Difference Between 3 Star And 5 Star AC [3 Star vs 5 Star AC]

If there is a machine that can give you some relief this summer, it is an air conditioner. AC has become a common household appliance as almost every city in India now faces extreme heat during the summer.

But buying an AC is never been so tough. With so many features, so many variants, it is really difficult to figure out which one is the best. One of the biggest confusion among AC buyers is the Difference between 3 star vs 5 Star AC.

Do you feel , paying extra for a 5 star AC is a waste? Do 5 star AC’s have any benefits over 3 star AC’s or it is just a marketing gimmick. Let’s find out the answer to all these questions in this article.

So in this article, we will find the advantages and disadvantages of 3 star and 5 star AC’s and then we will see which type of AC is the best based on your usage and requirements.

Many of you may wonder that why we are comparing 3 star AC vs 5 star AC and why not other ratings like 4 star AC or 2 star AC. The reason is that, if you go to the market you will mostly see either 3 stars AC or 5 Star AC ( 4 star and 2 star AC’s are also available in the market). So it makes more sense to talk about the difference between the two rather than wasting time on other types.

What is a star rating in AC?

The star rating gives an idea to consumers about how much electricity that particular AC is going to consume within a given period of time. The star rating is available on a scale of 1 to 5. 5-star rating is the best whereas a 1-star rating is the worst.

So an appliance with a 5-star rating will consume less electricity than similar appliances with a 3-star rating. In the United States, star ratings are termed energy ratings.

Star rating system is not only used for air conditioners, but it is for almost all appliances nowadays. The governing body is BEE ( Bureau Of Energy Efficiency), which decides the appliances’ star rating after thorough testing.

3 star vs 5 star ac

The Star rating of air conditioners depends on the following factors.

  • The cooling capacity of the air conditioner
  • The Energy Efficiency Ratio ( EER) of the air conditioner

The cooling capacity of the AC tells about the amount of cooling that the AC can provide. The cooling capacity of AC is expressed in BTU ( British Thermal Unit)

The energy efficiency ratio is the ratio between the amount of cooling it offers using a certain amount of power. The ERR value is mentioned on the rating level of all AC’s. It is printed as ISEER ( Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) where it takes care about the seasonal energy consumption.

If you want to learn more about different technical terminologies used in AC’s, I suggest you read this article.

Importance of star rating in AC

When you buy an AC, it is very important to look at the star rating. See, there will be so much technical data that will be printed on the rating label. You do not need to go through each datasheet but at least you should look at the star rating.

Why so? It’s because buying an AC is not just an one-time investment. You need to pay electricity bills every month and trust me, AC contributes to your electricity bills like anything.

If you buy a 5 star AC, the initial investment will be more but the monthly electricity bill will be less. On the other hand, a 3 star AC will cost you less but every month you need to pay more electricity bills. Now the choice is yours.

One more point you need to take care of is that 5 star AC’s generally come with more features like inverter motor, air purification, vitamin C filters etc. which you won’t get in 3 stars ACs. So it is wise to buy the best then regret it later.

Why 5 Star AC’s cost more than 3 star AC?

In laymen’s terms, it is just a matter of two-star difference. But from the manufacturing perspective, it’s a lot more than what we think. The manufacturer has to use different compressors with advanced technologies, needs to redesign the cooling system so that it consumes less power.

On top of that, 5 star AC’s use different advanced technologies like inverter motor, Bluefin condenser to keep the power consumption low. Different sensors are used to control these devices also add more cost. That is why as a whole unit we are paying a bit more than a 3 star AC

Difference between 3 star AC And 5 star AC

We will discuss the different advantages and disadvantages of both types of AC so that you can figure out which one is the best based on your requirement and budget.

Advantages of 5 star AC

  • The total cost of ownership ( TCO) is less in the case of 5 star AC’s. The TCO is determined by including the cost of purchase, maintenance, installation and other recurring fee. Those who feels that 5 star AC’s are costly need to consider the TCO and decide.
  • 5 Star AC’s comes with more features which justifies the extra amount that you pay
  • Electricity bill will be less
  • 5 star AC’s are more reliable as manufacturer uses good quality parts

Disadvantages of 5 star AC

  • Initial investment is more as 5 star AC’s are costlier than 3 star AC’s
  • Need more space although the size difference is not that huge

Advantages of 3 star AC

  • The cost of 3 star AC’s is less than 5 star AC’s
  • It consumes less space
  • It would be the best choice if you plan to run the AC on occasional purpose

Disadvantages of 5 star AC

  • The running cost of more than 5 star AC
  • Often manufacturers use cheap materials for 3 star AC’s compared to 5 star AC’s. That is why these are less reliable.
  • Does not comes with advanced features

Power consumption difference between 3 star and 3 Star AC

That’s where all the ball game starts. Power consumption is a key driver in deciding on a 5 star AC or a 3 star AC. So I will take some example to explain how both types of AC’s stands in terms of power consumptions. I have taken two AC’s from Amazon for this comparison. Hope it can clear the cloud.

But before that I want to remind you that the power consumption also depends on the cooling capacity. For example, a 5 star 2 ton AC may consume the same amount of power if you compare it with a 3 star 1.5 ton AC. Here is the chart that shows the relation between star rating, cooling capacity, and power consumption.

Star Rating0.75 Ton1.0 Ton1.5 Ton2.0 Ton
3 Star Rating542 W747 W1104 W1148 W
5 Star Rating450 W554 W840 W1113 W

So when you compare, make sure, you take models having same cooling capacity but with different star ratings.

Model-1: LG 1.5 Ton 3 Star Inverter Split AC (Copper, Convertible 4-in-1 Cooling, HD Filter, 2021 Model, LS-Q18PNXA1, White)
Star Rating: 3
ISEER: 3.68
Annual Power Consumption: 1050 Units

Model-1: LG 1.5 Ton 3 Star Inverter Split AC (Copper, Convertible 4-in-1 Cooling, HD Filter, 2021 Model, LS-Q18PNXA1, White)
Star Rating: 5
ISEER: 4.73
Annual Power Consumption: 818 Units

So in this above example, I have taken the exact same model but with different star rating and noticed that the annual power consumption difference is only (1050-818)= 232 Units. if the unit rate is Rs 7 then the annual saving would be around Rs 1624

You may feel that Rs 1624 is not too much but here is thing, this calculation is based on some assumption as shown below.

So the above calculation is only true when you are running the AC 10 hours per pay for 8 months. What if you want to run the AC for more than 10 hours per pay. In that case you will be saving more with a 5 star AC

If your AC have the Input Power data mentioned then here is the formula for calculating the power consumption of an AC

Estimated Electrical Consumption = Input (kW) X No. of hours used X No. of days per month X Current Utility Rate.

Conclusion: Which one to buy [ 3 Star Vs 5 Star AC]

Frankly speaking, it purely depends on you and your requirement. I would personally do some basic calculations before choosing one. You need to decide how many hours per day you will run the AC and how hot your city is during the summer, How is the electricity unit rate in your area and how many years do you want to keep the AC.

If your usage are low, then buying a 3 Star AC makes more sense. But if you want to use an AC for more than 8 hours per day and want to keep the AC for at least 5-7 years then buying a 5 star is a good choice.

If you are low on budget but don’t mind spending more money on electricity bills, then 3 star AC is the only option. Otherwise any day 5 star AC is the way to go. Hope this solves your confusion.

Are you still confused? Please write in the comment section and I will try to solve your confusion.


Rajib is the Co-Founder and the Lead Product Analyst of RiansTech. A BTech in Mechanical Engineering and a veteran in the Home Appliance industry with over 17 years of experience in designing appliances for industry leaders like GE and Whirlpool. He also runs a successful niche blog (RiansClub) on Mechanical Engineering

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