AC for Consumers

Top Brands: Central AC

Air Conditioners > Top Brands
                        (Central AC)
    1. Carrier/Payne/Bryant
    2. Trane/American Standard
    3. York
    4. Lennox/Aire-Flo
    5. Rheem/Ruud
6. Goodman/Amana
    7. Airwell/Fedders
    8. Heil
    9. Kenmore
    10. Coleman

As explained in more detail in our Types section, central AC represent the largest and most expensive, but also the most efficient, noiseless, and effective systems for cooling the entire home. For most houses, a central AC system is the only practical solution, particularly in warmer climates. Not surprisingly, a large number of brands crowd the central AC space. Further complicating the picture is that in many cases, two or more brands are owned by the same company, although not always manufactured at the same facility. We have done our level best to disentangle this brand labyrinth and carefully rated each company based on information that have culled from a broad range of sources. Our final ranking of the top ten central AC brands is presented for your consideration in the list to the left.
Before we get into specific information about each of our top ten brands, a few words about our approach and methodology are in order. We have collected data from a variety of expert sources, including the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), Home & Garden, Consumer Reports, Sensible Home, Green Guide, Consumer Search, Popular Mechanics, Galt Tech, Factoidz, and Consumer Guide. We have also collected information from a large number of consumer review sites, including MySears, Epinions, Amazon, Buzzle, Viewpoints, GardenWeb, Buzzillions, DoItYourself, CompareTheBrands, Web Informer, Hub Pages,, Reviews Ahoy, Associated Content, Shopzilla, BuyerZone, MetaEfficient, 
RateItAll, Wize, FurnaceCompare, Consumerist, and Recommended Buys. We then took all of the information and processed it to arrive at a consumer score for each brand, taking into consideration such factors as selection, quality, price, performance, availability, experience, durability, and customer support. These scores then served as the basis for our top ten ranking.

We give first place to Carrier, which also owns the Payne and Bryant brands. Carrier has been in the business of heating and cooling for over a hundred years and is today one of the global leaders in HVAC. The company offers top-of-the-line central air conditioning products which feature the Puron refrigerant - an environmentally friendly and non-ozone-depleting alternative to Freon. Carrier's AC products are among the most powerful, most dependable, and quietest on the market.

Second place goes to Trane, which also owns the American Standard brand. Like Carrier, Trane has been making HVAC systems for more than a hundred years. Consumers uniformly rave about the incredibly quality and absolute reliability of Trane air conditioning systems, which generally provide years and years of effective and worry free service.

Third place goes to York. Having been around for more than 130 years, York is the grizzled veteran of the HVAC industry. Today, the company is owned by Johnson Controls and continues a long-standing tradition of excellence. York provides an excellent product at a price that is often competitive with both Carrier and Trane. The company's air conditioning systems are solid in every respect and typically beloved by their owners.

Fourth place goes to Lennox, which also owns the Aire-Flo brand. Lennox is another heavyweight, having been in business since the late 1800s. The company makes some of the most powerful residential air conditioning systems on the market today. The praise for Lennox's products has not been as vociferous and uniform as for the top three, but overall Lennox is a solid brand.

Rounding out our top five is Rheem, which also manufactures products under the Ruud brand name. Rheem has been in business for more than 80 years and although it does not have the marketing coverage of Carrier, Trane, or Lennox, the company is known for producing uniformly high quality products and is greatly respected by many industry experts.

In sixth place is Goodman, which also owns the Amana brand. Goodman has been manufacturing air conditioning systems since the 1970s and offers a lower priced alternative to the top five brands. The quality and power output of Goodman's product are perhaps not as high, but they provide an excellent combination of reliability and affordability.

In seventh and eighth are Airwell and Heil. Airwell has been a leading air conditioning manufacturer in Europe since the 1950s and has expanded its presence on this side of the Atlantic with the acquisition of Fedders, a well known North American brand. Airwell and Fedders were traditionally better known for their portable AC units, but now offer a broad range of central AC systems as well. By contrast, Heil offers a more limited range of air conditioning systems, but it stands firmly behind its products, providing some of the best warranties in the HVAC industry.

Finally, in ninth and tenth are Kenmore and Coleman. Kenmore is the Sears appliance brand which encompasses an incredibly diverse set of products, ranging from ovens to washing machines to water softeners to air conditioners. Kenmore makes good air conditioning systems, but does not have the experience or manufacturing sophistication of some of the companies which specialize in HVAC exclusively. Meanwhile, Coleman is another company that, like York, is owned by Johnson Controls. However, unlike York, Coleman does not have the same rich history or breadth of product offerings.

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