What is the best air conditioner for Arizona?

What is the best air conditioner for Arizona? While this is a loaded question, I think it’s a legitimate one considering we live in one of the most extreme environments in the USA. Let’s face it, the hot summer temperatures in Phoenix, AZ are rivaled by very few places in the world so which AC unit is best suited to keep your home cool – efficiently, and reliably is a valid question.

To answer that accordingly let’s get some of the important stuff out of the way:

  • Who over what – It’s more important who you choose to install a new air conditioning system in your home or building, than what brand or model you choose. A unit that is not sized, charged, plumbed, and installed correctly will never achieve its designed potential.
  • Home Performance / Building Science – A new AC unit sized and installed correctly can only operate efficiently, and keep the occupants comfortable if the rest of the home’s systems are doing their job. If you put two homes side by side and everything is exactly the same, but one home has R38 (approx. 12” of loose fiberglass) insulation in the attic and the other only has R11 (approximately 3.5” of loose fiberglass) – what impact do you think it will have on the new AC unit if not accounted for?
  • Duct Design / Duct Leakage – One of the things that separates Magic Touch Mechanical from our competition here in Phoenix is we are a Home Performance Contractor with an HVAC department. In other words, we don’t believe in just changing “the box”. We see a lot of duct systems that are poorly designed & installed, and many leaking like sieves and cooling down the attic instead of the home. A properly designed and sealed duct system is key to getting the best performance and efficiency out of a new ac unit.

Now, we can talk about what’s the best AC unit for Arizona!

A properly sized system will be designed in accordance with an ACCA Manual J, which is also known as a heat load calculation. ACCA is the acronym for Air Conditioning Contractors of America, the organization that writes the standards for proper air conditioner installations. The “design temperature” of a Manual J varies from city to city, but for the purposes of this article we are going to use a very common design temperature for cities near Phoenix, AZ:

ACCA Manual J design temperature: 75 Degrees F. indoors when it’s 108 degrees outdoors.

I know that probably raises a lot of new questions but for now, let’s just assume ACCA is right (they are), and it is determined; for your home a 5-ton air conditioning unit is what is needed to maintain comfort in the hottest part of the day, during the hottest part of summer.

Okay so for the purposes of this article we’re going to say you have a 2,100-square foot, single story home served by that one 5-ton AC unit. According to the load calculation, your home needs 5-tons (60k BTU’s an hour) during the hottest part of the day to maintain 75 degrees inside.

What about when it’s 98 degrees, or 85 degrees outside? Well, you no longer need 5-tons to do the same work – maybe you need 4, or 3, or 2.5? This is where a variable speed or inverter compressor comes into play.

Since I already wrote an entire article explaining the differences between single speed, 2-stage, and variable speed AC compressors, I suggest you read that article. It goes hand in hand with this article.

After you’ve read it you will know why I say this:

  • Air conditioners with variable speed compressors are best for Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Air conditioners with 2-stage compressors are the second-best option for Phoenix.
  • Air conditioners with single stage compressors are better suited for less extreme climates with smaller temperature swings from day to night.

Of course, this article assumes the upfront cost of a new AC unit is a non-factor, as there are AC units with single-speed compressors available for as low as ½ the price of a new variable speed AC unit.

Some of the other features of the best air conditioner for Phoenix, AZ will already be included with the high-end variable speed air conditioning systems (we refer to these as AHRI match-ups or system matches) but include things like; a variable speed indoor blower fan motor, communicating system (indoor, outdoor & thermostat are all “talking), etc., so I won’t elaborate further on that in this article.

What brand air conditioner is best for Arizona?

If you are reading this article because you are researching before buying a new air conditioner you should spend some time reading some of my other articles on brand comparisons and side-by-side shoot-outs. The search feature on our blog page will help you find almost any information you need as I’ve written hundreds of these articles over the years.

That said, in my opinion the two best of the best variable speed central air conditioners on the market right now (Summer 2017) are:

  • Lennox XP25 Heat Pump & Lennox XC25 Air Conditioner
  • Trane XV20i

As you will read below in the Lennox vs. Trane model comparison I wrote back in February, I give the Lennox unit a slight edge, but both are top-shelf units. It should be noted that while my company proudly sells both of these units, we also sell a number of other brands so there’s no favoritism in this opinion based on what we sell. We sell Magic Touch not a particular brand of air conditioner – I just want you to buy from us if you are in the Phoenix area. Whether that be a Trane, Goodman, Lennox, Franklin, Daikin, Day & Night, or Mitsubishi – you get the same level of Magic Touch quality installation and relentless service!

When a prospective client calls Magic Touch Mechanical for the price of a new ac unit, we start by scheduling a free home analysis and up-front, open-book price guide so our clients can feel comfortable choosing the best air conditioner for their home and budget. We also offer multiple financing options including special 0% interest financing year-round. Contact-Us today to schedule your free consultation in Mesa, Phoenix, Chanler, Peoria, Fountain Hills and all nearby AZ cities!