Payne Air Conditioner Prices Guide

Introduction and Payne Brand History

Payne Air Conditioner

Payne is a reliable brand with a relatively small but good quality range of air conditioning units. They have over 100 years of history as they started as a heating and cooling company in 1914. From humble beginnings, the company grew and has been making air conditioning products since the 1940s.

Payne has over 400 distributors around the United States and Canada. The brand is one of many owned by United Technology, making it a sister brand to Carrier. Payne is more of a budget range compared to the Carrier alternative. While they could be described as ‘no frills’ these air conditioners still have plenty to offer as well as an attractive pricing model.

Payne AC Unit Pros and Cons

Payne Pros

  • Value is probably the number one pro of the Payne range. They are very durable and score decently on efficiency (SEER rating) without costing a huge amount of money. Installation isn’t hugely cheap, but the Payne AC unit prices start from just $975, some of the cheapest on the market.
  • As standard, Payne products such as air conditioners have a ten-year warranty. This is in line with the industry standard but not all budget HVAC models have this generous warranty.
  • The duct configuration is convertible with all models of Payne AC unit. They can be altered from downflow to flat. It has a permanent split capacitor. In layman’s terms this keeps energy usage lower and also lets the cooling operation work even in more extreme outside temperatures.
  • Sealed and isolated compressors. In every model, the compressor is durable, and is totally sealed which reduces the chance of any sort of contaminant getting in. By isolating the AC unit it also keeps noise relatively low. There are quieter brands, but for a budget brand the decibel rating is relatively low.

Payne Cons

  • No variable compressor models. A variable compressor is the most efficient way to run an air conditioner, especially if it is on all the time, it allows multiple settings of power and can adjust to ensure efficiency in terms of power. Only single-stage and two-stage models are in the Payne range.
  • Not every model within the Payne range is Energy STAR rated. The PA15NC, PA14NC, and PA13NA do not have this certification, which is a sign of the efficiency AC units can have.
  • The most efficient of the range has a rating of 17 SEER which is decent, and may be an upgrade on many older AC units, but isn’t as good as some competing models such as the XC25 by Lennox, which has up to 26 SEER. For AC units which are being used all the time, this is much more efficient and can save money on energy usage in the long term.
  • Not all installers have to go through rigorous training or have specific qualifications, which brands like Lennox and Trane insist upon. This means you don’t have quite the same guarantees of a quality and issue-free installation.

​Cost by Model

The below table shows the Payne air conditioner installation cost by model, along with an estimate for the installation of the AC unit.

Unit Model

Unit Only Cost

Installed Cost

Running Cost

(based on 2.5 ton)

​​Payne PA16NW




​Payne PA16NA




​​Payne PA17NA




​Payne PA14NC




​Payne PA15NC




​​Payne PA13NA




Estimations for the running cost have used 2.5 ton units which are roughly the size you need for standard homes of around 1600-2000 square feet in size.

Tons means the number of units of BTUs which are being removed by the AC unit each and every hour. This has nothing to do with the weight of the unit itself, which is an easy mistake to make for beginners.

We have also assumed running costs of $0.13 per kW per hour.

Ductwork as a part of the installation is not included in the price, so it assumes you are replacing a unit. If you do need the ductwork to be completed by an installer then this can cost around $2000 per 1,000 square feet of your home.

If you have shopped within other brands you will see from the table that Payne is one of the cheapest HVAC providers. The most expensive Payne air conditioner installation cost is $3755 all in. This is not overly expensive. The cheapest, the Payne PA13NA is under $1000 before installation which is exceptional in terms of price, though the compromise is that you won’t have a high SEER rating or Energy STAR rated AC unit. Comparable bands in terms of price range include Goodmans.

Payne Model Comparison

Unit Model

Efficiency Rating




​​Payne PA16NW

​17 SEER




​Payne PA16NA

​17 SEER




​Payne PA17NA

​​17 SEER




​Payne PA14NC

​​14 SEER




​Payne PA15NC

​14 SEER




​Payne PA13NA

​​13 SEER




This table includes all current models of Payne HVAC. It features the sound in decibels, the compressor type, and energy efficiency rating.

As you can see, the majority of the models have a 1.5-5 ton capacities, but the odd one out is the Payne PA17NA which starts at a 2-ton capacity.

The sound levels are decent for a budget range of air conditioning units. The sound level is not as low as some other brands. Trane AC units can be as quiet as 58 dB, which is significantly lower. For this sort of volume level, you will normally expect to pay far more.

All but one of the Payne models are single-stage models of AC unit. These are the most affordable. The compressor is one of the biggest impacting factors on the price of the unit overall. As this is a budget range, there is no variable compressor in the range. Variable compressors are more efficient as they allow the unit to use only the level of power you require and there isn’t as much waste. With single-stage models, the settings are basically just ‘on’ or ‘off’ in terms of power. For a more efficient Payne AC unit, the Payne PA17NA is two-stage, which means it can alter power levels slightly depending on what is needed. The more you use your air conditioner, the more efficient it needs to be and the more money this can save you.

Choosing A Model for You

Choosing your own model will depend on your home and the level of efficiency you need, as well as your budget.

The Payne PA13NA is a very cheap model of air conditioner, but it is not really suitable for many homes when you consider the high running costs. If you are looking for a good quality cheaper model then it is worth going one step up and opting for the second or third cheapest model in the Payne range.

Payne PA15NC - Best Cheap Payne AC Unit

For a budget air conditioner user which will not get used every single day, we recommend the Payne PA15NC. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have Energy Star rating. This model does offer corrosion resistance and plenty of durability, but paying the extra cost compared to the PA13NA can be counteracted by the added efficiency. Running costs are over 20% less. This is still a single-stage compressor HVAC unit. If you are going to use your AC unit regularly then it might be worth getting a two-stage model.

Payne PA17NA - Most Efficient Payne AC Unit

As is often the case, the most expensive model in the Payne range is the most efficient, too. The PA17NA is $3755 installed. This is significantly more than the PA13NC but if you look at the running cost, you will see why it is worth investing more upfront if the unit will see daily use. Like the other models in the range, the PA17NA has a 10-year warranty, corrosion resistance, and durable design. The 73 dB rating for volume is also the joint lowest of all the Payne models.

Finding a Payne Installer and Getting the Best Price

Payne installations should be taken care with. If you are looking to buy a Payne AC unit then keep in mind the fact that not all of the installers are as reputable as the others.

To find a reliable installer, make sure you look for customer testimonials and independent reviews of the installation company you are thinking of working with. They should be reputable as well as affordable.

To get the best price:

  • 1
    Use our free estimate tool to find at least 3 quotes in your area. This will help you to get quotes and find roughly what the whole process should cost you.
  • 2
    Don’t just settle at the first quote, make sure you get at least a couple of quotes and compare the reviews of the companies as well as the prices they are offering.
  • 3
    Gather as much info as you can on rebate schemes. The more efficient Payne models will qualify for some of the rebate schemes which are offered by local state government schemes or by energy companies.

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