What’s the best central air conditioner under $2000?
You can find several in that range – though the larger models, 4 or 5 ton units, might cost more.
The best air conditioners below $2000 are:
- Carrier Comfort 16 Air Conditioner
- Trane XR14 Air Conditioner
- Goodman GSXC16 Air Conditioner
- Payne Central Air Conditioner 16 PA16NA
- Day & Night Performance 16 NXA6 Air Conditioner
The Best Central Air Conditioners Under 2000 for 2020
Here are cheap central air conditioners that give you the best quality for the money. They’re a good place to start when you decide to get central air conditioner cost estimates from local dealers/installers.
Carrier Comfort 16 Air Conditioner
This is also called the Carrier Comfort 16 model 24ABC6 air conditioner.
Carrier makes some of the highest-quality air conditioners available. Independent research from Consumer Reports and other researchers show Carrier rated at or near the top of all brands for reliability. Generally, the quality extends from top to bottom of the lineup.
Carrier makes three tiers: Infinity are the top of the line. Performance Series models are mid-tier in efficiency and performance. The Comfort Series is the most affordable. But Carrier backs this series with the same warranty as the best Carrier air conditioners.
Efficiency: 16 SEER
Performance: Single-stage air conditioning
Warranty: This unit is backed by a solid, though not amazing, 10-year parts warranty.
Pros: Good quality and warranty. Internal parts are from some of the most dependable brands like Emerson and Copeland.
Cons: As a single-stage air conditioner, it won’t deliver precisely even temperatures. Also, it doesn’t remove as much humidity as a two-stage air conditioner. If you live in a dry climate, that’s not a problem. In the South, Southeast or other humid region, you might consider stepping up to a 2-stage model. Also, at 76 decibels, its near the “loud” end of the spectrum.
Cost for the unit only: $1,650 – $3,350
Notes – Bryant makes an identical unit to this one. If you don’t like the Carrier dealers you talk to, try a Bryant dealer in your area and ask about the Bryant Legacy Line 106A AC.
Trane XR14 Air Conditioner
Trane is another brand at or near the top of consumer ratings and reviews. They advertise heavily, and cost is often a little high. But this unit is reasonable and has good quality too.
Oddly, as efficiency rises, Trane hasn’t changed the model name. This model used to have a 14 SEER rating, as the name implies.
Efficiency: 16 SEER – ideal for warm climates, though maybe not the hottest and hot/humid regions.
Performance: Single-stage cooling runs at full capacity whenever in air conditioning mode.
Warranty: 10 years on all parts.
Pros: Good quality for the money, and the efficiency is good too.
Cons: Since it runs full-blast when on, it is noisier than a 2-stage Trane air conditioner.
Cost for the unit only: $1,790 – $3,275
Note – American Standard and Trane are identical brands owned by Ingersoll Rand. So if you like the local American Standard dealer better than the Trane guys, ask for the comparable model. It should be the American Standard Silver 14 air conditioner.
Goodman GSXC16 Air Conditioner
This is a 2-stage AC that gives you better temperature balance in summer and winter and removes more humidity in the hot months.
Many consumers don’t trust Goodman, but things have improved since Daikin bought the brand in 2012. They got Amana thrown into the deal, since Goodman had owned Amana for many years.
This is a reliable and efficient 2-stage air conditioner. It’s ideal for warm climates.
Efficiency: 16 SEER
Performance: Low and High stages of air conditioning set the Goodman GSXC16 apart from other affordable central air conditioners. The unit will run on low as long as that setting will keep your home at the thermostat set point. If not, it will kick into high gear for maximum cooling.
Warranty: Lifetime compressor warranty, 10-year complete AC replacement warranty if the compressor or coil fail and a 10-year general parts warranty. Goodman has improved quality while keep some of the best warranties in the industry.
Pros: Driven by a Copeland UltraTech compressor, widely considered one of the top three compressors made today. A very solid warranty.
Cons: Goodman isn’t picky about which certified installer installs Goodman equipment. As a result, installation quality runs the gamut from superior to inferior. If you choose Goodman for the good value it delivers, vet the potential installers. Check their online reviews and ask about the experience and qualifications of the crew that Will be doing the install. Are they NATE certified, for example? Is there an installation warranty? Find out what you can before deciding.
Cost for the unit only: $1,495 – $2,700
Payne Central Air Conditioner 16 PA16NA
Did you know that Payne is a Carrier brand? And its ratings are excellent?
This unit is built with most of the same parts found in Carrier air conditioners. In fact, it is nearly identical to the Carrier model at the top of the list.
Consumer Reports and consumers everywhere give Payne good ratings, and the cost is much lower than Carrier. Why? Two reasons: The advertising budget is nil compared to Carrier’s. Secondly, Carrier positions Payne as an affordable brand, so it attracts consumers looking for cheap central air conditioners.
Efficiency: 17 SEER
Performance: Single-stage air conditioning gives you basic cooling. You won’t enjoy premium climate control, but if you’re not in a hot or very humid climate, you probably won’t notice the difference.
Warranty: 10 years on everything.
Pros: Good value – a quality air conditioner at a reasonable cost.
Cons: It’s just single-stage. If you want better dehumidification and evener temps, try a 2-stage unit at $500 – $1,000 more.
Cost for just the unit: $1,630 – $2,595
Day & Night Performance 16 NXA6 Air Conditioner
It turns out that Carrier owns another company called ICP – no, not the rappers. International Comfort Products. ICP units are also quite similar to Carrier and Bryant HVAC equipment – but at a lower cost.
ICP brands include Day & Night, Heil, Tempstar and Comfortmaker.
Efficiency: 16 SEER
Performance: Single-stage compressor.
Warranty: 10-year parts warranty. Also, if the compressor or coil fail in the first year, the company will give you a new condensing unit. That’s easier than replacing just the part, frankly.
Pros: The price is right. If you get estimates for both a Carrier 16 SEER unit and this one, you’ll see the difference.
Cons: You might have a limited number of Day & Night dealers in your area. That’s Ok. The other ICP brands are identical, and one of the dealers in your area should sell them.
Cost for the unit only: $1,600 – $2,485
What Other Costs Are There?
Installation will add $1,000 to $2,000 to the bill. With refrigerant line set and pad for the condensing unit, cost could reach $2,500. Why not install it yourself?
1- You’ll need a refrigerant handling license to buy refrigerant to charge the AC.
2- Most homeowners don’t have AC installation equipment.
3-Unless you’re a certified installer, DIY installation will void the warranty.
If you need an indoor coil, cost starts at about $325 and can exceed $1,000.
Getting it Installed Properly
This is a big part of getting a reliable central air conditioner – that the person installing it knows what they’re doing and does it properly.
It makes sense to talk to several installers, get their price estimates to compare and check their reviews on Google, Yelp, Angie’s List – wherever you can find them.
An easy way to start is to use the 3 Free Quotes form on this page. Fill it out, and installers will get in touch to answer questions, provide suggestions for equipment and give you a price quote. Then like we said, check them out before making the decision who to hire.