AC Manufacturing Companies and who Owns Them: A Look at Top AC Brands

AC manufacturing companies
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Demand for good-quality air conditioners has never been higher. As a result, the value of the global HVAC system market has been predicted to increase by $75 billion between 2020 and 2025!

That’s a lot of bucks for the world’s largest manufacturers. Given the size of the industry, it is hard to know who manufactures what.

This list of top AC manufacturing companies in the world considers total output across all HAVC markets – residential, commercial, and industrial. As a result, some famous name brands didn’t cut.

Here are the top ten largest AC manufacturers in the world and the brands they own.

Top 10 Largest AC Manufacturing Companies in the World 2021

Daikin

A large population of the modern world has Daikin to thank for keeping them cool in the summer.

Since its founding in 1924, the Japanese brand has become the largest manufacturer of air conditioning equipment globally.

Daikin’s success is a tale of perseverance. After all, the company was established two decades after Willis Carrier invented the first air conditioning machine.

But Daikin shocked the world when they invented the first split and multi-split air conditioners.

While this was enough to make them a dominant player in Asia, it did nothing for them in North America until they started snatching up competitors.

Daikin remained firmly in the shadow of Carrier until they acquired McQuay International, OYL Industries, and finally Goodman Global, all within a span of six years.

By the time the dust settled on the Goodman deal, Daikin had become the world’s largest HVAC company.

As a result, the AC giant has a broader range of products than most, comprising split/multi-split air conditioners, unitary air conditioners, air to water heat pumps.

Additionally, it produces heating systems, air purifiers, medium/low-temperature refrigeration systems, ventilation products, control systems, chillers, filters, and marine HVAC.

While the Daikin and Goodman ACs are the most popular brands from the manufacturer, it is also the owner of Amana and Acson.

Amana is a high-end brand sold in the US, while Acson was previously OYL and is based in Malaysia. Daikin products are sold in 150 countries from 100 production bases, yielding an annual revenue of over $17 billion. 

Carrier Global Technologies

No name has been more synonymous with air conditioners in the US than Carrier, and for a good reason – the company’s founder, Willis Carrier, invented the modern air conditioner.

Since that fateful day in July 1902, the Carrier brand has created residential and commercial HVAC products loved all over the world.

For a period of 41 years, terminating in 2020, the Carrier brand was under the umbrella of United Technologies.

This made United Technologies the world’s largest air conditioning manufacturer, heating and refrigerator equipment for a brief period.

Other brands owned by United Technologies were the lesser-known Bryant, Payne, ComfortMaker, Arcoaire, Heil, KeepRite, and Tempstar.

Carrier became an independent company once again in 2020 and retained all of these brands. In addition, carrier also manufactures these HVAC brands: Carlyle, CIAT, Day & Night, Riello, SLD Pumps & Power, Spot Coolers, Toshiba-Carrier, and Totaline.

With so many companies under its wings, it is not surprising that Carrier has one of the most diverse HVAC ranges in the world and is the market leader for residential HVAC solutions.

Despite this success, Carrier is on a mission to regain the No. 1 spot from Daikin.

Johnson Controls

With the growing popularity of air conditioning equipment, it is hard to find an HVAC manufacturer with a bad reputation. Unfortunately,  Johnson Controls is one of the exceptions, well, at least in the US.

Johnson Controls was founded in 1883 when Warren S. Johnson invented the first electric room thermostat. Needless to say, that his little invention went on to change (or even create) the commercial HVAC market.

As a result, Johnson Controls has always focused on commercial air conditioning equipment, and they have been very successful.

Unfortunately, however, that success wasn’t enough to protect it from the financial crisis in 2009, requiring a bail-out from the government.

The HVAC company suffered a public fall-out when in 2016, it merged with Tyco International and moved its headquarter to Ireland to avoid US taxes.

Despite the backlash it received from the American government and media, Johnson Controls International Plc is still one of the largest global producers of fire, HVAC and security equipment.

The two HVAC brands it owns are York International (which owns Luxaire) and Coleman Heating & Air Conditioning.

Johnson Controls provides the broadest range of air chillers and remains one of the most reliable makers of commercial air solutions.

Besides chillers, the company also manufactures Packaged and Split DX Systems, Ductless Systems, Air Handling, and Air Distribution systems.

LG Corporation

Now, we come to a brand that needs little introduction. LG has been one of the most popular companies globally for many years due to its wide range of electronic equipment.

 

High on the list are its residential and commercial air conditioning equipment used in more countries than not.

Founded in 1947, the South Korean company lacks the experience had by the American AC manufacturers on this list, but that hasn’t slowed them down.

LG Air Conditioning Technologies is the unit under LG Electronics (a subsidiary of LG Corp) in charge of HVAC equipment.

It is known for its revolutionary Multi V™ Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) setup.

While LG has lost its place as a market leader in different fields, most especially mobile phones, its air conditioning business grows. This is due to the company’s willingness to provide a wide range of solutions.

Of all the companies so far, this is the first to offer portable air conditioners as part of its main lineup, making it one of the few manufacturers catering to the full spectrum of consumers. Another distinction is that LG has only one brand of AC units.

Trane Technologies

Here is another company that has been through many changes over the years and has come out stronger on the other side.

Trane Technologies was founded in 1885 by a Norwegian immigrant in the US. The company’s first love was heating systems, but that changed after acquiring General Electric’s Central Air Conditioning division in 1982.

Just two years later, Trane was acquired by another household name – American Standard Companies.

Finally, after two decades, this company was bought by Ingersoll Rand, making it one of the largest HVAC companies in the world.

However, a few years later (in 2020), Ingersoll Rand spun off Trane Technologies to become a publicly traded subsidiary.

So, you will either find it as an independent company or as a subsidiary of Ingersoll Ran when you search for Trane Technologies.

Confusing? Quite. But what is crystal clear is that the pioneering company still makes unique HVAC equipment that constantly outperforms competitors when it comes to eco-friendliness and power consumption.

The air conditioning brands under Trane Technologies are Trane, American Standard, Ameristar (a cost-friendly version of American Standard), Nexia, Oxbox, RunTru, and Thermocold.

Midea Group 

Next on our list is the largest air conditioning manufacturer in China and, consequently, one of the largest in the world. Finally, the Guangdong-based Midea Group is an electronics behemoth with over 200 subsidiaries.

 

Founded in 1968, Midea Group makes almost every type of home appliance but stands out for air conditioning.

The company did not make its first air conditioner until 1985, but the AC division became Midea’s major manufacturing category.

Their HVAC equipments are now sold in 200 countries. Midea also functions as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), making products for other brands.

Given that the companies it builds air conditioning equipment for are undisclosed, it is hard to refute Midea’s claim of being the leading AC manufacturer in the world.

The electronics powerhouse has also scored impressive projects, such as the HVAC installations for all of the stadiums used in the 2016 Brazil Olympic Games.

Midea’s partnerships and acquisitions have strategically helped it bolster its presence over the years. The air conditioning brands under the company are Midea, Toshiba, Comfee, Clivet, and MDV.

Electrolux 

Over the past century, very few companies have been as busy as Electrolux. The company was founded in Sweden in 1919 to sell vacuum cleaners.

Since then, it has created almost every conceivable type of home appliance, and even at one point made cars!

However, it wasn’t until 1986 that the company got into the HVAC business. Its the year it acquired White Consolidated Industries, the company that owned Frigidaire, Westinghouse, and Kelvinator.

Through the years, Electrolux has acquired over 200 companies; hence it is not surprising that it is one of the largest HVAC manufacturers in the world.

Electrolux makes everything from portable conditioners to commercial HVAC equipment via Zanussi, Gibson, Philco, White-Westinghouse, Kelvinator, Frigidaire, and GE Appliances.

Lennox 

When it comes to experience with HVACs and early applications, very few companies can compete with Lennox.

 

The company is named after its founder Dave Lennox, a railroad machine repairer.

Lennox had no intention of going into the heating industry until an opportunity came that was too good to ignore. The company hit its stride after he sold it in 1904.

Initially, Lennox created heating equipment but then entered the residential air conditioning market in 1952.

Following years of steady growth and a series of acquisitions, the company has come to own a few valuable air conditioner manufacturers.

Besides its own branded AC products, the company owns Allied Air Enterprises and its own HVAC brands, including Airease, magicpak, Ducane, Allied Commercial, Armstrong Air, and Concord.

Nortek Global HVAC 

Now, we come to the only company on our list that isn’t technically the parent manufacturer. At the time of writing, Nortek Global HVAC is to be sold by Melrose Industries to Madison Industries, making its parent company the rightful member of this list.

Oddly enough, that is not where the strangeness ends with Nortek. Nortek Global HVAC, a company under Nortek Air Management, was founded in the city of St. Louis in 1919 to create oil burners to reduce air pollution.

Over the next few decades, the company recorded a few firsts, such as the first oil heater for manufactured housing and the first central air conditioning system for trailers.

They also created the first ducted application of inverter technology, resulting in the first split-system air conditioner reaching 25.5 SEER.

As a result of their technological prowess, the company focused on manufacturing air conditioners for other brands: Maytag, Frigidaire, Gibson, NuTone, Broan, Reznor, and Mammoth.

If some of these names sound like they have been repeated on this list, it’s because they are. For example, Frigidaire and Gibson are Electrolux brands, but Nortek makes their ACs.

Nortek is licensed to use their trademarks alongside Philco, Kelvinator, and Westinghouse, other Electrolux subsidiaries.

Samsung Electronics

Last but not least, we have the largest privately-owned electronics manufacturer in South Korea. And of all the companies, its history might be the most bizarre.

 

Samsung was founded in 1938 and its primary product at the time was dried fish. It took thirty years before the company diversified into electronics, and aren’t we glad it did?

The Korean conglomerate is the second-largest technology company in the world by revenue and the largest consumer electronics maker by revenue.

When it comes to air conditioners, however, Samsung still has some catching up to do.

Samsung started making air conditioners in 1974. However, its first few designs were residential appliances and only truly arrived on the commercial scene in 2000. By this time, its competitors already had decades of experience.

However, Samsung has a knack for slaying much larger competition. It has also been able to take advantage of the parent company’s extensive resources – significantly more than any other air conditioner manufacturer – to put it in a position to succeed.

If Samsung weren’t so successful at selling phones, it probably would put more effort into dominating the HVAC market, and there is no doubt that it would crush it. Just like LG, Samsung only sells its brand of air conditioners.

What does the Future Hold for AC Manufacturers?

As dominant as Carrier and Daikin have been over the years, their reign appears to be coming to an end.

Chinese brands may be the newest in the market, but their low production costs make them the pocket-friendly option, particularly for residential and commercial use.

With China already accounting for 35% of global domestic air conditioner use, it is hard to see manufacturers from other countries maintain the lead for long.

Gree already claims to be the largest manufacturer of residential air conditioners globally, and it is only a matter of time before its commercial operations grow.

Hair is creeping up fast, but Midea has a solid argument to be the biggest. However, the real change will come as more mergers take place, as many analysts have predicted.

But for us, the consumers, our only concern is that no matter what happens, AC prices must keep going down! or else some may sort for other means to cool down their rooms