Top 10 Best Central Air Conditioners in 2021: Costs by AC Unit

Central AC Unit Costs

There are plenty of cheap central air conditioners, but there is more to value than low price.

On the other end of the spectrum are high-priced, high-performance ACs with variable capacity cooling and communication technology. They’re not what anyone would call a value choice either.

The sweet spot in the middle is where quality and reasonable cost meet to provide good value for the money. You’ve got a good selection of central air conditioners that are considered an excellent value.

Climate must be considered, too, because a value air conditioner in Jackson, Mississippi is not the same as a value AC in Jackson, Minnesota. We’ll explain why.

via Hamilton Home Comfort

Covering all climates, below are the top 10 Central AC options:

1. Day & Night Performance 17 N4A7
2. Rheem Classic Series RA17
3. York LX YCG
4. Goodman GSXC18
5. Day & Night Performance 16 N4A6
6. Rheem Classic Series RA16
7. Goodman GSXC16
8. Rheem Classic Series RA14
9. Day & Night Performance 14 N4A5
10. Goodman GSX14

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Top 10 Best-Value Furnaces in 2021: Costs by Model Installed

A great value gas furnace must be above average in quality and reliability, while also being priced competitively to make our list.

Low-quality, cheap gas furnaces don’t offer the best value because they don’t last long enough to justify the installation expense in the first place. Low quality furnaces are also more prone to breaking down in the middle of a nasty stretch of cold weather.

Value = good quality + reasonable cost

Your climate suitability for a particular model and the quality of the installation job also play an important role in the overall value you get.

Top 10 Gas Furnaces that Deliver the Best Value for the Money

  1. Day & Night G96VTN QuietComfort 96
  2. Trane S9X1
  3. Goodman GMVC96
  4. Payne 95 PG95ESA
  5. Armstrong Air A951E
  6. Goodman GMSS92
  7. Carrier Comfort 92 59SC2
  8. Day & Night N80ESN Performance 80
  9. Rheem Classic Series R801C/R801S
  10. Trane S8X1

That’s our list – and each model is reviewed below including cost, efficiency, performance, warranty and why it makes our list.

Before those reviews, we cover information about what makes for a good value gas furnace, installation costs, the cost of ductwork, if you need it, and other relevant information.

If you’d rather jump to the furnaces, select the Day & Night furnace that heads the list, and you’ll be taken directly to the reviews.

Gas Furnace Installation Cost – Warrantied Professional Installation/Labor

The professional installation part of your bill will be about $2,600 on average, if your installation is of average difficulty.

The range is from about $1,500 for a very simple installation (not including the furnace) in new construction (not including the cost of ductwork) to about $4,000 (not including the furnace) for more involved jobs where the gas line needs replacing and/or other variables come into play, requiring more materials and warrantied professional labor. A high-end, touchscreen, WiFi thermostat can also boost the cost of the overall job with a price tag of $500 or more.

Here’s a gas furnace installation cost breakdown showing where your money typically goes:

Gas Furnace Installation Cost Only (Not including the cost of the unit being installed)

The plenum connects the furnace to the hot air ducts. The return connects the furnace to the cold air return ducts.

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2021 Central Heating and Cooling Installation Prices for Homes

The cost of a new heating and air conditioning system varies widely. This guide covers all the details including Low, High, and Average costs, plus the important details about installation and accessories.

Most homeowners spend between $6,500 and $9,700 for a standard central HVAC system that includes either a central air conditioner and furnace combination or a heat pump and air handler, not including the installation of new ductwork.

For an installed central heating and cooling system, you can expect to pay about $4,200 on the low end and more than $14,500 for premium equipment and installation.

Let’s dig into the numbers. The first table covers complete systems. Tables below provide more cost detail and comparison to other heating and air conditioning options.

Standard Split HVAC System Costs:

Low end Average High end
$4,200 to $6,300 $6,500 to $9,700 $10,300 to $14,900

* The above costs include system components, refrigerant line set and refrigerant, plenum, if needed, new thermostat and miscellaneous installation supplies.

* The cost of equipment, liability insurance, worker’s compensation insurance and travel, contractor’s overhead expenses, plus fair profit are included.

Central heating and cooling cost table

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