how much is an ac contactor


What is an AC Contactor?

An AC contactor is an electrical device used in air conditioning systems to control the flow of electricity to the compressor and fan motors. It acts as a switch that allows or interrupts the power supply to these components based on signals received from the thermostat. Without an AC contactor, it would be challenging to regulate the functioning of an air conditioning system efficiently.

AC contactors are essential components of air conditioning units, as they ensure that electrical current flows to the right parts of the system when needed. They play a crucial role in controlling the cooling or heating process, ensuring the system operates safely and effectively. In this article, we will explore the importance of AC contactors and discuss how much they typically cost.

The Functionality of AC Contactors

AC contactors are electromechanical devices designed to handle electrical currents of varying magnitudes. They consist of a coil, stationary contact, and moving contact. When an electrical current flows through the coil, it creates a magnetic field, which attracts the moving contact towards the stationary contact. This action allows electrical current to flow through the contactor and energize the associated components, such as the compressor and fan motors.

The primary function of an AC contactor is to establish and interrupt electrical circuits within an air conditioning system. When the thermostat detects the need for cooling or heating, it sends a signal to the contactor, which then allows electrical current to flow to the appropriate components. Similarly, when the desired temperature is reached or when the system needs to be shut off, the contactor interrupts the power supply, stopping the functioning of the system.

AC contactors are typically found in the outdoor unit of an air conditioning system. They are essential for preventing electrical overload or damage to the system, as they regulate the flow of current and protect the motors from overheating. Without a functioning contactor, the system could experience issues such as short circuits, motor burnout, or inefficient cooling or heating.

Factors Affecting the Cost of an AC Contactor

Several factors can influence the cost of an AC contactor. Understanding these factors is crucial, as it allows consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing a replacement contactor. Here are some of the key factors that impact the cost of an AC contactor:

1. Brand

The brand of the AC contactor plays a significant role in determining its cost. Well-known and reputable brands often charge higher prices due to their established reputation for providing reliable and durable products. These brands may offer additional features or warranties that can justify the higher price tag. On the other hand, lesser-known or generic brands may offer more affordable options, but they may lack the same level of quality and longevity.

2. Type and Size

AC contactors come in various types and sizes, each designed to handle different electrical loads. The size of the contactor is determined by the current rating it can handle, which is measured in amperes (A). Larger contactors capable of handling higher currents generally cost more than smaller ones designed for lower currents. It is crucial to choose a contactor that matches the specific electrical requirements of your air conditioning system to ensure optimal performance and safety.

3. Features and Specifications

Advanced features and specifications can also affect the cost of an AC contactor. Some contactors may offer additional functionalities such as built-in surge protection, noise reduction, or enhanced durability. These features can increase the price of the contactor but may provide added benefits and longevity to the overall air conditioning system.

4. Seller and Location

The supplier or seller of the AC contactor can influence its pricing. Prices may vary between different suppliers, online platforms, or local stores. Additionally, the geographical location can also impact the cost due to factors such as import/export fees, taxes, and transportation costs. It is advisable to compare prices from various sources and consider factors such as warranty, after-sales service, and reputation when making a purchasing decision.

5. Professional Installation

While the cost of the AC contactor itself is essential, it is equally vital to consider the cost of professional installation. Installing or replacing an AC contactor requires electrical knowledge and expertise. Hiring a licensed and experienced technician can ensure proper installation and prevent any potential damage to the air conditioning system. The cost of installation may vary depending on the complexity of the job, location, and the technician's rates.

How Much Does an AC Contactor Cost?

The cost of an AC contactor can range from around $20 to $200 or more, depending on the aforementioned factors. Basic contactors from lesser-known brands with lower current ratings can be found at the lower end of the price spectrum. On the other hand, contactors from reputable brands with advanced features and higher current ratings tend to be more expensive.

It is crucial to note that the cost of an AC contactor should not be the only consideration when making a purchase. Quality, reliability, and compatibility with your specific air conditioning system are equally important factors to consider. Investing in a high-quality AC contactor can ensure the proper functioning and prolonged lifespan of your air conditioning unit.


AC contactors play a crucial role in the overall performance and safety of air conditioning systems. They allow for the control and regulation of electrical current flow to the compressor and fan motors, enabling efficient cooling or heating of indoor spaces. When considering the purchase of an AC contactor, factors such as brand, type and size, features and specifications, seller and location, and the cost of professional installation should all be taken into account.

The cost of an AC contactor can vary significantly depending on these factors. While it may be tempting to opt for the cheapest option, it is important to consider the long-term benefits and the impact on the overall air conditioning system. Investing in a reliable and high-quality AC contactor can help prevent potential issues and ensure uninterrupted comfort in your indoor environment. So, when it comes to AC contactors, it's essential to strike the right balance between cost and quality for optimal performance and longevity.


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