This Top Rated Central Air Conditioners 2012 list gives you a starting point for finding the right model for your home. You will find individual central air conditioner reviews for each of these models on this site, so you can research the ones you want to compare side by side. Our criteria was not highest SEER rating as you can see. Homeowners with different needs and purposes want different levels of efficiency. For those in warmer climates or who want the greenest technology they can find, the higher the SEER the better. For cooler climates, a lower level of efficiency is more cost-effective. It doesn’t make economic sense to pay 35-50% more to get a super-efficient AC you don’t use heavily. Those in warm but not hot climates do best with something in between.
Our criteria for choosing the best central air conditioners for 2012 were quality and durability. We picked models you can rely on to give you good performance for the greatest number of years. That’s what value is – getting the maximum amount of service for the money you spend. By the way, all of these top rated central air conditioners are Energy Star qualified and they all use new, environmentally safer refrigerant. Here’s our list.
Top Rated Central Air Conditioners 2012
1. Maytag M1200 Series 24.5 SEER Central Air Conditioner
Energy Efficiency: 24.5 SEER
Maytag has made a concerted effort in recent years to lead the industry in efficiency and performance and this model demonstrates it. The heart of the unit is a modulating rotary compressor – something we’re seeing more of every year. Rather than simply having low and high capacity, the compressor runs anywhere from 25% to 100% capacity, in 1% increments, to deliver just enough cooling at the moment to keep your home comfortable without a hint of temperature fluctuation.
This unit can be programmed to maintain humidity levels in your home between 35% and 70%, offers zoned cooling of up to 8 zones, and runs very quietly at lower capacities. This is at the top of the charts in terms of efficiency and one of the most expensive.
2. Carrier Infinity Series Model 24ANA1 Central Air Conditioner
Energy Efficiency 21 SEER
Carrier’s most efficient model features a 2-stage compressor for quieter, more balanced cooling than single-stage models can provide. This is a very efficient AC that is suitable for hot summers. The Carrier Infinity controller is the top-rated model in the industry and allows for precise climate control in your home.
3. American Standard Platinum ZM Allegiance 20 Central Air Conditioner
Energy Efficiency: 20 SEER
American Standard has one of the highest consumer ratings for dependability, and this is their flagship model. It runs at 50% capacity most of the time with the use of 2 high-quality Duration compressors, the second one kicking in for quick boosts in cooling when needed. The AccuLink communicating technology syncs system components for maximum efficiency and comfort, including temperature and humidity control. The fan is variable speed to reduce operating noise when running on low.
4. Amana Model ASXC18 18 SEER Central Air Conditioner
Energy Efficiency: 18 SEER
Amana may be the highest-quality AC manufacturer. This one uses the top-rated Copeland UtraTech scroll compressor and it is backed by a warranty that is easily the best in the industry. If the compressor ever fails the original owners, Amana will replace the entire condensing unit. It’s a 2-stage model with all the features to keep it running reliably for many years.
5. Dave Lennox Signature Collection XC17 Central Air Conditioner
Energy Efficiency: 18 SEER
Part of Lennox’s top series, the XC 17 is an efficient, comfortable performer. It’s a single-stage compressor, the most efficient one on the market, which reduces the cost vs. 2-stage models, making it a good value. It offers very quiet performance and is compatible with Lennox’s humidity-reducing Humiditrol technology. The iComfort touchscreen thermostat is one of the highest-rated in the industry.
6. Trane High Efficiency XR15 Central Air Conditioner
Energy Efficiency: 17 SEER
This is another single-stage, very efficient AC. The Trane ClimaTuff compressor does well in compressor ratings too, ensuring good durability and performance for this unit. The spine fin coil speeds up heat transfer for faster, more efficient cooling and the base pan is composite so won’t corrode. This isn’t Trane’s most efficient air conditioner, but overall, the XR15 is their best.
7. Bryant Preferred Series Model 127A 16.5 SEER Central Air Conditioner
Energy Efficiency: 16.5 SEER
The Bryant Preferred Series is less efficient and less expensive than the Evolution Series but the same level of quality is present. The 2-stage compressor offers quieter performance that also produces better temperature balance without cool/warm zones in your home. This one has all the features like pressure switches and a refrigerant filter to ensure longevity and consistent performance through the years.
8. Heil QuietComfort Model Number DX 1600 Central Air Conditioner
Energy Efficiency: 16 SEER
This single-stage AC has a 2-speed fan for quieter operation. It’s a good value, combining quality with a lower price point. The compressor insulation keeps down operating noise while the copper tube/aluminum fin coil allows for faster cooling of your home.
9. York Affinity Series Model CZE 15 SEER Central Air Conditioner
Energy Efficiency: 15 SEER
You won’t find many 15 SEER air conditioners with 2-stage compressors. This model sells well in cooler climates where homeowners want the superior indoor comfort a 2-stage AC provides. With pressure switches and Comfort Alert technology, it’s a durable performer and one of the highest rated in its class.
10. Ruud UAPM-JEZ Series central air conditioner review Central Air Conditioner 14.5
Ruud makes quality models at many efficiency levels but this is one of their top models in overall ratings. It is a single-stage air conditioner with a reliable scroll compressor and a compressor blanket for quieter operation. Upgraded pressure switches, base pan and humidity control make it a top seller in cooler climates or for vacation homes and cabins.
Which of these top rated central air conditioners is right for you? Consider your climate, your desire for green technology, your budget and how long you plan to remain in your home. These are all winners. Remember to see our HVAC reviews on each of them for more complete details of the Top Rated Central Air Conditioners 2012.