Trane vs Carrier vs Ruud – Which is the best residential ac unit brand?

44 thoughts on “Trane vs Carrier vs Ruud – Which is the best residential ac unit brand?
Jimklink | Reply

Rudd 19 year’s old never a problem

Mike | Reply

6 yo Ruud Ultra – 4 repairs since I have been in the house for 2.5 years.

kent FL. | Reply

ruud 18 seer three coils in 5 years P O S . The company just blows you off ,stay away from this junk!

rob | Reply

Ruud Achiever 90 plus Ruud 10 seer air conditioner – both installed same day, both 16 yr ago, not one problem.

Holly Boynton ,FL. | Reply

Seem if a person needs a new AC all are junk if made in the last 3 years. Warranty is just another way of advertising. You will still pay lost of $$$$$ to install the "Warranty Part" over and over again.. Best I can figure is 2 yrs labor warrant from my installer is a pretty good recommendation on the unit. Rheem does have a class action law suit against it with others to follow. So if your old unit doesn’t leak and needs a compressor fix it. THEY DON’T MAKE UM LIKE THEY USE TO. PS go with a small family operated repair company.. your AC should not be a test for newBEEES.. keep cool

20 yera HVAC Guy | Reply

20 year HVAC Guy,
The one thing this guy says that I agree with is "you wont be able to cram all the info in in just 60 seconds" (paraphrased)
The sub brands are going to be just as good. (PERIOD) Carrier; Bryant, Payne…all have been worked on and installed by me, same quality…and, if you have a Bryant furnace for example, take a look at the tag on the blower housing…IT SAYS CARRIER!
And that is because they are the same. The model nomenclature will be different, that is about all.
Trane; American Standard, and Ameristar…I would stay away from Ameristar but American Standard and Trane are virtually the same.
The compressor is the most costly component in AC systems generally. If you have a Copeland, then you are okay.
The majority of brands will use Copeland.
York also has Coleman (The same brand that makes coolers and camping gear), Coleman and York are essentially the same..BUT they have had Bristol compressors…STAY AWAY FROM BRISTOL COMPRESSORS.

Most brands offer standard models and work their way up to the top of the line. In which case, the front runner brand names will often offer a tier above the secondary brands.
If you want to spend a huge chunk of change to get the top of the line, go for it…but you likely will never get a ROI for the extra money spent.

Lastly and most important is that a quality install by a knowledgeable, experienced contractor with integrity is where the difference will be realized.

Good luck, do your research,

20 year HVAC Guy

Trish | Reply

Had my Rudd for 20yrs only a few problems around the 17 yr mark. Good ac unit. Going to replace it with a Rheem.

Meddle | Reply

Ruud. 28 years old. Yeah you read that right. Might replace this year. Never a problem

Steve K | Reply

Rheem "high efficiency" bought in ’86 (30 years old), still cooling this 4 bed room house in 104 degree weather. never once had to call any one to fix it in those 30 years.

George | Reply

Lennox, Trane, Ruud – in that order – Carrier does not belong in the discussion, has been crap for 20 years. Lennox customer service is great, Ruud is poor, Trane is non-existent – all 3 quality are the same – Ruud is over-priced.

Jean | Reply

A little fact correct on Trane. Almost all residential products are manufactured in the U.S. All products are assembled in US with a small amount of components manufactured outside the U.S.
Major Trane Plants:
Ft. Smith, AK
Tyler, TX
Trenton, NJ
Vidalia, GA

Also, Trane’s all-aluminum coil is superior vs most competitors when it comes to leaking coils caused by formicary corrosion. I’m hearing Rheem/Ruud dealers frustrated with the number of leaky coils?

Johnny | Reply

Been in HVAC 5 yrs worked in hotel industry before that and with my brand training learned a lot. Some brands have just built a following especially ruud which used to be a stellar brand still have many customers with units 30 + years, but now they are complete crap as these manufacturers try to maximize their profit margins it’s the consumer and contractor who suffers.

Siesta | Reply

Any benefit to having a heat pump on southern Florida coast?

Brian Evans | Reply

It doesn’t get cold very much here in Florida (I live in Kissimmee), but occasionally it does. A heat pump allows the system to operate in reverse to heat your home. The same process as air conditioning but in reverse. The hot air ends up in your house, instead of outside. When it is just a bit chilly this works fine. When it gets a bit colder out, most heat pumps have a supplemental heating element. If using a non heat piump system, you’ll have no way to reverse this, and any heating will require inefficient heaters. Hope that helps.

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Dick Parrish | Reply

We purchased a RUUD about 2 years ago. The Air handler coil started leaking, and had to be replaced when it was only 16 months old. Labor and coolant cost us over $700. Now, the system is not cooling properly… about 85 degrees in the house. We will NEVER buy another RUUD air conditioner. I trust RUUD less than I do a career politician!

Master Inspector | Reply

As a retired builder and self-employed commercial & residential building inspector, I echo what the ‘author’ of this article said…it matters ‘who’ did the install and it also matters how the unit is treated after installation. Yes…brand matters…but in my book..not as much as workmanship and proper maintenance (which NOBODY does). Demonization skews the truth and it’s easy to blame the equipment when something goes wrong..but with close to 50 years in construction…it’s my observation that ‘materials’ are seldom as much to blame as ‘manpower’ when things go south. Make an informed equipment choice up-front…then take care of it like the manufacturer says (eyes-roll). Of course…if everybody did ‘that’, many of us would out of a job…so I’m not complaining too loudly here. 😉

Jim in Tucson | Reply

2010 packaged heat pump had leaky evap. coil after 4 years. Replaced for $1000, only to have the replacement coil leak after 2 years in the SAME PLACE! It’s obvious to me that RHEEM, once a great company, is swapping out defective coils with more defective coils. Since they will not do very much for you for a labor credit (they offered me $300 the SECOND time, to make this repair bill $900), they are a crap company that knowingly sells crap products.

Liviu Holca | Reply

I have no idea which of the above may be better, I just changed my Rheem with a Ruud because that was available at the warehouse. The Rheem was installed in 1988, never serviced/filled/cleaned, never had a problem. It had to go because very low refrigerant pressure.

Bryan Brewster | Reply

Rheem may have been a great unit back in the day, I had a Rheem Classic in my old house 20+ years with few problems. So when I built my new house I purchased 3 Ruud high efficiency "high dollar" units on the reputation of my old unit. This has been the worst purchase of my life!!! 5 years old and all 3 units have been serviced numerous times. One unit is on its 4th evaporate coil, 2nd condenser coil and 4th ECM/motor for air handler. And now my compressor just went out in this same unit. The 10 year warranty states if compressor goes bad they will replace the entire condenser unit….warranty not worth the paper it’s written on because they don’t make the 16 seer unit anymore. Customer service works harder getting out of warranty service than keeping their customers happy. Please, please , please save yourself a lot of headaches and DO NOT buy a Rheem/Ruud product.

JR1322 | Reply

I did some research and each brand have phenomenal complaints so, I’m going with neither. Goodman brand is better bang for the buck. I just need an honest and experienced installer.

thedude | Reply

Carrier owns Goodman FYI. They gotchya.

You probably meant Daikin owns Goodman. Carrier is owned by United Technologies. United Technologies also owns bryant, ICP, payne and a few others I’m sure.

James Miller | Reply

Careful with Goodman as well. I have had them for several units now and cant get but 5 years out of a condenser and 7 years out of exchanger. This last time, the tube failed at the fins failed and is to close to the fins to repair. it appears to be a compression or solder fitting that failed – so manufacturing quality issue. I called them and they said they didn’t have the unit registered so it was out of warranty at 5 1/2 years. I had registered it but they didn’t have it for some reason – convenient for them. My neighbors have the same experience. Boards and motors have all gone out over the last few years as well. As for me and my neighbors – we are done with Good(?)man and are looking for better craftsmanship.

mmiller | Reply

Any HVAC company that offers you a Trane are Crooks. They are offering them to you because they know how much money they will make off of you. Don’t believe the advertising Hype. Their units are a piece of shit. Every year there are problems. We have had to replace the entire condenser coil and all the freon twice on a three year old unit. Now the bearings are going bad. DO NOT BUY A TRANE. We had a contractor grade Janitrol AC unit that lasted 17 years. I do not think this unit will last more than five years. These people are crooks. Everyone at work that fell for the TRANE advertising are spending a fortune keeping these things running. They are junk.

Deb | Reply

We just had two Rudd outdoor units installed today (4 ton & 5 ton) to replace 17 year old Lennox. The Lennox have always had a problem keeping the house cool, running constantly in the Arizona summers. Let’s see how the Rudd compares…

Jay B | Reply

How’s are the Rudd’s holding up now ?

l.b. | Reply

Master Inspector, What brand HVAC do you have installed at your house? What brand needs the least repairs?

First, check the company that will do the installing. A bad one will be a nightmare for as long as you own the system and can make any brand seem like crap. Check that they do their own installing. A big company that farms the work out (Sears, Home Depot, etc.) doesn’t do their own quality control so you’re counting on the inspector to catch items that aren’t up to code — and they’re more likely to fight you if redoing it correctly will cost them anything extra. If you have a choice, try to avoid peak season when they’re busy and constantly on overtime trying to keep up. In the off season they will have laid off their most marginal workers and are more likely to offer a discount hoping to keep the crews working.

Second, figure what you want — a/c or heat pump, SEER, one stage or two. Heat pumps can save money on your electric bill but cost somewhat more to buy. Most units much above the first tier are priced at such a premium that they’re a luxury and won’t make economic sense.

Third, check good sources for information about recent model repair histories. For example, Consumer Reports publishes statistics on problems reported by readers every few years. Between industry consolidation and design changes things have changed so much that how well a unit produced 30 years ago held up is irrelevant. Unfortunately, a lot of brands have become cheap (not inexepensive) and are living off their reputations.

Fourth, remember that the salesman’s job is to sell. Even the most knowledgeable and honest knows that the only way they make money is if you buy. And there are people out there who will say anything to get you to sign. If you have done your homework, the only information you have to have from the salesman is price. Read the contract before you sign and ask about anything you’re not sure of. If the salesman makes any additional promises write them on the contract before you sign so they will be part of the deal if they accept it.

Steve | Reply

Old HVAC contractor
I’ve been in the trade for 35 yrs. I can remember when it really was hard to stop a Trane. Now days it’s all about the installation. I read the other day that there is a 19,000 person shortage in the United States in the Hvac industry. I’ve interviewed and interviewed potential employees and passed on them because I found them undesirable for whatever reason, only to see them go to work for my competition. The mfgs, all of them reward and cater to the shops that sell the most equipment. Not the shops with the least warranty claims. The mfg doesn’t care if your quality or not if your a big shop that moves a lot of equipment. This environment has put the small quality oriented "perfectionist" at a tremendous disadvantage. A small Hvac shop ends up competeting with the large Hvac shop backed by the same brand that he sells. It’s a true David and Goliath scenero. So to the consumer. Prior preparation prevents piss poor performance. Pay attention to how much prep your Hvac contractor puts in to your job. In an Hvac installion, the devil is in the details. Hvac is math, btu’s lost and btu’s gained through every surface involved with the system plus the structure itself. You want an Hvac contractor that’s detail oriented. One that’s more concerned with your happiness with your new system than he is about getting your money in his pocket.

w | Reply

Where are you located. i need a new system installed.

Leonard | Reply

I Trane unit which makes a loud noise at start up shut down is this a common issue with TRANE

Fred | Reply

How old are these reviews – is "2 months ago" dynamically adjusted for the current date or is it static? Today is 10/01/2017 for my post. Anyway, what’s the consensus on the relatively "new" Ruud Achiever/Ruud Acheiver Plus 3 ton RA14 or similar units (i.e. the ones with the new composite condenser base pans, etc.). I see a lot of bad comments for Ruud here and other internet sites, but can’t tell if this is old equipment or just competitors or they do have reliability problems (Rheem is the very same equipment now?). Does anyone feel the new Ruud equipment is reliable (note the improved maintenance enhancements are acknowledged – interested in a product that does not need much repair in the first 10-15 years). I understand that a bad install can sink any equipment. Thanks for any comments. One last thing … are the condensers on these units noisy ?

This is a great resource for homeowners, thank you for putting this together! And your conclusion is just perfect, I fully believe it comes down to hiring a quality team for the installation and for any maintenance or repairs. Be good to a great HVAC company because you’ll want to do any maintenance business with them later. All of their products can, competition is high so all manufactures make a quality product, it’s simply a complex product that needs to be well maintained by a professional… And I don’t think you’re being biased! I like to hope companies only supply the materials that are the very best option for their customers!

Jan Paine | Reply


This house was a rental for many years. There was a Rheem AC for cooling 24 years old. It did not have any maintenance. This unit is still running, but the elect. box on the house wall is melted. The unit makes a lot of noise. I am the new owner and replacing it with a Ruud. I hope I have the same experience.

Search for the major brand of air conditioner or ask ac repair contractors for getting you the best air conditioning unit. They will suggest the right unit according to the area of your home.

Matt Vincet | Reply

Customer service should be taken in account. I purchesed a Rudd unit and in the first year it started having problems with ice forming on the top of the unit durring rain, (not the coils). This ice would eventually expand into the unit blocking the units fan. The local contractor did what he could but it actually was a desighn flaw that allowed water to collect on the top of the housing and the cold air blown onto the housing from the unit running would freeze the water. The defrost mode worked fine on the coils but it would not nor would it be expected to defrost the housing. Rudds anser was it was weather related and to build a roof over the unit. (note this unt was not reciving any water from ajacent roofs or obsitcals just normal rainfall.) And in fact the 2 units next to it never had this issue just the rudd. In conclusion, the units housing was a bad desighn or ought to be supplied with a little shed, (which is ridiculus). If your rudd runs well or is a local repair problem, no worries, if it requiers warentee or any other issue envolving Rudd the manufactuer. Good luck you will not get assistance or satisfaction.

A. Gainey | Reply

I purchased a unit from a local distributor and they installed it. Since the install, the FIRST YEAR, unit was completely out of Freon. Same thing the SECOND YEAR and THIRD YEAR when we fired up the A/C when it heated up. On all occasions, there was a leak on a copper joint to the compressor from vibration. They ended up having to cut and sauder the line which is for filling Freon during the winter months so it wasn’t really needed. The FOURTH YEAR, the blower motor went out and the FIFTH YEAR (2018, this year), Freon was out again and am being told we need new evaporator coils which is around 1,100.00 dollars. Both the distributor company and I have been in contact with RUUD and they will not warranty anything or help out with anything we have gone to them with. I have spent enough money fixing this piece of junk to buy another unit and it’s only been 5 years. I’m almost wondering if I have a case for small claims court case but I’m not the type of person to do something like that but I also work in customer service and RUUD definitely does not take care of you or back up their product. All they say is it was an install error which is complete bull. DO NOT BUY A RUUD!!

A. Gainey | Reply

Sorry… Unit was a RUUD

Rob Davis | Reply

I recently found it necessary to replace my 20 year old central HVAC. I contacted a local HVAC contractor in Denver for the job. They replaced my system with new a Trane furnace and A/C system. After waiting in 90 degree heat for 10 days for the equipment to be delivered and another 2 days for installation, when they flipped the switch – nothing! After another day of trouble shooting they discovered that a circuit board was defective!. 8 days later, the new circuit board arrived. That finally got the A/C working. After a few days I noticed that the fan noise was really loud, constantly. After another service call, they determined that the fan controller was defective, and oh by the way, the heating was not working. I’m sure it will take another 10 days to get a new controller.

This is on a band new, top of the line, $15k system. I strongly recommend that you consider another vendor for your HVAC. Trane clearly has quality control issues.



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