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Best Air Conditioner Brands

Which AC brand should you choose?
Here are our top picks.

There are a few main things that homeowners will want to take into consideration when deciding which of the best AC units they should install in their homes. It really depends on what you value the most in a top brand central air conditioner. The major factors for most homeowners will be the total cost to install the best air conditioner brands, lifespan of the AC unit, warranties offered, energy efficiency (SEER ratings), and size of the unit you need for your home’s square footage (TONS) to efficiently cool your home.

Top AC Brands

We broke down each of the 10 best central air conditioning brands and more by comparing the costs of a 14 SEER (standard efficiency) AC unit and then layout some of the top features of each highly rated central AC unit brand.
  • Very Reliable Unit
  • Low Maintenance Costs
Average Cost to Install: $3,575 to $6,178
Energy Efficiency: 13 - 22 SEER

American Standard Air Conditioners

American Standard air conditioners are one of the best central air conditioning brands in the business. The average cost to install a 14 SEER American Standard AC unit would be around $3,575 to $6,178. The company gets far fewer repair calls for its AC systems than most of the other AC units in the business. You can feel good about paying a premium for this AC unit, because you’ll be getting a whole lot of value with the purchase.

  • Comprehensive Warranty - Up to 10 Years
  • Impressive Customer Service
Average Cost to Install: $4,892 to $7,224
Energy Efficiency: 13 - 22 SEER

Carrier Air Conditioners

There’s a reason that many people refer to Carrier AC units as a top air conditioner brand. Their HVAC systems are built with strict quality standards in mind. Installation of a 14 SEER Carrier Comfort Series air conditioner would cost $4,892 to $7,224 to install. Because this brand offers more options than most manufacturers, you’re sure to find the exact central air unit you need for your home’s heating and cooling needs. They offer up to a 21 SEER rating, which is the highest on the market. Carrier repairs are usually fairly affordable in comparison to the rest of the HVAC industry. Carrier is also known for having highly qualified installers who are trained specifically in how to install a Carrier air conditioner. The company also offers heat pumps, gas furnaces, and other HVAC system types.

  • Top Homeowner Choice
  • Low Cost Options
  • Smart Home Compatible
Average Cost to Install: $3,188 to $4,275
Energy Efficiency: 13 - 18 SEER

Goodman Central Air Conditioners

Goodman air conditioners are another of the top HVAC AC units on this list that isn’t quite as revered as Trane or Carrier. They are known for being cheaper in price range, but still being a good brand to rely on. If you wanted to install a Goodman GSX 14 SEER AC unit you could expect to pay $3,188 to $4,275 in total installation costs. The company’s products have a solid build and quality, along with warranty programs you can count on. Best of all, they’re a real value overall for one of the best ac units from this list.

  • Low Running Costs
  • Great Quality for Price
Average Cost to Install: $3,267 to $6,100
Energy Efficiency: 14 - 18.5 SEER

Trane Central AC Units

Trane central air conditioners are known for upholding warranties and offer a standard 10-year warranty that covers both parts and labor. A Trane XR14 that has a 14 SEER rating in energy efficiency would cost anywhere from $3,267 to $6,100 to install. Trane products are often pricier than other HVAC brands, but as the old saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” Trane is considered a premium brand that offers outstanding air conditioners, heat pumps, and gas furnaces.

  • Low Cost Units Available
  • Durable for Price
Average Cost to Install: $3,150 to $4,000
Energy Efficiency: 13 - 20 SEER

Rheem Air Conditioners

Rheem central AC units are a good option if you are looking for something within a smaller budget. When installed correctly and maintained, Rheem units can be just as durable as other higher priced brands. A replacement Rheem air conditioner such as the Rheem Classic RA14 model would cost from $3,150 to $4,000 total installed. Many homeowners have heard of Rheem, but they are not always considered a premier HVAC brand. However, for the price they are definitely worth considering.

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  • Highest SEER Rating Available
  • Premium Models Available
Average Cost to Install: $3,100 to $7,340
Energy Efficiency: 13 - 26 SEER

Lennox HVAC Units

Out of all the top brands on this list, Lennox air conditioners are the ones known most for energy efficiency. You can pick up models with remarkably high SEER levels like 23.5. The company can offer equipment with efficiency levels up above 98%. A 14 to 16 SEER rating Lennox air conditioner such as the Lennox 14ACX series model would cost $3,100 to $7,340 to install in your home.

  • Lifetime Warranty - Available
  • Low Maintenance Costs
Average Cost to Install: $3,067 to $5,200
Energy Efficiency: 13 - 18 SEER

York AC Units

York HVAC systems are considered one of the best brands particularly because they are known for their value pricing. The average cost to install a YORK air conditioner with a 16 SEER rating would cost $3,067 to $5,200 to install. The more efficient models such as the York YXV which boasts a 20 SEER would price out at on the higher end. York AC units are also known for being extremely quiet and are a great option when noise is a real concern.

  • Affordable Unit Options
  • Above Average SEER Available
Average Cost to Install: $3,125 to $3,879
Energy Efficiency: 15 - 20.5 SEER

Ruud Central Air Conditioners

Ruud air conditioners are affordable HVAC systems that offer a full lineup of heating and cooling products. The Ruud Achiever RA16 which has a 16 SEER energy efficiency would cost anywhere between $3,125 to $3,879 to install. There’s plenty of testing and customer reviews that credit Ruud AC units as being long-lasting. They also have available parts throughout the U.S. so their warranties and replacements are very time efficient. The warranties themselves are not always as comprehensive as some of the more expensive brands on the list. However, you will pay far less in initial installation costs or outright purchase price of a new AC unit with Ruud.

  • Premium HVAC Units
  • Lifetime Limited Warranties
  • Great Investment
Average Cost to Install: $3,854 to $6,345
Energy Efficiency: 14 - 25 SEER

Amana HVAC Systems

Amana air conditioners are a solid mid-range HVAC unit offering for the homeowner looking for products in the 13 to 18 SEER range. Amana is known for offering one of the best HVAC warranties in the business, and their compressors come with a Limited Lifetime Replacement warranty that’s good for the expected operating life of the AC unit. An Amana AC unit will cost $3,854 to $6,345 to install if you want a 14 SEER air conditioner installed by them such as the Amana ASX14 model. Amana HVAC also offers replacement furnaces and heat pumps.

  • Low Cost - High Durability
  • 10 Year General Parts Warranty
Average Cost to Install: $3,562 to $4,465
Energy Efficiency: 14 - 19 SEER

HEIL Air Conditioners

HEIL AC units are another one of the best air conditioner brands that doesn’t get as much love as they should. This AC brand’s tech allows different heating and cooling components to send information and synchronize performance, becoming more energy efficient and reliable overall. A HEIL air conditioner installation would cost $3,562 to $4,465 for their 14 SEER model from their Quiet Comfort series. Heil AC products can achieve up to a 97% efficiency rating and SEER figures of 19. They also come with comprehensive 10 year warranties.

  • Quick & Easy Installation
  • Durable for Price
Average Cost to Install: $3,285 to $5,432
Energy Efficiency: 13 - 20.5 SEER

Bryant Air Conditioning Units

Bryant air conditioning brand is another great brand that needs to be considered when discussing options for HVAC replacement. Bryant is a well known brand that offers AC units, heat pumps, and gas furnaces. It is reasonably priced and is a sister company to some of the other top brands on our list. Bryant air conditioners are often made with the same quality parts as a Carrier brand HVAC system. If you want to install a mid tier AC replacement with a 14 SEER Bryant Preferred 124ANS air conditioner, it would cost $3,285 to $5,432 in installation costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do air conditioner brands really matter?

When installing a new central AC unit, top air conditioner brands and associated costs can be an important decision factor. Brands usually can offer a price point to fit any budget from low cost AC units to top performing units. Some brands offer extensive warranties, boast incredible customer support teams, and offer smart home technology for your new air conditioner.

It really depends on your budget and what you value the most in a new AC unit and the brand of it. Like most things, you get what you pay for and should plan your budget accordingly.

What is a good SEER rating for an AC unit?

A SEER rating indicates how energy efficient your new central AC unit will be. Higher SEER ratings can mean a higher initial price for the air conditioner itself and total installation, but you will save in the long run on energy bills.

The minimum SEER rating you can get is a 13 SEER AC unit. Most of the best air conditioner brands will have a SEER rating from 14 to 21. The highest energy efficient air conditioner can go up to a 26 SEER rating offered by high tier brands like Lennox and other best AC brands discussed on this page. Understanding the basics of SEER ratings will help you choose the right AC unit for your home and budget.

How do you find a reliable local AC contractor fast?

When you need to install a new central AC system, it can become an urgent situation if your home’s temperature starts to become extremely cold or unpleasantly warm. Finding a reliable local AC contractor fast is possible.

The best strategy is to ask friends and family for recommendations. It is then smart to vet those contractors by using a service like Modernize to instantly compare multiple quotes from the top contractors.

We provide information on local service professionals along with their current Google business ratings, Better Business Bureau ratings, and even recent reviews from homeowners in your neighborhood who also completed HVAC projects with those same AC contractors that install the top AC brands. You can also use our HVAC contractor checklist to make sure you hire the right person for efficient and smooth run for your home project.

Can you negotiate AC installation costs?

Negotiating the costs of your air conditioner installation with your contractor is definitely possible. You should always have backup resources to justify the local costs in your area for a new AC unit. HVAC installation costs typically range from $3,500 to $7,525.

Homeowners can often reduce costs of the contract estimate and terms by getting multiple installation price quotes in their area. Homeowners can also leverage our HVAC cost calculator to get average local prices to use as a strategic negotiation tactic.

What is the average lifespan of a new AC unit?

A new air conditioner can last anywhere from 12 to 15 years. As your AC unit gets older it is smart to have annual HVAC checkups on your system by a service professional to make sure you get the most out of your new air conditioner. The best HVAC brands will last at least 15 years or longer if maintained properly throughout their lifespan.

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