Trane vs Carrier Furnace: What is the Difference Between Them?

Written By Lester Mclaughlin
Updated On

Trane and Carrier are two of the biggest brands in HVAC, with some of the best-selling products on the market. There are some key differences between these brands that you’ll need to know.

In this Blue National HVAC guide, you’ll learn:

  • What Trane and Carrier furnaces have in common
  • The main differences between the two
  • Which is more cost-effective
Trane vs. Carrier Furnaces

And much more!

So, if you’re looking for answers on the best way to heat your home, keep reading our detailed guide below to get answers to all of your questions!

What Do They Have in Common?

Trane and Carrier are arguably the “top dogs” of the furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump manufacturers. Over the years, they have produced record numbers of heating and cooling systems used in countless countries across the globe. Other furnace brands include Amana, Goodman, Rheem, Ruud, Lennox, Bryant, and Daikin.

With the many models, sizes, and speeds of Trane and Carrier furnaces available, you can be confident they cover the heating needs for any home. Additionally, Carrier and Trane both improve their furnaces every 1 to 2 years, with new model releases. Consecutively releasing improved technology and performance is what makes them leaders in the HVAC industry. 

Before getting into all the differences between these two leading furnace manufacturers, let’s first explore their similarities.

Reliability

When most HVAC professionals hear Carrier and Trane’s names, their first thought is about the outstanding reliability of their equipment. Trane and Carrier furnaces are two of the top most used brands worldwide and they didn’t gain this metric by making unreliable equipment. They’re known for having some of the best durability, lifespan, and excellent serviceability. 

Long History in HVAC

Trane and Carrier didn’t come out of nowhere and immediately became the industry giants they are today. They both had humble origins, starting many decades ago by engineers and inventors of HVAC equipment. 

Both companies have been in business for over 100 years, which means they are certainly doing something right with their furnaces!

Superb Quality

With such a long HVAC manufacturing history, it is no surprise that Carrier and Trane keep a good eye on the quality of their products. In fact, they work to improve upon their quality by finding the root cause of any equipment failure their units have.

Since Trane and Carrier’s furnace quality is so high, it is very unlikely that one of their furnaces would break down and require a significant repair within the first ten years after installation. Of course, if the furnace never has proper maintenance, it can have issues much sooner. 

Gas and Oil Models Available

Natural gas furnaces are significantly more common than oil furnaces. However, even though they are becoming used less often every year, Carrier and Trane still offer a line of oil furnaces. 

Oil furnaces certainly have their advantages- great heat, quick response to heating demands, low, upfront cost, and less costly repairs. But they have significant drawbacks, which are substantial inconveniences and are why they are becoming less common. The downsides of oil furnaces include: 

  • High monthly costs for oil
  • Oil tank installed in-home, which can leak if it fails
  • Oil tank refills are costly, and you have to arrange to fill with an oil delivery service 


However, if you already have an oil furnace in your home that is at the end of its life, it’s much easier to replace it with another oil furnace. Supporting this replacement market and new installations of oil furnaces is something that Carrier and Trane have in common.

Single-Stage, Two-Stage, and Variable-Capacity Furnaces

Along with offering both oil and natural gas furnaces, Carrier and Trane both have a wide selection of heating levels on their furnaces available for homeowners. By “heating levels,” we mean whether it is a single-stage, two-stage, or variable-capacity furnace. 

All three types of these furnaces provide heat to homes. However, two-stage and variable-capacity units provide better comfort. Here is how they compare: 

Furnace TypeSingle-stageTwo-stageVariable-Capacity
Time runningOn for short spurtsOn at low speeds for longer periodsOn at lower speeds often
Run level 100%70% or 100%40 to 100%
Energy usageHighestLowLowest
Energy costsHighLowLowest
Upfront costLowMediumHigh
Variable-speed blowerNoCommonYes
Efficiency LowestHighHighest
NoiseLouder for short periodsQuieter but runs longerQuietest but runs longest

To summarize, single-stage units always run 100% full blast when they turn on. They are the least efficient out of the three and the loudest. Two-stage furnaces can run at two different speeds, just as the name suggests. They typically run longer, at the low setting of 70%, and provide more even heating and comfort in the home.

Lastly, variable-capacity or modulating furnaces are the most energy-efficient of the group. They incorporate a gas valve that modulates the amount of fuel and heat at any precise 1% increment between 40% to 100%. 

They also always use variable-speed blowers to provide additional efficiency by varying the airflow across the heat exchangers. Modulating furnaces provide the most consistent and comfortable temperatures in the home, with the least amount of cold spots. 

Many Advanced Features and Options

Both Trane and Carrier have everything from low-efficiency to high-efficiency models and everything in between. With that said, they each have plenty of different models and feature variations of each to best suit your specific needs. 

For example, Carrier and Trane both have humidity control. Carrier has Infinity, and Trane has Comfort-R; both technologies essentially do the same thing – add humidity to the dry air. 

Additionally, both manufacturers have smart communicating thermostats, Infinity and ComfortLink II from Carrier and Trane, respectively. Communicating smart thermostats provide two-way communication from the smart thermostat to the furnace (and air conditioner too). This feature allows for more precise control of both heating and cooling. 

Heating Capacities

Carrier and Trane both offer a wide range of heating capacities on their furnaces. They have ones small enough to heat modest-sized homes and large capacity furnaces to heat massive homes too. Their hearing capacities range from 30,000 BTU on the small end to over 100,000 BTU on the large end.

Outstanding Lifespans

As we mentioned earlier, Trane and Carrier are the top two players in the HVAC equipment industry. They are not only lauded as having excellent quality, they’re praised for their longevity by consumer reports too. If you own a Trane or Carrier furnace, there are high chances it will last beyond 20 years, especially if you give it the proper care and maintenance it deserves. 

Top 5 Differences Between Trane vs Carrier Furnaces

Now that we’ve covered how Trane and Carrier’s furnaces are similar, you should have a good feeling about either one of them as the next heating solution for your home. These differences between the two might range from minor to major to you. 

Before we dive deep in, let’s look at the Trane and Carrier furnace models we’ll be comparing: 

TypeBudget-Friendly ModelsMid-tier ModelsTop-of-the-Line Models
CarrierComfort SeriesPerformance SeriesInfinity Series
TraneXB80, XR80, XV80, and XC80XB90, XR95, XT95, and XL95XV95, XC95m, and S9V2

Carrier has a series naming convention for their furnaces, which helps which models are the most efficient and highest cost. On the other hand, Trane just provides unique model numbers to all their furnaces without any series title that links them to one another. 

Carrier’s “Comfort Series” and Trane’s equivalent budget-friendly models are mostly single-stage furnaces. The mid-tier models are mostly made up of two-stage units, with some having variable-speed fans. Lastly, the “top-of-the-line” high-end models are modulating furnaces with variable-speed fans that have the best efficiency of them all. 

Energy Efficiency

Furnace efficiency is measured by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratio. The AFUE ratio is basically the ratio of the fuel used by the furnace to how much heat it produces for the home in an entire year. 

To provide a simplified example, if the furnace takes in 10 units of fuel and makes 9.5 units of heat, the AFUE is 95% (or 9.5 divided by 10). The AFUE ratio for a furnace is analogous to the SEER rating for an air conditioning unit. 

All new furnaces must meet the required minimum AFUE ratio of 78% to be sold in the US. This minimum is mandated by the United States Department of Energy (US DOE) and monitored through the Energy Star program.

In the battle for the best furnace efficiency, Carrier wins with their 98.5% AFUE model- the Infinity 98 Gas Furnace With Greenspeed Intelligence. Trane is not far off the tail of the Carrier Infinity; their model XC95M has an AFUE of 97.3%, trailing Carrier by just 1.2%. 

Yes, the Carrier model has a better AFUE, but does that 1.2% really matter that much? How much will it impact your heating bill? 

In terms of energy savings, it’s not that significant. For example, assume you had the 97.3% AFUE Trane furnace, and let’s say your heating bill was $100 for the month. If you were to replace it with the 98.5% Carriers model, your bill would drop just $1.20 (or 1.2%). In the grand scheme of things, this cost difference isn’t significant. 


However, from an environmental standpoint, the 98.5% Carrier model has slightly less CO2 emissions. If you want to do everything you can to decrease your carbon footprint, using a furnace with the highest efficiency is an excellent way to help. 

Noise

Many HVAC professionals contest the noise level of Trane and Carrier furnaces. Some say that Trane is louder, while others say that Carrier is louder. However, from a technical standpoint, a sample of Trane and Carrier furnaces at comparable performance levels have been measured within a few decibels of each other. 

With that said, your mileage may vary, and depending on the specific models you’re comparing, Trane or the Carrier may be the louder one. For example, comparing a single-stage Carrier to a single-stage Trane furnace, the noise level is about the same. 

But, if you make an unfair comparison of a modulating Carrier furnace to a single-stage Trane unit, the Carrier one is quieter. 

In our experience, it is tough to tell any difference in sound levels of comparable systems, even when you’re in the room with the furnace with a stethoscope. 

Maintenance and Parts Availability 

Even though Carrier and Trane have the best quality and reliability of all furnaces on the market, there is still a chance they can break down. The fact is breakdowns occur, often at the most inopportune times, like in the middle of a cold spell. 

Fixing breakdowns fast is why the availability of repair parts is essential. 

Trane’s parts are often stocked at wholesalers, but they are overpriced and often unavailable in certain parts of the country. 

On the other hand, Carrier’s parts are very common, affordable, and stocked at various parts distributors. This accessibility and affordability make Carrier the clear winner of this category. 

Factory Warranty

Factory warranties are warranties that come from Trane and Carrier when you purchase a furnace from them. There are also extended warranties available from third parties with high extra costs. Considering they’re not consumer-friendly with the built-in loopholes, extended warranties aren’t recommended. 

Trane and Carrier only slightly diverge on the types of factory warranties they provide with their furnaces. They each provide the longest warranty terms out of all furnace manufacturers. Here is how their warranty lengths compare: 

BrandCarrierTrane
Parts Warranty 5 to 10 years, depending on model10 years on all models
Primary Heat Exchanger20 years or lifetime, depending on model20 years or lifetime, depending on model
Secondary Heat ExchangerLifetimeLifetime
Transferable? Yes, but reducedYes, with an extra fee

If you purchase a Carrier or Trane HVAC unit, remember to file the registration before the deadline!

  • Carrier warranty registration deadline – register within 90 days of purchase, or the parts warranty is reduced from 10 to 5 years, and the lifetime coverage on the secondary heat exchanger is reduced to 20 years
  • Trane warranty registration deadline – register within 60 days of purchase, or the lifetime warranty on the heat exchangers will be reduced to 20 years, and the 10 years parts warranty will be decreased to 5 years

Which is More Cost-Effective – Trane or Carrier?

Trane and Carrier both offer cost-effective solutions for all levels of heating needs. Their HVAC systems with comparable ratings and performance often have nearly identical pricing too.

The similar pricing isn’t accidental either. Both Carrier and Trane are well aware of each other’s pricing strategies, and they competitively price their equipment against each other. 

With that being said, depending on the region you live in, Trane or Carrier can have a lower price point. 

Choosing The Right Furnace Contractor

The key to choosing the best HVAC contractor to install your HVAC system is their experience, affordability, and responsiveness. 

Before selecting that lowest cost bid, consider how many corners the installers are likely to cut to save money. It will be well worth your while to pay a little bit extra to get the job done right and safely. 

Seeking out HVAC companies that are certified, licensed, and insured with excellent ratings isn’t difficult. In fact, you might have stumbled upon us without even realising it – if you need assistance with a furnace, air conditioning system, or heat pump project, give our team of experienced HVAC professionals a call today!

Meet Your HVAC Expert

Lester Mclaughlin

HVAC systems are highly technical and often is the most misunderstood part of the house. From ductwork to heat pumps, I've been exposed to all sorts of issues facing homeowners. It really irks me when a homeowner is given bad advice like refilling freon vs fixing a leak in the system. I'm here to help our website readers with their heating and a/c problems.
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