You’ve experienced it before—the blast of freezing air that comes flying out of your older air conditioning system once the room temperature drops below a certain level. When the room returns to the desired temperature, the system turns off…until it turns on again later to repeat the process.

This happens because traditional systems use something called a fixed-speed compressor (with an emphasis on the words “fixed speed”). It has two speeds: on and off. It’s either running at 100% or not at all. This can create uncomfortable temperature swings as well as put a strain on your air conditioner as it struggles to maintain a constant temperature.

Inverter-driven compressors, on the other hand, are much different.

For starters, they can work at a wide range of speeds. They are almost always running in the background, adjusting in real time to ensure a consistent temperature. If your room is a comfortable 73 degrees, your compressor may slow down just enough to maintain that pleasant temperature. On the other hand, if you’re room is a blistering 95 degrees the inverter will push the compressor into high gear to cool things as quickly as possible.

In other words, inverter-driven air conditioners provide several benefits over older fixed-speed air conditioning units.

1. They’re more efficient.

Inverter technology can reduce the amount of energy used by an air conditioner or heat pump by 30%-50%. Instead of running full blast and then turning off, inverter-driven compressors run at a lower capacity for longer periods of time, decreasing the number of starts and stops.

2. They’re quieter.

Because the compressor ramps up gradually and only at the minimum speed, it reduces the sudden change in noise traditional air conditioners make when starting up. The noise made while inverter-driven compressors are running is also reduced when running at less than 100% capacity. You essentially get more consistent, lower noise levels which are less noticeable and bothersome.

3. They’re more comfortable.

The biggest benefit for many. Instead of wrestling with fluxuating temperature swings, inverters keep the temperature steady. It calculates exactly what speed the compressor should run at to keep your room at a set temperature. Because they’re almost always running in the background, they also do a great job of removing humidity from the air.