Trane Air Conditioner Buyer’s Guide – HVAC Brand Review

“Nothing runs like a Trane” may be the most recognizable slogan in the HVAC industry. Trane is a well-known HVAC company, but if you are looking for a new central heating and air system for your home or business you can be overwhelmed by the seemingly endless number of available brands and models. Let us make your research a little easier by explaining the branding in the HVAC industry and giving you an inside look at some of the top models.

The average Joe or Jane may not realize there are actually only a few manufacturers of air conditioner units but each one of these manufacturers has several brand names. For example, this brand review will cover the Trane Company but they also manufacturer the American Standard brand.

The Best of Trane

The Trane brand prides itself on reliability. Trane units are made from parts that are designed and manufactured specifically for their units; They own patents on many of the parts that make the Trane brand unique. This commitment to developing patented technology coupled with 120 years of experience in the business helps Trane maintain its reputation as one of the top brands in the HVAC industry.

One of the innovations Trane is known for is the Spine Fin™ coil design. Most condenser coils are made of copper tubing with aluminum fins attached to dissipate heat. Trane coils are all aluminum and have fewer joints than copper coils. The name comes from the aluminum “spines” attached to an aluminum strip that is mechanically wrapped around aluminum tubing.

The fact that they do not have any connections between the entrance and exit of the tubing make them much less likely to leak. Leaking coils can be a costly problem when you consider the price of refrigerant. Fewer refrigerant leaks mean less money out of your pocket over time.

It is generally accepted in the HVAC industry that Spine Fin™ coils are also easier to maintain. Many also argue that they last longer than coils made from dissimilar metals. The all-aluminum design also makes it ideal in coastal applications where the salty air takes a toll on highly-corrosive copper coils. Many companies have warnings or restrictions about installation in coastal regions but Trane has no such restrictions.

In short, there is a great deal of data to support the claim that Trane’s patented Spine Fin™ air conditioning condenser coils leak less and are easier to maintain.

Notable Innovations By Trane Include

The Trane Hyperion™ air handler: As an HVAC technician I have to say this air handler was super fun to service because of how cool it was and how much thought was put into the design. The ease of access made the main components very accessible and it was a breeze to clean the coil. The design allows for better maintenance of the unit and can possibly result in more longevity.

More than anything else, this units design gives insight into the future of HVAC units since it is focused on energy efficiency. The structure of homes and all of the appliances inside them will drastically change going forward due to heightened energy codes and regulations. This trend is due to an ever-growing global population creating a demand for power and energy so great it is beginning to place a strain on power grids and energy resources around the world.

The Trane ComfortLink™ II control was awarded the 2010 Breakthrough Award by Popular Mechanics and dubbed one of "The Year’s Most Transformative Products." This system allows you to send heat or cooling to the room or zone of your home that most needs it.

Trane CleanEffects™: Trane claims the system removes up to 99.98% of airborne allergens from the air passing through the filter with the least amount of air restriction among comparable filtration systems. If you are a skeptic, then you will feel better knowing professors from the Harvard School of Public Health publically verified the system’s performance.

The Drawbacks

What makes Trane HVAC units unique also creates its biggest drawback, price. Trane’s commitment to designing and producing its own parts makes Trane one of the more expensive central heating and air options in the industry.

The old saying, “you get what you pay for” applies here in concept: the parts Trane uses are indeed higher quality and more expensive. However, there is a counterargument that, despite Trane units being of a higher quality build, cheaper competitors are close enough in performance to make them preferable over a more expensive Trane unit.

In the past, established companies like Trane had a much larger distinction in performance. The advancement of manufacturing on a global level has allowed lesser-known companies to gain ground in quality and performance. While Trane is clearly amongst the elite brands of HVAC units when it comes to craftsmanship and longevity, customers on a budget can purchase cheaper equipment at an acceptable level of performance.

How Does Trane Compare to the Competition?

Trane ACs are some of the most sought out air conditioning units in the United States. The reason for that is because units manufactured by Trane come with a promise of quality and innovation. Before we kick off the reviews, let’s take a look at how exactly Trane compares to the competition. 

Noise Levels

Units manufactured by Trane have some of the lowest noise levels. The company makes noise levels a priority as it has a significant impact on the user’s comfort. It strives to produce such units that can provide efficient cooling but also provides maximum comfort for its users. 

Customer Service

Customer service is another aspect that makes Trane stand out. They make sure to provide users with premium customer care. They provide multiple outlets through which customers can contact Trane and resolve any issues that they might be having. It also makes the process of getting information about Trane products easier. 

Energy Efficient

Trane takes into consideration the current issue of climate change and tries to make its appliances as energy-efficient as possible. Energy-efficient appliances help to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that are fatal for the environment. Therefore, Trane does as much as it can to make its air conditioning units energy efficient. 

Comparison of the Best Trane Air Conditioners

To help differentiate better between the AC models discussed in this review, we have added this table. It is a quick way to get a general idea about the specifications of each and every model. It will also help you single out models that capture your interest. 

Model Name

Capacity

Energy Efficiency (SEER)

Condenser Fan Motor (i.e., single vs. two)

Noise Level (Decibels)

XL16i

2 - 5

16.50

Single

69

XL18i

2 - 5

18.50

Two

73

XR17

1.5 - 5

18

Two

74

XV18

2 - 5

18

Two

55

XV20i

5

22

Two

55 

Quick Take: Best Trane Air Conditioners

These are our recommendations for the best Trane air conditioners:

  1. XV20i
  2. XV18
  3. XL18i

Review of the Best Trane Air Conditioners

Now let’s start off with the reviews for some of the best air conditioner units from Trane. This section will mainly focus on the features of each of the units, including the pros and the cons and what exactly makes them stand out from all the rest. So let’s get right to it!

Below is a list of Trane models listed by price with the most expensive at the top.

Trane differs from other brands by not having product lines, such as Platinum or Plus. Instead they simply designate a model number to each unit. The model number usually begins with an X and the numbers that follow refer to the unit’s seer rating. For example, the XV18 has a seer rating of up to 18.

Trane also is one of the very few companies that manufacturer their own compressors and many of their compressors are variable speed. This allows the compressor to operate at higher and lower levels – a low level for moderate temperature conditions and high levels for more extreme temperatures. This allows you to achieve greater energy savings than with a compressor that operates at only one speed.

You will notice some of the units listed below are equipped with variable speed compressors. Another type of Trane compressor, outside of the base one stage compressor, is the two-stage compressor. While the two-stage compressor is not as complex or energy efficient as a variable speed, it does offer two stages for extreme conditions and normal conditions. Two-stage compressors are more energy efficient than one stage. Each listing will also give the SEER rating (energy efficiency) and the noise level in decibels (dB).

PROS

  • Has a cooling efficiency of up to 22 SEER
  • Runs quietly without making much of a disturbance
  • Integrated with Trane’s TruComfort technology to provide maximum comfort
  • Qualified by Energy Star which is an international standard for energy efficiency
  • Has no side effects on health and provides cool and healthy air in indoor settings 

CONS

  • Installation costs can be high for users who are located in bigger apartment complexes and commercial buildings

Why it Stands Out to Us

Every aspect of this model stands out. First of all, it is extremely energy efficient and saves up to 64% of energy when in use. Secondly, it does not make a lot of noise and functions quietly. It produces only 55 decibels of noise, which is practically a whisper-like noise. Apart from that, the TruComfort technology is a really attractive feature that helps to adjust temperatures while maintaining the speed at which the unit is operating at. The purpose of this is to avoid sudden temperature shifts inside the room. The construction of the unit is great, and it is one that will hold out for a long time. 

The XV20i offers a great 22 SEER rating and quiet performance. Trane says it’s efficient enough to save you around 64% on your energy bills. It operates around 55 decibels. It is Comfort Link II Compatible for improved comfort in all parts of your home.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for an air conditioning unit that is an all-rounder, the XV20i is a very good option to consider. Not only is it well built and durable, but it also functions with maximum efficiency. The unit itself is completely rustproof and can withstand bad weather conditions as well. The AC unit also filters out many of the pollutants that come along with the outdoor air to provide its users with a clean, fresh, and pleasant environment. 

2. XV18

PROS

  • Cooling efficiency of this unit is up to 18 SEER
  • Two-stage compressor enhances the general performance of the unit 
  • One of Trane’s quietest air conditioner models functioning at 55 decibels 
  • Powder paint finish protects the external components of the air conditioner very well 
  • Unit is built with high-quality material which makes it more durable than the completion 

CONS

  • In case any of the parts break off or are damaged, the user may find them very difficult to replace

Why it Stands Out to Us

The reason we have chosen to include this model in our review is because of its excellent specifications and its equally excellent performance. The unit has a high cooling efficiency, which measures up to 18 SEER. It has a two-stage compressor, which both makes the unit more efficient and enhances the performance as well. This is because, with a two-stage compressor, the cooling cycle lasts much longer than with the single-stage compressor. Furthermore, it also performs well in terms of sound production. Any sound produced by the air conditioner is not disruptive or distractive in any way. 

This 18 SEER rating unit is available in 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-ton sizes. The lower SEER meanings it’s not quiet as energy-efficient as the model above, but Trane says it can still save you 56% on your energy bills. It runs quietly around 55dB. Another Comfort Link II Compatible model, it will help make the whole house comfortable

Bottom Line

At a glance, it is clear to see why this model is considered a favorite. It has really earned the name of an energy-efficient appliance and is truly one of the best units you could invest in. With this unit, you do not have to worry a lot about care and maintenance, as it is both sturdy and durable. It is further coated with a powder paint finish and has a rust-proof base pan. It is also quiet, which is an added plus. 

PROS

  • Cooling efficiency for this unit goes up to 18 SEER
  • Filters outdoor air so that it is cleaner and healthier 
  • Two-stage cooling helps to avoid any sudden temperature swings 
  • Unit is Energy Star qualified which is proof of its energy efficiency
  • Variable-speed fan motor that allows you to adjust the fan settings as you like 

CONS

  • Some users have experienced slow and lackluster services after they had made the purchase

Why it Stands Out to Us

One of the reasons as to why this unit stands out is because of how economical it is. It has all the basics of a good air conditioner and some more. It operates well even when put on a low mode, and needless to say, it always works well in the high mode as well. Apart from that, it is a durable device that will last you a very long time if proper care is taken. There is not a lot to do as the device is easy to clean and easy to use too. 

The XL series is a step down from the XV. They’re still highly efficient but a bit noisier. This model and others in this series do not support Comfort Link II. However, The XL18i is a two-stage compressor does allow the unit to more adequately deal with both “normal” and “extreme” temperature days. It boasts an 18 SEER rating.

Bottom Line

The XL18i really makes its own place when it comes to comparison with competitors. It operates at a relatively low noise level and has a lot of settings that can be personalized. In addition to that, it is quite a heavy-duty unit because it has a good cooling capacity. It also makes sure to provide optimal comfort by also filtering out the unwelcome pollutants that invade your house. Given its features, it is a really economical option and is perfect for anyone looking for an AC that can cool an indoor setting without a hitch. 

PROS

  • Great for use at home or other living spaces
  • It is capable of saving up to 54% energy which is quite a lot
  • Weather Guard Protects the unit from some unusual weather conditions
  • Qualified by Energy Star and categorized as one of the best units of 2019 
  • Insulators placed on compressors to minimize the noises produced by them

CONS

  • The SEER rating is a bit lower compared to the other models

Why it Stands Out to Us

There is no reason for this air conditioning unit not to stand out. It is a really economical model, and perhaps that is one reason why it is so popular amongst the users. In addition to that, it is protected by a layer of baked-on powder paint finish. It is capable of saving 54%. Furthermore, the unit is corrosion resistant. It is a great option if you are looking for something for your room or your lounge. 

With a single-stage compressor and a lower SEER rating, the XL16i is also a bit less expensive. It’s also from 1.5 to 4 tons in half-ton increments, and also in 5 ton. Trane suggests that with a 16 SEER rating, you could save up to 54% on energy costs. It has a 16.5 SEER Rating and operates at about 69 dB.

Bottom Line

Overall, there are no major flaws when it comes to the Trane XL16i. Despite having somewhat of a lower SEER rating, it is still pretty efficient and does what it is made to do. The external part of this unit is great, as well. It is made from tough materials that are not impacted by bad weather or any type of harsh impact. Plus, it is also qualified by Energy Star. 

5. XR17

PROS

  • Has a cooling efficiency of up to 18 SEER
  • Unit provides quick and efficient cooling throughout the area
  • Two-Stage cooling helps to prevent sudden temperature swings
  • Built with high-quality materials that make it durable and sturdy 
  • Great affordability as it offers great features at a lower price point

CONS

  • Though the parts are available, it is really difficult to make repairs once the unit has been damaged in some way 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Trane does a great job at manufacturing energy-efficient units. This one, for example, is able to save up to 56% energy. This is a lot considering it cuts down energy usage by more than half. Since less power is used, ultimately, it leads to fewer carbon emissions. Moreover, the unit filters the outdoor air before circulating it in the area. It gets rid of any pollutants such as dust and pollen and provides an environment that is safe and healthy. It is basically like killing two birds with one stone. In addition to that, Trane has made sure that the unit lasts a long time. It is made with sturdy materials and is protected from corrosion, rust, and bad weather. 

The XR17 has up to an 18 SEER rating. But with a two-stage compressor, it does run somewhat loudly, at around 74 dB. That’s around the level of a hairdryer, although it’s diminished somewhat since it’s outdoors. But it might not be a unit to have right by your bedroom window. However, this unit will still provide decent savings and is more affordable than the ones above.

Some other popular models include:

  • XR16: 17 SEER Rating - 71dB - One Stage Compressor
  • XR16 Low Profile: 17 SEER - 70dB - One Stage Compressor – Designed for limited space.
  • XR14: 16 SEER Rating - 72dB - One Stage Compressor
  • XR13: 14.5 SEER Rating - 75dB - One Stage Compressor

Bottom Line

If you are on a budget but are looking for something that is not your average AC unit, then you should definitely consider the XR17 by Trane. It really fits the bill of an affordable product meaning that it offers more than a handful of features and is great in terms of quality, yet it does have a very high price point. After going over what this air conditioner has to offer, it is safe to say that investing in this unit is, no doubt, a good deal. 

Finding the Best Prices

At the end of the day we all want the best quality we can get at a price we can afford, or even at a price much cheaper than we can afford! However, many professionals in the industry believe that the reliability and performance of your system are more dependent on the quality of its installation than what brand you choose. Without a proper installation, your unit will not operate properly and a quality installation can mean the difference in several years of your unit’s life and thousands of dollars in your wallet.

The first step is to identify at least three contractors in your area that install Trane units that are either highly reviewed and/or come highly recommended. Then sit down with each company separately and discuss pricing, financing, tax credits, and specials. Remember to specifically address federal and state tax credits with each company. Some sales representatives may be more informed than others and you might find a sales representative willing to go the extra mile and uncover savings their competitors weren’t aware of.

What Kind of Warranty Does Trane Offer?

Warranty is really important and even more so for appliances like air conditioners. Since it can cover the additional costs for repairs and replacements, they make it very easy for the customer. However, each manufacturer has a different set of conditions and policies attached to their warranty. Let’s find out what kind of policies Trane offers to its customers. 

Base Limited Warranty

This type of warranty can last from up to 1 to 20 years, depending on which unit you decide to invest in. The base limited warranty is offered with every residential unit and covers the cost of parts that break due to a manufacturer defect. However, you must remember that it does not cover the cost of labor. 

Registered Limited Warranty

This is basically an extension of the previously mentioned warranty. All you have to do to avail this warranty is to register your newly brought Trane product within 60 days of purchase. The time frame for this one can be anywhere from 5 years to even a lifetime. Again it depends on which unit you decide on buying. The same rules apply for this warranty as well; it will only cover the cost of the broken part and not the cost of the labor. 

Company History

James Trane opened up his own plumbing shop in La Crosse, Wisconsin in 1885. His son Reuben, who was a mechanical engineer, later joined him and founded the Trane Company in 1913. The Trane Company became known in Wisconsin for their advancements in residential heating. In the 1930’s, the Trane Company pioneered into the commercial air conditioning business and never looked back.

In 1982 Trane became an industry leader in residential HVAC by acquiring General Electric's Central Air Conditioning Division. Patented GE technology such as the Spine Fin™ coil design allowed Trane to immediately differentiate itself in the residential HVAC industry. Trane developed a reputation of quality and reliability by focusing on the workmanship of each part put into their systems.  

American Standard acquired Trane in 1984. In turn, American Standard was later acquired by the Ireland-based company Ingersoll Rand. Ingersoll Rand helped take the Trane and American Standard brand to a more global market.

Conclusion

The Trane Company is a story of ingenuity and craftsmanship. There is little debate that Trane HVAC systems are high-quality systems and are among the most innovative units on the market. While many factors come into play when a homeowner is in the market for a new system, Trane is definitely a brand to put on your short list.