The cost of central air installed ranges from $3,900 to $12,000 or more with an average of about $7,100.
The average cost of a 3 ton central AC is $6,200.
The cost of a 4 ton central AC is closer to $7,100.
These are huge central air conditioner price ranges. But there are large differences in your options – from a 1.5 ton, 14 SEER Goodman or cheap online brand to a 5 ton, 20+ SEER Carrier or Lennox.
Instead of guesstimating your cost, Pick HVAC does what it always does – gives you specific, accurate AC prices including installed cost by tonnage – or tons.
It’s difficult to say what the AC cost per ton is. The cost per ton goes down as the AC units get bigger.
AC Unit Prices & Installed Cost by Tonnage
This AC Price List Table shows installed costs by size from 1.0 tons to 5 tons. Residential central air conditioners start at 1.5 tons. Ductless mini split systems are available in 1-ton sizes.
Below, you’ll find itemized retail pricing for AC units you can buy online. The costs include everything you need – the condensing unit and all other equipment required to have functional AC in your home.
AC Unit Cost by Ton:
|Ton||Price: Equipment Only (1)||Installed Cost|
|1 Ton (2)||$950 - $1,400||$2,200 - $3,800|
|1.5 Ton||$2,400 - $4,250||$3,550 - $5,975|
|2 Ton||$2,950 - $5,100||$3,900 - $7,750|
|2.5 Ton||$3,300 - $6,000||$4,250 - $8,600|
|3 Ton||$3,800 - $7,150||$4,900 - $9,900|
|3.5 Ton||$4,250 - $7,700||$5,625 - $10,650|
|4 Ton||$4,800 - $8,650||$5,950 - $11,300|
|5 Ton||$5,250 - $9,700||$6,200 - $12,500|
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(1) Price – The Price Column includes just the equipment: the condensing unit (outside unit), indoor evaporator coil, line set, refrigerant charge and all other installation supplies.
It does not include an air handler or furnace.
(2) 1 Ton ACs – Ductless mini split air conditioners in 1-ton/12,000 BTU sizes are available, but no standard split system ACs are 1 ton. They begin at 1.5 or 2.0 tons depending on the model.
How much does it cost to replace a 2.5 ton ac unit?
In the table above, find the 2.5 Ton AC on the left column. Scan over to the Installed Cost column on the right, and you’ll see the range for the 2.5 ton AC price range.
The range is $4,250 to $8,600 if you hire a certified HVAC installer. The final cost is based on the efficiency and performance of the air conditioner plus its quality. For example, the cost of a Trane 2.5 AC is 50% to 70% more than the cost of a Goodman 2.5 AC of the same efficiency and performance (1-stage, 2-stage, variable).
Did you know? Central air conditioners are also listed in BTU capacity, which is how room air conditioners and ductless mini split air conditioners are listed.
There are 12,000 BTUs in a ton of AC, so:
- 1.5 tons = 18,000 BTUs
- 2.0 tons = 24,000 BTUs
- 2.5 tons = 32,000 BTUs
- 3.0 tons = 36,000 BTUs
- 3.5 tons = 42,000 BTUs
- 4.0 tons = 48,000 BTUs
- 4.5 tons = N/A – No manufacturer makes a 4.5 ton unit
- 5.0 tons = 60,000 BTUs
2.5 Ton AC Prices by Brand
This seems to be an in-between size for a central air conditioner, but it is actually pretty popular for homes and zones 1,100 to 1,500 square feet in various climates, according to our Tons to Square Feet page.
How much does a 2.5 ton central AC cost? Cost is $4,250 to $8,600 based on key factors:
- Number of stages of cooling – 1, 2 or variable capacity
- Installation factors like whether a new refrigerant line set is used or you upgrade to a new thermostat
Notice that our 2.5 ton AC prices by brand chart has two columns, as the others do down the page.
The first is Prices, which refers to the cost of the equipment. As we note later, not all brands can be bought for DIY installation or for you to hire the labor separately. Most brands are sold as a package – equipment plus installation.
However, there are plenty of sites and even local warehouses that sell cheaper brands of AC, so we include the equipment-only Prices column.
The Installed Cost column is the “turnkey” price that includes the equipment, removing and disposing old equipment if necessary, and fully installing, tuning and testing the new air conditioner.
2.5 Ton AC Prices by Brand
|AC Brands||Prices||Installed Cost|
|Trane 2.5 Ton AC Unit||$3,700 – $5,950||$5,150 – $8,450|
|Carrier 2.5 Ton AC Unit||$3,575 – $5,800||$5,000 – $8,300|
|Lennox 2.5 Ton AC Unit||$3,950 – $6,125||$5,275 – $8,600|
|Rheem 2.5 Ton AC Unit||$3,475 – $5,550||$4,725 – $7,850|
|Bryant 2.5 Ton AC Unit||$3,500 – $5,725||$4,875 – $8,125|
|York 2.5 Ton AC Unit||$3,150 – $5,500||$4,375 – $7,975|
3 Ton AC Prices by Brand
How much does a 3 ton AC unit cost? The cost of a 3 ton AC unit is about $6,100 installed. That’s the outdoor condensing unit, pad if needed, refrigerant line set, refrigerant charge, coil installed in the furnace or air handler, and all other installation materials and supplies. These prices do not include a complete AC package with a furnace or air handler.
This is the most popular size – a 3 ton central air conditioner. This table shows the cost of a 3 ton AC from the leading brands – Trane AC prices, Lennox AC prices, Goodman AC prices, Carrier AC prices and more.
Note: These are basic AC units. A 14-16 SEER, single-stage air conditioner is the least expensive you can find. That is why pricing in this table is lower than the central air conditioner prices found in the table above showing the total range of models from the least efficient to most and including 1-stage, 2-stage and variable capacity air conditioners.
3 Ton AC Unit Price By Brands:
|AC Brands||Prices||Installed Cost|
|Trane 3 Ton AC Unit||$3,900 – $7,000||$5,400 – $8,600|
|Carrier 3 Ton AC Unit||$3,975 – $7,050||$5,325 – $8,750|
|Lennox 3 Ton AC Unit||$4,000 – $7,150||$5,550 – $9,900|
|Rheem 3 Ton AC Unit||$3,650 – $6,450||$5,200 – $8,450|
|Bryant 3 Ton AC Unit||$3,900 – $6,950||$5,300 – $8,625|
|Goodman 3 Ton AC Unit||$3,800 – $6,650||$4,975 – $8,400|
|Evcon 3 ton AC Unit||$3,000 – $5,100||$4,900 – $6,800|
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What does a 3 ton AC cost?
It depends on the brand. A cheap Goodman or Evcon starts at around $4,000 installed. If you choose a higher-quality brand, like a Carrier or Trane, the cost goes up to more than $6,000.
Evcon? Never heard of the brand! That’s a common response.
Evcon is made by Johnson Controls, the manufacturer of HVAC brands you probably are familiar with – York, Luxaire and Coleman, plus a few others.
Several of the largest manufacturers make a low-cost brand to compete for bargain shoppers, cost-conscious homeowners who won’t pay the higher cost of a York, Carrier, Trane, Lennox, etc. Carrier makes Payne, and Lennox makes Ducane, for example.
In the case of Evcon, the equipment is the same as York and the other Johnson Controls brands, but ACs are available in just two models, a 14 SEER and 17 SEER central air conditioner. Johnson Controls makes less profit on these units, but they’d rather sell you an Evcon than have you buy a Goodman or other cheap online brand and not make any profit.
Carrier vs Bryant AC
These brands are identical. The Carrier Corporation makes Carrier and Bryant using the same parts, in the same factory.
Prices vs. Installed Cost
Our Prices column shows the cost of the equipment alone, as mentioned earlier – Everything but the labor fees.
However, it is worth noting that you cannot buy most of these brands without also paying for installation. Trane, Lennox, Carrier, Bryant, Heil and most Rheem central air conditioners are sold in a package of the equipment plus installation. You can’t buy the equipment and then choose your installer.
3.5 Ton AC Prices by Brand
In BTUs, a 3.5 ton air conditioner is 42,000 BTU/hour. That’s getting to be a large central air conditioner, and it can cool and dehumidify homes up to 2,000 square feet where the climate isn’t extremely warm. But it is commonly installed in homes around 1,700 square feet.
3.5 Ton AC Prices by Brand
|AC Brands||Prices||Installed Cost|
|Trane 3.5 Ton AC Unit||$4,800 – $7,550||$6,150 – $10,275|
|Carrier 3.5 Ton AC Unit||$4,675 – $7,350||$6,000 – $9,800|
|Lennox 3.5 Ton AC Unit||$4,900 – $7,700||$6,450 – $10,500|
|Rheem 3.5 Ton AC Unit||$4,400 – $6,950||$5,850 – $10,000|
|Amana 3.5 Ton AC Unit||$4,450 – $7,300||$5,675 – $9,400|
|American Standard 3.5 Ton AC Unit||$4,800 – $7,500||$6,100 – $10,200|
|York 3.5 Ton AC Unit||$4,275 – $7,175||$5,800 – $9,625|
|Goodman 3.5 Ton AC Unit||$4,100 – $6,975||$5,775 – $9,900|
4 Ton AC Prices by Brand
Larger homes and those in warm climates often need a bigger unit. Here are 4 ton AC prices for the leading brands.
4 Ton AC Unit Price By Brands:
|Trane 4 Ton AC Unit||$6,600 – $11,100|
|Carrier 4 Ton AC Unit||$6,375 – $10,975|
|Lennox 4 Ton AC Unit||$6,425 – $11,300|
|Goodman 4 Ton AC Unit||$6,100 – $10,450|
|Bryant 4 Ton AC Unit||$6,300 – $10,775|
|Ruud 4 Ton AC Unit||$5,900 – $10,250|
|Coleman 4 Ton AC Unit||$5,875 – $9,950|
|Amana 4 Ton AC Unit||$6,375 – $10,550|
What is the Goodman 4 ton AC unit price?
$2,650 to $6,000 depending on whether you want it installed or will hire an installer separately. Find Goodman in the left column. The center column shows the unit cost if you plan to buy it online and hire someone to install it. The right column shows the average cost range if you hire an installer to provide the outside condensing unit (the AC), indoor coil, refrigerant lines, etc. – The complete package, in other words.
Goodman vs Amana: These are identical brands – Same parts, same assembly line. Different logo.
Goodman remains the low-cost leader in the industry, and its warranties are among the best. Goodman bought the Amana brand in the 1990s. And then Daikin, a global leader in mini split systems, bought Goodman in 2012, acquiring Amana too. Daikin central air conditioners are the most expensive. Amana are mid-priced, and Goodman are the least expensive. To summarize, Daikin sells three identical air conditioner lines at three separate price tiers. The purpose is to attract buyers at all budget levels.
The Future: Looking ahead, ductless mini split air conditioning and heat pump systems (cooling and heating) will become the standard HVAC equipment for new construction and additions/extensions. Asia and Europe have already made ductless systems the standard equipment used. North America is following that lead.
5 Ton AC Prices by Brand
A new 5 ton AC is a very large unit. Few homes have them, and most are large homes and/or located in hot or hot, humid climates.
Here are 5 ton AC price lists for the top brands.
5 Ton AC Unit Price By Brands:
|Trane 5 Ton AC Unit||$6,850 – $12,350|
|Carrier 5 Ton AC Unit||$6,675 – $12,225|
|Lennox 5 Ton AC Unit||$6,450 – $12,500|
|Rheem 5 Ton AC Unit||$5,975 – $11,375|
|Goodman 5 Ton AC Unit||$6,450 – $11,400|
|Ruud 5 Ton AC Unit||$6,500 – $11,750|
|Payne 5 Ton AC Unit||$6,550 – $10,175*|
|York 5 Ton AC Unit||$6,625 – $11,650|
What is the 5 ton AC unit cost for a Carrier?
Carrier is one of the more expensive brands, and also one of the highest in quality and dependability. Find Carrier in the left column, and you can see in the center and right columns the unit price and the installed price. Keep in mind that Carrier ACs are sold as a package – the equipment and installation. Carrier doesn’t sell its equipment to the general public, as Goodman and a few other cheap brands do.
Payne? It might surprise you to know that Payne has a sizable market share. Payne is made by Carrier, and the equipment is identical or nearly so. There are two issues to be aware of if buying a Payne AC. First, the lineup is limited to just a few models. Carrier makes a huge lineup of air conditioners. What Payne offers is, as we said, identical to Carrier models. There are just fewer options.
Secondly, and more importantly, Carrier air conditioners are installed by certified technicians. Most have been factory-trained by Carrier and are NATE certified. Any licensed HVAC installer can sell and install a Payne air conditioner. You might not get the same level of experience/expertise. If you choose Payne, be sure to find an installer with high ratings for quality workmanship.
Are size, efficiency and climate issues confusing? You might benefit from the Pick HVAC Air Conditioning Buying Guide that sorts out all the considerations about SEER efficiency, dehumidification (removing humidity from the air to make it more comfortable) and stages of cooling from 1 stage to, as Trane says, 750 stages.
The AC cost per ton goes down as the unit gets bigger. What changes as the unit gets larger? The coils, rated in tons, get bigger. So does the compressor. And more refrigerant is needed to charge the system.
How to Get the Best 2-5 Ton AC Prices
- Firstly, keep in mind that installation quality is always the most important thing for residential HVAC project. So never sacrifice contractor quality for a lower price.
- Secondly, remember to look up the latest rebates as we talked above.
- Thirdly, ask for at least 3 bids before you make the decision. You can click here to get 3 free estimates for your local contractor, and this estimate already takes rebates and tax credit into consideration and filter unqualified contractors automatically.
Lastly, once you chose the right contractor, remember to use the tactics from this guide: Homeowners Tactics When Negotiating with HVAC Dealer to get the final best price.
What are AC Coils?
Everyone thinks about the AC compressor, the so-called “heart” of the air conditioning system. But there is much more to a central air conditioning system.
The coils, indoor evaporator and outdoor condensing, are very important too. They are the vascular system, to stay with the analogy, along with the refrigerant line set.
When your HVAC system is in AC mode, refrigerant enters the indoor coil (evaporator coil), and collects heat from the air passing over it. The fin structure maximizes surface area for greater heat gathering.
Liquid evaporating takes heat with it, as you’ve experienced on a hot day.
Hot refrigerant travels outside to the condensing coil where it is compressed, and the heat is squeezed out of it and released through the radiator-like fins of the coil.
What is the Cost of Replacing the AC and Furnace?
$6,500 to $17,000 or more based on the size, efficiency, performance and brand of the equipment you choose.
If the extra expense is in the budget, then it is advisable to replace the furnace or, in very warm climates where heating isn’t needed, the air handler, at the same time you replace the AC.
Why? HVAC equipment is made to be paired together, an AC and a furnace or air handler, for example.
If you have a 2-stage furnace or variable-capacity/modulating furnace, then installing it with a furnace or air handler with a variable-speed blower allows you to get the most out of staged cooling and heating.
Also, it saves on labor costs to have both units replaced at once, an AC package deal rather than doing the AC now and a few years later replacing the furnace or air conditioner.
Residential vs Commercial AC
Residential air conditioners are manufactured in sizes up to 5.0 tons, as has been noted. Many Pick HVAC readers own commercial properties too. As a result, we stay up to date on commercial AC pricing.
Commercial AC units are available from about 6 tons to 20 tons. Large buildings use multiple units.
A 10 ton commercial ac unit price ranges from $18,000 to $37,000 installed, for example, depending on the efficiency and features the system offers. That includes labor, multi-zone controls/thermostats, ductwork changes and system setup and testing.
Here are some of the questions we get asked most often. They are good questions. And here are the answers.
What is a 4 ton ac unit price? How much does a 4 ton AC Cost?
You can get a 4 ton AC installed for less than $6,000. That cost includes the outdoor condensing unit, indoor evaporator coil, refrigerant line set, refrigerant charge needed to fill up the system and other installation supplies.
By the way, a 4 ton AC unit is equivalent to a 48,000 BTU system, as 12,000 BTU equals 1 ton.
What is the 3 ton AC unit price?
The 3 ton AC unit cost ranges from $5,400 to $10,800 for most brands when all options are considered from 14 SEER to 24 SEER and single-stage cooling and variable-capacity cooling. The Tables above include ranges for basic air conditioner units, not high-efficiency models.
The 5 ton AC unit cost for all efficiency and performance tiers is $6,200 to more than $12,000. These are installed costs that cover all brands from Goodman ($-$$) to Rheem and Heil ($$-$$$) to Trane, Lennox, Carrier and other premium brands ($$-$$$$).
How Much Does a Commercial AC System Cost?
Most manufacturers make commercial air conditioning equipment. Here are costs to have a commercial air conditioning system installed. These are professionally installed systems. DIY is rarely an option.
Commercial AC Unit Price By Ton:
|6 Ton||$4,900 - $7,700||$6,550 - $11,000|
|10 Ton||$6,900 - $10,500||$8,650 - $13,500|
|7 Ton||$5,400 - $8,250||$7,100 - $11,850|
|7.5 Ton||$5,750 - $9,000||$7,500 - $12,400|
|8 Ton||$6,200 - $9,750||$7,950 - $13,300|
|15 Ton||$9,750 - $12,800||$11,300 - $16,400|
|20 Ton||$11,750 - $14,500||$13,800 - $18,900|
What is a Trane 10 Ton AC unit price?
The price is $10,500 – $13,500 installed for a 10-ton Trane AC. Trane is one of the most expensive brands, but it also ranks at the top of most reliability studies.
What’s the Difference – Standard Split System ACs vs Mini Split ACs?
Our chart shows a wide range of mini split air conditioner prices. Most are heat pumps, by the way, providing both heating and AC.
The range of mini split AC prices accounts for lower-cost single-zone systems and more costly multi-zone systems with one outside unit and up to 4 or 5 indoor units depending on the system and size.
Mini Split AC Price By Ton And BTU: Single Zone & Multi-zone Systems
|Capacity (BTU)||Capacity (Ton)||Price|
|12,000 BTU||1 Ton||$800 - $1,550|
|18,000 BTU||1.5 Ton||$1,000 - $2,450|
|24,000 BTU||2 Ton||$1,175 - $3,200|
|36,000 BTU||3 Ton||$1,900 - $4,800|
* This table is based on equipment costs for top brands: Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Daikin. Expect to pay an additional $800 to $2,000 for installation based on the number of indoor units/zones.