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Best Central Air Conditioners: 2017

Updated: Jun 12, 2017

Rank Brand and Series Rating Efficiency (SEER) Average Pricing
10. Ruud Achiever 3.38 out of 5 up to 16 not available
Ruud's Achiever series of single-stage air conditioners use scroll compressors and PSC fan motors. The unit has a composite base pan designed to prevent corrosion while reducing operating sound. The Achiever features PlusOne Expanded Valve Space, which provides a minimum working area of 27 square inches, and PlusOne Triple Service Access, which offers 15-inch wide corner service access for faster repairs and easier reassembly.
9. Amana ASX16 3.4 out of 5 up to 16 $1,599
The Amana ASX16 has a Copeland high-efficiency scroll compressor and a premium copper tubing / aluminum fin condensor coil. It features Copeland CoreSense diagnostics, which constantly monitors the system for problems. A high-density sound control blanket and sound control top are designed to reduce noise levels.
8. Lennox XC21 3.41 out of 5 up to 21 $6,999 installed
The Lennox XC21 features a two-stage scroll compressor which runs on low up to 80% of the time. It uses SilentComfort technology which provides optimal system performance while keeping operating sound levels low. The unit's SunSource Solar-Ready option allows solar energy to be harnessed and used to lower utility costs.
7. Goodman GSX13 3.47 out of 5 up to 13 $836
The Goodman GSX13 air conditioner uses an energy-efficient compressor which is protected by a factory-installed liquid line filter drier. It features a copper tube / aluminum fin condenser coil and a heavy-gauge galvanized steel cabinet. A three-bladed design combined with a louvered sound control top helps lower operating sound levels. The unit offers maintenance access on both the top and side, as well as easy access to internal controls through one panel.
6. Carrier Infinity 21 3.5 out of 5 up to 21 not available
Carrier's Infinity 21 air conditioner has a two-stage scroll compressor with a filter drier system to protect it from contaminants and moisture. The Silencer System II feature, along with a compressor sound blanket and forward swept fan blades, helps to keep operating sound levels low. The unit's Infinity touch control provides accurate temperature and humidity management, along with other programmable features.

5. York YCJF 3.6 out of 5 up to 16.5 $1,848
The York YCJF air conditioner has a single-stage compressor which is protected by a high pressure relief valve, a temperature sensor, and a high pressure switch. A factory installed liquid line filter drier provides additional protection against moisture and debris. A compressor sound blanket and swept wing fan blade design helps to minimize operating noise.
4. Bryant Preferred 3.7 out of 5 up to 17 $2,259
Bryant's Preferred air conditioner is available with either a single- or two-stage compressor. Each galvanized steel unit features DuraGuard Plus protection, which increases durability by protecting against the weather. Other features include an copper tube / aluminum fin coil and corrosion-resistant interior parts.
3. Amana ASX14 3.77 out of 5 up to 15 not available
Amana's ASX14 air conditioner has an energy-efficient scroll compressor and a single-speed condensor fan motor, along with a factory-installed inline filter drier to protect against dirt and moisture. It features Copeland CoreSense Diagnostics, which contantly monitor the system and reduce failures.
2. Goodman GSX16 3.89 out of 5 up to 16 $1,621
Goodman's GSX16 air conditioner features a high-efficiency scroll compressor and a single-speed fan motor. A factory-installed liquid line filter drier provides protection against moisture and contaminants, and the unit's heavy-gauge galvanized steel cabinet has a powder-paint finish with 500-hour salt spray approval.
1. Goodman DSXC18 4.5 out of 5 up to 18 $1,967
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, a high-density foam sound blanket to muffle compressor noises and a wire fan discharge grille.

Why you should trust us

Since 2002 our business model has been simple: to provide unbiased data on heating and cooling equipment to help homeowners and HVAC professionals make purchasing decisions. Our air conditioner ratings are based on data that no one else has: thousands of reviews by consumers and HVAC professionals that actually own and operate their central air conditioners. There are more than 65 brands and more than 600 different series of air conditioners. Accurately choosing the best from that crop requires information on all of them, something most other companies can't offer.

We spend hundreds of hours every year examining reviews to eliminate spam and errors. This gives us a unique dataset from which to identify the units with the highest satisfaction.

We don't sell equipment, so we have no bias towards a particular brand or series. Manufacturers cannot pay to influence our ratings.

How our ratings work

Satisfaction Ratings

Consumers and homeowners have submitted thousands of reviews to this site. Each reviewer rates their unit from 1 ("Very Unsatisfied") to 5 ("Very Satisfied"). After eliminating spam and duplicates we aggregate those ratings, then filter the top results for units that are still being sold in 2017.

FurnaceCompare.com has collected reviews on more than 65 different brands and nearly 600 different series of central air conditioners. However, we have only included a series on this list if it has at least 7 reviews. 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.

Sound Ratings

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 volume range, the lowest number of decibels is for the units with the smallest capacity that are paired with quiet components (typically components made by the same brand).

Average Pricing

There are two different types of prices shown in the "Average Pricing" column.

  • If you see a price followed by the note (equipment only), that is the average price 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 for fully installing the unit in question.

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.

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