Which is the best choice between multi split system vs ducted air conditioning, and how do these two options differ?

For those looking for a whole home solution for year-round indoor comfort, there are two popular choices available; multi room heat pumps / air conditioners or ducted systems. Both are packed full of features to keep your home cool during summer and warm in winter, but which one is right for you? This guide provides an overview of both systems and outlines the differences to help you decide which system better fits your home and needs.

Multi Systems vs Ducted Systems: Design

First, it helps to understand the fundamental design differences between a ducted vs multi split system. 

What is ducted air conditioning?

A ducted heat pump / air conditioning system is suitable for homes with plenty of ceiling or roof space, whether you’re building a new home or renovating. Ducted systems heat or cool the home using discreet grilles in the ceiling. Conditioned air is circulated via a network of ducts in your ceiling or sometimes floor cavity, with outlets in as many rooms as you wish. The indoor unit is concealed in your roof, offering quiet operation. 

What is multi system air conditioning?

A multi system is an alternative whole-home solution for where there isn’t enough roof or floor cavity space or easy access available for ducting. Multi systems cool or heat multiple rooms using just one compact outdoor unit for up to six indoor units. 

With a range of indoor units to choose from, including wall mounted, floor / ceiling consoles, cassette  and slim duct units, there is a solution to match the requirements of almost every home and room.


Next when comparing a multi vs ducted system is understanding how each system works to cool or heat a home.

A ducted heat pump / air conditioning system allows you to cool or heat multiple rooms, or the entire home using one system. For efficient operation, zones can be set up to help manage air flow to different areas of the home. These zones can be switched on or off as required. For example, the heat pump / air conditioning can be on in the living areas during the day, and in the bedrooms during the night. This feature allows you to maximise comfort and minimise energy wastage.

multi system is ideal when individual units are required in more than one room and when a traditional ducted system may not be suitable due to your home's design. Multi systems can cool or heat multiple rooms using just one compact outdoor unit. Because up to six indoor units can be connected to one outdoor unit, the temperature can be individually controlled to suit the comfort requirements of that specific space. 

In short, while the two systems work a little differently, both offer control over different spaces in your home.

Features and functionality

How do the two whole home solutions stack up when it comes to features and everyday functionality?

A Fujitsu General ducted heat pump / air conditioning system offers exceptional flexibility and energy efficiency through its inverter technology, programmable timers, and economy mode. All of this is operated using a simple, intuitive LCD back-lit controller for comfort customisation at the touch of a button. For those adding smart technology to their homes, the optional Fujitsu General anywAiR technology ducted controller provides Wi-Fi control for a select range of Fujitsu ducted heat pump / air conditioning systems. Settings can be adjusted via a wall mounted touchpad as well as the anywAiR app, which is compatible with selected smartphone and tablet devices. This new technology enables users to control their ducted heat pump / air conditioner remotely anytime, anywhere. 

With a multi system, each heat pump / air conditioning unit can be independently controlled via a remote control to help manage energy costs with power, temperature, air movement and timer operation all able to be programmed. Fujitsu General 5 and 6 head multi systems can be operated seamlessly via an optional large backlit LCD central controller to manage indoor comfort individually or simultaneously, just like a ducted system.

Home setting

The best choice of home air conditioning system can also depend on the size and layout of your home. 

Ducted heat pumps / air conditioners are ideal for large homes that have lots of rooms. While they can cost slightly more to install and maintain, they are very effective in heating and cooling large spaces and can be controlled from a central location. 

Multisystems are ideal for homes that have a few rooms that need to be cooled or heated. While they can be less effective for very large homes, they can cost less to install and maintain than a ducted option. They can also provide a more efficient and centralised solution than having a single room heat pump / air conditioner installed in each room.

How to get started

Getting the most out of your heat pump / air conditioner means finding a unit that matches the unique needs of your home and lifestyle. To find out more about heat pump / air conditioning options, you can contact Fujitsu General Assist on 04 568 8761 to speak to a member of our friendly customer service team.

Frequently Asked Questions about Multi Systems vs Ducted Systems

Which type of heat pump / air conditioner is better for my home?    

The choice of a multi split system vs ducted system for your home can come down to multiple factors. It’s worth considering the size and construction of your home, the rooms you plan to heat or cool, your power supply, your budget, and also your personal preference. 

The best first step in deciding between the two can be to speak with an Accredited Installer about your options.

Are there any differences in installation for a multi system vs ducted system?    

Multi system heat pumps / air conditioners can be simpler to install and retrofit in existing homes, while the installation for ducted systems can be slightly more involved depending on the home design. However, it’s a good idea to weigh up the different benefits of ducted air conditioning and multi systems when choosing between the two options to make the most suitable long-term choice.

Are ducted or multi systems more energy efficient?    

Both our ducted and multi system units are designed to be energy efficient. 

Specific energy efficiency for your home can depend on the units installed, the insulation in the home, the size and number of rooms that are heated or cooled and how the heat pump / air conditioning system is used over time amongst other factors. To determine the best choice for your home, you can get started by requesting a quote today from an accredited Fujitsu General stockist.