Informational Guide

220v vs 110v Air Conditioners

People can get confused about air conditioner models, so we put together this comprehensive guide on 220v vs 110v AC units.

by Ian Haynes

Every home needs a good air conditioner. However, there are several types, such as 110v and 220v models. People can get confused about these air conditioner models, so we put together this comprehensive guide on 220v vs. 110v AC units so you can decide which one you need and why.

220v air conditioners require 220 volts to run, so they have a different construction than 110v air conditioners. One of the major differences is a 220v air conditioner requires a dedicated 220-volt outlet.

If your home does not have one of these, then you will have to install one or choose a different air conditioner model.

Benefit
  • More current provided
  • Less heat loss
  • Thicker cables are durable and tough
  • More powerful
Negatives
  • 220v outlets are less common
  • More expensive
  • Potentially more dangerous

Pros & Cons of 110v Air Conditioners

Similarly, 110v air conditioners have their own advantages and disadvantages. 110v air conditioners are more common as they only need a 110v outlet, which is the most common kind and standard in all American homes.

This means they are easy to install. 110v air conditioners will probably be easier to find, and they do not require a separate electrical installation.

Benefit
  • More convenient to use
  • Less likely to shock you
  • Generally cheaper
  • Fewer wires than 220v
Negatives
  • Not as efficient
  • Thinner wires are less durable
110 v and 220 v Outlets

220v vs 110v Air Conditioner (Which is More Efficient?)

One of the biggest questions people have concerning 110v and 220v air conditioners is which model is more efficient. Here are some more important questions regarding the two.

Energy Efficiency

Theoretically, both 110v and 220v air conditioners should draw the same amount of power. However, in reality, 220v air conditioners may be slightly more efficient.

The reason why is they move the current faster and have larger wires that radiate less heat. The result is the unit does not lose as much energy to heat. The difference is slight, though.

Cost to Purchase

220v air conditioners are generally more expensive because the equipment costs more, and people usually have to install a 220v outlet.

However, 220v air conditioners may last longer because they are put under less heat load and the components won’t wear out as quickly. 110v air conditioners are comparatively less expensive to buy and install.

Cost to Operate

Most of the time, a 220v and 110v air conditioner will cost about the same to use. They draw the same power and power companies charge by the watt-hour.

Like we said earlier, 220v air conditioners may be slightly more efficient because less energy is lost to radiated heat, but the difference will be very slight.

AC Size & Coverage Area

Generally speaking, 110v and 220v air conditioners come in the same sizes and can be used in the same size rooms.

Larger home and industrial AC units will normally be 220 volts as these are more reliable at larger sizes, but smaller residential homes can use either. As far as physical machine size, 220v units usually are larger and heavier.

BTU & Coverage Area

Generally speaking, 220v models reach higher BTUs and so can be used in larger spaces. Unless you have an extremely large house, though, it likely will not matter for your residence.

To calculate the necessary BTUs for your home, multiply the square footage by 255 BTUs. This figure gives you a rough estimate of how many BTUs your air conditioner should have.

Safety

If the air conditioner is installed properly, both 110v and 220v machines are safe. The only difference is that a 220v machine is more likely to generate a shock due to the higher electrical potential.

So if you are working on a 220v unit, make sure it is completely disconnected from all electrical sources before working on it.

Outlet Wattage Comparison

How to Convert 110v to 220v (and Vice Versa)

Most US homes use 110v outlets. So if you have a 220v appliance, you may not have the right outlet for it. But there are ways to convert a 110v outlet to a 220v outlet by modifying the internal circuitry.

Here are some options for converting a 110v to 220v outlet

  1. .Use a capacitive power supply
  2. .Use an autotransformer
  3. .User a triac/diac circuit
  4. .Use a series of diodes

You can also buy a dedicated 110v to 220v converter and install it in your electrical circuit box. Do not try to modify your circuit on your own unless you have prior experience with electrical engineering.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

What is an AC to DC converter called?

An AC-to-DC converter is called a rectifier. Rectifiers convert an incoming alternative current into a direct current. Most standard home outlets are AC, so if you have a DC device, you need a rectifier to convert the current.

How do you tell if an appliance is 110 or 220?

Most appliances will say whether they are 110v or 220v devices. You can also tell by the plug. 110v plugs have two straight prongs and sometimes a third, round prong. 220v plugs have angled prongs and a round prong on the body.

What is the difference between 115 volt and 230 volts?

Generally speaking, 115v and 110v are equivalent, and 220v and 230v are equivalent. Most of the time, the difference does not matter as most devices can work on both kinds.

Can 110-volt appliances be used in 220-volt countries?

You need a converter plug if you want to use 110 appliances in a country that uses 220v plugs. You can find converter plugs at your local hardware store.

What happens if you plug 110v appliances into 220v?

If the device works at all, it will be at risk of heating up and melting. If you leave it plugged in too long, it can cause smoke as the fuses melt and the protection fails.

Conclusions

110v and 220v air conditioners are both good choices and have their pros and cons. So if you are deciding between a 110v and 220v air conditioner, be sure to do your research and choose wisely.

Ian Haynes

Ian Haynes is an HVAC writer, and researcher. He has worked on hundreds of articles relating to home cooling, heating and air quality with a vast knowledge of the technical aspects of these types of appliances. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador. Learn more about the AC Lab team here.

Top