What’s the difference? Inverter vs Non-Inverter Air Conditioners.

NOVEMBER 11, 2021

5 1/2 min read
So you’re planning on getting a new AC. Excellent! You’ve probably already thought long and hard about it: you know your price range, the type of AC, where you plan to put it, maybe even the color!
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Inverter vs Non-Inverter Air Conditioners

Great! So inverter or non-inverter type?

If that question gave you pause—if you’ve ever wondered what the differences between them were—then you’re in luck! In this article, we’re going to break down the pros and cons of each one, and hopefully make it easier to decide which one to get for your home or office.

THE BIG DIFFERENCE

An important part of an AC’s anatomy is its compressor. This component, as its name suggests, compresses refrigerant gas into liquid form. Now in liquid form, the refrigerant begins to cool, which transforms the hot, warm, or lukewarm air it takes in into the cool, refreshing air you wanted.

In non-inverter ACs, the compressor has set operations and can only switch between being turned off and being switched to full power. In inverter ACs however, there is a controllable compressor unit that can vary its energy output as needed.

the big difference of inverter aircon vs non-inverter aircon

Even knowing that though, it may still seem a bit abstract as to how that makes either AC better than the other. Not to worry, as we’ll now take a look at more the tangible benefits and shortcomings of each kind of AC.

NON-INVERTER ACs

How It Works

When you set the thermostat on a non-inverter AC, that thermostat tells the compressor to either stop or start when it gets too cold or too warm. As a result, your AC turns off once it reaches the desired temperature and switches back on once the temperature shifts again.

how does non-inverter aircon work

With this kind of AC, there is no middle ground. It’s either on or off.

Pros

1. They’re affordable.

Non-inverter ACs can be considerably less costly than their inverter counterparts, being anywhere from 20-50% less expensive because they have fewer features! If you don’t plan to stay for an extended period in a location, like if you’re renting an apartment for only a year, or if you’re seeking a relatively lower entry cost, a non-inverter AC is certainly more accessible.

2. They work better in large rooms.

Since they already work either at full power or not at all, they offer great cooling for large rooms like living rooms or expansive office floors.

3. They’re easy to maintain.

ACs typically have both heating and cooling functions to suit the user’s preference, and unlike a inverter AC which tends to have a lot of complicated and interwoven pieces, a non-inverter AC doesn’t need to synchronize the heater and the manufacturer’s cooler. Additionally, their individual components are relatively simple, easy to maintain, and cheaper should you need to repair or replace parts. They’re also easier to install and transport, so if you need professional assistance, the service may also entail a lesser fee.

 

Cons

1. They’re noisy.

Because they turn on and off periodically, they can cause quite a bit of noise every time they rumble to life. While it may not matter to most people, it could bother people sleeping or working who are also sensitive to noise.

2. They have shorter lifespans.

Having to constantly switch between on and off speeds up the wear and tear on the system, meaning non-inverter ACs don’t last as long as inverter ACs.

3. They have the potential to cause hefty electricity bills.

It takes more energy to turn a machine on that it does to keep it on. Thus, the repeated on-off cycle of a non-inverter AC could cause your power bill to skyrocket if you don’t pay attention to your usage habits.

INVERTER ACs

How It Works

In simple terms, an inverter has the ability to control the incoming electrical current that goes to the compressor, so it can change the speed at which the compressor operates more precisely than the simple max-power-or-nothing style of a non-inverter AC.

how does inverter aircon work

This means an inverter AC doesn’t have to turn off. Instead, it can slow down its compressor’s speed once the AC reaches the desired temperature. The main takeaway from this is that inverter ACs save energy and can help you save on electricity costs in the long run.

 

Pros

1. They’re more energy efficient.

As just mentioned, the compressors of inverter ACs can function at variable speed settings and that allows the AC to stay in a lower-power mode without turning off completely. Staying on in a low-power setting is still more energy efficient than frequently turning on and off, so inverter ACs make great choices for offices and other places that keep the AC on for 8 or more hours at a time. Even if you don’t need to keep the AC on for that long, you can still enjoy the same energy efficiency.

2. They can cool rooms more quickly.

The ability to vary compressor speeds also allows inverter ACs to cool rooms more quickly, as it can adjust to fit the room’s temperature requirements.

3. They’re quieter.

Able to use less power overall and not needing to switch on constantly, you won’t get the same, frequent, loud start-up sounds non-inverter ACs are known for.

4. They’re more environmentally-friendly.

Maybe it would be more accurate to call them less environmentally-damaging, but the technology in inverter ACs allow them to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. Their compressors also use ozone-friendly refrigerants such as R410a and R32; refrigerants that renowned name-brands Panasonic and Daikin use for their own, newly-developed models.

 

Cons

1. They have a high entry cost.

From the get-go, inverter ACs definitely cost more than non-inverter ACs, especially with their extra features. However, the trade-off is the lower energy costs, which can pay off over time.

2. They cost a lot to repair.

Unlike non-inverter ACs, inverter ACs have a lot of complex, interconnected components that make it both difficult to find and install replacement parts. Sometimes, it might even be more cost-effective to replace your AC entirely if it gets damaged (and hopefully such an occurrence is covered by your warranty). Of course, since they require more technical expertise to repair or install, you’ll need professional HVAC technicians to do the job.

cost comparison of inverter aircon vs non inverter aircon

There are many reasons to go for one type of AC or the other, but both inverter and non-inverter AC models are popular around the world because at their core, they do what they’re supposed to do. That is, they keep you and your family (or your office) cool and comfy. With that in mind, you can make a more informed choice when it comes to picking your next AC.

Happy cooling!

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