Ruud Air Conditioner Buyer’s Guide – HVAC Brand Review

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Finding the best brand for your home air conditioner can be a challenge.

First it’s hard to narrow down which ones are worthwhile. Then when you find the brands you’re interested in, it can be hard to get the details.

For reliability and name-recognition, Ruud is hard to beat. We’ll break down everything you might want to know (and more) so you can feel comfortable picking the Ruud product that works best for you.

The Best of Ruud

In a nutshell, Ruud produces low-cost, high-efficiency air conditioners. They offer both an “Achiever Series” and an “Ultra Series,” but all their models are very durable and have good SEER ratings. All their models offer features for quieter operation, and ratings from 13 to 20 SEER.

Part of what makes Ruud’s AC units so reliable is the fact that they all use scroll-style compressors. Scroll compressors offer less drag on the refrigerant than standard compressors. This makes them more powerful and more efficient.

The overall quality of Ruud’s AC units is excellent when installed properly. Customers report long-lasting satisfaction. Part of the appeal of Ruud is that their units at any level often undercut their competitors. For example, their 14 SEER introductory unit is nearly $500 lower in cost compared to Ruud’s leading competitor’s offerings, like Goodman.

The range of cost in Ruud’s units range from just over $900 (for the Achiever RA13) to just under $2,000 (the Ultra UA20) for the units themselves. This is without any installation fees.

Ruud offers a wide range of variations and features for each model, meaning Ruud will have the perfect AC for the needs of any building. Based on your Manual J calculation, Ruud’s units range from 1.5 to 5 tons. And each unit has unique features. For example the highest tier offering, the Ultra UA20, has a variable-speed compressor and EcoNet capabilities.

Ruud’s EcoNet system is a great feature. It combines smart controls on both wall-mounted stations and a phone app. The EcoNet system analyzes your usage data to create a more efficient usage profile. It allows for customizable controls and automation of your entire home heating & cooling system.

Ruud offers an extended warranty plan covering mechanical and electrical failures. This means the compressor and heat exchange, two components with limited lifetimes, are covered for as much as 10 years. And the coverage includes labor related to these repairs, as well. It is worth noting that coverage at this level will incur an extra cost, though they do have a no-cost limited warranty as well.

When looking at Ruud’s products you might see similarities between Ruud and Rheem. This is because they are manufactured by the same company.

The Drawbacks

While Ruud is an excellent company, user reviews do reveal a few drawbacks. Customers who reported issues with their Ruud devices often reported them not long after installation. Many reviews indicated that any issues began within the first 6-12 months. It’s also often the case that the issues were mechanical from improper installation. So, we would recommend, as always, to do your homework on your HVAC tech before you get your system installed!

The other thing that I see brought up often is dissatisfaction with Ruud’s customer service. Some reviews indicate that Ruud’s service reps can be rude. Reps often shift the blame away from the company and onto the HVAC techs that installed the systems. These complaints were especially true in cases where people had early-on malfunctions.

How Does Ruud Compare to the Competition?

Rudd has been on the market for a long time, and it’s the company’s dedication to superior quality and affordable prices that it has beat much of its competition easily and has successfully emerged as one of the most reliable companies in the world. Here is how the brand compares with its competitors.

Good SEER

SEER is a common term used while explaining the features of any AC brand. It refers to the seasonal energy efficiency ratio and needs to be high for more energy efficiency. As you will read below, Ruud offers a reasonable amount of SEER on all of its models. This not only adds to their performance but also ensures that the electricity bills are reduced for a longer time.

Efficient Compressors

Going over people’s comments on the internet, we repeatedly found praise regarding the compressor options that are offered by the brand. The presence of stronger protection gills and better weather insulation allows for a more reliable compressor. Moreover, the perfect positioning of the compressor allows for completely silent operation, thus offering you more comfort and relaxation at your home or office. The company also offers the option for a single or two-stage compression for greater customization.

Heating Options

The prime purpose of an AC is to please the customers, and Ruud has done it with ease as people living in very cold areas prefer this brand over any other, mainly due to its ability to act as a heat pump. There are many HVAC units that exert pressure on the Freon gas and heat it up, however, Ruud goes a step further thanks to its amazing coils. When heated, these coils offer much better conduction of heat, thus allowing the incoming heat to get hot instantly.

Comparison of the Best Ruud Air Conditioners

Here is a brief comparison of some of the top units offered by Ruud. If you don’t have time to go over the whole review, this short comparison can help you find the ideal unit quickly.

Model Name

Unit Size (Ton)

Energy Efficiency (SEER)

Home Sq. Ft.

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

Cost of Unit Only

Installation Cost

ACHIEVER SERIES: SINGLE-STAGE (RA13)

1.5 - 5

15.5

Depends on Unit Size

Single

$990

$3100

RA14**W 

1.5 - 3.5

16

Depends on Unit Size

Single

$1000

$2030

RA14

1.5 - 5

16

Depends on Unit Size

Single

$1050

$2300

RA16

1.5 - 5

16

Depends on Unit Size

Single

$1205

$2345

UA17

1.5 - 5

17

Depends on Unit Size

Two

$1480

$2140

UA20

2 - 5

20.5

Depends on Unit Size

Two

$1850

$2950

Quick Take: Best Ruud Air Conditioners

Review of the Best Ruud Air Conditioners

Let’s now have a look at the in-depth reviews of our top-picked products. Knowing why these units made our list will help you find the ideal unit you’re looking for. 

PROS

  • Comes with higher airflow and a relatively reduced air sound
  • The coat and paint finishing gives it a very professional finish
  • More than 70% fewer parts move to provide greater efficiency
  • Visually appealing design is ensured by the modern cabinet aesthetics
  • Comes with a reduced number of fasteners needed for optimal functioning

CONS

  • Single-stage compressor is less efficient
  • Higher installation cost relative to other products
  • Fewer fasteners often reduce the overall strength

Why it Stands Out to Us

The presence of easily removable panels is something buyers appreciate a lot, and naturally, this model has garnered huge praise for that particular feature. The gauge port access enables easy connections of the gauge ports in the low loss settings. This, coupled with the single row condenser coil, makes the model extremely lightweight and hence is easy to operate. Moreover, it also comes with extremely long wires that allow for better access. It also allows you to remove the unit without having to disconnect the fan wires. Not only this, but the RA13 has also been popular due to its very appealing design that adds to its appeal. Its solid coating and soft paint finish give it a professional look and ensure it can last for a longer time without any issue.

The RA13 is a 13-15.5 SEER unit with a scroll compressor and a composite base pan, meaning it operates quietly. The unit itself is designed to be both aesthetically pleasing, and sturdy. Its louvered design allows maximum airflow while protecting sensitive parts, like the compressor. It has many design features, including wide valve spaces and diagnostic windows, meant to make repairs a breeze. The unit is available in several tonnages and is the most basic model offered by Ruud.

Bottom Line

If there is one model that can be termed as reliable, comfortable, durable, and strong and many other similar praises, it is certainly this one. It comes with a reduced number of fasteners that not only makes the model extremely lightweight but also provides better access to the internal components. The higher airflow is another impressive feature and is worth mentioning, especially because the model doesn’t boast a very amazing SEER, yet it has somehow managed to provide users with optimal functioning and the perfect amount of airflow. So, if you are looking for a product that doesn’t disappoint you in any area, then this one is definitely for you.

PROS

  • Refrigerator tubing design adds to the more reliable operation
  • The new composite base pan helps in the reduction of corrosion
  • Lasts for a long time due to a better overall coating and finishing
  • Provides reliable indoor comfort with its no noise pollution feature
  • Higher durability is offered by the presence of a scroll compressor technology

CONS

  • New composite base pan adds to the higher cost
  • Not very attractive and does not give a professional look
  • Less control is offered to the user hence less customization

Why it Stands Out to Us

In the scorching heat of the summer, we are looking for ways to stay hydrated and cool, and that is where the superb RA14W comes in handy. Equipped with a smooth design and a set of durable cabinets, this model has already impressed everyone with its higher take on perfection. The presence of the perfect base pan helps achieve a quieter performance than would otherwise be available. The UV testing is both extensive and thorough, helping to ensure that the base pan stays smooth and strong for the longest time. The tubing of the refrigerator also comes incorporated with rugged corner ports that offer greater protection of the coils.

The RA14**W is a 14-16 SEER model. It also has a scroll compressor and composite base fan for quiet operation. One thing that sets this model apart is that it is actually optimized for houses in the Southwestern US region. It can handle higher temperatures and larger temperature differentials. Like the RA13, it has several features for ease-of-access. It has an attractive design with a protective powder coat which adds a level of durability to this unit.

Bottom Line

It’s hard to impress both your recent buyers and your future potential customers, but we have seen this model achieve this feat in no time. The credit of its tremendous success goes to the new composite base pan for sure, but that in no way means that other features haven’t played their part. The noise pollution feature offers the most reliable indoor comfort, and the scroll compressor technology offers durability like no other. This is important because, without this technology, your unit is more vulnerable to outside damage. To top all this off, the company has provided the model with perfect soft paint and coating, thus making its exterior as beautiful as its interior.

PROS

  • Allows access to both high and low pressures
  • Hassle-free panel reduction with its better internal components
  • Comes with a dampened sound due to its new base pan technology
  • Salt spray testing ensures that the screws provide higher rust resistance
  • Can capture the louver panels to reduce the number of fasteners required

CONS

  • Smaller range than some other models
  • May result in higher electricity bills in the long run
  • Less SEER efficiency relative to some other models

Why it Stands Out to Us

The most notable feature of this model is definitely its base pan, which is a new and impressive feature. It not only works by capturing the louver panels, but it also ensures that a reduced number of fasteners are required by the model. If you thought that’s all, then wait till you read the other benefits that are associated with this base pan alone. Its build helps prevent corrosion. This ensures that your model can last for a longer time without any hassle. This proves to be a good investment for people who don’t like to change their units very often. Moreover, these base pans also help in the reduction of the overall noise. This ensures that you can enjoy a relaxing, more soothing environment at your home, especially after a tiring day at work.

The RA14 is very similar to the RA14**W, with the exception that it is not optimized for a specific region. Like the other models in the Achiever series, it has expanded ease-of-access features, an attractive design, protective powder coat, a scroll compressor, and a quiet composite base pan.

Bottom Line

Nobody likes the annoying noise that most cheap products produce while operating, but you would be delighted to know that this model eliminates such noise and hence offers a truly invigorating experience for you and your family. But it doesn’t just work with noise reduction. It also incorporates many other features that ensure greater comfort. One such feature is the salt spray testing the model undergoes. This not only ensures that the screws of the unit are perfectly in place but also ensures that your model doesn’t experience any rust damage, thus helping it to last for a longer time. That’s not all. The RA14 also boasts of easy access to both high and low pressures. So, if you are looking for a unit that offers fewer hassles during panel removal and a better set of internal components, then look no further because this right here is the one for you.

PROS

  • Comes with increased cabinet rigidity and strength
  • Longer wires allow for easy installation and easy removal
  • Ultimate coil protection is ensured via the curved louver panels
  • Eliminates corrosion thus ensures your product lasts for a longer time
  • Higher curb appeal is offered by the presence of modern cables with good aesthetics

CONS

  • Less relative SEER than some other models
  • Fewer fasteners used than some other compounds
  • Higher installation costs make the overall unit more expensive

Why it Stands Out to Us

When it comes to AC units, the design and build of the model play a huge factor. The RA16 comes with one of the best base pans on the market that not only reduces noise but also helps eliminate any corrosion that the unit might experience otherwise. But that’s not the only thing that matters, right? The unit is known for boasting an amazing scroll compressor that uses more than 70% of moving parts for better reliability. This also helps increase the efficiency of the model and makes it safer for use. The presence of modern cabinet and the surrounding aesthetics also add greatly to the appeal and make it an impressive model. They also add to the strength and reliability of the overall product. This, coupled with longer wires, helps in the easy setup and removal of your unit at all times.

The RA16 is the most powerful basic unit in the Achiever line. It is a 16-SEER unit, offering the highest efficiency rating with similar features compared to the other Achiever series units. It has the high-quality scroll compressor, quiet composite base pan, expanded ease-of-access features, and an overall pleasant design.

Bottom Line

No one likes to see a unit filled with rust and corrosion, and that is exactly why the company has gone through tremendous effort to cater to both of these requirements. The unit comes with increased rigidity in regards to the cabinets, but also the overall make as well. The louver panels are also specially designed in a curved and bend manner to help provide greater protection to the coils because, at the end of the day, the coils will ensure the best performance of your unit. So, if you are tired of cheap products on the market that are vulnerable to outside factors such as rust and corrosion, then hurry up and get your hands on this highly sought out product on the market.

PROS

  • Provides better air and water control thus more efficiency
  • Allows for greater energy saving, reducing your electricity bills in the long run
  • Thorough coil cleaning is ensured by the presence of single row condenser system
  • Use of few cabinet fasteners makes the model lightweight and easy to handle
  • Better temperature control allows users to shift between 67% and 100% capacity settings

CONS

  • Does not come with very good rust resistance
  • More electricity bills on higher temperature settings
  • Lightweight, more likely to break upon damage

Why it Stands Out to Us

The most noteworthy feature of this model has to be its coil designer that comes with a single row condenser specification. It not only makes the product super lightweight but also allows thorough cleaning of the internal coils. This greater focus on cleaning is essential because, without this, your model might not work at its optimum temperature. Moreover, these also ensure that about 35% fewer cabinet fasteners are used in the build of the model, which also adds to the reduced weight. Not only this, but this feature also enables you to reach all the internal components of the unit easily and thus ensures a hassle-free panel removal. To top all this off, the model also comes with very long wires that make installation and removal of the unit pretty easy, and the fan motor is also small, thus adding to the efficiency.

The UA17 is still in the Achiever series. As its model number suggests, it combines the best of both the Achiever and Ultra series. It is a 17 SEER unit. Like other Achiever series models it has a sleek design, quiet composite base pan, expanded ease-of-access features, and powder coat. Where it differs is in its two-stage scroll compressor. The two stages allow for accurate temperature controls and better efficiency. This is also the first unit with EcoNet features, meaning it is smart-control capable.

Bottom Line

With so many amazing reviews on the internet, this model is already making its mark in the industry​. It is one of the most known models when it comes to cost reductions in the long run. The better SEER performance gives it high energy efficiency, thus ensuring that it consumes less energy even on continual usage. Moreover, its strong build and internal components offer much better airflow and water control. Temperature control is also offered, and this unique feature allows users to choose between the capacity setting of 67% and 100%. This not only offers greater customization but also enables customers to have a better say in how they want to operate their unit on any given day.

PROS

  • Allows for easy and quick repairs and replacements
  • Optimized airflow and reduced sound allows for greater comfort
  • The powdered coat paint system allows for a professional long lasting finish
  • Comes with an energy efficiency of up to 20 SEER and 13 EER in all capacities
  • Easy access to internal cabinets is ensured via the two fastener corners that can be removed easily

CONS

  • Coat paint is more vulnerable to damage
  • Higher unit cost when compared to some other models
  • Double stage compressors are harder to replace and repair

Why it Stands Out to Us

The product stands out to us due to a number of features, with the optimized airflow being on top. It comes with one of the best SEERs on the market, which makes it a must-have product for any household. This higher number ensures that you save on costs and energy, both reducing the burden on your pockets while also remaining environmentally friendly. The model also comes with a variable speed compressor that ensures a modulating technology for better precision and control. This feature allows you to adjust not only the temperature but also the humidity to your liking. Furthermore, the overdrive feature can help provide cooling of up to 107F. Together, these two features help achieve comfort and diversity for all its customers.

The UA20 is the highest efficiency unit that Ruud offers, and a big departure from the Achiever Series. Ruud states that this unit operates at a minimum of 20 SEER. It has more ease-of-access features than the Achiever units for easy repairs. It also has a modulating Copeland Scroll compressor which maximizes efficiency and control, with a maximum load of 107ºf. EcoNet features make the UA20 the most customizable, efficient model Ruud offers.

Bottom Line

Nobody can resist the combination of amazing SEER and optimal airflow, and it is due to this feature that recent buyers are head over heels for this perfect Ruud model. The ultra-series comes with a variable speed option that not only assists the customers but also helps you in the regulation of your electricity bills. Moreover, the model comes with easy access to most of the internal cabinets. This is made possible due to its sleek and lightweight design that is easier to operate and manage. The powdered coat paint is also an additional feature that is not found in many other models. This not only gives the model a unique glow but also ensures that the model is a long-lasting one. Not that it would ever need replacing, but on the rare occasion that it does, remember that you can get parts of the model repaired and replaced easily.

Finding the Best Prices

Having a new AC unit installed can be prohibitively costly, but it doesn’t have to be. There are a few things to keep in mind to keep costs down when it comes time for a new AC unit.

But, before we talk about keeping costs down, let’s talk quality & value. It may be tempting to go for the lowest installation cost, the cheapest unit, and no extra features to shave dollars off the budget. But saving that money upfront won’t really be a savings if your HVAC tech does a bad job installing the system or if you realize you passed up on a long-term energy-saving feature. The important thing to remember is that you’re looking for the best value in your AC installation. The cheapest install is not always the best value! The best value is getting a good, fair price on the highest quality unit & labor.

The first thing to consider is that, realistically, the installation cost on your new Ruud unit could cost as much as the unit itself. When looking at HVAC techs, make sure you’re going for a good company with excellent reviews. This may mean a bit more out-of-pocket upfront, but having your system installed right is worth it. In my experience with Ruud products, many of the reported issues come from improper installation – something that isn’t covered under Ruud’s warranty. Spending a bit more on a good HVAC tech could potentially save you a huge headache down the road.

The government currently offers tax credits for installing high-efficiency units. So, look into those programs as well.

​Another thing to think about is having your installation done in winter. Few people think ahead to the summer heat when they’re still freezing their toes off. Many contractors and companies will offer reduced rates on AC units and labor in the winter to boost sales during low-volume months.

What Kind of Warranty Does Ruud Offer? 

Ruud ACs are known for their amazing warranty as much as they are known for their tremendous features. Their warranty policies cater to the needs of different customers and are carefully planned to assist most users.

Ruud offers a parts warranty that is similar to many other companies and offers you a 10-year limited warranty. This is only called limited, but when compared to many other companies, the warranty is truly a handful and benefits you in more than one way.

The company also offers a 10-year limited warranty on the compressors. This is relatively amazing as most other parallel companies offer only a 7-year warranty. Compressors are also integral to the optimal functioning of any model, hence it is only natural that they get the same warranty as the compound itself.

The company is also known for its amazing and cooperative staff, who are only a call away to assist you. You can reach them easily through their websites or via the number given on the website. Once you get in touch with them, you will dictate your problem to them, after which they would transfer your call to the installers who installed your unit. If your issue isn’t resolved with these initial steps, then they might take some extra time to get you in touch with other appropriate people.

Ruud Company History

Ruud began its history in 1890 with a patent filed by Edwin Ruud for a unique style of gas water heaters. Ruud began the Ruud Manufacturing company to design and expand on his water heaters. Ruud’s original intent was to come up with a water heater that could maintain constant temperature at all times – no small feat pre-1900’s.

Over the course of Edwin Ruud’s life he helped pave the way for several new types of home and industrial water heaters. After his death the company expanded into heating and air conditioning equipment. In 1959 it was purchased by Rheem Manufacturing.

Today Ruud continues to develop water heaters for homes, pool, and spa products as well as its well-known air conditioning line.

Conclusion

Ruud has established themselves as a high-quality company creating good units at a great price point. With this primer on the company, you should feel comfortable deciding whether Ruud is right for your air conditioning needs. Even comparing Ruud to other AC companies, you’ll find it hard to beat the value this company brings.