With summer knocking at the door, the air conditioner market is getting hot as people queue up to get new ACs installed in their home. But purchasing an AC is no mean task. People do intense research. One big question that people seek to resolve is whether to opt for inverter AC or the non-inverter version. Understanding this, we take to explaining them and highlighting the major differences between them.
You may also like our article On Buyers Guide To Choose Best ACs in India
Understanding Inverter AC In Comparison With A Non-Inverter AC
Foremost, let us understand what exactly is an Inverter AC. The difference between it and the regular AC is in the functioning of the compressor.
In a regular non-inverter AC, the compressor operates at full capacity consuming maximum electricity it is supposed to consume. Once the room reaches the temperature set at the thermostat, the compressor stops and restarts itself when the temperature has increased and needs to be cooled down. This results in high consumption of electricity as the start/stop of the compressor also consumes a higher quotient of energy. Also, wear and tear is maximum while starting on the compressor.
But in an inverter AC, the compressor never stops running but adjusts its speed and thus the power supply according to the room temperature and thermostat setting. The speed of the compressor keeps adjusting due to which it consumes an overall lower energy. Here, you also save on energy or restarting the compressor each time. Wear and tear is also minimal, thus enhancing the durability of the appliance.
Hence, by its very definition and working principle, inverter ACs are more energy-efficient than non-inverter AC version.
Comparison of Non-inverter vs. Inverter AC
Now that we understand what is the basic difference between an inverter and an inverter AC, let’s walk through a few key differences between them on various performance parameters to help make an educated decision.
We already know about the working principle of an inverter and a non-inverter AC. The inherent technology ensures that inverter AC is more energy-efficient than regular ACs. Working on variable speed, an inverter AC consumes less power than a regular AC which always operates on full power. You can save 20% to 40% of your electricity bills with an inverter AC.
Additionally, the start-up power required by an AC is more. It is required only once in an inverter AC but the regular ones need it frequently as its compressor shuts on and off frequently when in operation. Moreover, the startup time of an inverter AC is about 30% lower than the non-inverter AC. Hence, you save on electricity here as well.
Any AC makes a noise when its compressor motor turns on. Since this is frequent when a non-inverter AC is working, it makes considerable noise while operating. In contrast, the compressor motor of an inverter AC starts once only. Moreover, it operates at a variable speed that is often less than its optimum level. Hence, the inverter AC offers blissfully quieter operation than its counterpart. However, you might notice that inverter ACs initially make some noise while starting up before turning silent.
The ability of an inverter AC to cool/heat a room is much faster than a non-inverter version. This is because an inverter AC uses more power at the beginning of the process to cool/heat the room. It can achieve it about 30% faster than the regular AC. Once the desired temperature is reached, it slows down and continues to operate to maintain the desired temperature. This results in increased efficiency and precision in inverter AC than its counterpart.
The cooling experience is far more even in an inverter AC compared to non-inverter AC. The inverter AC keeps running and adjusts its speed so that the thermostat set temperature is maintained in a stable manner in the room. But in a non-inverter version, the compressor stops once the thermostat temperature has been reached. It would restart only when the temperature has changed from the set one. Hence, you experience a fluctuation of temperature and consequent hot/cold experience with a non-inverter AC.
Ability to handle voltage fluctuation
Power outage and fluctuation is a common enough issue that causes the voltage to fluctuate. It is often detrimental to electrical appliances and requires the need for a stabilizer to protect them. An inverter AC works on a technology that equips it to handle the voltage fluctuation with aplomb and helps it perform at the peak level at all times. In contrast, the non-inverter AC experiences several voltage peaks while operating and needs a stabilizer for optimum protection and durability.
A major component of an AC is its refrigerant which brings about the cooling property. Most standard non-inverter AC uses R-32 refrigerant, a Hydro-Chloro-Fluro-Carbon that is zone friendly but causes global warming to an extent. In contrast, the inverter AC mostly uses Hydro-Fluro-Carbons which are not only ozone-layer friendly but also contribute little to global warming. Hence, the inverter AC comprises of an eco-friendlier ACs than its counterparts.
Most non-inverter ACs available today offer a standard quality air filter that needs to be cleaned regularly for a purified and germ-free air. In contrast, most inverter ACs come with multiple filters like the HEPA filters, carbon filters, blue filters, etc. They go a long way in killing all allergens and impurities of the air to yield a healthier and more pure air for a better and more comfortable experience. Note however, that not all inverter ACs have these filters. So, please read product description and reviews before you purchase.
The lifespan of an inverter AC is far higher than a non-inverter AC as the compressor of the former runs smoothly without stopping or fluctuating due to an accurate thermostat setting. But a non-inverter AC experiences the fluctuations and thus have a comparatively shorter lifespan.
Finally, we come to the cost part. The inverter ACs, no doubt cost higher at the time of purchase compared to the regular ACs. But they also yield greater savings in electricity bills and longevity to make them highly cost-effective in the long run.
In contrast, the non-inverter ACs come cheaper but has higher electricity bills and a shorter lifespan. Hence, it falls upon the buyer to decide on the more cost-effective piece.
The inverter technology has been around for years but had only recently entered the arena of air conditioners in India. Given its advantages and cost-effectiveness, it looks poised to become the norm in the near future.