Trane Vs Carrier: HVAC Product Line & Brand Reputation Comparison

Kenneth Wilson

If you’re in the market for a new HVAC system, two of the brands that you’ve almost certainly come across are Trane and Carrier.

There are lots of things you need to think about before you choose the ideal AC unit for your property, which is why we’ve put together this handy comparison that explores the most important aspects of each brand.

By the end of the post, you will be armed with the information you need to invest in an HVAC system that delivers on its promises!

Are Trane & Carrier Good HVAC brands?

Before we dive into our comparison, we wanted to emphasize the point that both Trane and Carrier are regarded as excellent HVAC brands. Both brands score well when it comes to lifespan, energy efficiency, and affordability, so you can be confident that they are among the best in the business.

To give you insight into the product range and reputation of each brand, we’ve split the remainder of this article into four sections:

  • Energy Efficiency (SEER Rating)
  • Performance
  • Reliability
  • Affordability (Cost)

Each of the four categories will help you ascertain the differences between some of the products that each brand is known for and help you choose the perfect system for your home.

Comparing Trane & Carrier HVAC Systems

Energy Efficiency (SEER Rating)

One of the most important determinants of the quality of an HVAC system is its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER). (Related: Air Conditioner Efficiency: How Is SEER Rating Calculated?) The minimum requirement in terms of SEER rating for HVAC systems is 13, and models are typically classified in the following way:

  • Basic SEER – 13-15
  • Better SEER – 16-19
  • Best SEER – 20-24

While the methodology for calculating SEER ratings is complex, all you need to know as a consumer is that the higher, the better. To give you an idea of the SEER rating of the most popular HVAC systems in the Trane & Carrier ranges, the table below serves as a handy guide:

Trane XV20i

Carrier Infinity 19VS

SEER Classification

HVAC Unit 

Efficiency Rating

Basic SEER Model

Trane XR14

 Carrier 24ABC6


 16 SEER

Better SEER Model

Trane XV18

 Carrier Infinity 17


 17 SEER

Best SEER Model

Trane XV20i

 Carrier Infinity 21


 21 SEER

As you can see, both brands carry models that can be regarded as basic, better, and the best when it comes to their energy efficiency. Given that Trane’s units score a slightly higher rating in the better and best classes, they just pip Carrier in terms of energy efficiency.

Our Winner: Trane


The next thing you want to be sure of when you’re investing in a new HVAC system is that it will perform to your expectations. The good news is that Trane and Carrier’s units are known to perform really well and there’s not a huge amount of difference.

Both brands manufacture single-stage, two-stage, and variable-stage models, meaning you can opt for the technology that’s best suited to your needs. Variable-capacity units are the best as they are capable of altering their speed in small increments, which makes it much easier to cool your property at the rate you desire.

Given the current product lines, Carrier’s Infinity 19VS 25% model is their lowest and quietest AC unit. Its features include:

  • Energy Star certified and SEER rating of 19
  • Variable speed compression that enables the unit to step down to as low as 25%
  • One of the quietest AC units on the market

In comparison, Trane’s lowest variable capacity unit is the XV20i, which can be reduced to 30%. Again, this unit is ideal if you regularly wish to alter the increments at which it cools your home. Its features include:

  • Energy Star certified and SEER rating of 21
  • Variable speed compression that enables the unit to step down to as low as 30%
  • Runs at around 4-5 decibels louder than the Carrier Infinity

When it comes to the performance of Trane and Carrier units, both brands deliver. The Carrier Infinity is slightly quieter than the Trane XV20i, but it’s not likely to affect the overall performance of your system a great deal.

Our Winner: Tie


While they’re not completely infallible, most Trane & Carrier models have an expected lifespan of between 10 and 15 years. This is standard when it comes to HVAC units and in most instances, you will only need to perform minor ongoing repairs if you maintain your system properly.

Both brands offer ten-year warranties as standard with the majority of their units, but you will need to dive into the terms and conditions of each warranty to ensure you know what is covered. When repairs are required, most homeowners find that Carrier parts are more widely available, and therefore cheaper, than Trane. It’s not exactly clear why this is the case, but it’s definitely worth knowing before committing to one brand over the other.

Overall, Trane and Carrier HVAC systems are reliable and should last 10+ years without any major issues. If you’re concerned about sourcing parts, Carrier edges Trane in this regard.

Our Winner: Carrier

Affordability (Cost)

Last but not least, we compare the affordability of Trane and Carrier systems. According to Home Advisor, the average cost of a new HVAC system in the United States is $7,000. When you’re firming up your budget, you need to take the following into account:

  • The cost of the unit itself
  • Labor costs in your area (installation fees range from $500 to $2,500)
  • Installation, transportation, and accessibility to the system
  • Removal and disposal of your current system ($100 - $500)

Because there are so many price variables to consider when buying a new HVAC unit, it’s difficult to say precisely how much you’re likely to pay. However, the table below indicates the approximate cost of each brand:


Approximate unit & installation cost 

Trane XR models

$5,800 - $10,800

Carrier Comfort Tier

$4,892 - $7,224

Source: HVAC, 2021

As you can see, Trane XR models are available at a higher price point that Carrier Comfort units. Overall, you can reasonably expect to pay slightly higher than the national average for a Trane system, and slightly lower for a Carrier.

Our Winner: Carrier

The Verdict: Which is Better - Trane or Carrier?

Both Trane and Carrier are tried and trusted HVAC brands that are well worth your consideration when you’re in the market for a new unit. In the four categories above, Carrier has just edged out Trane, proving to be slightly more affordable and reliable, while Trane is better when it comes to energy efficiency.

Given that there’s a notable difference in the price points of the Trane XR and Carrier Comfort ranges, if you’re hoping for a unit that is slightly cheaper than the national average, Carrier is your best bet. But the long-term savings that Trane units might deliver thanks to a higher SEER rating might end up exceeding those of Carrier!

Ultimately, it’s very difficult to split these two brands and we would recommend either Trane or Carrier models if you’re looking to upgrade your home AC system.

Kenneth Wilson
February 8, 2022
HVAC, Reviews

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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