Rheem Air Conditioner Reviews and Prices 2020

Rheem makes 6 central air conditioners with efficiency from 15.5 to 20.5 SEER. It’s one of the first brands to stop making inefficient 13 and 14 SEER models.

Rheem air conditioner cost is $4,995 to $9,695 for installed ACs. Cost factors include the model, size and installation factors.

Note: If you’re just beginning your research into central air conditioners, then our Central AC Prices Guide is the best place to start. It has in-depth information about AC performance, size, efficiency and how these factors allow you to choose the right AC for your climate and indoor comfort preferences.

This Rheem central air conditioner review provides comprehensive research on all Rheem models – their efficiency, performance and cost. It will give you details needed to decide which Rheem model is your best choice – or whether Rheem is the right brand for you.

We’ve completed full reviews of major AC brands Bryant, Carrier, American Standard, Trane, Goodman, Lennox, York and others that allow for quick comparison.

About Rheem – Is Rheem the Same as Ruud?

Rheem is one of America’s best-selling brands. It makes a full line of HVAC equipment plus water heaters and more.

Today, Rheem and Ruud are sister brands owned by Paloma Industries. The two brands make identical equipment – the same air conditioners with different cabinets and logo badges.

Did you know? The HVAC/central AC industry has consolidated like all others. While there are 30+ brands, they are owned by less than 10 manufacturers. For the most part, those manufacturers make just one lineup of ACs but still sell them under multiple brand names such as Ingersoll-Rand brands Trane and American Standard or UTC brands Carrier and Bryant.

Rheem ACs – What’s Available?

This overview table shows the 6 air conditioner models and a few key details.

ModelSEERCompressorThermostatDecibels
Classic Plus Series - RA2020.5Variable-speedEcoNet54-76
Classic Plus Series - RA17172-stageEcoNet72-77
Classic Series - RA17172-stageAny72-77
Classic Series - RA1616Single-stageAny71-76
Classic Series - RA**14 & RA1416Single-stageAny73-77
Classic Series - RA1315.5Single-stageAny73-79

As you can see, you have a full-range of options: Single-stage, two-stage, variable capacity.

A few top Rheem AC models stand out.

The Rheem RA17 is made in two versions. The Classic Plus RA17 is communicating – meaning that instead of simply being controlled by the thermostat, the unit sends data back to the thermostat – communicates with the thermostat – to determine which stage to run on, low (67% of capacity) or high (100%), and when the cycle should end.

There’s more on communicating technology below under Comfort Control and whether it’s worth the cost upgrade of about $500.

The RA**14 and RA14 are identical single-stage models with one difference. The RA**14 is available in 1.5 to 3.5 ton units, or 18K to 42K BTUs, not larger sizes up to 5 tons/60,000 BTUs like the RA14. Sound levels are 73-75 decibels.

Also, the RA**14 is meets efficiency requirements for the Southwest region of the US. The larger sizes of the RA14 do not.  

Rheem Air Conditioner Pros & Cons

What sets Rheem apart, if anything, from major competitors like Trane, Carrier and Lennox?

Pros – Unique Features

Improved quality and higher efficiencies are the two changes to Rheem in the last 5 years that are most impressive.

Rheem was rated in the lower half of brands for quality for some time. But a re-invigoration of R&D – plus using better third-party parts – has improved overall durability and reliability.

For example, the variable speed Copeland Scroll compressor is used on the RA20. Both versions of the RA17 feature the 2-stage Copeland Scroll UltraTech, which is considered right at the top of the chart for quality along with the Trane/American Standard ClimaTuff compressor.

The Copeland Scroll Variable Speed compressor has been available since about 2016, so long-term reliability isn’t known. So far, so good, as they say.

Copeland is a division of Emerson Climate Technologies, one of the largest manufacturers of HVAC parts and equipment in the world.

The improvement in efficiency has occurred recently too. Apart from a few really efficient ACs from Lennox and Daikin/Amana, Rheem’s RA20 at 20.5 SEER rates alongside the most efficient from Carrier, Heil and Armstrong Air.

Here are four ways to look at Rheem advantages and what is offered.

Energy Management

Like all major brands but Goodman (at this writing), Rheem offers three performance levels – single-stage, two-stage and variable capacity.

Cost rises with each upgrade in performance, but efficiency and the ability of the system to dehumidify the air in summer increases too.

It’s important to match the performance with your climate. A single-stage unit is fine for regions with cool summers. But where your AC gets a real workout, then having a more efficient model with better performance controls energy use and makes indoor climate more comfortable.  

The variable speed RA20 is most efficient because the compressor operates like a vehicle’s cruise control. If you want to maintain a speed of 70mph, set the cruise control there. The engine will work harder while going uphill and work easier when going downhill to maintain that speed. It’s an inverter-driven compressor similar to those used in mini split systems.

Variable speed compressors modulate in small increments between about 30% and 100% capacity. They run at the lowest capacity needed to maintain the indoor temperature you prefer.

Cycles are longer – almost continuous on the hottest days. This strategy is more efficient than running at 100% capacity (single-stage unit) and then shutting off – on/off, on/off – or at running at low speed and then kicking into high speed and then back again (two-stage).

As with efficiency, temperature and humidity control improve with better compressor performance.

Comfort Management

The thermostat is at the heart of comfort management. They control what stage variable speed and two-stage units run on.

The RA20 with its variable capacity compressor keeps temperatures more precisely balanced and removes more humidity with its long cooling cycles than either two-stage or single-stage models.

If you live where summers are moderate, then a single-stage model might be sufficient to keep you comfortable. It will cost less too.

In warm climates, consider a two-stage model. In the hottest, a variable speed AC might be worth the money.

Now to thermostats.

The Rheem EcoNet thermostat with WiFi and communicating technology can be used with the RA20 variable speed and RA17 two-stage models.

There are two versions. The EcoNet Smart Thermostat works with Alexa, has a 4.3” LCD touchscreen and a motion sensor – so, like the NEST thermostat, its display lights up when you approach.

It’s also available as an EcoNet Control Center that controls both HVAC and a Rheem water heater.

EcoNet is the only thermostat versions Rheem makes. The other Rheem ACs work with most conventional thermostats and smart thermostats like nest, ecobee and Lux. Our 2020 Ultimate Thermostat Buying Guide is a good place to research your options.

Before you choose the EcoNet thermostat and the communicating option, consider reading our FAQ Guide to Communicating vs Non-communicating technology. You’ll pay more for a communicating system – and with it might come more headaches, not just improved efficiency and climate control.

We recommend reading the Comments at the bottom of the page to get communicating AC technology pros and cons from homeowners like you.

Humidity Management

If your climate is really humid – the SE or South – then humidity management is important.

The long, low cycles of a variable speed AC move air more consistently over the indoor coil. There, moisture from the air condenses and is drained away. This makes the air drier and more comfortable.

A 2-stage model running on low most of the time does the same thing, though not as effectively, but at lower cost for the equipment.

We don’t recommend a single-stage AC for a humid environment. You’ll have to turn down the thermostat to 68-72 to remove as much humidity as you would at 74 with a two-stage model and 76 with a variable speed AC. Your energy costs will be much higher than necessary.

Sound Management

The modulating Copeland Scroll compressor in the RA20 is one of the quietest in the industry, running as quietly as 54db much of the time. That’s the value of variable capacity or modulating performance – the compressors run at a very low speeds – and lower noise levels too.

Rheem uses similar features as other brands to limit noise – a composite (non-metal) base pan quiets vibration noise, a fan orifice designed to reduce noise while optimizing airflow and compressor sound covers, aka blankets, to dampen noise.

Cons – Problems with Rheem ACs

A few years ago, the poor-performing Rheem 13 SEER and 14 SEER ACs were the biggest “con” with this brand. They’re gone, replaced by better quality and efficiency.

The RA20 is fairly new – so is its compressor, the Copeland Scroll Variable Speed compressor. Copeland is a proven brand – but this compressor hasn’t been in use nearly as long as the variable speed compressors from Trane/American Standard and Carrier/Bryant. If you’re committed to a variable speed AC, consider those brands first. For 2-stage performance, the Rheem RA17 is an excellent choice.

The biggest concern now is having an unqualified installer do the installation. There’s more information below under Who Installs Rheem?

2020 Rheem Air Conditioner Prices by Model

Here are the cost ranges for the 6 Rheem AC models. Keep in mind that the RA**14 is available in models from 1.5 tons (18K BTUs) to 3.5 tons (42K BTUs). The others start at 1.5 or 2.0 tons and range to 5.0 tons.

We’ve produced these tables for most other brands including American Standard, Goodman, York and Bryant. They allow you to compare models, specifications and cost head to head.

The System Only column is equipment cost – condensing unit, indoor coil, refrigerant line set and thermostat.

The Installed Cost includes labor costs, supplies needed, installer overhead costs and profit.

ModelSystem OnlySystem Installed
RA20$4,685 - $6,850$6,000 - $9,695
RA17$4,300 - $6,475$5,875 - $9,130
RA17$4,115 - $6,200$5,530 - $8,750
RA16$3,900 - $6,025$5,350 - $8,490
RA**14 (1.5 - 3.5 tons)$3,725 - $4,850$5,185 - $7,000
RA14$3,700 - $5,590$5,100 - $8,175
RA13$3,615 - $5,450$4,995 - $7,935

2020 Rheem Air Conditioner Cost by Size

The chart shows the mid-range costs for Rheem ACs – somewhere between the Rheem RA17 two-stage, non-communicating model and the 16 SEER RA16.

AC Unit SizeHome SizeSystem OnlySystem Installed
1.5 ton600-1000 sf$4,000$6,250
2.0 ton1001 - 1300 sf$4,250$6,600
2.5 ton1301 - 1600 sf$4,535$6,995
3 ton1601 - 1900 sf$4,900$7,415
3.5 ton1901 - 2200 sf$5,285$7,700
4.0 ton2201 - 2600 sf$5,550$7,825
5.0 ton2601 - 3200 sf$6,100$8,325

Speaking of size, sizes in the chart are approximate only.

Getting the right size AC is vital to energy efficiency, performance and durability. When you get Rheem air conditioner cost estimates, talk to the dealers about doing a load calculation such as a Manual J.

A load calculation takes 15+ factors into account such as your climate, home size, home layout, insulation, windows and doors, etc.

It’s the best way to know what size air conditioner is right for your home.

Rheem Warranties

Like many brands, Rheem has upgraded its warranty on top models. The RA20 and RA17 are backed by a 10-year Unit Replacement warranty. If the compressor fails in the first decade, Rheem will replace the entire condensing unit, not just the compressor.

This change reflects increased competition with brands like Goodman and Heil that also offer unit replacement warranties on the compressor. Goodman offers a Lifetime compressor warranty on top models.

Rheem backs all units with a 10-year general parts. That’s average for the industry – the same as Carrier, Bryant, Heil, Armstrong and most Lennox models.

Who Installs Rheem?

Any air conditioning and heating company can be a Rheem dealer. No particular certifications, other than a basic HVAC license, is required.

Is that a good thing?

If the dealer is NATE-certified, it might be fine. NATE is the North American Technician Excellence certification that is highly respected throughout the industry. It carries more weight than being certified by a brand.

Your other option for Rheem installation is to choose a Rheem Pro Partner. According to Rheem, these installers are “elite contractors” dedicated to excellence in installing Rheem equipment.” About 20-40% of the companies that install Rheem are Pro Partners. For example, in the Atlanta area, 20 of 58 AC companies that install Rheem are Pro Partners.

Many of them are NATE-certified too.

Find a Quality Installer – We Can Help

Correct installation is vital to the proper functioning and durability of a central air conditioner.

Most of the professionals that use our Free Local Quotes service are NATE-certified and/or Rheem Pro Partners. They are pre-screened for experience and to be sure they are licensed and insured.

There’s no obligation or cost to use the service. Filling out a short form or making a quick call is all it takes. And you can get your questions answered by the pros that contact you.

We recommend you check out the online reviews of the installers that provide you with free, written estimates. Ask about certification.

This approach is the best way to ensure your Rheem – or any brand – air conditioner is installed properly to give you 15-20+ years of reliable service.

2019-2020 Submitted Prices and Reviews

We will not edit any words from submitted feedback information. We will update this table every 3-6 months and you may not see your submitted review immediately.

Price
Brand & Model & Size
Home Location
Home Size
$2,900 Rheem RA1342AJINA Chicago, IL 1800 sq ft
Rheem makes outstanding products and this is just one of them. I got it to replace an old one I had that broke down a few times and just couldn’t get its old form back. The utility bill has since gone down and I haven’t had any issues with repairs.
$3,800 Rheem RGEA16 Rio Rancho 1850  sq ft
Works great, better than one I had before. It couldn’t cool the house properly and after a few expensive repairs, I decided it’s time I replaced it. I’ve had the unit for almost a year now and I like it, you can’t go wrong with Rheem.
$10,705; $11,890; $14,840 Rheem Classic 15.50, 16 & Prestige 20.5 SEER Zone 3 (Southeast US) 2600 sq ft
The upstairs area that we need a heat pump system installed is ~1,600 sq ft. The estimate we have is for the following:
Rheem Classic 15.50 SEER, 2-stage. Includes ductwork/drain/overflow pan/dampers for balance/3 new ceiling registers/outdoor pad and install. $10,705
Rheem Classic 16 SEER, 2-stage with dehumidification. Includes ductwork/drain/overflow pan/dampers for balance/3 new ceiling registers/outdoor pad and install. $11,890
Rheem Prestige 20.5 SEER, Variable Speed with wifi; Includes ductwork/drain/overflow pan/dampers for balance/3 new ceiling registers/outdoor pad and install. $14,840
$4,100 installed Rheem gas pak 3 ton 80,000btu Prattville, AL 1350 sq ft
I entered bid request late in afternoon and immediately began receiving calls from installers that wanted to submit a bid. I talked to 3 installers and settled on one. I called the installer the next day around 10 am, He was very efficient and installed the unit that afternoon.
$2,090 installed 13 SEER 2.5 ton Fort Stewart, GA 2200 sqft
I have had this unit for about 6 months now and I can tell you Goodman have the quality stuff. I haven’t had to deal with any repairs at all, and that’s just amazing. We have a much more comfortable house now because before it would keep getting hot even though the sun was going down. Great job Goodman, I like.
$3,290 Rheem Value 2 ton Aiken, SC 2200 sqft
I like Rheem because you can count on their products to serve you well. I recently had my AC unit replaced. I had an old model Rheem that had become slower and couldn’t cool the house like before. I trust Rheem products so naturally, I replaced it with this new unit. It cools the house just like I want it to and it’s cheaper to run it. It’s been two months now since I got it, I hope I don’t come back here to complain about it breaking down.
$3,949 14AJM 14 SEER Birmingham, AL 2800 sqft
I don’t like how this is turning out at all. I have had this malfunctioning AC for about a year and am already repairing a Freon leak every few weeks. The unit cannot hold the Freon for more than 4 days and you have to refill constantly.

How to Get the Best Rheem AC Prices?

  • Firstly, keep in mind that installation quality is always the most important thing for air conditioner project. So never sacrifice contractor quality for lower price.
  • Secondly, remember to look up the  rebates.
  • 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.

At last, 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.

Feel free to ask any question by leaving a comment, we will answer any question with actionable tips.

Other Related Articles:

Rheem Central Air Conditioner Prices and Installtion Cost

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18 thoughts on “Rheem Air Conditioner Reviews and Prices 2020”

  1. I was just quoted a price for just condenser and air handler installed into an existing unit for $7,851 for a 13 seer model Rheem RA1360 or a 16 seer model Rheem RA1660 for $8,725

    Reply
      • I was quoted $6,935 for 13 Seer Rheem RA1324 installed, with ductwork modification, new refrigerant lines, new supply transition. 3 year labor warranty. Sounds like we both called Home Depot. I hope they’re not ripping us off.

        Reply
        • Ben, it depends on the ductwork modification that is needed, but it sounds like a good deal. The supply transition and refrigerant lines are also a plus. Usually, the refrigerant lines are located inside walls or under the slab so the installing company just flushes the lines and uses the old ones. There is even an acid flush that is used for compressor burnouts if needed. 3-year labor warranty is also a plus, I usually only hear of a 1-year labor warranty. Please be aware that if you replace both the furnace/air handler and the condensor most companies now give you a 10 year warranty on both. You have to remember to register it or have the company that installed it register it. Hope this helps.

          Reply
  2. how much for complet ac 16 seer rheem air handler and electric heat kit
    2 systems and condenser on roof 32 feet up, no line sets ,
    also run new low voltage wire to two condenser units

    2 ton system

    Reply
  3. Please quote for 2 x Rheem 15 ton commercial air conditioner packaged units RLKL-B180CL
    These units are for export. Zip code of Freight Forwarder is 33178.

    Reply
      • I was quoted $5500 in DC for 14 SEER Not sure how we know if we are getting reasonable prices. The Outdoor Unit on internet says about $1650 to buy the unit and install self ( not happening) so what is a good price?

        Reply
  4. my unit requires a new part for the second time. It is a little less than 4 yrs old. i’m very unhappy. since it is still under warranty, can I retain the failed part or does the repair co need it to claim warranty?

    Reply
    • Constance, if it is a warranty part then the repair company needs to return it in exchange for the new part. If it is out of warranty I would say you could keep the part. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  5. my unit is model RHLL-HM2417JD – serial W33140693708/2014. I can’t locate any info on it from your site. Please let me know as much as you can about it. Thx

    Reply
  6. I purchased a 1 1/4 ton rheem 13 seer unit, Alaskan installed. Had a professional roofer strip and reroof my house. All within the last 5 years. Been up on the roof myself, resealed around the duct work. But the design with the fan on top, when it rains water comes in and is blown into the duct. Which leaks through the filter on to my laminate floors which cannot handle water. Very poor design. Done it now for years, needs to be replaced/ repaired or recalled. No doubt in Arizona it dosen’t rain much.

    Reply
  7. I have worked with my brother for over 22 years mostly installing Rheem and Ruud products. He recently switched back to Rheem after going with Carrier for about 9 years. It wasn’t the Carrier product that made him switch back to Rheem/Ruud, it was the Supplier. The cost for Carrier was much higher than for the Rheem/Ruud products of the same quality.

    Now for my short story about Rheem/Ruud. Back in the early 2000’s we were hired to install units for a 5 plex apartment building. We did so, roughed it all in and installed all the air handlers/condensors and finished up the job. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit the area and flooded the building about 8 foot up. All of the Ruud units were submerged in water for over a week or so. In 2016 the owner of the 5 plex called us back to service one of the units because it wasn’t working and he explained that the company he had been using had not been treating him fairly and still couldn’t repair the problem. Needless to say it was the same units we installed over 15 or so years prior. He told us about the flood of water and how the units sat submerged in the brackish water for a period of time and that they all still worked to that day with only minor repairs. I was impressed needless to say. I have always liked Rheem and Ruud and will always recommend them to anyone who asks which is a good name brand unit to buy.

    Reply

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