What is a Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner?

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Updated September 16, 2022

If you are new to the universe of indoor cooling, you may wonder what is a reverse cycle air conditioner. Some of the best air conditioners, after all, include these unique designs. So what is a reverse cycle AC, what are the benefits of using one, and is it the right choice for you? Keep reading to find out.


  • Reverse cycle air conditioning systems are double-duty appliances, handling both cooling and heating.
  • These outdoor units and indoor units work via integrated heat pumps that draw heat from the air, resulting in increased efficiency.
  • Reverse systems also include many modern features, including filtration, purification, electric heaters, and dehumidification.

What is a Reverse Cycle AC Unit?

Basically, reverse cycle refers to air conditioning units that excel at both cooling and heating the home if you are looking to compare a heat pump vs an air conditioner. This type of AC ships in a variety of designs if you are wondering what is a mini-split AC unit.

Insider Tip

These units often include air filters that must be cleaned or replaced according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Many reverse cycle air conditioners use ducts, but many do not if you wonder about the definition of ductless AC. So when you say “reverse cycle,” you refer to when the air conditioner reverses its methods and heats instead of cools.

Benefits of a Reverse Cycle Unit

There are plenty of benefits to these units, including the obvious one of having access to heating and cooling in one handy appliance. Here are just a few advantages to going with reverse cycle AC units.

Increased Functionality

This type of air conditioning system cools in the summer and heats in the winter, thanks to integrated heat pumps and the like, but that is only the beginning of the advanced functionality on the table here. Modern versions of this technology bring plenty of more features, such as air filtration, air purification, and dehumidification. Read the specs carefully before purchasing an AC unit if these added features are important to you, as they don’t ship with every unit.

Easy Operation

Reverse cycle ACs are fairly easy to use, especially when switching between the cooling and heating functions. As a matter of fact, the thermostat or remote control does the work here. Simply set the temperature lower than the current temperature to activate cooling and set it higher to activate heating.

Increased Efficiency

These air conditioners use a heat pump to do most of the heavy lifting. These pumps use heat absorbed from the surrounding air, whereas other types of ACs burn some type of fuel to create heat. The end result? Increased energy efficiency and reduced energy bills.


But what is a heat pump?

A heat pump is a unique device that excels with a heating mode and a refrigeration cycle. This energy-efficient component is found in many multi-split systems and in systems that use reverse cycle air conditioning.

How to buy the best air conditioning for your home?

There are many AC types out there, from those. with reverse cycle air conditioning to your average split-system air conditioner or reverse-cycle air conditioner. Choose based on your specific needs and talk with local air conditioner installers for information on heat energy and the like.

What size air conditioner do you need?

When it comes to both outdoor units and indoor units, it depends on what type of AC you desire and the overall size of your home. A split-system air conditioner, for instance, could excel with small homes but struggle with larger ones.

STAT: Reverse cycle air conditioners differ from other similar systems because they use a Fluid (refrigerant gas) for the Heat Exchange, whereas others create heat by using electricity. (source)

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