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10 Best Air Conditioner Brands (2024 Guide)

Typical Cost Range: $500 – $15,600

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Author Icon By Brenda Woods Updated 02/14/2024

Our team researched the best air conditioner brands for over 300 hours and we found that the top two air conditioner brands available are Carrier for its best-in-class performance and Lennox for its superior energy efficiency.

During our research we analyzed every brand’s warranties and product specifications and discussed each company’s offerings with representatives to further understand average AC costs. Throughout this article, we go into detail about what else makes Carrier and Lennox our top choice and compare them to other industry-leading brands.

See our list of top hvac companies based on in-depth research.

Select the company that best meets your needs.

Get a free, no-obligation quote for your home.


Who Are the Top 10 Air Conditioner Brands?

Here are the best air conditioner brands based on our research and methodology:

Carrier: Best Performance 
Lennox: Best Energy Efficiency
Trane: Best Warranty
Amana: Best Comfort Control
American Standard: Best Value
York: Most Experience
Frigidaire: Best for Window-Mounted Units
Ruud: Most Affordable
Goodman: Best for Longevity 
Rheem: Best for Smart Homes

How Do the Top Air Conditioner Brands Compare?

View star ratings and compare our top suggestions for AC brands in the table below.

Star Rating Best For Price Range SEER Rating Link
Carrier Carrier
Best Performance $3,000–$15,000 Up to 26 Get Quote
Lennox Lennox
Best Energy Efficiency $3,100–$10,000 Up to 28 Get Quote
Trane Trane
Best Warranty $3,500–$15,600 Up to 22 Get Quote
Amana Amana
Best Comfort Control $3,600–$11,000 Up to 25 Get Quote
American Standard American Standard
Best Value $3,500–$10,900 Up to 22 Get Quote
York York
Most Experience $4,000–$10,000 Up to 21 Get Quote
Frigidaire Frigidaire
Best for Window-Mounted Units $500–$1,082 Up to 21 Get Quote
Ruud Ruud
Best for Affordability $3,000–$6,100 Up to 20.5 Get Quote
Goodman Goodman
Best for Longevity $1,500–$8,000 Up to 24.5 Get Quote
Rheem Rheem
Best for Smart Homes $3,100–$6,100 Up to 20.5 Get Quote
Carrier
Logo Carrier
Star Rating
Best For Best Performance
Price Range $3,000–$15,000
SEER Rating Up to 26
Get Quote
Lennox
Logo Lennox
Star Rating
Best For Best Energy Efficiency
Price Range $3,100–$10,000
SEER Rating Up to 28
Get Quote
Trane
Logo Trane
Star Rating
Best For Best Warranty
Price Range $3,500–$15,600
SEER Rating Up to 22
Get Quote
Amana
Logo Amana
Star Rating
Best For Best Comfort Control
Price Range $3,600–$11,000
SEER Rating Up to 25
Get Quote
American Standard
Logo American Standard
Star Rating
Best For Best Value
Price Range $3,500–$10,900
SEER Rating Up to 22
Get Quote
York
Logo York
Star Rating
Best For Most Experience
Price Range $4,000–$10,000
SEER Rating Up to 21
Get Quote
Frigidaire
Logo Frigidaire
Star Rating
Best For Best for Window-Mounted Units
Price Range $500–$1,082
SEER Rating Up to 21
Get Quote
Ruud
Logo Ruud
Star Rating
Best For Best for Affordability
Price Range $3,000–$6,100
SEER Rating Up to 20.5
Get Quote
Goodman
Logo Goodman
Star Rating
Best For Best for Longevity
Price Range $1,500–$8,000
SEER Rating Up to 24.5
Get Quote
Rheem
Logo Rheem
Star Rating
Best For Best for Smart Homes
Price Range $3,100–$6,100
SEER Rating Up to 20.5
Get Quote
Providers
Star Rating
Best For
Price Range
Seer Rating
Best Performance
$3,000–$15,000
Up to 26
Best Energy Efficiency
$3,100–$10,000
Up to 28
Best Warranty
$3,500–$15,600
Up to 22
Best Comfort Control
$3,600–$11,000
Up to 25
Best Value
$3,500–$10,900
Up to 22
Most Experience
$4,000–$10,000
Up to 21
Best for Window-Mounted Units
$500–$1,082
Up to 21
Best for Affordability
$3,000–$6,100
Up to 20.5
Best for Longevity
$1,500–$8,000
Up to 24.5
Best for Smart Homes
$3,100–$6,100
Up to 20.5
What SEER rating do I need for a 2,000 sq ft home?
A 2,000-square-foot home requires a 3.5-ton air conditioner. SEER ratings for air conditioners near this weight range from 13–25. A lower SEER-rated AC system is typically less expensive, but your electricity bills will be higher than with a higher SEER-rated product.

Our Top 10 Picks For Air Conditioner Brands

1. Carrier

Best Performance
4.9

Pros and Cons

Pros Has high energy efficiency rates Includes a 10-year limited parts warranty for registered products Some units have sound levels as low as 51 decibels Cons Is more expensive than other brands Cost information requires a salesperson to visit your home

Overview

Carrier offers AC units with seasonal energy efficiency ratios (SEER) between 13 and 26.

Its most efficient and best-performing model is the Infinity 26 Air Conditioner with Greenspeed Intelligence. Each Carrier AC includes the option for a five- or 10-year limited warranty, depending on when you register the product.

  • SEER rating: Up to 26
  • Price range: $3,000–$15,000

Why We Chose Carrier

Carrier partners with Energy Star to meet strict energy efficiency requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This, combined with the company’s low sound ratings and variable speed compressors, results in some of the highest-performing AC units available. Carrier’s boilers and furnaces are equally high-performing.

2. Lennox

Best Energy Efficiency
4.9

Pros and Cons

Pros Has the highest SEER rating on this list Uses high-end technology, such as solar panels Is available at popular retailers such as The Home Depot Cons Is more expensive than some companies Varies warranty options by product

Overview

Like Carrier, Lennox partners with Energy Star to provide high-efficiency AC units. SEER ratings vary by model, but its SL28XCV unit can reach up to 28—one of the highest rates in the industry.

  • SEER rating: Up to 28
  • Price range: $3,100–$10,000

Why We Chose Lennox

Lennox’s high-end air conditioners feature technology that modifies how they cool based on the surrounding climate, leading to higher efficiency. You can also add the company’s SunSource technology to any of its Signature collection units, allowing you to power your AC by solar panels.

3. Trane

Best Warranty
4.5

Pros and Cons

Pros Includes a comprehensive 12-year compressor warranty plus 10 years for other parts and labor Uses a rustproof DuraTuff base pan for longevity Incorporates cutting edge smart-home technology Cons High-end options require a ComfortLink II thermostat to function properly Charges a premium for many of its products

Overview

Founded in 1913, Trane offers impressive warranties that make it a secure investment. Its XV20i TruComfort Variable Speed air conditioner uses variable speed technology to continuously communicate with other air conditioning system parts and a Trane thermostat for optimal efficiency.

  • SEER rating: Up to 22
  • Price range: $3,500–$15,600

Why We Chose Trane

Trane includes a 12-year compressor and a 10-year parts and labor warranty, which is more comprehensive than other brands. These warranties help make your investment more secure and long-lasting.

4. Amana

Best Comfort Control
4.5

Pros and Cons

Pros Includes a limited lifetime replacement warranty on its high-end compressors Adds features to improve comfort control Has a user-friendly website to search for dealers and find manuals and other resources Cons Performance is average for the company’s pricing Communicating technology is new and can be difficult to fix if it malfunctions

Overview

Amana is part of Goodman, the world’s largest manufacturer of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning products and systems. It offers quality AC units backed by a solid warranty. It also features one of the most user-friendly websites, including easy-to-access user manuals and product search tools.

  • SEER rating: Up to 25
  • Price range: $3,600–$11,000

Why We Chose Amana

Though many of Amana’s products have average performance, their features boost your ability to control your home. The company’s ComfortBridge technology uses two-way communication to determine which speed or stage the AC runs on, rather than relying on your thermostat. This allows your HVAC system to use data to automatically adjust to the minimum amount of energy needed to heat or cool your home, lowering your utility costs. Amana also uses a variable-capacity compressor, which improves your humidity control.

5. American Standard

Best Value
4.5

Pros and Cons

Pros Offers smart-home technology Has competitive pricing on quality products Uses a network of certified dealers Cons Requires you to buy a high-end unit to receive compressor coverage Has higher sound levels than other brands

Overview

American Standard has become a household name in air conditioning since its founding in 1929. The company offers budget-friendly AC units with 10-year limited warranties. It uses a network of certified dealers, so you can buy an American Standard AC with a representative that understands your region’s HVAC requirements.

  • SEER rating: Up to 22
  • Price range: $3,500–$10,900

Why We Chose American Standard

American Standard has many units to choose from, including options for single, two-stage and variable-speed fan motors depending on your budget and desired energy efficiency. The company also offers AccuLink and AccuComfort smart thermostats, which allow you to control your AC via American Standard’s mobile app. Best of all, the company has competitive prices.

6. York

Most Experience
4.5

Pros and Cons

Pros Has one of the longest histories in the air conditioning industry Offers ClimaSet technology that can be adjusted for humid, dry, or temperate climates Ensures longevity with durable hardware and a 10-year limited warranty for parts Cons Online reviews mention leaking problems and mixed experiences with customer service reps Has a limited product selection compared to other brands

Overview

York began in 1874 producing ice makers, then expanded into HVAC systems once the technology became available. Johnson Controls, which manufactures mechanical equipment globally, now owns the company. York’s AC units combine high energy efficiency and low sound levels. Every model has guardrails to protect the coil and compressor for additional durability.

  • SEER rating: Up to 21
  • Price range: $4,000–$10,000

Why We Chose York

York is the most experienced company on this list. Not only do you receive quality AC units, but also expertise other brands on this list don’t have yet.

7. Frigidaire

Best for Window-Mounted Units
4.5

Pros and Cons

Pros Uses an inverter compressor that runs at low capacity and uses little energy Offers high-quality and competitively priced window-mounted air conditioners Includes a 10-year warranty Cons Has a more limited product selection than competitors Possibly more difficult to find a certified installer depending on your location

Overview

Frigidaire has become a common household name over the last 100+ years due to its quality refrigerators and freezers. The company brings the same quality to its AC units. Though it’s known for simple, traditional ACs, it also offers a selection of smart-home integration features.

  • SEER rating: Up to 21
  • Price range: $500–$1,082

Why We Chose Frigidaire

Frigidaire offers built-in and portable air conditioners but stands out for its window-mounted ACs. Some options include technology typically reserved for large ACs, such as Wi-Fi connectivity, mobile app control, and inverters that optimize energy efficiency and air circulation.

8. Ruud

Best for Affordability
4.3

Pros and Cons

Pros Offers highly competitive pricing on quality AC units Provides an extensive service network Is known for simple, fast maintenance and part replacement Cons Only includes a five-year warranty for the entire AC unit Has similar offerings to Rheem but with additional downsides, such as high noise level

Overview

A part of the manufacturer Rheem, Ruud offers affordable full-size AC units. The company’s standard 16 SEER unit, the RA16 Achiever Series, starts as low as $3,000. Ruud’s high-end options, such as its UA20 Variable Speed Econet Enabled Ultra series, offer competitive pricing for smart-home integrated, high-efficiency units.

  • SEER rating: Up to 20.5
  • Price range: $3,000–$6,100

Why We Chose Ruud

In addition to low-cost units, Ruud offers financing options through an in-house financing firm, KwikComfort Financing, with options for zero-interest payment plans. This financing feature stands out given that AC replacement is expensive.

9. Goodman

Best for Longevity
4.1

Pros and Cons

Pros Uses R-410A refrigerant, which is less harmful to the environment Includes features for added durability and longevity Offers an above-average warranty for registered units Cons Warranty only covers labor for one year May be challenging to find a certified installer because the company sells units wholesale

Overview

Goodman began in 1975 manufacturing flexible air ducts, then expanded to air conditioners seven years later. Though known in the past for relatively standard AC units, its products have improved in quality and durability since Daikin Industries acquired the company in 2012.

  • SEER rating: Up to 24.5
  • Price range: $1,500–$8,000

Why We Chose Goodman

Goodman builds its ACs last, with features including special dirt-blocking filters and rail guards to protect the coils from weather and debris. Goodman backs its ACs with a 10-year limited warranty on parts, a 10-year limited warranty for entire unit replacement, and a lifetime compressor warranty.

10. Rheem

Best for Smart Homes
3.7

Pros and Cons

Pros Offers a large selection of heating and cooling products with a focus on sustainability and savings Provides full smart-home integration via its EcoNet products Uses the variable speed Copeland Scroll Compressor, one of the longest-lasting and quietest compressors available Cons Many available products are still too new to know their long-term viability Website lacks customer support

Overview

Rheem offers a variety of AC and HVAC units as well as plumbing products with a focus on smarthome integration. Its EcoNet products allow you to fully integrate your home’s heating and cooling systems to maximize comfort and savings.

  • SEER rating: Up to 20.5
  • Price range: $3,100–$6,100

Why We Chose Rheem

Rheem has a smartphone app that lets you control your entire system and receive notifications for maintenance or other issues. The company’s RA20 Variable Speed units are a standout, including EcoNet integration, higher SEER ratings, and eligibility for a $300 energy efficiency rebate. Products like this paired with the company’s app make it one of the best AC brands for smart homes.


What Factors Should You Consider When Choosing an Air Conditioner Brand?

Though cost is crucial when choosing an air conditioner brand, you should consider a few other factors, such as customer service and warranties, before deciding. We’ve listed the most significant factors below.

Cost

Your budget is vital in determining which AC brand is best for you. Premium brands cost more because they use newer technology and offer smart home capabilities. You can save money by opting for a standard AC unit if you don’t want or need these features.

The type of air conditioner influences its price, too. For example, a full-size central air conditioner costs more than a smaller option, such as a ductless air conditioning system, also called a split AC unit.

Below are some of the average costs of different AC system types. We’ve also included the costs of vital AC parts, such as a condenser. These are included in the unit cost but can increase or decrease the overall price.

Type or PartCost

Central Air Conditioning

$2,500–$7,000 

Compressor

$800–$3,000

Condenser

$1,200–$4,200

Heat Pump

$1,000–$6,000

Split Air Conditioning

$1,600–$3,500

Window Air Conditioning

$150–$750

Be aware that some brands, such as Trane, may use their name recognition and long history as a reason to charge higher prices. Though a good reputation is a strong indicator of quality, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should pay more for a comparable unit from a lesser-known brand.

You should also consider that installation costs are not included in the unit price. This costs $1,200–$2,200. 

Warranties

Warranties help secure your AC investment. Most companies offer a five-year limited warranty for parts but will commonly increase this to 10 years if you register their products online. We encourage you to register your AC unit with its brand to get the most out of your investment. 

A 10-year limited warranty for parts or replacement is standard. A brand that offers a lifetime compressor warranty or lifetime replacement warranty signals the company stands by its products.

Features

Air conditioning technology is continuously progressing. You can buy an AC with all the bells and whistles, such as an internet-accessed monitoring system and smart thermostat. However, more features mean a higher cost. Consider what features and convenience level you want and compare them with the brand’s price tags to find a middle ground. 

Central air conditioning systems that merge your HVAC systems into one unit with a heat pump may cost more up-front. You can save money by opting for a split system, which separates your HVAC system into a furnace for heating and an air conditioner for cooling. However, unified systems with a heat pump are more efficient during summer and lead to lower energy bills, saving you money long-term.

Customer Service

Pay attention to how much customer support is available. A good AC brand should offer various forms of communication, such as an online submission form and direct phone line. Also, take note of whether the company provides certified installers, either in-house or through a network of dealers. 

We recommend researching brands you’re interested in on popular customer review sites such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Reading customer reviews will give you insight into the installation process and what it’s like to deal with that brand’s customer service representatives.


How Long Do Air Conditioners Last?

An air conditioner’s life span can vary greatly depending on factors such as its quality, the work performed by the installing technician, your surrounding climate, and how well the system is maintained. The typical home air conditioning unit can last anywhere from 15–25 years. Here are some factors that can shorten your AC’s life span.

Your local climate determines how hard the AC has to work and how low it has to lower your home’s temperature. Hot temperatures mean the AC has to work extra hard to cool the house, which can reduce its life span. An extremely hot and lengthy summer can also reduce the AC’s life span. Learn the annual average temperature of where you live so that you can plan and budget for a new air conditioner accordingly.

Courtesy – climate.gov
Your AC needs to get fresh air, cool it, and distribute it throughout the house without blockages. If there are airflow restrictions, the AC will overwork, which can shorten its life span.
ACs that run around the clock also have a shorter life span because they experience persistent wear and strain. Even with good maintenance and regular tune-ups, the equipment is likely to fail sooner than those that are only used for one season per year.
Lack of HVAC maintenance can cause serious issues over time, which can shorten your AC’s life span. Frequent duct cleanings, filter changes, and regular maintenance are a must to help the AC run more efficiently and last longer.

How Is Air Conditioner Energy Efficiency Evaluated?

Energy efficiency determines an air conditioner’s overall performance and value. Below are two of the most common ways an AC’s energy efficiency is determined.

  • ENERGY STAR ratings: A brand that partners with ENERGY STAR is another good indicator of quality. ENERGY STAR uses strict guidelines to certify AC units. For example, the unit must have a SEER rating of 14.5 or higher. It must also have an energy efficiency ratio (EER) rating—a more standardized measurement than SEER—that uses 8% less energy than conventional AC models.
  • SEER rating: Seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) ratings are the ratio of an AC’s cooling output over a typical cooling season divided by the energy it uses in watt-hours. A SEER rating is calculated over an entire cooling season using a constant indoor temperature and a variety of outdoor temperatures ranging from 60℉ to over 100℉. Be aware that a SEER rating is the maximum efficiency rating. Your unit’s efficiency could be lower depending on your home’s conditions, such as insulation and windows. Any SEER rating above 13 is considered good. The average rating is 16, and anything above 20 is top-of-the-line. Units below 13 are likely low-quality.
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Our Conclusion

The best air conditioner brand depends on your budget, needs, and wants. Carrier air conditioners are some of the best-performing, while Lennox has one of the highest SEER ratings and best energy efficiency scores. Brands such as Trane or American Standard may be a better fit if you’re looking for something more affordable.

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when shopping for air conditioners is not obtaining multiple quotes from HVAC contractors. We recommend getting at least three quotes from different brands to compare costs, warranties, and additional features.


FAQ About the Best Air Conditioner Brands

Which AC brand is best?

The best AC brand depends on your specific needs and wants. However, we find Carrier to be one of the most well-rounded AC brands. The company offers competitive pricing on high-quality AC units and includes a 10-year limited warranty upon product registration.

How long do ACs last?

An AC unit can last up to 20 years, or even 30, with the proper maintenance and care.

What SEER rating do I need for 2,000 square feet?

A 2,000-square-foot home requires a 3.5-ton air conditioner. SEER ratings for air conditioners near this weight range from 13–25. A lower SEER-rated AC is typically less expensive, but your electricity bills will be higher than with a higher SEER-rated product.

Which AC brand is the cheapest?

We found Ruud to provide some of the cheapest full-size air conditioners. 

How do I know what size air conditioner I need?

Various factors determine your required air conditioner size. We recommend hiring a professional to properly calculate the right AC size for your home. Information used to calculate your required AC size includes the following: 

  • Number of people living in the home
  • Square footage
  • Regional climate
  • Existing ductwork 
  • Insulation
  • Heat contributions of appliances

Which brand is best for window ACs?

We find Frigidaire to be the best brand for window AC units. The company specializes in window-mounted AC units and includes high-end features such as Wi-Fi connectivity, mobile app remote control, and high-end inverters that optimize energy efficiency.

How do I choose an AC brand?

We recommend focusing on five critical factors when choosing an AC brand:

  • Efficiency: How effectively the air conditioner cools a space.
  • Life span: How long the AC can last with proper maintenance. 
  • Noise level: How loud the AC gets in terms of decibels (db). 
  • Reputation: The manufacturer’s reputation across review sites, such as Google Reviews and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can also check with the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institution to see if the company is registered with the trade organization.
  • Extra features: What smart-home features or connectivity the AC includes, if desired.

Our Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews Team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and data to support our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for HVAC providers is on a 100-point system based on seven factors:

  • System cost (20 points): We determine if the company’s cheapest option for a full-size AC or furnace starts below $3,100 or if it exists somewhere between $3,100 and $8,500. The cheaper the average price range, the more points a company receives. 
  • Efficiency rating (20 points): We consider the company’s best available energy efficiency ratings, namely its highest Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings. The higher the rating, the higher the score.
  • Sound rating (10 points): We analyze a company’s lowest possible sound rating in decibels. Companies with lower sound ratings are rated higher.
  • Warranty options (10 points): We award the most points to companies with warranties beyond the average 10- and 5-year warranties. We deduct points from companies with warranties that cover three or fewer parts.
  • Energy Star certification (10 points): We award more points to companies with Energy Star-certified products.
  • Reputation (10 points): We factor in how each company is scored on the Business Better Bureau (BBB). We deduct points for any alerts or pending lawsuits.
  • Customer service and resources (20): We consider each company’s available customer support and resources. This includes whether the company offers a user-friendly product search tool, FAQ section, pricing guides, online manuals, and a mobile app. 

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.