The Maytag M1200 PSA4BI iQ Drive is both the most efficient and the quietest air conditioner covered in our sources. It can achieve a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of up to 24.5, while running at a whisper-quiet 59 decibels. It's also backed by a 12-year warranty, with a replacement guarantee for compressor failures. This unit is pricey, however, and reviews suggest you may have trouble getting it repaired.
Most efficient. No other air conditioner covered in our sources can beat the Maytag M1200 for efficiency. By all standards, including the SEER, the energy efficiency ratio (EER) and the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), this Maytag unit crushes the competition. The smaller 2-ton unit earns a SEER of 24.5, EER of 15 and a Tier-3 CEE rating. Compared to air conditioners that only meet minimum federal efficiency standards, the Maytag can save you up to 47 percent on your cooling bill.
Bestcovery.com reviewer Cecilia Harsch says the M1200 achieves this level of efficiency by running the compressor at lower power when cooling needs are lower. This feature has an additional bonus, according to Harsch: "it maintains a more consistent indoor temperature." Moreover, the Maytag is by far the quietest central air conditioner covered in our sources. Running at a mere 59 decibels, it's quieter than most conversations.
High price tag. Maytag, like other manufacturers, does not disclose prices. However, we were able to find estimated prices on WebHVAC.com, a consumer-information site run by a group of former HVAC contractors. The site's editors give prices for an M1200 ranging from $3,589 to $4,229. These are the highest price estimates we found for any air conditioner covered here. On the plus side, the M1200 will qualify you for the $300 Energy Star federal tax credit through 2013. Depending on where you live, you may be eligible for additional state government or utility credits with this ultra-efficient unit.
Challenging to get repairs. The Maytag M1200 comes with a great warranty. In addition to covering all parts for 12 years, rather than the standard 10, Maytag promises to replace the entire unit if the compressor fails during that 12-year period. Like most air conditioner warranties, this does not cover labor costs, and it does require you to register your product.
However, according to the few homeowner reviews at FurnaceCompare.com, a bigger problem may be finding a repairperson willing to work on Maytag equipment. One reviewer laments, "I called every AC repair in my area and they all said 'no'." Another user, who is also a Maytag dealer, calls Maytag's warranty "fake," noting that refrigerant, certain parts and shipping costs are not covered. There aren't enough reviews here to judge the reliability of this unit, but this small sampling does convey the importance of confirming that service is available in your area before investing in this pricey unit.
The Maytag M1200 PSA4BI iQ Drive makes the 2013 list of the most efficient central air conditioners rated by the Energy Star program. All products bearing the Energy Star label must meet Environmental Protection Agency energy efficiency standards while still delivering the features and performance that consumers demand, but the products on this list are more efficient. The Maytag is one of the most efficient air conditioners on the list, with a SEER of up to 24.5.
Review: Energy Star Most Efficient 2013 -- Central Air Conditioners and Air Source Heat Pumps, Editors of EnergyStar.gov, As of June 2013
Home-Tech.com is an appliance-repair company in Southwest Florida. In this article, the Home-Tech staff present their picks for the best central air conditioners of 2013, based on "price, performance, warranty and durability." The editors call the Maytag PSA4BI series "the industry's elite," praising its efficiency, longer warranty and extremely quiet operation. However, they do not specify testing methods.
Review: Best of Air Conditioning -- 2013 Best AC Systems, Editors of Home-Tech.com, As of June 2013
Cecilia Harsch, a former big-box store manager, puts the Maytag M1200 PSA4BI iQ Drive at the top of her list of the five best central air conditioners. Harsch says the models were selected based on their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) and "consistent cooling capabilities." In addition to being highly efficient, she says the Maytag "maintains a more consistent indoor temperature" than other models. However, there's nothing to indicate that this unit has been subjected to any hands-on testing.
Review: Best Air Conditioner, Cecilia Harsch, March 13, 2012
WebHVAC.com is run by a group of former HVAC contractors that "covers just about everything to do with HVAC equipment in your home, business, or environment." The editors award the Maytag M1200 PSA4BI iQ Drive the top slot on their list of the 10 best central air conditioners, with praise for its efficiency and durable construction. However, they do not appear to have used hands-on testing or consumer surveys to make this decision.
Review: Top Rated Central Air Conditioners 2013, Editors of WebHVAC.com, As of June 2013
FurnaceCompare.com has the largest collection of owner reviews for central air conditioners on the web. We found only 10 reviews here for Maytag air conditioners, and only two that specifically mention the Maytag M1200. About half the reviews are positive, praising Maytag's quality, efficiency and 12-year warranty. However, the negative reviews complain that actually getting service is difficult because most technicians do not work on this brand.
Review: Consumer Reviews of MAYTAG Central Air Conditioners, Contributors to FurnaceCompare.com, As of June 2013