This review covers standard split system Daikin central air conditioners. The brand makes mini-split ACs too, and we review them here with models, features and prices.
Daikin is a global leader in commercial and residential HVAC. The company bought Goodman in 2012. Amana, a Goodman brand, was part of the deal. Initially, Daikin put their labels on Goodman/Amana products, but now Daikin is revamping the lineup, using the improved technology in Amana products too (though not all Daikin and Amana units are identical).
Let’s look at Daikin central AC pros, cons and prices.
Top Daikin Features / Daikin Pros
There are four notable features in this lineup of 8 air conditioner models:
Daikin has improved efficiencies. The DX20VC is a variable-capacity AC that achieves a SEER rating of up to 24.5. That puts it among the most efficient air source split system ACs on the market (Lennox XC26 – up to 26 SEER, Amana AVXC20 – up to 24.5 SEER).
While that level of efficiency (at a higher cost than standard-efficiency) units isn’t cost-effective for every home, where the AC season extends from spring into fall with high humidity too, it might make sense. The extra $1,000-$1,750 spent on an AC with ultra-high efficiency will be recouped in 4-10 years depending on climate.
Daikin makes its own two-stage and variable-capacity compressors, and the compressor is the heart of the AC. It The industry standard is Copeland, the brand that makes compressors for Carrier, Rheem/Ruud, Goodman and many other top ACs.
However, we’re impressed with Daikin compressors. Daikin has been making some of the highest-performing ACs for a global market for decades including very efficient mini-split ACs. In short, Daikin technology is proven to be efficient and durable. We think Daikin compressors will perform on par with or better than Copeland. See the Cons below for one concern about Daikin using its own compressors.
Daikin has upgraded its indoor (evaporator) coils. They feature all-aluminum construction that resists corrosion. The coils include a factory-mounted thermal expansion valve, a process that ensures better reliability than field-installation. This cuts installation time too.
Finally, warranties are excellent. All units have 12-year general parts warranties. Compare that to 10 years for all Carrier and Trane ACs and a mix of 10-year and 5-year warranties for Lennox.
Beyond that, Daikin offers 12-year unit replacement on the DX20VC, DX18TC and DS16TC. Six-year unit replacement warranties cover the DX16SA, DX14SA and DX13SA. These warranties cover compressor failure. Daikin will replace the entire outdoor unit if the compressor fails while covered.
Cons for Daikin Central Air Conditioners
These are cautions more than cons because no issues have been reported to date.
First, Daikin quality is very good. Still, we’re a bit wary of any brand that relies on its own essential parts, in this case, Daikin compressors on its top 3 models in the list below. Lennox uses many more exclusive parts, and delays in the supply chain have caused significant wait times for repairs. That’s an issue Lennox believes it has fixed, and the issue might never materialize with Daikin.
These ACs are just a few years old, so compressors won’t begin to fail in significant numbers for 5-10 more years. In short, time will tell.
Secondly, those same three top models offer communicating technology as an option. It’s known as ComfortNet (same as Goodman and Amana). The potential upside is superior efficiency and indoor comfort. The possible downside is a failure to communicate, which can stop the unit from producing air conditioning. Amana has had known issues.
You don’t have to take it and its price tag of $750-$900 for the internal equipment and the top-of-the-line communicating thermostat.
See our Guide to Communicating vs. Non-communicating technology for more details. Or take the advice of one of our readers who has had problems with his York communicating system. Paul says, “I am an electronics engineer who works with instrumentation and controls. My advice is to stay away from systems with communicating thermostats until the bugs are worked out of the designs.” We agree.
Note: As is often the case, there is a discrepancy in the literature from Daikin. The Main AC page lists SEER ratings lower than more recent literature. This PDF page shows the most recent upgrades in efficiency.
Daikin AC Model Analysis and Recommendation
This table is an overview of Daikin AC models and main features. Analysis is below.
|DX18TC||19||Two-stage||Option||Energy Star/Copeland Diagnostics|
|DX16TV||16||Two-stage||Option||Energy Star/Copeland Diagnostics|
|DX16SA||16||Single-stage||No||Energy Star/Copeland Diagnostics|
|DX14SA||15||Single-stage||No||Energy Star/Copeland Diagnostics|
As noted, the DX20VC is one of the most efficient central air conditioners available. When replacing an AC that is 15+ years old, it can reduce energy use and cost by 40-60%.
This unit is Daikin’s only variable-capacity AC. Daikin is a global leader in inverter technology. The compressor speeds up or slows down in small increments to precisely meet the air conditioning demand and greatly reduce wasted energy.
When coupled with a variable-speed blower in an air handler or furnace, the DX20VC delivers the best indoor climate and humidity control of any Daikin split system AC and among the best available.
The DX18TC (19 SEER) and DX16TC (16SEER) give you two-stage AC options at the SEER rating and cost that best suits your climate/budget needs. If you want 16 SEER efficiency but want to reduce equipment cost with a single-stage unit, the DX16SA is a good choice. You might notice slight temperature fluctuations. It won’t dehumidify quite as well as a two-stage unit, but its sufficient arid climates.
The DX14SA (15 SEER) and DX13SA (14 SEER) are affordable units backed by the 6-year unit replacement warranty. The DX14SN and DX13SN are Daikin’s budget ACs. They’re suitable for northern climates where the air conditioner doesn’t get heavy work and for part-time locations like vacation homes and guest apartments.
Daikin AC Prices
|Daikin Model||System Only||System Installed|
This price list is divided into two columns. The System Only price is just the air conditioner/condensing unit/outside unit.
The System Installed price is the cost of labor plus all installation equipment including the indoor (evaporator) coil, refrigerant lines and charge and a new thermostat, if needed.
The reason for the range of prices is that each model is produced in units from 1.5 or 2.0 tons (18K BTU or 24K BTU) depending on model to 5.0 tons (60K BTU) for all models.
Daikin AC Prices by Size
Pricing by size is another way to look at your Daikin AC costs. For this table to be helpful, you must know the size needed. If it’s a replacement AC, your owner’s manual for the old model should have size information.
The AC model number often includes the size too. Look for these numbers within the longer number. They refer to MBH or 1,000 BTU. Translated to tons:
- 18: 1.5 tons
- 24: 2.0 tons
- 30: 2.5 tons
- 36: 3.0 tons
- 42: 3.5 tons
- 48: 4.0 tons
- 60: 5.0 tons
If you don’t know what size AC you need, an HVAC technician can do a test called a load calculation. The test can take a couple hours and cost up to $200, sometimes more. However, if you hire the company to install an AC, they might waive the fee.
Use the Free Local Quotes on this page to discuss your AC size requirement with some of the top air conditioner installers in your area.
Here are Daikin AC prices by size. The ranges in each size reflect the differences in efficiency, performance and warranty coverage discussed above.
|AC Unit Size||Home size||Equipment cost||Installed Cost|
|1.5 ton||Up to 1,000 sf||$1,165-$3,125||$2,345-$5,150|
|2.0 ton||1001-1300 sf||$1,3285-$3,250||$2,700-$5,235|
|2.5 ton||1301-1600 sf||$1,635-$3,500||$3,035-$5,475|
|3.0 ton||1601-1900 sf||$1,915-$3,625||$3,280-$5,635|
|3.5 ton||1901-2200 sf||$2,025-3,695||$3,515-$5,700|
|4.0 ton||2201-2600 sf||$2,100-$3,825||$3,650-$5,825|
|5.0 ton||2601-3200 sf||$2,285-$4,000||$3,865-$6,125|
Rebates and Incentives on Efficient Daikin ACs
There are no federal tax credits for the installation of an efficient central air conditioner, but many states and utility providers offer incentives. Call your energy provider or search the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.
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