Air Conditioner Brands To Avoid (Based On Reliability & Recall Data)

Air conditioning systems are extremely expensive. Whether you’re replacing your A/C system or starting from scratch with a new one, you’ll certainly want to choose one that will keep you and your family comfortable for many years to come. So before you invest in such a big home improvement, it’s a good idea to take some time to research which brands you should avoid.

Goodman central air conditioners have the most recalls, followed by Coleman and York. These are also some of the brands with the lowest reliability ratings from consumers. Luxaire and Concord are some others to avoid. If you’re looking at a window unit, use caution with Hisense, TCL, and Keystone brands. Friedrich is the worst portable A/C option.

Air Conditioner BrandCurrent Number of Open Recalls 
Black + Decker0

The Importance of a Good Air Conditioner

No matter where you live, the ability to control the climate inside your home is important for your family’s comfort. As tempearatures continue to climb and weather patterns are more unpredictable, a high quality HVAC system is even more critical. 

Whether you’re installing a system for the first time or replacing an old, worn out unit, buying a new central air conditioning system is a huge expense. In fact, it’s one of the biggest expenses you’ll face as a homeowner. As such, you’ll want to ensure you purchase a good air conditioner that will last a long time. 

Installing Air Conditioner

Choosing the right air conditioner for your home involves considering several factors. Your home’s size and layout are important, but another essential decision is which brand system you’ll go with. Some brands are more well-known and reputable than others. So before you make a huge investment on a new A/C system, you’ll want to make sure you’re going with a trusted and respectable brand.

Installing a poor quality air conditioner can lead to costly breakdowns and repairs down the road. Fixing an air conditioner usually involves calling a service technician to come to your home, which can mean you’ll have an expensive repair bill – especially if it’s an after-hours or weekend service call. 

However, going with a trusted, reputable brand can help improve your experience with the system and ensure you’ll have better quality air conditioning over the years. Most people expect their A/C system to last 15 years or more, so choosing the right system will help make sure you get the best return on your investment over the long term. 

Factors Going into Which Brand is Reliable

There are several factors you can consider to determine which A/C brands are the best and which ones you should avoid. For example, you may be looking for a unit with better energy efficiency ratings. Installation costs, how long the warranty lasts, and the overall quality are important considerations for your new system. 

Efficiency Rating

Air conditioners use a couple of different measures for their efficiency ratings. The first is SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. SEER measures how efficiently your system cools your home throughout the season based on the energy input. It’s a similar concept to MPG for your car’s fuel efficiency. 

The best A/C brands will have a SEER as close to 21 as possible, as this is the maximum efficiency rating. The minimum standard SEER is 13. To receive an ENERGY STAR rating, the system must have a SEER of at least 14.5.

However, it’s important to remember that the SEER depends on your home’s specifications and your geographic location. The system’s age also impacts the SEER. For example, if you have an older central A/C system, it’s probably running a SEER of 8-10, so by default when you upgrade to a newer system, it will be running more efficiently. 

More energy efficient models with higher SEER ratings typically cost more up front, so that’s something you’ll need to factor in when making your decision. Still, if you live somewhere with a lot of humiditiy or in an especially hot and humid climate, the added comfort provided by a unit with a higher SEER may be well worth it in that case. 


Most central air conditioning systems should last at least 15 years, and many will last 15-20 years. However, there are some units which may only have an expected lifespan of around 10 years. 

Some brands are well known for lasting a long time. They’re typically higher quality units, and you should normally expect to pay a little more for those brand names. Longevity can also refer to how long your system will last before it starts having problems and needing mechanical repairs. 

Air Conditioner BrandAverage Lifespan
Coleman10 – 20 years
York15 – 25 years
Goodman10 – 15 years
Luxaire15 – 20 years
Concord10 – 12 years
Hisense8 – 15 years
TCL9 – 15 years
Keystone7 – 14 years
GE10 – 15 years
Frigidaire9 – 16 years
Friedrich8 – 15 years
Black + Decker5 – 10 years
Whynter5 – 12 years

Still, there are some things you can do to improve your air conditioner’s longevity. Keeping up with regular filter changings as specified by the manufacturer is the #1 thing you can do to keep your A/C running longer. In most cases, the filter needs to be changed every 1-3 months. Having the system serviced or cleaned regularly (or at least once per year) can also help improve its lifespan. 

Warranty Information

A strong warranty can help offset any worries you may have about how long your air conditioner will last. Any problems you may have in the first few years may be fully covered by the manufacturer’s warranty if you purchase a reputable brand. However, some manufacturers offer better warranties than others. 

You should also keep in mind that if you don’t care for your A/C properly or fail to keep up with routine maintenance, you could potentially void the warranty. Trying to work on the unit yourself or having anyone other than an authorized service dealer service your air conditioner could also put your warranty in jeopardy. So it’s important to familiarize yourself with the fine print. 

Air Conditioner BrandWarranty 
Coleman2-year limited warranty, 10-year parts limited warranty
York10-year parts limited warranty; lifetime compressor limited warranty (depends on exact model)
Goodman10-year unit replacement limited warranty; 10-year parts limited warranty; 10-year unit replacement limited warranty (depends on exact model)
LuxaireLifetime compressor and heat exchanger warranties; 10-year parts limited warranty
Concord5-year parts limited warranty; 20-year limited warranty on heat exchangers
TCL5-10 year limited warranty 
Keystone1-year limited warranty
GE1-year limited warranty
Frigidaire1-year limited warranty
Friedrich1-year limited warranty
Black + Decker2-year limited warranty
Whynter1-year limited warranty

Overall Quality

When considering the overall quality of a new air conditioning system, there are several things to consider. For one, you can look at the overall workmanship of the unit. Are the parts made of metal or plastic? Does the unit seem sturdy and well-made? How much new technology is involved with the unit? 

Newer brands tend to have more features and use more innovative technology than older models, and the same rings true when it comes to quality. Higher quality systems may include humidity control features, air purifiers, and be more energy efficient. 

remoter towards the air conditioner

Quality may also involve whether the unit is quiet or loud while it’s running and how quickly it can cool down your home. If the system comes with a lot of different options and upgrades, it’s probably a premium unit with a premium price. Units that are sleeker, smaller, and more visually attractive are also normally better quality than larger, bulkier units built for budget shoppers. 

Price Tag

Ask anyone who’s made a big investment in home improvements and they’ll tell you the total price was one of the major factors in their decision. When you pay thousands of dollars for a new air conditioning system, you’ll want to make sure you get the best deal for your money. Doing so requires a balance between quality, features, and price. 

Air Conditioner BrandAverage Price (Unit Price Only)
Coleman$1,000 – $3,000
York$4,000 – $11,000
Goodman$3,000 – $7,000
Luxaire$1,300 – $5,500
Concord$900 – $5,700
Hisense$275 – $600
TCL$100 – $500
Keystone$300 – $1,000
GE$200 – $600
Frigidaire$1,250 – $3,650
Friedrich$450 – $1,000
Black + Decker$300 – $750
Whynter$400 – $900

When it comes to reliability and quality, most people don’t mind paying a little more if it means they’ll get a better product. So if you spend more on an air conditioning system that lasts 20 years without having too many problems, you probably won’t be bothered by that. However, if you spend the same amount of money on a system that breaks down after three years, you probably won’t be satisfied. 

In addition to the cost of the air conditioner, you also need to think about the installation cost and the cost of ownership. Depending on where you purchase the unit, installation may be included. If not, you’ll want to be sure to find out exactly what to expect. 

Which Air Conditioner Brands to Avoid

There are plenty of well-known air conditioner brands that are the most popular. But there are just as many that are less reliable and that you should probably avoid. However, many of the brands seem similar so it can be hard to know which is which. Luckily, we’ve done the research for you to help you steer clear of trouble. 


Coleman air conditioners are widely available and plenty of retailers offer their products. However, this brand is one of those to avoid for several reasons. First, they’ve had multiple recalls over the years meaning their products have had serious trouble. Still, many people turn to Coleman products because they’re generally affordable. However, that low-price comes at a higher cost in terms of quality and energy efficiency. 

Over the years, customers have complained about their Coleman air conditioners having problems or issues with installation. So much so that the company offers a pretty extensive warranty. Still, having a good warranty doesn’t change the fact that it’s a big hassle when your A/C stops working properly. 

Coleman Brand

According to Consumer Reports, Coleman air conditioners received a “fair” rating on reliability, which was the lowest of any scores received. For their satisfaction rating, consumers didn’t put Coleman at the top of the list, either. 

In terms of problems and repairs, Consumer Reports found that Coleman air conditioners had significant problems with their evaporator coils. This was one of three brands that had higher-than-average problem rates with the evaporator coils, specifically. 

Coleman air conditioners typically have lower SEER ratings compared to other brands, too. That means you may end up paying more to run the system than you would for a more energy efficient unit. 


York is another widely available and recognizable brand name in air conditioning systems. However, their products also have their fair share of issues to consider before making a purchase. York is known for being budget-friendly, though that often translates into sacrificing quality, features, or efficiency (or all three). 

York is a workhorse air conditioning system. You won’t get any of the bells and whistles that you’d find with other A/C systems, and you’ll have to pay for their top-of-the-line models if you want their best performing units. 

York brand

The units on the lower end of the pricing scale are noticeably lower quality and less energy efficient. These low-end models are more prone to problems, too, meaning you’ll need to consider repair and maintenance costs over time. 

HVAC systems from York are known to be difficult to install, so you’ll need to pay an authorized York contractor to do the work. This could mean more in installation costs than you’d spend otherwise. 

York systems have a good expected lifespan, lasting up to 25 years if properly cared for. But like we mentioned, you’ll have to pay a premium price for their top models to get the best quality products. 


Goodman air conditioners don’t have the best reputation. They typically score lower on reliability and satisfaction ratings than some of their competitors, and they’ve had three separate product recalls in recent history. The expected lifespan is shorter than some of the other similarly situated brands, too (averaging only 10-15 years). 

Goodman Brand

Goodman air conditioners are popular in new construction homes because they’re reasonably priced and easy to find. However, contractors often use the cheapest products available, meaning homeowners may not always end up with the best quality products. You should also keep in mind that Goodman is the budget-friendly alternative to the super popular Amana brand, meaning you’re certainly sacrificing some quality and features for a lower price point. 

Still, Goodman has been in the industry for decades and they’ve shown some staying power over the years. U.S. News rates Goodman at #3 in their best HVAC companies of 2022 list, which is saying something. 

However, if you’re looking to maximize your system’s efficiency, you’ll want to look elsewhere. Goodman air conditioners don’t offer the best SEER ratings, so you may end up paying more to run the system. They also don’t offer the quietest units, so if you’re looking for something that won’t disturb you and your family, you may want to go with another brand.  


Luxare air conditioners are made by the same manufacturer as York and Coleman, so they’re very similar in terms of quality and features. Luxaire units face many of the same sorts of problems as we discussed with York and Coleman, such as issues with the evaporator coils. 

Luxaire units didn’t score as well as many of their competitors on reliability and satisfaction surveys and this is due to their problematic coils. Coils are susceptible to leaking and breaking, and they’re likely to need to be replaced or repaired at some point during ownership. If the coils do start leaking, you’ll notice that your air conditioner isn’t working efficiently and may not cool your home well enough to keep you comfortable. 

Luxaire Brand

Still, if you’re set on going with a Johnson Controls product, Luxaire is probably the best out of the three we mentioned. They also have a decent warranty, but that doesn’t change the fact that many consumers have issues with these units. 


You may or may not have heard of the Concord brand before, but if you’re looking for a budget air conditioning unit you may come across their name. Concord is made by the same company that makes Lennox air conditioners, but they don’t have the same quality and features as their more expensive counterparts. 

Concord air conditioners may be appealing because they’re less expensive than other units, and the installation costs are normally a bit cheaper, too. However, these air conditioners are some of the least energy efficient you’ll find. That means they’ll take longer, work harder, and use more energy to cool your home compared to a higher quality system. 

So while you may save some money initially with a Concord, in the long run it may be better for you to go with a different option. For example, Concords typically have SEER ratings in the 13-15 range, meaning you’ll find more efficient models elsewhere. And these systems tend to have the same sorts of coil problems that Luxaire models experience. 


Another issue is that the average lifespan of Concord air conditioners is only around 10 years. That means it’s more likely to break down and wear out faster than some of the other brands that will last you 15-20 years with proper care and maintenance. These are all reasons why Concord may not be the best choice for your home. 


Hisense makes window-unit air conditioners and small, portable units. They’re efficient and easily installed in most cases. However, Hisense air conditioners don’t offer all the same high-tech features that you might find with other more expensive units. 

The bottom line with Hisense is that they’re intended to be budget-friendly units that you can buy from any big box store. Since these are mass-produced units intended for the handy homeowner to install themselves, they have to have a fairly simplistic design. 

As such, you won’t get the same convenient features you find with other more upscale brands. For example, a basic, standard model may not have a remote or timer, or you may not be able to adjust which direction the vents are blowing. Hisense units typically don’t have any way to tell whether the filter is dirty without opening it up and looking at it, unlike some higher-quality units that have dirty filter indicators. 

Compared to some other brands, Hisense window units are loud and disruptive. You won’t get the nice, quiet cooling that you’d find with a better quality model. Even with the system set on “low,” you’ll still have to deal with constant noise coming from the unit. 


TCL is another brand for window units and portable air conditioning. These are very basic models without all the bells and whistles you’d get with some of the other window unit brands. TCL air conditioners have designs very similar to what you’d find with a Hisense. 

If you’re looking for a window unit on a budget, TCL has some of the lowest prices you’ll find. However, you should keep in mind that you get what you pay for in most cases, and this is no exception. 

Like the Hisense air conditioners, TCL units are loud and not nearly as efficient as you might find with other units on the market. Still, at their low price point it may fit your needs if you’re looking for a way to cool a garage or shed. But if you’re planning to put the unit front and center in your living space, you might want to consider something with a little better quality and a unit that runs quietly. 

If you don’t care so much about noise level and energy efficiency, TCL units come with good warranties compared to other window units and portable air conditioners. The lifespan is also better than average, so it might be a worthy choice for a budget A/C unit.


For another budget-friendly air conditioner, a Keystone unit might be something to consider. Their products pack a lot of power in their small footprint, doing a good job cooling up to 700 square feet. They can even dehumdify, making them a bit better quality than some of the other brands we’ve discussed. 

Still, Keystone air conditioners don’t have heating options, so if you want to be able to control the temperature in your living space year round, these units won’t do. Users also report that the air conditioners are very noisy, so they might disturb you and your family when you’re trying to watch a movie or read a book. 

Keystone units also have some of the basic options that the other models we’ve discussed so far were lacking. For example, they offer air conditioners with remote controls and dirty filter alert functions. You can also set a timer or schedule on the unit so it will know when it’s time to start cooling. 

However, Keystone air conditioners sometimes take a while to get the job done. So if you’re looking for something that will cool your space quickly, this might not be the option for you. Plus the SEER rating is typically around 10 or 11, so not the best in terms of efficiency. 


GE is a big name in home appliances, so they have the brand recognition that some of the others are lacking. But that doesn’t mean their products are automatically better. GE makes window units and portable air conditioning units, and they have a lot of the standard features that you find with modern systems. Things like remote controls, timers, and automatic fan settings come standard on their most popular models. 

However, their air conditioners are heavy compared to their competitors, making them a bit cumbersome to install (especially the window units). Users also found that the GE air conditioners didn’t cool the room as quickly as they would have liked, especially when compared with some of the other brands that make similar products. 

When the conditions aren’t ideal or the unit doesn’t get enough power, you’ll find noticeable drops in the air conditioner’s performance. It will take much longer to cool the space and it will use more energy to do so. 

The warranty coverage with GE is also less than some of their competitors. With many units, you’ll only get a limited one-year warranty, which doesn’t indicate the company is particularly confident in their product. 


Frigidaire is very close to GE in terms of performance, features, and capabilities. One of the differences, however, is in the average price point. Despite offering basically the same products, Frigidaire air conditioners are generally more expensive than their competitors, but without providing more value for the cost. 

Compared to other similarly sized units, Frigidaire air conditioners were louder and didn’t perform as well on a constant basis. You might find that it takes longer to cool a room when it’s especially hot and humid, or if your home experiences a voltage drop for some reason. So if you’re putting more strain on the outlet or circuit by using other appliances at the same time, you may notice your A/C doesn’t work as well. 

The Frigidaire warranty isn’t one to get excited about, either. For most models you shouldn’t expect to get more than a one-year limited warranty. 


Friedrich makes portable air conditioners, and they don’t have a great track record with consumers. The company has a significant number of reports about various failures and breaking down after a season of use.

For being a portable A/C, these units are also bigger than you may think, meaning they take up a lot of space. If you’re in a small apartment or trying to tuck the unit discretely in a corner, you might want to go with a different brand. 

These units are also louder than some of the other options, and if you have to set it to be “on” constantly (as some users have reported), then you’ll never get a break from the noise. 

Friedrich only offers a one-year limited warranty on their air conditioners, so if you find you’re having a problem with the compressor or some other component after that point, you’ll be disappointed to learn you’re on your own to fix it.  

Black + Decker

As far as portable air conditioners go, Black + Decker doesn’t perform much better than Friedrich. However, it does have the brand name recognition that helps keep it on the market where people will continue to purchase their products. 

Most people go with Black + Decker because they’re so much cheaper than the other options. You can find one for under $400, but it may not be worth it if the unit doesn’t keep your home cool. Many users have reported poor performance and too much noise while it’s running. Even when the system is set on “low,” you’ll have to deal with a loud A/C that may be disruptive. 


Whynter portable air conditioners are very similar to Black + Decker in terms of performance, features, and price point. Like Black + Decker, many people purchase these units because they’re so affordable.

However, it doesn’t have an automatic fan feature, meaning you’ll have to turn the unit “on” and “off” as you like. Whynter units also don’t come standard with dirty filter indicators, so you’ll have to manually check yours to see if it needs to be changed. 

Most of the complaints about these models is that they’re loud and doesn’t give off enough cooling output to keep the space comfortable. It might be fine when temperatures are mild, but if you’re trying to cool a room during the middle of summer, you may find that your Whynter doesn’t cut it. 

Plus, these brands have a limited warranty period of only one year, and the lifespan may only be around 5 years, with some units lasting 10 or so years. 


No matter if you’re looking to buy a new unit or replace your existing air conditioner you’ll be making a big investment in your home. Of course, central air conditioning units are more expensive than window units or portable A/Cs, but all these products require you to make a decision based on whether the unit will do the job sufficiently. 

In most cases, people don’t mind spending more money on products that are better quality and perform at a higher standard than cheaper products. However, there are plenty of air conditioners out there that cost more and will leave you disappointed or with annoying problems such as whistling, leaking or the unit will continue to run when turned off

Taking the time to do some research before you head to the store will help you make the best decision and get the best value for your money. Knowing which brands you should avoid will help you save time and get a better deal when you buy your new A/C.

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