Wonder Which Air Conditioner Brands To Avoid? 1 Big Mistake People Make

Air Conditioning

Every homeowner wants the best comfort for their family so that often gets us thinking about buying the best brand of air conditioner. But many have been misled by supposedly “helpful” sources and so-called reliable experts, leaving them feeling disappointed a few years down the road of a purchase.

So how do you find the air conditioner brands to avoid while also finding the best AC that fits you and your home’s needs?

DP air conditioner brands to avoid

Looking For Which Air Conditioner Brands To Avoid? You’re Doing It Wrong

I’ve installed and repaired every brand of air conditioner in my 40 year career. From that experience I can bust a common myth…there are NO air conditioner brands to avoid AND there is NO SUCH THING as the best air conditioner brand.

Don’t get tricked with all the marketing. When it’s hot and you’re in need of a new air conditioning system, don’t focus too much on the brand. That’s the number 1 mistake I see people make.

Your main decision is to choose the right contractor. NOTHING is more important on the installation of a new air conditioner.

A good contractor will calculate the cooling needs of your home and take the time to install a quality (insert any brand name here) AC system that will last many years.

The Truth Behind Air Conditioner Brands

Many brands are made by the same parent companies of AC manufacturers, with only the logo and the coat of paint as differences. The components of these brands are identical and so is its quality. Even the price points of these brands are not so far apart. 

You might be thinking, “Why shouldn’t I use marketing features, ratings on efficiency and sound, or consumers’ feedback? Are the warranties provided by AC brands not worth looking into?”

I understand your apprehension. I’ll answer these questions one by one so you can have more confidence about any AC brand.

Let me be clear, this post is not going to be a long list of top AC brands, as they do not really exist. Instead, I aim to provide you useful information on which criteria matters the most and would benefit your home in the long run.  

Parent Companies and AC Brands

If you are on a hunt for a better performing air conditioner than your last one, it could be quite tempting to go for an equally popular brand your friend or neighbor has. But you might be wasting a lot of time since competing brands in the market right now could simply be manufactured by the same parent companies.

This is called the multi-branding strategy, where two or more rival but identical products are created and marketed by a single manufacturer.

Now, why would large multinational companies produce multiple brands of the same product? The answer to this could be a long explanation from a business course textbook, but ultimately it is all about the overall market share.

A manufacturer’s goal is to increase its visibility as a company by adding brands that will occupy more shelf space. The more brand names they release, the lesser opportunity left for the competition to make their way in. 

Another benefit of the multi-branding strategy is that a company can cater to different market segments. These segments each have different purchasing capacities and distinct preferences for a product.

There is also a kind of consumer that frequently switches in between brands, maybe just to try a different experience and hope to find a superior brand among those in the market. On the other hand, some are influenced by price or an on-going promotion or discount when they convert to another brand. With ease, the multi-branding strategy can target these types of consumers as well.

As full disclosure, let’s see which parent companies make the most popular brands of AC in the market right now: 

  • Goodman Global is the creator of Goodman, Daikin, Amana, and Franklin.
  • Ingersoll Rand manufactured the American Standard and Trane.
  • United Technologies Corporation is the maker of Carrier, Bryant, Heil, Keepright, Tempstar, Day & Night, Payne, Arcoaire, and Comfortmaker.
  • Rheem Manufacturing produced Rheem, Ruud, and Weatherking.
  • Nortek Global is the manufacturer of Maytag, Westinghouse and Frigidaire.
  • Johnson Controls produces York, Luxaire, and Coleman.
  • Lennox is the manufacturer of Lennox, Concord, Armstrong Air, Ducane and Aire-flo.

So you as an innocent buyer may have spent a lot of time looking at different AC units, where in fact you could just be looking at the exact same things but only different in appearance. You may also be pining for a new AC brand popularized in a TV commercial when in fact you already have something similar already installed in your home.

Myth Busting Air Conditioner Brands

Instead of being swayed by the tricky advertisements and ratings, here are the top three myths you have to know about when picking the best AC for your home.

Myth #1: Consumer ratings and customer complaints are based on the actual experiences of the users. The higher the overall consumer rating is, the better performing an AC will be.

Myth #2:  The best AC brand promises the best warranty and can cover all future repair expenses.

Myth #3: Finding the perfect brand of air conditioner is more important than choosing your contractor.

Myth #1

Myth #1: Consumer ratings and customer complaints are based on the actual experiences of the users. The higher the overall consumer rating is, the better performing an AC will be.

Fact: Consumer ratings and complaints are unreliable because they seldom compare models. They do not also factor in the work of the contractor or the faults of the duct system. It is rarely a brand issue.

Ratings from actual consumers may come in the form of lengthy testimonials or as basic as yellow-colored stars like in Amazon.com. Customers rate their experience typically based on noise level, energy efficiency, easy to use, easy to install and many others.

The article entitled “Why You Shouldn’t Trust All Amazon Reviews?”, posted by Fortune magazine, gave us a little bit of insight up to the extent we should believe these consumer ratings. It hinted that some people who gave their reviews are compensated in some form or another. 

You might think then that you should just read only the customer reviews with the “Verified Purchases” stamp on it. Wrong. You can find plenty of generic statements, copied and pasted and made by the same person who has multiple accounts.

Even if the ratings and testimonials given are genuine, customers do not usually make a comparison between AC models. This makes their reviews unbalanced and hasty since their “experience” is exclusively concentrated on one brand only. One cannot say he has the best if that is the only one he ever had in his life. 

Negative comments or reviews are also regularly monitored by site owners who pay someone to delete them. This means that you may not get the full picture of a customer’s experience just by reading the ratings and complaints.

Some good brands, however, are unfairly rated by some disgruntled consumers who ranted on and on about how badly they were cheated. Other crucial factors such as the contractor’s workmanship and poorly assembled duct system were not even included in the considerations.

Myth #2

Myth #2:  The best AC brand promises the best warranty and can cover all future repair expenses.

Fact: Warranties are almost identical across all AC brands. Manufacturers do not cover for repairs caused by poor contractor’s work, which is often the problem.

“Peace of mind” is what most AC brands publicly advertise when it comes to their warranty. It is supposed to give you the peace of mind to purchase a considerably pricy unit, with a safety net that the unit itself or its parts can be replaced or fixed.

Several warranties do look-alike and are pretty standard, but there are some which became more sought after, such as “10-year unit replacement limited warranty**” or “lifetime compressor limited warranty**”.

However, before you achieve this supposed peace of mind, you are expected to do several things: 1) Register the unit you bought within 60 days upon installation; 2) Have it professionally installed by a certified HVAC technician; 3) Have it maintained yearly. If any of these are breached, you will be downgraded to a 5-year warranty or all warranties can be voided.

The worst issue, and yet probably the most common, happens when your AC breaks down because of the installing contractor’s blunder. Manufacturers will step up to replace or repair faulty parts but typically decline to cover the costs of a poorly installed air conditioner.

Myth #3

Myth #3: Finding the perfect brand of air conditioner is more important than choosing your contractor.

Fact: Picking the contractor that would do a good job of installation and maintenance is the biggest factor of all.

The contractor you go for is not just every bit as important as your chosen unit, it means EVERYTHING.

You will never run out of HVAC contractors to pick from either the ones from your neighborhood or on the web. But the abundant options make it all the more difficult to decide.

There are two types of contractors you should watch out for 1) Ones that will do a horrible job, and 2) Ones that will do a good job but install equipment to get more repairs and replacements.

The second type is what you should be careful with as they will give an initial impression that you are in safe hands. But if you notice that after their visit, you keep encountering these problems you never had before, and you keep going back to your contractor for repairs, it is a sign that you are being tricked.

Do not also be carried away by contractors who claimed to be “Approved” on manufacturers’ websites. As we have seen above, these companies will not let go of a chance to earn more. So these so-called “Preferred” contractors have paid their way in to be short-listed.

What you want is an HVAC contractor that will simply do a good job, and you might see them only during scheduled checkups and maintenance. Someone who is straightforward and does not look out to earn more for themselves but looks out for what is best for your unit and ultimately your home. 

Your search for a good contractor may not be easy. But it is doable and they are a handful of them out there.

Out of all the product features of the “best” air conditioner brands presented to you, there are honestly just three basic things you should look out for: Efficiency, reliability, and ease of use. These may sound simple and subjective, but making your decisions based on these three criteria will help you choose the brand that best fits your home needs.

Many believed that the pricier the unit, the more efficient and reliable an AC will be. Although it might be true, there are some downsides if you chase that high-efficiency mark. 

Return on Investment (ROI) is a good tool in gauging whether you gained money or lost some when you buy a piece of equipment. A home remodeling resource says the most that you can recover from a central air conditioning system is only 50% of its original value. This is low compared to other installations in your house.

Additionally, the higher the efficiency of an AC is, the more complicated its interior will be. This increases the likelihood for it to break down, not last as long as a regular AC unit and make it more expensive to repair.

After all, a simple, uncomplicated AC, which does not break down on you when you need it the most, is all you need to meet your cooling needs.

3 thoughts on “Wonder Which Air Conditioner Brands To Avoid? 1 Big Mistake People Make”

    • I don’t recommend buying an air conditioner online. I’ve seen people get burned by buying their own equipment. You either end up paying more in the long run or getting ripped off from the start. Plus, you lose out on a warranty if you don’t purchase it through a good contractor.


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