The best central air conditioners under $2,000 are:
- Goodman GSXC Central Air Conditioner
- Day & Night Performance 16 N4A6 Central Air Conditioner
- Trane XR14 & American Standard Silver 14 Central Air Conditioner
- Carrier Performance 16 Central Air Conditioner
- Maytag 1200 PSA1BE Central Air Conditioner
Units start below $2,000: These units range in size from 1.5 tons/18,000 BTUs to 5.0 tons/60,000 BTUs. Starting price for the equipment is less than $2,000 for the smaller sizes, though larger units might exceed that amount.
Installation cost for labor and supplies is extra: Installation and supplies cost ranges from about $1,500 to $2,500. This includes wiring and the refrigerant line set.
Plus a coil: The cost for installation above does not include the indoor/evaporator coil. They cost $200 to $800 based on brand and capacity (1.5 to 5.0 tons).
If you’re looking for broader research, our 2019 Central Air Conditioner Buying Guide is a good source.
Best Central Air Conditioners Under $2,000
That’s the list, now for quick reviews.
Goodman GSXC16 Central Air Conditioner
This is a 17 SEER, 2-stage central air conditioner.
Pros: The GSXC17 is quite efficient and it is power by the top-rated two-stage compressor available, the Scroll Ultra-Tech by Copeland. Also, the compressor is backed by a lifetime warranty – the best warranty available. https://www.goodmanmfg.com/pdfviewer.aspx?pdfurl=docs/librariesprovider6/default-document-library/pw-gachpke.pdf?view=true
Cons: Goodman quality has been knocked in the past. Since Daikin bought the brand, quality has improved. That’s why this unit tops our list. No major flaws.
Identical to: Amana ASXC16
Cost: $1,500 to $2,600 plus coil and installation
Day & Night Performance 16 N4A6 Central Air Conditioner
Many consumers don’t know that Day & Night air conditioners are very similar to Carrier, as both are manufactured by United Technology Corporation using many identical parts.
Carrier has one of the best mechanical durability ratings, partly because they require higher training and credentials for installers. Day & Night isn’t far behind.
Pros: High quality at a lower cost than Carrier/Bryant. This is a 17 SEER, Energy Star model.
Cons: Single-stage rather than two-stage like the Goodman. This means it runs at high capacity and noise level all the time and might produce minor temperature swings.
Identical to: Units made by Heil, Arcoaire, KeepRite, ComfortMaker and Tempstar. They and Day & Night are produced by a UTC subsidiary called International Comfort Products.
Cost: $1,550 to $2,850 plus coil and installation
American Standard Silver 14 Central Air Conditioner
American Standard and twin brand Trane are in the top tier of central air conditioners for durability and longevity.
Pros: Well-made. 16 SEER Energy Star efficiency.
Cons: A little more expensive than Goodman and Day & Night.
Identical to: Trane XR14
Cost: $1,750 to $3,100
Carrier Performance 16 Central Air Conditioner
The model number is the Carrier 24APB6. It’s a 17 SEER, single-stage unit that should run for 20 years when properly maintained.
Pros: Carrier is right up there with American Standard in quality and durability. The efficiency of this unit makes it a good fit for warm climates, though perhaps not the hottest and most humid.
Cons: Carrier requires their installers to be factory authorized. The training and certification usually leads to a higher installation cost.
Identical to: Bryant 126CNA
Maytag 1200 PSA1BE Central Air Conditioner
This Maytag central air conditioner is part of the brand’s top line and is backed by an excellent warranty.
Pros: Stainless steel jacket keeps its good looks than standard steel cases. 12-year parts warranty includes replacing the whole unit if the compressor fails while covered.
Cons: Just 15 SEER, so best for moderate climates. Maytag makes more efficient models in the 1200 Series, but not for less than $2,000.
Identical to: Units from other Nortek Global brands Broan, Frigidaire and NuTone.
There are only 8 major manufactures of residential split system HVAC equipment.
Here they are with their brands:
United Technologies Corporation: UTC makes Carrier and Bryant. Most models are identical. Payne is a low-cost UTC brand and not identical.
International Comfort Products: UTC owns International Comfort Products. ICP makes Day & Night, Heil, Arcoaire, AirQest, Tempstar, KeepRite and Comfortmaker.
Ingersoll Rand: IR owns Trane and American Standard, and the equipment is identical. Cost is about the same too.
Daikin Global: Brands are Goodman, Amana and Daikin. Brands are nearly identical. Goodman is priced the lowest for marketing purposes.
Lennox Corporation: Brands are Lennox, Ducane, Armstrong Air, Concord, Allied and AirEase. All but Lennox are identical or nearly so.
Nortek Global: Brands are Maytag, Broan, Frigidaire and NuTone. Pricing varies slightly. Tappan and Westinghouse brands were retired in 2016.
Paloma Industries: Brands are Rheem and Ruud, and they are identical and sold at about the same price.
Johnson Controls: This large manufacturer makes York, Luxaire, Coleman and Champion.
How to Get the Best Price on Central Air Conditioning
There are cheaper central air conditioners, but efficiency is 13 SEER or 14 SEER. If you’re using the AC in a cool climate or part-time location like a cabin, then those fine to use.
In warmer climates, they would produce high cooling costs that might make you regret buying them.
To get the best price from a quality installer:
- Get written estimates from 3 or more local heat pump contractors
- Ask about the best affordable equipment for your air conditioning needs
- Learn about the experience and the crew that will be installing your AC.
- Ask about their workmanship warranty
- Check reviews online at Yelp, Google, the BBB and Angie’s List
- Once you choose a contractor, make sure the installer knows how to choose the right size heat pump using Manual J or similar load calculation
If you’d like to expedite the process, our 3 Free Estimates options reduces time from a few weeks to a couple days.
It is free, and there is no obligation to use the service