Air conditioning may be mankind’s greatest invention…though I live somewhere where it gets upwards of 90 degrees 90% humidity, so maybe I’m a bit biased.
Still, I think most agree with me it’s pretty great (or 75% of Americans wouldn’t be using one).
The problem is finding a clear, succinct guide for what to look for in one if you ever need to buy a new one.
I aim to fix that today, with five suggestions for Goodman brand air conditioners, and a quick breakdown of the things I look for when I’m looking to purchase. If you’re in a rush though, just have my top pick:
In A Hurry?
MY TOP PICK: GOODMAN 4 TON 18 SEER AIR CONDITIONER DSXC180481
What Do I look For In My AC Unit?
There are a pretty small number of major things to keep in mind when purchasing an air conditioning unit. The main ones you want to look out for are the pricing, energy efficiency, and tonnage.
Like any appliance, energy efficiency is a concern, and for large scale devices like your air conditioner this goes double; the energy consumption of your AC can be a big contributor to your electric bill every month.
These units usually measure this energy efficiency using the term “SEER”, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. It’s generally measured at 85 degrees, and is a rough estimate of what the IDEAL energy efficiency is for your unit; in reality it may be lower if the temperature is hotter, more humid, or any number of factors (like how well your duct work was done).
While SEER isn’t the be all, end all, it’s an important factor to keep in mind, and while higher SEER ratings may not be as cost effective as they seem in some cases (many never pay for the increased cost in energy savings), they also tend to just cool better since they’ll stay on longer, cool better, and put less strain on the machine doing it.
Rather than referring to the weight of the device, this refers to how much air it can cool. On average each ton of your unit can cool 12, 000 BTU/h (British thermal units per hour/ the standard unit for any kind of heating device), or for a more useful ballpark estimate: roughly 600 square feet per ton.
Don’t ever over spend on your tonnage; it actually makes the machine perform worse since it will stop and start often, drawing more power, cooling less, and putting strain on the AC. Only buy what you need for your space.
Pricing is dependent on tonnage. Look to spend between $1000 and $300 on average for unitsthat can service most homes.
1. Goodman 4 Ton 18 SEER DSXC180481
Starting us off is what I think is the best bang for your buck.
A 4-ton unit is good for around 2400 square feet — a good sized home – and this is the most energy efficient unit Goodman offers on Amazon.
It will cost you a bit over $2500, but with that you get a two stage compressor (better air pressure for better cooling than a single stage compressor) and a high density foam sound blanket, making this a relatively quiet running AC unit (one of the BIG features beside the main two to look for).
Rounding things out is a solid 10-year (price limited) warranty with one important caveat: it only applies if you hire a qualified installer and register online.
This is the perfect blend of pricing and performance for most of the US. The 4-ton capacity is in the sweet spot for tonnage (the average home size is around 2600 square feet these days in the US) and it doesn’t cost significantly more than a lot of air conditioning units on the market today (and about half as much as some I left off this list).
2. Goodman 1.5Ton 15.5 Seer Air Conditioner System
This is a great product.
While 1.5 tons may sound small, that’s still a good 900 square feet of coverage, give or take. I’ve lived in very comfortable places that size (my current place is only 1100 square feet in any case), so that part doesn’t matter so much as how well it does the job.
With 15.5 SEER it has good efficiency, and the price shock (just under $3500) quickly goes away when you realize unlike everything else on this list, this unit is ALSO a heater. It’s an up-flow one, so meant to go under the house (usually in a basement) but can be rigged for downflow (from above, like an attic) as well.
Similar to the above, we’re looking at a 10 year price limited warranty that only applies if you hire a qualified installer to put it in and make sure to register your air conditioner online. Overall, not a big ask.
Everything else is similarly top notch: two-stage compressor and two-stage gas valve (compatible with most thermostats) round things out as good boosters to efficiency and effectiveness.
3. Goodman GSX160601 Single-Phase 16 Seer R-410A Condensing Unit
Going a bit larger, we have this great unit. It sits a bit lower in part because it’s a bit overkill for many homes (being able to cool about 3000 square feet), and it’s less energy efficient than the above option, but it’s still pretty great.
The 5-ton capacity isn’t as much overkill as it may sound; 3000 square feet homes are pretty common, even if they lie just outside the average size and you definitely need a larger unit for those (energy efficiency doesn’t mean much when the cooling just isn’t up to snuff; it’ll waste more power running constantly and never cooling all the way than a unit of a proper size with less efficiency).
On top of the basics there, this model uses chlorine free coolant (a bit more eco friendly) and costs close to $1000 less than our winner (a welcome deduction for those of you with homes on the larger end!). So if you’re in the niche it targets and are looking for a way to live your life a little greener, this might be the one for you.
4. Goodman 3 Ton 16 SEER R-410a GSX160361
If those of you living in smaller homes (though I don’t consider 1800 square feet to be particularly small) were feeling left out, this one’s for you. Good tonnage (3 tons, 36, 000 BTU/h or like I said above, 1800 square feet) starts us off, backed up by an excellent (second best on this list) energy efficiency are the main draws of this simple, but well performing air conditioning unit.
On top of the great performance, you’re also looking at the lowest price on this list: a little under $1250. One of the advantages of living in smaller places: you usually end up incurring less expenses for anything that scales up based on your home size (heating and air being by far the biggest offender).
There’s not much else to talk about as far as extras. It doesn’t seem to be soundproofed (so in the quieter parts of the day you may hear it humming), there’s no apparent great warranty worth talking about, and we’ve already discussed the overall energy efficiency (the compressor, as usual, is the thing they focused on for this).
It’s just a good, basic as can be system.
5. Goodman 18,000 btu MSH183E15AX/MC ductless
If people in smaller homes were feeling left out earlier, I imagine those of you in apartments must be too.
Fear not: I have one for you.
The 18, 000 BTU/h figure totals out to around 1.25 tons (~800 square feet). Perfect for small apartments, or any small outdoor space (like a garage).
It’s ductless(it just has a single opening for the refrigerant and drain water) so you can put it anywhere. It sits high on the wall (for better cooling dispersal) and can be remote controlled, with a few extra features as well.
The primary ones are the “sleep mode” (it can be set to shut off for 7 hours every day) and a “turbo” for quick heating and cooling in a pinch. Finally, the Louver (the little blade inside that directs the air) can be set in the computer and it will automatically return to that position whenever the AC or heat is turned on.
While a bit pricy (close to $2500) it is an excellent unit for what it is, and has surprising energy efficiency (15 SEER). A great buy for a lot of purposes.
It’s difficult to rank these in a strict order, since this is the kind of product that is almost completely buyer dependent. For that reason, I pulled as wide of a range of sizes for units as I could, and ranked them mostly by how good they are in that particular size category, leaving us with this top list.
The best unit here is the one that fits your space best.
The 4 ton, 18 SEER model in that regard is probably the “best” since it fits into the largest size bracket (houses 2200 to 3000 square feet in size) for the most common sizes of US homes and has the best efficiency, but it’s still a bad buy if your home is too small or too large for it to work effectively.