Ruud Air Conditioner: Buyers Guide Reviews And Comparison

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Last updated: 
June 30, 2018

It can be challenging to decide on the best brand for your new home air conditioner. First, you must narrow down the brands that excel from the ones that are only good or mediocre. After you do that, you have to find details on different models and figure out which one fits your needs.

When it comes to popularity and reliability, there are few manufacturers that can beat the appeal of a Ruud air conditioner. The company is known for offering high-efficiency air conditioners at an appealing price. Their units include an “Ultra Series,” “Value Series,” and an “Achiever Series,” each of which have high SEER ratings and are known for their durability.

Unique Features of Ruud Air Conditioners

Air Conditioner Compressors

Ruud is well-known for the astounding quality of their compressors. This is one of the most expensive parts of an air conditioner, and some companies are known to skimp a bit. Ruud uses scroll compressors, which are known for being highly reliable and durable. What makes a scroll compressor unique is that it engages a smaller amount of friction than a conventional compressor, which makes them quieter and more consistent than other brands.

Home Air Conditioner Pricing

Another place that Ruud excels is with the pricing of their air conditioners. You might think that an air conditioner with an exceptional compressor would cost a bundle, but Ruud makes its products more affordable than the competition. While this isn’t going to be the least expensive air conditioner on the market, it’s going to offer value as far as features and price. As an example, an 18 SEER Ruud Ultra Series costs only about $2,000 while a competitor with largely the same product prices its unit at nearly $2,700. That’s a huge difference, no matter what your budget is.

Air Conditioner Efficiency

When you pay for an air conditioner, you want to purchase the one that is most efficient. An efficient unit keeps your utility bills low and can offset the actual purchase price of an air conditioner. Efficiency is indicated by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratings (SEER). The larger the number is, the more efficient it is going to be. With SEER ratings of up to 18, Ruud is doing well on this front.

The Top 5 Ruud Air Conditioners

Classic Series Two-Stage RA17

The RA17 is a two-stage air conditioner from the Classic series. It features a modern aesthetic that is sleek and visually appealing. The two-stage scroll compressor ensures precision of temperature control, as well as higher efficiency than single stage compressors. There is a diagnostic service window that gives access to low and high pressure, as well as triple service access to make repairs and carry out inspections. The removal of nearly a third of the standard cabinet fasteners also aids in that aspect.

This unit has an efficiency of up to 17 SEER. It can also be operated through the EcoNet application from Ruud. The app supports many cooling, heating, and water heating products on a single network. This unit comes in nominal sizes of 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-ton units and has a cooling capacity of between 17.3 and 60.5 kBTUs. It also includes a ten-year conditional unit replacement along with a 10-year warranty on parts.

Achiever Plus Series Two-Stage UA17

This is another two-stage unit that can connect to the EcoNet Smart Home System. This Achiever Plus unit is both efficient and quiet due to the two-stage compressor within. This also leads to lower humidity levels and a higher degree of comfort. The fan is also optimized for the best airflow, highest performance, and quiet operation. On top of that, it has the durability of other Ruud air conditioner units.The UA17 unit has an efficiency that can reach up to 17 SEER and comes in nominal sizes of 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-ton units. It features a single-row condenser coil, making the unit lighter and easier to keep the coils clean for the best performance. It has cooling capabilities of 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and each unit is leak tested before sale. It also carries an impressive 10-year warranty on most parts.

Achiever Series Single Stage RA14

The first two units were beasts, but this option is a little less powerful. That said, it still has everything you could want from an air conditioning unit. It has up to 16 SEER and comes in sizes from 1.5 to 5 tons with cooling capacity from 17.3 to 60.5 kBTUs. It also has a 10-year warranty on many parts if something goes wrong while using it. It was designed with modern cabinet aesthetic and has curved lower panels which ensure cabinet strength and rigidity while providing protection to the coils.Some of the small details shine with this unit, such as the rust-resistant screws and service trays to hold fasteners. The fan motor harness has long wires, so the fan doesn’t need to be disconnected before the unit top can be removed. The triple service access also makes repairs a breeze as components can be reached without much effort.

Achiever Series Single Stage RA 13

The RA13 is the baby brother of the RA14, and it shows. They have the same look and many of the same features. The only real difference is the SEER efficiency can only reach 15.5 with this option, depending on the size of the unit you choose. It comes in nominal sizes from 1.5 to 5 tons and has the standard cooling capacity of 17.3 to 60.5 kBTUs. It also features a 10-year warranty on various parts and components.The unit has an optimized fan area that helps reduce sound and heighten air flow. It also comes with powder coated paint that is long-lasting, so there’s no need for touch-ups. The base pan of this model is new and helps prevent corrosion, drops the number of needed fasteners, and keeps the sound down. On top of that, it’s easy to find all the technical information you want courtesy of the QR code on the unit.

Achiever Series Single Stage RA14**W

When what matters most is staying comfortable and cool, you can’t beat the RA14**W by Ruud. It has an well-organized design that ensures the best temperatures while providing extreme efficiency of up to 16 SEER. The unit comes in nominal sizes of 1.5 to 3.5 tons and has a ten-year warranty on many parts. The unit itself can range from 157 pounds to 225 pounds, depending on the size of the unit you choose.The RA14**W has an expanded valve space that is intended to make service calls easier. The triple service access will make maintenance painless for the average homeowner. It’s easy to take apart the cabinet, make repairs, and put it all back together. The number of fasteners is also less than in earlier models. The compressor uses fewer parts to offer less noise and provide higher reliability.

Buyer’s Guide

There are various things that should be considered when buying a new or upgraded air conditioner. We’ll look at some of the most important aspects to give you a better idea of which unit might be right for you, your home, and your family.

Price Considerations

One of the most important things for most people will be finding the best air conditioner you can while paying the lowest price. There is nothing wrong with that, but you do need to consider the value of quality when considering price. The least expensive Ruud air conditioner may not be the best one for your needs. The same may be true for the most costly. When choosing your best option for an air conditioner, you want to consider what matters to you, what size your house is, and more.It is also worth determining if you might qualify for any tax credits for purchasing a high-efficiency air conditioner. The additional money can expand your budget and get you the best possible air conditioner.

Size Matters

When you think about size, you will be looking at BTU (British thermal units per hour). 12,000 BTU is a ton of cooling, so it’s not always the best idea to choose the air conditioner with the highest number. Instead, you want to consider the size of your home and determine what BTU will fill it. Here are some examples:• 500 Square Foot Home – 12,000 BTU• 1,000 Square Foot Home – 18,000 BTU• 1,500 Square Foot Home – 24,000 BTU• 2,000 Square Foot Home – 34,000 BTUYou also may want to make adjustments based on the amount of sun that reaches your home, where the unit will be installed, and how many people are regularly in the area being cooled.


You may want to consider negotiating a service plan that includes discounted labor and repairs when hiring a technician to install the AC unit. Often you can get a deal when doing so. Prices can vary to a significant degree depending on your location, but it’s always worth looking into the option. You’re going to need maintenance and repairs later on, so why not reduce the price while you can.

Thermostat Choice

If your Ruud air conditioner comes with a programmable thermostat, using it properly can reduce your costs of cooling by 10% on average. You can also utilize box or ceiling fans to make a room feel a few degrees cooler.

Upgrading a System

Those who are upgrading their system should make sure to have a load calculation done beforehand. While you can base your new unit on the old one’s specifications, this isn’t always accurate. If you’ve made any changes to energy efficiency, whether by installing better windows or adding insulation, you may have different cooling needs than you did last time you bought a unit. However, if you’ve expanded the home, you may need a stronger unit this time around.When the contractor does calculations, he or she should look at whether your ducts need to be insulated, sealed, replaced, or resized. Also, your indoor evaporator and outdoor condenser need to be purchased from the same brand to get the best efficiency, performance, and capacity.A new system is likely to be anywhere from 15 to 40 percent more efficient than a model from a decade in the past. This might mean the air conditioner itself is a bit pricier than before. Just remember that the additional efficiency will help keep utility prices down and save you money in the long run. Efficiency differences could also mean buying a slightly more expensive option would actually save money over a cheaper model.


On top of what you spend for your Ruud air conditioner, you’ll also end up paying money to have the unit installed. It’s important to choose a contractor who can do so professionally and who has proven experience. If this isn’t the case, the installation could suffer, and this can lead to problems with the unit later down the road. Consider looking into referrals from family or friends, and make sure to do your research on the contractor’s background and any certifications. You don’t want to leave a substantial job like this to just anyone, so take the time to find and hire the best.Before hiring a service contractor, make sure to get a bid on the job from a few companies. This will give you an idea of what the choices are and how each contractor calculates things. Make sure to ask for a copy of the calculations with your quote. If the estimate is based solely on house size, you may want to choose a different professional for your installation.

Wrapping Up

This review should provide information on what to expect from Ruud air conditioners, along with which are the best on the market today. We believe any of the listed units will meet the needs of most people, depending on their home size and number of inhabitants. It’s up to you to determine which speaks to you and offers the performance you need.

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