Single-stage vs. two-stage air conditioners: Which is best for you? AC installation is a super important choice for air conditioning services.

As long as the air conditioner cools their house, many homeowners have nothing more to worry about their cooling gadget. However, with this post, we would like to inform you that there is more than meets the eye; the speed of your air conditioner.

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An average homeowner does not care whether they have a single stage air conditioner or a two stage. 

Lucky for you, you landed on our post; we review these two kinds of air conditioners.

With this knowledge, you will be able to select what is best for your comfort and budget.

And even more importantly, answer the frequently asked question: “Is a two stage AC worth the money?”

Shall we dive right into the details?

Single Stage Air conditioner vs. Two Stage Air Conditioner: What are the differences

All air conditioners work pretty much the same way. They have a coil inside the home that removes heat and a coil outside that exhausts the heat.

So, what are these differences between 1 stage and 2 stage AC? 

The most notable difference between these two cooling gadgets is that a two stage air conditioner has a compressor that can operate at two different speeds. On the other hand, a single stage air conditioner is either entirely on(100% blast) or fully off; there is no in-between setting.

For the two-stage air conditioners, the in-between setting is often 70%. However, this varies from brand to brand.

And how useful is this middle-ground setting? Think of a summer season. Some days will be 90 or even three digits, and some will be 78 degrees. On all these days, you need cooling. However, you won’t need as much cooling on a day that is 78 as you will need it when it hits 90 degrees.

Differences Between Two Stage and Variable Speed Air Conditioners

There is usually confusion between a two stage and a variable speed air conditioner. You need to understand the difference between these two.

As their name suggests, a variable speed air conditioner can have up to 700 different compressor settings(1). These settings correspond to the varying differences in airflow.

A two stage is superior to a single stage in terms of efficiency and options. It is, however, inferior to a variable speed.

Generally, the setting for a variable speed starts at 20 or more. This is already at the top of the game of a typical central air conditioning unit.

Just like a two speed AC unit can operate at a lower speed when it isn’t required to be at 100%, so does a variable speed adjust accordingly to use the power needed to maintain even temperature in the house.

The Pros of a Single Stage Air Conditioner

Single Stage vs Two Stage Air Conditioner What are the differences Infographics

The most notable benefit of single stage air conditioners is the upfront cost.

They are cheaper to purchase and install. Therefore, these will be your ideal air conditioner type if you are on a budget.

Also, they will cool your house adequately, as long as they are the appropriate size and well installed.

Cons of Single Stage Air Conditioners 

The long-term costs that come with single stage air conditioners can be high. They are constantly blasting at 100%, consuming as much power whenever they are on. This will result in higher energy bills.

Also, they kick on and off more frequently. This overwork can lead to the need to service AC more frequently.

Pros and Cons of Two Stage AC

Two stage air conditioners are highly efficient. There is a middle setting that you can use whenever you do not need the system on full blast. You will have lower energy bills every other month.

Also, having your system in the middle-ground setting often is known to lower the rate of wear and tear. Therefore, a two-stage air conditioner will probably last longer than a single stage.

Cons of Two Stage Air Conditioners

The upfront cost of buying and installing a two stage air conditioner can be high. However, we recommend consulting with your local HVAC technician about the model and brands before purchasing your air conditioner.

Also, air conditioner maintenance for 2 stage ACs is also costlier. This is because they have complex technology. 

Which one Should I get: Single vs Two Stage Air Conditioner

To determine what is suitable for you, answer these questions:

  • Where do you live?: If you live in a humid environment, you are better off with two-stage air conditioners.
  • What is your budget?: If you have a low upfront budget, go for a single-stage air conditioner. If you can go higher, go for a two-stage, it will add up to lower monthly costs.

Our Judgment: 2 Stage vs Single Stage HVAC Units

If it were up to us, we would tell you to go for two stage air conditioners, any day, any time.

If you are replacing air conditioner, go for a 2 stage. 

 It is because they offer:

  • greater comfort
  • higher energy efficiency

Higher Energy Efficiency

You need to know that an air conditioner costs less to operate when it turns on and off less often. Each time an air conditioner turns on, it uses energy to start up.

A single stage air conditioner kicks on and off more often than a two stage air conditioner. This is because they can only cool at one speed and turn off once they achieve the thermostat setting.

On the contrary, a two-stage air conditioner can achieve your thermostat setting with its middle-ground setting. This means it can run with less need to turn it on and off.

Greater comfort

Two stage air conditioners run more often than a single air conditioner that keeps turning on and off.

Now because these two stage AC units run more often, they provide more cooling and more removal of humidity from the air. In the humid south, you will love this feature. If you live in a less humid environment, our cool mist humidifier vs air conditioner guide will help you get the perfect indoor air balance. 

Single Stage vs Two Stage Air Conditioner Frequently Asked Questions

We answer some 1 stage vs 2 stage AC. We hope this helps you choose the best air conditioner for cold air in those hot summers.

Which is the better: single stage or two stage air conditioner?

Generally, we recommend a two-stage AC over a single-stage AC. Two-stage systems offer better comfort and energy efficiency despite the higher upfront cost.

Is a 2 stage AC worth the extra money?

Yes, two stages are very efficient air conditioners. The money you spend upfront will add up in monthly energy savings. Single-stage units are cheaper, but they are less powerful in energy saving.

Does a 2 stage AC run all the time?

Two stage units do not run all the time as variable speed AC. However, a two-stage unit runs more frequently than a single-stage system.

Are multi-stage AC units worth it?

Yes, the comfort and the energy savings of a variable speed compressor will be worth it. We highly recommend going for it if you have the upfront budget for one.

Final Thoughts on Single Stage vs Two Stage AC

It is time to call it a warp for 2 stage vs 1 stage AC. The thing is, these two will help keep your indoor temperature cool as you desire. However, if you like more convenience and comfort, go for two-stage air conditioners.

With the advanced technology of a two-stage, you will enjoy better temperature control, high-end efficiency, and a longer lifespan. Despite the initial price, everything will eventually be worth it.

If you think of AC installation or replacement, please call us for a free estimate. We would be delighted to help you find the best cooling gadget for you. If you need AC repair services, don’t hesitate to ask HVAC Santa Clarita.

call 661-888-0248

Contact us 24/7 for HVAC services!

Also, read

Two Stage vs Variable Speed AC >>>

How to Choose Central AC Unit >>>

Heat Pump vs Central Air >>>

How to Clean AC Evaporator Coils >>>

Air Cooler vs Air Conditioner >>>

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