Trane Versus Carrier Air Conditioners - The first thing we need to do when comparing a Trane Versus a Carrier is to make sure we are comparing similar models with similar features.  Each manufacturer makes various models from a builder’s grade unit which is usually the HVAC manufacturer’s cheapest model all the way up to the unit that has bells and whistles and some of these have bells and whistles for the bells and whistles. You simply want to make sure you are comparing apples to apples and not an apple to an orange.

Trane versus Carrier Air Conditioners

Trane Versus Carrier Air Conditioners Comparison Matrix

The next thing we need to do when comparing HVAC equipment is to look at the HVAC contractor installing the equipment. If you get a lousy installer or contractor forget about name brand because the HVAC system WILL NOT FUNCTION PROPERLY if it is not installed properly. Also, the unit will not have the same life expectancy and will fail prematurely and will need to be replaced sooner than if the HVAC equipment is installed properly in the first place. Out of any advice about air conditioning and heating equipment that someone can give you, this is probably the most important part.

Trane XL20i vs Carrier Infinity Premium Models Comparison Matrix

Trane Versus Carrier Air Conditioners

Trane XL20i Key Features

Carrier Infinity Air Conditioner Key Features

Communication Ability (optional)Infinity® Control w/Remote Access (optional Remote Access)
Charge Assist™
Trane Comfort R™ Requires matched indoor variable speed blower for humidity controlInfinity Variable Speed Blower Fan Motor Superior humidity control w/ Improved indoor air quality
Two-row Spine Fin™ coil
Full-Side Louvered PanelsFull-Side Louvered Panels
Two-Stage Cooling (Dual Climatuff® Compressors)Two-stage operation for ultimate comfort
Multi-stage FanInfinity Variable Speed Condenser Fan Motor
R410A RefrigerantPuron® R-410A refrigerant
Weather Resistant WeatherGuard™ FastenersWeatherArmor Ultra™ System
Sound Insulator on CompressorsSilencer System II™ As low as 68 dB
DuraTuff™ Rust Proof Base Pan
Enhanced diagnostics
10 Year Parts/Coil and 12 year compressor limited warranty10 year parts warranty
Energy Star Rated up to 20 SEEREnergy Star Rated up to 21 SEER

As one can tell by reviewing the Trane Vs Carrier comparison matrix things can a little confusing for the average consumer especially with all the techno-descriptions so we’ll do our best to translate all this and break it down for you below.
  • Carrier Warranties as Compared to Other Brands 90% 90%
  • Carrier Quality as Compared to Other Brands 95% 95%
  • Consumer Opinion based on Field Experience 90% 90%
  • Carrier Efficiency Compared to Other Brands 93% 93%
  • Overall Carrier Opinion from a Technical Perspective 85% 85%
  • Trane Warranties as Compared to Other Brands 93% 93%
  • Trane Quality as Compared to Other Brands 95% 95%
  • Consumer Opinion based on Field Experience 77% 77%
  • Trane Efficiency Compared to Other Brands 93% 93%
  • Overall Trane Opinion from a Technical Perspective 89% 89%

Trane Versus Carrier Air Conditioners Feature Descriptions

Trane Versus Carrier Air Conditioners - Communication Ability – this is simply giving the equipment the ability to communicate from one piece of equipment to the other. The outdoor unit can talk to the indoor unit. It comes back to the same user interface that has been traditionally used throughout HVAC history and that is the thermostat. This requires a special thermostat that uses fewer wires than the traditional thermostats. That can be a problem if the thermostat goes bad and you want to hook up a new thermostat. You would also have to pull new thermostat wire for the new thermostat making the job of replacing a broken thermostat a daunting task even for a seasoned DIYer. While the communication thermostat has some good uses the downside is if it goes bad you have to call the contractor (typically the dealer who sold you the unit) to replace the thermostat because it is proprietary which is not good especially when it comes to finding a replacement part and the cost of it.

Trane Versus Carrier Air Conditioners - Charge Assist (Trane Feature) – The numbers are high from the last time I saw the numbers but approximately 50% to 75% of air conditioning equipment have improper charges for one reason or the other. This is a new Trane feature to help the HVAC technician get the charge right which enhances performance and efficiency.

Trane Versus Carrier Air Conditioners - Humidity Control – Trane’s Comfort R and Carriers Infinity offer humidity control for the air conditioner or heat pump installation and basically it works like this – for the first five to 10 minutes when the air conditioner starts the fan will run at a reduced speed. The bonus to this feature is that the evaporator coil will remove more humidity from the air when the fan is running at a slower speed. Humidity removal is very important for comfort in the summertime. Both systems have this feature.

Trane versus Carrier Air Conditioners

Trane Condensers Incorrectly Installed

Two Row Spine Fin Coil (Trane Feature) – This is typically a Trane feature and it means the coils are spine fin rather than flat fins surrounding a copper tube. Fins increase the surface area of the coils and thereby increase the heat exchange efficiency of the coils. Trane uses all aluminum coils with spine fins while Carrier uses copper coils with aluminum fins which are the industry standard. It’s a toss up with these two options have the heat exchange ratios are very close, however, I would lean towards the copper coils in the Carrier system over the aluminum coils in the Trane as copper is more durable than aluminum. See which one suits you the best by reading our resource link below. To learn more about aluminum coils and the debate between aluminum and copper see our resource link below.

Full Side Louvered Panels – These panels are necessary to protect the coils from damage.

Two-Stage Cooling – Trane has two compressors for two-stage operation while the Carrier uses a single two-stage scroll compressor for staging. Both compressor systems are reliable and proven themselves over time. There are some Trane units with a single two-stage compressor. However, for this comparison, we found the Trane with two compressors in the specs.
Multi-Stage Fan/Variable Speed ECM Blower and Condenser Fan Motors – In high SEER equipment, it is recommended to have the variable speed ECM blower and condenser fan motors for efficient operation of both the blower motor and the condenser fan motor. Just because the motor is an ECM blower motor or an ECM condenser fan motor does not mean it is variable speed. That all depends on the control of the motor but an ECM motor can be staged depending on the controls and the ECM variable speed motors are more efficient than the standard PSC motors in high use throughout the HVAC industry. This is high SEER equipment in both the Trane and the Carrier so these motors should be ECM motors.

Refrigerant – Puron, and R-410A are one and the same. No difference between the two refrigerants except the name.
Weather Resistant/Sound Features/Base Pan Features – These are self-explanatory and definitely a plus especially on the sound levels which happens to be one of the biggest complaints about new HVAC equipment.

Enhanced Diagnostics (Carrier Listed Feature) – This is a good feature and these advanced diagnostic features usually help the technician find a problem fast but not always. Trane does require their dealers to attend regular Trane technical seminars and offers NATE classes to help all the technicians become certified in a specific HVAC technical area of expertise. Carrier also offers training seminars for their dealers along with other technical classes including NATE classes.

Trane and Carrier Warranties – on this, it looks like Trane has Carrier beat on the compressor warranty.

Energy Star Rated – Both Carrier and Trane are Energy Star rated.

Buying a Trane is like going to a cafeteria where you can pick and choose the options and components you want for your air conditioner system. Of course, if you want the rated efficiency on the condenser you would be smart to match it with the appropriate air handler otherwise you would not see the efficiency level rating on the condenser. It would also make sense to get good Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and purchase the optional electronic air cleaner and the whole house humidifier which will save you money in the winter. Of course, all this will add to the final price of the system but why buy a Cadillac without the bells and whistles? The Carrier Infinity system is advertised as a package but I am certain you can go with a cafeteria selection just as with the Trane but it probably will not be the Infinity system if you do that so we recommend staying with the program if you are going to choose Carrier.

Trane Versus Carrier Air Conditioners

After looking at all the pros and cons and features of the Trane Air Conditioner and the Carrier Air Conditioner it is a close call and the deciding factor for me will be the contractor. Again, the golden rule for any type of HVAC work is the correct installation of the equipment.

Trane Versus Carrier Air Conditioners | Conclusion

One last thing about buying an air conditioner is replacement parts. For the average Trane and Carrier air conditioning unit, there are after-market parts available from many different resources. For these units, the high-efficiency models, many of the parts will be OEM specific or proprietary to each manufacturer so you will have to get parts from the specific manufacturer. When you buy proprietary replacement parts from a manufacturer expect to pay a higher than usual cost for these parts and this is true for both Trane and Carrier.

Also see our reviews: Trane Air Conditioner Reviews | Carrier Air Conditioner Reviews

High Performance HVAC

Trane Versus Carrier Air Conditioners

To learn more about heating systems and HVAC use this resource.

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