SEER Rating Explained: How To Choose The Best SEER?

Several technical terms companies use with the HVAC system, and SEER is one of them. As an average person browsing for a heating and cooling product, it seems a daunting task to choose the best unit considering BTU, SEER, and other performance-related nomenclatures.

We will explain SEER, information around it, and ways to choose the best unit for a comfortable stay to ease the quest.

What is SEER?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. In simple language, it measures the unit’s energy efficiency in different seasons of the year. With the measurement of SEER, you know the capacity of the air conditioner to remove heat and cool the air with how much power consumption.

To measure SEER ratings, divide the heating & cooling machine’s output by the quantity of energy consumed in Watt-Hours.

Available SEER Options

To clarify the concept of SEER, we take the USA as an example. Here Northern States requires a minimum of 13 SEER for Air conditioners and heat pumps. In Southern states, SEER ratings should be 14 because of the long span of air conditioning season from spring to fall.

Higher limits are 26 SEER for air conditioners and 25 SEER for heat pumps. These limits often change yearly, so check your local dealer to know in detail.

Highest Rated Energy Efficient Central AC (With Great SEER)

Outdoor Model NumberIndoor Model NumberCapacitySEERAnnual Energy Use (kWh)Annual Cost (National Average)*Lifetime Cost to Operate**% Savings over Federal Minimum
AirEase – Pro Series 4SCU20LX124BCE4M30S24,00020.01,008$110$1,53835%
Amana AVXC200241A*AVPVC24C14A*22,80023832.6$91$1,27143%
American Standard PlataniumA7V8024A1TAM9A0A24V2124,600181,148$125$1,75228%
Bryant 180CNV024****ACNPV*3717AL*+UI24,000181119.9$122$1,70928%
Carrier Infinity 24VNA024A*030*CNPV*3717AL*+UI24,000181119.9$122$1,70928%
Coleman AC21B2421AVV25BE12+CC23,40019.251021.0$111$1,55832%

Room Air Conditioner Minimum CEER Rating 

Equipment TypeSize Category (Input)Minimum Efficiency
Room air conditioners with louvered sides<6,000 Btu/h12.1 CEER
Room air conditioners with louvered sides≥6,000 Btu/h and <8,000 Btu/h12.1 CEER
Room air conditioners with louvered sides≥8,000 Btu/h and <14,000 Btu/h12.0 CEER
Room air conditioners with louvered sides≥14,000 Btu/h and <20,000 Btu/h11.8 CEER
Room air conditioners with louvered sides≥20,000 Btu/h and <28,000 Btu/h10.3 CEER
Room air conditioners with louvered sides≥28,000 Btu/h9.9 CEER
Room air conditioners without louvered sides≤8,000 Btu/h11.0 CEER
Room air conditioners without louvered sides≥8,000 Btu/h and <11,000 Btu/h10.6 CEER
Room air conditioners without louvered sides≥11,000 Btu/h and <14,000 Btu/h10.5 CEER
Room air conditioners without louvered sides≥14,000,000 Btu/h and <20,000 Btu/h10.2 CEER
Room air conditioners without louvered sides≥20,000,000 Btu/h10.3 CEER
Room air-conditioner heat pumps with louvered sides<20,000 Btu/h10.8 CEER
Room air-conditioner heat pumps with louvered sides≥20,000 Btu/h10.2 CEER
Room air-conditioner heat pumps without louvered sides<14,000 Btu/h10.2 CEER
Room air-conditioner heat pumps without louvered sides≥14,000 Btu/h9.6 CEER
Room air conditioner, casement onlyAll capacities10.5 CEER
Room air conditioner, casement sliderAll capacities11.4 CEER

Required SEER ratings according to Air Conditioner Units

SEER 13 to 16 of 18.5

Most single-stage air conditioners provide SEER ratings between 13 to 16, except Lennox SL18XC1. Lennox offers up to 18.5 SEER ratings, first in the HVAC industry.

A single-stage system means your machine runs at full capacity every time you switch it on. There is no auto-adjust feature to manage the required heat and humidity. Single-stage HVAC systems are considered less energy efficient, poor in cohesive comfort.

SEER 16 to 20

Two-stage air conditioners and other HVAC products offer two levels of power consumption. At low level 30 to 40 percent and upper level at full 100 percent capacity.

These systems are comparatively more advanced and energy-efficient than single-stage units. It runs at a low level during normal weather conditions and a higher level when the temperature rises. It adjusts according to weather fluctuations.

SEER 19 to 26

HVAC products in this range generally fall into the premium segment with modulating speed systems. Speed of the motor can vary from as low as 25 to up to 100 percent at top performance.

The crux of the matter is higher SEER with your heating & cooling system ensure improved temperature adjustments and dehumidification.

How To Choose The Best SEER?

Suppose the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio of the machine is higher. In that case, it means your HVAC unit will perform better in all seasons with less power consumption, which results in lower utility bills.

Currently, most companies maintain a SEER rating at 13 for most of their products and range between 13 to 21. You can see SEER as low as 8 or 9 in older entry-level HVAC units.

Consider SEER ratings in the context of a car’s gas mileage for better understanding. Like a car’s fuel mileage, SEER ratings cannot always be the same and depend upon multiple factors. It varies according to use, weather fluctuations, model of the HVAC product, etc.

Other Factors Affecting Required SEER Ratings

  • If humidity is common in your location, get an air conditioner with higher SEER ratings. You need to run the unit for long durations to make indoors comfortable against moist air and humidity. It needs a more energy-efficient machine that consumes less energy.
  • If you intend to stay at your current residence for a long-time, a premium HVAC product can easily be justified. High costs at the time of purchase can be recouped over the years through savings on monthly energy bills, rebates, and other benefits.
  • If you intend to vacate home soon and sell it, search in the neighborhood and online for a potential buyer who needs an air conditioner to manage during humid and warm conditions.


SEER ratings refer to your unit’s energy efficiency, and the major determining factor is climate to choose the best SEER for HVAC products. 

Climate affects your using pattern, and duration of use decides energy consumption, therefore impacting your energy bills. I hope this article might have helped you in some way. 

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