Difference Between 3 Star AC & 5 Star AC: Power Consumption, Bill Difference & Other Features

Last Updated on September 13th, 2021 by RefrigeratorPro Team

Star rating in AC is often overlooked concept and many customers purchase an air conditioner without giving much thought to its rating. Hence, if you have reached here, pat yourself in the back.

This is because there is significant difference between power consumption of AC with different star ratings. Not only this, there are other differences that you should keep in mind before making a purchase. In this post we will discuss all the differences between 3 star and 5 star ACs as well as we will guide you to to select the best-fit as per your needs.

3 Star AC vs 5 star ac

Now, before we begin, its necessary to understand about star rating system that was introduced by the Ministry of Power back in 2016. Go through the brief overview to get a better idea about the differences between 3 star AC and 5 star AC.

What Does Star Rating in AC Mean?

BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency) Star Rating is a rating system for home appliances in India that informs the consumer about the amount of power consumed by different types of ACs. It is regulated by the Indian Government.

Room air conditioners are mandated by BEE to display star rating lebl on every AC model. Higher star rating means higher energy efficiency. 5 star is the highest, while 1 star is the lowest star rating. Thus, 5 star ACs consume least amount of energy, while 1 star ACs consume highest energy in their category. BEE has done a great job in making the star rating system more stringent over the years. The image below shows the progress of these ratings over the last decade.

BEE Star Rating Progression in AC

As you can see, if you purchased a 5 star AC in 2017, it is a 3 Star AC as of 2021. This does not mean that the power consumption of your AC has changed. It just means that if the same machine is manufactured in 2021, it will be labelled as 3 star.

Difference Between 3 Star and 5 Star AC

Power Consumption: As Per Bureau of Energy Efficiency

When it comes to power consumption between 3 star and 5 star AC, inverter AC and fixed speed AC should be considered separately. Let’s see what is the difference.

Please note that these numbers represent energy consumed when the AC is run for 1600 hours. For example, 3 star non-inverter AC will consume 627 units of power when run for 1600 hours. These numbers represent annual electricity consumption as per BEE data.

This table shows the annual power consumption of 3 star AC and 5 star AC (Split AC).

5 Star AC3 Star AC
0.75 Ton576627
1 Ton760828
1.5 Ton11301235
2 Ton14121548

A 5 star AC is around 8% more efficient as compared to a 3 star AC. Hence, a 5 star AC incur 8% lower electricity bill when compared to a 3 star AC with similar specs.

However, the difference is higher when we compare inverter ACs. Inverter ACs are use inverter compressor that consume lower power and are much in demand these days.

Related: Difference between Inverter AC and Non Inverter AC

Here is the annual power consumption of 3 star inverter AC and 5 star inverter AC (Split AC)

5 Star Inverter AC3 Star Inverter AC
0.75 Ton421550
1 Ton557726
1.5 Ton8151077
2 Ton10051344

As you can see, 5-star inverter AC is 23 – 25% more energy-efficient as compared to 3 star inverter AC. This means that a 5 star inverter AC will result in 25% lower electricity bill when compared to a 3 star AC with similar specs. We can also see that, as the tonnage increases, the difference in the energy consumption also increases.

However, an interesting point to note is that a 3 star inverter AC is more power efficient than even a 5 star non inverter AC

This means that star rating is an important criterion to consider if you are planning to buy an AC for your home.

Electricity Bills: How Much Can You Save?

Considering the electricity tariff of Rs 6.4, we can have come up with average numbers that will give you a fair idea about how much you should expect to incur in electricity costs for 3-star and 5-star ACs.

5 Star Non Inverter AC (INR)3 Star Non Inverter (INR)Difference (INR)
0.75 Ton36864013326
1 Ton48645299435
1.5 Ton72327904672
2 Ton90379907870

As you can see, you can save Rs 300 – 900 on your electricity bill if you opt for 5 star non inverter AC over 3 star non inverter AC.

5 Star Inverter AC (INR) 3 Star Inverter AC (INR) Difference (INR)
0.75 Ton26943520826
1 Ton356546461082
1.5 Ton521668931677
2 Ton643286022170

This clearly shows yearly savings of Rs 800 – 2200 on electricity bills if you opt for 5 star inverter AC over 3 star inverter AC.

Price: How Costly is 5 Star AC Over 3 Star AC?

Since 5 star ACs consume less power, they naturally are costlier than 3 star ACs. The difference is more pronounced when considering inverter ACs.

For a 1.5 ton AC, with all specifications similar, a 5 star AC can cost 5,000 to 10,000 rupees more than a 3 star AC.

However, this is the buying cost. You have to keep in mind that AC can account for 10% of overall electricity bills of a regular household. Thus, overall cost in the long run is not very high for energy efficient ACs.

Performance: Which Type Gives Faster Cooling?

As far as star rating is concerned, 3-star ACs are more powerful than 5-star ACs in general. This is because 5-star ACs are built for optimal cooling to ensure cooling at lower power consumption. On the other hand, 3-star ACs are more powerful, as there is lesser focus on saving power.

Similarly, non inverter ACs are more powerful than inverter ACs. This is because non inverter ACs can reach desired temperature faster by running at full speed within short span of time time. While, inverter AC reaches desired temperature gradually to save on electricity.

This means that 3 star non inverter ACs are the most powerful, while 5 star inverter ACs are least powerful when it comes to speed of cooling.

Lifespan: Do 5-Star ACs Last Longer?

5-star AC has slightly longer lifespan as compared to 3-star AC. This is because in 5-star AC, discharge pressure is lower. This allows the compressor to work in smoother cycles of on and off. On the other hand, 3-star AC operates on slightly higher discharge pressure, due to which the compressor has to work harder to ensure proper cooling.

Since compressor is the engine of an AC, long lasting compressor directly results in long lasting AC.

Pro Tip: The difference in lifespan of 3 star and 5 star ACs is not that huge, hence if we were you, we would not obsess over this criteria.

Eco-friendly: How Much Can You Contribute to the Environment?

Higher energy efficiency means more eco-friendly characterstic. Thus, 5 star inverter AC is most eco-friendly and 3 star non-inverter AC is least eco-friendly.

If you opt for 5 star inverter AC over 3 star non inverter AC, you can save more than 300 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. This is enough to charge your smartphone more than 37000 times!

How Many Years to Recover Cost of 5 Star AC over 3 Star AC

Now that we already have data handy, let’s do the maths.

Energy Consumption of 5 star inverter AC: 815 units

Energy Consumption of 3 star non inverter AC: 1235 units

Additional energy consumed by 3 star non inverter AC: 1235 – 815 = 420 units

Additional cost incurred by 3 star AC’s power consumption: 420*6.4 = Rs 2,688

Maximum* difference between cost of 1.5 ton 5 star AC and 3 Star AC: Rs 12,000

Time taken to recover the cost of purchase: 12,000/2,688 = 4.5 years

Hence, It will not take more than 5 years for you to recover the cost of purchase if you opt for 1.5 ton 5 star AC over a 3 star AC irrespective of star rating.

Should You Buy 5 Star AC or 3 Star AC, Inverter or Non-Inverter?

We have been following the AC market for more than 12 years and if there is anything we can say with confidence, it is that the number of non inverter ACs have gone down drastically over the past several years. Almost every AC brand is focussing heavily on inverter AC segment. Split AC segment is dominated by inverter ACs now, while there are several more inverter window ACs in the market than there were 5 years ago.

Why this shift? Well, inverter ACs are superior to non inverter ACs in several aspects- long life and lower energy consumption are just a few of them.

Related: Inverter AC vs Non Inverter AC

Surprisingly, 3 star ACs dominate the market as majority of customers opt for 3 star ACs. But this is mostly because of the higher upfront cost. Also, we have seen many first time buyers don’t want to spend more on a 5 star AC either due to lack of knowledge or due to hesitation of first time purchase.

Which one is best for you? It ultimately boils down to budget and cost in the long run. If you have limited budget, then 3 star AC window AC might be a smart move because window ACs are cheaper than split ACs and the difference between 3 star and 5 star window AC in terms of power consumption is not very high. A 5 star window AC is ~8% more power efficient than 3 star window AC (also, most window ACs are non inverter ACs).

On the other hand, if cost is not a concern, then 5 star split inverter AC should be a clear choice.

Related: Window AC vs Split AC


Be it 3 star or 5 star, each type has its pros and cons. No matter which AC you purchase, cost in the long run should always be considered. Star label system is handy feature that gives the consumer a fair idea about its energy consumption by just looking at the label. Still if you want to be able to calculate exact power consumption of AC, you may want to go through our post describing power consumption of ACs.

Well, this was a long post and we have tried to answer most common questions regarding 3 star AC and 5 star AC. If you still have doubts regarding any aspect of 3 star and 5 star AC, ask us in the comment box below.

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