Inverter vs Non-Inverter AC

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Updated September 23, 2022

If you are an amateur in the world of indoor cooling, you may look to compare inverter vs non-inverter AC units. Some of the best air conditioners, after all, feature one of these two design choices. So what is an inverter in an AC, do you need one, and how do these two types of units differ? Keep reading to find out.


  • Many modern AC units are outfitted with inverter technology to help regular energy usage and reduce temperature fluctuations.
  • Inverter-based AC units are more expensive than non-inverter air conditioners, but they offer a decrease in energy usage and are more energy-efficient.
  • Inverter AC models also cool a home faster than non-inverter air conditioners, though the actual cooling power depends on other specs.

Differences Between Inverter and Non-Inverter AC Units

Before you can understand the differences here, you must learn how an inverter air conditioner works in the first place. Inverters help control the electrical usage of a system, and this is true even when comparing a single-stage vs a two-stage air conditioner. Inverters were added to modern AC units as an attempt to regulate electrical consumption and reduce temperature fluctuations if you are wondering why your window unit keeps turning off.

Insider Tip

Once a room is cool, inverter air conditioners lower the speed of the compressor motor to save energy and refrigerant required to cool the air.

In other words, inverter-based AC units are often more efficient with fewer frustrating temperature fluctuations, even if you are looking for the best LG air conditioner. Here are some more contrasts between the two types.

Energy Efficiency

In nearly all cases, an AC outfitted with inverter technology will boast increased energy efficiency over standard non-inverter units. If you are looking to cut down on that monthly utility bill, go with an inverter-based AC. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of AC units advertised with Energy Star certifications include inverters for regulating the electrical current and minimizing temperature fluctuations.

Upfront Cost

Non-inverter AC systems are cheaper to purchase and install than inverter-based systems due to being an older technology. Traditional non-inverter systems were the only game in town until around 20 years ago, making them ubiquitous and extremely budget-friendly, particularly when shopping for one in the used market. Expect to pay 20 percent more for a brand new inverter AC unit when compared to a non-inverter model.

Cooling Power and Speed

The actual cooling power is a draw, as it largely depends on the various motors and other specifications. However, inverter-based air conditioners will cool a home much quicker than a non-inverter model. Inverter AC units easily run at their rated cooling capacity and work to efficiently and speedily cool a room or whole home as soon as it is turned on. Non-inverter, or old-school, AC units, take a bit longer to get going.

STAT: The compressor refers to the part of the aircon unit that compresses the refrigerant gas into a liquid form. Once this occurs, the refrigerant begins to cool, creating the cool air that regulates the temperature in the room. (source)

Inverter Vs Non-Inverter AC FAQs

Which air conditioning unit should you get?

This depends on your preferences and needs. Choosing a non-inverter aircon or non-inverter type of AC will save money on utilities but will cost more to set up, especially if it is equipped with variable speed technology.

How much will a window-type inverter aircon save on your bill?

Window units with inverter technology will save you some money on your energy bill, as they are more energy-efficient. However, this difference will be rather negligible as window units are already rather cheap to use.

Are there any disadvantages of inverter air conditioners?

The installation costs are higher, as are replacement components. In other words, replacing the compressor motor, the inverter unit, and other components cost more with AC units equipped with inverter technology. Of course, this depends on your inverter type, compressor speeds, and other stats.
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