Air Conditioner and HVAC Brand Comparison Guide

Conroy Baltimore
Written by Conroy Baltimore
Updated June 3, 2022
Woman relaxing on white couch in living room
Photo: fizkes / Shutterstock

Warranties and SEER ratings are the two most important details when comparing AC and HVAC systems and brands

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Wondering where to start withbuying central air conditioning? When comparing HVAC brands, you’ll want to look at energy efficiency, warranties, and price to decide what’s best for your home. From Carrier® and American Standard® to Maytag® and Heil®, here’s a look at some of the most popular air conditioning and heating brands and their features. 

How to Choose the Best Air Conditioner and HVAC Brand

There’s nothing like returning to a cool home on a hot summer day (or a warm home on a chilly winter day). When choosing your HVAC unit, you’ll want to take a few different factors into account aside from cost. 

Here’s a look at what to consider when choosing the right HVAC brand for you:

  • Type of HVAC system: Decide if your budget and home configuration need a split or packaged system. While split systems are more expensive, they require less maintenance and care because your entire unit won't be outside.

  • Efficiency: Each HVAC unit has a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) number attached to it. Modern residential units from popular HVAC brands tend to have ratings between 13 and 21. A higher SEER number means higher efficiency.

  • Your local climate: High-efficiency, mid-range, and minimum-efficiency units perform differently in warmer, cooler, and moderate climates based on runtime.

  • Square footage: It's important to get an HVAC system that can heat and cool your entire home, as well as provide better air quality.

  • Warranties: While most brands offer warranties, there is variety between "unit" warranties and "parts" warranties between brands. Read warranties carefully to ensure that common air conditioning problems are covered.

From people to pets, a comfortable home is a happy home. When you’re doing your HVAC comparison, you’ll have many brands to consider. Here’s an overview of five popular HVAC brands that can heat and cool your home. 

1. Carrier®

Around since 1902, Carrier® offers HVAC products for all budgets and efficiency needs with plenty of smart features. When making your top HVAC brands list, you’ll want to consider pros and cons like the ones below:

Pros:

  • Price range that averages $3,000–$15,000 for most air conditioning installations

  • Choose between Infinity (Premium), Performance (Enhanced), and Comfort (Standard) model tiers with most units having SEER ratings between 17 and 26

  • Comfort features like two- and variable-speed cooling settings

  • Humidity-control features

  • Noise reduction in models that include the Silencer System II

  • Carrier's warranties on most units include blower motor, capacitor, coil, circuit board, compressor, fan, fan motor, drain pan, control board, gas valve, inducer motor, igniter, heat exchanger, blower wheel, TXZ valve, transformer, motor module, inverter, and contactor

  • Carrier® AC models use environmentally friendly Puron R-410A refrigerant

Cons:

  • Most Carrier® warranties last five years. Some Infinity and Performance models have 10-year warranties.

  • Hard to browse based on prices without speaking to a representative

2. American Standard®

A popular brand in plumbing, heating, and cooling since 1967, American Standard's current lineup includes seven central air conditioners with SEER ratings between 14.75 and 22

Pros:

  • Unit and installation cost range from $2,400 to $4,500

  • Offers Basic, Better, and Best tiers for energy management

  • American Standard® makes its own proprietary compressor

  • Most models have either 10-year or 12-year compressor warranties with additional parts and coil warranties lasting 10 years

  • Humidity management

Cons:

  • Getting a model with higher efficiency via two gears instead of one puts you in American Standard's highest price category

  • Slightly louder on average than other AC brands

3. Goodman®

Specializing in indoor comfort systems, Goodman® is a popular HVAC brand. When you’re comparing HVAC brands, you’ll want to take the following pros and cons into account for Goodman®. 

Pros:

  • Low HVAC unit cost, from $1,500 to $4,000, not including installation

  • Uses Copeland® compressors that won the 2021 AHR Expo Innovation Awards

  • Uses an aluminum coil that reduces corrosion and leaks

  • Many models have a lifetime compressor warranty with a 10-year unit replacement warranty. If your compressor fails within the first 10 years, you'll get the entire condensing unit replaced for free.

  • Goodman’s remote Bluetooth-enabled CoolCloud app lets you diagnose issues from your phone

  • Allows you to purchase units online

  • Standard noise levels

Cons:

  • No factory-authorized installer designation. It will be up to you to find a pro in your area who can set up your new system.

  • SEER ratings between 14-19

4. Maytag®

Best known for producing household appliances for the kitchen and laundry room for decades, Maytag® is also a major brand in heating and cooling.

Pros:

  • SEER ratings go as high as 20

  • Cost ranges from $2,400 to $5,600

  • Long warranties for parts. M1200 Series units have 12-year limited parts warranties with added 12-year dependability promise. M120 Series units have 12-year limited parts warranties with 1-year dependability promise. 

  • With registration, there's a limited lifetime warranty on heat exchangers.

  • iQ Drive® air system that features a Samsung rotary compressor that boosts efficiency due to more precise cooling without temp fluctuations

  • Most Maytag® models use aluminum coils that are more resistant to corrosion than steel

  • Micro-channel fin design creates a faster heat transfer for faster cooling

Cons:

  • Limited selection compared to other brands.

5. Heil®

Since 1962, Heil has made quality products with hassle-free warranties. If Heil® is on your list of HVAC systems to compare, you’ll want to consider the following:

Pros:

  • Offers a Premium (ION) and Performance (Budget) series based on your budget

  • Cost ranges from $3,500 to $4,500

  • Offers an Ion™ System lineup featuring some of the quietest air conditioners

  • Most units have a 10-year parts limited warranty

  • Powder-coated galvanized steel cabinet adds to compressor durability

  • Copper tubing with aluminum fin coils boosts energy efficiency

Cons:

  • SEER ratings max out at 17

  • Premium models get expensive

How to Pick an HVAC Contractor 

Once you’ve compared air conditioning and heating features and brands, you’ll want to pick a local HVAC contractor to complete the installation. 

So, how do you pick the right contractor? 

  1. Read reviews. See what other homeowners are saying about the contractor and company by reading reviews.

  2. Check licensing. Most states have a contractor license portal. 

  3. Check certifications. It’s a good sign if the contractor is a member of North American Technician Excellence or ACCA-The Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency Association. These organizations have stringent test standards and require continuing education.

  4. Ask around. Who did your neighbors or friends use? Did they meet their expectations? Was their pricing fair?

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