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Inverter AC vs Non-Inverter AC – Which One Should You Choose? (2020)

Air conditioning system is no longer a luxury.

Be it sweltering summers or shivering winters, Air Conditioners  have  become more or less a necessity for our homes to ensure comfort throughout the year.

However, when it comes to choosing the right AC system for your home, you may get spoilt by choices.

From centralised air conditioning systems to ductless units, there are various terminologies one should understand to find a fitting choice. 

Also, there are various parameters such as the size of the space, the heat generated in the room, etc. to be considered while you choose the most suitable air conditioning system for a room.

Among the parameters, energy efficiency is becoming more prominent now. 

inverter vs noninverter

The days of regular speed or the fixed speed ACs are almost gone . How many people opt for inverter ACs which come with automated power adjustment technology? The advent of inverter ACs have  been widely supported by authorities, given its energy-saving benefits.

If you are confused about choosing between an inverter AC and a non-inverter one, here is your read. We have listed out the advantages and disadvantages of both, and the factors to be considered while you choose the right one.

How does a normal air conditioning system work?  

Before you dive into the definition of an inverter AC, it is important to understand how the regular air conditioning system works. As we all know, the air conditioner lets in cool air at a temperature we set. It takes the indoor air and cools it through evaporation. The cooled air is then directed back to the room.

The system includes three basic components - compressor, condenser, and evaporator. The function of each unit is described below.

  • Compressor –  The refrigerant gets circulated between  condenser and evaporator because of the compressor .
  • Condenser – As the name says it, the condenser condenses the refrigerant which is directed to it by the compressor. It works as a heat exchanger coil. The condenser units are normally located in the outside unit of the air conditioning system.
  • Evaporator – It is the part in the AC system where the refrigerant absorbs heat and converts it into cool air. As a result, the air inside the room becomes cool. In a central air conditioning system, the evaporator coils are located in the furnace air ducts whereas it is fixed on the room side of a window unit.   

What is inverter AC? 

As you know, an inverter is a device that allows the variable frequency of power supply for appliances. The same principle is used in inverter technology to control the speed of the motor revolution in order to reduce energy consumption.  Basically, inverter technology is built on energy-saving principles.

It is widely used in home appliances now in order to control voltage and save energy. In the HVAC industry, inverter air conditioning systems have been a recent addition. Since its introduction, it has been well-received in the market due to its environmental-friendly approach.

Let us explore how inverter AC works in simple terms.

In an inverter AC, the compressor stays on during the full duration of the operation and runs at different speeds. Unlike the non-inverter types, there are no on-off cycles happening in an air conditioning system with an in-built inverter.

Instead, the compressor starts at an increased RPM (Revolutions per Minute) until it reaches the required temperature. Then it lowers RPM and continues to operate by using less power to maintain the temperature. When the room temperature becomes higher than the set temperature, the RPM is increased again automatically.

Thus the temperature is maintained as required while using less energy for its operation. 

An inverter air conditioning system operates by using a variable-frequency drive to maintain the speed of the motor and thereby the compressor. The inverter by regulating the momentum of the compressor motor continuously maintains the temperature.

The compressor speed adapts itself to the heating or cooling requirements of the room.

For the ease of understanding how an inverter AC works, you can compare it with the accelerator in a car. When the compressor needs extra power, the inverter gives more power and vice versa.

What is a non-inverter AC?

Non-inverter ACs have been widely used in buildings before the advent of inverter technology in AC systems. It is also referred to as fixed speed air conditioning systems. It uses fixed power and fixed speed which is in contrast with the working mode of inverter AC systems. 

In a conventional air conditioning system, when the compressor is switched on it starts working on its full potential, consuming more energy and stops automatically when the temperature level that has been set is reached by the thermostat.  Instead of the compressor, the fan in the AC starts operating.

Thus the compressor can be in, on or off mode while the AC is switched on. If you change the temperature level, the compressor starts to work again from scratch. It stops and starts multiple times and this cycle continues till the air conditioning unit is turned off.

Thus the non-inverter AC works with a fixed heating/cooling capacity.

Video: Inverter vs Non-Inverter AC

How is inverter AC different from non-inverter AC? 

Although the functions of inverter AC and non-inverter AC are the same, the major difference lies in the compressor technology. There are two types of compressors possible in an AC unit – fixed speed compressor and inverter compressor or variable speed compressor.

While a non-inverter AC uses a fixed speed compressor, an inverter AC uses a variable speed compressor in which the speed of the compressor can be adjusted to maintain a consistent temperature. Let us consider how inverter ACs and non-inverter ACs differ in various aspects.


On the technology used

The inverter AC system uses inverter technology while non-inverter AC uses conventional technology. The inverter controls the power supply frequency of the compressor motor and thus regulates the heating or cooling capacity of the unit.

Thus the variable speed compressor controls the temperature and can provide the right amount of cooling or heating that is needed in the room. While the non-inverter AC cycles between on and off states, the modern inverter ACs are always on. 

On its mode of operation

When the AC switch is turned on, the compressor in the inverter air conditioner runs at its full capacity. It adjusts the compressor speed and thus regulates the temperature as required. Whereas, non-inverter air conditioners stop the compressor when the desired room temperature is reached.

It restarts again when the room temperature rises.

On energy consumption

Although the compressor is always on, the power utilized by it depends upon the temperature of the incoming air or the level that is marked in the thermostat. There is a sensor inside the unit that can adjust the power consumption depending on the room temperature.

Thus, it is more energy-efficient, unlike the non-inverter air conditioning units in which the compressor goes through repeated on-off processes leading to higher power consumption.

On efficiency and comfort

With inverter AC technology, you can be ensured of moderate temperature throughout the duration when the system is switched on. As it does not switch between on and off modes, the operation will be quieter compared to the non-inverter ones.

The compressor turns on and off multiple times in a non-inverter unit and subsequently creates a lot of noise. Moreover, the cooling is even in the inverter AC system leading to better comfort in the room. But in non-inverter units, the compressor is switched off until there is a temperature increase in the room.  

It is less efficient when it comes to operations.

In terms of cost and durability

When you compare different AC systems, inverter-based units are an expensive option but a long-term investment. Less maintenance, low power usage, and better performance are added benefits of choosing inverter AC units. Moreover, the inverter AC unit works at a maintained speed and it does not have to work hard.

As a result, there is less wear and tear for the machine leading to an increased life span. However, the non-inverter units have less lifespan because of the on-off frequency.

Advantages of Choosing Inverter AC

The inverter AC technology comes in with a lot of advantages for the user as well as nature. There has been a sharp rise in the demand for inverter-based air conditioning systems over its non-inverter counterparts in recent years.

While low energy bills are the top reason for homeowners to opt for inverter AC, the government pushes it for the benefit of nature. Listed below are the various reasons behind the increasing demand for inverter-based air conditioning systems over non-inverter ones.

  • Higher efficiency – As mentioned above, there are no start-stop cycles in an AC unit that works with inverter technology. Therefore it can work with enhanced efficiency throughout. While it does not consume full power, it can regulate the temperature as desired. Even if there are frequent power outages, inverter ACs help to save energy and will cause less inconvenience for the user.  
  • Cost-effectiveness – If you are worried over energy bills, then switching to an air conditioning system with in-built inverter helps. Owing to its mode of operation in which the compressor works with less power, the power consumption is comparatively lower. It can save around 20-40% of energy when compared with traditional AC units without an inverter. Thus you can avoid shocking electricity bills. Moreover, it requires less maintenance. Although the cost of installation is higher, you can save money on maintenance in this type. It is cheaper to operate an inverter AC in all climatic conditions. And it works with solar panels as well.
  • Quick cooling – In an inverter air conditioning system, it can pull the required current automatically to increase the heating or cooling capability of the room. As a result, you can expert quick cooling of the room while a non-inverter one takes a few more minutes to achieve the desired room temperature. Quick response to cooling or heating needs is one of the major advantages of using inverter ACs. Some modern AC systems come with the capability to automatically calculate the temperature difference and adjust to the desired level.
  • No voltage fluctuations – Unlike the traditional AC systems, the inverter units do not put extra power load on the supply. There will be no voltage or power fluctuations caused by AC units if you prefer a built-in inverter as it adjusts automatically. There is no peak power requirement in inverter ACs.  Also, there is no risk of voltage fluctuations on the compressor. There is a reduced risk of electromagnetic interference with other equipment as well.
  • Environment-friendly – Another reason to choose inverter AC units is that it comes with energy-efficient technology putting less stress on the environment. Most of the manufacturers use refrigerant R410a in inverter ACs which is considered to be ozone-friendly. It consists of Hydro-Fluoro Carbons. R410a is a better heat absorbent which adds to the efficiency of the unit. It also reduces the risk of overheating and any sudden breakdowns in the unit. The common refrigerant in traditional systems is R22. It contains Hydro-Chloro-Fluoro Carbons which contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer.
  • Silent operation – The constant murmuring sound of traditional AC systems have been one of its biggest drawbacks. It gets resolved with modern inverter air conditioning systems. The operation is silent – be it the outdoor unit or the indoor unit. There is no sudden jerk up sound when you switch on the system. It starts silently and operates in a quieter way through the duration.
  • Stable cooling – You will hardly notice a change in the temperature or operations if it is an inverter AC system while it is switched on. Since the AC does not get turned off, the temperature is maintained more accurately. Hence you can aim for stable cooling and steady temperature throughout with the inverter AC. There are no sudden ups or downs in the temperature level.
  • Quick maintenance – Generally, inverter ACs do not require special maintenance. You can clean the filters and ducts once in a while to improve the efficiency and reduce the dirt and allergens.

Disadvantages of Inverter AC

Although there are numerous advantages of using an inverter AC, it comes with a few cons as well. Here are a few reasons why people prefer non-inverter ACs to inverter ones.

  • Upfront cost – The major disadvantage comes from the financial part as inverter ACs incurs higher upfront costs. When compared with other AC systems, ACs with built-in inverters fall into the high-priced category.
  • Higher maintenance cost – There is a reduced risk of system failure or maintenance in inverter ACs compared to other models. However, the cost of repair and maintenance is relatively higher in inverter air conditioning units. The maintenance and service support is on a higher end. You will need skilled technicians and the cost will be higher accordingly.
  • Costly components – Inverter ACs come with costly components hence replacement of the same can be an expensive affair. The refrigerant used in inverter systems are costlier compared with other types and replacement of refrigerant is necessary if it becomes low.    
  • Insulation – Inverter ACs are used in split AC systems mostly. If the room is not properly insulated, it can contribute to higher power consumption. Subsequently, the power bills may shoot up.

Finally, inverter AC vs. non-inverter AC – Which is best for you? 

In order to make an informed decision on air conditioning systems, you should consider various factors ranging from the manufacturer’s reputation to the maximum temperature of your locality.

Out of it, room size should be an important consideration as the capacity of the required AC unit should be based on the size of the room.

While you calculate the budget of owning the AC system, add the maintenance and repair charges as well.

If you are searching for an air conditioning system that ensures comfortable temperature, saves money and energy while being environmental-friendly, then inverter-based AC is the right choice for you. It is worth the money if you are planning for the long term. 

inverter vs noninverter

With an in-built inverter AC unit, you can save significantly on your energy bills while ensuring a comfortable temperature inside the room. As it comes in compact sizes and stylish designs, it is aesthetically pleasing as well. In a nutshell, it is a cost-effective cooling solution for your home or office.

On the other side, if you are on a shoestring budget and your requirement is just to cool a small room, non-inverter AC is a reasonable choice. It helps you save money as the units are less costly. However, if you are aiming for cooling a room that is small in size (generally below 120 sq ft), inverter ACs is not the right choice.

Also, if you are using the AC for less than two hours a day, inverter AC could turn out to be a waste of money. 


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About the Author

Garima is a proficient editor/proof-reader/writer with 5 years of experience in the publishing industries. She has worked with publishers like Wiley, Thieme, and Oxford and offers quality and reasonable services to authors, publishers, businesses, websites, and students She loves cooking whenever she is free from work, loves to cook new dishes. When she is free from work she likes to cook. She loves to try out new recipes of different cuisines. She has also a very keen interest in modern kitchen trends. Know more About Garima

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