Non-Biased Review of the Best Air Conditioner Brands

Non-Biased Review of the Best Air Conditioner Brands

Non-Biased Review of the Best Air Conditioner Brands

As an HVAC technician with 20 years of experience, I have realized that most of the top air conditioner brands are relatively similar.

The variations among these brands lie in their internal components and where the manufacturing takes place.

Choosing the ideal air conditioner brand entails taking various factors into account.

However, determining the best air conditioner brand depends on individual preferences and buying criteria.

Therefore, this article aims to present an impartial overview of the most popular air conditioner brands, providing insight to help you select the brand that best suits your buying criteria.

Ultimately, it will help you choose the best air conditioner.

⭐ AC Brand Buying Criteria

homeowner buying a new AC

Before delving into the details of each of the air conditioner brands mentioned above, it’s essential to understand what factors you should consider when buying an air conditioner.

  • Parent Company
  • Manufacturer Location
  • Manufacturer of Each Internal Component
  • Standard Component Warranty
  • Major Component Warranty
  • Available Fuel Types
  • Energy Efficiency Options
  • Standard Features
  • Advanced Features
  • Purchase Price Rating
  • Repair Price Rating
  • Customer Reviews

⭐ What Makes a Top-Rated Air Conditioner?

Assuming you have an unlimited budget and don’t need to worry about the cost of repairing your air conditioner, your ideal air conditioner should be reliable, energy-efficient, quiet, and manufactured locally.

Suppose your chosen air conditioner brand meets all these criteria.

In that case, you can rest assured that you have one of the best air conditioner brands available.

⭐ What Makes an Air Conditioner Reliable?

phyxter furnace repair

An air conditioner’s reliability is determined by the quality of its components and the installation process.

Low-quality parts or sub-par quality control can result in frequent breakdowns and repairs.

What makes an air conditioner quiet?

An air conditioner can be quieter than others by utilizing a variable-speed compressor and a modulating fan motor.

These components allow the air conditioner to use less energy and operate at a lower speed, resulting in less noise.

✅ PRO FACT: The design of the ducting system also plays a significant role in an air conditioner’s noise level and effectiveness.

⭐ What Makes an Air Conditioner Energy-Efficient?

Heat Pump SEER Energy Label

Modern air conditioners use various features such as a high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating, variable-speed compressors, and advanced fan motors to achieve high energy efficiency.

The most efficient air conditioners can remove up to 99% of heat from the air before it is exhausted.

These high-efficiency air conditioners usually have two white PVC pipes for air intake and exhaust instead of the traditional single metal exhaust pipe.

The latter is typically only 80% efficient at best.

⭐ What Makes a Central Air Conditioning System “Made Locally”?

made in america sign

You may have noticed the use of quotes above when referring to the term “made locally.”

While it’s true that a central air conditioning system can’t be entirely manufactured in one country due to the various components involved, the term “made locally” generally implies that more of the product was manufactured in the country where it is assembled.

Typically, a manufacturer can use the term “Made in [Country]” if a certain percentage of the product was made in that country or if it was assembled in that country.

Therefore, if a central air conditioning brand uses this term, you can assume that a higher percentage of its components are manufactured locally than brands that cannot.

Furthermore, it is reasonable to assume that central air conditioning companies that are assembled locally may have better quality control procedures.

⭐ List of the Best Air Conditioning Brands in No Specific Order

Coleman HVAC Brand

The list of air conditioner brands shows various brands listed together.

(Parent Company / Secondary Brand / Tertiary Brand, Etc.)

  • Daikin/ Goodman/ Amana
  • JCI/ York/ Luxaire/ Coleman
  • American Standard/ Trane/ Ameristar/ Oxbox
  • Carrier/ Bryant/ Payne
  • ICP/ Comfortmaker/ ArcoAire/ Heil/ Keeprite/ Tempstar
  • Lennox/ Concord/ Armstrong Air/ Ducane/ Aire-Flo
  • Rheem/ Ruud

⭐ Non-Biased Review of Each of the Best Air Conditioner Brands

HVAC system installation

Please note that this article only reviews central air conditioner brands.

At this time, we have yet to rate other types of AC units, such as window air conditioners or portable air conditioners.

However, we have plans for future articles geared explicitly toward rating these cooling systems.

Also, this article only concerns the top air conditioner brands. It does not rate other HVAC systems, such as furnaces.

It is essential to understand that most of these brands manufacture their furnaces in different facilities, which could significantly impact a furnace’s overall quality and price.

To learn more about furnaces or other HVAC systems, please feel free to submit a contact form with your questions.

Air Conditioning Brand Information

❄️ American Standard/ Ingersol Rand/ Trane/ Ameristar/ Oxbox

The first company we’ll review is American Standard and Ingersoll Rand.

At the time of this article, Ingersoll Rand purchased Trane from American Standard and owns Ameristar and Oxbox.

American Standard is a separate company that owns and sells its air conditioning systems.

Ingersoll Rand manufactures Trane, American Standard, Ameristar, and Oxbox.

American Standard endorses Ameristar and is usually sold by the same distributors as a less expensive sub-brand to American Standard air conditioning systems.

Trane endorses Oxbox and is usually sold by the same distributors as a less expensive sub-brand to Trane air conditioning systems.

❄️ Oxbox Air Conditioners

Parent Company: Ingersoll Rand

Manufacturer Location: Tyler, Texas (it’s not advertised anywhere but I’ve heard that they are manufactured in Mexico and then shipped to the US for final assembly.)

Manufacturer of Each Internal Component: see chart at the bottom of this article

Standard Component Warranty: 5 Years

Special Warranty: Complete Unit Replacement – Applicable if the compressor or coil fails in the first year, per the Limited Warranty terms. Applicable to residential applications.

Available SEER Ratings: Up to 16 SEER

Standard Features: R-410A refrigerant, galvanized steel cabinets, Energy Star Certified

Advanced Features: Not applicable

Purchase Price Rating: Low

Repair Price Rating: Low

Customer Reviews: Reviews found online are either sponsored or biased. From what I’ve read in HVAC forums, they are a decent quality air conditioning system at a lower price point than its parent brand. This company does not have a Google Profile that accepts ratings and reviews.

❄️ Ameristar Air Conditioners

Parent Company: Ingersoll Rand

Assembled in Location: Trenton, New Jersey (it’s not advertised anywhere but I’ve heard that they are manufactured in China and then shipped to the US for final assembly.)

Manufacturer of Each Internal Component: see chart at the bottom of this article

Standard Component Warranty: 10 Years, 5 years if the air conditioning system isn’t registered

Special Warranty: Not applicable

Available SEER Ratings: Up to 16 SEER

Standard Features: R-410A refrigerant, galvanized steel cabinets, Energy Star Certified

Advanced Features: Not applicable

Purchase Price Rating: Low

Repair Price Rating: Low

Customer Reviews: Reviews found online are either sponsored or biased. From what I’ve read in HVAC forums, they are a decent quality air conditioning system at a lower price than its parent brand. This company does not have a Google Profile that accepts ratings and reviews.

❄️ American Standard Air Conditioners

Parent Company: American Standard

Assembled in Location: Tyler, Texas

Manufacturer of Each Internal Component: see chart at the bottom of this article

Standard Component Warranty: 10 Years, 5 years if the air conditioning system isn’t registered

Special Warranty: Not applicable

Available SEER Ratings: Up to 22 SEER

Standard Features: R-410A refrigerant, AccuComfort technology with variable speed compressor, galvanized steel cabinets, Energy Star Certified

Advanced Features: Platinum 20 Heat Pump with AccuComfort technology offers up to 20 SEER and 10 HSPF efficiency ratings and AccuLink communicating technology.

Purchase Price Rating: Med-High

Repair Price Rating: Medium

Customer Reviews: Reviews found online are either sponsored or biased. This company does not have a Google Profile that accepts ratings and reviews. From my experience, American Standard is a solid brand that can be considered as reliable as they come.

❄️ Trane Air Conditioners

Parent Company: Ingersoll Rand

Assembled in Location: Texas, South Carolina, and Arizona

Manufacturer of Each Internal Component: See chart at the bottom of this article

Standard Component Warranty: 10 Years, 5 years if the unit isn’t registered

Compressor Warranty: Lifetime compressor warranty

Special Warranty: Complete Unit Replacement – Applicable if the compressor fails in the first year, per the Limited Warranty terms. Applicable to residential applications.

Available Models: XR, XL, XV, and XVII series

Energy Efficiency Options: Up to 22 SEER rating

Standard Features: Spine Fin coils, Climatuff compressors, durable WeatherGuard II top, Full-Side Louvered Panels, Energy Star Certified

Advanced Features: ComfortLink II Communicating technology, Charge Assist, TruComfort, CleanEffects air filtration system, and Nexia Home Intelligence

Purchase Price Rating: High

Repair Price Rating: High

Customer Reviews: Trane air conditioners generally receive positive reviews from customers and HVAC professionals alike. They are known for their durability and reliability, with some models achieving a SEER rating of up to 22. However, Trane air conditioners are also among the most expensive on the market, with a higher purchase price and repair cost.

❄️ Carrier Air Conditioners

Parent Company: Carrier Global Corporation

Assembled in Location: Various locations in the United States and Mexico

Manufacturer of Each Internal Component: see chart at the bottom of this article

Standard Component Warranty: 10 years, 5 years if the AC unit is not registered within 90 days of purchase

Compressor Warranty: 10 years

Special Warranty: Not applicable

Available Models: Infinity, Performance, and Comfort series

Available Energy Efficiency Options: Up to 21 SEER

Standard Features: Constant torque or variable speed ECM motors, single-stage, two-stage, or modulating compressor options, steel louvered coil guard, high and low-pressure switches, galvanized steel cabinet, Energy Star Certified

Advanced Features: Not applicable

Purchase Price Rating: High

Repair Price Rating: High

Customer Reviews: Carrier air conditioners have mixed reviews online. Some consumers report issues with reliability and high repair costs, while others are satisfied with the brand’s performance.

❄️ Bryant Air Conditioners

Parent Company: Carrier Global Corporation

Assembled in Location: Various locations in the United States and Mexico

Manufacturer of Each Internal Component: see the chart at the bottom of this article

Standard Component Warranty: 10 years, 5 years if the AC unit is not registered within 90 days of purchase

Compressor Warranty: 10 years

Special Warranty: Not applicable

Available Models: Evolution, Preferred, and Legacy series

Available Energy Efficiency Options: Up to 20.5 SEER

Standard Features: Constant torque or variable speed ECM motors, single-stage, two-stage, or modulating compressor options, steel louvered coil guard, high and low-pressure switches, galvanized steel cabinet, Energy Star Certified

Advanced Features: Not applicable

Purchase Price Rating: High

Repair Price Rating: High

Customer Reviews: Bryant air conditioners have mixed reviews online. Some consumers report issues with reliability and high repair costs, while others are satisfied with the brand’s performance.

❄️ Payne Air Conditioners

Parent Company: Carrier Global Corporation

Assembled in Location: Various locations in the United States and Mexico

Manufacturer of Each Internal Component: see the chart at the bottom of this article

Standard Component Warranty: 10 years, 5 years if the AC unit is not registered within 90 days of purchase

Compressor Warranty: 10 years

Special Warranty: Not applicable

Available Models: Legacy series

Available Energy Efficiency Options: Up to 16 SEER

Standard Features: Constant torque or variable speed ECM motors, single-stage or two-stage compressor options, wire coil guard, high and low-pressure switches, galvanized steel cabinet

Advanced Features: Not applicable

Purchase Price Rating: Low

Repair Price Rating: Low

Customer Reviews: Payne air conditioners have mixed reviews online. Some consumers report issues with reliability and high repair costs. In contrast, others are satisfied with the brand’s performance, especially for the price point.

❄️ JCI, York, Luxaire, and Coleman

❄️ York Air Conditioners

Parent Company: Johnson Controls

Assembled in Location: Designed and engineered in the USA, manufactured in Kansas and Oklahoma

Manufacturer of Each Internal Component: see the chart at the bottom of this article

Standard Component Warranty: 10 Years, 5 years if the air conditioner isn’t registered

Compressor Warranty: Lifetime compressor warranty

Special Warranty: Not applicable

Available SEER Ratings: Up to 20 SEER

Standard Features: Scroll compressor, QuietDrive System, the composite base pan, aluminum microchannel coil, durable powder coat finish, Energy Star Certified

Advanced Features: Two-stage compressors, Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, variable-speed ECM motors, QuietDrive Sound Reduction system

Purchase Price Rating: Medium

Repair Price Rating: Medium

Customer Reviews: York air conditioners generally receive positive reviews online. Consumers report that they are durable and efficient, but some complaints mention issues with the electronic control board and refrigerant leaks.

❄️ Luxaire Air Conditioners

Parent Company: Johnson Controls

Assembled in Location: Designed and engineered in the USA, manufactured in Kansas and Oklahoma

Manufacturer of Each Internal Component: see the chart at the bottom of this article

Standard Component Warranty: 10 Years, 5 years if the air conditioner isn’t registered

Compressor Warranty: Lifetime compressor warranty

Special Warranty: Not applicable

Available SEER Ratings: Up to 20 SEER

Standard Features: Scroll compressor, QuietDrive System, the composite base pan, aluminum microchannel coil, durable powder coat finish, Energy Star Certified

Advanced Features: Two-stage compressors, Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, variable-speed ECM motors, QuietDrive Sound Reduction system

Purchase Price Rating: Medium

Repair Price Rating: Medium

Customer Reviews: Luxaire air conditioners receive mixed reviews online. While some customers report efficient and reliable systems, others complain about poor installation and difficulties with customer service.

❄️ Coleman Air Conditioners

Parent Company: Johnson Controls

Assembled in Location: Designed and engineered in the USA, manufactured in Oklahoma and Texas

Manufacturer of Each Internal Component: see the chart at the bottom of this article

Standard Component Warranty: 10 Years, 5 years if the air conditioner isn’t registered

Compressor Warranty: Lifetime compressor warranty

Special Warranty: Not applicable

Available SEER Ratings: Up to 20 SEER

Standard Features: Scroll compressor, QuietDrive System, the composite base pan, aluminum microchannel coil, durable powder coat finish, Energy Star Certified

Advanced Features: Two-stage compressors, Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, variable-speed ECM motors, QuietDrive Sound Reduction system

Purchase Price Rating: Medium

Repair Price Rating: Medium

Customer Reviews: Coleman air conditioners generally receive positive reviews online, with many customers reporting reliable and efficient systems. However, some complaints mention issues with the condenser coil and difficulty obtaining replacement parts.

❄️ Lennox/ Concord/ Armstrong Air/ Ducane/ Aire-Flo

The following company I’ll review is Lennox air conditioners, and its sub-brands Concord, Armstrong Air, Ducane, and Aire-Flo.

I have not worked much with Concord or Aire-Flow, but I have serviced and installed Lennox, Armstrong Air, and Ducane.

The big name to discuss here is Lennox, as I’m sure you’re wondering if it’s worth the high price tag.

As with furnaces, I can’t tell you what to value, but as good as their reputation is, they are just like Carrier and Trane.

They may need to provide a better return on your investment.

What I mean by that is that the extra you pay for them will not be returned in savings over the life of the equipment.

This is my opinion, though; I’m sure anyone could argue otherwise.

The math to look at is how much you will save per month by increasing your SEER rating from 14 to 16.

If your electricity bill is $100 per month, you’ll save around $5.00 per month during the cooling season.

⭐ Air Conditioner Brand Information

❄️ Concord, Armstrong Air, Ducane, and Aire-Flo Air Conditioners

Parent Company: Lennox

Assembled in Location: Richardson, Texas, with manufacturing facilities across the USA and Mexico

Manufacturer of Each Internal Component: see chart at the bottom of this article

Standard Component Warranty: 10 Years, 5 years if the air conditioner isn’t registered

Compressor Warranty: Lifetime Limited Warranty on registered air conditioners

Special Warranty: Not applicable

Available Fuel Types: Electric-powered air conditioning only

Energy Efficiency Options: Up to 16 SEER Rating

Standard Features: single-stage or two-stage compressor options, high-efficiency outdoor coil, and a variable-speed ECM fan motor option to reduce noise and improve efficiency.

Advanced Features: Not applicable

Purchase Price Rating: Low

Repair Price Rating: Low

Customer Reviews: Reviews found online are either sponsored or biased. These brands do not have a Google Profile that accepts ratings and reviews. From a quality standpoint, you would get a well-made air conditioner from a good company like Lennox. So long as the system is installed correctly, you should get many years out of it.

Lennox Air Conditioners

Parent Company: Lennox Air Conditioner Company

Assembled in Location: Richardson, Texas, with manufacturing facilities across the USA.

Manufacturer of Each Internal Component: see chart at the bottom of this article

Standard Component Warranty: 10 Years, 5 years if the air conditioner isn’t registered

Compressor Warranty: Lifetime Limited Warranty on registered air conditioners

Special Warranty: Not applicable

Available Fuel Types: Electric-powered air conditioning only

Energy Efficiency Options: Up to 26 SEER Rating, the highest efficiency rating across all air conditioner brands.

Standard Features: single-stage, two-stage, or variable-speed compressor options, variable-speed ECM fan motor, and intelligent controls.

Advanced Features: Lennox boasts that it has the most efficient HVAC system on the market and the quietest system available.

Purchase Price Rating: High

Repair Price Rating: Medium-High

Customer Reviews: Consumers Affairs has a rating for Lennox of 3.6 out of 5. From my experience, Lennox has one of the most recognizable air conditioner brands in the HVAC industry and is widely known to be among the top three best air conditioner manufacturers.

With that said, simply going with the Consumer Affairs reviews, Carrier would rank in the number one position, with Trane and Lennox tied for second.

⭐ Single-Stage vs. Two-Stage vs. Variable Capacity AC Systems

woman enjoying her AC

Suppose you’re currently in the market for a new air conditioning system.

In that case, it’s essential to understand the different types of systems available and how they can impact your purchase price and monthly utility bills.

This article will discuss the differences between single-stage, two-stage, and modulating central air conditioners.

⭐ Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ What are Single-Stage Central Air Conditioning Units?

Single-stage central air conditioners are systems with only one cooling output level.

It operates at total capacity when turned on and shuts off completely when the desired temperature is reached.

These systems have the lowest initial cost but the highest monthly operating cost, as they are less energy-efficient.

⭐ What are Two-Stage Central Air Conditioners?

Two-stage air conditioning units are systems that have two levels of cooling output.

The first stage is a lower output that is used to maintain the temperature on mild days.

In contrast, the second stage provides maximum output on hotter days.

These systems are more energy-efficient than single-stage systems and offer better temperature control.

⭐ What are Variable Capacity Central Air Conditioning Units?

A variable capacity or modulating AC unit is an energy efficient system that adjusts the cooling output continuously based on the temperature inside and outside the home.

It can operate at any level between 40% and 100% of capacity, providing the most precise temperature control and highest energy efficiency.

However, modulating systems have the highest initial cost.

⭐ Understanding Energy Efficiency for Central Air Conditioning Units

Just like with furnaces, it’s essential to consider the energy efficiency of air conditioning systems when purchasing.

To determine if it’s worth upgrading, calculate how much you would save each month with a more efficient design and compare it to the additional cost of the system.

The payback period for the upgrade should be reasonable.

However, it’s important to remember that upgrading to a system with a higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER Rating) may only sometimes be the best investment.

⭐ How Much Does a New Air Conditioner Cost?

The cost of central air conditioners varies based on the type of system, the contractor, and other factors like size, brand, and efficiency.

It’s essential to determine what factors are most important to you before beginning your search and create a shortlist of systems that meet those requirements.

Then, you can filter the list further based on other factors like cost and warranty.

⭐ Is an Air Conditioning System Warranty Important?

Yes, an air conditioning system warranty is essential.

A well-installed system can last for many years. Still, some contractors don’t follow manufacturer recommendations during installation, leading to issues.

Look for a warranty with good coverage and protection, like a limited first-year unit replacement.

⭐ What are the Best Air Conditioner Brands?

Your best air conditioner brands will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Some factors to consider include value for the dollar, warranty, quality, repair pricing, and manufacturing location.

York, Coleman, and Luxaire are all good brands to consider based on their value for the dollar and use of generic parts, which can lead to fair repair pricing.

When choosing the best central air conditioner brand for you, it’s essential to consider all these variables and trust your contractor to have your back.

Look for a highly-rated contractor with years of experience, good communication skills, and a track record of reliability.

If they can’t attend your quote inspection on time, it may be a sign of poor respect for your time and needs.

⭐ My Final Comment on the Best Air Conditioner Brands

Phyxter Approved Logo on Service Truck

In conclusion, when purchasing, understanding the differences between single-stage, two-stage, and modulating air conditioning systems is essential.

Consider the energy efficiency, price range, warranty, and brand when choosing a system, and find a trustworthy contractor to install and service it for the best results.

If you want to learn more about the air conditioning industry, reach out to us for a new blog article topic or check out our other air conditioning articles.

Related Reading: Non-Biased Review of the Best Heat Pump Brands

Jake Gibson

Jake Gibson

Jake Gibson is a force to be reckoned with in the HVAC industry. As the CEO of Phyxter, he has made it his mission to revolutionize how contractors work. With a background in HVAC, entrepreneurship, and technology, Jake brings innovation and expertise to this traditional industry.

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