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Ductless Systems or Portable Heaters: Which Makes More Sense?

Monday, November 18, 2013

If you're considering how to heat a small space this winter or want to supplement heat in a specific room in your home, you've probably thought about ductless systems and portable heaters. Both can save energy when compared to running a furnace or central heat full blast, but which is better?

Portable Heaters

Portable heaters are stand-alone units that are exactly what their name sounds like. They are small units that plug into the wall and heat the surrounding area by either blowing warm air or acting as a portable radiator.


  • No installation
  • Easy to move around
  • Easy to control temperature in an individual room
  • Low purchase price


  • Potential fire hazard if tipped over by children or pets
  • Potential tripping hazard
  • Need to be placed away from walls, so don't blend in

Ductless Systems

Ductless systems are a cross between central air conditioners and window units. They operate with an indoor unit in each room, eliminating the need for ducts, but also have a separate outdoor unit that is connected to one or more indoor units via a small hole in the wall instead of taking up an entire window.


  • Easy installation
  • Not obtrusive — hangs on the wall or installed on the floor along the wall
  • Each room or zone runs independently — the entire house doesn't need to be on for them to run
  • Most units are heat pumps, which also provide cooling in the summer


  • Made to be permanent, so higher installation cost
  • Can't be moved from room to room

Which System to Choose

Unless you're looking to heat an office that has a convenient hard surface to place a portable heater on and don't mind the looks or want a unit that can be carried around, perhaps for a person who is very sensitive to the cold, ductless systems probably make more sense. Although initially more costly, they will improve the value of your home and make it more comfortable year round.

For more information on why ductless systems make more sense than portable heaters, contact a Mitsubishi Electric contractor today.

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