Best Central Air Conditioners: 2015
Updated: Sep. 29, 2015
FurnaceCompare maintains records on nearly 600 series of central air conditioners. Which of these do homeowners and contractors rate most highly? And, of the most highly rated, which are available for sale in 2015?
The list below represents the top-rated air conditioners available in the US and Canada. These air conditioners vary in efficiency from 13 - 21.2 SEER. They also vary in features and price.
|Rank||Brand and Series||Rating||Efficiency (SEER)||Sound Rating (decibels)||Average Pricing|
|10.||Lennox XC13||3.2 out of 5||up to 15.5||as low as 74||$6,100 (installed)|
|The Lennox XC13 uses a scroll compressor, along with a precision-balanced direct-drive fan, to deliver quiet, efficient operation. The PermaGuard cabinet is constructed of heavy-gauge galvanized steel with a baked-on powder finish to provide protection against rust and corrosion. The unit is designed to work with the Humiditrol whole-home dehumidification system to help maintain optimal moisture levels.|
|9.||Bryant Legacy Line||3.2 out of 5||up to 16||as low as 72||$2,971|
|Bryant's Legacy line of air conditioners has a single-stage scroll compressor and provides quiet performance, with sound as low as 72 dB. The units feature DuraGuard Plus protection, which increases durability by protecting against the weather. The system can be managed remotely when paired with the Bryant Housewise Wi-Fi thermostat.|
|8.||Ruud Achiever||3.2 out of 5||up to 16.5||72 - 76||$10,349 (installed)|
|Ruud's Achiever series of single-stage air conditioners all utilize Copeland scroll compressors and PSC fan motors. These units offer a low 33-inch profile wrapped within a steel louvered cabinet. The unit is installed off the concrete pad for reduced noise, as low as 72 decibels. A single service panel offers easy access for maintenance, as does the removable top grille.|
|7.||Trane XB14||3.3 out of 5||up to 16.5||76 - 80||$4,326 (installed)|
|The Trane XB14 air conditioner is designed to provide optimal comfort and efficient operation and a cost-effective price point. The units feature a single-stage Climatuff compressor and an all-aluminum, corrosion-resistant Spine Fin outdoor coil. Each model features numerous corrosion-resistant components, including baked-on powder painted louvers and a Duratuff basepan that is resistant to warping, cracking and corrosion.|
|6.||Goodman DSXC16||3.6 out of 5||up to 16||70.4 - 75||$1,292|
|The Goodman DSXC16 air conditioner features a two-stage Copeland UltraTech scroll compressor and built-in diagnostics. The unit is compatible with Goodman’s ComfortNet Communications System, which monitors the system and allows contractors to accurately troubleshoot problems. The unit is designed for quiet performance with an efficient two-speed condenser fan motor, a high-density foam sound blanket, and a wire fan discharge grille.|
|5.||Lennox XC21||3.6 out of 5||up to 21.20||as low as 69||$7,350 installed|
|The Lennox XC21 has earned the Energy Star Most Efficient 2015 label. It features a two-stage scroll compressor which runs on low up to 80% of the time and uses SilentComfort technology for optimal system performance. The unit's SunSource Solar-Ready option allows solar energy to be harnessed and used to lower utility costs.|
|4.||Amana ASX16||3.7 out of 5||up to 16||71.5 - 73||$1,829|
|The Amana ASX16 has a Copeland high-efficiency scroll compressor and SmartCoil condensing coils made with enhanced aluminum fins and copper tubing. It features the Copeland ComfortAlert diagnostics system, which constantly monitors the system for problems. A high-density sound control blanket and sound control top are designed to reduce noise levels.|
|3.||Bryant Preferred||3.7 out of 5||up to 16.5||as low as 73||$2,164|
|Bryant's Preferred air conditioner is reportedly about as loud as the common dishwasher, at 73 decibels. Each galvanized steel unit features the DuraGuard protection, such as the louvered coil guard. The series uses a two-stage compressor, aluminum fin coil, copper tubing and corrosion-resistant interior parts.|
|2.||Goodman GSX13||3.8 out of 5||13||72 - 77||$999|
|According to Goodman, the GSX13 air conditioner uses an energy-efficient compressor, and features an aluminum fin condenser coil, copper tubing and an internal filter drier, all within a heavy-gauge galvanized steel cabinet. The fan uses a three-bladed design that, when coupled with the louvered top, muffles the fan’s operation. The unit offers maintenance access on both the top and side, as well as easy access to internal controls through one panel.|
|1.||Goodman DSXC18||5 out of 5||up to 18||71 - 74||$1,939|
|The Goodman DSXC18 air conditioner features a two-stage Copeland scroll compressor and built-in diagnostics. The unit is compatible with Goodman’s ComfortNet Communications System, which allows contractors to accurately troubleshoot problems. The unit also is manufactured for quiet performance due to an efficient two-speed condenser fan motor, high-density foam sound blanket to muffle compressor noises and the wire fan discharge grille.|
The sound ratings are measured in decibels -- the lower the decibels, the quieter the air conditioner. The actual number of decibels produced by an air conditioner is a function of both its capacity (how many BTUs of cooling it generates) and the other components to which it is connected (such as a furnace or air handler used to distribute the cold air). In general, when you see a range, the lowest number of decibels is for the units with the smallest capacity that are paired with quiet components.
There are two different types of prices shown in the "Average Pricing" column.
- If you see a simple price, that is the average price that we found on the websites of internet retailers that sell that particular series of air conditioner.
- If you see a price followed by the note (installed), this means that retailers are under agreement with the manufacturer not to publicly display the price of the units. In these cases, the price is an average of quotes given to different homeowners.
Note that prices -- even when they are published online -- can vary substantially based on the capacity of the unit in question: 24,000 BTU units are typically cheaper than 60,000 BTU units of the same brand and series.
The "installed" prices can vary even more dramatically. Not only do they cover a range of capacities, but prices also vary geographically and from installer to installer.
Compare our 2015 ratings to the best air conditioners of 2014.
Consumers and homeowners have submitted thousands of reviews to this site. In addition to reviewing a particular model of equipment, the reviewer also assigns a rating from 1 ("Very Unsatisfied") to 5 ("Very Satisfied"). The following list ranks the top 10 central air conditioner series from bottom to top, based on the average of those consumer satisfaction ratings.
FurnaceCompare.com has collected reviews on more than 60 different brands and 500 different series of central air conditioners. However, we have only included a series on this list if we have at least 5 reviews of that series, and if the series has not been discontinued. If we only have a few reviews, there is a risk that a single homeowner will skew the average rating too far in one direction or another.