Are Some Air Conditioners Built Better Than Others?

Different types of air conditioners are built differently. There are five key parts of every AC unit. These are the elements that define the quality and price of an AC. To build the best AC, companies should use the best materials and systems for these components. What are they?


A compressor is the most vital part of an AC unit. It determines the efficiency and performance of the whole appliance. In general, there are three types of AC compressors: rotary, reciprocating, and inverter. The most advanced technology is the inverter compressor.

Inverter compressors can slow down the machine without completely shutting it off. Hence, it can run longer with even better energy efficiency than other kinds of compressors. Inverter compressors also usually have a longer lifespan than other types of compressors. Currently, this technology is the most popular to use in an AC unit.


Refrigerant is the gas that carries heat from inside your house and sends it outside. The gases used as refrigerant change as technology develops. In the past, almost all AC units used CFC gas such as R12, but that gas has now been discontinued due to its ozone depletion potential and greenhouse gas effects. Some units are still currently using R22, which will be forbidden in a few years because it still carries similar risks.

The most common gas currently is R140A and R32, which pose no threat to the ozone. However, the most environmentally friendly options are R290 and R600A, which are hydrocarbons.

Condenser and Evaporator Coils

Coils are the pipes containing refrigerant. Condenser coil brings the heated refrigerant to the outdoor unit, while the evaporator brings the chilled refrigerant back to the indoor unit. Coils work in a closed loop. They need to be strong to avoid refrigerant leakage.

Aluminum and copper are two common metals used for the coils. Aluminum is the most common one because it is cheaper and safe from corrosion. However, copper transfers heat better and is more durable than aluminum. High-quality AC units commonly use copper coils with anti-corrosion coating. Some AC units use thinner copper to keep their prices more affordable.

Expansion Valve (XV)

The expansion valve is the device that regulates the flow of the refrigerant. There are several kinds of expansion valves. Each has a different system. The most common ones are the capillary tube and thermal expansion valve (TXV).

TXV is better than the capillary tube because it works actively by responding to the environment. The system can either increase or decrease the flow as required, unlike the capillary tube, which can only work in a fixed flow. This mechanism allows the AC to work more efficiently with a broader temperature range and larger charge range on the refrigerant. Nowadays, TXV is more commonly used in AC units.

Some air conditioners are built better than others. In general, better products also cost more. However, if you do your research, it’s possible to find high-quality AC units at affordable prices.


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