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What is a Mini Split Inverter?

inverter mini split

When it comes to cooling, mini splits are one of the most efficient AC systems for residential use. Within this category, the mini split inverter stands out as a technological marvel, offering even better energy efficiency and enhanced comfort.

In this guide, we discuss what a mini split inverter is, how it differs from regular mini splits, its advantages and disadvantages, efficiency, potential savings, and the key features to consider when choosing one for your home.

What is a Mini Split Inverter?

Traditional air conditioners operate on a binary principle, where the compressor runs at full capacity until the desired temperature is reached, then shuts off completely.

A mini split inverter, on the other hand, uses inverter technology. An inverter is a device that allows the compressor to adjust its speed to meet the exact cooling requirements of the room. This means it can throttle up or down instead of shutting on and off, bringing a whole host of benefits compared to non inverter-equipped mini splits.

Let’s take a 9,000-BTU mini split as an example. A traditional rotary compressor ramps up to full speed and outputs 9,000 BTUs of cooling. It then shuts off once the desired temperature is reached. 

In contrast, an inverter compressor rated for 9,000 BTUs of cooling might have a BTU output range of 1,000 BTUs to 12,000 BTUs. That means when cooling is needed, the unit will start out by providing 12,000 BTUs to quickly cool the space, but will then throttle down to just enough BTUs to maintain the temperature. A microcontroller samples the ambient air and adjusts the speed of the compressor accordingly. This speed adjustment results in lower power consumption, less noise, and more even cooling of the space.

Pros of Mini Split Inverters

Variable Speed Operation

The hallmark feature of mini split inverter systems is their ability to operate at varying speeds, matching the heating or cooling load of a space more accurately. This results in maintaining a more consistent temperature and humidity level indoors, greatly improving overall comfort.

Energy Efficiency

By avoiding the energy spikes associated with frequent starts and stops, mini split inverters consume less power during operation. Additionally, the ability to adjust compressor speed based on demand leads to significant energy savings compared to non-inverter models.

Quieter Operation

Inverter-driven compressors produce less noise than traditional systems since they run at lower speeds for extended periods, minimizing disruptive sounds associated with cycling on and off.

Faster Cooling and Heating

The continuous modulation of compressor speed allows mini split inverters to reach the desired temperature more quickly compared to non-inverter models, providing rapid cooling or heating when needed.

Extended Lifespan

The reduced strain on components due to gradual starts and stops prolongs the lifespan of mini split inverter systems, resulting in fewer maintenance issues and lower long-term costs.

Cons of Mini Split Inverters


Mini split inverters are a bit more expensive than their regular counterparts. However, the higher purchase cost is offset by the long-term energy savings.

More complicated

Mini split inverters are equipped with inverters, variable compressors, and microprocessors. These represent more potential points of failure, but proper upkeep and regular maintenance should ward off any issues for years to come.

Efficiency and Savings with Mini Split Inverter Systems

One of the primary advantages of mini split inverter systems lies in their superior energy efficiency, which translates to significant savings on utility bills over time. The key factors contributing to this efficiency include:

Variable-Speed Compressor: By adjusting compressor speed to match the exact heating or cooling load, mini split inverters eliminate energy waste associated with frequent cycling on and off.

Higher Efficiency Ratings: Mini split inverters often boast high SEER ratings, indicating their improved efficiency in cooling mode. 

Smart Features: Many mini split inverters come equipped with advanced features such as WiFi control, occupancy sensors, and remote monitoring, enabling users to optimize energy usage further.

Choosing a Mini Split Inverter:  Key Features to Look For

When selecting a mini split inverter system for your home, consider the following features:

1. Capacity: Ensure the system’s cooling and heating capacity matches the requirements of the space it will serve. Not sure how much power you need for your system? Use Total Home Supply’s BTU calculator and chart to find out!

2. SEER/HSPF Ratings: Opt for models with high SEER and HSPF ratings for maximum energy efficiency.

3. EnergyStar label: EnergyStar is an EPA program that certifies when an AC system is more efficient than its counterparts. Mini split inverters with the EnergyStar label are certified to follow stringent standards and guaranteed to be much more efficient than non-certified models.

4. Quiet Operation: Choose units with low decibel ratings for minimal noise disturbance.

5. Smart Features: Explore models with smart thermostats, Wi-Fi connectivity, and programmable settings for added convenience and energy savings.

6. Warranty and Support: Go for reputable brands that offer comprehensive warranties and reliable customer support for peace of mind.

Recommended Mini Split Inverter Systems for 2024

Daikin FTX12AXVJU / RX12AXVJU 19 Series 12000 BTU Class Heat Pump 19 SEER Single Zone System

The new Daikin 19-Series provides energy efficient, comfort control for one space, as well as heat pump system. The streamlined, wall-mounted FTX12AXVJU pairs with a quiet, compact outdoor unit (RX12AXVJU). This air conditioner boasts a 10,900 BTUs of cooling while the heat pump offers 13,500 BTUs of heat. It is Energy Star Rated and will efficiently cool a room that is about 400 – 550 sq. ft. It boasts an EER of 12.5 and a SEER rating of 19.

The Cooling Mode can handle outdoor temperatures ranging from 50°F to 115°F. With an optional wind baffle and an adjustment in the field, it can continue to cool when outdoor temperatures fall all the way down to -4°F! The heat pump will operate with a minimum outdoor temperature of 5°F. This unit is optimized for great performance in many distinct climates. To help lessen ice build-up in colder climates, the 19-Series includes an enhanced drain pan.

Standard features include Econo modes, mold resistant washable air filter, auto-swing (up/down vertical flow with manual horizontal left/right adjustment), auto fan speed, night set mode, dry function, fan only and on/off timer. The indoor units on the new 19-Series also include Blue Fin Protection on the coil to help ensure the condensate reaches the drain pan more easily. New wiring inside the indoor unit includes an S21 adapter for easily installing an optional WiFi adapter.

The outdoor unit features quiet operation and a slim, compact design that will be relatively inconspicuous in any outdoor installation. Plus, it includes an Anti-Corrosion Treatment on the heat exchanger to give your system protection from the elements.

Daikin FTX12AXVJU / RX12AXVJU 19 Series 12000 BTU Class Heat Pump 19 SEER Single Zone System
Price: $1,499.00 Daikin FTX12AXVJU / RX12AXVJU 19 Series 12000 BTU Class Heat Pump 19 SEER Single Zone System

A new system to replace this mini-split system should be available soon. The new Daikin 19-Series provides energy efficient, comfort control for one space. T...

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Friedrich FPHMR36A3A 32000 BTU Floating Air Pro Quad-Zone Mini Split Air Conditioner with Heat Pump

The FPHMR36A3A outdoor quad zone condenser features Friedrich’s Precision Inverter Technology, offering a variable speed compressor to keep up with your comfort control needs while still being energy efficient.

This quad zone 32,000 BTU unit has a connected capacity of up to 48,000 BTUs. Allowable units include Friedrich’s standard wall unit, 4-way ceiling cassette as well as a ceiling concealed duct unit. 

It boasts Low Ambient Operation making it a great year round option for heating and cooling for most of the US. It will operate in the Cooling Mode when outdoor temperatures are as low as 14°F up to 115°F. The range in which this unit will heat is equally as wide and it will heat when temperatures are as low as -13°F up to 75°F!

Non-Ducted Indoor Units Only12.521.011.0
Ducted Indoor Units Only12.019.510.8
Mixed Non-Ducted and Ducted Indoor Units12.2520.2510.9
Friedrich FPHMR36A3A 32000 BTU Floating Air Pro Quad-Zone Mini Split Air Conditioner with Heat Pump
Price: $2,749.00 Friedrich FPHMR36A3A 32000 BTU Floating Air Pro Quad-Zone Mini Split Air Conditioner with Heat Pump

Base Price shown is for outdoor unit only. You can choose 2, 3 or 4 indoor units below with a total connected capacity of 48,000 BTUs.  If you are choosing...

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Find the right mini split inverter for your home

Now that you have a bit more knowledge about the inner workings of mini split inverter technology, you should be much better equipped to choose a mini split system for home, office, or other location.

For a step-by-step help to choose the right mini split for your needs, check out our guide, which teaches you how to determine the BTU capacity you need, what features to look for, how to understand your warranty, and more.

Or, if you are ready to buy, go ahead and check out the many options available in Total Home Supply’s mini split selection.

Mickey Luongo

Mickey is the resident heating and air conditioning expert with over 15 years of experience in the industry.

2 thoughts on “What is a Mini Split Inverter?”

    1. Mickey Luongo says:

      If you have a multi zone mini split system an additional zone my be able to be added. If you have a single zone system, additional zones cannot be added.

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