Best Air Conditioner Brands of 2021
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As you decide on the best central air conditioner brand for your home and budget, there are many factors to think over. The home ac units you’ll consider will differ based on your needs.
If you’re ready to invest in a high-quality hvac system for your forever home, you may explore different brands than if you’re replacing a unit at a rental income property. Your investment will create years of comfort and increase your home’s value.
Our goal is to help you evaluate the best ac brands of 2021 and decide which would best fit your needs. We’ll explain why we like the brands listed below and introduce you to hvac units that have received top reviews from homeowners.
Best Air Conditioner Brands
- Trane – Best for Quality
- Amana – Best Value
- Carrier – Best for Reliability
- Lennox – Best for Efficiency
- Rheem – Best Warranty
Here’s an overview of the best central air conditioner brands of 2021 and why we picked them.
Trane Central Air Conditioners
Trane has been named America’s Most Trusted HVAC Brand by Lifetory for seven consecutive years. Homeowners rely on Trane because of the quality and dependability of their products. Their HVAC units have a distinctive, sleek design, but the brand’s portfolio of equipment and systems extends far beyond home ac units. Customers also turn to Trane for ventilation and indoor humidity and air quality solutions.
- Our take: There are not many cons when you choose Trane. You get a great unit that lasts, but you’ll pay more for it. If you don’t live in a hot area, a Trane unit may not be worth the price and efficiency rating.
- Types: 9 models from single-stage to variable capacity. A compact model will fit in smaller homes.
- Advanced features: The TruComfort feature reduces humidity by running longer at lower speeds instead of shutting off to remove moisture from the air.
- Warranties: Standard 10-year warranty that covers both parts and labor and a 12-year compressor warranty.
- Customer satisfaction: Trane is rated as the second most reliable brand in the Consumer Reports survey.
Our Featured Trane Unit: Trane XR16
The Trane XR16 has a SEER rating of up to 17, providing energy-efficient cooling for your home. This Energy Star qualified unit offers up to 54% in energy savings and operates on a single stage cooling system. The installed cost for this Trane unit typically runs between $6,800 and $10,800. Your family will experience quality comfort with this Trane HVAC system.
Amana Central Air Conditioners
Michigan-based Amana has been manufacturing home AC systems since 1934. Amana central air conditioning systems are affordable, and the company emphasizes value and reliability with each of its units. Amana is most readily recognized for its systems being designed, engineered, and assembled in America.
- Our take: Ideal for hotter climates due to their higher SEER rating. The unit’s installation costs could be higher than other brands, offsetting the lower price point of the unit.
- Types: Eight types including single to variable-speed models.
- Advanced features: ComfortBridge smart home technology gathers the system’s performance data to automatically make adjustments and minimize energy use in a home.
- Warranties: One of the best HVAC warranties of all brands. Besides the standard 10 year warranty, compressors come with a Limited Lifetime Replacement warranty.
- Customer satisfaction: Most complaints on Consumer Affairs are about the warranty not being transferable or not covering the installation of covered replacement parts.
Our featured Amana unit: ASXC16
The Amana ASXC16 offers quiet performance and energy efficiency with a SEER rating of up to 17. This unit offers a two-stage compressor and a two-speed condenser fan motor for cooling that may save your family money each month on the energy bill. The installed cost for this Amana unit typically runs between $2,300 and $4,225. Experience years of reliable cooling comfort with an Amana ASXC16.
Carrier Central Air Conditioners
Carrier heating and cooling systems have been around since 1902. The AC company houses its residential business headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. The brand builds reliable AC units for the multipurpose uses of today’s homes. Carrier is recognized for its testing of normal wear and tear to ensure the HVAC units that bear the Carrier logo keep your home comfortable well into the future.
- Our take: Carrier may be pricier but they require installers to be certified by the company, guaranteeing proper installation of your investment.
- Types: Regardless of single-stage and two-stage models in the range, all our built with quality Copeland compressors so you can cool your home more precisely.
- Advanced features: Carrier makes the quietest central air conditioners on the market thanks to their quality insulation and chassis.
- Warranties: 10-year parts warranty.
- Customer satisfaction: Considering Carrier has been in business for over 100 years, the company doesn’t have many complaints at the Better Business Bureau. Most were resolved.
Our featured Carrier unit: Comfort™ 16 Central Air Conditioner
The Carrier Comfort™ 16 Central Air Conditioner is part of the Comfort™ Series line from one of the best air conditioner brands of 2021. This unit offers cool air with up to 17 SEER rating and five standout features: efficiency, durability, environmentally friendly, quiet cooling, and a limited warranty. The installed cost for this Carrier unit typically runs between $2,700 and $4,700. Rest easy knowing Carrier Comfort™ Series air conditioners are covered by a 10-year parts limited warranty upon timely registration.
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Lennox Central Air Conditioners
Lennox was founded in 1895 in Marshalltown, Iowa. Now headquartered in Richardson, Texas, the brand is recognized for high-efficiency AC units in every price range. With more than 6,000 independent Lennox Dealers across the country, there’s likely to be an HVAC expert nearby to install one of the best AC units available. From smartphone compatibility to cool, clean air, Lennox leads the way in HVAC innovation to make indoor comfort available to everyone.
- Our take: Except for the XC25, other units are more expensive than similar competitor offerings. Considering the high price point, the warranty is disappointing.
- Types: 11 models featuring two-stage or variable speed compressors for cooling your home more precisely.
- Advanced features: The XC25 model has a 26 SEER for the lowest running cost of all units and an impressively low 41 dB noise level.
- Warranties: The unit and parts are covered by Lennox for five years from installation. Select models have a 10-year warranty.
- Customer satisfaction: Lennox is among the more reliable central air systems in Consumer Reports’ owner survey, with around 17 percent of owners reporting that their unit required service in its first five years.
Our featured Lennox unit: Elite Series® EL16XC1
The Lennox Elite Series® EL16XC1 is a single-stage cooling system that offers comfort and energy efficiency in one. The system has up to 17 SEER rating and provides quiet cooling for your entire home. The installed cost for this Lennox unit typically runs between $5,550 and $9,100. The outdoor unit operates seamlessly in extreme heat thanks to the Lennox® Quantum™ coil and the fortified aluminum alloy exterior allows the unit to handle the most severe weather conditions.
Rheem Central Air Conditioners
Rheem Manufacturing Company was created in Emeryville, California, in 1925. The brand is best known for its water heating systems, but the expansion into air conditioning in 1970 quickly ranked Rheem as one of the best central air conditioner brands in the U.S. The systems are known to be efficient and affordable. The brand is strongly committed to creating products that are good for the environment and has made a 2025 commitment to design for zero waste.
- Our take: Rheem sells solid units at a middle price range. But the company doesn’t require certified installers, which may create issues if the unit isn’t installed properly.
- Types: Three series of multi-stage and variable speed central AC units are their standard offerings. Other companies consider those features as premium add-ons.
- Advanced features: EcoNet-enabled systems can be programmed and voice-controlled using Amazon Alexa.
- Warranties: 10 years limited warranty on parts and compressors if you register your product within 90 days of purchasing.
- Customer satisfaction: The most common customer complaint is about unhelpful customer service and problems which may be due to improper installation.
Our featured Rheem unit: Classic Series: Two-Stage RA17
Rheem offers efficiencies up to 17 SEER with the Classic Series: Two-Stage RA17 unit. This two-stage cooling system operates at either 67% or 100% to provide more precise temperature control, lower humidity and efficiency that helps you save each month on your energy bill. The installed cost for this Rheem unit typically runs between $2,300 and $2,800. Your family will enjoy cooling comfort in peace as the Rheem unit relies on a scroll compressor for efficient and quiet performance.
AC Cost Calculator
The price of a new HVAC system can vary. Our Cost Calculator will help you create a price estimate for the ideal AC unit for your home so you have a starting point as you receive quotes from technicians.
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Average Cost: $3,250 – $12,586
Like your home and needs, your HVAC project cost will be unique. Use the calculator to better estimate your investment.
*Estimate is based on current data and does not represent a guaranteed price. For accurate pricing contact a local HVAC dealer.
Air Conditioner Buying Checklist
Determining the best HVAC unit for your home will require more information than just the price. A unit with a lower initial price may cost you more in repairs and utility bills down the road. Consider these important factors as you determine the best central air conditioner brands 2021 has to offer.
Manufacturers build central air conditioning units according to the size of the spaces they will cool. The term “size” is not about a unit’s dimensions but its ability to produce cooled air. There’s an art to choosing the right-sized unit so that you don’t buy one that’s bigger (and more expensive) than you need or is too small and has to work harder to cool your home. Your installation expert will help you decide which size is best for you.
A unit’s energy-efficiency rating will predict how much it will cost to operate. The higher the rating, the more efficient your system and the more you’ll save on your utility bill. Some common terms you should know are:
- EER and SEER Look for the rectangular yellow Energy Guide sticker or tag. EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) shows how much electricity the system needs to run at 95°F outside and maintain 80°F with 50% humidity inside. SEER shows a unit’s efficiency as the temperature in your area changes each season. Modern HVAC units have a minimum rating of 13 and go up to a 26 SEER. The more efficient the air conditioning system, the higher the number.
- ENERGY STAR certification ENERGY STAR is a voluntary program and the “trusted, government-backed symbol for energy efficiency” designed to help consumers know how much their unit will cost to run.
- HSPF – Heating Seasonal Performance Factor measures the efficiency of a system’s heat pump. It measures a unit’s heat output, or energy consumption, over a typical heating season. Again, a higher number means greater efficiency.
There are a number of factors that go into the cost of an air conditioner, including size, labor, brand and installation. On average, central air conditioner costs range from $3,000 to $6,000.
A good warranty will save you thousands in repairs over the life of the unit. Different parts may have longer or shorter coverage, so read the fine print. Look for a warranty with a term of at least 10 years or longer. A warranty that can transfer to the next homeowner is an attractive selling feature. Ask the dealer how to register your unit. Many warranties will not go into effect until the system has been registered through the manufacturer’s website.
Advanced features can add to your home’s comfort level and your personal convenience. Some features worth considering include:
- Smart programmable thermostat(s).
- A system with zones that can be individually controlled to adjust the temperature in different rooms.
- HEPA filters to keep allergy-producing particles away.
- A dehumidifier to keep moisture (and mold) under control.
- Quality insulation for quieter operation.
- Customer reviews
Websites like Consumer Reports and the Better Business Bureau provide customer reviews of different brands. These are good resources to see how a central AC manufacturer handles customer complaints and issues.
Installation is a very important element to consider. An improper install could void the manufacturer’s warranty or damage the unit. Look for an installer that’s certified by the company and offers a warranty on installation.