R32 Vs R410a Vs R22 Vs R290 Air Conditioner Refrigerants – What is the difference?

Thinking of Filling up gas into your air conditioner? Then you must have heard words like R32, R410A, R22, R290 being thrown around as the shopkeepers try to convince you that the one they have is the best.

This can get a little confusing when you don’t have all the pros and cons of each type of refrigerant to guide you while making the decision. well, worry not because we have made this decision easier for you by comparing the four and helping you decide which one will be the best one for your ac-


What is AC Refrigerant?

Modern air conditioners have refrigerants- a substance that absorbs heat from the surroundings and lowers the temperature. All Air conditioners are powered by a refrigerant that runs inside a coil made of copper.


R32 Vs R410a Vs R22 Vs R290 

R32 Vs R410a Vs R22 Vs R290 Air Conditioner Refrigerants

The most popular refrigerants today are R32, R410 A, R22, and R290 so let’s get an overview of them through the table given below followed by a detailed explanation of each type with its pros and cons-

R32 R410A R22 R290
Environment-friendly high medium low Very high
GWP(Global warming potential) 675 2088 1810 3
Depletes the ozone layer? no no yes no
flammable? Mildly flammable Not flammable Not flammable Highly flammable
Ownership cost low medium high medium


Authors note– GWP or global warming potential is the ability of a gas to trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere and aid global warming. it is measured in relation to one kg of coal.


What is R32? Advantages and Disadvantages 

What is R32 Advantages and Disadvantages 

R32 is a refrigerant which is a hydrofluorocarbon(HFC); they are the cousins of HCFC’S as they are both made of the same components – hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon. HFC is better than HCFC as they cause relatively less global warming effects and does not harm the ozone layer. 

The GWP of r32 is 675, which means that when compared to carbon, its impact on the environment is 675 times higher; though this may seem a large amount, this is significantly better than the other refrigerants, and it not harming the ozone layer is an added advantage. 

R32 is mildly flammable, but it is unlikely to ignite under normal circumstances. R32 using AC’S are easy to repair as it is not a mixture of gases, and hence the technician has to just check the pressure and fill in the gas.

Advantages of R32-

  • It is highly energy-efficient and provides better cooling at high ambient temperatures. Even at lower volumes, it can provide effective cooling, leading to smaller pipes being required.  
  • It is affordable and readily available; hence you will not have to work hard in procuring it. 
  • It is effortless to repair and hence brings down the cost of maintenance. 
  • It is non-toxic and eco friendly. 

Disadvantages of R32-

  • R32 is a mildly flammable refrigerant; though the risk of it catching fire under normal circumstances is low, it is a risk to be considered.


What is R410A? Advantages and Disadvantages 

R410A Gas

R410A is the same as R32 – a hydrofluorocarbon. The R410A has a GWP of 2088, which is a very high as it is 2088 times more than that of one kg of carbon. It is a mixture of R32 and R125 gases; hence, recycling it is difficult, leading to more strain on the environment. 

In the coming years, the Indian government is looking into phasing out HFC’s, but it still is a popular refrigerant used in ACs of North America and India. 

Advantages of R410A-

  • It is a non-flammable gas hence reducing the risk of a fire.
  • It is non-toxic and does not deplete the ozone. 
  • Compared to R22, it is cheaper, more efficient, and has less impact on the environment.

Disadvantages of R410A-

  • It lacks ease of maintenance, cooling capacity, and efficiency as compared to R32. 


What is R22? Advantages and Disadvantages 


R22 is a Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hence is a compound of hydrogen, fluorine chlorine, and carbon atoms.  

Even though the basic cooling methods have not changed, technology involving the use of R22 is fast becoming obsolete. It is one of the oldest refrigerants used and therefore is not that easily available today.

R22 negatively affects the environment; it has a GWP of 1810 and also depletes the ozone layer. Due to its high pollution causing nature, it has been banned in many parts of Europe. Many Indian AC brands still use it, but the Indian government is working towards phasing it out by 2030, so if someone tries to sell you an ac with the r22 refrigerant, it is best you decline and look for other more eco-friendly options.

 Advantages of R22-

  • R22 is non-flammable hence bringing down the risk of starting a fire.
  • It is not a mixture of gases; hence it is easily replaceable and helps make Maintainance easy.
  • It is non-toxic in nature. 

Disadvantages of R22-

  • It has low efficiency and significantly higher costs of ownership.
  • It is very harmful to the environment. 


What is R290? Advantages and Disadvantages 

R290 Gas

R290( propane) is a hydrocarbon which means it is made entirely of hydrogen and carbon. This makes it the most natural form of refrigerant as it naturally occurs in the earth’s material cycle. 

The GWP of R290 is a very small 3, which makes it very eco-friendly. R290 though a good option, is not popular as it is a class A3 refrigerant and hence highly flammable.  

 Advantages of R290-

  • It has an excellent thermodynamic performance, making it a highly efficient energy utiliser.
  • It is environmentally friendly and does not harm the ozone layer.
  • It is easy to recycle. 

 Disadvantages of R290-

  • It requires special handling due to its highly flammable nature.



Q. Why should one consider the refrigerant being used while buying an ac?

Refrigerants keep changing as new technology gets introduced. There is a risk of it becoming obsolete in the near future; hence, you should look into it before buying an ac to not increase your ownership cost in the future.


Q. Is R22 banned in India?

No, but as per the Montreal protocols, India will phase out R22 by 2030. Though it is still available, it is not advisable to use it as it greatly harms the environment.


Also Read: 

Best Air Cooler in India

Best Pedestal Fan in India

Best Ceiling Fans in India



Reading through the details of all the available refrigerants, you now know their advantages and disadvantages and the main differences between the four. This will help you make an informed decision while choosing a refrigerant for your ac. 

Comment below which point you found most helpful.

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