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Your Guide to Home Heating and Cooling Systems

10 Best Central Air Conditioners - Complete Buying Guide (2022)

Last Updated on February 7, 2022

Tired of the cost and hassle of using separate air conditioners for different rooms in your home?

Then it’s time to upgrade to a central air conditioner!

In this best central air conditioner review, we’ll be looking at the top choices the market has to offer.

Get a Goodman Central Air Conditioner! It’s our top pick not just for its competitive price, but also its effectiveness, durability, low cost of maintenance, and energy-efficiency.

Before delving deeper into our top choice and the other options that made our list of best central air conditioners, here’s what you need to know about picking the best central cooling unit for your home.






Best Choice

Goodman Central Air Conditioners

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  • All-round solid product

  • Competitive price

  • Comes with lifetime compressor warranties


  • Offer smart cooling technologies

  • Durable

  • Onboard diagnostics system


Amana Central Air Conditioners

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  • High energy-efficiency

  • Sleek and durable design

  • Good customer support


  • Powerful cooling

  • Comes with a 10-year warranty

  • Attractive design


Carrier Central Air Conditioners

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  • Very quiet operation

  • Easy and inexpensive to maintain

  • Competitive prices


  • User-friendly controls

  • Goes no higher than 49 decibels

  • Comes with smart features


American Standard Central Air Conditioners

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  • Powerful cooling for even the hottest summers

  • Good energy-efficiency

  • Very durable and reliable


  • Compact design

  • Low cost of maintenance

  • SEER rating of 22


Lennox Central Air Conditioner

Price on Amazon


  • Very energy-efficient

  • 10-year limited warranty

  • Relatively quiet operation


  • Powerful cooling

  • Durable galvanized steel body

  • SEER rating of 22

10 Best Central Air Conditioner Reviews

1. Goodman Central Air Conditioners – Best Overall



Goodman is our top pick for the best central air conditioner because it has enough features to satisfy anyone. It’s not that noisy, and it offers good cooling, it’s quite energy-efficient, it’s durable and just as important, it’s not overly expensive to buy or install.

Most users have positive things to say about their overall experience with Goodman central air conditioners, especially regarding its user-friendliness, reliability, and cost-efficiency.

It might not be the quietest or most energy-efficient air conditioner, but its overall utility is impressive. Plus, the brand’s customer service is efficient, and each unit comes with a lifetime limited warranty on parts and compressors.

Various Goodman units, especially the GSXC18, offer smart cooling technologies and low running costs to heighten the user experience further.

Installing a Goodman unit properly and scheduling maintenance visits are the most effective ways to get the best results from the unit and avoid complaints like compressor breakdowns, excess noise, and leaky vents. Fortunately, technicians who can install and service this brand aren’t hard to find.

2. Amana Central Air Conditioners



Amana central units are famous for their energy-efficiency and attractive design. They are also renowned for being quite pricey.

The high price tag on some of Amana’s more efficient models is worthwhile when you consider the long-term cost benefits of how much you’ll save on electricity bills. The most efficient model has a SEER rating of 24.5, which is impressive, considering that the overall industry standard is 16 SEER.

To protect your purchase, most of Amana models with a SEER rating under 16 come with a 10-year warranty. Those with a 16 or higher SEER rating come with a lifetime warranty. If pricey components like the compressor or heat exchanger fail while the warranty is valid, the company will replace it.

In summary, considering its energy-efficiency and sleek design, investing in an Amana central unit isn’t a bad idea, as long as you can afford it.

3. Carrier Central Air Conditioners – Most Quiet



Looking for the quietest central air conditioner?

You can’t do better than a Carrier model!

Carrier central air conditioners are popular among homeowners and HVAC experts for their almost noiseless performance. The quietest model from the brand, the 24ANB1 generally goes no higher than 49 decibels, but can work even quieter at 29 decibels – that’s lower than a whisper!

But silence isn’t the only thing that makes Carrier central air conditioners a good choice. They are also quite energy-efficient. The brand’s most efficient model is the Carrier 24VNA0, with a 20.5 SEER rating.

The quieter and more energy-efficient models are a bit pricey, but they are easy and quick to install, and relatively inexpensive to maintain. Many of its models also come with smart features for improved user experience.

If peace and quiet is your priority, then the best central air conditioner to go for is one from Carrier.

4. American Standard Central Air Conditioners



Air conditioners from American Standard set the standard when it comes to quality, durability, and reliability. In addition to being reliable and durable, the cost of maintaining each unit is affordable.  Meaning, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy an American Standard unit for years without issues.

To top it off, products from the brand do well in terms of energy efficiency, with the most efficient model having a SEER rating of 22.

On the downside, units from the brand can be quite loud, with most models generating within the range of 55 to 75 decibels. These figures mean that an American Standard AC may not be right for you if you live in a quiet neighborhood or require the unit for a business setting.

Also, the cost of purchasing and installing an American Standard central air conditioner is quite high. But when you weigh the initial costs against the brand’s low maintenance and repair costs and durability, it doesn’t seem like that bad a tradeoff.

As long as you don’t mind the noisy motors, American Standard central ACs are an excellent choice for robust and reliable cooling and long-term cost-efficiency.

5. Lennox Central Air Conditioner – Most Energy-Efficient



Want the best central air conditioner that consumes the least electricity?

Central ACs from Lennox have the highest SEER rating!

Lennox offers a wide range of Energy Star rated central air conditioners, and its most energy-efficient one, the XC25, has a SEER rating of 26. Even though they are energy-efficient, these air conditioners deliver powerful and consistent cooling.

Lennox can accomplish this thanks to its two-stage air compressors that give the units more precise control over cooling functions.

Aside from effective cooling and low energy consumption, Lennox ACs are also popular among consumers for their low noise levels, friendly warranties (10 years), and good value.

On the downside, there are complaints that Lennox HVAC parts are prone to quick wear and tear, which is an issue because its maintenance can be quite pricey.

6. Trane Central Air Conditioners



Trane offers various energy-efficient and quiet central air conditioners that are durable enough to withstand the elements. These units aren’t cheap to buy, but their maintenance costs are at least low.

The most energy-efficient units have a SEER rating of 22, which is pretty impressive. They also come with a limited 10-year warranty. But most importantly, Trane’s central units are powerful performers in terms of cooling and dehumidifying.

The brand’s durable design, functionality, energy-efficiency, and eco-friendliness are all reasons to consider purchasing one of its ACs – Just as long as you can afford the initial cost of purchase and installation.

7. Bryant Central Air Conditioner – Best Budget Option



If you want a brand new central air conditioner and would like to save money, a Bryant central unit is your best bet.

Bryant offers a wide variety of affordable central ACs that don’t compromise on quality, performance, and functionality. Many of its products are also quite energy-efficient, with its most efficient product having a 21 SEER rating.

When it comes to noise levels, Bryant central air conditioners are neither quiet nor noisy. That is, they make noise, but not enough to constitute a nuisance.

If you are trying to save money and don’t need extremely powerful cooling or dehumidification, Bryant units make a good buy.

8. Daikin Central Air Conditioners



Daikin might be a Japanese brand, but its central air conditioners aren’t economically-priced. Nonetheless, investing in a Daikin HVAC isn’t a bad idea considering that they are durable and offer excellent value for money.

Most of the brand’s central ACs are energy-efficient and deliver reliable cooling. The most energy-efficient models have a 24 SEER rating.

On the downside, there are various customer complaints about poor customer service and overheating in the units. Plus, maintaining the units can be quite costly due to a scarcity of parts.

9. Coleman Central Air Conditioners



Coleman offers durable central air conditioners at attractive prices. If you intend to use your HVAC system for heating, a Coleman central unit may not be the best choice for you due to their slow heating capabilities.

But if you need your HVAC primarily for cooling and dehumidifying, Coleman products are up to the task. They are also energy-efficient, with the most efficient model having a 20 SEER rating.

10. Rheem Central Air Conditioners



Last but not least, on our list of best central ACs is Rheem. Rheem central units are wallet-friendly options, especially if you go for the Rheem Prestige RA20, which is a 2.5-ton unit with a 20 SEER rating that costs less than most of its competitors.

Installing a Rheem AC is mostly quick and easy, and its units aren’t very noisy, so that you can enjoy your cool home in relative silence.

On the downside, there are some complaints of Rheem appliances breaking down during intense use and having a high maintenance cost.

If you don’t intend to use your HVAC intensively and don’t mind the maintenance costs, a Rheem central air conditioner can still be a good fit for your home.

Final Verdict

Goodman Central Air Conditioner

Based on customer reviews and our experience, the best central air conditioner for your money is a Goodman Central Air Conditioner!

It comes at a reasonable price yet offers various useful functions and benefits. Also, its design and performance are reliable and energy-efficient, even when you use it intensely. Most importantly, it’s powerful enough to keep a medium to large home cool, as well as effectively dehumidify.

How to Pick The Perfect Central Air Conditioner For Your Needs?

There are various types of central air conditioners from multiple brands. Picking the best one for your home or commercial use requires knowing the primary cooling features that’ll best satisfy your needs.

To help with this, here are the essential features to look out for to select the best central air conditioner for your needs:


Central air conditioners are big appliances with several components. They typically weigh tons, and a higher tonnage usually means a higher cooling capacity.

For a 600 to 1000 square feet home, you’ll need a 1.5-ton central unit for cooling. 1301 to 1600 square feet will require a 2-ton unit, while 1601-1900 square feet will require 3 tons, and so on.

Be sure to get a unit that’s the right fit for your home. If it’s too small, it won’t provide adequate cooling. And if it’s too large, you’ll be using an appliance that consumes more power than is necessary.

In addition to its cooling capacity, a central air conditioner’s tonnage will also affect its price.

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating)

SEER refers to a central air conditioner’s energy-efficiency rating. The best air conditioners have an efficiency rating that’s between 13 and 20. Highly efficient units, like those from Lennox, have a SEER rating of 26.


The performance category of an air conditioner will help you figure out how effective the appliance will be at satisfying your needs.

Units with Basic Performance are usually single-stage ACs with 13-15 SEER. A lot of them are loud during operation and provide average cooling. They also have the lowest prices.

Better Performance units have two-stage systems and a 16-19 SEER rating. Most are quieter than Basic Performance units and are better at cooling and dehumidifying.

Not all brands make Best Performance units. Those that do create them make them as premium air conditioners with a modulating or variable-speed system. They offer the quietest performance, as well as the best cooling and dehumidifying. They are also the most energy-efficient, with some having up to a 24 SEER rating.


Central air conditioners are not cheap. Depending on the brand and performance, a unit can cost as little as $1,000 or above $3,000.

Instead of going for the cheapest or most expensive option, go for a unit that offers all of the features you need, to the degree you need them, and at a price that you are willing to pay.

Remember that your budget for a central air conditioner also needs to cover the cost of installation.


Do you need a central air conditioner that can cool, heat, and dehumidify? Or, do you need one just for cooling?

Being clear on your purpose for installing a central air conditioner will help you pick one with the features to satisfy your needs best.

Noise Levels

The more powerful a central air conditioner, the louder it usually is during operation. While there are no completely silent central units, there are models that are quieter than others.

If quiet performance is important to you, aim for a unit that generates no more than 48 to 56 decibels. There are even units from the Carrier brand that generate less than 30 decibels.

Thermostat Controls

A user-friendly thermostat is crucial if you intend to get optimal use out of your central unit.

Central air conditioners typically come with control systems. For others, it’s possible to install a thermostat of your choice, if it is compatible with the system. If you would like a smart thermostat or a digital one, verify that the option is available.


Inspecting and servicing a central air conditioner at least once a year is crucial for keeping it running optimally for as long as possible. To reduce the cost of maintenance, go for a unit that is easy to service and requires maintenance less frequently.

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