Portable AC Versus Min Ductless Unit: Which Is Better for Your Tiny Home

If you want to add an AC to your tiny home, you have a few different options. Two of the smallest and most convenient options you may want to consider, however, are portable ACs and ductless mini split systems. Here's a look at how these two types of systems measure up in different categories:

Power Consumption

If you opt for a mini ductless system, you will have to have a professional wire in the AC for you. In most cases, it needs special wiring and cannot be plugged into a conventional outlet. However, the exact voltage you need varies based on the size of the unit.

With a portable AC, in contrast, you can plug the unit into a standard outlet. If an electrician has wired your tiny home, you can simply plug in the AC. Similarly, if you are powering a tiny home with extension cords or a generator, you can easily connect your portable AC without adding special wiring.

Space Requirements

Neither portable air conditioners nor mini ductless units take up a lot of space, but they take up space in different areas. With a portable unit, you have to find room on the floor of your tiny home to place the unit, and you may also have to find a spot to store the unit during the off season.

Mini ductless units, in contrast, don't take up any of your home's floor space, but you need to find a spot on an upper wall where you have room to mount the unit. Additionally, you need space for a small condenser outside.


Portable ACs, as suggested by their names, are portable. You can unplug them and move them to a new place easily. If you plan to move your tiny home on a semi-regular basis, this may be the better option for you.

In contrast, mini ductless units are a bit harder to move. Ideally, you should not move a tiny home when a mini ductless unit is attached, as the wind may rip the condenser from the side of the home. However, you can remove mini ductless units with a bit of time and effort -- you have to remove the interior and exterior units and detach the hose running through the wall and connecting those two units.

Ultimately, both mini ductless units and portable ACs work great for tiny homes. However, you have to decide which one is right for you based on your space requirements, portability needs and access to an electrician for wiring. Contact an air conditioning service professional for more information.