Variable Speed Vs. Single or Two-Speed AC Systems

Are you looking to replace the air conditioner in your Wilmington, North Carolina, home? By understanding the differences between single-speed, two-speed and variable-speed systems, you’ll be able to choose an AC system that best suits your needs. As a result, you’ll increase comfort and cost savings. Read on to learn more about the differences between these AC systems.


A single-speed system refers to the blower speed. Conventional AC systems normally have a single-stage blower. This means that the air conditioner has one speed: high. As a result, it always runs at high capacity, regardless of the temperature outside, making it an inefficient system.

Some of the pros of a single-speed system are:

  • It has a cheaper purchase price.
  • It uses standard ductwork.

Some of the cons of a single-speed system are:

  • It has a shorter lifespan.
  • It typically leads to high energy bills.
  • The indoor air temperature can be inconsistent.


A two-stage system has two output levels: high and low. Usually, a two-speed AC system runs on the low setting and kicks into high gear when it needs a boost to bring your home to the right temperature.

Pros of a two-speed system include:

  • Better energy efficiency than a single-speed system.
  • More consistent indoor temperature.

Cons of a two-speed system include:

  • Higher upfront purchase price than a single-speed AC system.


A variable-speed AC system operates at different speeds to precisely control your home’s temperature. This advanced technology monitors and adjusts the AC blower settings, taking into consideration factors such as the location of your unit, the condition of the filters and your ductwork.

Pros to a variable-speed system include:

  • Consistent and comfortable temperature control.
  • Top-notch energy efficiency.
  • Lower noise levels compared to conventional AC systems.
  • Improved air quality.
  • Humidity control.

Cons of a variable-speed system include:

  • Higher upfront costs.

A variable-speed AC system may be more costly to purchase. But in return, it’s a more energy-efficient system that controls humidity and temperature far better than a single or even two-speed system. Coupled with lower energy costs, it’s clear that a variable-speed AC system will make a difference in your life.

Gideon Heating & Air Conditioning will help you to choose and install the best AC system for your needs. Call us at (910) 447-2905 today.

Image provided by Shutterstock

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