Which is Best for You? A Personal Air Conditioner or a Split System Aircon

One of the best parts of living in modern times is residential air conditioning – especially in Australia’s hot summer months. Once considered a luxury, home-cooling systems have now become an essential feature in many households. However, with so many different types of air conditioners on the market, having to choose a new one for your home can be a confusing time, as the possibilities may seem overwhelming. If you are unsure of what type of air conditioning system to purchase for your home, it’s best to consider your options first.

First, you need to consider the local climate. Evaporative cooling works well in warm weather with dry air. Ceiling fans can work well in mild humid conditions, common in tropical coastal climates, with indoor temperatures up to about 25-27 °C. In oppressive heat, especially with high humidity, you will probably need refrigerated cooling to provide comfort.

To help you come to an educated decision of which is right for your home and your wallet, we have done a comparison of two popular, yet vastly different refrigerated cooling options: A personal air conditioner and a traditional wall mounted, split system air conditioner.

Which is Best for You? A Personal Air Conditioner or a Split System Aircon

Most of us would readily recognise the almost ubiquitous “split” air conditioner with the white plastic indoor unit high on a wall and the noisy compressor unit located a few metres away outside the building.

The main differentiating factor between a conventional spit system aircon and a personal air conditioning unit is that personal aircons cool people, not rooms.

Large, power-hungry, wall-mounted air conditioners cool the entire room, including bricks and furniture, wasting energy. Even commercial inverter models rated at a modest 400 Watts can consume up to 1,200 Watts during the first 30-60 minutes it takes to cool the room to a comfortable temperature. Nearly all the cooling power, typically more than 95%, is used to extract heat already in the structure, and more entering through the walls, floor, ceilings and air leaks around doors, light fittings and windows. That’s an hour of the highest energy consumption before you even enjoy the comfort!

Personal air conditioners, on the other hand, provide instant cooling and are much more energy efficient. Close Comfort’s cutting-edge PC9+ unit is a localised air conditioner designed to provide cooling only for part of a much larger space. Localised cooling units only cool the space where needed, which means the least energy is wasted.

How Close Comfort Personal Air Conditioners Work

Close Comfort’s state-of-the-art personal cooling unit uses special patented technology to focus a stream of cool air around you, creating your very own cool personal micro-climate. Using only 300 Watts, equivalent to three or four conventional light bulbs, Close Comfort’s small personal air conditioner saves up to 75% electricity.

The Close Comfort personal air conditioner has specially designed super-quiet centrifugal fans that push refrigerated air through a curved air deflector at the top, creating a focused air flow jet that cools you up to 1.5-2 metres away. With the Cool Focus Enhancer, the effective cooling range doubles to about 3 metres. If you’re sitting next to a friend or two on a sofa, the airflow is just wide enough to share the cooling effect.And after some time, the area around you and Close Comfort will be a few degrees cooler than the rest of the room.

A Personal Cooling Unit Allows Fresh Air to Enter Your Home

Another big difference between a split system aircon and a personal air conditioning unit is the air quality. Conventional indoor units cannot provide a stream of fresh air from the outside, since they rely on the area being sealed to work efficiently. Eventually, gasses such as CO2, methane, other human emissions, and volatile organic vapours seeping out from plastics or adhesives gradually accumulate. The more airtight the room (to conserve energy), the higher the CO2 concentration which slows your thinking and makes you feel drowsy.

Close Comfort personal air conditioners are designed to function efficiently even with windows open, which means a constant stream of fresh air enters your home. In fact, these units can even be used outdoors in sheltered places where the wind is not blowing.

The Benefits of a Close Comfort Personal Air Conditioner

  • Extremely energy efficient – uses only 300 Watts and saves 75% electricity compared to standard air conditioning units, meaning no electricity bill nightmares in summer
  • Portable – has four wheels to move it around easily throughout the day to supply cooling where you need it
  • Provides instant cooling – no waiting for the room to get to an ideal temperature
  • Lightweight and compact – only weighs 17 kg and stands 55 cm tall
  • No household pollution – can be used with the windows open to let fresh air circulate
  • Can be used outdoors – the stream of cool air provides comfort anywhere, such as patios, verandas, caravan annexes or tents
  • No installation required – simply plug it in and enjoy an instant cooling effect
  • Blends in seamlessly – no unsightly pipes or drains that go out the window
  • No costly servicing – cheap and easy to maintain
  • Environmentally friendly – a sustainable, energy-efficient choice for a warming world
  • Quiet operation – ideal to cool you while sleeping
  • Offers the best of both – combines the portability of a pedestal fan with the cooling sensation of a fixed air conditioner
  • Does not dry out the air – the unit collects water vapour condensed from the air and recirculates it in the room
  • Can be operated on solar power – a small solar panel provides enough daytime power, and rechargeable batteries help reduce power demand at night

The Benefits of a Wall Mounted Air Conditioner

  • Provides cooling everywhere in room
  • Does not take away floor space
  • Reverse cycle units can also heat and can therefore be used in all seasons
  • People can be anywhere in the room and feel comfortable
  • Can be extremely quiet on low fan speed settings

Disadvantages of a Wall Mounted Air Conditioner

  • Only works in one room of your home
  • Becomes a fixture once installed, it cannot be moved or taken with you if you move to another home
  • Needs time to cool the room to a comfortable level in hot weather
  • Power-hungry machines, higher electricity bills
  • Building should have high quality insulation and preferably double glazed windows
  • Has to be used with doors and windows closed – gasses such as CO2 build up
  • Needs to be installed by a qualified technician
  • Needs regular, costly maintenance
  • Slowly dries the air, which can cause itchy or sore eyes or skin rashes
  • Have a large quantity of refrigerant which slowly leaks through the screwed joints – a major contributor to global warming
  • Needs a large and very expensive battery to be able to use solar electricity in evening and at night

How To Know If A Personal Air Conditioner Is Right For You

A personal air conditioner is ideal to create a cool, comfortable micro-climate in a room for one or up to two people, in a bed or sitting together on a couch, for example.

A Personal Portable Air Conditioner is the Perfect Choice if you:

  • Live alone or have a small family
  • Prefer to avoid expensive electricity bills
  • Need a convenient, portable solution you can take with you anywhere
  • Live in an established home which was not designed for energy-efficient air conditioning
  • Are renting, and need a cooling solution to take with you when moving on
  • Prefer fresh air with open doors and windows
  • Prefer controlling your own climate rather than accepting others’ temperature settings – including in an office environment where personal control is limited
  • Work late in an office or building where air conditioning is turned off after hours
  • Don’t want an expensive unit with high installation and maintenance costs
  • Prefer personal cooling, rather than cooling an entire room
  • Prefer a more cost-effective cooling solution
  • Prefer an environmentally friendly cooling solution

A personal air conditioner is not much help for cooling a crowd. If you entertain in hot and humid weather, think of installing a split air conditioner in your entertainment room, and using your personal air conditioner at other times.

Whether you prefer a more heavy-duty home cooling system suited to a larger space or a small personal air conditioner, there is a unit that is right for your home and your wallet.

If energy consumption, sustainability, hygiene, affordability and convenience are important to you when it comes to keeping cool and comfortable, Close Comfort’s Cool Focus and Easy Focus are a great choice as it’s the only personal air conditioner that provides refrigerated cooling.