Denver HVAC Contractor UniColorado
Short Guides Series
technician standing in front of a mini split heat pump, drawn by hand

Central AC vs Mini Split: Choosing The Right System

When it comes to cooling your home, selecting the right air conditioning system is crucial for both comfort and efficiency.

If you want the short answer to the question “Central AC vs Mini Split”, the simplified answer is that if you have duct work in your home, central AC is typically the easiest route to add whole house cooling. If you have no ductwork in your home, are looking to condition a specific area or move away from a boiler/radiant system, mini splits are likely the best choice for your home.

We will briefly look at the most important facts about Central air conditioning systems and mini split (or ductless) systems below:

Central Air Conditioning

a painting of metal duct work in a basement
Artistic interpretation of ductwork inside a basement


  • Whole-Home Cooling: Central air conditioning provides consistent cooling throughout your entire home wherever ducts are present, ensuring a comfortable environment in every room.
  • Air Filtration: Central systems include air filtration, helping to improve indoor air quality by removing allergens and pollutants.
  • Aesthetics: Central air conditioning systems are less visible than mini-splits, with only vents and a thermostat visible inside the home.


  • Ductwork Requirement: Central air conditioning systems require duct work systems in place; if your home doesn’t have duct work, it limits the prospects of adding a central air conditioning system. However, adding a new duct work system to a house is possible and we’ve completed many of these projects at UniColorado.
  • Less Energy Efficient: Central air conditioning systems can be less energy-efficient than ductless systems.
  • Air Returns: if your existing ductwork lacks multiple air returns inside the house, central air conditioning may struggle to keep up. This is especially true for two and three story houses in Colorado. Often, the top floors of homes built before the 2010s do not have enough air returns, which makes the top floor hotter than the rest of the house.

Best For:

  • Houses with duct-work: If you have an existing ductwork system inside the house, a forced-air system, a furnace or vents in your house, central air conditioning is likely the best path for you.
  • Whole house cooling: Central systems will cool wherever the ductwork system is present

Ductless (Mini-Split) Systems

a painting of a minisplit system inside a beautiful Colorado home
Artistic interpetation of a minisplit inside a Colorado home


  • Doesn’t Require Ductwork: Mini split systems are often installed in a ductless configuration, although ducted minisplit systems are also available.
  • Zoned Cooling: Mini-split systems allow for zoned cooling, providing individualized temperature control for different areas of your home.
  • Energy Efficiency: Ductless systems are generally more energy-efficient than central air conditioning systems, as they do not rely on ductwork, which can result in energy loss.


  • Aesthetics: Some homeowners may find the indoor units of ductless systems to be less visually appealing than the vents and thermostat of a central air conditioning system.
  • Limited Whole-Home Cooling: While mini-split systems can cool large open areas, they are typically installed for specific zones inside the home. Multi-zone systems typically come in a 2-5 zone capacity which can remediate this negative.

Best For:

  • Houses with no ductwork: Mini-split and ductless systems are best for houses that have no existing ductwork.
  • Specific area cooling: You can use minisplit systems to cool or heat specific areas such as a workshop or master bedroom for additional comfort.

UniColorado Heating & Cooling: Your Denver Air Conditioning Experts

Whether you choose central air conditioning or a ductless mini-split system, UniColorado Heating & Cooling is the best choice in the Denver area for expert installation and maintenance. Our skilled technicians are experienced in working with both types of systems, ensuring that your home remains comfortable and energy-efficient.

Painless and Fast Process

At UniColorado Heating & Cooling, we understand the importance of a smooth and efficient installation process. Our team works diligently to provide a stress free and fast experience, minimizing disruption to your home and daily routine.

Unmatched Expertise

Our technicians undergo extensive training and stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in air conditioning technology. When you choose UniColorado Heating & Cooling, you can trust that you are working with the most knowledgeable and skilled professionals in the industry.


Both central air conditioning and ductless mini-split systems have their pros and cons. The best choice for your home depends on factors such as your cooling needs, existing infrastructure, and personal preferences. UniColorado Heating & Cooling is your go-to expert for both types of systems in the Denver area, offering unmatched expertise and a painless, fast installation process.

Contact us today to discuss your air conditioning options and find the perfect solution for your home.


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