Refrigerant is a chemical that is present in all HVAC(heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) devices. This chemical plays a very important role in the cooling process.

The refrigerant chemical travels from one part of the AC to another while constantly changing its state from liquid to gas and back to liquid. This continuous change in state of the refrigerant absorbs heat and helps in cooling the room.

However, several refrigerant chemicals have been in constant scrutiny after experts have claimed them to be highly toxic for the environment. Since then, new variants of refrigerants have been introduced with additional safety measures.

The most common ones used these days are R410A and R32. In this article, we will discuss both of them to find out which one of them is better.

Why is the Right Refrigerant Important?

But before we do that let us first understand why you should pay attention to the refrigerant that is being used in the ACs;

Refrigerants are known to be very harmful to the environment. This is because all refrigerants belong to the family of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) or CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons). The HFCs and CFCs are commonly known for contributing to the greenhouse effect. These are gases that heat up the environment and directly contribute to global warming.

They do this because HFCs have the ability to absorb infrared radiations. The presence of these gases prevents the heat from escaping the environment and contributes to the greenhouse effect.

Due to the greenhouse effect the temperature of the planet rises and this rise in temperature can cause serious damages such as extinction of many animal and plant species, rise in sea level due to melting glaciers, frequent natural disasters etc.

What is R410A?


R410A was invented in the early 1990s to replace the R22 chemical that was being used as a refrigerant. This gas comes under the family of HFCs which means that it does not contain chlorine or bromine.

Chlorine is highly toxic and can cause significant damage to the Ozone layer of the environment. Therefore R410A does not cause damage to the Ozone layer but it still adds to the excessive rise in the temperature of the planet as it is a greenhouse gas.

R410A contains fluorine as a replacement for chlorine. It has a GWP or Global Warming Potential of 2088 which is higher than the R22 variant but R410A consumes less energy to operate hence is considered safer for the environment.

R410A uses a combination of two gasses i.e. R32 and R125 that require a high pressure to operate. Because of this it can be quite difficult to handle and needs equipment that are designed to handle such conditions.

What is R32?


R32 refrigerant is also an HFC that does not contain chlorine atoms. This is better than the R410A variant as the GWP (Global Warming Potential) of the R32 variant is 675 which is 1/3rd of the R410A variant. The R32 refrigerant also has zero ODP (Ozone Depletion Potential).

They are also more energy efficient and provide better cooling than R410A. These are the most commonly used refrigerants these days.

Difference Between R410A Vs. R32

Let us now compare the two on various factors to see which one is better;

Global Warming
Energy EfficiencyThey are goodR32 has better energy efficiency
Cooling EfficiencyThey can cool wellIs better than R410A at cooling
Ozone Depletion
MinimalZero ODP
Inflammability They are flammable under high heatThey are less flammable than
Refilling CostThe refilling cost is highThey use less product while refilling
hence the refilling cost is less
Easy to HandleDue to the high pressure and inflammability,
they are difficult to handle
They are comparatively easy to

Which one of Them is Better?

By the above comparison, it is clear that the R32 variant is better for the environment as well as the user. However, it is not the best refrigerant available in the market. Newer research has found better refrigerants such as R-290 and other HC (hydrocarbons) glasses that are safer for the environment.

Many developed countries have already stopped the usage of HCFs and popularized HC refrigerants. The Indian government is currently trying to phase out HCFs and introduce HCs refrigerant variants in an effort to minimize the environmental impact of these chemicals.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What is the latest refrigerant used in air conditioners?

Ans: The most recent form of refrigerants are HCs or Hydrocarbon refrigerants. They are completely Chlorine free and have the least potential for ozone depletion and global warming.

Some examples of HC refrigerants are, R-290, R-600A and more. They are already being used as refrigerants by many brands in India. However, they have one major disadvantage i.e. they are highly inflammable and can catch fire very easily which makes them quite dangerous especially in case of AC malfunctions such as refrigerant leakage etc.

2. Is R32 refrigerant dangerous?

Ans: The R32 variant is comparatively safer to the environment than other CFC, HCFC and HFC refrigerants. However, they are not better than HC refrigerants in terms of environmental safety.

It is also the safest refrigerant amongst all refrigerants as it is least inflammable which means it will not cause a fire hazard easily. In this regard, it is better than the latest HC refrigerants as well.