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    Most Reliable Central Air-Conditioning Systems

    These are the brands most likely to keep you cool, according to CR’s survey of thousands of its members

    Close-up of AC condenser outside of house Photo: iStock

    Now is the time to make sure your AC system is in good shape to keep you cool through the coming months. And for those without central AC, it may be time to think about getting a system installed.

    Installing or replacing a central air-conditioning system is a big expense, so you’ll want to get it right. That means choosing a system that will give you solid performance, year after year.

    Because there are so many variables—including a home’s size and design, how the system is installed, and construction of the ductwork—Consumer Reports doesn’t test central air-conditioning systems. Instead, we estimate the reliability of major brands on the market by asking our members about their experiences with the AC systems they purchased and had installed.

    This year, for the first time, our survey includes reliability and satisfaction data on two brands of ductless mini-split ACs, in addition to 23 brands of conventional central air systems.

    In all, our latest central air-conditioning survey includes member data about 18,172 air-conditioning systems installed by our members between 2007 and 2022. They let us know which parts broke and what it cost to fix their AC if repairs were needed. We also asked them how likely they are to recommend their system to friends and family, and used their responses to calculate owner satisfaction ratings.

    More on Air Conditioning

    “Choosing a brand with higher predicted reliability and better owner satisfaction will boost your chances of getting an air-conditioning system that you can depend on,” says Adam Troy, who leads surveys at for Consumer Reports.

    Historically, members have expected their central air systems to last a median of 15 years. Our 2022 findings are based on central air-conditioning systems that are in use a median of five months a year. Here are the details.

    Reliability and Satisfaction

    Using the information provided by our members, we calculated ratings for both predicted reliability and owner satisfaction.

    Become a member to read the full article and get access to digital ratings.

    We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.