What is the best air conditioner brand?
Ashburn, VA

What is the best air conditioner brand?

Ashburn, VA

What is the best air conditioner brand?

$3,000 – $10,000average total installed cost

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$3,000 – $10,000 average total installed cost


Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Tamatha Hazen
Written by
Tamatha Hazen
Edited by
Kristen Cramer
Fact-checked by
Tara Farmer

Best air conditioner brands

The best air conditioner brands cost $3,000 to $10,000 on average with installation, depending on the model, size, and efficiency rating. AC units from popular, highly rated brands like Lennox, Carrier, and Trane often cost more than average but offer proven quality, reliability, and energy efficiency.

  • Most air conditioner brands offer standard, mid-range, and premium models featuring different sizes, efficiency ratings, and pricing for most budgets.

  • The top-tier models for each brand often include the most advanced technology, the quietest operation, the best efficiency ratings, and the highest prices.

Best AC brands
Brand Total installed cost SEER2 rating*
Amana $2,800 – $7,500 Up to 22.5
American Standard $3,500 – $8,000 Up to 21.5
Bryant $2,300 – $7,000 Up to 24.0
Carrier $3,000 – $15,000 Up to 24.0
Goodman $3,200 – $6,500 Up to 24.5
Heil $3,000 – $9,000+ Up to 19.0
Lennox $3,500 – $10,000 Up to 25.8
Rheem $3,000 – $8,500 Up to 20.5
Ruud $3,000 – $8,500 Up to 20.5
Trane $5,000 – $25,000 Up to 21.5
York $3,400 – $10,500 Up to 20.0

*SEER/SEER2 ratings depend on the model.

Best air conditioner brands
Best air conditioner brands

Amana

An Amana air conditioner costs $2,800 to $7,500 installed or $1,300 to $5,000 for the unit alone, depending on the size and energy efficiency. Amana air conditioners are known for their quiet operation, reliability, and efficient performance.

Amana air conditioners offer high SEER ratings up to 22.5 SEER2. Their user-friendly features and smart technology enhance customer experience. However, the initial costs can be higher than some other brands, and not all their models offer the same efficiency or advanced features.

Amana air conditioner pros and cons
Pros Cons
  • Reliable units
  • Competitively priced
  • Made in the USA
  • High-end models can be expensive
  • Limited model range
  • Limited advanced features

American Standard

An American Standard air conditioner costs $3,500 to $8,000 installed or $1,500 to $4,500 before installation. American Standard sells Silver, Gold, and Platinum series models to suit a wide range of budgets. The Platinum Series is their top-tier line with efficiency ratings up to 21.5 SEER 2.

American Standard is a reputable brand of air conditioners, manufactured by Trane Technologies in the USA. Their large network of authorized dealers will work with you to find the best system for your budget and cooling needs.

American Standard air conditioner pros and cons
Pros Cons
  • High SEER ratings for energy efficiency
  • Made in the USA
  • Manufactured by Trane Technologies, with a reputation for quality
  • Higher initial costs than some competitors
  • Limited budget-friendly options
  • Replacement parts may be harder to find than more widely available brands

Bryant

Bryant air conditioners cost $2,300 to $7,000 with installation or $1,200 to $3,700 for the unit alone. Bryant air conditioners are typically more affordable and are a popular brand for budget-conscious shoppers compared to other brands with similar features.

Bryant has been focused on home comfort for over 100 years. They offer exceptional reliability and energy efficiency with a wide range of models featuring variable-speed compressors, multiple fan speeds, and humidity control. Bryant units are built with quality materials, and their mid to high-range products come with a 10-year parts warranty.

Bryant air conditioner pros and cons
Pros Cons
  • Energy-efficient, durable, and dependable
  • High SEER ratings
  • Quiet operation
  • Manufactured by Carrier Global, a respected brand in the industry
  • Higher costs than some other brands
  • Top-tier models can be more difficult and costly to install
  • Replacement parts are more difficult to obtain in some locations than others

Carrier

A Carrier air conditioner costs $3,000 to $15,000, including installation. Carrier is a well-established brand known for quality-built units and rigorous testing procedures. Many of their products include innovative features like smart thermostats, air purification systems, and humidity control capabilities.

Carrier offers outstanding SEER ratings and good customer service ratings. They are more expensive than many competitors, with fewer budget models to choose from. Due to the proprietary technology, repairs may require going through an authorized Carrier technician, increasing costs.

Carrier air conditioner pros and cons
Pros Cons
  • Solid SEER ratings
  • Quiet operation, as low as 51 decibels in some units
  • Durable, long-lasting units
  • Higher initial costs than many competitors' brands
  • Units must be installed by NATE-certified technicians, which increases labor costs

AC contractor checking the gauges on a Carrier air conditioner (Photo credit: Carrier)
AC contractor checking the gauges on a Carrier air conditioner (Photo credit: Carrier)

Goodman

Installing a Goodman air conditioner costs $3,200 to $6,500, while the units alone are priced from $1,200 to $4,500. Goodman air conditioners are a good option for budget-minded homeowners looking for a reliable and affordable air conditioner. However, those wanting the most energy-efficient or quietest air conditioner might want to consider another brand.

Goodman takes pride in manufacturing quality products in the USA and offering a high level of customer service. They also claim to test their products three times, including an actual run test, before the product leaves the assembly line.

Goodman air conditioner pros and cons
Pros Cons
  • High SEER ratings
  • Affordable compared to competitors
  • One of the better warranties in the industry
  • Lifespan of 10 to 15 years
  • Fewer advanced technologies than other brands

Heil

A Heil air conditioner costs $3,000 to $9,000+ with installation. Unit prices range from $1,500 to $6,000+. Heil is a well-established brand, manufactured in the USA by International Comfort Products (ICP), a unit of Carrier Global. Heil offers solid mid-range AC units with a good record for durability and cooling ability.

Something that sets Heil apart is their No Hassle Replacement Limited Warranty, providing a one-time replacement with a comparable Heil unit if a major component fails during the coverage period. Warranty periods vary depending on the product line and tier.

Heil air conditioner pros and cons
Pros Cons
  • High SEER ratings
  • Quiet operation
  • Wi-Fi connectivity and other smart features in many models
  • Less brand recognition than other competitors
  • Higher installation costs than other brands
  • Limited dealer network, making it more difficult to find replacement parts or get service

Lennox

A Lennox air conditioner costs $3,500 to $10,000 installed. The AC unit price alone ranges from $1,500 to $6,000 on average. Lennox consistently ranks among the top brands in the HVAC industry for their high-efficiency air conditioners. They are dedicated to sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint.

Lennox sells 3 lines of air conditioners—the most affordable Merit Series, the mid-range Elite Series, and their top-tier Dave Lennox Signature Collection. The Signature Collection offers premium materials and build quality with a maximum efficiency of 25.8 SEER2, among the highest available in the industry.

Lennox air conditioner pros and cons
Pros Cons
  • Impressive SEER ratings (up to 25.8 SEER2)
  • Strong dealer network for easier access to installation and service professionals
  • Innovative technologies
  • High price tag compared to many other brands
  • Some models can be noisy

Rheem

Rheem air conditioners cost $3,000 to $8,500 with installation or $1,200 to $5,500 for the unit alone, depending on the unit size and efficiency. Rheem’s Endeavor line, created in 2023, includes models from entry-level Select Series to the most advanced Endeavor Prestige models.

In between are the Endeavor Classic and Classic Plus lines, which offer the best balance between cost and efficiency. These products come with a great warranty, including comprehensive 10-year parts and compressor warranties, plus a 5-year labor warranty and 15 years of rust coverage.

Rheem air conditioner pros and cons
Pros Cons
  • Budget-friendly
  • Decent durability
  • Wide range of options
  • Smaller cabinet sizes available than other brands
  • Some reported quality and noise concerns

Ruud

The cost of a Ruud air conditioner typically falls between $3,000 and $8,500 with installation, while unit prices start at a budget-friendly $1,200. Ruud's AC units closely resemble Rheem models in both quality and price, as Rheem is their parent company.

Ruud air conditioners are known for their sturdy construction, surpassing industry standards for performance and reliability. They also feature accessible designs and readily available replacement parts, making repairs simpler and less expensive.

Ruud air conditioner pros and cons
Pros Cons
  • Affordable
  • Wide range of options
  • Durable and dependable
  • Easy maintenance
  • Some noise complaints
  • Limited dealer network
  • Limited high-end features

Trane

A Trane air conditioner costs $5,000 to $25,000, depending on the model and SEER efficiency. Their prices include professional installation by an authorized dealer. Trane units are impressively quiet with many advanced features, like multi-stage cooling and intelligent thermostats for enhanced comfort and energy efficiency.

Compared to other brands, Trane air conditioners are the most expensive, especially their premium models, which may be out of reach for many customers. Top-tier Trane models may require specialized installation experience due to their advanced features, increasing labor costs. They also offer fewer models to choose from than their competitors.

Trane air conditioner pros and cons
Pros Cons
  • Unmatched durability
  • Advanced features
  • Quiet operation
  • Highest cost
  • Limited model selection
  • Complex installation
  • Potentially higher repair costs

Trane air conditioner unit installed on a concrete pad next to a home (Photo credit: Trane)
Trane air conditioner unit installed on a concrete pad next to a home (Photo credit: Trane)

York

A York air conditioner costs $3,400 to $10,500 on average with installation. Unit prices start at $1,400 for single-stage Value models and $1,600 for two-stage Economical models. York’s high-efficiency Affinity Series units are priced from $4,000 for the two-stage Superb and $5,300 for the variable-speed Elite Models.

York has been an industry leader since its founding in 1874. They joined forces with Johnson Controls in 2006 and have continued to invest in research and development to create a wide range of air conditioner models to suit almost every cooling need and budget.

York air conditioner pros and cons
Pros Cons
  • More affordable than other top brands like Trane or Carrier
  • Whisper-quiet operation
  • More complex to install than some brands
  • Lower-tier products offer lower SEER ratings
  • Less brand recognition than other top brands

Get free estimates from ac installation companies near you.

What to look for in an AC brand

Several factors determine whether an air conditioner brand is one of the best, including quality, efficiency rating, sound rating, and warranty. Cost is also a primary consideration for most buyers, and both the upfront costs and long-term operating costs should be factored into the decision-making process.

Some factors to consider are:

  • Quality: Some top-tier brands have higher installation costs, especially those with the highest quality components. However, these units can save money over time on repairs or replacements.

  • Efficiency rating (SEER): Higher SEER-rated units are more costly to install but they often pay for themselves over time in long-term savings in utility bills.

  • Noise levels: A budget air conditioner may cost less to install but the louder unit can disrupt your sleep and concentration and contribute to stress.

  • Warranty: Brands with the best warranties often cost more, but the longer warranties offer peace of mind and potentially cover future repair costs.

  • Maintenance and repairs: Some of the best brands are easier to maintain and have readily available parts, which makes repairs less costly.

  • Customer service: Top brands offer a responsive customer service team that can assist you with troubleshooting, warranty claims, and scheduling repair services.

  • Dealer network: Some brands have a larger network of authorized dealers, which can make installation and repairs easier and cheaper.

  • Smart features: Units with Wi-Fi controls or other smart features might cost more initially but offer convenience and potential energy savings.

How to save money on a brand-name air conditioner

While the average cost to install a central air conditioner is $3,000 to $8,500, brand-name air conditioners often come with premium features, better reliability, and a heftier price tag. Use these strategies to save money:

  • Compare prices: Price shop at different retailers and look for special deals, promotions, and clearance sales, especially seasonal discounts.

  • Focus on essentials: Consider a cheaper model that offers fewer features. Focus on the essentials like cooling capacity and SEER ratings.

  • Spend more to save more: Invest in an energy-efficient model that leads to lower electric bills. Consider a multi-stage unit that suffers less wear and tear and will last longer.

  • Select the right size: Choose the right size AC unit for your home’s square footage and cooling needs. Avoid an oversized or undersized unit that is less efficient and leads to higher energy costs.

  • Research rebates and incentives: Check the Energy Star rebate finder or contact your local utility provider for available rebates or tax incentives.

  • Reduce your running costs: Install a programmable thermostat that costs $160 to $450. Adjust the temperature for optimum savings, setting the thermostat at 78°F when you are home, and higher when you are away to save energy.

Bryant air conditioner installer setting up a new AC unit
Bryant air conditioner installer setting up a new AC unit

Air conditioner brand FAQs

What is the best air conditioner brand?

The best air conditioner brand is the one that offers good quality, cooling, and energy efficiency in your budget. Top brands like Lennox, Trane, and Carrier are typically more expensive to install, while less recognized brands, often manufactured by the same companies, can fit your budget and serve you well.

Do air conditioner brands matter?

Yes, air conditioner brands matter. Reputable brands use higher-quality materials and building practices, leading to longer lifespans and fewer repair issues. They offer models with higher SEER ratings and better cooling technologies. The best air conditioner brands also stand behind their products with longer and more comprehensive warranty coverage.

What is the most affordable air conditioner?

The most affordable air conditioner is not necessarily the one with the cheapest price. Despite initial savings, a budget unit often lacks energy efficiency, has a limited warranty, and requires frequent repairs. Instead, look for the best unit for your cooling needs that offers a decent SEER rating and a good warranty.

What is the most energy-efficient air conditioner for my home?

The most efficient air conditioner depends on your climate, home size and layout, and the type of air conditioning system you install. Central air conditioners are more efficient than window units but less efficient than ductless mini-split systems in most situations.

An air conditioner with a 16 to 18 SEER2 rating offers a great balance between cost and savings for most homes in moderate climates. A higher SEER rating of 19 to 21 SEER2 is better for hot climates.

How long does an air conditioner last?

A quality air conditioner should last 15 to 20 years with proper maintenance and care.

Getting estimates from AC installation companies

Before hiring an AC installer near you, research the top brands that meet your cooling needs and budget. Once you’ve settled on a brand, you can focus on finding a reputable dealer in your area. Consider these suggestions:

  • Check official websites or contact manufacturers directly for lists of authorized dealers in your area.

  • Look for positive reviews on platforms like HomeGuide and Google.

  • Get estimates from at least 3 certified installers to compare prices, services, and warranties.

  • Ask for references from previous customers and reach out to inquire about the quality of their work.

  • Confirm the installers are licensed and insured.

  • Communicate your requirements, including your home's size, ductwork condition, and any additional considerations.

  • Ask about the efficiency of the selected unit and make sure it offers long-term energy savings.

  • Request a written contract detailing the specific model, labor and material costs, warranty information, and the expected installation timeline.

  • Discuss payment terms, including the required deposit, payment schedule, and acceptable payment methods. Be cautious of contractors demanding a large upfront payment.

Questions to ask an air conditioner installer

Narrow down your list of authorized installers by asking these questions about the product, installation process, and the contractor’s qualifications:

  • Are you an authorized dealer for my preferred air conditioner brand?

  • How long have you been installing this brand of air conditioners?

  • Can you provide references from previous installations?

  • What AC model do you recommend for my home?

  • What is the efficiency rating of the recommended model?

  • Can you provide a detailed estimate for the entire installation project?

  • What is the warranty coverage for the air conditioner and the installation work?

  • Do you handle the entire installation process, including the necessary permits and inspections?

  • How long will the installation take? Do I need to be home?

  • Do you offer ongoing air conditioner maintenance services?

  • Are there any available rebates or incentives for purchasing a more efficient air conditioner?

  • What payment options are acceptable, and what are the standard payment terms?

  • What happens if there are issues with the air conditioner unit after installation?