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Last updated on Mar 03, 2020

Rheem Air Conditioner Review

Energy-efficient cooling of large spaces, but with noisy A/C units ​
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  • Units can cool off larger homes and spaces
  • Most units are SEER qualified
  • 10 year limited warranty on unit, but labor costs not covered
Similar Products

4 models compared

5 features evaluated

2 ratings analyzed

Rheem offers seven primary air conditioner models, each with multiple variations to create 102 unique products. Six of the seven models are Energy Star certified (all except the RA17 non-communicating), and most units have a SEER rating of 16 or greater. SEER ratings measure the energy efficiency of a cooling system over an entire season, typically falling somewhere between 13 and 23, with a higher number indicating greater efficiency.

Rheem offers a 10-year limited and conditional parts warranty on all home air conditioners. The limited warranty will cover the replacement of defective parts, but will not cover labor. Homeowners are required to register the air conditioner online within 60 days of installation to be eligible to receive the full benefit of the warranty. For additional coverage, Rheem offers a Protection Plus Warranty, which covers parts and labor on any mechanical or electrical failure and is transferable to the new owners when the home is sold (for a $25 charge).

Rheem air conditioners are generally good for homeowners who want a central air system to cool the entire home, particularly if the home is on the large size.

Rheem Air Conditioners Overview

  • Efficiency (SEER Rating): 13-20.5
  • Model Options: 7 primary models, with variations available on each
  • Warranty: 10 years
  • Energy Star: 6 of 7 models
Fairly good efficiency Powerful machines up to five tons to cool large spaces Available throughout the U.S and Canada Noisy units The Base warranty covers parts only; labor is not covered

Rheem Air Conditioners Air Conditioner Prices by Model

AC Model
SEER Rating
Model Cost
Sound Rating
Unit Size
Cooling Area
Rheem Prestige RA20
At least 20
68-76 dBA
2-5 tons
700 – 4,000 square feet (at 17.3-60.5 kBTU)
Rheem Classic Plus RA17
Up to 17
72.3-76.7 dBA
2-5 tons
700 – 4,000 square feet (at 17.3-60.5 kBTU)
Rheem Classic RA16
Up to 16
70.7-76.6 dBA
1.5-5 tons
700 – 4,000 square feet (at 17.3-60.5 kBTU)
Rheem Classic RA13
Between 13 and 15.5
73-79 dBA
700 – 4,000 square feet (at 17.3-60.5 kBTU)

*All information accurate as of 03/03/2020. Pricing info from CentralAirConditionerPrice.com

Energy Efficiency – SEER Rating

The SEER rating, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, is the industry standard for determining the energy efficiency of an air conditioning unit. The rating is calculated by dividing the output of an air conditioner by the amount of energy the air conditioner used (in Watt-Hours) over the course of a standard season. In other words, if you were to keep your house at a constant temperature through an entire cooling season in which the outdoor temperature ranged from the 60’s to the 100’s, how efficient would your unit be?

SEER ratings range from around 13 to around 23, with the higher numbers indicating greater energy efficiency. Rheem air conditioners fall between 13 and 20.5, depending on the model.

Warranty Options

Warranty options are limited with Rheem. Each Rheem air conditioner comes with a 10-year limited warranty to cover the cost of defective parts if the unit malfunctions within 10 years of purchase. This warranty does not cover labor costs to replace the parts, and it cannot be transferred to new owners in the event of a home sale. To activate your limited warranty, you must register your unit online within 60 days of installation.

Your only other option is to upgrade to the Protection Plus Warranty, which covers parts and labor on any mechanical or electrical failure. This warranty is transferable to the new owners when the home is sold (for a $25 charge). Frustratingly, the cost of this extended warranty is not published on Rheem’s website; pricing is only available through Rheem professional partners at the local level.

Installation and Maintenance

Installation and maintenance are handled by independent Rheem Pro Partners, located throughout the U.S. and Canada. Rheem Pro Partners are companies with HVAC specialists who’ve been trained to work with Rheem units.

It’s important to have a professional install your Rheem air conditioner unit because the warranty becomes null and void if the unit is installed improperly. If there is ever a problem with your Rheem unit, contact the installer first to see if the issue may be covered by your Rheem warranty. Rheem warranties do not include ongoing maintenance, but you may want to consider having a Rheem Pro Partner handle routine maintenance (as opposed to any other HVAC tech). The Rheem Pro Partners will likely have more experience with Rheem units and will avoid doing anything to the unit during maintenance that could invalidate the warranty.

Sound Rating

To determine the sound rating of air conditioners, the industry uses the decibel scale. Decibels range from 0 (absolute silence) to 130 (close-range artillery fire). Most Rheem air conditioners fall between 68 and 79 decibels. For reference, the inside of an operating automobile is about 80 decibels.

In general, most consumers look for an air conditioner unit on the quiet side, with the lowest number being the most desirable.

Compare to Other Air Conditioner Brands

SEER Rating
Energy Star
6 of 7 models
11 of 17 models
8 of 13 models
Price Level
10-year limited
5-10 years
5-12 years
Sound Rating
68-79 dBA
56-76 dBA
49-58 dBA

*All information accurate as of 03/03/2020.

Rheem Air Conditioners vs. Bryant Air Conditioners

Bryant and Rheem offer a similar selection of air conditioner units. Both companies focus on the large outdoor units required to cool a big house. And both companies offer units ranging from 13 to 20.5 on the SEER energy efficiency scale. Furthermore, both companies have a similar warranty program with a base limited warranty of five years on parts, a limited warranty of 10 years on parts when the unit is registered within 60 days of installation, and an optional labor warranty to cover the cost of labor as well as parts.

Bryant earns a slight edge in the noise category, with its units generally being slightly quieter on the decibel scale.

Rheem Air Conditioners vs. Mitsubishi Air Conditioners

Mitsubishi offers a better selection of air conditioner types than Rheem. While Rheem focuses on the more industrial, heavy-duty outdoor units, Mitsubishi offers small indoor units, single-zone outdoor units (meant to cool only one room or area), and multi-zone outdoor units (meant to cool the entire home). The base limited warranty for Mitsubishi starts at five years for parts and seven years for the compressor, but by simply registering your unit, you can get the same 10-year warranty length offered by Rheem. And Mitsubishi offers a 12-year warranty when units are installed by a Diamond Contractor. Because Mitsubishi units are generally smaller and less powerful than Rheem units, the products are also quieter. And Mitsubishi units are generally more energy-efficient than Rheem.

If you have a large home, Rheem has the big, powerful units that can cool your whole space. But if you’re in a small home, Mitsubishi offers more suitable options with quieter, more energy-efficient units.

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