Air conditioners are super handy – when the weather is hot, it cools you; when it’s cold, the AC warms you up. However, they do take a lot of energy. So, installing arrays of window AC units in a big building will cost a whole lot, on purchase and electricity bill thereafter. So, what can we do? Well, you don’t have to such it up. If you do have a big building, central air conditioners will be more cost-effective, both in purchase cost and energy consumption. But what model should we buy? Look no more – there are ten most efficient central air conditioners just below!
10 Most Efficient Central AC Units
#1. Amana AVXC20 & Daikin DX20VC
Speaking of features, Amana AVXC20 and Daiking DX20VC are shoulder to shoulder. They both use the split system, has high efficiency, and approved by Energy Star. Both models also has its own technology to monitor the comfortable temperature throughout the building. In Amana’s, this tech is called ComfortBridge, while it is called ComfortNet™ in Daikin’s. Moreover, you can control the speed swing and scroll compressors to your own comfort.
Plus, both models operate quietly. Usually, AC units would create prominent background noises, right? Well, unless you sit just beside these central AC models turned on, you will not realize them running at all. The fan noise is especially unnoticeable if you are inside of the building. Before you knew it, the building will have a comfortable, consistent temperature.
Not only that, both of these models have automatic diagnostics. So, if the system has trouble spots, they can automatically inform you. Both the condenser fan motor and speed compressor are also designed to be highly efficient. After all, their SEER performance is one of the best. Daikin DX20VC has up to 23. Meanwhile, Amana AVXC20 reaches up to 24,5. So, while these models are expensive, they are super friendly to your electricity bills.
#2. Lennox Signature Series XC25
Looking for a super central AC? Well, look no more – Lennox Signature Series XC25 is the one for you. This central AC model is definitely the best you can get in 2019. In fact, it scores 26 SEER and recognized as the most efficient Energy Star certified products in 2019! This title is not without benefit – since this unit is energy efficient, you will find less on your electricity bill as well. In fact, Lennox claimed that XC25 will save hundreds of dollars of utility bills every year.
Ok, but what makes this model so energy efficient? Well, it’s all thanks to SunSource® Home Energy System. To put it simply, Lennox put a solar panel on top of the model. So, XC25 can use electricity from both your usual energy supplier and harness some from the sun by itself. With this system, Lennox calculated that you should save up to half of your utility bills, depending on how much sunlight you are getting every day.
That solar system is mind-blowing already, but there are more features Lennox XC25 hides. For one, it operates so quietly that nobody will notice it is running at all. On the other hand, the temperature output is so efficient – you can even set it to 1% more and less, all for your comfort.
#3. Carrier Infinity 21 24ANB1 & Bryant Evolution180B
Both at 21 SEER, Carrier Infinity 21 24ANB1 and Bryant Evolution180B offered similar features at similar prices. Both are operating quietly – Carrier claiming to be as noisy as 65 dB, while Bryant at 66. If we are comparing these noise level to another device, it should be as quiet as a vacuum cleaner – definitely unnoticeable if the AC is placed outside of the building.
Both models also have two stages scroll compressors. This feature is special, as it enhances your ability to control the climate within the building. Plus, the air cycle will be more consistent even on the lower stage, making it effective on energy-spending without sacrificing comfort.
Yes, both Carrier Infinity 21 24ANB1 and Bryant Evolution180B are quite similar in features. However, that doesn’t mean that these devices are practically the same AC model. They also have features that distinguish one from another. Carrier’s, for one, has an installed touchscreen thermostat and Galvanized steel to protect the unit from harsh weather. Meanwhile, Bryant’s has a remote that can be connected to the unit via Wi-Fi, so you can control the temperature anywhere in the building with a few taps. Should you want a durable or easy to control unit, you can pick either of these models.
#4. Lennox Signature Series XC21
Are you looking for something as amazing as Lennox XC25, but at a cheaper price? Then Lennox Signature Series XC21 is definitely the one. After all, this model has the vital features that the XC25 model have. Of course, there are little sacrifices, but Lennox ensured that your utility bill will not be bothered much.
Ok, so, what stays from XC25 in XC21? For one, the solar panel does. That means, you can save energy by getting help from sunlight, which is free! This feature is enough to reduce your electricity bill up to half. Besides, this model also got nominated as one of the most energy-efficient products this 2019 by Energy Star, alongside XC25. So, expect that it will be cheaper to keep the AC on rather than turning it off every time you walk out the building.
Yes, it is energy-effective. However, it’s undeniable that this model is less efficient compared to the XC25. It only got 21 SEER performance, which is not drastically drained, but good to know to understand how good it can work. Plus, the heating is not as accurate as XC25, but at least it does handle the humidity so well that the temperature in any part of the building will be constant.
#5. Carrier Infinity 20 24VNA0 & Bryant Evolution 180C
Coming from the same parent brand, UTC, it’s no wonder that Carrier and Bryant have similar models with similar price points. Interestingly, when you found Bryant in a store, you will not be able to meet Carrier there and vice versa. So, you can get either of the two and get similar qualities just fine.
Now let’s see what’s similar between these models. First of all, both models do have 20,5 SEER performance. Different from Carrier’s and Bryant’s models in the prior point, these models work even quieter at 58 dB. The warranties are exactly set on the same years as well – parts have ten years warranty, while labor have only three. They both has optimal dehumidification systems, temperature control, and non-ozone depleting Puron® refrigerant.
However, of course, there are several features that differentiate the models. As usual, Carrier’s is armored by WeatherArmor™ Ultra protection made from galvanized steel. The filter dryer system also designed to be immune to moisture and contaminants, perfect for those with allergies. Meanwhile, Bryant is cost-effective in utility bills, especially if used with lower speed cycles. This comes hand in hand with optimal temperature management. Instead of galvanized steel, the body is coated with baked-on paint to protect against the weather.
#6. York YXV, Coleman AC21B
York YXV and Coleman AC21B may have the same SEER performance (which is at 20), but the features differ greatly. York YXV is quite modest with three features only. The first one is the design itself, which optimize airflow and adjusts capacity for the maximum comfort and minimum energy. In fact, Energy Star pronounced this model to be able to cut utility cost by 50%, just like the previous Lennox models. Plus, the QuietDrive™ system made this machine as quiet as 54 dB, about the same as a regular dishwasher. Lastly, there’s warranty – a year for labor and ten for parts.
Meanwhile, Coleman AC21B is more decorated with features. There are several more highlights mentioned, such as powder-painted steel to increase the unit’s durability, highly efficient scroll compressor that is isolated to reduce noise, and polymer mesh and stamped metal coil guard that heightened the protection. That being said, Coleman AC21B also aim for quieter performance just like York YXV. The dB it can attain is about the same as York’s, but the approach is different. To attempt quieter machine, Coleman AC21B include new fan guard design, a composite base pan, and isolated compressor instead. In other words, both models are constructed differently, but you can get the same benefits from either.
#7. Armstrong Air & AirEase SCU/BCE Series
Is XC21 still too expensive for your budget? Well, worry not, because Lennox has even lower price with the same standard of quality in Armstrong Air & AirEase SCU/BCE Series. Now, you might have realized that Lennox is dominating the central AC market. And indeed, it’s true. Lennox itself is intended to be a high-end, high-performance brand. Since it’s obviously not affordable for people with a tighter budget, Armstrong Air & AirEase is made.
For a much lower price, Armstrong Air & AirEase SCU/BCE Series is equipped with similar features are regular Lennox’ AC. So, if you had read the reviews for Lennox XC21 and XC25, then you can compare the two to this model just easily. After all, with such similar features, Armstrong is undistinguishable to the Lennox models. The fancy features may be reduced or omitted altogether, but at least it’s still a bargain.
Not only the features, but the warranty is also about the same, too. However, instead of the labor and parts combo, this model only comes with the usual ten year parts warranty. This warranty is also paid in front, to keep in mind. Well, warranty aside, it’s still pretty much Lennox AC unit made cheaper, but not worse.
#8. Rheem Prestige RA20 & Ruud UA20
Look, other similar products from brother brands! Both Rheem Prestige RA20 and Ruud UA20 are, as their serial numbers implied, has 20 SEER performance. Overall, it has similar features – quiet, energy-effective machines. Below, you will see that the features are lined up just about the same. In fact, they used the same systems for most of their features.
Ruud is popular with its EcoNet™ and PlusOne™ system, and it didn’t leave in this model either. To list off those features, Econet™ ensured optimal energy savings, while PlusOne™ concerns more of the air cycle system’s efficiency. And, as you can expect from a brother brand, Rheem has these Econet™ and PlusOne™ features as well. Speaking of the quiet machine, it’s all thanks to dampening composite base pan and better fan guard design – the similar approach with Coleman AC21B. Lastly, both also have diagnostic service windows.
Now, speaking of the build, they are both designed sturdy and durable (just like every central AC models, surprise!) Both has curved louver panels, intended to enhance the cabinet’s protection. The outside coating also used powder coat paint system for better durability. Supposedly, the design is made to look modern, professional, and aesthetic. Practically, they are the same models.
#9. Maytag M1200 PSA1BG & Broan NuTone FSA1BG
Are you still there? Well, if you are, we got some more identical products made from brother brands. Maytag, Broan, and NuTone are the brothers. However, Maytag has better distribution – so you are likely to find the Maytag model compared to the other two. Well, whichever brand you find, they will have the same features and prices anyhow.
Like all 20 SEER AC models, they are better in durability rather than performance. Of course, it’s still energy-effective, but not as much of a wonder as other models with higher SEER performance. Fun fact, this energy-saving system is called iQ Drive and it is marketed to be highly efficient. Sadly, as we’ve seen in this list, this model has better competitors. Therefore, expect that it won’t be as forgiving as better SEER models, though the unit prize itself is definitely cheaper. At the very least, it is Energy-Star-efficient.
Besides energy-saver, there are also other standard features such as low noise (it claim to be as loud as 57 dB) and coil durability. The Micro-channel coil, for your information, is made purely with aluminum, made to be highly resistant to corrosion. Oh, and Maytag has its own system for regulating consistent temperature, which is called ecoLogic®. Overall, this model is a solid choice, especially for those who are fine with standard features.
#10. Lennox Elite XC20
Wow, another Lennox model! You read that right, we have another Lennox model on our list. This model, however, belongs to a different series. But, as usual, expect the features are about the same as fellow Lennox model mentioned above. Yes, you will find the solar panel system on top of the unit. That means, you get half-off the utility bill as the sun supply the rest for you. That also means this model is much more energy-saving compared to other 20 SEER AC models.
However, with 20 SEER performance, this model has more downsized features compared to XC21. Besides the solar panel, only has the basics, such as multiple stages of cooling and heating, quiet performance (65 dB), refrigerant, and on-board diagnostics. Yes, this machine is as quiet as most of the AC models on this list. In case you are wondering what refrigerant and diagnostic system are used, this model specifically uses R-410A refrigerant and iComfort® on-board diagnostics.
As per usual, the outer design is standard as you can find in the other Lennox models. However, the warranty given is different than the other two. Instead of three years for labor and ten for parts, this model has ten years for compressor only and five for the parts. Note that both are limited to take into consideration.
Pros and Cons of the Most Efficient Central AC
There’s no doubt that central ACs are cost-and-energy-effective, especially on big buildings. That, in itself, is one of the pros of central AC system. However, some factors may end up being a pro, con, or anything in between. Here they are:
Central ACs heat every single room evenly, which is why it is effective for big buildings such as offices. If the rooms of your building will be filled with people on exact times, then this factor is definitely a pro. However, if that’s not the case, then it’s but a waste of electricity.
However, you can install a programmable thermostat for each room. This costs more, but at least not there’s the liberty to set the temperature as the person in the room prefers – perfect for apartments.
The unit itself is expensive. However, it became an investment since it effectively heats up the whole building. However, if your building is small and not every room is occupied most of the time, central ACs will indeed be costly.
It filters the air, providing clean air every single time. Therefore, it’s ideal for people with allergies and asthma. This is definitely a pro.
On the contrary, central ACs gather dust, molds, and mildews over time. This can cause allergies issues, which is a con. So, if you want the clean air, it’s better to clean the units regularly, at least by the end of every season.
The installation and repair takes time and expensive. Depending on the size of the building and the layout of the floors, the installation can take days to
weeks to finish. Not to mention, if one of the units broke, the repair cost would be as expensive as buying a whole new window AC unit. It takes a commitment to use and maintain central ACs.
Central ACs do cost more compared to window ACs, be it for the units’ costs themselves, installation, and maintenance. That goes the same for energy bills. However, if the building installed is big, that big price tag will worth it. After all, central ACs do provide consistent temperature and clean air throughout the whole building – something that window ACs can’t just beat. The new units are also much more energy-efficient compared to central ACs from five to ten years ago, so the electric bills will not skyrocket as much if you do use those new models. If the consistent temperature bothers you, there are programmable thermostat available that can be installed in different rooms.
It takes commitment to bear the costs for central ACs, but the features just make these AC units worth it. All in all, central ACs are a versatile solution for different types of big buildings, be it offices, schools, apartments, or communal dwellings.