The move to energy efficient air conditioners continues, and furnace levels within the industry rises each year.
2019 Most Efficient Central ACs
What we’ve done is take the most efficient model from each of the 9 manufacturing groups shown below. Each makes multiple brands.
Here are the most efficient central air conditioners for 2019
- Lennox Signature Series XC25 Air Conditioner
- Daikin DX20VC Air Conditioner
- Trane XV20i TruComfort Air Conditioner
- Carrier Infinity 21 24ANB1 Air Conditioner
- Rheem RA20 Air Conditioner
- York Affinity YXV Air Conditioner
- Armstrong Air 4SCU20LX Air Conditioner
- Frigidaire FSA1BG iQ Drive Air Conditioner
- Day & Night Deluxe 19 Air Conditioner
Efficiency information and brief AC reviews of the models follow.
Central Air Conditioner Manufacturers and Their Brands
Many consumers don’t realize that consolidation within the HVAC industry means there are really only nine equipment manufacturers. And many of them use universal parts made by an even smaller number of manufacturers.
- Lennox Corporation: Lennox, Ducane and Aire Flo
- Daikin: Daikin, Amana, Goodman and Direct Comfort
- Ingersoll-Rand: Trane and American Standard
- United Technologies: Carrier, Bryant and Payne
- Paloma Industries: Ruud and Rheem
- Johnson Controls: York, Luxaire, Coleman and Champion
- Allied Air – Owned by Lennox Corporation: Armstrong Air and AirEase
- Nortek Global – called Nordyne until recently: Maytag, Broan, NuTone, Frigidaire and Gibson (and until recently Tappan and Westinghouse)
- International Comfort Products – Owned by UTC: Heil, Tempstar, Arcoaire, KeepRite, Comfortmaker and Day & Night
Most Efficient Air Conditioners 2019
Lennox Signature Series XC25 Air Conditioner
Lennox leads the industry in the quest for energy efficiency. It makes the most efficient air conditioner, heat pump and gas furnace. Lennox SunSource is a solar energy system that can provide the electricity required to run the equipment.
- Efficiency: Up to 26 SEER
- Pros: The Lennox Signature Series XC25 is most efficient split system AC available. Will reduce energy use and cost by 50% to 65% when replacing an older air conditioner. It’s quiet at just 59db. The loudest central ACs are in the mid-70s decibels.
- Cons: Lennox equipment is expensive. The brand also uses a higher percentage of proprietary parts, so they are sometimes harder to get. This results in repair delays that might also be more expensive.
- Recommended: For the hottest climates and for homeowners committed to ecofriendly air conditioning.
- Also available as: Not made by any other brand.
Daikin DX20VC Air Conditioner
Many AC shoppers aren’t familiar with Daikin. It’s only been in the North American residential HVAC market since 2012 when it bought Goodman/Amana.
However, Daikin actually makes more air conditioners globally than any brand. The brand is known for quality.
- Efficiency: Up to 23 SEER
- Pros: Good quality and a very good warranty. It’s a 12-year parts warranty that includes replacement of the entire condensing unit if the compressor fails while under warranty.
- Cons: Higher-than-average cost. If you’re considering this AC, get estimates from an Amana dealer on the AC listed below. It has an even better warranty and might cost less.
- Recommended: For hot climates and for homeowners willing to pay a higher price for quality and long-term durability.
- Also available as: Amana AVXC20 – a unit backed by a lifetime compressor warranty.
Trane XV20i TruComfort Air Conditioner
Trane makes very reliable central air conditioners. This unit, when properly maintained, should last 20 years.
- Efficiency: Up to 22 SEER
- Pros: The brand has one of the best reliability ratings in the industry.
- Cons: You’ll pay a higher cost than average because of the quality of the equipment and because Trane requires its equipment to be installed by factory-trained and authorized dealers.
- Recommended: For homeowners that want long-term durability, even at a higher cost.
- Also available as: American Standard AccuComfort Variable Speed Platinum 20 – at about the same cost.
Carrier Infinity 21 24ANB1 Air Conditioner
Carrier has used variable-capacity technology longer than any other domestic brand. The Carrier Infinity 21 air conditioner offers proven reliability.
- Efficiency: Up to 21 SEER
- Pros: Among the best durability ratings in the industry.
- Cons: Lennox, Trane and Carrier have the highest costs in the industry.
- Recommended: For warm and hot climates. Homeowners that have had success with Carrier equipment in the past should be pleased with this unit’s performance and reliability.
- Also available as: Bryant 180C
Rheem Variable Speed RA20 Air Conditioner
Rheem makes decent equipment at a competitive cost.
- Efficiency: Up to 20.5 SEER
- Pros: Good value for the money. 10-year parts warranty includes complete AC replacement if the compressor fails.
- Cons: In the past, Rheem’s and Ruud’s mechanical ratings have been lower than average.
- Recommended: For homeowners that want good efficiency at an affordable cost.
- Also available as: Ruud Ultra Series Variable Speed UA20
York Affinity YXV Air Conditioner
York quality has improved in recent years after ranking below average for some time. To ensure homeowners, the Johnson Controls brands offer very good warranties.
- Efficiency: Up to 20 SEER
- Pros: Lifetime compressor warranty. Blower on a matching York air handler or furnace can be tuned specifically for your climate. Competitive pricing.
- Cons: No major concerns.
- Recommended: For warm to hot climates.
- Also available as: Luxaire Acclimate AL21, Coleman Echelon AC21 and Champion Momentum AL21.
Armstrong Air 4SCU20LX Air Conditioner
Armstrong Air and AirEase make dependable equipment at an affordable cost.
- Efficiency: Up to 20 SEER
- Pros: Good reliability for the money spent.
- Cons: Fewer dealers, so you might not find an Armstrong Air dealer where you live.
- Recommended: Homes in warm and hot climates.
- Also available as: AirEase 4SCU20LX
Frigidaire FSA1BG iQ Drive Air Conditioner
Frigidaire and its sister brands produce very solid equipment with good warranty coverage.
- Efficiency: Up to 20 SEER
- Pros: 10-year compressor warranty with complete AC replacement if it fails while under warranty.
- Cons: Smaller network of dealers, so might not be available in your area. Try one of the sister brands, if Frigidaire is available.
- Recommended: For homeowners that want high efficiency and good warranty coverage.
- Also available as: Maytag, Broan and NuTone models.
Day & Night Deluxe 19 Air Conditioner
In our opinion, the International Comfort Products brands offer some of the best value on the market. They are very similar – some say identical – to Carrier equipment, but cost significantly less.
- Efficiency: Up to 19 SEER / 13 EER
- Pros: Excellent value. The compressor warranty provides for a complete new AC if the compressor fails in the first 10 years.
- Cons: The dealer network is more limited, but you should be able to find a sister brand in your area if you can’t find Day & Night.
- Recommended: For value shoppers – good equipment at a good price.
- Also available as: Identical units from Heil, Tempstar, KeepRite, Arcoaire and ComfortMaker.
Have you Seen our 2019 Air Conditioner Buying Guide?
If you like to dig deeper into a topic, our 2019 AC Guide is comprehensive. Topics include air conditioner efficiency and performance options, brand reviews, pricing information and much more.
Central Air Conditioner Installation Tips
Any of the air conditioners on this list will run dependably if they are properly installed. They will fail early and run inefficiently if improperly installed.
If you’re thinking of DIY installation, keep in mind it will void the warranty of most central ACs.
Here are proven steps to finding an expert installer.
- Request written estimates from 3 or more local heat pump contractors
- Learn about the installer’s experience and the workmanship warranty it offers
- Get questions answered about the right heat pump model for your climate and home
- Make sure the installer knows how to choose the right size heat pump using Manual J or similar load calculation
- Check reviews online at Yelp, Google, the BBB and Angie’s List
This process can take several weeks or longer.
If you want to speed up the process, our Free Quotes partner can help. Fill out the short form, and you’ll receive quotes from some of the top installers in your area. They are prescreened for quality, and they know they are competing for your work.
You have no obligation to accept any of the estimates, and using the service is free.