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Highest SEER Rated Central Air Conditioners of 2017

What air conditioner has the highest SEER rating?

Is a very efficient central air conditioner the right choice for you?

These are the questions answered here, first with a list of the top 5 most efficient central air conditioners. Then, we discuss the pros and cons very efficient air conditioners, so you can decide if spending the extra money is worth it.

5 Highest SEER Central Air Conditioners

This list has changed a little bit from last year. What we noticed most in the industry is that brands are boosting the efficiency levels of their entire lineup of products, not just the top models but second-tier ACs too.

Each central air conditioner model is made in a range of sizes starting at 18,000 or 24,000 BTU ranging in increments of 6,000 to 12,000 BTU up to a maximum of 60,000 BTU for residential units.

26 SEER Lennox XC25 Air Conditioner

Lennox is more committed to energy efficient HVAC systems than Trane, American Standard, Carrier or Bryant, in our opinion. It’s one of the most expensive brands, and especially this unit, but the energy savings are excellent. Some ACs that are 20 years old have ratings of 10 or less. This unit is 2.6 times more efficient and will cut cooling cost by 60%+.

  • Lennox XC25 Cost: $3,300-$5,000
  • Warranty: 10 years on the compressor and parts
  • Quality Rating: 4.5/5 stars

24.5 SEER Daikin DX20VC & Amana AVXC20 Central Air Conditioners

These are identical central air conditioners. The Amana brand has been owned by Japanese HVAC leader Daikin since 2012. Daikin also owns Goodman now, but they’re not making a Goodman unit in this top tier. Across the board, Amana has the best warranties of the leading brands.

  • Daikin DX20VC and Amana AVXC20 Cost: $3,200-$5,200
  • Warranty: Amana offers a lifetime compressor warranty that includes replacement of the entire condensing unit (the outside unit of a CAC), not just the compressor, plus a 10-year warranty on other parts. Daikin offers a 12-year parts warranty.
  • Quality Rating: 4.5/5 stars

22 SEER Trane XV20i TruComfort & American Standard AccuComfort Platinum 20 Central Air Conditioners

Here’s another pair of twin CACs that are very efficient. They are Ingersoll-Rand brands. American Standard products cost a bit more and are considered the top brand in the market by many. Perhaps because of the name recognition both brands have, they don’t feel pressure to give outstanding warranties. That’s probably the biggest criticism of these units.

  • Trane XV20i & American Standard Platinum 20 Cost: $2,900-$4,700
  • Warranty: The American Standard warranty is 12 years on the compressor and parts. Trane’s warranty is 10 years on both.
  • Quality Rating: 5/5 stars

21 SEER Carrier Infinity 21 & Bryant Evolution 180B Central Air Conditioners

We’re seeing a twin trend here. There’s been tremendous consolidation among HVAC brands – though Carrier and Bryant have been sister brands of United Technologies Corporation for decades. Both are considered premium brands, and their product lineups overlap quite a bit. Carrier/Bryant were the most efficient brands for years, but have started to trail recently. We predict that in the next two years, both will take a significant step in efficiency.

  • Carrier Infinity 21 & Bryant Evolution 180B Cost: $2,700-$4,700
  • Warranty: Both brands offer 10-year warranties on all parts
  • Quality Rating: 4.5/5 stars

21 SEER Lennox XC21 Central Air Conditioner

Lennox is the only split-system ducted brand with two units on the list. This one is the most efficient two-stage central AC on the market. It costs less than some of the 20 SEER variable-speed ACs

  • Lennox XC21 Cost: $2,400-$4,000
  • Warranty: 10 years on everything
  • Quality Rating: 4.5/5 stars

20 SEER Central Air Conditioners

Many brands now make 20 SEER central air conditioners, a substantial increase from five years ago. Here’s a list of units that aren’t quite as efficient but will still reduce energy use and cost by as much as 50% when replacing an existing AC.

Maytag PSA1BG

Armstrong Air 4SCU20LX & Air Ease 4SCU20LX

Ruud Ultra Series UA20 & Rheem Prestige RA20

Pros and Cons of High-efficiency Central Air Conditioners

As you can see, these are expensive units. Despite the cost, one of them might be a good choice for your purposes.

Pros of high-SEER ACs:

  • They reduce energy use, so are ecofriendly
  • They cut air conditioning costs by up to 60%
  • Most have variable-capacity compressors, which control temperature balance and humidity the best

Cons of high-SEER ACs:

  • They are expensive
  • The extra cost might take 10-20 years to recover in warm and moderate climates through lower energy bills
  • Variable-capacity technology isn’t old enough to know that it is dependable, though most experts believe the units will last 20+ years

Installing a High Efficiency Central AC

These units require careful installation and setup to ensure they run as dependably as they should. Choose a qualified contractor with experience installing variable-speed ACs and heat pumps for best near and long-term results.


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