What Is A Good SEER Rating?

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Updated February 2, 2023

If you are new to the world of personal cooling, you may wonder, “What is a good SEER rating for an air conditioner?” The best air conditioners, after all, feature one of these SEER ratings. So what is a SEER rating, what does it mean, what is a good rating for an AC, and how can you improve AC efficiency?

When referring to a “good” SEER number, you are actually asking for a unit’s minimum rating. There are various laws in place to ensure any air conditioner sold passes a minimum SEER threshold. For many years, that number was 11, though, in recent times, it has increased to around 13. By 2023, regulations will require a minimum SEER of 14 for the northern U.S. and 15 for the southern U.S. So, yeah, the higher, the better here, as long as your budget allows for it.


  • SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and this metric is used to describe air conditioner efficiency, making sure each unit is energy efficient.
  • SEER information is expressed in double-digit numbers, and many parts of the country necessitate a minimum SEER rating.
  • A good SEER number varies depending on where you live and your indoor temperature and outdoor temperature, but you should be safe with something in the 14 to 15 range.

Ideal SEER Ratings

If you learning what the various air conditioner symbols mean, you have no doubt come across a SEER rating. Nearly every type of AC unit includes a SEER rating, even if you learning the definition of a package unit air conditioner or the definition of a mini-split AC unit.

Insider Tip

Make sure you clean and maintain the AC according to the manufacturer’s instructions to keep that SEER rating up.

Simply put, SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is used to describe air conditioner efficiency. This rating is expressed in easy-to-understand numbers, so you can gauge the efficacy of your unit, even if you have just learned the definition of a 2-stage air conditioner.

You will find the SEER number somewhere on the exterior of the air conditioner unit. If you are having trouble locating it, check the packaging or advertising materials. As a final check, perform a simple web search with your unit’s make and model information. Do not purchase an air conditioner until you are certain of the SEER number, as the unit could be in violation of certain statutes.

STAT: All central ACs were required to have a minimum SEER rating of 10 in 1992, and by 2006, that minimum was raised to 13. In certain regions of the country, like the south and southwest, that minimum standard is raised even further to 14. (source)

All central air conditioners do, though the same cannot be said for window units and portable units. In other words, check the packaging for more information. It is unlikely you will find a number with either type, as the design differs so greatly from central units, mini-splits, and the like.

SEER Number FAQs

Are high SEER AC units worth it?

If you want to save money on your utility bills and energy costs, they are worth it. Whether you have a single-stage system or a two-stage system, SEER numbers indicate efficiency.

What's the difference between a 14 SEER and a 16 SEER?

Obviously, a 16 SEER air conditioning unit boasts maximum efficiency, but this depends on a number of other factors, such as your monthly energy savings and the type of central air conditioner you are dealing with.

What SEER AC number is right for my home?

This depends on where you live, as each area necessitates a unique minimum SEER rating. It also depends on any advanced technology you need for your efficient unit, such as a heat pump.
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