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    Most Reliable Central Air-Conditioning Systems

    These are the central AC brands most likely to keep you cool, according to thousands of CR members

    Close-up of AC condenser outside of house
    Central air is expensive, and so are the repairs. We’ve surveyed thousands of CR members to pinpoint the most reliable brands.
    Photo: iStock

    Of more than two dozen central air-conditioning brands judged in CR’s latest member survey, only one stands out with excellent scores for both predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. But the data—based on responses from 18,172 members who purchased central AC units between 2007 and 2022—suggest there are many more brands worth considering. There are also some that you should probably pass on if you’re looking to minimize long-term repair and upkeep costs.

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    Because there are so many variables—including your local climate, your home’s size and design, how the system is installed, and construction of the ductwork—Consumer Reports doesn’t test central air-conditioning systems. Instead, we estimate the reliability of major brands on the market by asking our members about their experiences with the AC systems they purchased and had installed.

    Historically, members have expected their central air systems to last a median of 15 years. Our 2022 findings are based on central air-conditioning systems that are in use a median of five months a year.

    “Choosing a brand with higher predicted reliability and better owner satisfaction will boost your chances of getting an air-conditioning system that you can depend on,” says Adam Troy, who leads surveys for Consumer Reports.

    Our latest survey includes reliability and satisfaction data on two brands of ductless mini-split ACs, in addition to 23 brands of conventional central air systems.

    In addition to those findings, CR members let us know which parts broke and what it cost to fix their AC if repairs were needed. We also asked them how likely they are to recommend their system to friends and family, which is how we calculate owner satisfaction ratings.

    Which Central Air-Conditioning Brand Is Most Reliable?

    Using the information provided by our members, we calculated ratings for both predicted reliability and owner satisfaction.

    Become a member to read the full article and get access to digital ratings.

    We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.