The Amana ASXC18 is not as efficient as most of our top-rated air conditioners, but sources say it's a good budget pick. It's fairly quiet (though still louder than some) and it's backed by an excellent warranty. On the down side, this air conditioner may not qualify for an Energy Star tax rebate, and Amana's reliability record is less than stellar.
Efficient – to a point. The chief measure of a central air conditioner's efficiency is its seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or (SEER). This is a measure of its cooling output over an entire season divided by its energy use for the same period. Most sources, including the product brochure, say the Amana ASXC18 can reach a SEER of "up to 19" However, depending on how it's configured, the unit's SEER may actually range from 15 to 19. Likewise, the energy efficiency ratio (EER), a measure of its efficiency at a given point in time, can vary from 11.2 to 13.25. So it may not qualify for an Energy Star rating, which requires a SEER of at least 14.5 and an EER of at least 12.
Two-stage compressor. While the Amana ASXC18 isn't a top-tier model, its lower efficiency allows for a lower price, and it's the least expensive central air conditioner we recommend. However, that doesn't mean that it's completely devoid of extras. The editors at WebHVAC.com note that it uses a two-stage compressor, which provides for lower humidity, especially when matched with a variable-speed blower. ComfortNet is Amana's HVAC system that allows for components in the system to talk to each other to provide peak performance. The system works with ComfortNet or standard thermostats, but does not connect to the Internet or a smartphone app. It can alert users if a fault occurs, however, and stores diagnostic information to make troubleshooting easier. The noise level varies (71 to 74 decibels, depending on the unit's cooling power). The editors of FurnaceCompare.com describe this as on "the quiet end" of central air conditioners, though some other models are better in this regard.
A great warranty. Based on user surveys, Amana air conditioners as a whole are not as reliable as many other brands. User reviews for this specific model are limited, but paint a rosier picture (100 percent satisfaction based on a dozen reviews at Amana's site). Keep in mind that many experts say that satisfaction and reliability are often more a function of the installer than of the HVAC equipment itself. Amana is confident enough in the ASXC18 to back it with a strong warranty. In addition to a 10-year limited warranty on parts, which is par for the course, Amana offers a lifetime limited warranty on the compressor. This means that if the compressor ever fails for the original purchaser, Amana will replace the entire condensing unit free of charge. Owners must register their new air conditioners online within 60 days to validate the warranty; otherwise the coverage is for 5 years.
The Amana ASXC18 makes the top 10 list at WebHVAC.com and receives a more in-depth review here. Editors rate the reliability at 4 out of 5 stars, and note that it gets good ratings from those that have installed the unit. They add that this Amana central air system offers "an attractive combination of high efficiency, excellent performance and one of the best warranties in the industry."
Review: Amana Model ASXC18 18 SEER Central Air Conditioner Rating, Editors of WebHVAC.com, Not Dated
Richard Reed provides thumbnail reviews of most central air-conditioner brands, occasionally singling out models. However, he notes that Amana ASXC18 is his pick as the best unit among mid-grade "premium" models. He likes the two-speed condenser, on-board diagnostics and communications and what he calls "an industry leading warranty."
Review: Air Conditioner Ratings, A Repairman Reviews The Brands..., Richard Reed, Not Dated
The Amana AXSC18 makes the list of top central air conditioners at TopTenReviews.com. They say that the "Amana ASXC18 is not the most efficient or the quietest air conditioning system, but the lifetime warranty makes it stand out from the pack."
Review: Amana AXSC18, Grant Morgan, Not Dated
User reviews of central air-conditioner systems are hard to come by, but we found about a dozen and the manufacturer's site for the Amana ASXC18. It earns 5-stars from all.
Review: ASXC18 Air Conditioner, Contributors to Amana-HAC.com, As of June 2015
FurnaceCompare.com is most valuable as a source of owner reviews of central air systems, but here editors also give their take on the Amana ASXC18. Information is offered on efficiency, noise level and the ComfortNet control and communication system. Three owners also weigh in.
Review: AMANA ASXC18 Central Air Conditioner, Editors of FurnaceCompare.com, As of June 2015
ConsumerReports.org does not test central air conditioners, but it does evaluate the reliability of some of the most popular brands, including Amana. The most recent survey is based on responses from nearly 34,000 readers who purchased systems from 2007 through mid-2013.
Review: The most reliable central air conditioning systems, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, May 2015