What every best Central Air Conditioners has:
- High efficiency.
- Good value.
- A solid warranty.
The Dave Lennox Signature XC25 offers impressive performance and impressive efficiency, reviews say. Highlights including a modulating compressor that raises and lowers cooling by as little as 1 percent, letting it hold temperatures to within a half degree of the thermostat setting. That capability lowers energy costs by as much as 60 percent, helping the XC25 to earn Energy Star Most Efficient status once again for 2017. Energy costs can be lowered even more by powering the XC25 using an optional solar-energy module. The reliability of this Dave Lenox Signature model is considered to be high, and its noise low. See our full review »
The Energy Star Qualified Carrier Infinity 21 24ANB1 has a SEER of up to 21 and runs very quietly at 65 decibels. It lacks a modulating compressor, but earns kudos nonetheless for its ability to maintain thermostat temperatures while keeping humidity in check. Experts also praise its build quality, including construction features that help it better withstand harsh weather conditions. Carrier's reliability record is strong, but the warranty is merely average, covering all parts for 10 years, and requires registration. An optional thermostat that can be controlled from an Apple or Android smartphone or tablet is also available. See our full review »
The Trane XV20i has a SEER as high as 22 and is Energy Star qualified in all sizes. Though not quite as efficient as the Dave Lenox Signature XC25, this Trane central air system also has a modulating compressor for rock-steady temperature control. Allergy sufferers can add an air-cleaner module that removes 99.8 percent of particles, exceeding HEPA standards. Other options include an Internet-capable smart thermostat. The Trane XV20i also boasts a strong compressor warranty, 12 years, though other parts are only covered for the more-standard 10 years. Trane air conditioners have a reputation for reliability and fare well in consumer-satisfaction surveys. See our full review »
The Amana ASXC18 is less efficient than other top models, but it also costs less. Its maximum SEER rating is 19, and it runs at a fairly quiet 71 decibels, though some pricier models are quieter still. The two-stage compressor allows for good humidity control, especially when matched with a variable-speed blower. It can use standard or smart thermostats, though the latter don't connect to the Internet. The warranty is a highlight: Along with the standard 10-year coverage on parts, Amana offers a limited lifetime warranty on the compressor and will replace the whole condensing unit if the compressor ever fails. See our full review »