installation. But, equipping a large home with multiple split systems can eventually add up.

Durability and Lifespan

  • Ducted Systems: With proper maintenance, these systems can last up to 15-20 years. Their durability often justifies the initial investment.
  • Split Systems: Typically have a slightly shorter lifespan, averaging around 10-15 years. However, individual units can be more easily replaced if needed.


  • Ducted Systems: Known for their discreet presence, they blend seamlessly into your home’s design, with only the vents visible.
  • Split Systems: More visible, with indoor units mounted on walls. Their designs have become more sleek and modern, but they still require consideration in your interior design.

Environmental Impact

  • Ducted Systems: Can have a larger carbon footprint due to their size and potential for higher energy consumption, particularly if not used efficiently.
  • Split Systems: Often seen as more environmentally friendly, especially newer models with inverter technology that adjusts power usage based on need.

Additional Factors

  • Adaptability: Split systems offer more flexibility for future changes. If you renovate or extend your home, it’s easier to add or reposition a split system than to modify ducted systems.
  • Noise Levels: Generally, ducted systems are quieter than split systems, as the main unit is installed outside or in the roof space.
  • Maintenance Needs: Both systems require regular cleaning and servicing. Ducted systems, due to their complexity, might need more professional maintenance.

Remember, the best choice depends on your home’s size, design, and your personal preferences. Stay cool, Sydney!

How to Choose the Right A/C for Your Space

When it comes to picking the perfect AC system for your Sydney home or office, it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario.

The choice between ducted and split systems largely depends on your specific situation, including the type of building, room sizes, and your individual cooling and heating needs.

Ducted Air Conditioning is Ideal For…

  • New Construction or Major Renovations: If you’re building a new home or undertaking significant renovations, installing a ducted system is more feasible. It’s easier to integrate the ductwork into the building’s structure from the get-go.
  • Large Homes with Multiple Rooms: Ducted systems are a winner for larger homes where consistent temperature control in multiple rooms is desired. Their ability to zone areas means you can heat or cool different parts of the house as needed.
  • Aesthetic Considerations: If you prefer a less obtrusive look, ducted system, with only vents visible, maintains the aesthetic integrity of your home.

Split Systems are Ideal For…

  • Individual Rooms or Small Apartments: Split systems are great for targeting specific areas or rooms. They’re an excellent choice for smaller homes or apartments where installing ductwork might be impractical or too invasive.
  • Retrofitting in Existing Buildings: If you’re looking to add air conditioning to an existing property without major renovations, split systems are the way to go. They require minimal structural changes and can be installed relatively easily.
  • Budget-Friendly Option: For those conscious of upfront costs, split systems are generally cheaper to purchase and install than ducted systems.
  • Flexibility in Expansion: If you anticipate needing to cool or heat more rooms in the future, you can add additional split systems as required.

When deciding between ducted and split systems, consider:

  • Size and Layout of Your Property: Larger homes with multiple rooms may benefit more from a ducted system, while smaller spaces or single rooms are ideal for split systems.
  • Budget Constraints: Assess both the initial installation cost and the long-term running costs.
  • Aesthetic Preferences: Consider how the presence of indoor units (split systems) or vents (ducted systems) will fit into your home’s design.
  • Future Needs: Think about whether your cooling and heating needs might change in the future, and choose a system that can adapt to those changes.

By evaluating your space, budget, and personal preferences, you can select a system that not only keeps you comfortable but also complements your lifestyle and home.

The Final Verdict: Ducted vs Split Air Conditioning

Here’s a quick recap of the main differences, pros, and cons to help you make an informed decision.

Ducted Air Conditioning

  • Pros: Offers consistent cooling/heating across multiple rooms, is aesthetically pleasing with minimal visual impact, zoning capabilities, and can increase property value.
  • Cons: Higher initial cost, potentially higher energy consumption, complex installation, and not ideal for small spaces.

Split Systems

  • Pros: More budget-friendly, energy-efficient for single rooms, adaptable for different room sizes, and individual room control.
  • Cons: Visible units may impact aesthetics, limited effectiveness in large open-plan spaces, potential for multiple units in larger homes, and have uneven temperature distribution in larger rooms.

If you’re building a new home or have a large space with multiple rooms, a ducted system offers a seamless and comprehensive solution.

Split systems are ideal for targeting specific areas, offering flexibility and cost-effectiveness, especially in smaller homes or apartments.

Whether you opt for a ducted or split system, your choice should align with your specific needs, property size, budget, and aesthetic preferences.

Remember, the best AC system is the one that fits seamlessly into your lifestyle, keeping you comfortable all year round.

If you want to learn more, check out our other resources:

Take the Next Step with HunterCON

Whether you’re leaning towards the sleek uniformity of a ducted system or the targeted convenience of a split system, the professional team at HunterCON Electrical and Air is ready to assist you.

We offer:

  • Personalised Advice: Every home is unique, and so are your cooling needs. Get tailored advice that considers your specific situation.
  • Obligation-Free Quotes: Find out exactly what it’ll cost you, with no hidden surprises.
  • Expert Installation: With a team of skilled technicians, you can rest assured that your new AC system will be installed seamlessly and efficiently.

Claim your 100% obligation-free quote online today.