Central air conditioner reviews 2020

Central air conditioner reviews 2020 DEFAULT

Note: This article only talks about the central air conditioner. If you are looking for a window AC or mini-split AC, you can read our Best Window Air Conditioners or Best Mini-split AC Guide.

How much does a central air conditioner cost installed? We answer that question in detail in this central AC price guide. The comprehensive discussion covers 4 important factors:

Each factor affects the price. When you read elsewhere that “the average central air conditioner costs $5,000 installed,” that information alone doesn’t tell you enough. For that cost, the unit could be a cheap, large and inefficient AC suitable for a large home in the North, or it could be a medium-sized, high-efficiency and high-quality model suitable for small homes in hot climates.

Here are the topics addressed in this Central Air Conditioner Price and Review Guide:

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Factors Affecting AC Unit Price

Let’s consider those 4 important keys to central air conditioner cost. This input will allow you to determine the ac unit that is right for your home.

1. Quality

Not all air conditioner brands offer similar quality. Here are the top companies divided by their place in the market. We’ve put brands together in parenthesis that have the same parent company and essentially the same product lineup:

  • Budget brands – (lowest cost, 12 to 16-year durability): Examples are Payne, Aire-Flo, Airtemp, Goodman and Ameristar.
  • Standard brands – (moderate cost, 15 to 18-year durability): Examples are (Heil, Arcoaire, ComfortMaker, KeepRite and Tempstar), (Armstrong and Ducane), (Rheem and Ruud), (Daikin and Amana), (Luxaire, York and Coleman), (Maytag, Broan, Westinghouse, Tappan, Frigidaire, Nordyne and NuTone), Bosch
  • Premium brands – (highest cost, 18 to 25-year durability): Examples are Lennox, (American Standard and Trane), (Carrier, Bryant and Day & Night)

Many sister brands make air conditioners that are identical except for the name. These air conditioner lists from Heil and Tempstar demonstrate the point.

Interestingly, all the brands in that group are owned by United Technology Corporation, the parent company of Carrier and Bryant in the premium category. This shows that UTC is seeking to capture consumers in various segments of the market. Lennox does the same thing with its Ducane and Aire-Flo brands.

2. Performance

Regardless of the quality niche they’re in, all brands make units in one or more of these performance categories:

  • Basic performance: These are single-stage central air conditioners with a SEER efficiency rating of 13-15. They are loud and might produce temperature fluctuations or cold spots in your home. All brands make “Basic” ACs.
  • Better performance: These are two-stage central air conditioners with SEER ratings of 16-19. They run on low, which is about 65 percent capacity, most of the time, so are quieter than single-stage units and cool more evenly. They’re more effective at dehumidifying your home too. Most brands make “Better” performance air conditioners.
  • Best performance: These are variable-capacity central air conditioners, called modulating or variable-speed by some brands. These units have compressors that modulate by very small degrees between 25 percent and 100 percent capacity with the result that the units are the quietest, most efficient, best at removing humidity and produce the most balanced temperatures. Variable-capacity ACs have SEER ratings as high as 26. These “Best” units are made by Standard and Premium brands.

3. Efficiency

The term SEER stands Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. Like gas mileage ratings, SEER is a rating of how many Btu’s of cooling the unit can produce for the electricity it uses. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit is.

Choosing the right efficiency rating for your purposes is discussed below.

4. Size (Ton)

Each residential AC model is produced in a range of sizes. Some start at 18,000 Btu while others start at 24,000 Btu. This is a measurement of the amount of heat per hour the units remove from your home. Most central air conditioner models increase incrementally by 6,000 to 12,000 Btu. The largest residential units are 60,000 Btu.

Within the industry, sizes are also spoken of in “tons”, a term that dates to using tons of ice to cool buildings. One ton of air conditioning capacity is equivalent to 12,000 Btu’s of cooling.

2021 Central Air Conditioner Prices

(Updated on Feb 9th, 2021)

Air conditioner prices are rising for a range of reasons including higher manufacturing costs, tariffs and the fact that today’s ACs are more efficient than ever before.

Because of that, we’ve updated pricing, so here are 2021 central air conditioner prices for all brands and ACs by size from 1.5 ton/18,000 BTUs to 5 ton/60,000 BTU.

What’s In These 2021 Air Conditioner Price Quotes?

The prices in the tables include everything – a complete system.

We’ve priced them in separate columns for:

1). Just the equipment

2). The whole system installed.

Most brands including the top names like Trane, Carrier and Lennox, are sold as a package: The equipment plus installation. You can only get them from local brand dealers and HVAC installers.

We itemize equipment and installation to see where your money will be going.

What’s in a Central Air Conditioning System?

A central air conditioner system is more than just the condensing unit – the outdoor unit usually referred to as the air conditioner.

If you sign a contract for a new air conditioning system, it will (at least should) include the following.

  • Condensing unit – outdoor unit
  • Indoor coil – housed in or near the furnace or air handler
  • Refrigerant line set to connect the coil in the condensing unit to the indoor coil
  • Refrigerant to fill the system, if the unit is not pre-filled or if the refrigerant line set is longer than usual.

Central AC Prices Table – AC + Installation

The prices in these table include all the equipment and materials plus AC installation labor cost.

Note: The price ranges are very broad for 2 reasons.

1). They cover all sizes, from 1.5 to 5.0 tons

2). They cover all series from basic to better to best, plus the lowest efficiency to the highest efficiency.

For example, Carrier makes Comfort (basic – up to 16 SEER), Performance (better – Up to 17 SEER) and Infinity (Best – Up to 21 SEER). Most brands make a similar range.

For a more detailed breakdown of costs, see our Brand Reviews and Price Guides for major air conditioner brands.

BrandEquipment OnlyInstalled Cost
Aire-Flo*$1,900 - $4,270$2,920 - $5,730
Amana$1,920 - $5,290$3,630 - $8,560
American Standard$2,470 - $7,000$4,300 - $10,620
Armstrong/Air Ease$2,300 - $5,660$4,070 - $9,750
Bryant$3,200 - $7,190$4,300 - $9,940
Carrier$3,420 - $7,680$4,620 - $10,860
Coleman$2,560 - $5,610$4,410 - $9,310
Comfortmaker$2,070 - $5,170$4,130 - $9,020
Daikin$2,320 - $5,540$3,820 - $9,900
Day & Night$2,310 - $5,090$3,760 - $9,070
Ducane*$2,110 - $3,950$3,410 - $7,050
Frigidaire$2,500 - $5,630$4,170 - $9,260
Gibson*$2,390 - $3,930$4,000 - $6,110
Goodman$1,590 - $4,080$2,850 - $6,920
Heil$2,090 - $5,300$3,730 - $8,990
Keeprite$2,090 - $5,240$3,650 - $6,700
Lennox$3,160 - $7,230$4,750 - $10,780
Luxaire$2,610 - $6,020$4,590 - $9,580
Maytag$2,310 - $5,580$4,490 - $10,070
Payne*$1,950 - $3,920$3,910 - $6,770
Rheem$3,460 - $6,660$4,730 - $9,410
Ruud$3,460 - $6,590$4,700 - $9,300
Tempstar$2,130 - $5,240$3,590 - $6,820
Trane$3,370 - $7,440$4,360 - $20
York$2,590 - $5,980$4,440 - $9,620
*Aire Flo, Ducane, Gibson, Payne and a few other brands make a limited range of basic ACs.

See costs in your areaEnter Your Zip Code

Prices might vary slightly from page to page on Pick HVAC. This is because we consistently monitor and update AC prices to give you the most accurate numbers available.

Central AC Prices by Unit Size

If you know what size unit you have or need, this chart will help you narrow your cost.

We’ve included a rough idea of home size, but you cannot be sure of the size AC unit you need without a pro technician doing a load calculation, such as a Manual J, that measures 10+ factors including home size, style, construction materials, door/windows, climate and more.

Here are central air conditioner prices by size.

AC Unit SizeHome SizeEquipment CostInstalled Cost
1.5 tons600 - 1000 sf$1,880 - $3,460$2,840 - $4,620
2.0 tons1001 - 1300 sf$2,260 - $4,290$3,410 - $5,740
2.5 tons1301 - 1600 sf$2,700 - $5,090$3,610 - $6,700
3.0 tons1601 - 1900 sf$3,050 - $5,830$4,590 - $7,930
3.5 tons1901 - 2200 sf$3,400 - $6,560$4,860 - $8,970
4.0 tons2201 - 2600 sf$3,470 - $7,020$5,060 - $9,360
5.0 tons2601 - 3200 sf$3,820 - $7,590$5,750 - $11,170

Central AC Installation Cost and Extras

How much does it cost to install a central air conditioner?

$1,400 – $3,500 | Central Air Conditioner Installation Cost for Labor

This cost is based on many factors including:

  • Brand name – Carrier and Bryant cost more than Heil and Day & Night even thought the equipment is nearly identical and all brands are owned by United Technologies Corporation (UTC)
  • Difficulty of the installation
  • Distance from the condensing unit (outdoor unit) to the indoor coil
  • Size of the AC unit and coil – more refrigerant is needed for larger systems, and refrigerant is expensive
  • Who you hire (general AC installer or brand-certified installer)
  • Size of the installation company (smaller companies with less overhead sometimes charge lower rates)
  • Where you live – Cost of living in your area will affect AC installation cost

This price includes everything – removing old AC equipment, if needed, setting the new condensing unit, installing the new indoor coil, replacement of the refrigerant lines and topping off the system with refrigerant if necessary.

Itemized AC Installation Costs

Here’s a breakdown of costs associated with the installation of a new or replacement central air conditioner. As noted, refrigerant line, refrigerant and indoor coil are included in the above costs.

The prices below show where your money is going – or where you might need to spend extra money for system components like a condensing unit pad, ductwork, thermostat or zoning controls.

Brand New Ductwork: If your house has never been installed with an HVAC system before, you need to pay extra money for it.

$2,000-$4,000 | Quality R-6 insulated ductwork

Related Article: HVAC Ductwork Cost Guide

Condensing unit pad: Most installers won’t put a condensing unit directly on the ground, so a pre-fab pad can be used or a concrete slab can be poured.

$20-$150 | Condensing unit pad

Refrigerant lineset: There are two lines. One carries refrigerant from the coil in the condensing unit to the indoor coil; the second returns the refrigerant to the outdoor coil. Linesets from 20 to 50 feet are produced; length affects cost.

$120-$400 | Refrigerant lineset

Evaporator coil: This indoor coil can be a cased coil that installs on top of your furnace or an uncased coil that installs in the furnace cabinet. The indoor coil, known as the evaporator coil, collects heat from the air circulating over the coil. The heat transfers into the refrigerant, and it is carried to the outdoor coil where it is released. As heat is removed from the air, the indoor coil gets cold enough to condense moisture. Drier air in summer is more comfortable. The condensed moisture is collected in a drain pan. The evaporator coil must be sized to the capacity of the central air conditioning system.

$175-$500 | Uncased evaporator coil

$225-$575 | Cased evaporator coil

Thermostat: If your new central air conditioner or complete HVAC system has features the old one didn’t, you’ll probably need to replace your thermostat. You might want to do this anyway if you currently don’t have a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat that allows you to monitor and control your heating and cooling using your smartphone and an app.

$12-$100 | Non-programmable thermostat

$15-$124 | Basic programmable thermostat

$135-$500 | Wi-Fi programmable thermostat

HVAC Zoning Controls:

The cost of zoning system is typically around $2,000 to $3,500 depending on the number of zones. For more information, read our HVAC Zoning System Cost Guide.

Other HVAC Optional Add-ons: There are a couple of optional add-ons you may have heard of. Those of you, who are interested in them, can take a look at:

What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?

Getting the right size ac unit is essential to your indoor comfort and to the durability of the system. An AC unit that is too small will work too hard and might not cool the space effectively. This will also lead to premature mechanical failure. A unit too large will over-cool your home, creating temperature swings. The unit might also short-cycle, a malfunction that can destroy an AC compressor in the condensing unit.

Before having a Manual-J calculation made, you can get a pretty accurate estimate of the size unit you’ll need with the following information.  First, find your location on this US Climate Zone map below.

Image Source: basc.pnnl.gov

The hotter your climate is, the more cooling power you’ll need per square foot of your home. This is a quick reference:

  • Zones 1 & 2 (hot): 22-30 Btu/sq. ft.
  • Zone 3 (warm): 20-24 Btu/sq. ft.
  • Zone 4 (moderate): 18-22 Btu/sq. ft.
  • Zone 5 (cool): 16-20 Btu/sq. ft.
  • Zone 6 (cold): 14-18 Btu/sq. ft.
  • Zone 7 (very cold): 12-16 Btu/sq. ft.

To give you an idea of how these numbers might translate into your home, let’s turn them into central AC unit sizes for an average house of 2,000 square feet in each of the climate zones:

  • Zones 1 & 2 (hot): 2,000 x 24-30 = a 44,000 to 60,000 Btu (4.0-5.0 ton)
  • Zone 3 (warm): 2,000 x 20-24 = a 40,000 to 48,000 Btu (3.5-4.0 ton)
  • Zone 4 (moderate): 2,000 x 18-22 = a 36,000 to 44,000 Btu (3.0-3.5 ton)
  • Zone 5 (cool): 2,000 x 16-20 = a 32,000 to 40,000 Btu (2.5-3.5 ton)
  • Zone 6 (cold): 2,000 x 14-18 = a 28,000 to 36,000 Btu (2.0-3.0 ton)
  • Zone 7 (very cold): 2,000 x 12-16 = a 24,000 to 32,000 Btu (2.0-2.5 ton)

The range in sizes is the result of factors related to your home’s construction. In short, homes with more insulation, energy-efficient windows and doors and light-colored roofing need fewer Btu’s of cooling.

Summarizing the sizing of a central air conditioner, keep in mind:

  • A home in a cool climate requires a smaller central air conditioner than the same home would need in a hot climate
  • A replacement AC should be smaller if the home’s insulation has been upgraded or other energy-efficiency modifications have been made
  • A replacement AC should be larger if additional space, such as a finished basement or converted garage, is to be air conditioned

What Efficiency (SEER) is Right for You?

How efficient should your central AC be? If eco-friendly heating and cooling is the highest priority, then buy the most efficient system you can afford. Since the most efficient ACs are also the best performers, the answer is the same if superior indoor climate control and comfort is your goal.

When cost-efficient air conditioning of your home is what you want, finding the right balance between equipment cost and energy cost is the key. Referring to the Climate Zone chart again:

  • Zones 1 & 2 (hot): 18 SEER and up
  • Zone 3 (very warm): 17-18 SEER
  • Zone 4 (warm): 16-18 SEER
  • Zone 5 (moderate): 15-16 SEER
  • Zone 6 (cool): 15-16 SEER
  • Zone 7 (cool): Up to 15 SEER

The above SEERs are roughly estimated. We also developed a SEER Savings Calculator to help find a better balance between equipment cost and electricity cost.

There are a few more factors to consider.

Moist air is harder to cool, so if high humidity is common in your area, then getting a more efficient AC Units will reduce energy costs and make your home more comfortable.

The longer you intend to live in your current home, the more cost-effective a very efficient central air conditioner will be because its higher cost will be recouped when spread over more years.

If you plan to sell soon, you won’t get the long-term energy cost savings of an efficient air conditioner. However, keep in mind that some potential buyers will want to know how efficient your AC is, especially in warm and/or humid parts of the country.

Best Central Air Conditioner Reviews by Brands


Related Article: Best Central Air Conditioner Brands 2021

Note: Before you dive into brands/companies reviews, we strongly recommend you spend 70% of your research time on finding a qualified contractor. HVAC system is not a traditional appliance and most brands are reliable.

You may be also interested in the brand’s comparison posts:

Checking Contractor’s Background

Actually, 80% of repair problems are caused by bad installation instead of bad brands or units. Checking a contractor’s background is essential to ensure skill, experience, good reputation and certification.

Start by checking whether the contractor is certified by a trade organization such as the HVAC Excellence or North American Technician Excellence. To check their reputation, the Consumer Affairs Office and the Better Business Bureau are good sources of information such as complaints. For more information, you can read 6 Hacks Of Choosing an HVAC Contractor

Submitted AC Unit Cost and Reviews

ModelPriceHome LocationHome Size
Trane XL18, 5 ton$11,500Eatonton, GA2100 sq ft
New larger return, remove manufactured home system & block, new thermostat, new wiring and breaker. 0% financing and military discount.
Trane XR16$5,475Stuart, Florida1935 sq ft
Air handler and ac outside replacement 3.5 ton outside unit and variable speed air handler
Trane XV18, Trane XC80$21,400Allen, TX4600 sq ft
2 systems. XV18 5 ton variable speed a/c. XC80 2 stage 100000 BTU 5 ton variable speed furnace. Trane 5 ton cased coil. Trane ComfortLink II XL 1050 thermostat. Includes: emergency drain pan, drain switch, thermostat, A/C pad, driers, acid scavenger. New plenum and combo box with Honeywell media filter. 2 additional 12x10 returns. Standard Trane Warranty. Dealer's free 5 year bi-annual maintenance. 10 hour, 2 crew attic installation. Removed old systems.
Carrier comfort series 24AAA5$13,000(Include Ductwork)Chatsworth, CA2350 sq ft
LA County must have Ultra low NOX furnaces. This includes new ducting in the attic and they will wrap the metal fiberglass wrapped ducting in the garage to make it look nicer. Also includes the iwave R air purifier. I had 5 estimates with LENNOX topping out at 18k. Only one company was slightly lower but they quoted me on an 80k BTU furnace and I currently have 100k. The company I went with is a family owned company that appears to be very professional. Install is scheduled next week. Everything is Carrier including the thermostat. They originally quoted 14188 but I offered 13k and they agreed. My current LENNOX unit is 41 years old and still blows cold but every summer we cross our fingers that it does not go out and finally decided its time. If this new one lasts 20 years I will be happy and 81 years old.
Carrier Performance 14 Compact 24AHA4$7,500San Diego2017 sq ft
The price including the following items:
Condenser Carrier 24AHA448 Left wing of the house Condensing unit, slim line, up to 15 SEER 4 ton
Furnace Carrier 58SB1A090E2116 Garage Comfort 80% , Single Stage Heating , ECM Blower Motor
Evaporative Coil Carrier CNPVP4821ALA Garage Evaporative coil, high efficiency
Lennox ML14XC1-041$4,139Boca Raton, FL1600 sq ft
Original cost was $4,987. Instant rebate of $698 for payment in cash. Utility rebate $150. Although the salesperson indicated that the water pump was included, it was not included in the sales contract. However, there were issues and delays during the installation and we got the water pump "for free". The condenser was damaged. Lennox did not have the replacement part or another condenser. We got the condenser the following day.
Lennox XC20$15,534Mesa AZ1753 sq ft
4 ton Lennox Xc20 and furnace SL280 with s30 thermostat and one new duct to master bedroom
Amana ASX16-048-1F$4100 Installed w/ evap coreMississauga, Ontario3500 sq ft
19 year old Amana RCC42A2B 12 SEER condenser had broken down. The cost of repair (replacement of cracked and now discontinued condenser coil) was quoted to be 3 week lead special order at 50% of the newer and 20-22% more efficient 16 SEER unit. Evaporator core in the airhandler (furnace) had to be replaced because the old system was running on R-22 refrigerant and all new ones run on R-410A. Looked at perfectly matching Lennox unit EL16XC1 (and it came in at 5.3% cheaper), however, based on existing relationship with local Amana dealer decided to stay with the brand and it's newer product line for their post sales customer support and fast emergency service response times.
American Standard Silver 15$4690.00 PLUS TAXPORT TOWNSEND, WA.1530 sq ft
Included air handler, american standard model tem6aob30
Armstrong 4SCU14$5150 installed with separate gas heat unitGardendale, AL1700 sq ft two story (850 sq ft per floor)
Replaced a 30y/o Rudd unit on 6/1/19 with this Armstrong unit based on Consumer Reports reliability ratings and local HVAC guys recommendation. Already have had to replace the inside coil due to Dirty Sock syndrome (caused by using recycled aluminum to build the coil cheaper-bacteria builds up on the coil easier due to the porous nature of it) and then the compressor fan failed about a month ago. So two warranty issues in less than a year. It does cool well but is somewhat noisy compared to my Rheem unit that I still have for 2nd floor. Now looking to replace my Rheem unit due to age but probably going to spend the extra and go Trane.
Daikin 3-ton 16 seer (DX16SA0371)$11,000.00Norwalk CA1200 sq ft
First time install for this house without any HVAC before. Full install.
Day & Night FEM4x4800BL$11,000(Include Ductwork)Costa Mesa2000 sq ft
2 phase. Current house at 958 sq feet to then expand when we finish remodel to 2000 sq feet. includes all new duct work and brand new installation (no old unit). they are replacing a Split. Also, the attic is short which make install difficult. 9000 for phase 1 and 2000 more when they come back in 1-2 years to get the rest of the new build of house
Goodman GSX14$8,200(Include Ductwork)Slidell2330 Lower + 2500 Upper
New Construction of a 2 unit duplex, upper and lower. Seperate systems and ductwork.
Payne PA15NC 4-ton$4,500Brentwood,CA1810 sq ft
This is to replace my 18 years old Trane XL14i outdoor condenser unit only.I kept the old American Standard evaporator coil and Trane furnace, because dealers charge $2000+ for a new coil and another $2000-3000 for furnace replacement.The technician came to cut the old unit off and haul it away, install new unit, braze the 2 lines, do linesets flush and Nitrogen pressure check, vacuum the air out from the system, release the factory pre charged N410A into the coil and add more according to the line length.It runs quietly,much smaller than my old one, so far so good, I don't expect this could last for 18 years, 12-15 years would be appreciated.
York PHE4824$6,900Pioneertown2000
Unit is on the roof. Need a crane to replace the existing one (25-28 years old)
This table is based on local customers feedback and online submitted information, we will update this table every 3-6 months to keep this up to date. Last Update: Jan 2021


How to Get the Best Air Conditioner Prices

  • Firstly, keep in mind that installation quality is always the most important thing for residential HVAC project. So never sacrifice contractor quality for a lower price.
  • Secondly, remember to look up the latest rebates as we talked above.
  • Thirdly, ask for at least 3 bids before you make the decision. You can click here to get 3 free estimates for your local contractor, and this estimate already takes rebates and tax credit into consideration and filter unqualified contractors automatically.

Lastly, once you chose the right contractor, remember to use the tactics from this guide: Homeowners Tactics When Negotiating with HVAC Dealer to get the final best price.

Are you in the market for a complete HVAC system? See our Heating and AC Unit Combo Prices or Gas Furnace Cost for complete information on heating.

Sours: https://www.pickhvac.com/central-air-conditioner/

The best central air conditioners for 2020 is the focus of this Central AC Buying Guide. Which brands and models are best? Several of these well-known brands don't make the list including Lennox!

These are units you can expect to give you 15-20 years of reliable service when you give them annual TLC/maintenance and periodic minor repairs. Many last more than 20 years!

The best central air conditioners for 2020 are:

  • Carrier 24VNAO Infinity 20 Air Conditioner
  • Heil Ion 19 Air Conditioner
  • Rheem Classic Series RA17 Air Conditioner
  • Amana ASXC 16 Air Conditioner
  • Bryant Evolution 187B Air Conditioner
  • Trane XL 16i Air Conditioner
  • York LX Series YCG Air Conditioner
  • Goodman GSX14 Air Conditioner

We’ve chosen the best central air conditioners based on:

1). Quality of the parts used – an AC is a sum total of its components. Special emphasis is placed on the service track record of the compressor, the key piece of equipment in an AC condensing unit – the outside unit.

The coil quality is also a major concern, since some brand’s like older York models were known to fail way too early. York has improved the problem in recent years.

2). Service record of the air conditioners. Industry statistics show which brands and models demonstrate the best reliability.

3. The best ACs in each performance tier – and there are three (3):

Most brands make three tiers of central air conditioners: Single-stage, 2-stage and variable capacity air conditioners.

Efficiency tends to go up with performance, but there is some overlap.

If you’re looking for the Most Efficient Central Air Conditioners of 2020, that’s a different Buying Guide. They are almost all variable capacity.

But the best? Not always.

We’ve chosen the best air conditioners for 2020 for each performance tier.

Note on Ratings: All the ACs in this list get good ratings. That’s why they’re here. There are plenty of 3-star ACs out there. This list includes only the best.

Best Variable Capacity Central Air Conditioners

These are also known as the best modulating air conditioners. The compressor runs at as little as 25% or 40% depending on the model.

They run at the lowest capacity or speed possible to keep indoor temperature exactly where your thermostat wants it. The compressor adjusts in tiny increments up or down to hit the mark with precision.

The performance benefits of staged cooling mentioned in the Best 2-stage Section below are magnified for variable capacity units – the best control of temperature, humidity and noise (quietest).

The downside, in our professional opinion, is communicating technology.

Some AC technicians swear by it; others swear at it. Performance is great – when it works.

They are wary of it because it occasionally fails, and the components stop communicating. This affects performance and might prevent the unit from running at all.

If your HVAC salesperson discusses communicating technology, ask about problems and what has been done by that particular brand to solve potential problems. If they tell you there are “no problems,” well, that isn’t true. Do a little research with videos like this one.

Part of the problem is that every brand is using proprietary technology, so no common solutions are being found.

OK, with that in mind, here are the two best variable capacity air conditioners we can recommend. They are among the most efficient central air conditioners too.

Carrier 24VNAO Infinity 20 Air Conditioner


This unit has been on our list of top rated air conditioners for years because of its record of dependable cooling. It was one of the first modulating ACs and it continues to prove its value.


As it is also known, the Carrier Infinity 20 with Greenspeed Intelligence was the first of its kind when introduced about 2010. In its first decade of use, the Carrier Greenspeed AC has proven its quality. As the first variable capacity AC from the major brands, it has a longer track record of reliability than any other.

Did you know?Carrier and Bryant offer a product lineup that is identical. The Bryant Evolution Series 180C air conditioner is the same unit, and you might be able to find it locally for a little less. Just make sure the installer is a Carrier/Bryant certified installer to get the best installation for your money. Using our Free Local Estimates service can help you get the best installation for your money – and the quality of the installation is every bit as important as the quality of the air conditioner.

Here is our Carrier Infinity 20 Review / Carrier 24VNAO Air Conditioner Review

  • Efficiency: Up to 20.5 SEER
  • Pros: Proven durability over a decade of use. Good efficiency and humidity control.
  • Cons: Not as efficient as some variable capacity central air conditioners. Warranties are average.
  • Quality Rating: 4.5. Carrier uses parts of proven quality from Emerson and some of the best manufacturers in the industry.
  • Features Rating: 5. This unit removes humidity better than most and is very quiet.
  • Warranty Rating: 4. The 10-year parts warranty is average. Many brands offer better warranties.
  • Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5. Carrier costs more, but Carrier uses premium parts.
  • Cost Range: $7,300 – $8,800.
  • Good choice for: Very warm, humid climates when premium efficiency and humidity control are top priorities.

Heil Ion 19 Air Conditioner

Heil is the best know brand of a manufacturer called International Comfort Products, or ICP (not to be confused with the Insane Clown Posse).

ICP makes Heil, Arcoaire, Day & Night, Tempstar, Keeprite, Comfortmaker and other identical brands. Most are regionally sold, so if you don’t have a Heil dealer in your area, it’s likely there is an AC contractor that sells one of the other brands.


Why so many identical brands? The HVAC equipment market has consolidated quite a lot in the last 15 years. Many large manufacturers have bought up small brands. Instead of making each an independent brand with its own equipment, the manufacturers have chosen the best designs and used the designs for all the brands. It cuts cost while maintaining the appearance of giving you options. If you can’t find this unit in Heil where you live, it should be available from one of the sister brands.

What sets Heil and other ICP central air conditioner brands apart is the excellent warranties offered, which are discussed in the Heil Ion 19 Ratings below. The Heil Ion 19 is one of the best 2020 central ACs due to its features, efficiency and ratings.

  • Efficiency: Up to 19 SEER, 13 EER
  • Pros: Top quality and outstanding warranties.
  • Cons: Not sold everywhere. But if you can’t find a Heil dealer, look for another ICP brand dealer.
  • Quality Rating: 4.5. Heil/ICP is owned by UTC, the parent brand of Carrier and Bryant. The fact is, ICP air conditioner brands are identical to Carrier and Bryant air conditioners but are sold at a much lower cost to meet the demands of a wider range of customers.
  • Features Rating:4.5. This unit has a 5-stage compressor to optimize indoor climate comfort. It is WiFi compatible with the Heil app.
  • Warranty Rating: 4.5. Heil offers a 10-year parts warranty, which is average. But the compressor and coil have a 10-year replacement warranty. If either fails in the first 10 years, the entire outside unit/condensing unit will be replaced, not just the individual part.
  • Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5. This is a high-quality AC as are the sister brands.
  • Cost Range: It’s a good value compared to the Carrier Infinity unit – $6,200 – $7,400
  • Good choice for: Any home in a hot and humid climate when you’re willing to risk problems with a variable capacity air conditioner. All the Heil ICP air conditioners are worth considering when comparing central air conditioner brands.

Best 2-stage Central Air Conditioners

Two-stage or two stage air conditioners are those with two operating capacities. Low capacity is about 65% of capacity for most brands. High, of course, is 100%

What’s the point of two stages? These units run on the low capacity most of the time. This provides better control of the indoor climate:

Temperature – Operating on low means a less likelihood of the unit over-cooling your home, a problem leading to temperature imbalance of a couple degrees.

Humidity – Cycles are longer on the lower capacity, so air is more consistently pulled over the very cold indoor coil. Moisture from the air condenses on the coil and exits your home through the condensate drain. Two-stage ACs remove about 25% more humidity than single-stage ACs.

Noise – The low setting on most central air conditioners is 4-7 decibels quieter than high.

Here are the best 2 stage air conditioners for 2020.

Rheem Classic Series RA17 Air Conditioner

This is the RA17 non-communicating model, not the Classic Plus RA17 with communicating technology as an option. We recommend a non-communicating HVAC system.

Rheem and its identical sister Ruud (another result of consolidation) have boosted quality and warranties in the last 5 years. Efficiency too. The results are impressive – a whole new lineup from one of North America’s most trusted brands. That’s why the RA17 is one of the best 2020 central air conditioners.

  • Efficiency: Up to 17 SEER and 13 EER
  • Pros: Rheem uses Copeland UltraTech compressors. Copeland is widely acknowledged to make the best compressors in the industry.
  • Cons: This unit is only made in 2-ton and 3-ton units. It is available in 2-5 ton models in the communicating version, so that’s an option if you need a size larger than 3 tons/36,000 BTUs.
  • Quality Rating: 4.5. Rheem is a Paloma Industries brand, and Paloma has improved quality and warranties to match demand in the last few years.
  • Features Rating: 4.5. This unit does a good job dehumidifying and cooling any home. Rheem also makes connections easier. Installation goes faster, and that can reduce labor cost.
  • Warranty Rating:5. For years. Goodman/Amana and ICP/Heil air conditioners ruled the warranty battle. Since about 2017, Heil has backed its best units including this one with a ten-year unit replacement warranty. If the condenser or coil fails while under warranty, Rheem will replace the entire condensing unit, not just the part.
  • Overall Rating: 4.67 out of 5
  • Cost Range: $6,275 to $6,800. Remember it’s available in 2-ton and 3-ton models.. The cost of the RA17 communicating AC in 2-5 tons is $6,500-$8,900.
  • Good choice for: Any homeowner that wants improved humidity control without the high cost of a modulating/variable capacity central air conditioner. The solid warranty is also attractive.

Amana ASXC 16 Air Conditioner

Amana HAC

Amana is a well-known brand. In 2005, upstart Goodman bought Amana. Then in 2012, global HVAC giant Daikin bought Goodman and Amana along with it.

Goodman/Amana had a reputation as the cheap air conditioner brand, but that was already changing when Daikin bought Goodman and Amana. The three brands are identical in the models all make.

Today, Daikin, Goodman and yes, Amana, are made with parts in the top tier for quality and durability. Amana warranties are the best central AC warranties available. Here's what you get with the Amana ASXC16:

  • Efficiency: Up to 17 SEER
  • Pros: Two-stage cooling, Copeland internal components, two-speed fan for quieter operation, Energy Star efficiency and a great warranty.  
  • Cons: Optional ComfortBridge communicating technology. Salespeople try to sell the option to “optimize indoor comfort,” but it costs $500+ and you likely won’t notice much improved comfort or cost savings on energy use.
  • Quality Rating: 4.5. Amana is a solid brand with improved quality since Daikin bought it in 2012.
  • Features Rating: 4.5
  • Warranty Rating: 5. Amana offers a lifetime warranty on the compressor. If it ever fails the first homeowner at the home of original installation, Amana will replace the entire outside unit.
  • Overall Rating: 4.67 out of 5.
  • Cost Range: $5,800 – $8,100
  • Good choice for: Anyone that wants a solid, 2-stage central AC backed by the best warranty available. It’s a decent value in terms of cost too.

Bryant Evolution 187B Air Conditioner

Carrier makes an identical two-stage central air conditioner, but we chose the Bryant model because it is slightly less expensive. That’s all.

If you have a Carrier dealer you really like, as them about the Carrier Infinity two-stage air conditioner that is identical to the Bryant Evolution 187B.


These units are very dependable and efficient. Warranties aren’t great, but that does not reflect on quality. Mostly it is a reflection on the higher cost to produce the units and Bryant’s desire to protect its profits against warranty claims.

  • Efficiency: Up to 17 SEER
  • Pros: High quality, quiet operation.
  • Cons: Higher cost than many two-stage central ACs (but a little less than Carrier.)
  • Quality Rating: 5 – Among the best.
  • Features Rating: 5 – All the best features including WiFi connection through the App and Evolution Connex thermostat (but a little pricey).
  • Warranty Rating: 4. It’s just 10 years for all parts.
  • Overall Rating: 4.67 out of 5.
  • Cost Range: $6,200 – $9,000
  • Good choice for: Those willing to pay a little more to get one of the best 2-stage central air conditioners will appreciate this unit.

Best Single Stage Air Conditioners

A single-stage air conditioner runs full blast whenever your thermostat wants cooler air.

That’s fine if your expected use fits one or more of these conditions: You climate is dry, so dehumidifying isn’t the top priority, you don’t use the AC much (cooler climates) or buying an affordable central air conditioner is your purpose.

Trane XL 16i Air Conditioner

Trane makes some of the best HVAC equipment in the world. We could have included Trane air conditioners among the best variable capacity and two-stage ACs too. But we chose to wait till the single-stage models because most of them are “junk.” Trane’s are quality.

Independent studies show Trane is about equal with Carrier in reliability. American Standard HVAC equipment including central air conditioners are identical with Trane. Here are reasons to consider the Trane XL 16i:

Efficiency: Up to 16.5 SEER

  • Pros: Rock-solid quality. Trane, American Standard, Carrier and Bryant are the cream of the crop.
  • Cons: They cost more too.
  • Quality Rating: 5
  • Features Rating: 4.5
  • Warranty Rating: 4.0 – Just 10 years on all parts. No special warranty for the compressor. No unit replacement warranty.
  • Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5
  • Cost Range: $6,000 TO $8,400
  • Good choice for: Trane enthusiasts who, like Bryant buyers, are willing to pay more to get  a premium-quality central AC.

York LX Series YCG Air Conditioner

We’ve been producing the Top Rated Central Air Conditioner posts since 2011. We know air conditioners. And so it is with complete confidence in the data that we can say York was once junk but now it is among the top third of brands.

Johnson Controls owns York and makes identical brands to York – Luxaire, Coleman and Champion. About 2014, Johnson Controls realized its coils had issues. They failed (leaked, mostly) at a much higher rate than most. The global HVAC and controls company invested the money and resources needed to determine the issue and solve it.

The York air conditioners you can buy today are a significant upgrade from what was available just a few years ago. This York LX Series YCG AC delivers good value for the money spent.

  • Efficiency: Up to 17 SEER
  • Pros: Compact design. Reliable operation.
  • Cons: Warranty is so-so.
  • Quality Rating: 4
  • Features Rating: 4.5
  • Warranty Rating: 4
  • Overall Rating: 4.167
  • Cost Range: $5,700 – $7,600
  • Good choice for: Homeowners that want a unit that costs a bit less and will serve them well for 8-12 years. The unit will last up to 20 with maintenance and repairs, but dependability isn’t as good after year 10 as Trane and Carrier.

Goodman GSX14 Air Conditioner

Goodman Manufacturing Heating and Air Conditioning

Let’s be clear from the start.

1). Daikin now owns Goodman and has improved quality significantly. Daikin is one of the largest HVAC manufacturers in the world, and selling junk would hurt its reputation. Due to quality upgrades, Goodman rates among the top brands for durability. Goodman has always used Copeland parts, and Copeland is a proven winner for quality and reliability.


2). Goodman air conditioners continue to have some of the best warranties available.

  • Efficiency: Up to 15 SEER
  • Pros: Good quality, good warranty, good value due to affordable cost.
  • Cons: Not as efficient as others on this list. So it’s not a great choice for very warm, humid climates.
  • Quality Rating: 4
  • Features Rating: 4
  • Warranty Rating: 4
  • Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 A 2-year unit replacement warranty comes with the 10-year parts warranty. The best Goodman models have longer compressor warranties.

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Best Central Air Conditioner Review 2021

Best Central Air Conditioner


A central air conditioner system is quite a major investment whether for the home or the workplace, so it’s vital that you choose a system that not only delivers value for money but also meets your needs. Picking the best central air conditioner from the range of products available is not an easy task if you don’t know what to look for. Our reviews team has undertaken research to find out which are the best central air conditioner appliances that are best suited to a wide range of pricing points.


If you are looking for the best central air conditioner, it’s important to remember that brands really do matter. However, we have subjected all of these best central air conditioner units to the same scrutiny, highlighting the best features and value for money delivered by each.




Why Buy the Best Central Air Conditioner?

Without a solid way of cooling your home, the summer months can be a big challenge. Having a central air conditioner installed is the perfect way to make life comfortable for you and your family. Over the years, the best central air conditioner units have been improved and developed to provide a long-lasting, eco-friendly and refreshing cooling effect.

The best central air conditioning units will use any existing ducts in your home to ensure you maintain the temperature of your choosing. Window units don’t this, swamp cooler also doesn’t work to create even temperatures. Choosing the best central air conditioners will allow you to control the flows of air around your house unlike conventional air conditioning products (which tend to be lacking in consistency and optimum comfort).

The best Central air conditioning units are not cheap. However, a once-off investment will reap rewards for many years. Choosing a quality product that cuts down on energy usage will enable you to cool your home saving money in the long run and cutting down on your carbon footprint. The Season Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) will clearly tell you how efficient a product is. When selecting one of the best central air conditioner units the higher the SEER score the better it will be at minimizing electricity usage.

Having the ability to remotely control the temperature of your home is one of the features of the best central air conditioner units. Not only is this feature efficient, but it is also exceptionally user-friendly. Remote access allows you to keep on top of how the unit is performing if there is a sudden change in the weather. The Modern best central air conditioner units in our review are also now compatible with a wide range of other thermostat-related products.

Modern AC units are remarkably quiet. You will be locating the best central air conditioner you choose outside your home so the last thing you want is a noisy machine. The levels of noise produced by AC units differ quite a lot. Choosing the best will produce a noise level below 60 decibels (conversation level) and will also include features aimed at reducing the levels of noise produced – fan designs, compressor and pan base insulation, and multiple fan settings.

The best Central air conditioner units in our review vary in size and shape. Choosing the one for you will depend on how big your home is and your local climate. There is a simple rule of thumb when making a decision – a large unit will cool a relatively big space. Make sure you discuss the best option for you with your contractor and remember that choosing the correct unit size will ensure you are also ensuring optimum unit effectiveness.



The Best Central Air Conditioner Units That Are the Most Energy Efficient


Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Lennox

Those who choose the best central air conditioner units will look at units that are quiet, energy efficient and reliable when needed most in the depths of summer. The best central air conditioner units we reviewed all did just that. However, our survey found that the Lennox central air conditioners went that bit further. The number of extra features Lennox offers is extremely advanced giving you the extra advantage of maximising energy usage. They simply are the best when it comes to their SEER ratings, which come in at between 13 and 26 – the quietest machines we came upon when conducting our best central air conditioner unit review.


Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Amana

The range of best central air conditioner units by the Amana Corporation is worth considering. In terms of SEER these products come it at between 15 and 24.5. Other features include special coil/temperature sensors and speed adjustable fan motors. The range also offers a lifetime warranty. Whatever the temperature of levels of humidity outdoors these products are designed to maximise comfort ensuring a cool environment in your living space.


Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Trane

The best central air conditioner units produced by Trane are some of the best the market. They perform extremely well, they keep temperatures comfortable in the toughest of climates and boast durable designs that ensure an environmentally friendly output in warm environments. With an SEER rating of up to 22 their energy efficiency can be trusted.



Best Central Air Conditioner Units With the Best Warranties


Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Goodman

There are 5 best central air conditioner products in the Goodman range. When it comes to noise pollution they all can be trusted but don’t fare so well when it comes to energy efficiency. Having said that, if you are replacing an older air conditioning unit you will probably still save some money on your electricity bill. The Goodman range offers a lifetime warranty, not something you see too often in the world of central air conditioners.


Best Central Air Conditioner Review: American Standard

When conducting our best central air conditioner reviews energy efficiency was an important factor. American Standard Heating and Air Conditioning’s range of products come up trumps in this regard. Their SEER ratings are high meaning you have lower electricity bills from the moment you start using the unit. American Standard also offers a very reasonable 12-year warranty, giving you peace of mind for a long time.



Why a Professional Should Install Your Best Central Air Conditioner Unit

You want to maximise your new unit’s potential. Unless you have technical experience, we do not recommend you undertake the installation of any of the best central air conditioner units in this review without expert help. Installing yourself means you run the risk of causing irreparable damage to your new machine and resulting in reduced performance. A worst-case scenario is that your render a new product unusable or cause you or a family member injury. You must be aware that the EPA have certifications required in terms of refrigerants. Installation of new machines also requires an understanding of wiring and you must be skilled in securely anchoring the unit. Simply put – we recommend you don’t attempt installation yourself without specific skills. Professional help will give you peace of mind, save money in the long term and ensure the safe, secure operation of your new central air conditioner into the future.

You will want to choose the best contractor out there so some research may be required. A quick scan of installer reviews on Google or other review sites will give you some idea. Remember, the cheapest contractor price isn’t necessarily the one to go for. You are making an investment in your home and you want to ensure the first step you take in installing your unit is the best one. Investing a few extra dollars to ensure a quality finish to the job can reap rewards in the long run.



Best Alternatives to Central Air Conditioning

You will want to consider the product best for you. If your local climate is very dry then a swamp cooler might be the product for you. This machine will add moisture in the cooling process, the opposite to what a central air conditioner will do. Swamp coolers tend to be cheaper and there is less installation required.

The limitations of Swamp coolers must be acknowledged. They don’t cool your home as well as central air conditioners and require regular inspection in terms of water supply. Swamp coolers tend to introduce microbes into the home, something that might not be so welcome for sufferers of asthma. Mould has also been identified as a cause of concern, as Swamp Coolers produce extra humidity.

Heat pumps are another option. Heat pumps can both cool in the summer and produce heat during winter. During the summer months a heat pumps behaves almost exactly the same as a central air conditioner. It is during winter that the difference will show. Heat pumps don’t work well in climates that become very cold in winter. If you live in an area that gets very cold winters you may end up having to resort to using the furnace. If you live in a mild climate, however, you may just want to consider a heat pump as the option for you.



Best Central Air Conditioner Review: What is a SEER Rating?

The Air Condition, Heating and Refrigeration Institute is the body that defines the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) of each unit. SEER tells you how much energy you will need to use in order to cool a space. If your unit has a high SEER rating it will be considered efficient. In our Central Air Conditioning Reviews we scored products better if they offered high SEER ratings.

SEER ratings have dramatically increased over recent years. From average ratings of 5 or 6 some years ago, modern products are now scoring into the 20s. The minimum SEER require today (as determined by the US Dept of Energy) is 13 or 14, depending on climate. The products with higher SEERs tend to also have higher price points. You may need to do some consideration as to the length of time it may take to actually save on your energy bill.

Making a decision on what air conditioner to choose can be difficult. However, our Central Air Conditioner Reviews clearly show how far the market has come over recent years. Whatever product you go for we can safely say that the product we reviewed are efficient, less noisy and have the best design quality than ever before.



1. Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Amana


In this Amana air conditioner review we focus on the range of central air conditioners created by the Amana Corporation offer excellent SEER Ratings ranging from 14 up to 24.5 meaning energy efficiency is strong. A range of extra features make the product extremely desirable. With temperature sensors, adjustable fan motor speeds and a valuable lifetime warranty the Amana air conditioning units will cool your home environment comfortably even if you live in a climate that is particularly warm or humid.

Every hour the Amana air conditioning units will cool at up to 57,000 British thermal units (Btu) per hour, one measurement of an air conditioner’s capacity. With up to 24.5 SEER energy performance, the Amana air conditioner units are cost efficient. SEER is a measurement of the level of energy required to cool effectively. Rules as set out by the United State Energy Department prescribe that a minimum of 13 SEER is required. Amana units far exceed this requirement, something that gives a clear indication that the Amana central air conditioner that you choose will go a long way towards helping you save money on your energy bill every year.

The Amana central air conditioner also features a chlorine free R-410A refrigerant. This feature is intended to ensure your Amana air conditioner lasts longer than other and is reliable during its lifespan.

One of the most desired features of any new air conditioning unit is how quiet it is. The Amana air conditioning units do this job well. If quietness is what you are looking for then these units reach just about 71 decibels. Simply put, if you don’t want to disturb the neighbours then we can safely recommend the Amana air conditioning units. These products are not the quietest when it came to others we reviewed but certainly noise won’t be an issue should you decide to purchase an Amana Central Air conditioner.

In order to operate these air conditioners, you will require 34.8 circuit ampacity along with overcurrent protection at a maximum of 60. Voltage require is set at a minimum of 197 with the maximum voltage set at 253. It is important that you ensure your home is able to support these specifications before choosing to purchase one of these products. Running at 2 speeds to ensure energy efficiency, the Copeland High-Efficiency Scroll Compressor is a useful feature. With temperature sensors as well as coil sensors also included as features the Amana air conditioners review does do well.

The range of Amana air conditioners we reviewed didn’t top our review list but they look great and simply do what is required of them. The Amana range come in a solid gray colour to allow them to discreetly fit outside your home environment with becoming an eyesore.

If you are in any doubt about the Amana air conditioner review then the fact that these units offer a lifetime guarantee might just be the decision maker for you. This is not a feature that you see in every air conditioner product. If you find any working problem with Amana units and feel that it needs replacing Amana promise to send a new working unit (provided you haven’t moved address). The Amana air conditioner reviews also show that all parts contained within the product are covered by a 10-year warranty making this product one of the best air conditioning unit products you will see on the market.


Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Summary

During the summer months, you can be rest assured that the Amana air conditioner will keep you cool. These are simple products with some stand out features such as quality SEER ratings, quiet operating systems, slick design and warranties to last a lifetime. Advanced features such as Copeland High Efficiency Scroll Compressor and an energy-saving two speed setting are welcome additions. The Amana air conditioner will keep costs low whilst allowing your home to be comfortable, cool and welcoming.

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2. Best Central Air Conditioner Review: American Standard


The American Standard air conditioner review showed us that when it comes to energy efficiency these products score well. When reviewing the best central air conditioners out there, energy efficiency is just one important factor to take into account but an important one at that. American standard air conditioner products score well in terms of SEER ratings. SEER ratings clearly show the energy usage required to operate the units allowing you to understand how high your energy bills are going to be every year. Every American Standard Central air conditioner offers a warranty lasting up to 12 years giving you peace of mind when it comes to your product’s long-term life.

There are a number of factors that can have an impact on energy efficiency. However, once your new product is installed correctly the American Standard air conditioning units hit an SEER score of up to 22, not topping our SEER leaderboard but certainly up there with the best.

The efficiency of the American Standard air conditioner is greatly helped by its unique AccuComfort feature. This technology is designed to allow the unit to adjust slowly and amend its temperature as opposed to just the old on/off facility of older models. You can therefore set your unit to perform at whatever setting is suitable for a specific time or location. You can even set the unit to perform with a 1% increment. What this means in the run is money saved. You can be precise in your requirements of the American Standard Central air conditioner units. The AccuComfort feature also allows the product to be extremely specific (within half a degree of the setting of your home thermostat). Whilst these products do qualify for the Energy Star designation as set out by the EPA, the do not achieve the Energy Star Most Efficient designation.

The American Standard air conditioning reviews identify its adjustable compressor speeds as a key factor which helps control the amount of energy consumption the product uses. This factor also results in huge improvements when it comes to controlling humidity. Your American Standard Air Conditioning units will be in operation more than its two stage competitors which will result in more moisture being removed from the air

American standard air conditioner reviews show that they are very quiet. This can be put down to the fact that they have a more consistent operation life than others – this reduces the powering up sounds created by regular restarting of units. These units also feature insulation that allows any noise the unit generates to be eliminated at source. The Durabase pan which is provided and on which your conditioner rests allows any possible corrosion or cracks to be eliminated.

With a tasteful grey colour design, these products will fit seamlessly into your home landscape. They are sturdy units with a quality design finish of louvred steel which will protect your coil whist ensuring sufficient airflow. Screws are designed to resist rust, are zinc coated and prevented from corrosion. The appliance grade finish the product features will prevent any unwanted intrusion from the elements and maintain its working capacity.

The American Standard air conditioner website not only gives you the information you need but the products also come with a 12-year compressor warranty and a 10 year parts warranty. Compared to other units in our review we found this to be more than fair.


Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Summary

The American Standard Air Conditioner reviews showed that whilst the units don’t come out on top in the SEER ratings, they do very well. The American Standard Ari

There are outdoor air conditioners with higher SEER ratings – but not much higher. The American Standard Air Conditioner units are very efficient resulting in an added bonus in that you save money on your electricity bills from the moment you start using the products. The units manage to avoid the need to regularly turn off and on and the multi-stage compressor allow the unit to minimise energy usage whilst also ensure the product provides you with a humidity level that is comfortable.

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3. Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Bryant


When it comes to saving energy, the Bryant air conditioning units might be what you are looking for. The Bryant air conditioner is one of the best in terms of energy efficiency. Extra features include a refrigerant which is deemed ozone-safe as well as a specialized louvered coil guard. Choosing a Bryant central air conditioner will save you money. It will keep you cool, comfortable and comes with a lifetime warranty.

The Bryant air conditioner doesn’t perform as well as others in our review when it comes to its SEER rating. SEER is a measurement of the level of energy required to cool effectively.

A 21 SEER performance is enough to allow the product to exceed the minimum SEER of 13 but doesn’t top our performance list. The United States Dept of Energy sets certain standards in terms of efficiency and the Bryant air condition units meets these criteria. The Bryant range didn’t top the list but if you are replacing an older model with the Bryant central air conditioning units you should see an immediate improvement in terms of energy bills.

The Bryant air conditioner reviews show us that the product scores well in terms of noise output. With an output level as low as 73 decibels your choice will ensure your neighbours will sleep well at night. Putting this figure into context, 73 decibels is about the same noise output as your average dishwasher.

The Bryant central air conditioner uses a special refrigerant called Puron. This environmentally friendly refrigerant doesn’t do any damage to Ozone and is considered safe. The Bryant air conditioning reviews also found the units avail of an 8-pole motor system. A two-stage scoll compressor enables a standard thermostat to be supported. The product also features a high/low pressure switch.

In terms of design the Bryant Central air conditioner scores well. With a DuraFlow louvered grill to cover coil, the unit also features a unique DuraGuard protection. This special feature both protects the unit from inclement weather and aides reliability and durability. The design also features galvanized steel which ensure the unit will stand exposure to all types of weather conditions.

We know that, at times, things go wrong with our household devices. A long-lasting warranty can be an attractive feature. The Bryant central air conditioner offers a very fair warranty policy should things go wrong at any point in the product’s lifetime. A 10-year warranty is offered for all parts contained within the units. Even better the Bryant air conditioner reviews show that the company offers a welcome lifetime warranty that adds real value when it comes to choosing the air conditioning unit that is right for you. The Bryant air conditioner isn’t unique in this regard but do take into account when making your choice.


Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Summary

When it comes to noise emission or energy usage the Bryant central air conditioning units are a good choice. The products boast a very quiet sound output and a 21 SEER performance is very reasonable. The Bryant range has some very distinctive design features that could sway you. The DuraFlow features such as the louvered grille or the DuraGuard protection against the elements really will help protect your unit and ensure a durable, working lifespan. Should anything go wrong have the fallback of the excellent lifetime guarantee.

The Bryant range has plenty to offer, they will do the job you need them to do and tick the boxes in most of the categories we looked for in a quality AC unit.

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4. Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Carrier


We need welcome cool respite when summer heat kicks in and the Carrier Central air conditioning units provide welcome relief. The Carrier air conditioner makes use of a two-stage compressor system to control how quickly the airflow moves through your home whilst also allowing you to set the temperature of your choice. In terms of noise the Carrier central air conditioner is quieter than most of the other products we reviewed. When it comes to energy efficiency the Carrier air conditioner reviews showed a respectable score. One of their key features is the unique Weather Armour technology which gives you peace of mind that your new Carrier central air conditioner will stand up against inclement weather throughout the year without being damaged.

Energy Star qualifications mean a unit meets the criteria set by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Carrier Central air conditioner is Energy Star qualified. Most of the Carrier air conditioner reviews showed that the SEER ratings offered by the products come in at between 13 and 21. The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) as recommended by the EPA is currently set at 15 meaning the Carrier air conditioner will work well for you in terms of saving money on your electricity bill. If one of your criteria for purchasing a central air conditioner is respect for the environment then the Carrier Central air conditioner will meet your needs and help reduce your carbon footprint. It must be noted, however, that other products we reviewed offered SEER ratings of up to 24.5 so the Carrier central air conditioner didn’t top our review list, but certainly meet any environmental criteria out there.

Humidity can be uncomfortable and when choosing a good quality air conditioner this is something you may wish to address. The addition of a refrigerant called Puron means the Carrier air conditioner units will offer a cooling effect to your home but reduce any humidity in the air also. This process is aided by the addition of the two-stage compressor that will allow the Carrier air conditioner to run for a longer period at a reasonably slow speed. This will eliminate the stop/start process seen in older models and save money in the long run. A Carrier Central air conditioner will give you the desired effect of comfortably cooling your home environment when needed most.

One of the unique features that comes with a new Carrier central air conditioner is an Infinity Touch Control system that works via a downloadable app on your home computer or other mobile devices. Via this app you can remotely adjust the temperature of your home and ensure a comfortable living space from the moment you arrive home.

When it comes to noise emission our Carrier air conditioner reviews showed a good score. These products are not noisy. In fact, with a decibel level hitting just 65 the Carrier Central air conditioner is one of the quietest on the market.

We need a good air conditioning unit during the summer months but with the onset of winter and harsh weather conditions, there is always the fear of long lasting damage to the unit. With their special WeatherArmor feature the Carrier Air conditioning units are designed to withstand such difficult weather conditions. They are guaranteed to be durable and therefore should have a longer working life than others on the market.

The Carrier Central air conditioner reviews also highlighted the inclusion of a steel, louvered coil guard as a feature. This, along with the WeatherArmor protection means you have extra peace of mind when it comes to how reliable and how durable your new unit will be. In terms of design, the galvanized steel outer core along powder-coated paint adds to its durability. Then comes the warranty. The Carrier Central air conditioner comes with a parts warranty of 10 years and a 10-year warranty on the unit itself. Not the best warranty offer when compared to other products on the market but certainly respectable.


Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Summary

In terms of energy usage and efficiency the Carrier Central air conditioners don’t top our review list but do the job. Extra advanced features in terms of the technology used give the desired cooling effect to your home whilst also offering the extra bonus of removing humidity from the air. The special WeatherArmor gives an added lifespan to the product and overall, we believe the Carrier Central Air conditioner reviews show us a product that is worth considering, will cool your home well and even save you money in the process.

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5. Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Coleman


With a good SEER ratio the Coleman central air conditioner boasts an Energy Star Most Efficient distinction. These products are also designed to cool your home comfortably without being noisy or disturbing your neighbours.

When conducting our Coleman air conditioner reviews we investigated the noisy factor and found that these units produce the same level of noise as your average home dishwasher. The decibel levels produced come in at around 69 dB meaning they will not cause noise pollution whilst in operation. One of the key problems with a lot of central air conditioners is the noise factor. You want a product to do the job without keeping you awake at night. The Coleman air conditioner ticks the box in this regard. You will sleep soundly at night as the Coleman air condition units work to keep your home cool and comfortable. The Coleman Central Air Conditioner also features a WhisperDrive system including a specially designed swept-wing fan. The Coleman air conditioner reviews also highlighted their specially insulated compressor compartments as well as a base pan which is designed to reduce the levels of noise produced by the units.

The Coleman central air conditioner offers a special thermostat which is operated by touchscreen technology. This Communicating Control is specially designed by Coleman. When using this function, the Coleman Air Conditioning unit will give the units everything required to meet every requirement to receive the Energy Star Most Efficient designation. Energy Star ratings are set by the Department of Energy in order to ensure all new products conform to guidelines set to maximise energy efficiency. Our Coleman Central air conditioning reviews showed that the Coleman air conditioning units are one of only two units to qualify for both the Energy Star award as well as the Most Efficient distinction.

You will want peace of mind when it comes to how high your energy bills will be every year. You will be safe with a Coleman air conditioner. These units will save you a lot of money in the long run in comparison to some of the cheaper products found on the market. Whilst you may save money at the outset if you decide to go with a cheap air conditioner, you will notice those savings disappear quickly as your energy bills come in. The Coleman Central Air conditioner will cost you more instore. However, their ability to efficiently cool your home means those dreaded bills will put a smile on your face. They cool well. They are cheap to run meaning you will save in the long run. They are also designed to last longer than cheaper products. Your investment will be worth it in the long run. The Coleman Air Conditioner features power-painted steel and slotted inlet coils guards which give a strong, sturdy design that will combat the harshest of weather conditions.

The level of Customer support offered by Coleman is second to none. Every product fully supported by an easy-to-use and informative website. The products are also supported by a respectable 10-year compressor warranty as well as a 10-year parts warranty.


Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Summary

When it comes to Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios, there are few units on the market that will provide quality air conditioning as cheaply and as efficiently. With their added tech features these units also allow you to control them remotely from your smartphone or tablet mean they are very competitive in the air conditioner market. With a Coleman Air Conditioner you will have a cool, comfortable home, you will save money in the long run and have peace of mind should anything go wrong for up to 10 years.

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6. Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Frigidaire


Choosing the right product means understanding features and making sure the product and brand you choose is the best for you. One of the best products we came across was the Frigidaire air conditioner. The Frigidaire central air conditioner does its job well. One of the key features found in our Frigidaire air conditioner reviews was it energy efficiency. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio boasted by Frigidaire air conditioning units come in at 20 which, although not the best score in the modern market, certainly outperform any older models in terms of saving energy consumption.

The Frigidaire central air conditioner are designed to operate in a different way to others we reviewed. The feature two-stage compressors which allow the units to operate at varying speeds instead of just shutting down and restarting. This is a helpful feature which is also bolstered by the introduction of inverter-rotary technology. This special Frigidaire central air conditioner feature allows the cooling of your home to be more even. The feature also works continuously making the cooling effect constant and ensuring the product maximises efficiency in terms of energy usage.

The Frigidaire air conditioner isn’t just scoring well in terms of the savings you make on bills and their energy efficiency. The inverter rotary technology feature also allows the units to work on the levels of humidity in the air. By maintaining the humidity level at that desired by the user, the effect can be rewarding. You will see a huge change in terms of the levels of moisture in the air. Your room won’t become sticky and uncomfortable when the unit is in its off setting.

The Frigidaire air conditioner don’t cause the dreaded noisy effect. They are specially designed to work quietly and our Frigidaire air conditioning reviews show us that they can operate at as low as 57 decibels making them come in as one of the quietest air conditioners available on the market. Think about it this way: when we hold a normal conversation the level of noise created is just about 60 decibels so your Frigidaire air conditioner operates almost at a whisper. In comparison to older models the difference will be noticeable.

Frigidaire central air conditioners are designed to be long lasting. When put up against the most inclement weather conditions they will stand up against the toughest of environments. They feature polyurethane finishes which protect and ensure they can endure wind, rain, sleet or snow. A 950-hour salt test as part of the product development gives peace of mind and proves their strength. You won’t have to worry about corrosion with these units. Your unit will be cooling your home for many years and you want them to last. Frigidaire air conditioning units will last. Their compact design means they will fit neatly into your home environment.

If anything goes wrong (and we don’t expect it will) you can be content in the knowledte that these units come with 10-year parts warranty and the extra boost of Frigidaire’s 10-year Comfort Quality Pledge which guarantees you will have a replacement. There are other units on the market that offer lifetime guarantees but we think a 10-year warranty is perfectly acceptable.


Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Summary

Frigidaire central air conditioners don’t give you the dreaded noisy effect. They are quiet and they are extremely cost effective in terms of energy efficiency. They have a fantastic design the give you powerful cooling effect along with the best levels of performance we looked for when conducting our comparisons.

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7. Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Goodman


When it comes to energy efficiency they don’t score so well. Having said that they will certainly perform better than older models out there so if you are simply replacing an older model you will be saving on your annual energy bill. The Goodman air conditioning units also have a lifetime warranty which you don’t see offered by all other new models on the market.

The Goodman central air conditioner is designed to comply with any guidelines set by the Department of Energy. Our Goodman air conditioning reviews meet those requirements to ensure they receive an Energy Star award from the Environmental Protection Agency. Goodman is a company that takes pride in the conservation of energy. The Goodman air conditioning units have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio of 18 meaning they perform well in terms of saving energy but don’t necessarily top our list of the best performing air conditioning units.

When it comes to the environment the Goodman Central air conditioner offers a R-410A refrigerant. This means it is environmentally friendly. The chlorine free agent is designed to be kind to the ozone layer without affecting the job the Goodman central air conditioner is designed to do. These products boast a two-stage scroll compressor allowing the units to operate with few moving parts resulting in an effective cooling effect without using excess energy.

Our Goodman central air conditioner reviews highlighted their compressor sound blanket which is manufactured from a high-density foam and is designed to minimise the levels of sound produced by the Goodman air conditioners. Sound or noise is not something to be concerned by when considering purchasing Goodman central air conditioning units. They emit a decibel level of 71dB which can be considered relatively quiet but not topping the list of the quietest units available on the market.

The Goodman air conditioner is easy to maintain. The units contain diagnostics internally which enable the user to create 6 individual codes and ensure you are made aware of any potential problem developments. There are a range of access points which will allow you to easily maintain upkeep and make any repairs very simple.

The Goodman air conditioner reviews shows us that these products offer a fantastic lifetime warranty, something we found to be a stand out feature of the Goodman central air conditioning units. In the highly unlikely event of your Goodman air conditioner failing you, as the original purchaser, are entitled to a replacement unit. This offer will only apply if you are still a resident of the original address. The various parts contained within each unit are guaranteed for 10 years, giving you extra peace of mind.


Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Summary

Goodman air conditioning units will save you money on your energy bills when compared with older units. They are also considered to be quality air conditioning units that offer sustainable energy-efficiency. They are not the most efficient product on the market but their strong, sturdy design means they will last a long time. They are kind to the environment and the lifetime warranty offered gives you peace of mind that your unit will last you for many years. They provide cool, comfortable and refreshing home environment and are certainly worth considering.

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8. Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Lennox


You will most of all want to find a product that will cool your home during those hot, sticky summer months. You also want to save on the bottom line, finding a product that is energy efficiency. Finally, you will want to purchase a unit that is quiet. The Lennox air conditioner will tick the box in all of the above but will also do much more. The Lennox Central air conditioner offers extra features that will give them a USP over many others in our survey. The Lennox air conditioning units score very well in terms of their energy efficiency. With an SEER rating of in between 13 and 26 the Lennox air conditioning reviews show that the Lennox air conditioner beats many of its basic rivals.

There are some factors in terms of energy efficiency that cant be controlled by air conditioning units but when the settings are correct you can expect to score an energy efficiency ratio of up to 25 with the Lennox air conditioner. You wont see a better energy score out there in terms of central air conditioners. The Lennox central air conditioner boast options that are solar ready as well as technology that allow you to control your device from any smartphone or tablet device. The Lennox air conditioning reviews we conducted showed that Lennox air conditioning units stand out in terms of efficiency.

One of the reasons that Lennox air conditioning reviews score so well in terms of energy efficiency is the fact that they run at varied speeds thanks to their compressors. Old models would have offered one stage compressors meaning your unit was either in an off or on setting. The Lennox air conditioner uses a compressor allowing you to set your unit at many differing levels of output and power usage. They can be adjusted within 1% enabling the user to set the level of their unit at just the right setting for their home ensure comfort and money saving.

A special iComfort Wi-Fi Touchscreen Thermostat comes as a feature of some Lennox air conditioners. This extra feature allows you to save energy and spend. This feature works with the Lennox central air conditioner to enable you to set the temperature of your home remotely. By availing of the thermostat you are in a position to turn the air conditioning when away from your home and ensuring the temperature is just at your like the moment you return home. This smartphone enabled technology work at any time, anywhere. You won’t be wasting money cooling an empty room. If you forget to turn it off you can do so remotely.

There is no comparison with older models. Compared to those bulky, awkward units from a few decades ago you wont be hearing any rattling coming from the Lennox air conditioning units. They are designed to be quiet. They on emit a decibel level of around 59dB (about the same noise level as your average conversation at home). You wont be woken from your slumber with a Lennox air conditioner.

The Lennox air conditioner reviews also show us that they are sturdy. Their design, using galvanized steel and a zinc coated base, allows the units to stand up to the toughest of weather conditions. Their SmartHinge louvre means you can access internal part from a number of angles and allowing for easy maintenance of the units.

Add to this the 10 year warranty that is offered by the Lennox air conditioner along with a 10 year parts warranty and you will have a unit that will last for a long time. Lennox air conditioning units get on with the job they are designed to do without you worrying about problems down the line.


Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Summary

The Lennox air conditioning reviews we conducted clearly showed a high-quality air conditioner units that is an excellent choice when choosing a home cooling product. These units are energy efficient and quiet. They are made of sturdy stuff and come with a warranty that will give your mind peace for many years. In comparison to other products we reviewed we can assure you that the Lennox range stands out from the pack.

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9. Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Rheem


Choosing a quality product that cuts down on energy usage will enable you to cool your home saving money in the long run and cutting down on your carbon footprint.

Rheem air conditioning units will do the job when it comes to saving you money. Featuring excellent energy efficiency solutions along with strong long-lasting design features the Rheem central air conditioner will provide the user with a safe, effective cooling affect and a durability allowing the unit to last whatever the weather conditions it may be exposed to.

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio offered by a Rheem air conditioner scores at around 17, not as strong as other units but certainly an improvement on older models we became accustomed to. The Rheem air conditioner reviews also showed the units feature a special diagnostics system to ensure efficient productivity.

When cooling our home, the last thing we want to be dealing with is the unwanted presence of moisture or mould. The Rheem air conditioning units controls the airflow in your home meaning it will eliminate any of the moisture that will ultimately result in the presence of mould in your home. The Rheem air conditioner also boasts an on-demand setting that allows for dehumidification. Along with a two-stage compressor you can effectively control how comfortable you home will be.

The Rheem air conditioner reviews our team conducted show the presence of a Comfort Control 2 System on most Rheem air conditioners. The advantage to these is that they offer up to 32 onboard diagnostics and fault codes meaning it is relatively easy to identify any potential or existing faults within the Rheem central air conditioner. If a serious problem arises you will be alerted.

The Rheem Central air conditioner also features a louvered jacket that protects internal elements such as its coils from the harsh effects of difficult weather conditions. Manufactured from galvanized steel the unit is long lasting and designed to stand up to harsh elements. The Rheem air conditioner reviews identified removable grilles and easy access to the interior of the unit making maintenance easy and ensuring your unit is kept safely in working order. There are also removable service panels. The grilles will also ensure the protection of the unit from any unwanted moisture, keeping it free from any long-term damage.

In case serious problems do arise, a 10-year unit replacement warranty and a 10-year parts warranty are in place. A lifetime unit warranty would be ideal, but the 10-year warranty is adequate.


Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Summary

There are many features to the Rheem central air conditioning units that are worth noting. Their low SEER ratings are not top of our ratings list but will give you a much better efficiency than any of the older models out there. Their strong, sturdy design means they withstand harsh weather conditions. Thrhhemeir excellent design ensures easy access to internal parts meaning you keep on top of any potential problems. With strong compressors the Rheem air conditioner design will mean your home is kept cool and comfortable during the uncomfortable summer months. By choosing a Rheem central air conditioner you will be making a good choice.

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10. Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Trane


Trane Air conditioners are some of the best units you can buy. The Trane air conditioning units perform very well and manage to keep your home with a comfortable cooling effect whatever the condition of the elements outside. The Trane central air conditioner is kind to the environment. They feature strong design elements that allow the unit to last long and stand up to the many difficult weather scenarios it will face during its lifetime. The Trane air conditioning reviews show us that their Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio comes in at around 22 meaning they come up at the top end of our efficiency studies.

If humidity is something you encounter often then you might want to consider a Trane air conditioner. The Trane central air conditioner features the TruComfort tag which means the unit is specially designed to take on humidity. The unit will run for longer at a lower speed ensuring moisture is removed from your home efficiently, cheaply and consistently. Where the Trane air conditioner differs from old models is that they traditionally turned off for periods thereby allowing moisture build up meaning your room was sticky once again before the unit powered up again. The Trane Central air conditioner will remove moisture, and keep it away.

The best Central air conditioning units are not cheap. However, a once off investment will reap rewards for many years. Choosing a quality product that cuts down on energy usage will enable you to cool your home saving money in the long run and cutting down on your carbon footprint. The Season Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) will clearly tell you how efficient a product is. If your central air conditioner has a high SEER score you better it will at minimising electricity usage.

Trane central air conditioners provide up to 22 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) performance. The higher this is the more efficient you will find your new unit. The Trane air conditioner reviews we conducted showed that by choosing a Trane product you will ensure you are saving money in the long run. There are not many other units in the comparison we conducted that beat the Trane Central air conditioner in terms of efficiency.

Trane air conditioners not only save money but are kind to the environment also. They feature specially designed aluminium coils with fins allowing them to boost the flow of air around your home. This feature also counteracts the onset of corrosion and any leaks seen in older models have been eliminated. The Trane air conditioner is ozone friendly and uses a R-410A refrigerant meaning you are doing your bit to keep your carbon footprint as low as possible.

Using the specially formatted ComfortLink II feature, Trane central air conditioners are up there with the most state of the art units on the market. ComfortLink is a relatively new communication technology which allows you to connect to your air conditioning unit remotely. If you have a busy lifestyle and like to have your home temperature perfect when you get home from work then this feature will allow you full control. It will also ensure you make the most of your new unit in terms of energy usage and efficiency. Be warned – a monthly subscription is required in order to make use of some of the most advanced features but we believe it’s worth it.

Our Trane air conditioner reviews identified a 10-year warranty on Trane air conditioners. You also receive a 10-year warranty on internal parts and the special coil. Not the best warranty out there but certainly worth considering.


Best Central Air Conditioner Review: Summary

Trane central air conditioner units stand out in many ways. They are sturdy, they last a long time, their design keeps them safe from harsh weather conditions and they are energy efficient. You won’t be making a bad decision by choosing a Trane product and will also be in a position to avail of some of the newest smart technologies to make the best use of your new air conditioning unit.

They have many standout features, including a durable, protected design and communicating technology that makes it possible to control your entire heating and cooling system from anywhere using your smartphone. The addition of a lifetime warranty would make it even better, but overall, Trane units are a strong choice worthy of your consideration.

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Sours: https://www.airconditioner.reviews/best-central-air-conditioner/
HVAC Brand Overview: Carrier, Bryant, ICP Brands, Payne, Tempstar, Day and Night, Comformaker

The perfect air conditioner is one that slides gracefully in and out of your window, cooling you quickly and efficiently with nary a peep, and it’s also consistently available at an affordable price. In other words, it doesn’t exist. But the U-shaped Midea U MAW08V1QWT is the closest thing we’ve found to that ideal. We’ve been researching, testing, and recommending window ACs since 2012, and this Midea model is quieter and more energy-efficient than any other window AC we’ve ever tested—and as a bonus, it lets you keep using your window through the summer.

The Midea U MAW08V1QWT is simply the quietest air conditioner we’ve ever tested, but that isn’t the only reason it stands out from the crowd. It also has an inverter compressor, which means it uses almost half as much energy as non-inverter ACs. And unlike traditional air conditioners, which typically lock your whole window in a closed position as long as they’re installed, the Midea U has a unique U-shaped design that allows you to continue opening and closing your window as normal (if you want to get better circulation going, for example). As part of this design, Midea also moves most of the louder hardware to the back of this unit so that it sits outside the window, using the glass as an additional buffer layer to further mute the sound. In addition, it comes with its own bracket—about a $100 value—which locks firmly into the sliding tracks of your hung window. The AC is Energy Star certified and Wi-Fi–enabled, too, with easy and convenient smart-home integration. But there is one catch: the installation process. Though the process is easier than it looks, it’s still more involved than installing your typical AC, and you won’t get much helpful advice by reading any of the four instruction manuals that come with the Midea U.

If you’re looking for a more traditional window AC, the GE PHC08LY is the quietest one available, and it’s also better-looking than most. In its dedicated Quiet Mode, it’s comparable to the Midea U in volume; even with the compressor running and the fan high, it’s still quieter than the average conversation or any other AC that we’ve tested. The touch-sensitive controls and soft LED lights give it a classy, futuristic feel, and GE’s recently updated smart-home integration allows for seamless, natural voice commands. It’s also one of the few models we’ve seen with Apple HomeKit integration, as well as location services, which you can use to automatically turn the AC off when you’re not home (or on when you are). This model is not quite as energy efficient as the Midea U (though it is Energy Star certified), nor does it come with its own safety bracket, but it’s also much, much easier to set up than our top pick, and it’s just as pleasant to live with.

We like to think of the Frigidaire FHWW083WBE as the Old Faithful of window air conditioners. We’ve been recommending it (or its nearly identical predecessors) since 2014, and it has consistently proven to be a reliable and affordable option. It’s a little louder than our other picks (though still quieter than most ACs), with a less-pleasant mechanical growl that’s more pronounced when you run it at lower settings. But it still cools the room quickly and efficiently, and it typically costs less than our other picks while offering comparable performance and smart-home capabilities. If you want to save even more money, the Frigidaire FFRE083WAE is essentially the same unit minus the smart-home capabilities.

The Windmill Air might not be as quiet or efficient as our top pick, but it’s much, much simpler to install, and it offers plenty of other thoughtful features that make it easy to live with. It’s one of the nicer looking ACs we’ve ever tested, too, with rounded corners and subtle indicator lights that won’t keep you up at night. There’s even a plastic cover over the back of the unit, so you don’t cut your hands on those razor-sharp exhaust fins, and a shortcut in the app that helps you find installation help from TaskRabbit. Overall, it’s a great AC if you just want something that blends into the background and does the job without a fuss.

The inverter-style Frigidaire Gallery GHWQ083WC1 is as efficient as our top pick, using nearly 40% less energy than the federal standard for air conditioners, with all the same smart-home features. It’s almost as quiet as the Midea, too, with an average volume of about 48 decibels, making it essentially unnoticeable in the room unless the fan is on high. In our tests, the Frigidaire maintained an even more impressive cooling consistency across the room, keeping the air temperature within one-half of a degree when measured from 3 feet in front of the AC, and from 6 feet away on a diagonal. The LED display on the control panel also shuts off automatically after a few seconds so as not to illuminate the room (although this can be occasionally annoying, too, like if you want to check the settings). The smart-home app can be a little glitchy at times, but in spite of those flaws, it’s up there among the best ACs available.

This guide also includes our current thoughts on “smart,” Wi-Fi–controllable air conditioners (and a smart AC accessory), plus recommendations for other kinds of air conditioners, namely through-the-wall units and casement-window models. We have our portable air conditioner recommendations in a separate guide.

Everything we recommend

Why you should trust us

Since 2012, we’ve put in about 130 total hours of research and more than 90 hours of real-world testing on window air conditioners, along with more than 1,000 hours of being cooled off by the models we’ve recommended. Our expert sources include a former representative for the Environmental Protection Agency, which administers the Energy Star program; an HVAC/R (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration) engineer who formerly worked as a staff senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; product managers from Midea and other manufacturers; and several members of the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force, which was established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

Which air conditioner is right for you?

Don’t fall into the trap of buying a significantly under- or overpowered air conditioner.

First measure the square footage of the room you need to cool and then look at this Energy Star chart to find the appropriate cooling capacity, as measured in British thermal units (Btu). Sun exposure, ceiling height, appliance heat, and the number of people who will usually be in the room can affect the AC capacity you need, but floor size is the most important factor. Note that you won’t always be able to find an AC with the perfect Btu rating, so you might have to round up: For example, almost nobody makes a 9,000 Btu window AC, so a 10,000 Btu window AC is the next-best option in that case.

An underpowered AC will run constantly, trying and failing to get the room down to the target temperature and a comfortable humidity. If, on the other hand, you choose a unit that’s too big, it can leave your room feeling clammy because it will reduce the temperature faster than it removes moisture from the air. Need to cool multiple rooms? Getting several smaller air conditioners and putting one in each room will be more effective than buying one big unit.

How we picked

Seven window air conditioner unites we tested stacked on top of each-other.

The best window air conditioner is the one that makes you the most comfortable in your home. For most people, that means picking a quiet AC—no jarring whines, whooshes, or whirs—that offers as much control over climate settings and air direction as possible. Ideally, the best air conditioner will pass the bedroom test: If it’s good enough to sleep near, it’s good enough for any other room in your house.

Everything else is much less important. Installation and maintenance should be (relatively) easy, but those tasks don’t vary too much from model to model, and you have to deal with them only a couple of times per year. With a few rare exceptions, the cooling power and energy efficiency are so very similar for window ACs at a given Btu rating that they’re barely worth worrying about. When you’re comparing these models, the difference in reaching a target temperature is never more than a few minutes, and the difference in the annual cost to operate is never more than a few dollars. (Some newer models employ genuinely different technologies, such as dual inverter rotors, that improve on the efficiency of other standards. But so far these units have been hard to find, pricey, and often oversized for average rooms.)

For this guide, we focused on 8,000 Btu window air conditioners. Typically suited for spaces around 350 square feet, 8,000 Btu is the most popular AC size for residential use. If you need to cool a larger or smaller room, note that most of our picks are available in several different sizes between 6,000 and 12,000 Btu.

Cooling power and energy efficiency are so very similar for window ACs at a given Btu rating that they’re barely worth worrying about.

We’ve tested at least a dozen AC finalists over the years, generally looking for three types: reliable standard units, quieter models suited for bedrooms, and smart models with connectivity features.

How we tested

Among the finalists, we focused on noise as the primary distinguishing factor. As much as air conditioner technology has improved over the years, window units can still be pretty damn loud. According to this Energy Star memo (PDF), manufacturers claim that this volume creep is a side effect of stricter efficiency standards—increasing the fan speed is one of the lowest-cost ways for manufacturers to improve the units’ efficiency. We favored air conditioners with a lower operating volume and a smoother frequency response.

In order to test noise output, we used an audio-spectrum analyzer app to measure each unit’s volume at its low, medium, and high fan settings, with and without the compressor running, from the same position in a room (about 6 feet away). We made note of any frequency spikes, such as the kind of high-pitched whining that irritates some people or the midrange whooshing that can give some people a headache before they even realize it’s happening (or at least, that’s our experience).

As much as air conditioner technology has improved over the years, window units can still be pretty damn loud.

We also judged our finalists on the level (and quality) of user control they allowed. One important area where window ACs can differ is in their fan vents, which control the direction of airflow. If you sleep near your AC, you’ll typically want to be able to point the cold air away from your body, or at least away from your head. But some models have inconsistent zones, where airflow either never reaches or always reaches. We considered the number of fan speeds, any extra cooling modes, and the depth of remote control, as well, including any smart, Wi-Fi–controlled features.

Our pick: Midea U MAW08V1QWT

The best air conditioner pick, the Midea U MAW08V1QWT, shown installed on a window.

The U-shaped Midea U MAW08V1QWT represents a surprising departure from the standard box-style air conditioner in that it’s specifically designed with a notch in the center that allows you to open and close your window without uninstalling (or destabilizing) your air conditioner. This feature alone is a pretty great perk, especially for those who have limited window space in their home, who might want to get some circulation going for health reasons, or who just want to enjoy the occasional gust of fresh summer air. It also means that most of the louder hardware sits in the rear part of the unit—on the other side of the window, outside your home. As a result of this design choice, the Midea U is the absolute quietest window air conditioner we’ve ever tested: In our tests, even with the fan on high and the compressor running, it was still quieter than any of our previous top picks. It’s also cheaper than any other inverter-style AC we’ve seen, with reliable smart-home capabilities and a custom safety bracket. When the Midea U went on sale in the spring of 2020, we initially rolled our eyes at its ambitious promise to “reinvent” the air conditioner. But after living with it for an entire summer, we can say with confidence that it is genuinely the best window air conditioner we’ve ever tested—with the absolute worst AC installation process we’ve ever suffered through thrice (we’ll get to that).

Most window air conditioners are loud and annoying, and we’ve even considered some of our top picks to be merely the least worst when it comes to volume and grating sound. But that’s not the case with the Midea U. In fact, during our tests of the Midea U, it was difficult for us to take exact volume measurements that we could replicate without also picking up the white noise in the background inside and outside the home. At best, we measured the lowest, fan-only setting on the Midea U at 35 decibels—which is basically unnoticeable, especially if you live in a densely populated area. The compressor added only about 3 decibels of volume to the sound of the fan alone. This result initially surprised us, but it makes sense, as the compressor is housed outside the window, so the glass serves as an extra buffer to help muffle the sound. Even the audio frequencies remained mostly the same between the fan-only and compressor modes. We heard none of those awful midrange drones or high-pitched whines that are often associated with window ACs; instead, the compressor just added a slight boost around 13,000 Hz, which is toward the very top of the human hearing range anyway. Most of the frequency spikes that we measured from the fan alone were even higher-pitched than that, so we barely even noticed them. More than once, we’d often find ourselves forgetting that the AC was on at all.

The only downside to the Midea U’s unique setup is that, when the compressor does start up, it initially honks like a sputtering goose. As far as we can tell, this sound comes from the pressure or vibrations of the unit rubbing up against the glass of the window. We might be wrong, but either way, the noise is brief, and it disappears quickly.

A Midea U MAW08V1QWT air conditioner shown setup on a window.

Thanks to the Midea U’s unique design, you can keep opening and closing your window without uninstalling the air conditioner. Photo: Michael Hession

Closeup of the control panel of the Midea U.

The control panel on the Midea U includes a built-in timer and extra-eco-friendly functionality. Photo: Michael Hession

Midea U’s flat touch remote control.

The Midea U’s included remote doesn’t offer as many robust features as the app does, and the remote’s button labels don’t quite match up with the buttons on the control panel, but it’s still a nice convenience. Photo: Michael Hession

Speaking of the compressor: Unlike most air conditioners, the Midea U has an inverter or variable-speed compressor. Whereas most AC compressors have two settings—on or off—the Midea U can essentially rev its compressor’s “engine” up and down as necessary in order to maximize efficiency. Put another way: The Midea U has an energy-efficiency ratio of 15, as listed by the EPA, while the other, non-inverter models we tested all maxed out between 11 and 12. As a result, it uses nearly 40% less energy than the US federal standard for window air conditioners, according to the EPA. By comparison, our traditional-AC pick from GE uses about 5% less energy than the federal standard, and our basic pick from Frigidaire uses about 10% less (and those models still rank among the best available). The Midea U is inarguably the most efficient AC we’ve ever tested.

Because of its unique design, the Midea U also comes with its own window bracket to help secure the unit. This bracket is similar to our top-pick window bracket, the Top Shelf TSB-2438, as it has some customized grooves that allow the U-shaped AC to rest precisely on it. Considering that the Top Shelf bracket usually goes for about $100, this included accessory adds a bit of value to the Midea U package (although you can find other brackets for as low as $30). The Midea U also comes with a number of security features, including a pair of extendable latches to prevent anyone from opening your window from the outside. (Guide co-author Thom Dunn actually broke one of the latches by accident, but even only one of them made it impossible for him to break into his own house—which is good!)

A closeup of exterior window with a Midea U installed, showing brackets attached to both the home's siding and the unit.

An included support bracket—which would cost at least $30 on its own and is a heck of a lot safer than a makeshift support—adds value and safety to the Midea U. Photo: Michael Hession

A smartphone shown displaying the Midea U air conditioner's app.

The Midea U’s smart capabilities are quite good: Scheduling and adjusting the AC both work well, and the voice controls feel more natural than on competing smart models. Photo: Michael Hession

The Midea U is also smart-home compatible, with one of the more robust smartphone apps we’ve seen. In addition to creating a recurring schedule, you can set up a Sleep Curve, which adjusts the temperature with precision over an eight-hour period (presumably when you’re sleeping and don’t want to wake up in a room as cold as the one you passed out in). It works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, too, and the language is impressively natural—you can say “Turn on Midea” or “Set Midea to 62 degrees,” for example, and it actually works (which in our experience is frustratingly uncommon for this product category).

Flaws but not dealbreakers

Some personal perspective from guide co-author Thom Dunn: Installing an air conditioner in your window quite frankly sucks. I say this as a 6-foot-tall, 200-pound man; there are many people who are smaller or less able-bodied than me for whom it sucks even more. I state this truism because when I describe my multiple installation experiences with the Midea U as “mid- to moderately hellish,” I want you to understand that they are uniquely so—they’re outliers in a field already known for its frustrations.

Even if you’ve installed a standard air conditioner before, the Midea U’s unique shape is intimidating, and the lack of clarity across multiple manuals does not inspire confidence. The Midea U comes with four—yes, four—separate instruction booklets, and none of them provide any useful guidance for how to install the thing. Case in point: In the main installation guide, Step 2, “Secure The Unit on the Bracket,” tells you to set the AC down on the bracket and then says that “You must install the Open Window Brackets.” It’s not really clear what that means or how to do that, and the tiny close-up illustration accompanying those words makes them even more confusing.

In our initial tests, we got so frustrated with the Midea U’s useless documentation that we gave up reading and just tried to muscle it into place; fortunately, by doing this, we realized that it’s actually pretty easy to install if you just treat it like a normal air conditioner. Luckily, taking it out of the window was simple. But when it came time to reinstall it the following year, I made the mistake of confidently assuming that I knew what I was doing that go-round; within minutes, I had invented a colorful menagerie of new profanity. After installing this thing nearly a dozen times, I still have no idea what that “Open Window Brackets” line is referring to (although I assume I must have installed them at one point).

Generally speaking, YouTube is your friend. But here are a few tricks I’ve learned: Every window is a little different, and the Midea U comes with enough hardware, padding, and other options that you can probably make it work in your specific home as long as you assess the situation correctly. The AC’s real stability hinges on the extendable metal bars at the bottom of the window-accommodating “canyon” in the unit. These bars are meant to slide into the window tracks to keep the air conditioner in place. Supposedly, the bracket is designed to have all of this lined up right, but it might not work on every window (like mine). If you’re having trouble, loosely position the bracket so it’s stable-ish, without locking the pins on the outside legs—you may need some help with this—and then place the AC on top of the bracket until you feel it settle snugly into place. Only then, extend those metal bars into the window tracks. Make sure the window fits into the canyon, and then you can finally lock the front and back braces of the bracket into place. Secure everything as necessary for your specific window using the included hardware. Finally, slap some installation padding everywhere you can. You should be good to go—until next year, anyway.

You might also be one of the lucky people who have a perfectly sized sill and sash for locking the Midea bracket into place, plopping the AC on top, and having it all line up without a problem. This is known to happen (the AC is designed to some sort of standard, after all). But I’ve personally had awful installation experiences in two very different homes, and anecdotally, I know of plenty of others who have dealt with similar frustrations. May the odds be ever in your favor.

The Midea U’s documentation doesn’t disappoint only on the installation instructions. The manuals also give no real explanation of the Sleep Curve and Express Modes features in the app. But at least the UI of the app itself is smooth and clear enough to give you the gist and guide you through the setup process.

Like many window air conditioners, the Midea U lacks a drainage plug, so the condensation that collects in the heat-removal process just kind of sits in the back of the unit. In the first few days of noticing this, we kept thinking there were sun showers outside that hit only our patio furniture; eventually, we realized that the fan was flicking the water out of the condensate pan and all over everything else. This might be a problem unique to the test location, or it may be an issue that’s genuinely worse than for other ACs because of the Midea U’s unique design. Either way, it’s not that big of a deal. But it is occasionally annoying.

Also great: GE PHC08LY

An interior view of a GE PHC08LY air conditioner shown installed in a window.

If you’re looking for an attractive, relatively quiet, yet traditional air conditioner, we recommend the stylish GE PHC08LY. It’s the quietest AC we’ve ever tested besides the Midea U—and that’s before we even factor in its dedicated Quiet Mode (which is really just a very low-speed fan). It’s also one of the best-looking ACs around, with a sleek curved control panel, gentle white LED indicator lights, and capacitive (touch-sensitive) buttons that feel delightfully retro-futuristic—especially if you aspire to full-on spaceship-aesthetic living. The smart-home features and voice commands are similar to what you get with the Midea U, too, with the addition of location services and Apple HomeKit compatibility (a rarity in the AC field). This model usually costs about the same as the Midea U, as well, and although it doesn’t come with its own bracket, this GE AC is a lot easier to install. The only real downside is that it’s not quite as energy efficient as the Midea U, even though it is still Energy Star certified with a combined energy-efficiency ratio of 11.4 (which is good, although the Midea U earned a max score of 15).

At its lowest settings (fan only, on Quiet Mode), we measured the GE PHC08LY at around 37 decibels—about the same as the Midea U (which is to say, basically unnoticeable to the average person). The compressor adds about 10 decibels, but even then this AC is still quieter than any of our previous picks; at its absolute loudest with the compressor running and the fan on high, this GE model was about as loud as our discontinued upgrade pick, the Frigidaire Cool Connect FGRC084WA1, on the same setting, and it was still quieter than the average conversation.

Closeup of the control panel of the GE PHC08LY air conditioner, showing the digital temperature and the touch controls.

Photo: Michael Hession

A smartphone displaying the GE PHC08LY's app.

Photo: Michael Hession

When we first tested the GE PHC08LY in summer 2020, we had an especially frustrating experience with the Wi-Fi setup and general use of the app. We encountered the same Wi-Fi problems when we began to test ACs in 2021—but this time, we reached out to GE’s customer support line, and a representative helpfully walked us through the reset process and made sure that everything worked as it was meant to. We haven’t had any trouble since then, and in fact we feel even better about recommending this GE model now that we know that the customer support team will actually take good care of you. The company has made tremendous strides in its smart-home integration since 2020, too, with a clean app interface and much more natural voice commands. (Previously, you had to go through a cumbersome ordeal of telling Alexa to use the Geneva app to turn on your air conditioner; now, you can just say “Alexa, turn on air conditioner,” which is as it should be.)

You’ll need a bracket to hold the AC

Also great: Frigidaire FHWW083WBE

A Frigidaire FHWW083WBE air conditioner shown ing displaying a digital temperature and its touch controls.

The Frigidaire FHWW083WBE is the latest in a line of Frigidaire ACs that we’ve been recommending since 2014. Though each year’s model has had a slightly different name, they have all provided the same consistently reliable performance plus decent features and the highest possible energy-efficiency rating for a non-inverter AC, all at an affordable price. However, this Frigidaire AC is slightly louder than our other picks and tends to emit a low mechanical growl that’s less pleasant on the ears than the sounds of the Midea U or the GE PHC08LY. Even so, it is still quieter and less annoying than most other ACs, and the sound is a fair trade-off if you want to save some money. If you want an even cheaper option, the Frigidaire FFRE083WAE is essentially the same minus Wi-Fi connectivity, and you can often find it for around $50 to $100 less. Both models are Energy Star certified.

We measured the FHWW083WBE at 50 decibels from 6 feet away on the lowest, fan-only setting and 55 decibels on the max setting with the compressor. Those results make this model about 3 to 8 decibels louder than the Midea U at its absolute highest volume, or about the same as the GE model when it runs the compressor with its fan on medium or high. That being said, this Frigidaire is still quieter than the average conversation (which is about 60 decibels), as well as most other ACs we’ve looked at. Even our previous top pick, the LG LW8017ERSM, was only about 3 decibels quieter than the Frigidaire FHWW083WBE at the top of its volume range and about the same on the quieter end. This Frigidaire model does emit some more noticeable and higher-pitched whines, however, including peaks at 7,000, 9,000, and 16,500 Hz, as well as a low-end mechanical growl around 3,700 Hz. The faster the fan moves, the more these noise spikes tend to disappear and blend into the blur of white noise. That white noise is still busier overall (at least to human ears) than the white noise from the Midea U or the GE PHC08LY.

The disc-shaped fan blades on the FHWW083WBE permanently blow at least some air toward the right side of the unit, even if you direct most of it to the left. That can be annoying if you have it near your bed, blowing cold air on your neck all night. Also, the Frigidaire doesn’t have a drain, so in very humid conditions it can start to make an obnoxious flickering, bubbling noise as the fan passes through the pool of condensed water built up in the baseplate. If that happens to your unit, you’ll need to manually tilt the AC to drain it and make the noise stop.

Closeup of the air vent of the Frigidaire FHWW083WBE.

In its favor, though, the Frigidaire FHWW083WBE is nearly 10 pounds lighter than the Midea U, with a slightly smaller chassis and a more centered weight distribution, both of which make it even easier to install. Also, its side curtains slide in rather than screw in, saving you a few minutes of work and frustration.

The FHWW083WBE also has Wi-Fi connectivity, including smart-home capabilities. This means you can control the AC from the Frigidaire app on your phone, so you don’t even have to leave the bed or couch to change the temperature. The Frigidaire app offers scheduling opportunities for repeated air conditions, although it’s less helpful if you want to program a one-time or temporary cooling scenario, such as if you want to set it to run for just two hours on a particularly hot day. Frigidaire is one of the first companies we’ve encountered in our testing to figure out the trick to more natural voice-command integration through Amazon Alexa and Google Home—simply say “Alexa, turn on air conditioner” (or whatever you choose to name it), for example, and you should be good to go.

If the FHWW083WBE is not available, the FFRE083WAE is nearly identical, although it lacks Wi-Fi connectivity. We still think that model is a good, reliable choice for a decent, lower-priced air conditioner.

As for the price, this Frigidaire model can jump all over the place from day to day, but it tends to range from $200 to the mid-$300s (though the non-smart version typically saves you about $50). Keep your eyes peeled for deals.

Also great: Windmill Air

If you just want an air conditioner that’s easy to live with and does the job well while it blends into the background, get the Windmill Air. It’s also, without exception, the absolute easiest to install among the many competitors we’ve tested firsthand. The Windmill Air comes with all the expected smart-home features, as well as some thoughtful subtle details—things like highly personal customer service and a cover for those razor-sharp fins on the back—that really make it stand out from the average window air conditioner. It’s not the absolute quietest or most energy efficient AC we’ve ever tested, but the Windmill is certainly one of the most pleasant models you can find overall.

Sours: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-air-conditioner/

Conditioner 2020 reviews air central

As you decide on the best central air conditioner brand for your home and budget, there are many factors to think over. The home ac units you’ll consider will differ based on your needs.

If you’re ready to invest in a high-quality hvac system for your forever home, you may explore different brands than if you’re replacing a unit at a rental income property. Your investment will create years of comfort and increase your home’s value.   

Our goal is to help you evaluate the best ac brands of 2021 and decide which would best fit your needs. We’ll explain why we like the brands listed below and introduce you to hvac units that have received top reviews from homeowners.

Best Air Conditioner Brands

  • Trane – Best for Quality
  • Amana – Best Value
  • Carrier – Best for Reliability
  • Lennox – Best for Efficiency
  • Rheem – Best Warranty
Air Conditioner

Here’s an overview of the best central air conditioner brands of 2021 and why we picked them.

1. Trane

Trane Central Air Conditioners

Trane has been named America’s Most Trusted HVAC brand by Lifestory for seven consecutive years. Homeowners rely on Trane because of the quality and dependability of their products. Their HVAC units have a distinctive, sleek design, but the brand’s portfolio of equipment and systems extends far beyond home ac units. Customers also turn to Trane for ventilation and indoor humidity and air quality solutions.

  • Efficiency Rating
  • 14.5 to 22 SEER
  • Sound Rating
  • An average of 70 decibels
  • Price Range
  • $5,800 – $14,000
  • Our take: There are not many cons when you choose Trane. You get a great unit that lasts, but you’ll pay more for it. If you don’t live in a hot area, a Trane unit may not be worth the price and efficiency rating.
  • Types: 9 models from single-stage to variable capacity. A compact model will fit in smaller homes.
  • Advanced features: The TruComfort feature reduces humidity by running longer at lower speeds instead of shutting off to remove moisture from the air.
  • Warranties: Standard 10-year warranty that covers both parts and labor and a 12-year compressor warranty.
  • Customer satisfaction: Trane is rated as the second most reliable brand in the Consumer Reports survey.

Our Featured Trane Unit: Trane XR16

The Trane XR16 has a SEER rating of up to 17, providing energy-efficient cooling for your home. This Energy Star qualified unit offers up to 54% in energy savings and operates on a single stage cooling system. The installed cost for this Trane unit typically runs between $6,800 and $10,800. Your family will experience quality comfort with this Trane HVAC system.

2. Amana

Amana Central Air Conditioners

Michigan-based Amana has been manufacturing home AC systems since 1934. Amana central air conditioning systems are affordable, and the company emphasizes value and reliability with each of its units. Amana is most readily recognized for its systems being designed, engineered, and assembled in America.

  • Efficiency Rating
  • 14 to 24.5 SEER range
  • Price Range
  • $2,800 – $5,900
  • Our take: Ideal for hotter climates due to their higher SEER rating. The unit’s installation costs could be higher than other brands, offsetting the lower price point of the unit.
  • Types: Eight types including single to variable-speed models.
  • Advanced features: ComfortBridge smart home technology gathers the system’s performance data to automatically make adjustments and minimize energy use in a home.
  • Warranties: One of the best HVAC warranties of all brands. Besides the standard 10 year warranty, compressors come with a Limited Lifetime Replacement warranty.
  • Customer satisfaction: Most complaints on Consumer Affairs are about the warranty not being transferable or not covering the installation of covered replacement parts.

Our featured Amana unit: ASXC16

The Amana ASXC16 offers quiet performance and energy efficiency with a SEER rating of up to 17. This unit offers a two-stage compressor and a two-speed condenser fan motor for cooling that may save your family money each month on the energy bill. The installed cost for this Amana unit typically runs between $2,300 and $4,225. Experience years of reliable cooling comfort with an Amana ASXC16.

3. Carrier

Carrier Central Air Conditioners

Carrier heating and cooling systems have been around since 1902. The AC company houses its residential business headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. The brand builds reliable AC units for the multipurpose uses of today’s homes. Carrier is recognized for its testing of normal wear and tear to ensure the HVAC units that bear the Carrier logo keep your home comfortable well into the future.

  • Efficiency Rating
  • Up to 21 SEER rating
  • Sounds Rating
  • 49dB to 72dB
  • Price Range
  • $3,500 – $8,400
  • Our take: Carrier may be pricier but they require installers to be certified by the company, guaranteeing proper installation of your investment.
  • Types: Regardless of single-stage and two-stage models in the range, all our built with quality Copeland compressors so you can cool your home more precisely.
  • Advanced features: Carrier makes the quietest central air conditioners on the market thanks to their quality insulation and chassis.
  • Warranties: 10-year parts warranty.
  • Customer satisfaction: Considering Carrier has been in business for over 100 years, the company doesn’t have many complaints at the Better Business Bureau. Most were resolved.

Our featured Carrier unit: Comfort™ 16 Central Air Conditioner

The Carrier Comfort™ 16 Central Air Conditioner is part of the Comfort™ Series line from one of the best air conditioner brands of 2021. This unit offers cool air with up to 17 SEER rating and five standout features: efficiency, durability, environmentally friendly, quiet cooling, and a limited warranty. The installed cost for this Carrier unit typically runs between $2,700 and $4,700. Rest easy knowing Carrier Comfort™ Series air conditioners are covered by a 10-year parts limited warranty upon timely registration.

4. Lennox

Lennox Central Air Conditioners

Lennox was founded in 1895 in Marshalltown, Iowa. Now headquartered in Richardson, Texas, the brand is recognized for high-efficiency AC units in every price range. With more than 6,000 independent Lennox Dealers across the country, there’s likely to be an HVAC expert nearby to install one of the best AC units available. From smartphone compatibility to cool, clean air, Lennox leads the way in HVAC innovation to make indoor comfort available to everyone.

  • Efficiency Rating
  • Up to 26 SEER rating
  • Price Range
  • $4,700 – $10,700
  • Our take: Except for the XC25, other units are more expensive than similar competitor offerings. Considering the high price point, the warranty is disappointing.
  • Types: 11 models featuring two-stage or variable speed compressors for cooling your home more precisely.
  • Advanced features: The XC25 model has a 26 SEER for the lowest running cost of all units and an impressively low 41 dB noise level.
  • Warranties: The unit and parts are covered by Lennox for five years from installation. Select models have a 10-year warranty.
  • Customer satisfaction: Lennox is among the more reliable central air systems in Consumer Reports’ owner survey, with around 17 percent of owners reporting that their unit required service in its first five years.

Our featured Lennox unit: Elite Series® EL16XC1

The Lennox Elite Series® EL16XC1 is a single-stage cooling system that offers comfort and energy efficiency in one. The system has up to 17 SEER rating and provides quiet cooling for your entire home. The installed cost for this Lennox unit typically runs between $5,550 and $9,100. The outdoor unit operates seamlessly in extreme heat thanks to the Lennox® Quantum™ coil and the fortified aluminum alloy exterior allows the unit to handle the most severe weather conditions.

5. Rheem

Rheem Central Air Conditioners

Rheem Manufacturing Company was created in Emeryville, California, in 1925. The brand is best known for its water heating systems, but the expansion into air conditioning in 1970 quickly ranked Rheem as one of the best central air conditioner brands in the U.S. The systems are known to be efficient and affordable. The brand is strongly committed to creating products that are good for the environment and has made a 2025 commitment to design for zero waste.

  • Efficiency Rating
  • Up to 23 SEER rating
  • Sounds Rating
  • 55dB to 72dB
  • Price Range
  • $2,300 – $4,300
  • Our take: Rheem sells solid units at a middle price range. But the company doesn’t require certified installers, which may create issues if the unit isn’t installed properly.
  • Types: Three series of multi-stage and variable speed central AC units are their standard offerings. Other companies consider those features as premium add-ons.
  • Advanced features: EcoNet-enabled systems can be programmed and voice-controlled using Amazon Alexa.
  • Warranties: 10 years limited warranty on parts and compressors if you register your product within 90 days of purchasing.
  • Customer satisfaction: The most common customer complaint is about unhelpful customer service and problems which may be due to improper installation.

Our featured Rheem unit: Classic Series: Two-Stage RA17

Rheem offers efficiencies up to 17 SEER with the Classic Series: Two-Stage RA17 unit. This two-stage cooling system operates at either 67% or 100% to provide more precise temperature control, lower humidity and efficiency that helps you save each month on your energy bill. The installed cost for this Rheem unit typically runs between $2,300 and $2,800. Your family will enjoy cooling comfort in peace as the Rheem unit relies on a scroll compressor for efficient and quiet performance. 

AC Cost Calculator

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Here are a few brands we recommend:


Founded over 100 years ago, Trane is a well-known provider of HVAC products systems.

Explore Trane furnaces


Lennox specializes in innovative technologies that maximize efficiency and minimize noise.

Explore Lennox furnaces


Goodman HVAC systems are proudly “designed, engineered and assembled in the U.S.A.

Explore Goodman furnaces

*Estimate is based on current data and does not represent a guaranteed price. For accurate pricing contact a local HVAC dealer.

Air Conditioner Buying Checklist

Determining the best HVAC unit for your home will require more information than just the price. A unit with a lower initial price may cost you more in repairs and utility bills down the road. Consider these important factors as you determine the best central air conditioner brands 2021 has to offer.

Home size

Manufacturers build central air conditioning units according to the size of the spaces they will cool. The term “size” is not about a unit’s dimensions but its ability to produce cooled air. There’s an art to choosing the right-sized unit so that you don’t buy one that’s bigger (and more expensive) than you need or is too small and has to work harder to cool your home. Your installation expert will help you decide which size is best for you.

Energy efficiency

A unit’s energy-efficiency rating will predict how much it will cost to operate. The higher the rating, the more efficient your system and the more you’ll save on your utility bill. Some common terms you should know are:

  • EER and SEER  Look for the rectangular yellow Energy Guide sticker or tag. EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) shows how much electricity the system needs to run at 95°F outside and maintain 80°F with 50% humidity inside. SEER shows a unit’s efficiency as the temperature in your area changes each season. Modern HVAC units have a minimum rating of 13 and go up to a 26 SEER. The more efficient the air conditioning system, the higher the number. 
  • ENERGY STAR certification  ENERGY STAR is a voluntary program and the “trusted, government-backed symbol for energy efficiency” designed to help consumers know how much their unit will cost to run.
  • HSPF – Heating Seasonal Performance Factor measures the efficiency of a system’s heat pump. It measures a unit’s heat output, or energy consumption, over a typical heating season. Again, a higher number means greater efficiency.


There are a number of factors that go into the cost of an air conditioner, including size, labor, brand and installation. On average, central air conditioner costs range from $3,000 to $6,000.


A good warranty will save you thousands in repairs over the life of the unit. Different parts may have longer or shorter coverage, so read the fine print. Look for a warranty with a term of at least 10 years or longer. A warranty that can transfer to the next homeowner is an attractive selling feature. Ask the dealer how to register your unit. Many warranties will not go into effect until the system has been registered through the manufacturer’s website.

Advanced features

Advanced features can add to your home’s comfort level and your personal convenience. Some features worth considering include:

  • Smart programmable thermostat(s).
  • A system with zones that can be individually controlled to adjust the temperature in different rooms.
  • HEPA filters to keep allergy-producing particles away.
  • A dehumidifier to keep moisture (and mold) under control.
  • Quality insulation for quieter operation.
  • Customer reviews

Websites like Consumer Reports and the Better Business Bureau provide customer reviews of different brands. These are good resources to see how a central AC manufacturer handles customer complaints and issues.


Installation is a very important element to consider. An improper install could void the manufacturer’s warranty or damage the unit. Look for an installer that’s certified by the company and offers a warranty on installation.

Frequently asked questions

What are the best central air conditioner brands 2021?

The best central air conditioner brands 2021 (based on many factors) include Amana, Carrier, Lennox, Rheem and Trane.

What is the best-rated air conditioner?

If you’re looking for the top rated air conditioning system, Lennox’s XC25 model tops the list in energy efficiency with a SEER rating of 26 — the highest rating on the market and double the minimum rating required of 13. Carrier offers the quietest range of central air conditioners on the market with a sound rating as low as 49 dB.

How do I choose an air conditioner for my home?

When choosing an AC system for your home, there are seven factors we cover in this guide you should consider: cost, customer reviews, energy efficiency, features, home size, installation and warranty.

Sours: https://www.hvac.com/air-conditioners/best/
Top 10 HVAC Brands 2020 - Compare the Best Central Air Conditioner 2020

Best central air conditioning units 2021

Having one of the best central air conditioning units is essential in your home if you want to stay cool this summer. Though they can often be an investment, it’s guaranteed that you’ll be glad of your new purchase if temperatures tend to hot up in your state. There’s no denying that a reliable HVAC system can provide you respite from the heat when you need it most. Within this guide, you’ll find the best specification AC for your home, with top picks from brands such as Carrier, Goodman, Trane, and more all included. 

The biggest benefit of installing one of the best central air conditioning units in your home is their efficiency at cooling the whole of your home, rather than just certain areas, or one room, which is what you can find with the best window air conditioners, for example. And if you’re looking for an easy guide to the many varying brands out there, then look no further, as we’ve broken down everything you should look out for on your journey to cooling down your home. 

Throughout this guide to the best central air conditioning units, we’ll be highlighting the reputation of each brand within the AC industry, so you know you’re in safe hands, and not about to waste money on an unreliable appliance. We’ve highlighted the importance of installation processes too, as well as the length of each warranty and user feedback. For more ways to cool down your home to an optimal temperature, check out our guides to the best ductless air conditioners and the best portable air conditioners

1. American Standard: Best central air conditioner brand overall

American Standard

Best central air conditioning units overall


Models in range: 7

Top SEER rating: 22

Warranty: 12 years on compressors for some models and 10 year warranties

Prices (unit only) starting from: $1345

Reasons to buy

+Reliable units+High energy efficiency+Quiet compared to others

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive installation costs

American Standard is one of the leading brands in the HVAC industry, known for its variety of high performance, central air conditioners. They offer a range of reliable units with three series available – Platinum, Gold and Silver. Energy-efficient units start from the standard 14 SEER rating and can reach up to 22 SEER, which is the best for high efficiency and handy for saving on those electricity bills. The units are equipped with advanced features such as the Aero Quiet II System, and sound levels are super quiet. 

What the users say

American Standard is well-regarded by installers and home owners alike. Customers praise how quiet the units are, while others have noticed a reduction in their utility bills thanks to the energy efficiency of these AC units. Review comments include: “American Standard is the best in its class hands down.” Any of the few complaints appeared to be a number of years into use and centered around failed compressors or coolant leaks. 

The units are well engineered and built to perform under harsh conditions. American Standard are also known for their versatility and compact unit sizes, making their systems ideal for mobile homes. 

Although unit prices are reasonable, installation can be costly, with fees ranging anywhere between $1000 and $5,000. However, American Standard’s exceptional 12-year compressor and 10-year parts warranties can save you money and time in the long-run.

We chose this as the best overall unit for its affordability, impressive features, and for the fact that it’s one of the quieter brands on the market.

2. Heil: Best central air conditioners for build quality

Heil Air Conditioners

A superb central air conditioner if you can't stretch to a Carrier


Models in range: 12

Top SEER rating: 19

Warranty: 10 years

Reasons to buy

+Great SEER rating+Excellent warranty cover

Reasons to avoid

-High installation costs-Not the best-known brand (yet)

If you want peace of mind when buying a central air conditioning unit, we’d recommended Heil. That’s because the company offers up to a 10-year parts warranty, with some AC units also coming with an extended 10-year no-hassle full-unit replacement. That covers failure of the compressor, coil or heat exchanger. If either of those should fail, Heil will replace the entire unit, terms permitting.

Depending on the central air conditioner you opt for, you also get to enjoy a highly accomplished AC unit that delivers high SEER efficiency (up to 19) while running at super-quiet levels. 

What the users say

We found it hard to get much use feedback on Heil products as it’s wrapped up as part of Carrier so tightly. The feedback we did come across was largely positive. Contractors are generally happy with Heil as these are basically Carrier air conditioners at a more affordable price. Users are happy with the reliability as you have to go through an authorized contractor and will generally end up with a more reliably installed system.

Our top pick for Heil’s best central air conditioning unit is the HVA9, which has a 5-stage variable compressor system and integrated acoustic dampening blanket. This particular air conditioner also supports the brand’s smart Wi-Fi Ion System Control touchscreen thermostat for added convenience.

The Heil HVA9 central air conditioning unit is top of the Ion range, but if you’re looking for something more affordable while retaining the warranty, consider the Heil HVA7. This cheaper HVAC system has the same 10-year no-hassle cover, while the HSA6 offers a five-year no-hassle warranty.

3. Trane: Best central air conditioning unit for features  

Trane Air Conditioners

Best for industry-leading features


Models: 11

Top SEER rating: 24.6

Warranty: All models have a minimum ten-year warranty on all parts (after registration)

Prices (unit only) starting from: $3,380

Reasons to buy

+Super-efficient Spine Fin Coil +Rigorous testing procedures +Smart home options  

Reasons to avoid

-Warranty could be improved upon 

Since 2015 Trane has succeeded in being named ‘America’s Most Trusted HVAC System’ every year by Lifestory research, thanks to its dedication to delivering quality products. This commitment to excellence is obvious with its testing regime and an insistence on trained engineers installing and servicing its products for warranties to be valid. 

What the users say

“Never any problem or issues since 2014. Quiet, works well, great contractor.” Another impressed customer added, “I have had my current systems for three years, I am very happy with Trane. The two units I own have been operating flawlessly for the entire time.”

Aside from its accolades, another major factor that might sway you to pick Trane for your central air conditioning unit is the standout features on offer. Within certain models, the Spine Fin Coil goes a long way to aid with efficiency, as it allows for faster cooling. It’s also made with all aluminum which makes it more resistant to corrosion than copper alternatives. 

There’s also the chance to optimize your central air conditioning unit with certain Trane models, as some have thermostats that can be linked to smartphones thanks to Wi-Fi connection. That allows for ultimate control over your home’s temperature, as well as the chance to pair it with other smart devices, such as your smart speaker. 

Trane is certainly a reliable brand, and its range of prices is another good reason to take a look at what they have to offer. The warranties are all at least ten years from the date of purchase, though that does depend on registering your unit and keeping it serviced with Trane-certified dealers. 

4. Bryant: Best central air conditioning unit for a range 

Bryant Air Conditioners

The best manufacturer if you want a lot of choices.


Models: 16

Top SEER rating: up to 26

Warranty: All models have a minimum ten-year warranty on all parts (after registration), others have extended warranties beyond this.

Prices (unit only) starting from: $3,300

Reasons to buy

+Lots of models  +Very quiet units 

Reasons to avoid

-Standard warranty offering 

You’ll have plenty of choice if you decide that Bryant is the one for you, with 16 models to choose from, with a variation of SEER ratings and prices attached to them. No matter which one you opt for, Bryant air conditioners should deliver a coolness to your home to help you survive the summer.  

What the users say

“I’ve been using Bryant Heating and Cooling for years. They are professional and on time. I won’t use anyone else.”

It’s important to note that Bryant comes under the ownership of United Technologies, meaning it won’t be surprising to find very similar products from competitors such as Carrier in their range. However, Bryant does tend to be a little more affordable than their counterparts and you’ll benefit from the fact that the installation process is standard across brands. 

There are affordable choices when it comes to Bryant’s thermostats too, with the option of a full-color touch screen display to accompany your unit for not too hefty a price. Or, if you want something a step above, then there are also Wi-Fi-enabled alternatives offering multi-zone control.

Bryant is an all-around good choice if you want to shop around before you make your final decision, and don’t fall down when it comes to warranty either, with a standard ten-year guarantee (given that you register within the specified time period). 

5. Goodman: Best value central air conditioner brand

Goodman Air Conditioners

Best central air conditioning units if you have a smaller budget


Models in range: 5

Top SEER rating: 19

Warranty: Lifetime compressor warranty on some units and 10 years +

Prices (unit only) starting from: $985

Reasons to buy

+Low cost+On-board diagnostics+Excellent warranties

Reasons to avoid

-No high-end models

For a budget-friendly yet efficient central air conditioner, Goodman is the best brand. Offering five central air conditioning models, prices for a unit alone can start from as little as $985, although installation costs are not significantly cheaper than elsewhere.

What the users say

While Goodman appears to get generally negative installer opinions, these are down to poor installations, as many point out that Goodman sells its equipment to anyone and this tends to result in more poor installations. Generally, users are pleased with the experience and price. One customer mentioned they saved $2,000 and were happy with the quality and output of the unit, while another said their electric bill had been reduced by over 50%. The GSXC18 and 16 models are rated highly.

Despite its low costs, the company does not compromise on quality, and units are equipped with several handy features. An example would be the convenient onboard diagnostics that help with the maintenance and upkeep of the units.

Users can store up to six fault codes which will notify them in the event of a developing problem. Goodman air conditioners are also quiet, ranging from 40 decibels normally, up to 70 decibels at the most.

While you could find more energy-efficient brands on the market, you are still likely to make an overall saving. A real saving grace is Goodman’s excellent warranty coverage. They offer a 12-year compressor warranty on most models and 10-year warranty on others, which is better than many competitors. Reliable and efficient, Goodman air conditioners are ideal for those living in hotter environments who require comfort and value for money.

6. Amana: Best central air conditioner brand for warranties

Amana central air conditioners

Top-rated air conditioning units with generous warranties


Models in range: 8

Top SEER rating: 24.5

Warranty: 10 years, plus compressors come with a Limited Lifetime Replacement warranty

Prices (unit only) starting from: $1,310

Reasons to buy

+High SEER ratings+Good customer care

Reasons to avoid

-Noisy-Compressor lacks protective grill

Amana is another reputable name in the HVAC industry, owned by Goodman Brand. It offers reliable units that start at 13 SEER and go all the way up to the high-efficiency 24.5 SEER. Amana air conditioners are reliable, with impressive features to boost performance. 

The top-tier products are equipped with a ComfortNet technology system that offers an extensive degree of user control by also functioning with Wireless accessories. 

What the users say

Installers like Amana units as they're designed to be more easily maintained. Users certainly seem happy, with one raving about the Amana AXSC18: “It offers decent cooling and that’s what I wanted from an AC at this price range.” The registered Amana Heating and A/C business on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) redirects to Goodman Manufacturing, its parent. It has an A+ accreditation, yet it also has a number of complaints. However, these are about Goodman units, so we can’t derive reliability of Amana from these.

Other advanced features include a Copeland High-Efficiency Scroll Compressor to enhance energy efficiency, and a CoreSense Diagnostics system that provides accurate troubleshooting and fast repair diagnosis.

Although unit prices are reasonable, they can have high installation costs. The top tier model with the highest 24.5 SEER rating can cost around $2,950 for the unit alone, and can be around $5,200 with installation. While units are robust, a downside is the lack of insulation and protective grills around the compressor, which may be prone to damage.

However, Amana air conditioning systems offer some of the best warranty coverage on the market. They offer a limited lifetime replacement warranty for models with ratings of 16 SEER and higher. And all other units come with a 10-year compressor and all parts warranty. 

7. Carrier: Best central air conditioners for sheer range

Carrier AC

A superb range of central air conditioning units for all homes


Models in range: 16

Top SEER rating: 21

Warranty: 10-year parts limited warranty and five-year parts and compressor

Prices (unit only) starting from: $1,525

Reasons to buy

+Range suits all needs +Quiet operation

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive -Lower SEER ratings

When it comes to choice, Carrier is one of the top brands on the market. With three series and 16 models, customers can find an air conditioning system to suit their needs and budget. Reliable and durable, units start from a SEER efficiency rating of 14 right up to the highest SEER rating of 21. 

What the users say

On the BBB, Carrier has an A+ rating, with 27 complaints in the past 12 months and 72 in the last three years. Most focus on labour costs on warranty repairs, which gain responses from Carrier, many with compensation. User reviews are mostly positive, such as: “It's efficient and cheaper to operate than the new Ruud gas system in my old condo.” The only downside seems to be the high purchase costs of Carrier units and the cost of replacement parts.

Its models also run extremely quietly, with sound output as low as 65 decibels, so noise shouldn’t be a nuisance. 

As you would expect with such high quality, prices are more expensive. Its starting 13 SEER unit can cost around $3,100 with installation, while the premium, 21 SEER unit can reach up to $5,300. Although you can find cheaper units elsewhere, Carrier air conditioners are well built and known to last for years.

Furthermore, its high efficiency and in-built dehumidifier makes Carrier suitable for more hot and humid climates, and will likely contribute to a huge reduction to electric bills. 

8. York: Quietest central air conditioners

York Air Conditioners

A great choice if you want a quiet central air conditioning unit


Models in range: 11

Top SEER rating: 21

Warranty: 10 years parts and lifetime compressor warranty

Prices (unit only) starting from: $1,565

Reasons to buy

+Inexpensive units+Highly efficient 

Reasons to avoid

-Warranties cover parts, not labor-High installation costs

York is one of the largest heating and cooling suppliers in the world. With 11 models available, York offers two types of air conditioning system, delivering high-efficiency and comfort. All units are equipped with useful features and start from a SEER rating of 13, reaching up to a maximum of 21 SEER. 

One stand-out feature of York air conditioners is the QuietDrive comfort system. An advanced sound dampening feature that keeps noise levels down as low as 72 decibels. This makes it one of the quieter brands on the market, and ideal for those living in suburban neighborhoods. 

What the users say

General impressions of York AC units from installers is that the equipment is mid-tier. Both York and other Jonson Controls brands have suffered issues with quality and reliability in the past with the generic micro-coils it used, though this appears to be resolved now. One customer said they did not need to leave their unit on long to cool their house, so their utility bill remained low. Many praised how quiet their York central air conditioning unit was during use.

Prices are reasonable, with the average 20 SEER unit costing around $2,770, and around $4,300 with installation. It’s always recommended to have your unit correctly installed by a York Certified Comfort Expert (CCE) Contractor. 

Many of the technical issues that have occurred with York air conditioning units have been a result of poor installation. However, with York’s lifetime compressor and 10-year parts warranties, there should be no concerns with the longevity of the unit. 

Overall, if you’re after an efficient and super-quiet air conditioning unit that won’t break the bank, York is the ideal brand.

9. Lennox: Best central air conditioning units with a high SEER rating


This central air conditioning brand has the highest SEER rating


Models in range: 11

Top SEER rating: 26

Warranty: 10-year compressor and five-year covered component warranties

Prices (unit only) starting from: $1,475

Reasons to buy

+Energy efficient+Easier on utility bills

Reasons to avoid

-More expensive units-High repair costs

Lennox air conditioners are ideal for those who require a high-efficiency and cost-effective solution for their homes. Offering three types of air conditioning system, the range starts from a 14 SEER rating (Merit), right up to a remarkably high 26 SEER (Signature). Since nine out of out of 11 models are certified Energy Star, this makes Lennox air conditioners one of the most energy-efficient brands on the market, meaning customers could make a significant saving on their energy bills.

What the users say

Lennox receives an A+ rating by the BBB, but it also 263 complaints there in the last three years, with 106 in the past 12 months. Many were submitted by people unhappy with the parts-only warranty cover. Consumer Affairs provide Lennox with a 4-star rating, with reviews reflecting satisfied customers. Most of the negative reviews are a mix of failed compressors, coolant leaks or fan motors. The majority of customers were happy with the overall running and price.

However, expect to spend a little more on premium units, as a 26 SEER unit costs around $3,775 alone, and $7,190 with installation. Even the low SEER rated models will cost you a lot more than similar products available on the market. Even considering Lennox systems are more costly, they are still a worthwhile investment based on performance and high efficiency.

For these reasons alone, Lennox air conditioners are suited to those living in hotter climates who expect to get more usage. In addition, this is a much more economical choice of central air conditioner in the long term.

10. Rheem: Best central air conditioners for colder climates


The best central air conditioning units for colder climates


Models in range: 7

Top SEER rating: 20

Warranty: 10-year parts and labor warranty

Prices (unit only) starting from: $990

Reasons to buy

+Low purchase and running costs+Excellent efficiency 

Reasons to avoid

-Noisy-No lifetime warrant

For those who require high efficiency with low running costs, Rheem is the ideal brand. A reputable industry leader, Rheem offers three series and seven types of air conditioner. Units are equipped with advanced features, such as modulating burners to accurately control temperature, enhancing overall performance. And the Prestige Series comes with a Comfort Control system that offers on-board diagnostics, and EcoNet-enabled systems. 

What the users say

Rheem is registered with the BBB with Ruud as a trade name and is rated A+. It received 286 complaints there over in last three years. That said, Rheem and its sister brand Ruud have gained a good reputation amongst installers over recent years due to investment in R&D improving reliability. One contractor said on Reddit: “Rheem all day and on Sunday. Any Goodman I find is installed poorly because any contractor can get their hands on it. Rheems are nice, and are great to work on.” From the user side, common pluses are the efficiency and cheap running costs of the units.

Although Rheem air conditioning systems have low initial costs, their prices increase with higher SEER ratings. An average 13 SEER unit costs around $990 for the system alone, and around $2,100 with installation. Meanwhile, the premium 20 SEER unit costs around $1,850 for system alone, and around $3,000 to be installed. Bear in mind there are no lifetime warranties available, and labor costs to replace parts are also expensive. However, all units come with 10-year parts and labor warranties. 

There are more high-efficiency brands on the market but Rheem excels in its low running costs. It is for this reason that Rheem systems are better suited for colder conditions or environments that don’t require extensive use. 

What to look for in a good central air conditioner

When picking a good central air conditioner for your home, these are a few key factors to keep in mind. These include the following:

SEER - This stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. In a nutshell, this is the cooling output divided by the cost of running the unit over a year. The higher the SEER the better. Modern AC units start at 13 and can go as high as 26.

Decibels (dB) - How noisy a unit is. Mid-70dB is pretty average and is around the level of a vacuum cleaner or washing machine. The best central air conditioning units come with a mid-50dB output, similar to a dishwasher. 

Features - Keep an eye out for two-stage variable compressors and variable fan speed for more nuanced home cooling. Wireless thermostat features can be costly but convenient. Enhanced weather protection and specific costal models are on offer for challenging locations.

Warranty - Many central air conditioning unit manufacturers offer ten-year parts cover, but it’s important to read the small print and protect your investment with regular services. Look out for longer coverage on high-end units and enhanced replacement cover on whole units.

How much do the best central air conditioners cost?

Everyone has a budget, and while the actual central air conditioner unit is a good part of a HVAC install, it’s only part of the total installation cost. While we can offer a base-unit cost and a potential basic installation price range, to get a final cost of installation for your home you will need to get quotes from a number of authorized contractors for your chosen AC unit. 

These contractors will be best placed to assess your home’s air conditioning needs, based on size, location and existing infrastructure, and offer you a full final costing plus servicing contracts. As a general rule, premium brands demand higher final installation costs due to higher component prices and higher contractor expenses.

On average, you can expect to pay between $2,000 and $6,000 to have a central air conditioner installed in your home. Your actual costs may vary depending on the size of your home, the air conditioner brand, the unit’s SEER rating, the installer you choose and a number of other factors. It’s a good idea to get multiple quotes from multiple installers to ensure you get the best service for the best price.

Beyond a basic install, there may be other costs. For example, if your home lacks the required ductwork, you can expect to add a couple thousand dollars to your installation budget. Lastly, you can expect an increase in costs if you get a multi-zone system or replace your gas furnace as part of the install.

Are new central air conditioners more energy efficient? 

Central AC units with excellent energy efficiency ratings can save you more on your electricity bills than standard models. However, you can expect the highest efficiency models to be the most expensive upfront.

Air conditioners with exceptional cooling capabilities that also consume very little electricity earn high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings. Compare the unit’s upfront cost with potential energy savings over time to see if it's worth the investment.

New air conditioners are much more energy efficient than older units though. While older AC units were typically rated around 8 to 9 SEER, the U.S. Department of Energy now requires a minimum of 13 SEER or 14 SEER for central air conditioners, depending on where you live. 

Of the 98 models we looked at, only 39 rated below 16 SEER, the average of all the models we evaluated. Although the highest SEER rating we came across was a 26 on the Lennox XC25, Amana, Trane and American Standard all offer models with 22 SEER or higher. The representatives at Energy Star also recommend regular maintenance, such as replacing filters at least every three months and having your unit tuned up at least once a year to make sure it's running efficiently.

Regardless, if you’re replacing an older unit with a new one, you can already expect to get a much more energy efficient unit. 

Are new central air conditioners noisy? 

The newest generation of central air conditioners tend to have noise-reducing features so that they blend in better within your home. These features include specially designed fan blades, compressor and pan base insulation and variable-speed fans. On average, the best AC units are capable of producing sound levels of under 71.25 decibels, which is about as loud as a conversation in a restaurant. This is still louder than ultra-quiet refrigerators or dishwashers, but it’s a good degree of sound for an appliance that lies on the outside of your home. 

Central air conditioning unit size

Many central air conditioner models come in multiple sizes, so you can choose the most appropriate one for your home’s square footage. If a central AC unit is too small, it wastes energy and struggles to produce consistent cooling on the hottest days. If it's too big, you paid extra when a smaller model would be more energy efficient – and it won't dehumidify your home as effectively. A trained technician can help you choose the ideal unit for your home, local climate conditions and budget.

Central air conditioner warranties

The best central air conditioning units can be a costly element to integrate into your home, though they prove their worth in their ability to cool your home. Each AC brand has a conditional warranty, which requires you to register your appliance within a certain number of days in order to receive the cover. There is an exception to this however, as conditional warranties are not allowed in California or Quebec, and so will not apply. 

If you can register your AC unit (state dependent), you can expect a warranty that lasts at least 10 years. Some brands such as Amana, Trane, Coleman, and Goodman have guarantees that stretch over 12-years or to a lifetime on their high-end products. Without registering, you can expect your AC warranty to last for a lesser time period of around 5 years. 

A professional should install your central air conditioner

Unless you have experience with brazing, electrical work, plumbing and framing – and can handle refrigerant according to EPA regulations – it is ill-advised to install a central air conditioner yourself. Professionals have the education, skill and experience to install your central air conditioner safely and properly.

Not all contractors have the appropriate certifications and experience to work on your HVAC system. It's smart to seek out reputable, qualified contractors in your area. You can start by looking at online customer reviews on Google, Yelp, Citysearch and more, which often reflect the quality of an HVAC installer. Don’t choose the cheapest bid or closest contractor without vetting their qualifications first. AHRI specifically recommends finding a NATE-certified technician, as they have passed a nationally recognized test showing they have the knowledge to size, repair and install the proper system for your home.

Although professional HVAC installers often give specific recommendations on central air conditioners, take some time to do your own research before you call so you can explain your needs.

Choosing a thermostat for your central air conditioning unit

Central air conditioners are often only as good as the thermostats to which they are connected. When installing a new system or replacing old HVAC equipment, consider replacing your thermostat as well. We suggest a programmable thermostat that allows you to schedule when your HVAC system runs. If you want more advanced features, such as smartphone control, automatic schedules and smart home integration, consider getting a smart thermostat made by Nest or ecobee. You can also check with your contractor for recommendations.

Central air conditioner vs window air conditioner: which is better?

Ultimately, whether you get a window air conditioner or a central air conditioning unit will depend on your budget and your home’s layout. Based on how expensive a central air conditioner is, it’s understandable that you might want something more affordable. In our comparison of window air conditioners, we found that the average unit costs between $100 and $300, which is definitely cheaper than a central air conditioner by a wide margin.


Window air conditioners are more affordable to purchase and to run than central air conditioners. That said, if you need to cool your whole home, a central air conditioner is usually more cost effective and efficient, because you don’t have to run individual units. 


The size of the space you’re cooling plays a big role in how comfortable you can make your home. In a large home, a central air conditioner will provide even cooling to all the rooms in your home. However, a window air conditioner is good for smaller spaces, such as studio apartments or single rooms. 


If you live in a place with long, hot summers, a central air conditioner is a better option to keep you comfortable. However, if you live in a place with relatively cool summers where you don’t turn on your air conditioner very often, a window unit is a great choice to provide temporary relief from the heat. 

Sours: https://www.toptenreviews.com/best-central-air-conditioning-units

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Central Air Conditioning Buying Guide

A synonym for the air conditioner’s cooling capacity, size is measured in British thermal units per hour (Btu/hr.) or in “tons.” One ton of cooling equals 12,000 Btu/hr.For sizing guidance, check the Energy Star website.

This describes how much cooling the unit delivers for each watt of electricity. Efficiency is expressed as the seasonal energy-efficiency rating, or SEER. The minimum SEER for a split system central air conditioner allowed today is 14, so look for units with SEER ratings of 15 or greater. The higher the SEER, the more you can lower your energy costs.

Central AC systems need regular maintenance for optimal performance. When you negotiate your installation, it's worth negotiating a service plan that combines regular inspections with discounts on repairs and a labor warranty into the overall price. Prices for such a service can vary widely.

Programmable thermostats
Setting your smart or programmable thermostat at the right temperature can reduce your cooling costs by about 10 percent. The right temperature varies on your comfort level, but start by setting it at 78° F and experiment until you find the sweet spot. You’ll save about 3 percent on your utility bill for every degree you raise the set temperature for your central air, according to the Department of Energy. And keep in mind that using a box or ceiling fan, which costs little to run, can make you feel 3° F to 4° F cooler.

Upgrading an existing system
If you’re upgrading your central air, don’t assume you should buy the same-sized system. Any changes you’ve made to improve your home’s energy efficiency, such as upgrading your windows or adding insulation, can reduce your cooling needs. On the other hand, if you’ve added rooms, you might need more cooling.

Have your contractor do a load calculation based on a recognized method, such as one in Manual J from the ACCA. The contractor’s evaluation should include whether your ducts need to be resized, sealed, and insulated, or replaced. Remember that an indoor evaporator coil and outdoor condenser must be a matched set from the same brand, or the performance, efficiency, and capacity might not meet expectations.

New systems are 20 to 40 percent more efficient than minimum-efficiency models made even 10 years ago. Costs will vary and can depend on whether you need ductwork installed, and the particular size and configuration of your home.

Sours: https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/central-air-conditioning/buying-guide/index.htm

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