In a vast industry such as HVAC, there are more brands than you can easily research. If you are looking for a new air conditioner for your home, an upgrade to an existing system, or for new construction, you have your work cut out for you.
Hopefully, this American Standard vs. Rheem review will help. We will take a close look at the features, options, sizes, and ratings of both major AC brands. We will help explain what these two brands can offer you.
Rheem Vs. American Standard: Which AC Is Better?
Finding the ideal brand can be a daunting task that takes a great deal of research, understanding, and even taking measurements. We have done that research for you here and can help you make a final decision about both American Standard and Rheem.
Below we will cover the various features and options of both Rheem and American Standard to find out which one is better based on those same factors and features.
Reliability and Expected Lifespan
Some years ago, it was common for smaller brands and lesser-known brands to have a shorter life span. To help combat this, costs for these smaller brands were much lower to help entice the smaller budget families to consider these small brands.
Today, however, most smaller brands are owned by the larger corporations and use the same parts, manufacturing plants, and production facilities. Because of this, almost all brands will last between 15 and 20 years. Both Rheem (the bigger name brand) and American Standard offer similar life expectancy terms.
Winner: Tie. Both brands offer similar life expectancies and can easily last 20 years with reliable service.
Customer service and communication are essential to a complete investment. Some brands have notable lacking communication with their customers, and others go above and beyond.
In the case of American Standard, it is a bit of a mixed bag. They offer a few ways to contact them, with email and phone calls being the most prominent. However, the calls are more automated, and it isn’t easy to get a live person on the line. When you do, they can help some, but most issues are eventually referred to a local contractor.
Rheem also has an automated toll-free number, but their customer service reps do attempt to assist you without the contractor referral unless it is determined an on-site visit is required. Getting into direct contact with a human, though, is much easier.
Winner: Rheem has slightly more attentive customer service communications.
Unit Purchase Price
With most main brand name HVAC systems, you will be required to have professional installation. Because of this, most prices you find will not be specific to the unit but to both the unit and potential labor fees.
Those fees are also dependent on your location, average cost per hour of your area, size and capacity of the chosen model, and course, the brand. Prices will vary greatly even within the same brand based on your region, too.
For the lower-end models, American Standard has below industry pricing where the smaller units will go for between $800 and $1,200 installed. Mid and high-range prices will fall a little higher, reaching up to about $3,300 or more in some areas.
Rheem has a bit higher pricing due to the premium parts and larger brand recognition. The low-end models will start at about $1,200 and go up from there. When you get to the premium models, you can expect to pay well over $5,000 for the unit, installation, and labor fees. Some models will be even more.
Winner: American Standard has lower prices on average, though in certain areas, they can still be fairly high.
The warranty is one of the most important things about your new HVAC investment. Therefore, it is critical that you understand the coverage terms, conditions, and duration. Reading through the paperwork will tell you what is required on your part (registration, professional install, maintaining receipts, etc.) as well as what is needed to file a claim.
American Standard’s warranty starts at 5 years for all models. This covers the electronics, parts, and sealed unit. If you register the purchase and professional install within 60 days, the warranty will be extended to 10-years.
Rheem also requests that you register the purchase and installation but doesn’t penalize the warranty to get you to do so. They offer a 10-year warranty right away with any purchase, and some models have an option for an extended warranty that will include conditional lifetime replacement.
Winner: Both brands offer a 10-year warranty, but Rheem has an extended option and doesn’t force you to register the purchase to get it.
Costs of Parts and Future Repairs
Replacement parts and repair costs are also a concern for HVAC systems after a few years of service. Unfortunately, some brands make finding their parts difficult for the homeowner, trying to force you through an authorized vendor.
However, thanks to online HVAC supply shops, this is becoming more and more rare. With Rheem, you can find the most common parts like contactors, switches, connectors, and lines at any hardware store, home improvement shop, or online HVAC dealer.
The same can be said for American Standard, who also offers affordably-priced replacement parts for common failed components. You may have some trouble finding specific parts like fan motors or evaporator coils, but for the majority of DIY replacement parts, it won’t be an issue.
Winner: Tie. Both brands offer replacement parts readily and affordably.
Range of SEER Ratings Available
The SEER rating tells you how much you can expect to save on your annual energy bills compared to your current model. The higher the SEER rating, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, the more potential savings.
Rheem has a wide range of SEER ratings across their entire lineup that range from 13 SEER to the top end 20.5 SEER. With an average of 16 SEER over the entire line up Rheem’s energy efficiency is about average with the industry.
American Standard has a series-wide average of about 16.6 SEER with a top-end model of 22 SEER. However, there are slightly fewer models in the American Standard lineup, which helps raise their average over Rheem.
Winner: American Standard has a higher-end model and series average SEER rating higher than Rheem.
As air conditioners run, they actually remove moisture from the air and reduce the overall humidity levels. However, they also draw in fresh air from outside the home, which replaces that humidity. This is an ongoing back and forth within the system of all HVAC equipment.
Because of the nature of the moisture removal, most brands do not offer any additional humidity control. By using third-party smart thermostats and humidity sensors, though, you can have more control over the humidity levels in your home.
For American Standard, this is the only way to get additional humidity averaging. With Rheem, though, the use of the EcoNet Smart thermostat system (on equipped models only) will allow you to take complete control of the humidity in your home on a room-by-room basis.
Winner: Rheem has built-in humidity controls on enabled systems.
Noise Levels of AC Units
Noise can also be a concern depending on the model and where it is installed. For many condenser units, installing near or under a window can be a bad idea due to the noise levels. However, some brands take extra steps to ensure quiet operation to not disturb you or your neighbors, regardless of installation location.
Rheem offers sound dampening on their Prestige Series models, producing about 55dB of noise. Compared to the other lines that range between 65 and 72dB, this is quite a reduction in sound production.
American Standard also has sound dampening on most models with a system called Aero Quiet II. However, it only reduces the noise levels to about 70dB from about 80dB. This is a huge drop in noise production but still leaves the units quite loud compared to Rheem.
Winner: Rheem sound dampening measures work better and the models equipped produce less noise than American Standard models.
Variable Speed Systems (Compressors)
When it comes to the AC system in your home, the compressor is the cause for most of the energy usage. About 60% of the total energy needed to run the system is used when starting the compressor.
One of the answers technology has given us is a variable speed compressor. These compressors offer micro-changes in the speed the compressor runs at, ranging from 1% to 100% speed operation. And because they never fully shut off, they don’t require the full electrical jolt to get running.
American Standard and Rheem both offer a model with a variable speed compressor. The top-tier models of most brands will use variable speed compressors. However, because of their cost, these models are usually also the most expensive in the entire line.
Winner: Tie. Both brands have a single unit with a variable speed compressor option.
Single Vs. Two-Stage Cooling Options
When shopping for a new AC, you will mostly come across the mid and low-range compressors. These are single-stage and two-stage compressors. Unlike the variable speed counterparts, these compressors do actually shut all the way off and run less efficiently.
A single-stage compressor is either off or running at full capacity. It is the standard compressor from the past few decades and is very cheap to install and use. They are the least energy-efficient, though. Rheem and American Standard have more single-stage compressor options than any other type.
For the two-stage compressors, they offer a bump in energy efficiency and can run at two speeds depending on the needs of the system. American Standard has a standard two-stage compressor that costs about as much as the single-stage options for a slight edge in SEER ratings.
Rheem, on the other hand, offers a two-stage scroll compressor. Scroll compressors offer fewer moving parts, making them quieter, more efficient, and smoother operating. They cost a bit more but have a significant spike in SEER rating potential.
Winner: Rheem offers a better two-stage compressor compared to American Standard.
Technology Integration and Developments
The HVAC industry is a technology-driven field that is always looking to improve on what is currently available. As a result, almost all brands have some sort of research and development department working to make their systems even better.
With American Standard, many of their innovations came about when they took over Trane for a couple of decades. This includes the WeatherGuard system and rust-proof drain pan, weather resistant screws on the access panels, and wireless (internal) communications.
Rheem also has rust-proof drain pans and weather resistant toppers. However, aside from their sound dampening and scroll compressors, there isn’t much more at this time to offer their consumers.
Winner: American Standard has a few more advanced items compared to Rheem.
Financing Options Available (Via The Brand)
Financing is a viable option for many homeowners when faced with the high pricing of having a new HVAC system installed. Many brands offer some form of financing to their consumers either through the brand itself, the authorized dealers, or a 3rd party bank.
Rheem has what they call KwikComfort Financing Program. This is essentially a credit card with revolving credit that is used at an authorized Rheem Pros. Once approved, you can then begin shopping for a new Rheem system and have it installed, all while enjoying low monthly payments and other perks.
American Standard also offers financing, but theirs is not done through a bank, but their authorized dealers instead. American Standard signs off on the application and agreement, but payments are made through the dealer or contractor instead of a bank.
Winner: Tie. Both brands offer in-house financing for your new HVAC purchase.
Consumers have a voice and love to use it. Unfortunately, they are 70% more likely to post a negative review compared to a positive one. With that in mind, as you browse the internet in search of what previous customers have to say, you will most likely be bombarded with a lot of complaints and horror stories.
While it is important to know the bad side, we urge you to consider the source, the actual problem or issue, and who is really at fault. With proper planning, a reliable contractor, and the right model, you probably won’t have a similar experience.
With that being said, Rheem rates about average (3.3 out of 5 stars) with 165 ratings through Consumer Affairs. American Standard gets higher ratings (and many more reviews) through Consumer Reports which has rated them #1 in many categories (over 55,000 reviews).
Winner: American Standard rates slightly above the industry average in customer satisfaction.
Comparing Rheem and American Standard Model Numbers
Both Rheem and American Standard offer multiple models of varying sizes, capacities, and abilities. In the chart below, we compare the various models from both brands to give you an idea of what to expect.
|Model Number||SEER Ratings||Cooling Stages||Energy Saving (%)|
|Rheem Prestige RA20||20.5 SEER||750||58%|
|American Standard Platinum 18/ 20||21 SEER||700||50%|
|Rheem Classic Plus RA17||17 SEER||2||52%|
|American Standard Gold 17||18 SEER||2||50%|
|Rheem Classic RA17 (NC)||16 SEER||2||50%|
|Rheem Classic RA16||15 SEER||1||50%|
|Rheem Classic RA14**W||14 SEER||1||48%|
|American Standard AccuComfort™ Platinum 18||18 SEER||700||50%|
|Rheem Classic RA14||14 SEER||1||48%|
|Rheem Classic RA13||13 SEER||1||48%|
|American Standard Silver 16,15,14||16 SEER||1||48%|
|Rheem RP20||18 SEER||1||49%|
|American Standard Silver 16 Low Profile||17 SEER||1||52%|
|Rheem RP17||17 SEER||1||50%|
Overview of Rheem Air Conditioners
Rheem has a fascinating history as one of the hold and most innovative brands in the HVAC industry today. Like most turn-of-the-century brands, Rheem had humble beginnings. In 1925 two of the Rheem brothers went into business building steel drums. Eventually buying out their partner, the brand continued to expand, eventually landing in Australia.
By World War II, Rheem was the world’s largest steel manufacturer, and their efforts turned to the war, building ship and aircraft parts for the US military. However, it was in 1956 that “Rheemaire” was introduced, becoming the largest portion of the brand and the start of the Rheem HVAC brand.
Eventually buying the brand and rights to Ruud manufacturing, Rheem continues to expand its reach and durability in the HVAC market today. Their mission is to offer simple, affordable, and durable air conditioners to everyone.
Quick Look At Rheem Air Conditioner Features
Rheem is known more for their reliability and durability than their technological accessories. Unlike some brands, they prefer to keep things simple. While using the latest in technology and industry advancements, Rheem focuses their efforts on keeping your system running.
Using scroll compressors in favor of the standard piston versions, for example, means fewer moving parts, a cheaper end product, and a more reliable and durable compressor. This also makes their lower-end models quieter than industry average without the need for expensive sound dampening.
Of course, they don’t stop there. The cabinets the condenser units are made in are also built to last, durable and quiet. Some models do also include sound-dampening blankets to further reduce noise output, and the panels are easily accessed for service, maintenance, and repair.
The inclusion of their own smart thermostat system, known as EcoNet, is about the only outward-facing device you will find. This is not a limitation on technology but a display of attention to detail inside the systems instead of on the user end of things.
Pros & Cons of Rheem AC Units
As with any product, there are good and bad sides to the coin. Let’s take a closer look at the things we like and don’t like to see if there is anything that makes or breaks your purchasing decision.
What We Like
- Affordable purchase costs
- Meets minimum eligibility for credits, rebates, and discounts
- EcoNet compatible models
- Rust and corrosion resistance on select models
- Lower operational costs
- Available in all regions
- Made in USA
Things We Don’t
- Wholesaled to external HVAC installers without checks
- More efficient brands available in the market
- Higher cost versus other brands at similar SEER ratings
Overview of American Standard Air Conditioners
American Standard is a true American Dream company. Also originating with humble beginnings, American Standard started as a plumbing company, slowly building out the brand and becoming one of the household names of the time, known and trusted as a reliable and durable option.
By the mid-1940s, American Standard was in a position to grow and started acquiring smaller brands to increase their production, value, and output. In 1984 they acquired Trane, and the HVAC division of the brand grew exponentially.
Many of the same features, innovations, and technologies acquired from Trane due to the merger are still found in American Standard models today.
Quick Look At American Standard Air Conditioner Features
While American Standard may not be the first brand name that comes to mind when thinking of a new AC, it maybe should be.
The brand prides itself on dependable products, including their HVAC systems. With low maintenance, low running costs, and technology-driven systems, they are hard to beat. While keeping costs low, you will find that these systems can last as long as the big-name brands, often with less maintenance costs overall (even with more frequent repairs).
The variable speed compressor found in some models is among the most efficient in the industry, and the brand focuses a lot of attention on the weatherproofing of their systems. By having rust-proof drain pans, weather resistant toppers, and access panels and hardware impervious to the elements, you actually end up saving a lot more than money.
In fact, in a surprising turn of events, American Standard is one of the very few brands that use an all-aluminum fin and coil system for refrigerant cooling. This further increases the cost to the manufacturer but dramatically increases the energy efficiency compared to copper lines. Yet, American Standard absorbs that cost, refusing to pass it on to the consumer.
Pros & Cons of American Standard AC Units
You have to take the bad with the good, as they say. But if you can’t live with the bad, you can always look somewhere else. But first, you have to know what is on the good side and what is on the bad side. Let’s find out where American Standard ACs fall, shall we?
What We Like
- Variable speed options
- High SEER ratings across the board
- Less expensive than many other brands
- Can be found in all regions of the US
- Made in the USA
- Uses highly dependable parts
- Replacement parts are affordable
- Low install costs
Things We Don’t
- Must register for extended warranty
- May not be available through your chosen contractor
- May need repairs sooner than other high-end brands
If you are in the market for a new air conditioner, you know you have a big decision in front of you. Whether you need help finding the right brand or a specific model, it can be a daunting and overwhelming task.
If you wanted to know more about Rheem or American Standard, what they offer, and how they are rated, we hope this article helped. If you found your brand, congratulations, you are one step closer to making your final purchasing decision.
If you have decided that neither brand is for you, fear not. We have plenty of reviews that cover every HVAC brand out there to help you on your journey.
Last Updated on April 18, 2022
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