Air conditioners come in a variety of brands, capacities, and sizes. And while there are a number of important choices to be made when selecting a new air conditioner for your home, deciding between single-stage and two-stage can be the most confusing.

What are single-stage and two-stage air conditioners?

Until recently, most all air conditioners have been single-stage. In fact, if you are in the process of replacing your current air conditioner, it is probably a single-stage. Single stage simply means the air conditioner has only one operating speed. In contrast, two-stage air conditioners have two separate operating modes that increase your cooling system’s efficiency and your home’s comfort.

How do they work?

Understanding how each of these types of air conditioners work will allow you to more easily decide on which one is better for you and your home.

  • Single-stage air conditioners – Like a light switch, a single-stage air conditioner is either on or off. When your home’s temperature rises above your thermostat’s setting, it turns on 100% until your comfort level is reached and then turns off completely.
  • Two-stage air conditioners – A two-stage air conditioner is more like a fan switch: it can be off, on, or at a medium speed. When your air conditioner only needs to cool your home a few degrees, it uses its “lower gear” to accomplish the task more efficiently. And when the cooling load is more strenuous, it uses its higher speed to cool your home quickly.

Which one is better for me?

Everyone has different needs, budgets and requirements, so it is difficult to say whether a two-stage air conditioner will serve you better. There are pros and cons to both.

Two-Stage Air Conditioner

  • More energy efficient
  • Lower setting allows for quieter operation
  • Greater savings on energy bills
  • Cools your home much more quickly
  • Helps with de-humidification
  • Purchase price is more expensive

Single-Stage Air Conditioner

  • Still very energy efficient
  • Sufficient in many smaller homes
  • More affordable

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Bradbury Brothers services most of southern Montgomery County including The Woodlands, Conroe, Magnolia, Montgomery, Oak Ridge North, Pinehurst, Shenandoah as well as northern Harris county including Cypress, Klein, Spring and Tomball. Visit our website at and check out our special offers.