Who Really Manufactures Champion Air Conditioners?

If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, you may have come across the Champion brand. Champion air conditioners are sold at big box home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes at very affordable prices. But despite the Champion name, these air conditioners are not actually manufactured by the Champion company. So who does make Champion air conditioners? Let’s take a closer look.

The History of Champion Air Conditioners

The Champion name has been around since 1908, when the Champion Compressor and Cooling Company was founded in Chicago, Illinois. Champion established itself early on as an innovative manufacturer of air cooling and refrigeration equipment. The company patented several air conditioning technologies over the years and supplied AC units to the US military during World War II.

During the 1950s and 60s, Champion expanded into manufacturing home air conditioning units. The classic Champion room air conditioners with mechanical controls and slide-out chassis became a familiar sight in many households. Champion continued to grow its air conditioner business over the next few decades.

The Origins of Champion Home Technologies

the origins of champion home technologies
The Origins of Champion Home Technologies

In 2001, United Technologies Corporation (UTC) acquired Champion and incorporated it into its Carrier Corporation subsidiary. UTC operated Champion as a brand under Carrier for manufacturing residential air conditioners.

Then in 2010, UTC sold the rights to the Champion heating and cooling brand to Goodman Global Group. Goodman relaunched the Champion name under the new Champion Home Technologies, focused on building affordable, efficient air conditioners and heat pumps for homes.

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Who Manufactures Champion Brand Air Conditioners Today?

Although the Champion Home Technologies company owns the brand name, affiliate manufacturers in Asia are now responsible for the production of air conditioning units that bear the Champion name. So Champion air conditioners found at your local home improvement store are outsourced to OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners.

Specifically, GD Midea Air-Conditioning, a joint venture between Midea Group and Gree Electric Appliances located in China, manufactures the current day Champion residential air conditioners. The company produces the Champion air conditioner product lines on behalf of Champion Home Technologies.

The units are assembled at GD Midea factories using components from various suppliers. They go through quality assurance checks before being packaged with Champion branding and shipped out worldwide.

Differences Between Original Champion Units vs Today’s Models

The air conditioners made for Champion Home Technologies obviously differ from the original Champion AC units. While they now bear the nostalgic Champion brand name, the products are a far cry from Champion’s early air conditioners.

Some major differences include:

  • Origin of Manufacture: Originally made in the USA, current models are outsourced to GD Midea in China
  • Quality Reputation: Vintage Champion models were revered for reliability and performance while modern units get only average consumer reviews
  • Technology: Classic Champions featured simple mechanical controls vs sophisticated circuit boards in the newest generation -specs: Capacity, efficiency ratings and features differ considerably between old and new

While not nearly as rugged or overbuilt as the vintage counterparts, today’s Champion air conditioners aim to deliver cooling and heating function at affordable price points for budget-conscious homeowners.

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Evaluating the Modern Champion Brand Air Conditioners

evaluating the modern champion brand air conditioners
Evaluating the Modern Champion Brand Air Conditioners

The OEM-produced private labeled Champion air conditioners are priced to compete with brands like Goodman and Rheem, appealing to shoppers prioritizing upfront cost. What makes them stand out is the nostalgic tie to the classic American Champion company (oftentimes mistaken as an indication of US manufacturing).

Consumer Reports and HVAC technicians agree current Champion cooling systems are generally short on frills and unlikely to be long-lasting or problem-free. The lack of tiered product levels also makes it hard to compare to big names with good/better/best lineups for different needs.

On the positive side, GD Midea air conditioners have improved efficiency modern compressors plus sensible warranty policies behind them. Being affordable need not mean the units are of terrible quality across the board. And their simple construction may be an advantage to DIY-savvy homeowners.

While not amazing, Champion air conditioning units can be a decent option for homeowners prioritizing low purchasing costs over all else. You generally get what you pay for with capabilities, features and longevity.

Key Takeaways: Who Really Makes Champion Air Conditioners?

  • The century-old Champion brand is now owned by Champion Home Technologies after changes in ownership, though outsourced manufacturing means units sold today are not made by Champion itself
  • GD Midea Air-Conditioning, part of a Chinese appliance conglomerate, produces current Champion-branded air conditioners and heat pumps at overseas factories
  • Modern Champion AC units differ from historical models in technology, specifications, country of origin and overall ruggedness and reliability
  • Lower prices comes at the cost of lasts long and perks compared to leading HVAC brands, but efficiency and basic functions may suffice for some homeowners
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The bottom line: While capitalizing on a heritage American brand name, present-day Champion air conditioners reflect the realities of budget imported consumer goods rather than precision-engineered vintage machines. Understanding the complete backstory allows homeowners to better set expectations when purchasing these affordably-priced cooling systems.

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