16 SEER vs 20 SEER: Difference and Comparison

The full form of SEER is Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. It is used for measuring the efficiency of heat pump cooling and air conditioning.

The formula of the SEER is- SEER= cooling output/energy used. The more the SEER rating is, the more energy-efficient it is. SEER has a range of ratings and the minimum standard rating of SEER is 13 and it can increase to 25-26. 16 and 20 SEER are two of the SEER ratings which are distinguished from each other.

Key Takeaways

  1. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is used to measure the efficiency of an air conditioner.
  2. A 20 SEER air conditioner is more efficient than a 16 SEER air conditioner and can save up to 25% on energy bills.
  3. A higher SEER rating means higher upfront costs for the air conditioner but leads to significant energy savings over the long term.

16 SEER vs 20 SEER

The difference Between 16 SEER and 20 SEER is that 16 SEER is a mid-efficient unit, on the other hand, 20 SEER is a highly energy-efficient unit. An air conditioner with 16 SEER is more energy efficient in comparison to an air conditioner with 20 SEER. At the same time, 16 SEER rating Air conditioners will cost you more in the long run as it takes more energy to cool down a specific space of room compared to 20 SEER which will cost less. By opting for 20 SEER air conditioners over a 16 SEER one will save 25% of the electricity cost.

16 SEER vs 20 SEER

16 SEER is better in energy efficiency than its lower ratings like 13 SEER or 14 SEER or 15 SEER. Compared to a 14 SEER unit, a  16 SEER unit uses almost 13% less energy.


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A 16 SEER unit air conditioner uses a two-stage compressor which not only makes the HVAC unit energy-efficient, also allows it to run for a long time.

20 SEER rating is more energy-efficient than 16 SEER. 20 SEER will be the best option for a large home situated in a humid, warm climate.

A proper installation of 20 SEER systems is very important as if it was done improperly this can not work as a 20 SEER air conditioner. In the 20 SEER system, a variable-speed system is visible.

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison16 SEER20 SEER
Energy-efficiencyHighly energy efficient but less efficient than 20 SEER.     Highly energy-efficient and more efficient than 16 SEER.
Cooling time Cooling time is high compared to 20 SEER units.     Cooling time is less compared to 20 SEER units.
Installation chargeLesser than 20 SEER.     Higher than 16 SEER.
Electric usageIt uses more energy than 20 SEER.     It uses less energy than 16 SEER.
CompressorTwo-stage compressor.     Variable-speed system.

What is 16 SEER?

16 SEER is a rating of SEER that indicates the seasonal energy efficiency. It is surely better than 14 or 15 SEER in energy efficiency and cost savings.

16 SEER is a mid-efficient rating of SEER which is more efficient than 14 SEER or 15 SEER and less efficient than 20 SEER. An air conditioner with 16 SEER is almost 14% more efficient compared to a 14 SEER air conditioner.

16 SEER air conditioners cost from 2000 to 4000 US dollars based on the type and size. 16 SEER air conditioners are perfect for a homeowner who demands a more efficient cooling system, but at the same time doesn’t want to spend too much money on it.

It is a good option in a warmer climate. AC s with 16 SEER can reduce the humidity in the air and also run quieter than 14 SEER ACs.

16 SEER air conditioners use a two-stage compressor which allows them to operate at two different speeds. The two-stage compressor can work either in a 100% setting or somewhat less than a 100% setting.

The second stage is around 70%, depending upon the model and brand. 16 SEER air conditioners run longer compared to 14 SEER or 15 SEER ACs because of the two-stage compressor.

Many US companies like Lennox, Carrier, Goodman, Amana, Trane, American Standard, Bryant sell 16 SEER air conditioners.

The 16 SEER air conditioner can control the climate of the room and adhere to several features like better cooling abilities and programmable thermostats. 

What is 20 SEER?

20 SEER is another rating of seasonal energy efficiency. 20 SEER air conditioners are categorized under the highly efficient SEER rating.

Currently, 20 SEER air conditioners are getting more and more popular. Most of the companies offer 20 SEER air conditioners with almost 10 years of warranty. Daikin provides its users with 12 years of warranty in their 20 SEER air conditioners.

If you have a large home situated in a humid and warm climate, then a 20 SEER air conditioner is the best option for you. 20 SEER air conditioners can cool down a place earlier than 16 SEER ACs.

Every air conditioner helps to reduce the temperature of your house but high-efficient air conditioners like 20 SEER ACs can do the job more efficiently compared to other mid and lower-efficient air conditioners. 

Some 20 SEER air conditioners have a ductless mini-split system, which has two major components- a unit for indoor air handling and an outdoor condenser or compressor.

The main advantage of this type of air conditioner is that it is small and flexible which is perfect for cooling and zoning individual rooms.

20 SEER air conditioners generally have a variable-speed system that can have 700 types of settings which is between 30 to 100 percent. This wide range of settings allows this system to adjust its output to properly maintain the temperature of the room. 

Main Differences Between 16 SEER and 20 SEER

  1. 16 SEER is a mid-efficient rating whereas 20 SEER is a highly energy-efficient rating.
  2. An air conditioner with 16 SEER takes more time to cool down a room compared to a 20 SEER air conditioner.
  3. The installation charge of a 16 SEER air conditioner is lesser than a 20 SEER AC.
  4. A 16 SEER air conditioner uses more energy compared to a 20 SEER air conditioner. As a result, the electricity cost for a 16 SEER air conditioner is also higher than the 20 SEER one.
  5. 16 SEER air conditioner uses two-step compressors, whereas 20 SEER uses a variable-speed system.
Difference Between X and Y 2023 07 17T122034.745
  1. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=16+SEER+AC&btnG=#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3DhUMKZo9EB5AJ
  2. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=20+SEER+AC&btnG=#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3DGyaRTOrEaUUJ
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