The Rheem Manufacturing Company currently makes a lineup of six central air conditioners marketed in a good, better and best manner corresponding to their efficiency and performance. This Rheem AC review gives you an overview of the product line including efficiency levels, cooling performance and their pros and cons which make it easier for you to compare Rheem with other brands you’re considering. You might be interested to know that Rheem and Ruud product lineups are identical in all but the name. After each company had a long history of its own, they are now both owned by Paloma Industries headquartered in Nagoya, Japan.
Rheem AC and Brand Overview
Rheem has three series of ACs. The Classic Series features four Rheem AC models: RA13, RA14, RA14W and RA16 ideal for cool to moderate climates. These are single-stage ACs with a maximum efficiency of 16 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating).
There is one Rheem AC in the Classic Plus Series, the RA17 with up to 17 SEER for moderate and warm climates. It’s a two-stage air conditioner. Rheem’s most efficient model is the Prestige Series RA20 introduced in 2016 with a 20 SEER rating and variable-speed cooling. It’s the best choice in hot climates. The RA20’s efficiency is competitive with most top brands including Carrier, Trane and Bryant, though ACs up to 24 SEER are available from other top brands like Lennox.
Rheem AC Technical Specifications
As noted, there are three series of Rheem central air conditioners. Here are the specs of each:
- Rheem Classic Series ACs are single-stage models which means their compressors run at 100% capacity all the time.
- Single-stage Rheem AC units tend to cool past the thermostat set point, and that leads to slight temperature fluctuations.
- The Classic Plus Series Rheem AC is a two-stage model that runs at 67% capacity to maintain cooling but increases to 100% capacity when needed.
- The two-stage Ultra Tech scroll compressor is one of the best in the industry.
- The Prestige Series air conditioners include a variable-speed (aka modulating and variable-capacity) Copeland Scroll compressor that runs incrementally from 40% to 100% to deliver precise cooling.
- All series are available in units from 1.5 tons to 5.0 tons (about 18,000 BTUs to 60,000 BTUs).
- Rheem ACs have a composite base pan to eliminate corrosion.
- Insulated cabinets reduce operating noise.
- Powder-coat finishes are baked on and durable, resisting corrosion for many years.
- Optimized defrost in all models prevents freeze-ups.
- Classic Plus and Prestige Rheem AC units include EcoNet technology that coordinates split system components to optimize efficiency.
- Classic Plus and Prestige units include high-pressure and low-pressure compressor protection.
Pros and Cons of the Rheem AC Models
Here are the top reasons to consider a Rheem AC:
- You’ve got options from 16 to 20 SEER to match efficiency level to your climate.
- The most efficient units might qualify for rebates from your utility company.
- Single-stage, two-stage and modulating ACs give you cooling comfort levels in three budget ranges.
- These ACs are available in capacities to fit homes up to about 3,000 square feet, depending on the climate.
- Your Rheem AC can be maintained and repaired by any HVAC technician, not just a Rheem specialist.
- Rheem air conditioners have a solid reputation for reliable performance and should last 15-20+ years with proper maintenance.
- Powder coatings and corrosion resistant screws help maintain the appearance of the jacket.
- Sound-reduction features include insulated compressors and the composite base pan make Rheem air conditioners among the quietest on the market.
- Updated cabinet design has a modern appeal.
- Classic Plus and Prestige Rheem AC models feature louvered panels that offer better protection to the coil.
- The optimized fan orifice speeds cooling of the condenser coil to improve efficiency and in.
- Copeland compressors are used in the top two series and are considered the gold standard within the industry.
- Rheem’s PlusOne design features like expanded valve space and triple service access makes it easier, faster and less costly to service the unit.
- Rheem offers unit replacement on Classic Plus and Prestige models; if the compressor fails within the first decade, Rheem will replace the entire AC (though your AC must be registered within 30 days of installation to qualify).
- Even Rheem’s cheapest AC, the RA13, includes a 10-year general parts warranty rather than the 5 years some brands offer on entry-level units.
Here are a few concerns with Rheem ACs to be aware of:
- Several brands make air conditioners that are up to 25% more efficient, though more expensive too, so you might prefer one of those if you live in a very warm climate or if green cooling is a top priority.
- On the other end, there are brands that produce air conditioners at a lower cost, though less efficient than Rheem’s minimum 15.5 SEER, which might be a better choice in cool climates or part-time locations where the AC doesn’t get heavy use.
- Like any brand, Rheem AC models require proper installation to meet efficiency and durability expectations, and the unit you choose should be installed by a qualified, experience HVAC contractor.
- Rheem makes only six models from which to choose; most top brands including Trane, Lennox and Carrier make significantly more.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Rheem AC
The first consideration is your climate. The warmer it is, the more efficient the AC should be. The slightly higher cost of a more efficient Rheem AC will be recouped in less than five years through lower energy bills.
If your climate is extremely warm, it might be worth looking at models like the Lennox XC25 (26 SEER), the Maytag PSA4BI (25.5 SEER) or top models from Daikin/Amana (24.5 SEER).
Performance is important too. In the Classic and Classic Plus Series, single-stage models offer less performance but cost less too while the two-stage Rheem RA17 delivers slightly better efficiency and improved temperature balance and humidity control. All leading brands make single-stage and two-stage units for head-to-head comparison. Only some brands including Lennox, Maytag, Daikin, Amana, Carrier, Bryant, Trane and Armstrong are producing variable-capacity models for you to compare with the Rheem RA20.
Rheem delivers good quality and performance, and the brand’s service record is in the top ten. With the competitive pricing of all models, Rheem represents good value and options for cooling performance and efficiency.
Has this comprehensive Rheem AC buyers guide been helpful as you research your next central air conditioner. If so, consider commenting and sharing it with your Facebook friends and other social media followers who might find it useful too! If you’ve had a Rheem AC, be sure to let us know how it performed for you.