There are many different AC & Heating brands in the United States. The one most people are familiar with is Trane. This isn't because Trane is such a great brand but because it is really the only brand that advertises to the general public using commercials and print Ads. Most manufactures just choose to advertise in HVAC contractor publications.
Since you can really only get equipment installed by an EPA licensed and certified company, most AC and Heater manufacturers only market to HVAC contractors. But Trane was smart in that it went straight to the homeowners and now homeowners will often ask an HVAC company if they sell Trane. Here is the brand rankings in their order. We tool into account cost, reliability, value, ease of repair, how long they last, etc. as well as what their car equivalent would be:
#1 Rheem- Rheem is just so faithful and reliable. This brand is arguably the best of all the brands. Even if you mistreat it and don't take good care of it it will still run faithfully. It would be equivalent to the best car Honda makes. Just reliable and long running
#2 Trane-Trane advertises heavy to the general public. It is a very good brand. It consistently performs well and lasts long. Their only problem is that they have made their units so that a large portion of their parts have to be replaced with Trane parts. This frustrates repair companies and costs them more and so they pass that cost to you. Trane would be a Toyota Camry.
#3 Lennox-This is a great Texas brand. It is very easy to repair and comes with a good standard warranty. Technicians also like working on this brand. Does not have the reputation of a Trane or Rheem but is still good. Lennox would be a Ford F-150
#4 Carrier- This company invented Air Conditioning. It has a great reputation and lasts long. They have 3 names associated with their brand, Bryant, Day & Night and Carrier. Carrier was recently in the news because President-elect Trump was able to get them to keep their manufacturing in the US instead of Mexico thus saving 1,000 American jobs. Good for Trump, good for Carrier, good for America. Carrier would be a Chevy Impala.
#5 Goodman, Amana, York- Not enough bad things can be said about these brands. They are not worth the metal they were made with. Most heating and air conditioning repair technicians will tell you that you want to stay away from these brands. The question naturally comes up "Why do I see these brands at so many new homes?" This is because they are so cheap. Builders of massive developments know this and so they purchase bulk amounts. All it has to do is last for about a year until the builder is off the hook and then it is not their problem. Do not buy these brands. Do yourself a huge favor and dont use a company that sells this brand. The car this would be is a Pinto or Daewoo.
#6 Off Brands-Any brands that are not listed above are not worth even ever being considered by the homeowner. Sometimes an HVAC contractor will try and sell this to a homeowner because he got a good deal. He will tell the homeowner that its a special brand or something. DO NOT ever go with these. They usually break within a year and are impossible to get parts for. How do you know which brands I am speaking of? If it isn't one of the ones above just don't buy it.