Lennox was founded in 1895 when Dave Lennox invented the world’s first riveted-steel furnace. In 1952, Lennox began producing residential central air conditioners. The manufacturer later introduced the first two-speed hermetic compressor for ACs in 1974 and the first AC with an energy-efficiency rating of 15 SEER in 1984. In addition to ACs, the company’s current product lineup includes furnaces, boilers, garage heaters, heat pumps, air handlers, thermostats, and indoor air quality systems.
What are the 10 Best Central Air Conditioners?
Air conditioner overview
Air conditioners use built-in hardware components and chemical compounds known as refrigerants to chill the air inside of a building. The main components include a compressor for converting liquid refrigerant into gas, a condenser coil for turning the gas back into liquid, and an evaporating coil for converting the liquid back into gas. The gas produced in the evaporator coil absorbs heat. The cold air produced at this stage is then blown into the home by a fan.
If you’re shopping for a residential air conditioner, you’ll find two major types: room ACs, designed to cool a single room, and central ACs, designed to cool an entire home. All Lennox ACs are central ACs.
There are also two main types of central ACs: packaged systems and split systems. In a packaged system, all components are housed in a single HVAC unit, which sits in an outdoor cabinet. A split-system AC features two parts: an outdoor unit containing the compressor and an indoor air handler.
Traditionally, both types of central ACs require ducts to move cool air throughout the home. The system pulls air in from outside, cools it, then pushes it through various rooms in the house through the ductwork.
However, Lennox also offers mini-split systems, which don’t require ductwork. Instead, the outdoor and indoor units communicate through a refrigerant line, requiring only a small hole to be placed in the wall. Three of the four products in the mini-split family are heat pump systems, which can heat and cool a home, and the other product, model MCA, is an air conditioner system for cooling only. The mini-split systems are typically used for individual rooms, such as sunrooms and add-on rooms, where the installation of ductwork wouldn’t be pragmatic. Model MCA offers a 20 SEER rating.
Lennox AC series and models
Lennox offers 11 traditional packaged system models at various price points and efficiency levels. Lennox divides its packaged ACs into three series: the high-end Dave Lennox Signature Collection, mid-range Elite Series, and entry-level Merit Series.
Lennox packaged units feature sleek designs and all but two of the units comply with federal Energy Star guidelines. The 11 models’ SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) ratings range from 13 to 26. SEER ratings are determined by dividing the total number of BTUs (British Thermal Units) removed from the air by the amount of energy that the air conditioner requires in watt-hours. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient the product.
Unfortunately, Lennox packaged central ACs are not known for being quiet. Their average noise level is 70Db, which is much louder than the industry average of 40Db to 60Db.
Below, we cover five popular central AC models from Lennox, along with estimated average pricing from Airconditionerlab.com. However, many factors affect pricing, such as unit size, type of home, and location. Contact a local HVAC professional for accurate pricing information.
With a SEER rating of 13, the Merit 13ACX is one of two packaged central AC units from Lennox that’s not Energy Star eligible. The unit uses a single-speed compressor, meaning that the AC only has one phase: full speed. It operates at full speed when cooling the room and turns off once the desired temperature is reached.
Like other packaged AC units from Lennox, this unit is housed in a heavy-duty PermaGuard cabinet made of galvanized steel. Its scroll compressor works with an outdoor coil protected by a corrosion-resistant guard. The unit’s estimated price is $1,475 without installation and $3,090 with installation.
The 13ACX is not available in some states. If you live in Arizona, California, Nevada, or New Mexico, ask your dealer about another unit, like the ML14XC1. Ask about the 14ACX if you live in one of the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, or Virginia.
The 16ACX is the top-end model in the Merit Series. The two-stage AC operates at lower speeds most of the time but runs higher when heavier cooling is needed. The multi-stage compressor lowers humidity by maintaining constant air circulation in the home.
Like other central ACs from Lennox, the 16ACX is available in many sizes, measured by BTUs, ranging from 18,000 to 57,000 BTUs. The SEER rating for this unit is 17, with an estimated price of $1,690 without installation and $3,295 with installation.
This single-stage central AC achieves a SEER rating of 17. The EL16XC1 is relatively quiet for a Lennox AC, offering noise levels as low as 71Db. In comparison, Merit Series units feature noise levels as low as 75Db or 76Db. The estimated average price of the EL16XC1 is $2,080 without installation and $4,525 with installation.
The Elite XC20 was designated by the federal government as among the most efficient Energy Star-eligible appliances of 2019. Its SEER rating of 20 is well above the industry average.
This model also comes with what Lennox describes as “true variable-speed capacity.” According to the company, it works somewhat like a dimmer switch, adjusting cooling output in tiny increments to meet comfort needs. The unit also offers sound levels as low as 65Db. The estimated average price is $2,690 without installation and $4,495 with installation.
The XC25 is Lennox’s top packaged central AC unit, with a SEER of 26 and sound levels as low as 59Db. Signature models come with a special feature called SunSource, which allows integration with a new or existing solar array. The system first uses any solar energy generated by your house to power the HVAC system. It then uses leftover energy to power other electronics and appliances in the home.
Like the Elite XC2, the top-of-the-line unit offers “true variable-speed capacity.” Lennox states that the machine can adjust cooling output to the needs of the indoor environment in increments as small as 1%. The estimated average price of the unit is $3,775 without installation and $7,190 with installation.
Care and maintenance
Lennox offers several care and maintenance tips for customers to prolong the lifespan of their AC units. One of these tips includes routinely removing leaves, dirt, and grass clippings from around the exterior unit to keep debris from decreasing system capacity and reducing airflow. You should also trim any foliage back from around the unit to prevent it from interfering with the unit’s airflow.
Lennox also recommends that you regularly replace and clean the air filters. Generally, one-inch pleated filters should be replaced once a month. For all other filter sizes, your Lennox dealer will check, clean, or replace them at your annual maintenance visit. However, if you use your AC very frequently, live in a home with lots of dust, or have pets generating dander and debris, your filters might need more frequent attention. Your dealer can advise you on the frequency that’s best for your system.
Lennox air conditioner warranties
Lennox’s packaged AC warranties vary by series. Merit and Elite models come with separate warranties for the compressor and covered components. Merit ACs come with five-year compressor and covered component warranties. Elite models come with 10-year compressor and five-year covered component warranties. You can extend the covered component warranties to 10 years on select Merit and Elite models by registering the product. Signature models come with 10-year compressor and covered component warranties.
Ductless mini-split systems come with five-year warranties on covered components and compressors. You can extend the warranty by five years on parts and seven years on compressors by registering the product.
You can also buy a three-year, five-year, or 10-year Comfort Shield Labor Warranty from a third party, which covers labor costs when your air conditioner needs repairs.
Lennox is a very well established HVAC manufacturer with a long history of innovation. The company produces highly energy-efficient central air conditioners, though Lennox AC units tend to be louder and more expensive compared to direct competitors.