What is a Dual Inverter Air Conditioner?

If you’re shopping for a new cooling system, you have probably seen ads for dual inverter air conditioners. 

Various big-name HVAC system manufacturers are marketing the relatively new technology, emphasizing the superior performance and efficiency they deliver. But what is a dual inverter AC conditioner anyway? And is it really better?

This article delves into dual inverter air conditioners and how they hold up against traditional units, so continue reading to learn more!

a technician inspecting a dual inverter air conditioner

Dual Inverter Air Conditioner

Dual inverter AC systems are a relatively new type of HVAC system. These systems use a twin rotary compressor with two compression chambers. 

The double compression chambers produce a phase difference of 180-degree compression timing. These compressors work between 720 and 9,000 RPM, depending on the demand. 

This provides more precise control and efficient energy usage than AC units with standard inverters. 

On the flip side, traditional air conditioning inverters use variable-speed single-cylinder compressors. The compressor has a single compression chamber, and the inverter operates the compressor for adjusting the cooling capacity of the system. 

How Much Electricity Does a Dual Inverter AC Unit Use?

The total amount of electricity an air conditioner uses hinges on a few factors. The EnergyStar rating, size of the room the system is cooling, and tonnage all play essential roles in the unit’s energy consumption. 

For example, consider the LG 1.5 Ton 5-star Dual Inverter Split air conditioning unit. This particular model consumes about 835.5 watts per hour. 

On the other hand, the average electrical usage of a central air conditioning unit ranges anywhere from 1,500 to 5,000 watts per hour. 

Of course, the size of the AC unit makes a considerable difference, as do the same influencing factors (size of the room, EnergyStar rating, etc.)

Dual Inverter Air Conditioner Advantages

A picture of LG dual inverter window AC

Air conditioners featuring dual inverter compressors offer an extensive range of benefits. 

A few of the notable advantages of these systems include better cost savings, lower running sound levels, and a lengthy lifespan. 

Here are the details on the benefits of dual inverters. 

Energy Efficiency

The energy efficiency of most dual inverter air conditioners is undeniable. From our example above, a dual inverter air conditioner can consume half of the energy of a regular central air conditioner. 

Some brands claim their dual inverters will save you up to 53% in energy costs associated with cooling over traditional AC. Dual inverters lose less energy, resulting in less waste in heating and cooling. 

In addition, this also requires a lower frequency of rotation, and in turn, there is less power demand on the electrical grid. 

Low Sound

Dual inverters generate less vibration than single inverter systems, meaning these units are considerably quieter during operation. This is because the rotors on ACs with dual inverters turn at a 180-degree phase. 

This creates a more stable system when operating at full capacity. As a result, the system generates fewer vibrations and is less noisy than single inverter systems. 

Long Lifespan

In a single-inverter air conditioner, the workload is isolated to the only inverter. With a dual-inverter system, the two compressors “share” the load. Since they don’t operate at full capacity all the time, these components don’t quickly wear out. 

Dual Inverter Air Conditioner Disadvantages

a dual inverter Air Conditioner connected to a voltage stabilizer

Like most products, dual inverter air conditioners have a few disadvantages. The primary drawbacks of these systems include the upfront cost, maintenance expenses, and the potential need for a voltage stabilizer. 

Upfront Cost

Compared to an ordinary air conditioner, the upfront cost of dual inverter systems can seem excessive. The cost of the system itself is generally higher, and sometimes the installation costs (if you need a voltage stabilizer, we’ll explain this soon). 

Maintenance Costs

In addition to steep upfront costs, general maintenance can be expensive. Compared to a generic air conditioner, you’ll likely end up spending more money to handle any repairs and maintenance. 

The primary reason behind the higher cost is the complexity of the system. Repairing these systems requires highly skilled HVAC technicians, hence the price. 

However, since they have less wear and tear, maintenance and repairs are often much less frequent than traditional ACs. 

May Require a Voltage Stabilizer

In some cases, dual inverter air conditioners require a voltage stabilizer. 

For example, with many leading brands, you will need a voltage stabilizer if the voltage in your home fluctuates outside of about 150 to 295 volts. 

But if your home’s voltage is steady at 250 volts (for example), you won’t need a voltage stabilizer. Newer homes usually have stable voltage, while some older homes may not. 

Inverter vs. Dual Inverter Air Conditioner

As you browse for an air conditioner, you’ll likely notice dual inverter and inverter systems. “Inverter” air conditioners are standard AC units found in most homes. Each option has its perks, making certain options better for specific scenarios. 

Here’s a quick AC tip to tell them apart in the store.

If you don’t see “single” or “dual” inverter listed in the AC units product description, it is almost always a single inverter unit. And dual inverter AC units say “dual inverter” in large lettering 99% of the time. 

InverterDual Inverter
Lower energy efficiencyHigher energy efficiency
More frequent maintenanceLess frequent maintenance
Generally lower repair costsGenerally higher repair costs
LouderQuieter
Shorter lifespanLonger lifespan
Lower upfront costHigher upfront cost
Never requires a voltage stabilizerMay require a voltage stabilizer (extra expense)

Upfront Cost

As mentioned earlier, dual inverter ACs tend to be pricier than single inverter air conditioners. Dual inverter technology is the latest, most advanced, and most efficient, which reflects in the price. 

Maintenance Costs

Maintenance is an integral part of extending the lifespan of an air conditioner. Regardless of what kind of air conditioner you have, some degree of maintenance is necessary to promote the system’s health. 

Generally, dual inverter systems tend to be pricier to maintain and repair than standard air conditioners. The new, complex system requires experienced HVAC technicians to handle maintenance and repairs, which drives the overall cost if things break down.  

Type of Compressor

AC technician checking a dual inverter AC

One of the primary differences between single inverter and dual inverter air conditioners is their compressors. 

Regular inverters have a compressor featuring a single rotor. These systems offer solid energy efficiency and superior performance to non-inverter compressors. On the other hand, the dual inverter compressors have two rotors. This divided workload distribution provides faster cooling and better energy efficiency than a typical inverter compressor.

Cooling Performance

The purpose of an air conditioner is to cool and maintain the lower temperature in a given space. Standard inverter compressors feature a single impeller and rotor, meaning the load for compression is higher than dual inverters—the higher load results in less output. 

On the flip side, dual rotary compressors have twin impellers and rotors that boost the compression process since the load for compression is divided. This translates to a better output than single inverter systems. 

Average Lifespan

The average lifespan of dual inverter compressors tends to be longer than single inverter systems. The dual rotors can compress the refrigerant with half the RPM compared to a typical air compressor. Since the load is lesser on a dual inverter system, it typically boasts a lengthier lifespan than a single inverter air conditioner. 

Energy Efficiency 

A dual inverter air conditioner has two rotors and can thus use half of the RPM of a typical inverter compressor to compress the refrigerant, so they tend to be considerably more energy efficient. The two rotors work together at a lower RPM, pulling less power to achieve the cooling temperature. 

Noise Level and Vibration

a person sleeping with the dual inverter AC switched on

When it comes to vibrations and noise levels, single inverter air conditioners typically generate the higher levels. Since these systems work with a single rotor, it has to rotate at a much higher RPM to compress the refrigerant. This rotation generates more vibration and thus higher noise levels. 

On the other hand, dual inverters’ dual rotors are more stable and operate at a lower RPM, leading to less vibration and noise. 

For example, consider the noise level of an LG Dual Inverter air conditioner. While operating, its noise level lingers around 54 decibels or lower. Decibel levels in the fifties, like this system, sound about as loud as a normal conversation.

On the other hand, a regular central air conditioner usually runs at noise levels between 72 and 82 decibels. A few brands offer units with sound levels as low as 52-60 decibels, but most systems exceed this noise level. 

Once the unit’s noise level reaches the seventies, it is similar to the sound the average radio or vacuum cleaner produces.

When the decibel levels exceed 80 dB, it’s identical to the sound of heavy traffic, a noisy restaurant, or a lawnmower. Sounds above 85 decibels are harmful and make for an uncomfortable experience.  

Voltage Stabilizer

A voltage stabilizer is an electrical device that helps provide a consistent voltage output to a load at its output terminals. 

The stabilizer does so regardless of any change or fluctuation in the input (incoming supply). In simpler terms, it helps protect an appliance from potential damage due to voltage surges and fluctuations.

Regular inverter air conditioners work without requiring a voltage stabilizer. In some scenarios, dual inverter ACs may need a voltage stabilizer to operate safely. However, it won’t be necessary if your home’s voltage falls within the specified range. 

Which Brands Make Dual Inverter Air Conditioners?

As of this writing, well-known brands such as Trane, Lennox, Bryant, and Carrier don’t offer dual inverter air conditioners. You can get dual inverter air conditioning units from these brands instead:

  • Freidrich
  • LG
  • Midea
  • Haier
  • Senville
  • Blueridge 
  • Hitachi
  • Whirlpool

Conclusion

Dual inverter air conditioners provide an extensive range of benefits that may sway your decision to purchase a typical air conditioner. While the advantages are there, you should thoroughly evaluate all angles of your situation, including your cooling needs, budget, etc. 

If you’re unsure if a dual inverter air conditioning system is the right choice for your home, it doesn’t hurt to contact a professional HVAC technician for guidance. 

About The Author

Jonathon is a mechanical engineer with over ten years of experience in the HVAC industry. He has hands-on experience with all types of HVAC systems.

Leave a Comment