6 Different Types of Air Conditioners

Last Updated on December 11, 2021

types of air conditionersThere are numerous types of air conditioners to choose from. Each type has strengths and weaknesses, and they can vary substantially when it comes to price.

In this article, we have taken the liberty of highlighting the options you are most likely to encounter on your search for the right AC. We have also highlighted what they do well, and what they struggle with, all with the hope of helping you find the perfect unit for your needs.

Read on for a guide to the different air conditioners.

1. Window Units

window unit

Window Aircon Unit       Credit: Artic King, Amazon

Window ACs are smaller units that access the room via a window. These tend to be a more affordable way to cool a single room, but they don’t do so well when it comes to larger spaces.

They are great for dorms, apartments, or bedrooms, but they are virtually useless in larger homes.

2. Central Cooling

central cooling airconditioner

Central Cooling Airconditioner, Credit: Goodman, Amazon

Central cooling is a large-scale system that treats your entire home. They feed cold air into your home via a series of grating and ducts that make it effortless to treat the entire house simultaneously.

However, choosing a central cooling system is a very serious decision. Even more affordable options tend to cost thousands of dollars, and they can be very costly to run.

You can curb the cost somewhat by investing in an energy-efficient system but no matter what you are going to wind up spending a pretty penny.

3. Ductless

Ductless Airocon

Ductless Aircon Unit    Credit: Klimaire, Amazon

Ductless systems operate in much the same ways as a central cooling system, except that they forgo the ducts. You still have the air compressor located outside, but the cool air is instead dispersed via wall panels.

The system is considerably more conspicuous than central cooling, but it is a good way to retrofit an old-school house that is not naturally equipped for a modern HVAC system.

4. Portable

SereneLife SLACHT108

Portable Aircon     Credit: Amazon

Portable air conditioners are very similar to window units. They are sized perfectly for cooling small rooms, and they are significantly more affordable than central cooling systems.

The only real difference is that the portable system features a much quicker installation so that you can move it from place to place easily. Many of them simply plug into a wall outlet, ostensibly making them as easy to use as a fan.

5. Hybrid

Air conditioners are notorious for their fossil fuel consumption. Gas-powered systems are expensive and bad for mother earth. Hybrid style systems offer a sustainable alternative to this old system of operation.

Hybrid systems do still make use of fossil fuels but they also alternate with electricity to make the unit more sustainable.

6. Geothermal

Geothermal cooling systems pull heat from the ground rather than the air, chilling it through the coolant system, and distributing it throughout your house via ducts.

Geothermal systems are great because they are energy efficient and they tend to pay for themselves over long periods. And since the energy source is natural, your home winds up using substantially less fossil fuels. However, the sticker price is usually very high.


Air conditioners are one of the most expensive things you can put in your home. It helps to go into the process with a robust understanding of all your options. All six of the cooling options highlighted here are great at what they do.

Hopefully, you now feel better equipped to choose the right one for you.