Trane vs Lennox Air Conditioner Review – ASM Consumer Review

People spend a lot of time discussing which brand of air conditioner is the best, and since we base most of our posts on customer requests, today we will be discussing our Trane vs Lennox air conditioner review.  Those of you who have read our articles regularly, know that we are a small, U.S. Veteran-Owned air conditioning company in Southern California, and have built our reputation on giving people straight, honest answers to their questions.  Our Trane vs Lennox review will be no different.  Disclaimer: before starting this review, it is important to note that we are licensed to install all major brands, including Carrier, Bryant, Trane and Lennox – simply put, we have no loyalties to any brand, and will only be giving our honest evaluation.  In fact, I’d be wary of hiring any company that only sells one brand – after all, what is their motivation to give you an honest answer?  Air conditioners are like cars; there are bad years and good years, so make sure you get a brand that works for your home and budgetary needs.  In today’s Trane vs Lennox air conditioner review, we will take a look at these two companies from four different aspects: consumer reputation, industry reputation, features and specifications, and finally, we’ll take a look at Trane vs Lennox warranties.

Trane vs Lennox Air Conditioner Review of Reputation.

Part of the Trane vs Lennox air conditioner review is discussing the reputations of each.  But what type of reputation are we talking about?  Are we talking about reputation with consumers, or the air conditioning contractors that actually install them?  Let’s take a look at each.

Trane Consumer Review of Reputation

According to Consumer Affairs, Trane air conditioners received a 1.1 out of a possible 5 star rating.  Ouch!  As of 2016, this was based on over 250 reviews, listing major consumer concerns over burnt-out blower motors and the premature failure of parts.  Case closed.  After this we couldn’t possibly recommend Trane in our Trane vs Lennox review, could we?

Lennox Consumer Review of Reputation

Based on the reviews of Trane, we’d have to go with Lennox now, wouldn’t we?  I mean, 1.1 stars is pretty horrible.  So, to be truly unbiased in our Trane vs Lennox review, let’s take a look at Lennox.

Oddly enough, Lennox actually received the exact same rating from 1.1 stars out of 5 possible.  Concerns were over the same problems that Trane had: burnt-out components and the premature failure of parts.  “Never again…,” one person wrote.  Weird, isn’t it?

So what’s the deal?  I can hear you now, “but Tim, doesn’t that mean that both of these companies have horrible products?  Shouldn’t I choose another brand?”  Not quite yet (although I do feel you should choose a different brand for other reasons), let’s discuss why…

ASM’s Editorial Comments on the Above Trane vs Lennox Consumer Reputations…

The above Trane vs Lennox reviews are unreliable for two reasons, both of which hinge on the fact that they were written by consumers (no offense).  Let me first ask you a question: if your air conditioner works fantastic after installation, do you go online and write a positive review?  I’m not talking about a positive review for the company that installed it, I’m talking about a review of the product itself?  Probably not…but if it fails after a year and a half, then would you write them a poor online review?  I would.  It’s human nature.

  • Most premature failures are due to improper installation – it isn’t the equipment itself, it’s the people who installed it.  It doesn’t matter if you buy a Trane or Lennox if it is installed improperly.  Period.  Even the cheapest, most unreliable, no-name, made in China (Taiwan, India, whatever) HVAC manufacturing company in the world will last more than two years!  Again, who you choose to install your air conditioner is more important than which brand you choose.
  • This isn’t your favorite restaurant…it is an air conditioner.  People are happy to go online and write a positive review of the local Thai food place, but people only go online to review a manufacturer when they are mad.  But if you think about it, it’s kind of like getting a bad plate of food at said Thai food restaurant, then going online and writing a bad review of the noodle manufacturing company.  The only time you’d ever do that is if you were really, really mad, right?

I’m beating a dead horse here; just pick a reputable company and you won’t have to worry about it.  In my personal opinion, I’d pick neither Lennox nor Trane, but at the end of the day, my opinion doesn’t matter…what matters is that you are happy with the product, so lets move on with our Trane vs Lennox air conditioner review.  For my top air conditioning picks, take a look at:

Top 10 Air Conditioning Brands

Contractors’ Review of Trane vs Lennox Air Conditioners

We have discussed why both Trane and Lennox have poor reviews on many consumer websites, but let’s discuss how they add up in the eyes of the HVAC contractors that install them.  This Trane vs Lennox review was based both in research, as well as local word-of-mouth in the industry.  But, unlike the previous section, the results from this section are vastly different between Trane and Lennox.  Whereas 20 years ago, Lennox was the name in state-of-the-art heating and air conditioning equipment, they have been resting on their laurels for some time now.  In our opinion, the modern Lennox leaves something to be desired.

Lennox Review of Reputation “In the Industry”

Although proprietary, Lennox provides equipment and materials that are comparable to their competitors.  However, they were found to lack in some of the following categories:

  • Lennox Parts are Hard to Find – Whereas their competitors, including Trane, provide extensive logistics chains, Lennox is completely proprietary and does not.  In fact, their supply chain is downright horrible.  What this means for you, the consumer, is that you will often wait weeks for a replacement part, or sometimes the original unit itself.  In most repair cases, we can repair a unit the same day, but with Lennox, it is tricky – the last Lennox repair job that we had took a month to get the part, and it came from the East Coast.  The time before that came from Canada.  It isn’t that they break down more often, it’s how hard it is to deal with them when they do.
  • Lennox is More Expensive than Trane – Despite having a horrible logistics chain, Lennox – resting on their laurels yet again – is also $1,000-2,000 more expensive than their competitors (including Trane) for comparable level equipment – not a good trait when weighing the Trane vs Lennox debate.  Proponents of Lennox state that this is simply because they are superior.  But when asked how, the only response we get is awkward silence, or a side-stepping retort describing their successes in the 90’s.  They break down just as often as their competitors (which, to be fair, is rare for any brand these days), and offer no cutting-edge technology that their competitors do not.  Well, I’m not interested in marketing schemes for my clients, I’m interested in the best value for their money, and take issue with Lennox for their pricing.
  • Lennox Customer Service is Lacking – Lennox is covered by a warranty, but good luck dealing with them.  They are difficult to deal with, and if you are in Southern California, there is only one distribution center…and it’s out by Ontario, CA.  Conversely, Goodman and Day & Night have some of the best customer service in the industry – more can be found on Goodman products here:

Goodman vs Amana HVAC

Trane Review of Reputation “In the Industry”

Conversely, Trane had almost none of the negative feedback that we received (and have personally experienced) in regards to Lennox.  The only negative feedback that we have in regards to Trane is the following:

  • Trane can be difficult to get warranty payouts from.  Period.
  • Trane uses aluminum coils.  Many pitch-men try to pass this off as a “positive,” whether they are Trane or Lennox guys, stating that aluminum coils are “state-of-the-art technology, just like the aviation industry!”  Having been both a Naval Aviator, and now the owner of an HVAC company, I can tell you that putting aluminum in air conditioners couldn’t be further from the truth.  Copper used to be in every air conditioner because it’s easy to fix on-site.  But Trane switched to aluminum coils because copper is more expensive than aluminum; they did it to save money.  The problem is, aluminum coils can’t be repaired in the field due to the welding equipment required, so instead, they have to be replaced.  That’s a lot more expensive.  Conversely, copper coils can often be repaired while still on the unit, which is why copper has been the cornerstone of the air conditioning industry for decades.  In truth, however, most of the big companies will soon follow suit to save money – buy the copper components while you can.

Trane vs Lennox Air Conditioner Review – Features and Specifications.

This section will primarily address what we call, “The Pedigree Information,” such as features and specifications.  It is important to note, that these days, even in an objective review of Trane vs Lennox, there are very few differences between brands as far as specifications are concerned.  They have all produced products that remove most of the competitive advantage from their competitors.  They are all very similar.

Side note: In my opinion, the only competitive advantage on the market is held by Carrier and Day & Night, who both offer a “Slimline” series condenser.  This condenser is less than 18 inches wide, and allows you to put it on the side of your house if it’s narrow back there, while still passing code; a nifty little trick if you live in suburban Southern California.  More on Carrier and Day & Night can be found here:

Carrier Infinity vs Performance Air Conditioner Review

Day & Night Air Conditioner Review

Trane Features and Specifications

Let’s start with Trane in our Trane vs Lennox review.  Trane makes a variety of products, most of which fall outside the scope of this article, but include furnaces, heat pumps, and geothermal systems.  Their air conditioners however, have built a solid reputation in the commercial industry and that is primarily what they are known for.  If you see a skyscraper, it likely has a Trane or Carrier commercial chiller.

Trane air conditioning makes a variety of models, which can be seen in more detail here: Trane Residential Air Conditioners.  They range in SEER value from 13 to 21 SEER (What is SEER, and how do you use it?).  We won’t examine every single unit for the sake of time, but instead examine some of the key players:

Trane Low-Range Air Conditioner Models:

Model SEER Energy Star Sound-Level 1. XB300* 13 N 82dB 2. XB13 14.5 Y 78dB 3. XB14 16.5 Y 78dB 4. XB16 16 Y 79dB

*The XB300 is not legal in California due to current minimum SEER regulations, which require 14 SEER minimum.

Additional Features:

Their “exclusive” Spine-Fin coil…also known as, a coil.  Give me a break…nothing notable to speak of.  These are the base model, which to me, is the best.  They are reliable and don’t have all the bells and whistles that are prone to breakage.

Trane High-Range Air Conditioner Models:

Model SEER Energy Star Sound-Level 1. XL18i 18 Y 73dB 2. XV18 18 Y 55dB 3. XL20i 20 Y 72dB 4. XL20iVS 21 Y 55dB

Additional Features:

The available high-end features include:

  • Trane Comfort Link Communicating ability (for a monthly fee).  This is unneeded, in my opinion.  Instead, buy a nice Venter ColorTouch thermostat for $200 and you can link your HVAC system with your smart phone and computer.
  • Variable-speed condensing unit.  This, again, is completely unnecessary unless you are an environmentalist and want to use as little energy as possible.  The salesmen say that it pays for itself with the energy saved, but having run the numbers (admittedly based on California numbers), it didn’t even come close (we show that 16 SEER is the highest SEER value worth paying for).  Plus, the variable-speed condensers are three times as expensive to fix, and we just don’t think that the technology is quite there yet in the way of reliability.

Trane vs Lennox – Lennox Air Conditioning Features and Specifications

Lennox residential air conditioners are up next in our Trane vs Lennox review, and they come in one of three categories: Lennox Merit, Lennox Elite, and the Dave Lennox Signature Series.  Let’s take a look at the specifications of each.

Lennox Merit Specifications:

Model SEER Energy Star Sound Level 1. 13ACX* 13 N 76dB 2. 14ACX 14 N 76dB

*This 13ACX model does not meet California’s minimum SEER requirements.

Additional Features:

None to speak of.

Lennox Elite Specifications:

Model SEER Energy Star Sound-Level 1. XC13 15.5 N 74dB 2. XC14 16 Y 70dB 3. XC16 17.2 Y 65dB 4. XC20 20 Y 65dB

Additional Features:

  • Lennox iComfort Technology compatibility.  Again…or you could just buy an awesome Venstar thermostat for $200 instead.

Dave Lennox Signature Series Specifications:

Model SEER Energy Star Sound Level 1. SL18XC1 18.5 Y 65 2. XC21 21 Y 69 3. XC25 26 Y 59

Additional Features:

  • Lennox iComfort Technology compatibility.

Trane vs Lennox Air Conditioner Review of Warranties

Every unit will have a different warranty based on its own position in the hierarchy, so make sure that you research what warranty your unit will have.  Below is the warranty information for each company’s top of the line product as a reference: the XL20iVS and XC25 for Trane and Lennox respectively.

Lennox 10-Year Limited Warranty:

  • 10 years on covered components.
  • 10 years on compressor.
  • 20 years or Limited Lifetime on heat exchanger (depending upon model).

Trane 10-Year Limited Warranty:

  • 12 Year limited warranty on compressor.
  • 10 Year limited warranty on outdoor coil.
  • 10 Year limited warranty on internal functional parts.

Trane vs Lennox Air Conditioner Review – Important Notes

Before we finish the actual Trane vs Lennox air conditioner review, let’s take a look at a few key tips that will help you with your project:

  • Spend 75% of your research time on finding a reputable contractor.  People spend a lot of time stressing over the type of air conditioner they want to buy – looking up endless search terms like, “Trane vs Lennox,” etc…but they don’t realize that most of these units use the same internal components (for instance, Trane is actually made by American Standard).  Some are even built on the same assembly lines, like Carrier and Day & Night.  So, before getting ahead of ourselves, I’ll tell you what a tell everyone who asks about Trane vs Lennox, or something to that affect: Who you get to install your air conditioner is far more important than what brand of air conditioner you decide to buy.  Are all mechanics the same?  How about all doctors?  I’ve seen Lennox and Carriers that have failed after two years, and Trane air conditioners that are 30-years-old.  Most of you aren’t in our service area, so here is an article to help you choose a reputable contractor: How to Choose an HVAC Contractor.
  • Be wary of anyone who sells ONLY one brand of air conditioner.  Think about it – what is in it for them to give you an honest answer?  If they sell only Lennox, do you honestly think that they are going to tell you that Trane is a better system?  It doesn’t matter if Trane or Lennox is better if they only sell one brand.  There are HVAC contractors out there that sell only one brand, and get kickbacks from the companies that manufacture them.  They sell themselves as, “Your friendly local Lennox dealer,” or, “Factory authorized Trane dealer.”  But all that means is that they signed a contract with these companies agreeing to sell their equipment in return for kickbacks and reduced wholesale prices.  That’s it.  There are companies, however, that sell all major brands, and can sell you either Trane or Lennox…or Carrier, Goodman, or whichever company is the best fit for your home and budget.  I’d recommend using a company that does this, as they have no loyalty to any one brand, and will therefore give you an honest answer.
  • Aim for the contractor that isn’t too high and isn’t too low.  With us, I tell people right off the bat, “there is absolutely no way that we are going to be the cheapest bid.  You will DEFINITELY be able to find someone cheaper…”  That’s because we don’t use unskilled laborers, and we hire U.S. Veterans.  People that use us buy because they want to sleep well at night, knowing that the job was done right.  But some only care about the lowest price.  Unfortunately, these people come back to us months, or sometimes weeks later and ask us to fix their improperly installed air conditioning system.  It’s sad, but it is 25-30% of our residential business in California.  Here’s the moral of the story: if you don’t know any of the contractors in your area, get three bids, and assuming they are highly recommended and seem trustworthy, the middle price is usually the fair one.  The cheaper contractors are cheap for a reason!  Here’s an article on what a fair price for your installation should look like: Fair HVAC Installation Cost.

Conclusions – Lennox vs Trane Air Conditioner Review

In the end, a great deal of the Trane vs Lennox decision is based on your own personal preference.  I just want to make sure that you have the numbers behind you to make an educated decision.  As I said before, we have no horse in this race – all we offer is the truth.  We can install any brand you’d like, including Lennox or Trane.  That being said, we’d make the following final recommendation:

  • After spending your time on researching a reputable contractor, take a look at some of the other brands out there.  We are partial to Day & Night because they roll off of the same assembly line as Carrier (Carrier and Day & Night are produced by United Technologies), yet are significantly cheaper.  But, if you have your heart set, and it’s down to Trane vs Lennox, I’d highly recommend you go with Trane over Lennox.  We just can’t recommend Lennox due to their inflated cost and horrible logistics chain.  Although repairs are the last thing on your mind when you buy a new air conditioner, it will happen down the line…sooner or later.

Final Thoughts on ASM’s Trane vs Lennox Air Conditioner Review

In our humble opinion, Trane wins our Trane vs Lennox air conditioner review.  At the end of the day, Lennox just has too many problems for our recommendation, despite their reputation back in the 90’s.  Do your research, take your time, and go with a reputable contractor (yes, I got it in one last time).  You just can’t afford to skimp on this.  An air conditioning system is an engine that will run for the next 15-20 years if cared for properly…imagine if your car was designed to go 15-20 years without an oil change.  You want the best installation company you can find on this one.  I hope that you found this Trane vs Lennox air conditioner review helpful.  For other questions and similar articles to this Trane vs Lennox review, take a look at our ASM air conditioning blog.  If you live in Southern California, then you might be in our service area.

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