Standard air conditioners switch on at full speed, cool the air and then shut themselves off. You can set your thermostat temperature, so they will cycle on and off as needed to maintain that temperature. Standard units are noisier than inverter units.
Inverter units, on the other hand, adjust the speed of their compressors in response to cooling demand using technologies such as PWM and variable frequency drives (VRF units). Learn about PWM from Kompulsa’s PWM guide).
Some inverter air conditioners have variable speed fans which utilize the same PWM motor control technology. PWM enables them to operate at low speeds when cooling demand is low, so they don’t have to operate at full speed all the time.
You can also adjust the temperature of the room fairly quickly with inverter units, as the until will turn itself down immediately (but it will take a moment for the room temperature to change).
When An Inverter Air Conditioner Is Not Worth It
If you rarely use or need your air conditioner, you won’t recuperate the extra funds spent on an inverter unit easily.
Scenarios in which you should buy standard air conditioners
You virtually live at work.
You live on a plane. Some people travel so frequently that they only go home once in a while.
When An Inverter Air Conditioner Is Worth It
Inverter air conditioners provide a more convenient temperature controls. They enable you to turn the unit up or down quickly without it cycling on and off. In general, an inverter air conditioner will pay for itself most quickly if you normally use your air conditioner for extended time periods.
An inverter can pay for itself even faster if your electricity rates are high.
According to various manufacturers, the power consumption of inverter air conditioners can be 50-70% less than their non-inverter counterparts. This makes them more than worthwhile in regions with extremely high electricity prices exceeding $0.20/kWh, while savings are more modest (but still high) in regions with electricity prices below $0.10/kWh).
Example scenarios in which you should buy inverter air conditioners, and in which they are most likely to pay for themselves in a reasonable time period
- You spend more than 8 hours per day at home.
- Your working hours are typical. This includes 9-5 jobs, as well as all night shifts, assuming that you’re at home in the days.
- Your electricity rate is high.