Central Air Conditioning Units Review

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Why Buy a Central Air Conditioner?

If you are in the market for a central air conditioner, prepare to be relieved. Today's central air conditioning units are more effective, durable and environmentally friendly than ever before. After the large initial investment, you will enjoy energy savings for years to come. Have one installed and enjoy as your indoor air becomes cooler and less humid, even on the hottest summer days.

So many factors can affect the efficiency of air conditioners – the installation, existing ductwork, the size of your home and much more, but there are air conditioner units that are designed so smartly that they will do well in most settings. The best central air conditioners will lower your energy bills in a noticeable way and keep you comfortable. We were especially impressed with the Dave Lennox Collection, Frigidaire IQ Drive and American Standard Platinum ZV. Read our central air conditioner reviews for details about each, and for more information, read our articles on central air units.

Central Air Conditioners: What to Look For

Your central air conditioner represents a large fraction of your total energy expenditure each summer month, so it is worth some time and research to ensure you are getting the best one you can afford.

If you live in a dry climate you may want to consider swamp coolers, which cool air by adding moisture; the opposite of air conditioners, which cool air by removing moisture. Swamp coolers are generally less expensive, especially since they do not require installation of much extra equipment. Most air conditioners will require the installation of some extra equipment, or alteration of your current set-up.

A new air conditioner represents a major investment, but one that will pay for itself over time if you buy an efficient unit. Cheap air conditioners may save you a bit upfront but will cost you in wasted energy in years to come. You get more value out of units that efficiently cool, dehumidify and purify the air for your entire home using as little electricity as possible.

Below are the criteria we used to evaluate the best AC units on the market:

Efficiency
Central air conditioning systems are rated according to their seasonal energy efficiency ratio, also known as SEER. The SEER number tells you how much energy is needed for cooling. Look for units with the highest SEER number available. Many older models have a SEER rating of 5 or 6, whereas the best units today get into the twenties. An Energy Star certification from the Department of Energy also is a good sign that the system will save you money. The ability to control your home's temperature remotely can also up your unit's efficiency by letting you adjust temperatures remotely if you forget to turn off the air conditioning when you leave the house.

 Comfort
Look for a central air conditioner that runs quietly. These units are placed outside of your home, so you want a product that won't bother you or your neighbors. AC units have a drastic range in noise levels, so look for one that will make sense for your surroundings. The quietest units in our lineup have a sound rating of less than 60 decibels. Certain features reduce noise, including well-designed fan blades, proper insulation and variable settings.

Design
The best air conditioning systems are sturdy, heavy devices. These units sit outside all year long, so it is important that they are fit to handle all types of weather. The best AC units allow you to easily access the air filters, coils and other areas of your cooling device. We also looked for units that are reasonably compact so they do not represent an eyesore in your landscaping.

Help & Support
The best HVAC systems are made by reputable companies that back up their products with good customer service. We liked the manufacturers that provide clear and helpful information online as well as multiple avenues for contacting representatives.

An air conditioning system is a valuable tool in your home during those hot, humid months, but finding the right product can be tough. You will know you have found the right unit for your home when you see a combination of the above features.

 
 
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Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Dave Lennox Collection Frigidaire iQ Drive American Standard Platinum ZV Carrier Infinity Series Trane Coleman Echelon Series Carrier Performance Amana Goodman Rheem Prestige Series
Dave Lennox Collection Frigidaire iQ Drive American Standard Platinum ZV Carrier Infinity Series Trane Coleman Echelon Series Carrier Performance Amana Goodman Rheem Prestige Series
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Ratings
9.75
9.38
9.35
8.48
7.65
7.40
7.10
6.60
6.60
6.57
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
10.00
9.38
10.00
9.38
9.38
10.00
9.38
7.50
8.75
10.00
9.38
9.38
8.13
7.50
10.00
8.75
7.50
6.88
8.13
9.38
6.88
6.25
8.75
9.38
6.25
5.63
9.38
8.75
5.00
5.00
9.38
10.00
5.00
5.00
9.38
10.00
5.63
5.00
9.38
7.50
 
Efficiency
SEER 25 25 21 21 20 18 18 18 18 17
Chlorine-Free Refrigerant
Humidity Control
  
  
Multi-stage Compressor
       
Energy Star
  
Energy Star Most Efficient
 
 
   
Smartphone Compatible
 
 
 
 
Solar Option
         
Comfort
Sound (dB) 59 59 55 65 72 69 73 71 71 71
Noise-reducing Fan Blades
   
Compressor Insulation
 
Variable-speed Fan
  
 
Insulated Base Pan  
  
Design
Width (inches) 35 1/2 31 1/4 32 5/8 36 1/2 37 42 1/4 31 35 1/2 35 1/2 31 1/2
Depth (inches) 39 1/2 31 1/4 29 3/4 36 1/2 34 34 31 35 1/2 35 1/2 44 3/8
Height (inches) 47 37 41 31 54 40 35 3/4 38 1/4 38 1/4 23
Weather Resistant Paint
Multiple Access Points
  
  
 
Help & Support
Compressor Warranty 10 Years 10 Years 12 Years 10 Years 12 Years 10 Years 10 Years Lifetime Lifetime 10 Years
Parts Warranty 10 Years 10 Years 10 Years 10 Years 10 Years 10 Years 10 Years 10 Years 10 Years 10 Years
FAQs
 
 
Telephone
 
 
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