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Ruud Air Conditioner Reviews & Prices 2021

Ruud have established themselves at the forefront of the US Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) market, thanks to their consistent manufacturing of solid AC units at prices that undercut much of their direct competition. But can they live up to their company slogan of ‘Tried. Tested. Tough.’? I’m here to put that to the test!

As a licensed electrician specializing in the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) sector, I have over a decade’s worth of experience helping my clients choose the right central air conditioner for their home. I’ve fully installed hundreds of units over the years, so I understand exactly what makes a quality-built, reliable, and energy-efficient air conditioner.

I care that you make the right decision buying your first unit because I’ve seen directly just how much of a positive impact the improved comfort and ventilation an air conditioner can bring can have on your everyday home life.

To help you choose the perfect AC for your home, I’ve scrutinized and reviewed some of the latest air conditioners from Ruud.

HVAC units are becoming increasingly popular in the US, cooling homes nationwide and providing a comfortable living area with clean, filtered air. Thanks to considerable, recent advances in technology, affordable doesn’t necessarily need to just be another way to say cheaply made, defective, or inferior.

Read my Ruud air conditioner review to see what kind of quality and value Ruud offers and if they can live up to their company slogan of ‘Tested. Trusted. Tough.’

Ruud Air Conditioner Pros & Unique Features
Affordability compared to other leading brands
Energy Star© labelled air conditioners
Durable SEER ratings between 13 and 20
Up to 10-year limited parts warranty
Pre-fitted with industry leading Scroll Compressors
Ruud Air Conditioner Cons
Noisier than their counterparts produced by parent company Rheem
Larger and bulkier than other AC models

About Ruud

Since its inception over 100 years ago, Ruud has earned a reputation as being one of the most affordable ranges of central air conditioners around today. The company founder, Norwegian engineer Edwin Ruud, designed and developed the world’s first automatic water heaters, and by the mid-1950’s Ruud had evolved to produce heating and air conditioning equipment.

Nowadays, the Ruud brand name is a division of the Rheem Manufacturing Company, and units sold by Rheem and Ruud together accounted for around 10% of every air con unit sold in the US last year.

Ruud AC Buying Guide

By now you’ve decided you want to invest in an air conditioning unit for your home, and you’ve seen some of the immediate pros and cons of purchasing a model from Ruud. Now, stats and numbers are all very well and good, but what do they mean- and what exactly should you be looking for from a Ruud air conditioner? How can this translate into finding the right air conditioner for you and your home? Read on and I’ll help you understand!

There are some common factors that all good air con units should provide, regardless of the unit size or price range. Below is an explanation of each of these factors and how they relate to your decision.

Size of your home

Considering the size of your home is important in determining which unit is right for you. Too small a unit will result in you not getting enough cooling air into your living spaces, whilst one that’s too large can mean you’re wasting money on unnecessarily large energy bills. The most accurate way you can find out which HVAC is perfect for your home, and to achieve maximum efficiency, is to have a Manual J Calculation done on it.

This considers many factors, such as the square footage of your home, the number of windows in the property, how many heat-generating appliances there are inside, how many people live at the property, and the type of climate you reside in. A free energy audit is offered by most energy suppliers that will then provide your Manual J Calculation.

Once you have this, you’ll know how many British Thermal Units (BTUs) of cooling capability are needed to adequately reduce the desired temperature of your home, which you can then pass on to your prospective HVAC contractor.

You can also use the square footage of your home to get a rough idea of how many BTUs are needed. A small single-bedroom apartment of 100-150sqft will need around 5,000 BTUs. A large apartment or single-story house of 1,000sqft requires 21,000 BTUs, and two-story family home of 2,000-2,500sqft would need 34,000 BTUs to keep it cool.

Remember though, this estimate doesn’t consider your climate, which can have a big impact on the BTUs you’ll use if you live in seriously warm parts of the country!

Energy efficiency

An energy-efficient air conditioner will make sure that while temperatures may soar, your energy usage doesn’t have to. Many HVAC units are now more energy-efficient than ever before. You can judge just how eco-friendly and fuel-efficient an AC model is by its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating.

This rating is calculated by taking the total number of British Thermal Units (BTUs) of heat that is removed from the air and dividing it by the total amount of energy the air conditioner requires in watt-hours. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy-efficient the unit is considered to be.

You can use this rating to work out how much money off your seasonal energy bills you could save by investing in a model with a higher SEER rating. For example, you may be thinking about buying an AC unit with a SEER rating of 14. You know your energy bill will be $500 when using this air conditioner. You see another similarly priced unit with a SEER rating of 16. Dividing 16 by 14 gives 1.14- so the 16 rated model is 14% more energy efficient than the 14 rated model. This means a $500 energy bill could be cut down to $430, a saving of $70!

Add these savings up over an expected AC lifespan of 20 years and it’s easy to see why a higher SEER rating can be so cost-effective.

All of Ruud’s products come Energy Star© certified, the gold standard in energy efficiency, so you can purchase with the knowledge that you’re saving money and energy, as well as protecting the environment.

Lifespan and durability

This applies to almost anything you’ll ever buy when it comes to home improvement. Nobody wants to make a purchase, only to have to make the same outlay a few years down the line. Since your AC unit will be fitted to the outside wall of your home, it will endure near-constant exposure to the elements, and with this in mind, your air conditioner must be built to last- with quality components and a robust outer casing that protects it from wear and tear.

A good way to judge how robust an air conditioner is likely to be is whether it has curved louver panels. A louver panel is a shutter with a series of horizontal slats that regulate the flow of air. Curved louver panels are desirable because they offer better protection to the unit’s insides, they enhance the strength of the outer cabinet, and increase its rigidity- ensuring your unit can withstand any weather as well as bumps and scrapes.

An AC unit painted using a powder coat paint system will keep its professional finish for longer, and screws and fittings that are rust-resistant will do just that- resist rust! It will make them far less likely to become brittle and eliminates corrosion- saving on replacements and repairs in the future.

Type of compressor

The compressor is the beating heart of the air conditioning unit. AC units use a gas refrigerant (traditionally freon gas, but now the more environmentally friendly R-410A) which can easily change to a liquid when exposed to warm indoor air. The compressor pushes this refrigerant around the cooling system, in turn cooling your home. Without it, the AC unit cannot do its job!

Nowadays, the most common compressors are scroll-type compressors. In contrast to the older reciprocatory compressors, they’ll give a smoother and quieter operation since they have fewer moving parts.

As a general rule, you should always look for an AC unit that comes with at the very least a scroll compressor. They are reliable, energy-efficient, and less likely to need repair or replacement in the future. Even better, a variable speed compressor will automatically adjust its speed to match the required airflow.

This can save you around 30% more energy than a standard fixed-speed compressor. Keep an eye out for AC units that come with this feature!

Ruud ACHIEVER SERIES: Single Stage RA13

Ruud ACHIEVER SERIES: Single Stage RA13 image

This series of AC units is Ruud’s mid-range offering. The RA13 has a SEER rating of between 13.5 and 15, depending on the size of the unit you choose, a scroll compressor, and cooling capacities of up to 60 BTU. These are good, flexible numbers that can ensure this unit can cool a single-bed apartment, to a house accommodating a family of 4 if needed. Easily removable outside paneling gives quick access to the unit’s interior parts, and the outside is finished with powder coat paint which adds modern cabinet aesthetics as well as weather insulation.

The single-stage compressor isn’t as energy efficient as a two-stage, but its inclusion does keep the overall cost down. This is a solid, entry-level AC unit that would best suit an apartment or average two-story house.

Ruud EcoNet™ Enabled ACHIEVER PLUS® SERIES: Two-Stage UA17

Ruud EcoNet™ Enabled ACHIEVER PLUS® SERIES: Two-Stage UA17 image

The Achiever Plus® series takes things up a notch, with the addition of integrated EcoNet™ features. These include smart controls such as a thermostat that can be operated remotely, weather forecasting that helps you plan your future energy use, and voice command technology, ensuring that coolness and comfort are no more than a convenient click away.

The main appeal of this unit is the inclusion of a Copeland Scroll™ variable speed compressor. This keeps temperature control precise, ensuring you’re not wasting energy and by extension, money. The 17 SEER rating is impressive at this price point, and since the model comes in various sizes, it can handle cooling an average-sized two-story house quite easily.

Curved louver panels add to the efficiency and solidity of the unit, whilst the inclusion of a composite base pan is nifty since and ensures quiet operation- perfect for an apartment building or a house with very close neighbors.

Ruud EcoNet™ Enabled ULTRA SERIES Variable Speed UA20

Ruud EcoNet™ Enabled ULTRA SERIES Variable Speed UA20 image

This Ruud unit is a flagship model that has, quite literally if you’ll excuse the pun, blown me away. It can reach a whopping 20 SEER rating- a rating that is 54% higher than the current average- making it Ruud’s most efficient model by some distance. Aside from all the perks of Ruud’s Achiever Plus® units, it also comes with an overdrive feature which can provide cooling through temperatures of up to 107 ℉ (41.6⁰C)! You could feel comfortable and cool living in Death Valley with this unit!

Oh, and it runs off the environmentally friendly refrigerant R-410A, so you can reduce your home’s carbon footprint too! This is the best that Ruud Air Conditioners has to offer and will suit almost any type and size of home, whatever the climate.

Ruud AC Models

I’ve put together a table listing some of the key information about the most popular Ruud air conditioners, so you can easily and quickly compare SEER ratings, cooling capacity, and compressor type. These specs can give a good indication of what you’re getting from your chosen model. I’ve included the BTU numbers as well as the cooling capacity in tons, just to make it that bit easier for you!

Model name SEER rating Cooling Capacity (tons) Cooling Capacity (BTU) Compressor Type Additional features
CHOICE SERIES: Single Stage WA16 16 1.5 tons- 5 tons 18,000- 60,000 Single stage compressor
ACHIEVER SERIES: Single Stage RA13 Up to 15.5 1.5 tons- 5 tons 18,000- 60,000 Scroll compressor Composite Base Pan
ACHIEVER SERIES: Single Stage RA**W 16 5 tons 60,000 Scroll compressor Composite Base Pan
ACHIEVER SERIES: Two-Stage RA17 17 2 tons- 5 tons 24,000- 60,000 Two-stage Scroll compressor Composite Base Pan, Optimised Fan Orifice
EcoNet™ Enabled ACHIEVER PLUS® SERIES: Two-Stage UA17 17 2tons- 5tons 24,000- 60,000 Two-stage Scroll compressor Composite Base Pan, Optimised Fan Orifice, Environmentally friendly refrigerant R-410A, EcoNet™ enabled
EcoNet™ Enabled ULTRA® SERIES: UA20 Up to 20.5 2tons- 5tons 24,000- 60,000 Copeland Scroll™ Variable Speed Compressor Composite Base Pan, Optimised Fan Orifice, Environmentally friendly refrigerant R-410A, EcoNet™ enabled, PlusOne™ energy efficiency

Ruud Air Conditioner Prices

Below I’ve compiled a table of pricing for some of the most popular Ruud air conditioners over the last year. As you can see, installation costs can seem an expensive outlay given that it costs almost as much as the unit itself.

But I cannot stress enough just how important it is to have your HVAC unit installed by somebody who knows what they’re doing! Check the ‘Ruud AC Warranty’ and ‘Who Can Install My Ruud AC?’ sections below for more information about this and why it matters so much.

For comparability, I’ve based these prices on each unit including a 2.5ton outdoor condenser, a 1300-1400 cubic feet per meter air handling unit, and a programmable thermostat.

Ruud AC product Unit only Installation included
ULTRA UA20 $1920 $3960
ACHIEVER PLUS UA17 $1510 $3730
ACHIEVER RA16 $1260 $3680
ACHIEVER RA14 $1110 $3410
ACHIEVER RA13 $1020 $3160

Ruud AC Warranty

Most of the parts in a Ruud Air Conditioner are covered by a 5-year limited parts warranty, which isn’t great compared to the length offered by other leading market brands. After all, if your unit is expected to last between 15 and 20 years, having something breakdown only a quarter into its lifespan and not having it covered by warranty could leave you out of pocket very quickly!

Parts such as compressors and the evaporator coil are prone to wear and tear after prolonged use, especially in warmer climates that give them a real workout.

However, Ruud offers their Protection Plus® program, allowing you to extend the limited warranty of your Ruud equipment up to 10 years. When you consider that this coverage begins only once your limited warranty expires, you’re essentially signing up for the majority of the unit’s lifetime!

This is a very worthy investment covering parts and labor during repairs, the ability to transfer your warranty to a new homeowner should you sell your property, and a one-call service so you can reach your participating contractor easily, at any time.

Who can install my Ruud AC?

Installing your new air conditioner safely should be your absolute priority and attempting to do so without the help of a registered HVAC contractor can result in injury either now or in the future, as well as broken equipment and damaged electrics. You’re also likely to void your warranty if any future repairs are deemed caused by incorrect installation.

Finding a local HVAC professional who is based nearby can ensure quick and efficient AC installation and rapid response to a service call should an issue arise down the line. When installed properly, your unit should last anywhere between 15-20 years!

I’ve always found Ruud engineers and customer service representatives to be friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. Go with somebody from a reputable company so you can trust their work and know that you’re getting the best out of your chosen air conditioner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Ruud a good air conditioner?

Put simply, yes. Ruud has been established as a popular brand of air conditioning manufacturers for a good number of years now and is particularly well known for its affordability and commitment to quality. Their ACHIEVER Series provides everything a homeowner on a mid-range budget could want from their new AC unit. Every model is Energy Star© certified so you’re protecting the environment as well as saving money and energy.

If you’re able to push that budget a little further, their Ultra series of HVAC units can be considered a competitor to some of the more expensive top brands on the market today.

Who makes Ruud air conditioning?

Ruud is a subdivision of the parent company Rheem Manufacturing Company, which in turn is owned by Paloma Industries. Rheem and Ruud units are nearly identical on the inside, the only major difference being that the outer casing on Ruud units tends to be a little bulkier.

How much does a Ruud AC unit cost?

Ruud aims to cater to the mid-range budget and depending on the model, the unit size, its SEER rating, its cooling capacity, and other features, a new Ruud unit can cost anywhere between just over $1000 to around $2500. These figures only include the unit itself, however, and installation from reliable contractors will usually at least double the cost.

My Conclusion

I hope I’ve given you some insight and understanding with my Ruud air conditioner reviews! Ruud has done a lot to establish itself as a provider of good quality air conditioners at an affordable price.

Ruud offers great value compared to many other HVAC units, especially for mid-range budget buyers with apartments or average-sized family homes. They come with a warranty that can be extended by up to 10 years, and some of the ULTRA SERIES models are as good as anything I’ve seen during my time in the business. If you can stretch your budget to one of these, I’d highly advise it.

Whichever model you choose, a Ruud central air conditioner is solid, reliable, and a great brand to look at when buying your new AC unit.