Best Central Air Conditioners: 2018
Updated: Mar. 25, 2018
2018 marks the fifth year that we have published a list of the 10 best central air conditioners sold in the US and Canada. The reviewers that consistently give the highest satisfaction ratings to their AC units tend to own high efficiency units. However, a 13 SEER unit (the lowest efficiency sold in the US) also made our top 10 list this year.
This year, Goodman's DSXC18 once again took the top spot, with units by Amana, Bryant, Carrier, Coleman, Ruud and York rounding out the list.
Two newly-installed central air conditioners
Table of Contents
- The Rankings
- The Quietest Air Conditioners
- Why you should trust us
- How our ratings work
|Rank||Brand and Series||Rating||Efficiency (SEER)||Sound Rating (decibels)||Pricing|
|#1||Goodman DSXC18||4.5 out of 5||up to 18||71 - 74||$1,967 equipment only|
|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.|
|#2||Goodman GSX16||3.73 out of 5||up to 16||71.5 - 73||$1,621 equipment only|
|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.|
|#3||Amana ASX14||3.67 out of 5||up to 15||as low as 70||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.|
|#4||Goodman GSX13||3.61 out of 5||up to 13||72 - 77||$836 equipment only|
|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.|
|#5||Carrier Infinity 21||3.5 out of 5||up to 21||as low as 65||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.|
|#6||Bryant Preferred||3.4 out of 5||up to 17||as low as 66||$2,259 equipment only|
|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.|
|#7||Coleman Echelon||3.4 out of 5||up to 18||as low as 69||not available|
|The Echelon was named on of Energy Star's most efficient products of 2015. These units feature a scroll compressor (which is backed with a limited lifetime warranty), and numerous features design to reduce sound levels.|
|#8||Ruud Achiever||3.33 out of 5||up to 16||as low as 70.7||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 ASXC18||3.2 out of 5||up to 18||as low as 68||$2,860 equipment only|
|The ASXC18 features a two-stage scroll compressor, a two-speed ECM condenser fan motor, a galvanized steel cabinet and a powder finish with salt-spray approval. Units are Energy Star certified, and have numerous sound-dampening features.|
|#10||York LX||3.17 out of 5||up to 17||as low as 69||as low as $1,294 equipment only|
|The LX is a series of compact, single stage air conditioners that vary in efficiency from 13 SEER to 17 SEER. The 17 SEER YCG is Energy Star certified, and most of the LX series offer a 1-year labor warranty. (It is very uncommon for a manufacturer to offer a labor warranty.)|
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.