There are many brand names in the HVAC industry, and few are more popular or well known than Carrier and Trane. If it is time for an upgrade or a new air conditioner, your choices may bring you to these two brands.
Which one is better? In this review, we will look at Carrier vs. Trane air conditioners to help you find out. Depending on your specific needs, desires, and expectations, one may prove more valuable than the other.
We will help you decide by covering the features and options of each brand, comparing the models and features together, and helping you understand what each brand has to offer.
Carrier Vs. Trane Air Conditioners: Which Is Better?
It can be difficult to distinguish one brand over another. With similar technologies, nearly-identical-looking parts, and a performance value rating that can be the same, it is confusing. What makes them different is what features they make use of and who does it better.
In this section, we will cover the various prominent features and help you decide which is a better fit.
Reliability and Expected Lifespan
Both Carrier and Trane are considered top-tier brands. While they do have some lower-end models that cater to the budget-conscious consumer, most of their standard and premium models are quite durable.
Both Carrier and Trane offer excellent warranties, but it is the cleaning the AC and routine maintenance that help them last longer. If you are diligent and follow all of the recommended steps, both brands will easily last 20 or more years.
Winner: Tie. Both brands are capable of multiple decades of reliable service.
Communication is important. This is where many smaller brands fall short, and their customer service lacks. Some brands have no viable method of contact, and others only use email or web-based contact forms.
Carrier is one of the most proactive brands in the industry and has several ways to get in touch. They also make it much easier to get in contact with a human over an automated script and will help you out through the entire call.
Carrier also implements a post-sale regiment that takes feedback from their consumers and vendors to help gather information to make a better product and service in the future. Trane also has a fairly decent human interaction method but doesn’t follow through on the post-sale aspect like Carrier does.
Winner: Carrier has a more proactive approach to consumer communications.
Unit Purchase Price
Price is a major factor, and as you can suspect, big-name brands will have higher price tags than smaller brands. This is true for both Carrier and Trane, who are seen as premium brands in the industry.
When looking at prices for these brands, you will rarely, if ever, see single unit prices. All listed prices will include labor and installation. However, between these two brands, the pricing is quite similar.
For Trane, you will find the lower-end models range between $2,200 and $3,200, while the mid-range and premium models can reach between $8,000 and $12,000. Carrier has the same price points, but depending on where you live, the prices can be up to $2,000 less and up to $4,000 more.
Winner: Tie. The price range for both brands is about the same, but regional differences can have a drastic impact on what you actually pay.
Aside from price, the warranty may be the most significant factor concerning your investment. Therefore, when making your final purchase, you need to take the time to read through the warranty and make sure you understand what is covered, what is not, and for how long.
It is also wise to read through the claims process to know what is required on your part to make a claim. This will help you know what to do beforehand to make the claim easier.
With Carrier, you get a 10-year warranty on almost all models. A few of the premium models will qualify for a 12-year warranty where available. Trane also offers a 10-year warranty on the parts and electronics, but the sealed system (including the compressor) is warrantied for 12 years.
Winner: Trane’s split warranty covers the compressor for a longer period than Carrier.
Costs of Parts and Future Repairs
As parts begin to wear out and break down, they will need to be repaired and replaced. The cost for an AC replacement or repair can be expensive, depending on what breaks down and how long you let it go before repairs are administered.
For parts that you can replace yourself, you can find them for both brands almost anywhere. HVAC supply stores, home improvement stores, hardware shops, and even online stores will carry brand-name replacement parts for your units.
Carrier and Trane parts costs will be about the same overall, and both are high-quality. When you buy the OEM parts, they will last longer. Even at a higher price, you will save money in the long run.
Winner: Tie. Both brands have replacement parts readily available for DIY or professional replacement.
Range of SEER Ratings Available
The SEER rating is a number given to represent the potential energy savings of that unit. The higher the SEER rating, the more potential savings you can accrue. With the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio known, you can gauge how much energy the AC will use and will be able to determine if it is worth the additional cost for a higher rated unit.
Carrier ranges from 13 SEER to 21 SEER with more focus on the higher-end models. As a whole, Carrier models average about 17.5 SEER. With Trane, the average is slightly lower at about 16.6 SEER, but their models range from 14 to 22 SEER.
Winner: Carrier has a slight edge in overall average SEER rating, even with a lower top-end SEER value.
Charge assist is a Trane-only device. This mechanical device is designed to assist installers with the proper refrigerant fill levels. It attaches to the fill lines between the line valves and the fill gauges of the technician.
When refrigerant is being added to the unit, it will shut off the flow when the pressure is near full. This helps prevent over-filled lines and allows technicians to notice any issues with the lines before turning the system on.
Winner: Trane is the only brand that uses or has the charge assist device.
Humidity can be a health hazard. Too little humidity, and you can dry up, experience cracked skin, and find other harmful aspects. On the other hand, if there is too much, you can have respiratory problems, and it becomes prime for mold growth. Air conditioners naturally remove humidity from the air in your home.
To take more control over the humidity levels, you will need humidity sensors and a thermostat that can tell the system when to turn on and off based on those levels. With Carrier and Trane, you will need a third-party thermostat system to do this, but both brands are compatible with almost every aftermarket thermostat system on the market.
Winner: Tie. While neither brand offers internal humidity control options beyond natural moisture removal, they are both compatible with 3rd party options that do.
Noise Levels of AC Units
As with any electrical or mechanical device, air conditioners will make noise. How much noise they produce (measured in decibels) will depend on the components used in construction and the steps taken to minimize noise production.
Higher quality components, sound dampening blankets, insulators or even a better compressor will help minimize noise levels. With Trane models, you will find the average noise production falls between 67 and 73dB, though top-end models will fall to about 60dB.
Carrier, on the other hand, is a much quieter brand overall, with an average across the entire range of about 55dB. The top-end models for the brand weigh in at a whisper-quiet 49 to 52dB.
Winner: Carrier has quieter models across the board and a much quieter top-end model.
Variable Speed Systems (Compressors)
Variable speed compressors are the newest in a long line of energy efficiency advancements over the last decade or two. With variable speed systems, the compressor runs between 1% and 100% capacity based on the needs of the system and to maintain the temperature set at the thermostat.
By never shutting completely off, these compressors don’t require the large jolts of electricity of other types. This not only saves wear and tear on the compressor itself, but it also saves you money on your energy bill.
Carrier has several models with variable speed compressors, but because of their cost, you will only find them in the premium lineup. The same is true with Trane, but they don’t offer the same amount of models (only two). Still, for their variable-speed models, you will need to look to the top-tier series.
Winner: Tie. Both brands offer multiple variable-speed models that have higher SEER ratings and smoother operation.
Single Vs. Two-Stage Cooling Options
When a variable speed compressor is out of budget range, or you just don’t need it (colder climates, for example), you can save a lot of money depending if you choose a single vs two-stage compressor model.
Unlike the variable speed units, a two-stage compressor runs at 70% or 100% capacity based on the system’s needs. Therefore, it is more efficient than a single-stage compressor that only runs at 100%. However, the two-stage models tend to be more expensive.
Carrier and Trane both offer plenty of options in single and two-stage compressor options. With SEER ratings between 13 and 19, they are still efficient enough to save money versus your current air conditioner.
Winner: Tie. Both brands offer a lot of compressor configurations and various models to meet your needs.
Technology Integration and Developments
The HVAC industry was built on innovation. Men and women had ideas and expanded on them. Making the industry better and more advanced every day is part of the process. Some technological advances are worth a higher price point, and some are not.
Carrier has plenty of technology in their systems. Everything from wireless communications and smart home or mobile app control to weather-resistant and rustproof parts and accessories. As one of the quietest brands around, they also spend a great deal of effort on noise reduction, quieter compressors, and tech to make installation easier.
Trane has a more internal focus on their technology. They spend their time and effort on making a more durable unit with rustproofing, weather resistance, and corrosion-resistant parts. There are some smart controls but nothing to the extent of Carrier.
Winner: Tie. One brand focuses on end-user tech, while the other focuses on durability tech.
Financing Options Available (Via The Brand)
Because HVAC prices can get high, it is often found that brands will offer financing options. Some brands choose in-house financing that comes directly from them, while others let their authorized dealers and installation companies handle it.
With Carrier financing, you have the choice of in-house or dealer financing options. They make the application process simple and accessible, too. You can apply at any authorized Carrier dealer, installation company, or directly online on the Carrier website.
Trane financing is done through authorized dealers and backed by Wells Fargo Bank. You can apply online, but you will be routed to a local dealer before completing the process. Because of this, it is best to go to the dealer of your choice and apply through them since the approval company will handle the installation when it is all said and done.
Winner: Tie. Both brands make financing options available through various platforms.
Consumer ratings and reviews are essential to your final decision. The right review could easily make you change your mind. However, when going through the reviews of others, it can be difficult to identify what the actual issue was or is, who is blamed for the issue or how it got resolved in the end.
The best option is to trust your gut feeling and get a sense of the brand or model as a whole, not based on one single review.
Carrier gets an average rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars from Consumer Affairs, with the vast majority of their 160 reviews being 4 and 5 stars. For most HVAC brands with good reviews, the rating will fall between 3.0 and 3.7, so Carrier is right in the mix.
For Trane, the response is also about average. With a 3.3 out of 5 star rating, Trane is also in the middle of the pack compared to the averages. Most complaints refer to the installer or lack of upkeep on the homeowner’s part, though, and have little to do with the actual system.
Winner: Tie. Both brands have similar ratings and average marks compared to the rest of the industry.
Comparing Popular Carrier and Trane Air Model Numbers
Now that we know what each brand offers, let’s take a closer look at their individual models. We compare them based on expected SEER rating, compressor cooling stages, and potential energy saving percentages.
|Model Number||SEER Ratings||Cooling Stages||Energy Saving (%)|
|Carrier 24VNA6||26 SEER||750||56%|
|Trane XV20i||22 SEER||750||64%|
|Carrier 24ANB1||19 SEER||2||54%|
|Trane XV18||18 SEER||750||56%|
|Carrier 24VNA9||17 SEER||2||52%|
|Carrier 24ANB7||17 SEER||2||52%|
|Carrier 24ANB7**C||17 SEER||2||52%|
|Trane XR14||14 SEER||1||45%|
|Trane XL18i||18 SEER||2||56%|
|Carrier Infinity 24||19 SEER||2||54%|
|Carrier Infinity® 19VS||19 SEER||2||54%|
|Trane XL17||18 SEER||2||56%|
|Trane XR16i||17 SEER||1||54%|
|Carrier Infinity® 16||16 SEER||2||50%|
|Carrier Performance™ 15||17 SEER||1||50%|
|Carrier Comfort™ 15||16 SEER||1||48%|
Overview of Carrier Air Conditioners
In 1902 Willis Carrier did the unthinkable. He manufactured a method for taking the hot, humid air in the New Jersey summer and made it cold. Indoor air conditioning was born and started as a manufacturing company for theaters and larger commercial buildings for these air machines.
As the popularity for cooler indoor air grew, Carrier began marketing to homeowners and eventually moved to the residential sector. As the brand awareness grew, so did the brand, and the popularity caused a massive spike in Carrier sales, allowing the brand to begin absorbing smaller companies.
Today, the Carrier name is one of the largest in the industry and continues to use innovation and name recognition to grow larger and more involved.
Quick Look At Carrier Air Conditioner Features
Carrier uses a lot of technological advances such as Copeland Scroll Compressors and noise suppression to help make their units more efficient. The technology doesn’t end there, though. You will also find plenty of other options and technologies that help keep Carrier at the top of the industry.
The Infinity Home Air Filtration System, for example, is a full range set of connected systems for heating, cooling, and control. From thermostats and air filters to specific heat exchangers and condensers. When all used together, you will have one of the most sophisticated HVAC systems on the market.
With Carrier, you also get complete system control through smart devices, the Silencer System II, and microtube technology that allows Carrier systems to run more smoothly, quietly, and efficiently.
Pros & Cons of Carrier AC Units
Here we take a look at the good and the bad sides of Carrier air conditioners. Perhaps one list will make or break your decision, but only you can decide that.
What We Like
- Worldwide availability
- Strong Warranty coverage
- Excellent customer service
- All models qualify for credits and rebates where applicable
- Smart technologies included
- Corrosion protection and sound dampening
- Parts and service easily obtained
Things We Don’t
- More expensive than other brands
- Not the most efficient for the cost
- Subject to inferior install with wholesale options
Overview of Trane Air Conditioners
Trane actually started a few years before Carrier, but instead of starting in the HVAC industry, Trane and his son were in the plumbing and manufacturing business and didn’t move into the heating and cooling side until closer to the 1920s.
Since then, Trane grabbed a foothold in the HVAC industry and never let go. On the contrary, Trane grew quickly and became a household name across the country. While the brand grew, the technology and innovation also grew.
Today, after several acquisitions and a few parent company changes themselves, Trane works under the Ingersoll Rand name. As a brand, they make new advances in the industry every day and continue to bring top-tier products to their consumers.
Quick Look At Trane Air Conditioner Features
Trane’s technologies are more internal than external. This essentially means that the advancements in efficiency, performance, and cost are all inside the units and don’t extend much into the end-user functionality.
Instead, you will find high-end additions such as rustproof drain pans, WeatherGuard toppers to prevent debris and rain inside the condenser. You will also find ComfortLink II, an internal communication system that controls the speed and rate of operation of all the connected parts.
We’re talking about real-time diagnostics, connectivity, and full control over your system at the touch of a button. Trane also features sound dampening on certain models to help reduce noise levels of higher-end units.
Pros & Cons of Trane AC Units
Now we will round it out by also looking at the positive and negative aspects of Trane air conditioners. Will the good outweigh the bad? Let’s find out.
What We Like
- Great warranties without extra steps
- Durable and reliable parts
- Weather-resistant toppers
- Rustproof drain pans
- All-aluminum condenser coils
- Multiple models with variable speed compressors
- Made in USA
- Sound dampening (select models)
Things We Don’t
- Must use variable speed compressors daily to get benefits
- Higher labor fees for repairs
- Can cost more than some brands upfront
People Also Ask (FAQ)
Here are some frequently asked Carrier & Trane AC questions.
Are Carrier AC units quiet?
Carrier air conditioners are among the quietest models in the industry. Some of the top models fall below 55dB by utilizing sound dampening, insulation, and noise blankets. An average of about 67dB covers the full range of Carrier units which is about 5 to 7dB below industry averages.
How much does a 3 ton Carrier AC unit cost?
A mid-range 3 ton Carrier model is large enough to handle about 2000 square feet. As a per-unit cost, you can find them for about $2,100. With installation, labor fees, and upkeep, a full install of a 3 ton Carrier unit for around $8,500. This will depend on your region, installation contractor, and details of the installation, which can cause the price to rise or fall to various degrees.
Who builds Carrier air conditioners?
Carrier manufactures and produces their own HVAC equipment. Carrier has combined with Midea America to form Carrier Midea North America. As a part of United Technologies Group, Carrier Midea is the name behind the label that makes all of the Carrier air conditioner units.
Who makes Trane air conditioners?
Trane, formerly under the American Standard brand and now under the renamed Ingersoll Rand, makes their own product. Like Carrier, Trane manufacturers and produces the units with their labels on them.
When looking for a new air conditioner for your home, you have several options with brand names and multiple choices of models, sizes, and capabilities. Of those brands, two of them are Carrier and Trane.
Deciding which brand is right for your needs can come down to a single feature or option, with both offering variable speed compressors, quieter operation, and new technology for cost-effective operations.
Whether Carrier or Trane (or even another brand) is the right choice for you is a judgment call only you can make. Hopefully, this review has shown you more about Trane and Carrier ACs to help make that decision.
Last Updated on April 18, 2022
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