Rheem Air Conditioner Reviews: (AC Price Guide 2022)

Josh Mitchell

Written By

Josh Mitchell

Expert Reviewed By

Holly Curell

Last Updated On

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Quick Guide - Rheem

My Opinion

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4.0

Overall Score


Reliability

4.0

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Performance

4.0

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Energy Efficiency

4.0

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Warranty

4.0

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Value for Money

4.0

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Pros
  • Low base price
  • Relatively low operating cost
  • High-end models offer better efficiency than similar models from other brands
  • Large selection of products
  • Replacement parts are available on the company website
CONS
  • Most models aren’t great at efficiency
  • Shorter warranty periods and no labor coverage compared to competitors
  • Expensive compared to competitors with the same SEER ratings
  • The premium unit is quiet, but the rest are relatively loud

Rheem was incorporated in 1925 and has remained steadfast in the HVAC market because of their reliable products.

Rheem offers good energy-efficient models for the price, and its affordability allows cost-conscious homeowners a great solution to cool indoor comfort.

Here is my full Rheem HVAC review; I'll share everything I know about Rheem air conditioners to determine if they are the best fit for you.

After all, it's not every day you spend thousands of dollars on a piece of machinery. I want to help you spend wisely so that you get the right model for your unique home.

Rheem Air Conditioners – Quick Guide!

Best Overall Model

EcoNet Enabled Classic Plus Series Variable-Stage (RA20)


The variable-speed compressor provides precise temperature and humidity control and superb efficiency. It can handle cooling loads up to 107°F. Its technology provides just the right amount of cooling all year long.

This model yields an expected lifetime savings of $3,720.

It also runs at just 65 dB, which will be much quieter than any single-stage and two-stage unit.

Good Value Model

RA17


This is the cheapest Rheem that has a two-stage compressor. It will cut your energy usage while providing an ideal indoor environment with less humidity, dust, and debris.

You get the ultimate in comfort at a price point that is better than other brands with similar features and energy ratings.

Avoid This Model

Select Series Single Stage WA13


This is designed for commercial/multi-family usage. It’s considered “contractor grade,” meaning it’s priced low so that HVAC contractors can buy lots of them at a time.

It is Rheem’s most basic (and cheapest) model. Its single-stage compressor offers a SEER below the minimum requirement the US government has established.

Almost no HVAC company will install this for you because it won't pass inspection, and the warranty won't kick in.

Should you invest in the higher-end product? How about a mid-range model? When is a low-end AC adequate?

My team of experts has combed the online reviews and put Rheem products through their paces to help you differentiate good fits from bad ones.

After all, you'll own your AC for the next 10-15 years if you're lucky.

Winding up with one that doesn't address your cooling needs is a mistake I can help you avoid.

I have also compared Rheem to other brands to see if Rheem air conditioning units really do outclass the competition.

Let’s get started!

My Review Of Rheem Central Air Conditioners

THE GOOD
  • Low base price
  • Relatively low operating cost
  • High-end models offer better efficiency than similar models from other brands
  • Large selection of products
  • Replacement parts are available on the company website
THE BAD
  • Most models aren’t great at efficiency
  • Shorter warranty periods and no labor coverage compared to competitors
  • Expensive compared to competitors with the same SEER ratings
  • The premium unit is quiet, but the rest are relatively loud

Rheem Air Conditioner Prices – How Much Do They Cost?

Average Pricing by Model (includes installation)

Series

Model Number

Price Range

Select Series

  • WA13
  • W14W
  • WA14
  • WA16

$4,000 to $6,500

Classic Series

  • RA13
  • RA14W
  • RA14
  • RA16
  • RA17

$4,500 to $7,400

EcoNet Enabled Prestige Series (RA20)

-

$7,500 to $9,000

Endeavor Line

  • WA13NZ
  • WA14AZ
  • WA15AZ
  • RA13NZ
  • RA14AZ
  • RA15AZ
  • RA16AZ
  • RA18AZ

$5,800 to $19,000

Average Price by Size (Tonnage)

AC Unit Size

Cost (Unit Only)*

Cost (With Installation)*

1.5 ton Rheem AC

$1,045

$3,095

2 ton Rheem AC

$1,190

$3,310

2.5 ton Rheem AC

$1,290

$3,570

3 ton Rheem AC

$1,490

$3,850

3.5 ton Rheem AC

$1,645

$4,145

4 ton Rheem AC

$1,800

$4,420

5 ton Rheem AC

$2,390

$4,990

Cost Variation Across the United States

The price of air conditioners varies across the US due to various factors:

  • Regional climate
  • Energy prices: Electricity rates vary
  • Demand: An air conditioning unit will likely cost more for folks who live in the South, where the demand is greater.
  • Installation costs: These can vary according to the difficulty of the job, ductwork alteration, masonry work, electric considerations, and so on
  • Labor rates
  • Local regulations

How To Get The Best Price In Your Area

I always suggest doing some homework before you speak with an HVAC salesperson.

The problem here is that companies don’t always put their prices online.

And when you can find a price (hvacdirect.com has some, but they only cover some models and manufacturers), there's the not-insignificant matter of installation, which can cost thousands of dollars.

The best thing you can do is to get at least three quotes. You'll get a better sense of the high-end and low-end prices and what the company charges for installation.

Beware of the company that charges the least for labor.

They may be cheap, but you might wind up with an air conditioner that’s not operating within the manufacturer’s recommended specs.

That leads to costly repairs and a short equipment lifespan.

It also gives you an air conditioner that’s not performing optimally. Higher energy costs; less comfort.

*Based on RA14 unit types

Making Sense Of SEER And SEER2 Ratings

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.

If you want the technical explanation, it’s “the ratio developed when the cooling output of the AC system over an average cooling season is divided by the total energy used.”[1]

The un-technical thing to know is that it’s like your car’s gas mileage. The higher it is, the more you save when it runs.

Today, SEER2 is replacing SEER as the new measuring stick, but manufacturers' websites are slow to update their content.

There is a minimum rating that changes over the years as regulations concerning global warming tighten.

For the southeast and southwest United States, central air systems must have a SEER2 rating of 14.3 (14.5 SEER) or higher.

In the north, system requirements for SEER2 include a rating of at least 13.4 (14.0 SEER) for all residential air systems.

Because of these different requirements, you'll notice that most Rheem air conditioners are acceptable in some regions but not others.

And some aren't suitable to be installed anywhere in the United States.

*Prices are estimates for the following: 2.5-ton condenser, 1300-1400 cfm air handler plus a programmable thermostat.
**Running costs based on 21 cents/kWh and 2000 hours of cooling per year. Based on 2.5 ton AC unit.
Note: Other exterior factors can also influence the price; Based on national average


Exclusive Features From Rheem

Copeland Scroll Compressors

Rheem air conditioners all feature a scroll compressor (as opposed to a reciprocating compressor) designed to improve energy efficiency and reduce sound. It offers four advantages:

  1. 1
    Fewer maintenance issues because it has fewer moving parts:
    By contrast, an average reciprocating compressor can have as many as nine moving parts for each cylinder.
  2. 2
    Internal valves are less complex:
    The valves used by many older compressor types tend to fail before the rest of the compressor. Copeland reduces these components, making the systems more durable.
  3. 3
    Higher efficiency:
    A Copeland scroll compressor will tend to be more efficient, which is especially significant in larger units.
  4. 4
    Lower vibration levels:
    Components remain fully seated and suffer from less wear and tear, especially in smaller units.

EcoNet Thermostat

The digital thermostat offers scheduling features for improved efficiency and more control over temperatures throughout the day.

The EcoNet Control Center product from Rheem connects all your heating and cooling units to one central system and offers an impressive level of remote control over supported products. It allows for remote operation from anywhere in the world.

These smart thermostats can control the air conditioner and water heater at the same time.

ACLAB Note:

Unless your other HVAC system components are also EcoNet, the system won't run properly.

For more accessible service and installation, Rheem has engineered some of its units with two features in mind:

  • PlusOne™ Expanded Valve Space:
    Provides a minimum working area of 27 square inches for easier access
  • PlusOne™ Triple Service Access:
    15" wide, corner service access, which makes repairs easier and faster. The two-fastener removable corner allows easy access to the internal unit components. Individual louver panels come out once the fastener is removed for faster coil cleaning and easier cabinet reassembly.

Other Features:

  • The top-level Prestige Series air conditioning units are fitted with a compressor sound blanket for operation as quiet as 71 dB (equivalent to average street noise).
  • Rust-resistant screws – Confirmed through 1500-hour salt spray testing. (Those of you in coastal states will really appreciate this feature.)
  • Curved louver panels – These provide strong coil protection and enhance cabinet strength. That helps increase lifespan, keeps your unit looking newer for longer, and reduces machine noise.
  • Enhanced mufflers help to dissipate vibration energy for quieter unit operation.
  •  Improved tubing design reduces vibration and stress, making the unit quieter and reducing the potential for leaks.

An Instant Rebate For Select Models

Energy Star is a government program that rewards homeowners who purchase energy-efficient products for their homes.

Earning the Energy Star distinction means products meet strict energy-efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. You can enhance the comfort of your home while saving money.

You can claim 30% of the project cost, up to $600.

This tax credit is effective for products purchased and installed between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2032.[2]


Rheem AC Units Warranty Analysis

Rheem’s warranties are fairly standard, with its premium models offering a 10-year limited parts warranty, limited lifetime heat exchanger, and 10-year conditional unit replacement.

Some Select Series models offer only a five-year limited parts warranty.

Rheem offers a Protection Plus Extended Service agreement program that can provide additional protection after the limited warranty expires, up to 10 years for heating and cooling equipment.

Registering your Rheem products allows you to access included warranty benefits, opt to extend warranty coverage, and take advantage of other Rheem support services.
THIS LIMITED WARRANTY WILL NOT APPLY a) to defects or malfunctions resulting from failure to properly install, operate, or maintain the unit in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions; b) to damage from abuse, accident, fire, flood, and the like.

Rheem Air Conditioner Models Compared

Model

Tonnage

SEER*

Noise Levels**

BTU’s

Compressor

Rheem Prestige RA20

2-5

20

55 dB

24,000-60,000

Two Stage

Rheem Classic Plus RA17

2-5

17

58 dB

24,000-60,000

Two Stage

Rheem Classic RA17 (NC)*

2-3

17

58 dB

24,000-60,000

Two Stage

Rheem Classic RA16

1.5-5

16

69 dB

24,000-60,000

Two Stage

Rheem Classic RA14**W

1.5-5

16

70 dB

24,000-60,000

Two Stage

Rheem Classic RA14

1.5-5

16

65 dB

24,000-60,000

Two Stage

Rheem Classic RA13

1.5-5

15.5-13

72 dB

24,000-60,000

Two Stage

*up to
**as low as, based on optimum conditions

Select Series Single Stage WA13

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 13 SEER
  • Nominal Sizes: 1.5 - 5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 72 dB
  • Compressor: Single-stage
  • Energy Star Eligible?: No

This is designed for commercial/multi-family usage. It's considered "contractor grade," meaning it's priced low so that HVAC contractors can buy many at once.

It is Rheem’s most basic (and cheapest) model.

Its single-stage compressor offers a SEER that's below the minimum requirement that the US government has established.

Therefore, almost no HVAC company will install this for you because it won't pass inspection, and the warranty won't kick in. I highly advise against buying and installing this model.

Select Series Single-Stage WA14W (also known as WA14**W)

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 14 SEER
  • Nominal Sizes: 1.5 - 5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 71 dB
  • Compressor: Single-stage
  • Energy Star Eligible?: No

This is designed for commercial/multi-family usage.

Like the WA13, this unit’s low SEER disqualifies it for installation in the United States.

I suspect Rheem will discontinue this model soon and remove it from the website.

Select Series WA16

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 16 SEER
  • Nominal Sizes: 1.5 - 5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 71 dB
  • Compressor: Single-stage
  • Energy Star Eligible?: Yes

This is designed for commercial/multi-family usage. It’s considered “contractor grade,” meaning it’s priced low so that HVAC contractors and landlords can buy lots of them at a time.

This is the cheapest Rheem model that contractors and landlords in the northern and southern halves of the United States can install. Its 16 SEER also qualifies for an Energy Star rebate worth $600.

It doesn't have many of the features that the more expensive models do. Still, its energy efficiency is quite good for the initial upfront cost.

One knock against it: It has only a 5-year parts warranty instead of a 10-year one. I suspect landlords will overlook this deficiency and buy this in bulk for multi-family or apartment projects.

Select Series Single Stage WA14

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 14 SEER
  • Nominal Sizes: 1.5 - 5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 71 dB
  • Compressor: Single-stage
  • Energy Star Eligible?: No

This is designed for commercial/multi-family usage.

I can't tell the difference between this model and the aforementioned WA16 (or WA14**W). The SEER is the same at 14, which means it doesn't meet the energy-saving requirements to be installed by a Rheem dealer.

This model will probably be discontinued.

Classic Series Single Stage WA13

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 13 SEER
  • Nominal Sizes: 1.5 - 5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 71 dB
  • Compressor: Single-stage
  • Energy Star Eligible?: No

This is designed for commercial/multi-family use, but once again, it doesn't have an energy efficiency rating high enough for it to be installed by a professional.

This model will probably be discontinued.

Classic Series Single Stage WA14

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 15 SEER
  • Nominal Sizes: 1.5 - 5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 71 dB
  • Compressor: Single-stage
  • Energy Star Eligible?: No

This is designed for commercial/multi-family use.

Its SEER is above the minimum, making it an excellent choice for landlords and their housing/apartment projects.

Its price is low enough to be bought in bulk without breaking the bank.

Classic Series Single Stage RA13

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 15.5 SEER
  • Nominal Sizes: 1.5 - 5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 72 dB
  • Compressor: Single-stage
  • Energy Star Eligible?: Yes

This is the bare-bones model from Rheem designed for a typical residential home.

And it offers an energy-friendly SEER of 15.5. For the price, that number is hard to beat. This is a great value.

It has several of the Rheem engineering benefits:

  1. 1
    Rust-resistant screws
  2. 2
    Curved louver panels
  3. 3
    Enhanced mufflers
  4. 4
    Improved tubing design

Classic Series Single Stage RA14W (also listed as RA14**W)

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 16 SEER
  • Nominal Sizes: 1.5 - 3.5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 73 dB
  • Compressor: Single-stage
  • Energy Star Eligible?: Yes

The RA14 meets the minimum southwest regional standard requirements, which means it also meets the north's standards.

It also qualifies for a $600 government rebate.

One important thing to note: This model goes up to only 3.5 tons. (The typical biggest size is 5 tons.) That means for large homes, you’ll need to look at a different model.

Classic Series Single Stage RA14

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 16 SEER
  • Nominal Sizes: 1.5 - 5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 73 dB
  • Compressor: Single-stage
  • Energy Star Eligible?: Yes
This is virtually identical to the RA14W, but it comes in a wider variety of sizes: 1½-5. If you have a large home, this model is a must-have compared to the RA14W.

It has several of the Rheem engineering benefits:

  1. 1
    Rust-resistant screws
  2. 2
    Curved louver panels
  3. 3
    Enhanced mufflers
  4. 4
    Improved tubing design

Like all Rheems, it is designed with what the company calls “curb appeal.” The cabinet features curved louver panels, which, in addition to a powder coat paint system, will make this unit look good for years.

Classic Series Single Stage RA16

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 16 SEER
  • Nominal Sizes: 1.5 - 3.5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 73 dB
  • Compressor: Single-stage
  • Energy Star Eligible?: Yes

This Rheem HVAC unit is virtually identical to the RA14.

If there is any difference, it’s not evident in their sales literature. I’m guessing that one or the other model will be discontinued. Energy savings, noise, design…all the same.

Classic Series Two-Stage RA17

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 17 SEER
  • Nominal Sizes: 1.5 - 5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 70 dB
  • Compressor: Two-stage
  • Energy Star Eligible?: Yes
This is the cheapest Rheem that has a two-stage compressor.

Why two stages? Because sometimes you need only a little bit of cooling to keep your home comfortable. That's when the system runs at the lower stage, which is about 40% of the maximum.

One benefit is that since it's running at a lower capacity, your energy bill will get a break.

As another bonus, the system runs longer, which helps remove excess humidity, dust, and debris. It seems counterintuitive to say that when it runs longer, your energy savings will increase. However, when a two-stage is running at the lower setting, it uses less power and can still keep your house cool.

You get the ultimate in indoor comfort at a price point that is better than other brands with similar engineering.

EcoNet Enabled Classic Plus Series Two-Stage (RA17)

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 17 SEER
  • Nominal Sizes: 1.5 - 5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 70 dB
  • Compressor: Two-stage
  • Energy Star Eligible?: Yes

This is essentially the same unit as the RA17, except it has the added feature of connecting with Rheem’s EcoNet system.

This thermostat optimizes system performance and includes features such as:

  1. 1
    Simple scheduling and one-touch energy savings
  2. 2
    Remote access via the EcoNet App
  3. 3
    Important HVAC equipment alerts are sent directly to your phone or email
  4. 4
    Convenient voice control through Alexa and other AI devices

EcoNet Enabled Classic Plus Series Variable-Stage (RA20)

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 20.5 SEER
  • Nominal Sizes: 2 - 5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 65 dB
  • Compressor: Variable-speed
  • Energy Star Eligible?: Yes

The variable-speed compressor provides precise temperature and humidity control and greater efficiency than a model with a single-stage compressor. It can handle cooling loads up to 107°F. Its technology provides just the right amount of cooling all year long.

It can run at 100% or 40%, or any level in between, making gradual adjustments as needed.

This model (and other high-end Rheems) provides efficiencies up to 54% higher than typical air conditioning designs, with an expected lifetime savings of $3,000 or more.

It also runs at just 65 dB, which will be much quieter than any single-stage unit.

And like the RA17 mentioned above, it's EcoNet enabled, which allows operation through a Wi-Fi connection.

WA13NZ Endeavor Line Select Series And WA14AZ Endeavor Line Select Series

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 15.2 SEER2
  • Nominal Sizes: 2 - 5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 68 dB
  • Compressor: Single-stage
  • Energy Star Eligible?: Yes

I’ve grouped these two air conditioners together because the difference between them is almost nil.

They have single-stage compressors, so they’re not big on energy savings or especially quiet when in operation - though 68 dB is respectable for an air conditioner this inexpensive.

Both of these machines meet energy standards for northern regions only. 

If you live in the South, there are plentiful options elsewhere in this review.

These merit only the 5-year parts warranty - not 10 years.

WA15AZ Endeavor Line Select Series

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 15.2 SEER2
  • Nominal Sizes: 2 - 5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 61 dB
  • Compressor: Variable-speed
  • Energy Star Eligible?: No

This has the same SEER2 ratings as the two previous listings but has much more to offer.

First, it can be sold and installed anywhere in the US. It's not restricted regionally.

Second, it is EcoNet enabled, giving you the digital advantage cheaper models don’t have.

Paired with the right thermostat, it offers an impressive level of remote control from anywhere in the world.

It is compatible with Bluetooth to allow for easy installation and diagnostics.

It has Rheem's 10-year parts warranty, giving you years of peace of mind.

Though it has a variable-speed compressor, the energy rating isn't impressive. Still, it can run extremely quietly.

You'll get even, cool temperatures throughout your home, but I'd check elsewhere if you want a break on your energy bills.

RA13NZ Endeavor Line

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 15.2 SEER2
  • Nominal Sizes: 2 - 5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 68 dB
  • Compressor: Single-stage
  • Energy Star Eligible?: Yes
This meets energy standards for northern regions only. 

If you live in the South, there are plenty of other options in the Rheem line.

This is a basic Rheem air conditioner with a single-stage compressor and no EcoNet. It does have expanded valve space and triple service access, making repairs much easier. (The WA Series ACs do not.)

For such a basic compressor, this machine cools quietly. Its SEER2 is good enough to qualify

it for an Energy Star rebate, but, again, you'll have to find different efficient models for the southern US regions.

RA14AZ Endeavor Line Classic Series

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 16 SEER2
  • Nominal Sizes: 2 - 5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 69 dB
  • Compressor: Single-stage
  • Energy Star Eligible?: Yes

This is very close to the RA13NZ but has a bit more energy efficiency. It's enough to qualify it to be installed anywhere in the United States, and it earns a government rebate.

It carries Rheem’s 10-year parts warranty and has been designed to be installed and repaired easily.

RA15AZ Endeavor Line Classic Plus Series

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 15.2 SEER2
  • Nominal Sizes: 2 - 5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 61 dB
  • Compressor: Two-stage
  • Energy Star Eligible?: Yes
For a two-stage AC, the energy efficiency - 15.2 SEER2 - isn’t very impressive.

However, if operating noise is an issue, you should seriously consider this because 61 decibels is about the level of a normal conversation. If your existing unit drowns out chatter on your patio, this will be a welcome change.

It also has expanded valve space and triple service access to help with repairs.

The EcoNet and Bluetooth technology allow for easy installation and diagnostics.

RA16AZ Endeavor Line Classic Plus Series

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 17 SEER2
  • Nominal Sizes: 2 - 5 ton
  • Noise Level: As low as 72 dB
  • Compressor: Two-stage
  • Energy Star Eligible?: Yes

Rheem bills this as a high-efficiency air conditioner, which means it has a SEER2 of 16 or above.

Its 17 SEER2 is impressive for a unit that has a reasonable price tag.

As a bonus, it is EcoNet-enabled, has a 10-year warranty for parts, and is equipped with PlusOne Diagnostics, Bluetooth technology aids, PlusOne Expanded Valve Space, and PlusOne Triple Service Access.

It is easy to diagnose problems and make repairs.

RA18AZ Endeavor Line Prestige Series

Main Features
  • Cooling Efficiency: Up to 20 SEER2
  • Nominal Sizes: 2 - 5 tons
  • Noise Level: As low as 54 dB
  • Compressor: Variable-speed
  • Energy Star Eligible?: Yes

This air conditioner has it all: variable-speed compressor, quiet operation (54 dB is about the same as a normal conversation), Bluetooth technology aids, Plus One diagnostics, Wi-Fi connectivity, and more.

When opting for one variable-speed air conditioner over one with lower efficiency ratings, this offers several benefits, including, but not limited to, quiet performance, better indoor air quality, better humidity control, and it helps even out the temperatures throughout your home.

No more cold and hot spots. This AC replacement will produce cool, conditioned air mixed evenly with warm air.

This is the top-of-the-line for Rheem, which means it has the highest upfront costs but delivers the most features and the best long-term savings.

It compares favorably with other brands' most efficient units but comes at a lower price.


Rheem Installation Explained For Homeowners

Rheem is one of the few name-brand HVAC manufacturers that doesn’t require local contractors to be factory-authorized. This is both a plus and a minus.

On the plus side, you get to choose among more HVAC companies that offer installation services.

On the other hand, you may wind up with a technician who isn't familiar with how a Rheem is supposed to be installed. That can leave you with a sub-par unit that will rob you of energy savings and comfort.

Model

Price** (without Installation)

Price** (with Installation)

Estimated Running Cost*

Government Tax Break

Rheem Prestige RA20

$1,850

$3,900

~$441

$300

Rheem Classic Plus RA17

$1,480

$3,620

~$519

$300

Rheem Classic RA17 (NC)*

$1,390

$3,530

~$519

$300

Rheem Classic RA16

$1,205

$3,505

~$551

$300

Rheem Classic RA14**W

$1,150

$3,450

~$630

-

Rheem Classic RA14

$1,050

$3,350

~$630

-

Rheem Classic RA13

$990

$3,100

~$678

-

A Short Guide To Installation Costs

  • Capacity: Larger units that need to condition more air will increase the cost
  • Complexity: Some air conditioners go into a space easily. However, the more sophisticated the machine (for instance, if it has variable-speed compressors or Wi-Fi capability), the harder it is to get it right.
  • Ductwork alteration: Installing or modifying ducts can be a significant expense.
  • Labor costs: Installation can vary based on the contractor's expertise and location.
  • Permitting and regulations: Local building codes and regulations may require permits for air conditioner installations. Obtaining permits can add to the overall cost.

Can You Install A Rheem Yourself?

No, you should not install your central AC yourself. If you're on a budget, trying to minimize the installation fees by doing it yourself may be tempting. I caution against this because every Rheem HVAC system relies heavily on the quality of the installation.

I can find DIY videos and PDFs that describe how to install a new Rheem central conditioner. Still, unless you are a licensed HVAC technician, I strongly advise against it - despite the money you’ll save on labor.

If you don't have the proper paperwork, you can easily void the warranty. Is it worth it to spend thousands of dollars on an expensive piece of equipment without a safety net?

In addition, if the installation is sloppy, you'll spend more on your energy bill while receiving substandard comfort. And you may never know the difference between what it can deliver and what it does deliver.

ACLAB Note:

You also don’t want to try to save money by purchasing equipment online. Regardless of whether you use a factory-authorized dealer to install the equipment, failure to buy through the dealer will invalidate your warranty.


Homeowner & Buyer Reviews

From BBB.org - 1 Star Review

“Unit has never worked correctly since installed. We have called your company several times since we bought it. My husband probably has called 6 times and I have called 3 times. Every time we called, you gave us phone numbers to call to get a repair guy out here. 
That did not work. We live in a rural area, we could not find anyone to service it. The last time I called your company, the person I spoke to kind of blew me off and told me I needed to find someone to diagnose it, or he could not help me."[3]

From Consumer Affairs - 5 Star Review

“Rheem is a good product, well made, and has a great track record. Parts are easy to get and it is easy to repair when needed even though that's rarely. The life span of a Rheem is 20-25 years. If I had to purchase another heating and air unit, it would be a Rheem."[4]

From BestCompany - 5 Star Review

"We replaced our furnace and air conditioner with Rheem brand products about 7 months ago. It has worked very well. Our monthly cooling and heating bills have been less than they were before. Rheem was quite a bit less than some other brands we were looking at, and it seems very comparable in quality."[5]

How Do Rheem Air Conditioners Compare To Its Competitors?

Rheem vs Lennox

Lennox’s high-efficiency central air conditioners have a higher SEER rating: some go up to 28, which is significantly better than the ratings on Rheem air conditioners.

If you want the lowest operating cost, go with Lennox.

Rheem may lack the new technological advances, but it makes up for that in affordability. Some Lennox models cost up to $10,000 to install, while Rheem products average $4,000.

Both companies offer a wide selection of models to suit any budget, and both offer a reliable product backed by decades of manufacturing expertise.

Rheem HVAC systems are the cheaper option.

Rheem vs American Standard

American Standard is considered a premium unit, while Rheem is a “standard brand.”

If you’re on a tight budget, Rheem is the hands-down winner, with many of its models costing as little as $3,000 installed.

However, Rheem air conditioner reviews caution that repairs on a Rheem can be expensive.

While both companies offer a 10-year limited parts warranty, American Standard products also come with a 12-year warranty on compressors. If you’re concerned about ongoing maintenance costs, American Standard is your better bet.

Rheem vs Carrier

Carrier offers several patented technologies that increase energy efficiency in their air conditioners, and their products are known for their excellent manufacturing process.

Carrier builds some of the quietest indoor air quality equipment on the market, but it also manufactures some of the most expensive.

Carrier requires all its products to be installed by North American Technician Excellence (NATE)-certified technicians who have been trained at their Indianapolis factory. This ensures that the unit is installed properly and that the HVAC professional is qualified to maintain and repair it in the future.

Any qualified air conditioning technician can install a Rheem system, which may mean your installation has a higher chance of being less than ideal.

One drawback to purchasing a Carrier is its warranty; it doesn't cover labor for normal wear and tear.

Rheem ACs are cheaper and can last just as long as Carrier’s, as long as the installation is good and your AC gets regular, scheduled maintenance.

Rheem vs Trane

Trane has a solid reputation for producing high-quality, reliable HVAC systems. This comes at a price. Its air conditioners, heat pumps, and furnaces are some of the most expensive on the market.

Trane’s commitment to quality is evident in how it puts every unit through testing that approximates five years of extreme wear and tear.

Their XL series is a budget-friendly option, but I recommend not purchasing these base products because you can purchase a similar Rheem unit for less money.

Trane's units don't have the highest SEER ratings or the lowest sound levels. Nor are they the quietest or the most energy-efficient on the market. However, they are some of the most durable.

Rheem’s strength is good-to-excellent SEER at an affordable price.


More About the Rheem Brand

Rheem is owned by the Paloma Group, which also makes Ruud HVAC systems. In addition to cooling systems, Rheem makes water heaters, pool and spa heaters, water softeners, and commercial refrigeration products.

Rheem is one of the largest manufacturers of heating products in North America.

The company has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% and achieving zero waste by the time it turns 100 years old in 2025. Additionally, Rheem plans to launch a line of HVAC and water heating products that reduce its gas footprint by at least 50%.[6]

Rheem offers eight heat pumps. Its flagship model is similar to Rheem's top central air conditioner and boasts a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio of 21.

As with the home air conditioning systems line, the two most efficient models are EcoNet-enabled, allowing for even more energy efficiency. Most of the lineup falls in the Classic Series, with only one Prestige model and two Select models.

Rheem heat pumps feature:

  • Copeland scroll compressors
  • Variable-speed, one-, two-, and three-stage options
  • Premium models are compatible with EcoNet technology

Rheem has an extensive lineup of 15 gas and two oil furnaces. Both oil furnaces have comparatively high-efficiency ratings of AFUE 86.5% and 85.9%, well above the standard 80%. The gas furnaces have a max AFUE rating of 98%. All models have Rheem’s proprietary PlusOne Ignition System, and several units are EcoNet enabled.

Rheem also sells air handlers, cooling coils, and mini-splits. Rheem’s mini-splits run the gamut from outdoor heat pumps to indoor wall-mount units.


Common Questions About Rheem AC

What is the life expectancy of a Rheem air conditioner?

The average lifespan of a Rheem system is 10-15 years. Factors that can extend (or shorten) an AC’s lifespan:

  • Quality of the installation
  • Regular maintenance check-ups
  • Usage (hotter climates demand more from air conditioners)
What parts can I order through Rheem?

Replacement air filters and humidifier pads are available through the Rheem website.

Are Rheem parts made in the USA?

Rheem operates a parts distribution center in Randleman, NC, and distribution facilities throughout the US and Brampton, Ontario, Canada.

Summary | Is A Rheem AC Right For You?

 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)


Rheem has been a well-respected HVAC brand for nearly 100 years and has carved a niche for itself as a budget-friendly alternative to Carrier, Trane, and other HVAC brands.

Rheem manufactures affordable heating and cooling products that are both durable and, in some cases, compatible with its app and voice-activating technologies, such as Alexa. It offers excellent quality for its price point.

A new Rheem air conditioner is the perfect choice if you are looking for a cheap, efficient unit.

References: 

  1. https://www.seer2.com/region-southeast.html#:~:text=Residential%20central%20air%20systems%2045%2C000,regulations%2C%20visit%20our%20SEER2%20page
  2. https://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/central_air_conditioning
  3. https://www.bbb.org/us/ga/atlanta/profile/water-heater-dealers/rheem-manufacturing-company-0443-27003573/customer-reviews
  4. https://www.consumeraffairs.com/homeowners/rheem.html#sort=recent&filter=5
  5. https://bestcompany.com/hvac/company/rheem
  6. https://www.usnews.com/360-reviews/services/hvac/rheem
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Josh Mitchell

Founder

Josh Mitchell
My name is Josh and I am obsessed with home appliances. From portable AC units to heaters and air purifiers, I enjoy testing, learning and using these devices to improve the air quality inside my family home.

My Favorite Home Appliance?

Midea U Shaped Window Air Conditioner

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