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Which brand of central air conditioner should I buy?

Not sure which brand to buy for your new air conditioning installation? The truth is, all the manufacturers do a good job making equipment. It is at the contractor level where you will find a vast difference in quality. This isn't to say there is no differentiation between brands but contractor selection will have the biggest impact on how any manufacturer's equipment will perform. Knowing this will help you get the best deal possible. Below is a couple "little known facts" about air conditioner brands and the industry.

1. Contractors regularly switch preferred brands. 

2. Contractors pick favorites based on many factors not just quality which include: marketing/co-op funds through the distributor, wholesale distributors, training offered, which competition also has access to the brands, relationship with salesmen and many others...

3. The "good ole boy" network is alive and well i.e. manufacturers and distributors may treat some contractors different than others.

There all benefit the homeowner and it is important to select the brand your chosen contractor likes the best and here is why....

1. When you select your contractor's brand, he goes on the hook and will feel obligated to remedy unlikely situations he may not even be responsible for.

2. Homeowners assume great liability when they purchase an HVAC system. In the event of a lemon or unreasonable failures, a contractor could easily say, "we suggested x brand but you insisted on y." It isn't that they don't want to help but they likely can't because of number 3.

3. Distributors know that manufacturing is usually not to blame so a contractor or homeowner has an uphill battle proving their case. It is often time consuming and frustrating. This process can be sped up because of a superior relationship the contractor has with the distributor that represents the brand he is selling. A distributor will be more likely to honor a warranty outside of factory guidelines for a key account of theirs than a contractor that buys very little from them.

In summary, when you go with the contractor's selection, you relieve yourself of all the "hidden risk" that exists. The contractor is selecting a brand for a good reason. He doesn't want to put in something that is going to bring him problems. He wants to put in something he is most comfortable with, equipment he has been trained on the most. He is pitching the equipment with the best value and the contractor is always right on this, because to them, it is the best value, always. If you insist on selecting brand, it is best to conduct your research directly from the sources and go with your gut. Third party research will always be diluted because of an almost limitless number of variables. Below are the links to the 5 major manufacturers in the United States.

GOODMAN                                      CARRIER                                            TRANE                                                    LENNOX                                                   RHEEM