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Our Top Ten Central Air Conditioners rating system combines our HVAC industry experience with our algorithmic process to provide totally unbiased reviews of ducted split-system central air conditioners. Twenty-five brands were tested and factors such as construction features, availability, reliability, efficiency, cost, and quietness were considered. Each brand/model ended up with a numerical score from zero to a high of 86 and then the scores were used to determine our top ten. The average score was a 38 while the low was a 20 and the high was a 58.
So, here is the list:
At number ten on our list is the RA20 model which is a part of the PRESTIGE SERIES from RHEEM. While they feature many of the top construction technologies, they are lacking in the area of warranty coverage.
score = 40
Their QR code function is a big help for technicians servicing and diagnosing problems with the unit.
Coming in at number nine on our list is a group of brands (MAYTAG, FRIGIDAIRE, NUTONE) all manufactured by NORDYNE GLOBAL HVAC.
SCORE = 44
The iQ Drive models feature advanced onboard diagnostics as well as many of the top construction features.
The brands have a rather limited dealer network and are not available through alternate means (online from Amazon or other outlets) which makes it rather difficult to purchase them. The manufacturer's guarantee on the units, while good, is not great when compared to others on the list.
The COLEMAN brand comes in at number eight with their AC21 model.
The brand is made by UPG which is a part of YORK which is owned by JOHNSON CONTROLS.
SCORE = 52
The brand has some features that are unique to the UPG/YORK family such as their "ChargeView" which is a built-in touchscreen that displays system conditions including the refrigerant pressures which eliminates the need to attach gauges to the unit. This makes diagnostics much easier and puts more troubleshooting ability into the hands of the homeowner. They have a rather limited dealer network but, if there is a dealer near you, they are definitely worth taking a look at them.
Coming in at number seven is another brand from UPG/YORK and the FRASER-JOHNSON AL21B.
The brand has all of the same features of the UPG family but they are typically lower priced.
SCORE = 54
They have an even more limited dealer network, but if you can find a local one, the savings will probably be worth the search.
Taking the sixth spot is the DAIKIN brand and their DX20VC model.
Although it is a major global brand, they are still relatively new to the North American market.
SCORE = 54
They have one of the highest efficiencies in our list but they are relatively loud being comparable to standing on the sidewalk with a typical car passing by. Their warranty policy is somewhat hard to figure out as this flagship brand has a guarantee that is not near as good as other brands that they manufacture. Even so, if you can find a local dealer, you might want to see if they are willing to deal as they are still trying to build brand awareness in the USA.
At number five in our countdown, is the FRANKLIN brand which is manufactured by GOODMAN MANUFACTURING which is a part of DAIKIN GLOBAL.
SCORE = 56
This is one of their lesser known brands and so faces some availability issues but, if you can find a local dealer (or if they wake up and sell directly to the public through Amazon), this is a very good choice. The AVXC20 models have the same characteristics as their more widely known sister brands but at a lower price point.
Checking in at the number four spot is another GOODMAN/DAIKIN brand and the AVXC20 from AMANA.
This brand has a wider dealer network making them easier to purchase and having the same quality features as their sister brands.
SCORE = 56
Continuing our march to the top, we come to the YORK brand and their AFFINITY series YXV units.
This is the flagship brand from JOHNSON CONTROLS and has some unique features such as the "Charge Assurance" function as well as their "Climate Set" feature.
SCORE = 56
The "Climate Set" feature allows you to customize the operation of the unit to the typical weather patterns in your area which can lead to energy savings and enhanced comfort. Although their slotted panel construction provides for easier manufacturing, it does not do as much to protect the condenser coil as units with louvered panels. They are much more easily damaged from flying debris from mowers, etc.
This year's runner-up in our Top Ten Central Air Conditioners is another GOODMAN/DAIKIN brand with EVERREST ELITE SERIES and their AVX20 model.
Although it is a rather obscure brand and you may have difficulty finding it, the savings would make it worth the search.
SCORE = 58
The brand has all of the features and the strong warranty of their sister brands.
Drum roll please!
The best central air conditioner in the world for spring/summer 2018 is the ACCLIMATE series AL21 models from LUXAIRE.
This is another of the UPG/YORK brands from JOHNSON CONTROLS.
SCORE = 58
They feature all of the most common state of the art technology with a couple of features that sets this manufacturer apart. First, is their "Charge Assurance" feature which allows you to check the operating pressures of the refrigeration system without the need to connect guages to the system. If you want to see what it requires to check system pressures without this feature, check out our video. Another great thing about these models (as well as the other UPG brands featured here) is their "Climate Set" feature which allows the installer to tune the unit and customize it to the climate (weather conditions) in your area. This makes the units even smarter than normal and can lead to added savings and comfort.
Although they had the same overall score as the runner-up, Luxaire received the top spot honors due to the fact that they are more widely available and have more premium features.