Top 3 Most Efficient Central Air Conditioning Systems of 2015 & Why 25 SEER Is Better

TOP 3 Most Efficient Central Air Conditioning Systems of 2015

The current fight for high efficiency A/C dominance is(not surprisingly)between the traditional top manufacturers.  The fight this year is quite close with a few other brands nipping at the heals of these majors.  Listed below are the top picks for most efficient central air conditioning systems available.  Bare in mind here that true efficiencies will depend on equipment size, matchup, application etc. Thus you'll need to consult a qualified professional(not just some guy that says he can sell them but someone who really and truly knows the product) in your area to find out exact details. 

The winner here is an "overall" winner for highest SEER.   So without further adieu the TOP 3 HIGHEST EFFICIENCY CENTRAL A/C SYSTEMS OF 2015:


Lennox XC25 is the clear(ish) winner for 2015.  Now the reason is two fold.  

  • A) specific sizes can reach up to 26 SEER (AHRI Ref # 7042643)
  • B) Can be integrated with Solar panels to create even higher efficiencies.  YUP, solar panels which is pretty awesome.

Now 26 SEER is not attainable in all models.  On larger 5 ton systems max efficiencies on the Lennox XC25 goes up to 20 SEER (AHRI Ref # 6692814 without solar panels).  Now when you look at the Trane XV20i its name may not indicate that it is a clear competitor to the Lennox system but it definitely is.  

The Trane XV20i (and American Standard ZV20) can reach cooling efficiencies up to 22 SEER (AHRI Ref # 7549197) with proper matchups on a 2 ton and up to 20.50 SEER in a 5 ton model (AHRI Ref# 7181375).  So, what we can learn here is that as system sizes go up the gap between Lennox and Trane grows very narrow as Trane takes the crown in the 5 ton model.  Still Lennox earns the overall win here but if you're the market for a high efficiency system you should make sure you pay very close attention to the AHRI efficiency verification for true tonnage and efficiency comparisons.  Further with a purchase like this there are other variables to consider such as compressor operating range and noise level.  Trane's XV20 wins in those categories.  Sorry, I digress, this is not a discussion of which to buy but which has the absolute highest efficiency possible in 2015. (the answer I'm hitting at is that it depends on the home)

Trane and Lennox utilize inverter driven compressors. This technology not only makes them more efficient but also creates higher comfort levels (ie consistent temps, lower humidity in summer, quieter operation, with precision work cycles etc).  Its great to see HVAC manufacturers taking strides to ensure that all variables are working together for highest home comfort.  With these advances we are beginning to reach the energy savings plateau. Meaning, the percentage of savings begins to level out as systems make fractional improvements on home efficiency.  Fortunately we are just now near the cusp of that plateau and most of us still have a long way to go to make our homes as efficient as possible.........  I know, thats a different topic altogether.  

We find the Carrier Infinity 21 in third place because it does NOT utilize the inverter compressor but instead uses a two stage scroll compressor.  Still with the two stage it can reach up to 21 SEER in a 2 ton ton model (AHRI Ref # 7017275).   Carrier does have their infinity greenspeed heat pump that does use an inverter compressor but as for standard straight cool they do not have the inverter.  The greenspeed does hit 20.5 SEER just short of Trane and Lennox.

OK, so if you've made it this far in the article I applaud Your Attention span.  Since you've made it this far I have one more AMAZING CONSIDERation for you.

If you are looking to install a high efficiency HVAC system in 2015.  Consider DUCTLESS. Seriously, ductless is the way of the future.  Why?  Higher efficiencies that standard SEER ratings cannot truly measure traditionally with lower rates of repair and precision zone comfort.  Meaning that rooms can be controlled with greater customization while using less energy.  Further the price for such a system is very similar (depending on the home) to that of a high efficiency 20 SEER central system.  Food for thought.  If you have questions give us a ring.  We'd be glad to help you think it through.


David Lewis2 Comments