Skip to content

PTAC vs Mini Split: Which is Right for You?

If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, you’ve probably conducted some research on the various types of AC units. Two popular options you may have stumbled upon are PTAC units and mini split systems.

Since air conditioning systems represent a considerable expense and long-term investment, it’s important to understand the key features and differences between a PTAC and a mini split system. In this guide, we discuss the pros and cons of both PTAC and mini split air conditioners to help you decide which one is right for you.


Image of Amana PTH153G35AXXX air conditioner.
The Amana PTH153G35AXXX PTAC air conditioner.

Packaged terminal air conditioners, better known as PTACs, are air conditioners that are installed through the wall to control the temperature in an individual room. These inexpensive units are commonly seen in hotel rooms, hospital rooms, dorms, and assisted living facilities. Their easy-to-install design also makes them a popular solution for sunrooms. All PTAC units also come with heating capabilities for year-round comfort.

While PTAC units are a great solution for an individual room, they are not ideal for whole-home comfort. Another downside is that they are not as efficient or as quiet as other home cooling options.


  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to install
  • Sealed system that requires little maintenance
  • Good single-room solution
  • Easy to replace if ever needed


  • Can be loud
  • Not very energy efficient
  • Not practical for a whole house
  • Requires large hole in the wall

Mini split

Image of LG LA180HYV1 mini split air conditioner
The LG LA180HYV1 mini split air conditioner.

A mini split system is an air conditioning system that consists of two components: an outdoor unit and one or more indoor units. Mini split systems can be used to cool just one singular room or area, as well as entire homes. This makes the mini split a more flexible option, allowing you to cool as few or as many rooms as you want. They come in different types based on the installation area, including ceiling, wall, and floor standing models.

Mini split systems are by far the most efficient type of air conditioning system according to the US Department of Energy. The downside is that they are more expensive to purchase and install, but you’re likely to recoup the initial investment over the long term.


  • Quiet
  • Energy efficient
  • Many options for multi-room
  • Stylish choices
  • Requires only small hole for line set to pass through


To learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of mini splits, check out our related entry: Pros and Cons of Mini Split Systems.

PTAC vs Mini Split: Efficiency

When it comes to cooling, a mini split is more efficient than a PTAC unit. The most efficient PTAC models have an energy efficiency ratio (EER) of around 12, while the equivalent mini split units surpass 15 EER. This results in as much as 30% utility savings with the mini split.

For heating however, the difference is less dramatic. Both PTACs and mini splits with heat pumps have coefficient of performance (COP) above 3.

PTAC vs Mini Split Comparison

ptac vs mini split comparison

PTAC vs Mini Split: Which One is Better?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for every home. Whether you decide to go with a PTAC unit or a mini split system depends on your specific needs. If you’re aiming to cool an entire home, a multi zone mini split system is your best bet. However, if you’re shooting for cooling a singular room, you can go with either a single zone mini split or a PTAC. It really boils down to your own personal preference and needs.

If you’re in the market for a new mini split system, be sure to check out our Multi Zone Mini Split Guide. There, you’ll find in-depth information on everything from sizing a mini split system to making your purchase.

If you prefer a PTAC unit, our PTAC Buying Guide can help you navigate the nuances of PTAC units, including sizing, electrical requirements, and installation information.

Once you’re ready to make your purchase, head over to to browse our mini splits and PTAC units. We offer free shipping on all orders to the contiguous United States to help you save money on your new air conditioner.

Mickey Luongo

Mickey is the resident heating and air conditioning expert with over 15 years of experience in the industry.

2 thoughts on “PTAC vs Mini Split: Which is Right for You?”

  1. Duncan L Honig says:

    Does anyone make a good ptac that will fit a 36″ r/o? Basically need about 7k btu for 22 sf room. Would rather cut an opening than have multiple components. Is there any reason ptacs can’t be as efficient as mini-splits?

    1. Mickey Luongo says:

      PTAC units are not available in a 36″ rough opening. They are 42″ wide by 16″ tall. PTAC units are generally not inverter driven units, with some exceptions. Mini splits will almost always be more efficient.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *