Best Heating and Cooling Brands
With a title like Best Heating and Cooling Brands, you may expect to start reading about Bosch, Trane, Lennox, etc. That’s not what you’re going to find here, but I promise you this article will help you choose the best.
What I share in this article is based on over 36 years as an HVAC installer & service technician. 27 years of that as the owner of one of Arizona’s most highly respected air conditioning & heating contracting companies.
The 12 Best Heating and Cooling Brands
We’ve always marched to the beat of our own drum at Magic Touch Mechanical. Clearly, it’s worked for us, as 27 years later, 3,000+ 5-Star reviews, National Best Contractor awards, ‘best of’ this & ‘best of’ that awards, and so on, we’re still going strong.
One of the things we’ve long done differently than most AC companies is offering many heating and cooling brands. The ‘norm’ in my business is representing one or two, sometimes three, manufacturers. We offer 12 of what I would say are the 12 best heating and cooling brands. Before you leave, I know that sounds ridiculous – “12 best heating and cooling brands”, is he serious? Stay with me, I’m going somewhere with this!
150 Air Conditioner Brands – Made by Far Fewer Manufacturers
You read that paragraph title correctly. There are about 150 air conditioner brands on the market with more coming out all the time.
Names like Carrier, Trane, Lennox, American Standard, & Goodman come to mind when we think AC brands in the USA. However, those heating and cooling brands are only the tip of the iceberg. In fact, apart from Carrier & Goodman (owned by Japan based, Daikin), these well-known brands represent very little market share.
Two of the largest heating and cooling brands in the world are Midea & Gree. Gree’s tagline is, “1 in 3 is made by Gree,” because they make 1/3rd of the worlds air conditioners today. While most Americans have never even heard of either of them, there’s a chance you own one and didn’t know. You see, both Midea & Gree currently, or have in the past, made equipment sold as Lennox, Carrier, Trane, etc. Your unit may have a Carrier or Trane sticker on it but may have been made by one of these giants.
Back to the 12 Best Heating & Cooling Brands
In my 35 years in HVAC, I’ve visited many equipment manufacturers factories. I’ve served on many national boards & committees, visited with contractors throughout America, and collaborated with manufacturer’s engineering departments. I’ve participated in several best practice groups over the years and still do today.
A common theme throughout the industry is … no two contractors agree on who makes the best heating and cooling brands. Contractor A says, “this brand is the best,” contractor B, says, “they’re the worst”. In my opinion, they’re both right and both wrong. Again, I’m getting ready to tell you there are 12 best heating and cooling brands today. Here goes.
Factory Support & Supplier Support Makes or Breaks the Brand
There’s one brand (which will remain nameless) that I simply refuse to offer our clients. Overall, the equipment is well designed, well built, and priced fairly. Over the course of 27 years in business, we installed thousands of machines from this heating & cooling brand. At one time, this company was the poster child of great service & support. I’d go as far as saying they offered the best support and service in the industry. There was also a time when I said they were the single best heating and cooling brand.
Today, myself and many reputable air conditioning companies in the Phoenix area don’t even offer their products any longer.
HVAC Contractors do not sell ‘products’, we sell ‘service’. When a product manufacturer provides great service, the contractor can provide you great service. However, when the factory or supplier doesn’t provide good service, both you and the contractor suffer and become unhappy.
You purchase what you were told was the best heating and cooling brand on the market. It has a 10-year parts warranty, the manufacturer has been around 100 years, etc. The contracting company has a great reputation, installation went great, and your new AC has been working well ever since. You have no reason to believe anything other than you’re in good shape for at least 10 years.
Two years down the road you realize your AC is not cooling. No problem, you’re covered by warranty and your contractor is awesome. They even told you they’ll have a technician at your home in a few hours. Whew, you’ll be cooling again in a few hours!
The tech discovers your unit has a refrigerant leak in a coil and the coil needs to be replaced. He or she calls the factory or supplier and is told there are no coils available in USA. The factory goes on to say that part is no longer being manufactured and there are currently 100 on backorder. The “estimated lead time is 8 to 12 weeks”. What?
The above example can and does really happen. Imagine learning in June or July that the manufacturer of your 2-year-old air conditioner can’t provide repair parts for 2-3 months! Hardly what you’d expect from one of the best heating and cooling brands, right?
Unfortunately, that’s not a weird, one-time situation for this brand, it’s a regular occurrence. It started before Covid and product shortages and only got worse over the years. Hence the reason us and many of our competitors refuse to offer their brand any longer.
Same Scenario with Great Factory or Supplier Support
Let’s take the same scenario above but assume a manufacturer or supplier that puts their customers first. That conversation would probably go more like this. “There are no coils available in the USA. I’m going to escalate this issue to senior management and get permission to replace the entire unit.”
That type of service is only provided by the best heating and cooling brands. It’s what makes them the best.
The manufacturer or supplier is not obligated to replace that unit. In the first scenario (which again, does happen), no attempts were made to help either customer (their contractor customer & homeowner customer). In the 2nd scenario the supplier didn’t even mention 2-3 months he/she provided a much more immediate solution.
Magic Touch supports suppliers that operate like the second supplier (which also happens). That’s one of the reasons I say we offer the 12 best heating and cooling brands. If they stop offering us great service and we can’t provide our client great service, we stop recommending the brand.
They All Suck When Installed Poorly!
Even the best heating and cooling brands will fail frequently, perform poorly, and cost you more, when not installed correctly. You’re better off with the cheapest unit installed right than the best unit installed incorrectly.
When someone tells me they, “Can get the same unit installed cheaper,” I respond, “You definitely can.” “Not only can you get it installed cheaper, but you can also probably find someone to do it for less money.”
Choosing a company to install any heating and cooling brand based on who’s “cheapest” is most often an expensive mistake. I usually ask, “If you needed surgery would you choose the surgeon based on which one was cheapest?”
Even the ‘lowest cost’ equipment on the market can be the best heating & cooling brand for you & your budget. However, only when they are installed per manufacturer specifications using the highest industry standards & practices. Typically, “the same unit installed cheaper,” is just that ‘installed cheaper,’ i.e. cutting corners to reduce costs. So, I ask again, “would you want your surgeon to cut corners?”
We Use Suppliers Who Carry Multiple Brands Too
In the early days, we mostly purchased our equipment factory direct. Over the years I learned we received better service and support when purchasing from suppliers who carry multiple brands. In fact, we purchase some brands from suppliers even when we have a factory direct account established.
Reason being, I now have two avenues to receive support which enable me to offer greater support to my client. If I’m not receiving the support, I need from one, I turn to the other. It helps in scenarios I described above when the factory says, “that part is 3 months out”.
We also typically get better pricing and pass that savings along to our customers. Since we’re purchasing multiple brands through one company, we have more buying power. I’m not saying it’s perfect every time, but I sure like my odds when I have two places to turn.
Choose the Best Heating & Cooling Brand by Choosing the Best Contractor
I don’t know when it will happen, but I suspect sooner or later all HVAC manufacturers will adopt a consumer direct model. You’ll probably be able to buy them all on Amazon one day. Of course, they won’t install them for you, so you’ll still need to choose the right HVAC Contractor.
When that day comes my advice will probably be the same as it is today: Choose the best HVAC Contractor / Installer with experience with many brands and not one biased to the brands they happen to sell. After all, what we sell is our experience, service, and support – our brand.
Frankly, I just want our clients to choose us to install their equipment regardless of the equipment brand they choose. Do we advise our clients on which brands offer the best bang for the buck – of course. We may even recommend a brand or two over the others because it’s the best fit for the application or our client’s budget. However, that’s part of the service we offer, our expertise and experience.
Bottom line, getting the best heating and cooling brand starts and ends with getting the best contractor to install it.
Magic Touch Mechanical
Fireplaces, Fire Pits, Heating & Air since 1997!