variable frequency drives are two different purpose products. VFD is for AC motor speed control, it’s not only change the output voltage but also change the frequency; Soft starter is a regulator actually for motor starting, just changing the output voltage. Variable frequency drive has all the features of soft starters, but the price is much more expensive than the soft starter and the structure is much more complex.
Variable frequency drive is converting power supply (single phase VFD and three-phase variable frequency drive.
Soft starter is a set of motor soft start/stop, light-load energy saving and various protection functions devices to control motors.
Soft starter uses three opposite parallel thyristors as regulator, plug it into the power source and motor stator. When using soft starter to start the motor, the thyristor output voltage increases gradually, and the motor accelerates gradually until the thyristor is turned on completely. The motor operates at rated voltage to achieve a smooth start, reduce starting current and avoid start overcurrent trip. When the motor reaches rated RPM, the startup process is completed, the soft starter uses bypass contactor to replace thyristor to provide rated voltage to the motor, in order to reduce the thyristor heat loss, extend the soft starter service life and improve efficiency, also avoid harmonic pollution to the power grid.