Payne Air Conditioners Buyer’s Guide – HVAC Brand Review

| Last Updated: April 26, 2022

When you’re looking for a new AC, you may ask yourself if it’s a good idea to shell out more money for a famous brand when you can get an AC with the same features for a more affordable price.

Researching all of the different AC brands can be overwhelming too. 

Usually, the AC you buy is a compromise between price and quality, but with ACs from Payne, you’re getting high quality and durable ACs at an affordable price.

The Best of Payne

Payne ACs are both affordable and high quality. In addition, Payne is one of the brands manufactured by United Technologies, a famous and well-established air conditioner company that also makes Bryant and Carrier.

Payne is a value brand, meaning it offers fewer features than high-end models from Carrier and Bryant. However, the cost of each unit is reasonable and provides great value, since the internal components are almost identical to those of Carrier.


Payne ACs are efficient and consume less electricity to cool the house, saving you money in the long term. This is achieved by completely sealing the compressor to prevent contamination while also ensuring that the unit lasts longer. The unit also protects against voltage and current issues, which improves the overall dependability of the air conditioner.

A permanent split capacitor in every Payne unit ensures that the amount of energy consumed is minimized, allowing cooling during outside temperatures of up to forty degrees. You can recover some of your initial investment just by the utility bill savings.

payne ac

Quiet Performance

Most Payne customers are happy with the sound levels of their ACs during operation. The ACs are engineered to suppress noise by using a compressor cover made of high-density foam that dampens sound. In addition, the AC is specially designed for sound-control purposes including  vibration isolation to ensure that the unit operates without much noise.

Convertible Duct Configuration

Payne units allow for both horizontal and downflow applications and can be converted from downflow to flat, including the covers on the horizontal duct. This functionality is offered in order to ensure that you can optimize the comfort of the occupants of your house and still have an efficient airflow.  

The Drawbacks

Here are a few minor drawbacks:


Payne offers a 10-year, nontransferable limited warranty with all air conditioning units. But this is not as long as the lifetime warranty offered by some competitors. The original homeowner must register the product within 90 days of installation to receive the full 10-year coverage. If a unit is not registered within 90 days, the warranty period is 5 years from the date of installation.


Because Payne only offers value models, it does not have advanced features like those offered by Carrier or Bryant. Those bells and whistles come with a premium, so be prepared to pay a lot more if you want WI-Fi-enabled AC units or similar features.

How Does Payne Compare to the Competition?

Established in 1914, the Payne Company has been the front runner in meeting the heating and cooling system demands of the population for over a hundred years. Their long presence has given them quite some time and experience to improve and optimize their products according to the customer’s demand. They serve to deliver quality products at a conveniently affordable price, and their products are energy star certified! Here are a few reasons that make the Payne Company so great.


When buying an air conditioner, you surely don’t want any compromise on the quality. But, that does not mean you have to pay unjustified amounts of money. Payne offers energy star certified, high-performance AC units at an affordable price. You’ll find the price significantly more convenient than many other brands on the market. At Payne, they ensure that you get the best price for your product.


The energy star certification that most of their products hold is argument enough in favor of the efficiency of their units. They are energy efficient, consuming less units of electricity to cool your spaces. Their split capacitor technology ensures minimum energy consumption during operation, so much so, that you might be able to recover some of your initial investment saving on your electricity bills!

Noiseless Performance

The ACs work quietly so that you can catch up on your sleep or work in peaceful, non-disturbing environments. The AC’s compressors are covered with high-density foam that dampens the sound so that the unit performs without making too much racket.

Key Terms to Know

To help compare products in this review, we have included a few key specifications for each. Here is a quick summary of what they mean.

  • Cooling Capacity: This is typically used in central units and is measured in tons. Ton refers to the amount of heat necessary to melt a ton of ice over 24-hour period. In simpler terms, this is the amount of heat the unit can remove from your home in one hour.

  • Voltage: The amount of electricity the unit uses. This determines the type of outlet it must plug into.

  • Coverage Area: The amount of square footage the unit can adequately cool, determined by the manufacturer.

  • Energy Efficiency Features: Whether the unit has any features or ratings relating to energy usage.

  • dB (decibel) Level: The amount of noise the AC produces when in operation.

Comparison of the Best Payne Air Conditioners

Among the many products offered by Payne, we have compared the best of the best. Have a look at which one seems to be the better choice for you. 

Model Name

Unit Size (Tons)

Energy Efficiency (SEER)

Condenser Fan Motor (i.e. Single vs. Two)

Home Sq. Ft.

Cost of Unit Only

Installation Cost





1301 - 1600







1301 - 1600



Review of the Best Payne Air Conditioners

Let’s view these AC models with a little more detail. Not only are they both AHRI certified but also use R-410A refrigerant that is not harsh on the ozone layer making the units environmentally responsible. You can live in comfort without causing drastic harm to the environment. The super-efficient ACs are suitable for homes, offices, shops, and schools alike.

1. PA13NA


  • Energy star rated
  • Characterized by a sturdy build
  • Affordable on the price spectrum
  • Uses R-410A refrigerant which is ozone-friendly 
  • Quiet performance reaching, as low as 74 decibels


  • Not suitable for commercial use
  • Only comes with a 10-year warranty

Why it Stands Out to Us

The entry-level split air conditioner with a single compressor and single speed fan motor is an ideal option because it is there to serve you for a long time. Its protective inlet grille panels make cleaning the coils so easy and convenient, you can practically service your AC yourself. Additionally, the baked-on powder coat finish over the galvanized steel resists rust so that you don’t have to run to the maintenance crew every season. With their 13 SEER cooling, these units are affordable and perfect for your homes, offices, and classrooms.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a way to make your space more bearable in the hottest of weather without making your bank account suffer too much, then the PA13NA is the right option for you. Reliable with a strong build, you won’t be spending a lot on maintenance and its energy-efficient operation would also save on your electricity bills, making the overall package quite economical!

Product Specs

Cooling Capacity:

1.5–5 tons



Coverage Area:

1301 – 1600 sq ft

Energy Efficiency Features:


dB (decibel) Level:

74 dB

2. PA16NA


  • Uses R-410A refrigerant
  • Corrosion and weather resistant
  • Also energy star certified with whisper operation
  • Dense grill network for protection means low maintenance
  • 17 SEER ensures maximum energy efficiency without compromising cooling operation


  • Only comes with a 10 year warranty
  • More suitable for commercial and large space use compared to small homes and offices

Why it Stands Out to Us

Like the PA13NA, this one is also built to withstand corrosion, bad weather, and debris. Compressor operation is well protected by a pressure switch, while the coil guards aid to structural protection. With its incredible cooling capacity, it is highly efficient thanks to its 17 SEER cooling. The simple single-stage scroll compressor operates quietly and offers good durability. The single-speed fan motor is resilient and permanently lubricated, requiring low maintenance. These energy star certified ACs are long-lasting and a great investment.

Bottom Line

Ready to cool your large spaces with its impressive operation? The PA16NA is your go-to AC for an economical breeze of cool air. The Energy Star and AHIR Certification are advertisements enough for its durable design and remarkable cooling capacity. It would quietly make your space pleasant without being too harsh on the environment.

Product Specs

Cooling Capacity:

1.5–5 tons



Coverage Area:

1301 – 1600 sq ft

Energy Efficiency Features:


dB (decibel) Level:

76 dB

Payne PA3H Packaged Air Conditioner

The PA3H is Payne's most versatile cooling unit and can be installed as either a ground or rooftop air conditioning unit. Its SEER rating is 13. The unit offers great durability against severe weather with a rust-free composite base and metal base rails for added stability and ease of maintenance. The PA3H has an insulated cabinet for quiet operation and an optional electric heat accessory package.

Payne PA3Z Packaged Air Conditioner

The PA3Z is an economical and energy-efficient packaged air cooling system with a SEER rating of 13. It has a durable, rust-free foundation and body with a 32" narrow cabinet design, ideal for small properties and zero-lot-line installations. Aerodynamic fan blades reduce the overall sound to as low as 77dB. The paint treatment on the cabinet ensures protection against the elements. A compact, low-profile design utilizes a louvered coil enclosure for protection against vandalism and hail damage.

Finding the Best Prices

Unlike some other manufacturers, Payne does not advertise its prices on its website, so you need to get quotes for different models from their distributors near you.

Use our handy tips to score a good deal on your Payne air conditioner. But remember that more important than selecting a model is selecting the right installer so that your unit works as intended and lasts for a longer period.

An easy way to save money on the AC is to buy in the winter when demand for air conditioners is lowest. Many retailers have excess stock in their inventory during the off-season so they encourage sales by offering discounts. Similarly, you can wait until fall or spring to install the new system and ask for an off-season discount from contractors. Fall and spring are off-season for most installers as the weather is milder.

Look at online reviews when selecting a dealer and make sure they are properly qualified to install the AC unit. Often, you may find installers offering lower rates, but they may end up doing a shoddy job due to a lack of training and awareness. This will cost you much more in the long run. Never cut corners when it comes to installation.

Another way to save money is rebates. Check online to see if there are any offers, rebates, or incentives being given by your state or local utility for replacing an outdated HVAC system with a newer, more efficient one. You should also check with the Payne dealership to see if they offer any rebates. If you’re lucky, you may be able to score a triple discount with the manufacturer, the state, and the local utility giving you rebates.

Ask for at least 3 bids from various installers before you make the decision and ask them to factor any applicable tax rebates and state incentives on efficient appliances into the bid. Since it may require a few days or weeks of waiting to get a quote, start getting quotes well in advance of when you expect to get the new system.

What Kind of Warranty Does Payne Offer?

The only drawback you might feel related to Payne Company ACs is that the warranty provided is only limited to 10 years. However, the warranty covers compressors and all functional parts. You need to register your purchase within 30 days of buying to ensure that the warranty is in place and active. The strong build and dependable features, however, are the key features of Payne, so you won’t have to worry about your AC unit going out of function too much.

Pricing Comparison of Payne PA13NA

Before you make the final decision, let’s make sure you are paying the right price for your purchase. Here we look into a deeper price comparison for the most affordable AC unit.

Pricing Comparison of Payne PA16NA

The PA16NA is second to none when it comes to an effective operation. It delivers what you expect it to. Not yet sure if you’re paying the justified money for it? Let us help you while we give you a pricing comparison.

Company History

Payne Heating & Cooling was started in 1914 by D.W. Payne and his son. They started building gravity-type furnaces in a converted barn in Los Angeles. In 1933, Payne introduced the first forced-air, down-discharge furnace. The company was also the first to market a forced-air furnace approved for closet installation.

In 1950, Payne pioneered perimeter and zone heating. During the 1950’s the company also expanded its product offering with the addition of a remote air conditioning product line. In 1962, Payne unveiled the first horizontal forced-air furnace approved for outdoor installation, as well as vertical combination heating and cooling units for school rooms, apartments, and other applications.

In 1955, Carrier merged with Affiliated Gas Equipment, Inc., which owned the Bryant Heater Co., Day & Night Water Heater Co., and Payne Furnace & Supply Co, forming the BDP Company in 1974. Payne became the "P" in BDP.

During the 1980’s Payne improved its product efficiencies and began to expand from its strength in the West and Southwest into the Midwest and Northeast. This expansion continued into the 1990’s when Payne expanded into the Southeast states. Payne separated from BDP in 1996 to form Payne Heating & Cooling and is now owned by United Technologies Corporation, which acquired Carrier in 1979.


If you’re looking for an AC that is dependable and durable but, without the premium price tag of Carrier then Payne is a fine choice. Like most value models, a Payne AC won’t come with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a high-end model, but the build quality and solid construction of this brand means it will operate for many years and give trouble free service. For many buyers, that’s all they desire. 

My name is Bob Wells and I am a retired HVAC tech from Washington state. I am currently retired and no longer do much with HVAC, however, I feel like I have a lot of knowledge in the subject and I wanted to create a website where I could talk about what I've learned and help upcoming HVAC techs. Find more info about me and HVAC Training 101.