The air conditioners in the Carrier Infinity Series are more efficient and quieter than most models on the market. They also get bonus points for their good dehumidifying power. Carrier's reliability record is fairly strong, though we did see some complaints from users. However, the warranty on this line has a big catch; without registration, it drops from 10 years to five.
Efficient and quiet. The Carrier Infinity Series includes four models. The most efficient are the ANA1 and ANB1, which both have seasonal energy efficiency ratios (SEERs) of up to 21. The least efficient, the 24ANB6, has a SEER of 17. These figures indicate that, over the course of a cooling season, these units will use less power per unit of cooling than most central air conditioners on the market. However, Carrier does not disclose the EER (unit of measure for performance on the hottest days) for each Infinity Series model, saying only that the units have EERs "up to 15." The company does note that all Infinity models meet the standards of the federal Energy Star program.
One significant pro is the noise level of these air conditioners, which is well below average. The high-efficiency ANA1 and ANB1 models run at as little as 65 decibels -- only a bit louder than conversation in normal voices. Another plus of this line is its good humidity control. The editors of Home-Tech.com note that an Infinity unit does a better job of removing humidity from indoor air than any other model.
Not the cheapest, but rebates help. Like most air conditioner manufacturers, Carrier doesn't disclose prices. However, QualitySmith.com matches contractors with homeowners, provides estimated prices for the Infinity Series. The editors of the site say this series is "may be the consumer air conditioning industry's flagship system," but they caution that it is also among the priciest systems available.
However, the actual estimates aren't extraordinarily high: They range from $2,750 to $3,750. This is actually pretty close to average for our other favorite central air conditioner units, so if this truly is "the ultimate in air conditioning luxury" as the editors suggest, it seems like a pretty good value. Moreover, since these models meet Energy Star criteria, they qualify for a $300 federal tax credit through 2013. Depending on where you live and which model you choose, you may be eligible for additional state government or utility rebates.
Good repair record, despite some complaints. In their review of the Carrier Infinity 24ANB1, the former HVAC contractors at WebHVAC.com praise this brand's reliability. "Carrier has one of the best service records in the industry," they say. "You'll pay more for a Carrier than for most brands, but you'll get a long-lasting and very dependable central AC."
A survey of more than 40,000 homeowners with central air conditioning supports this claim: Owners of Carrier air conditioners had fewer problems than owners of some other brands, with only 13 percent needing repairs in a five-year period. However, user reviews at FurnaceCompare.com give a more mixed picture of this brand's durability.
One definite downside of the Carrier Infinity Series, though, is its warranty. Like most air conditioners, this line is covered by a standard 10-year warranty on parts. However, this warranty is only valid if registered within 90 days after purchase. If the homeowner forgets to do this, the warranty period is cut in half.
Home-Tech.com is an appliance-repair company in Southwest Florida. In this article, Home-Tech staff present their picks for the best central air conditioners of 2013, based on "price, performance, warranty and durability." The editors call the Carrier Infinity 24ANB1 "the 'Corvette' of the bunch," with great efficiency and superior humidity control. However, they do not specify how they tested it.
Review: Best of Air Conditioning -- 2013 Best AC Systems, Editors of Home-Tech.com, As of June 2013
Cecilia Harsch, a former big-box store manager, puts the Carrier Infinity 24ANA1 third on her list of the five best central air conditioners. Harsch says the models were selected based on their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) and "consistent cooling capabilities," though there's nothing to indicate that these AC units have been subjected to any kind of hands-on testing. She praises this unit's quietness and high SEER, which she says "could cut your cooling cost in half along with reducing greenhouse gas emissions."
Review: Best Air Conditioner, Cecilia Harsch, March 13, 2012
WebHVAC.com is a site run by a group of former HVAC contractors that "covers just about everything to do with HVAC equipment in your home, business, or environment." The editors award the Carrier Infinity 24ANB1 the fourth slot on their list of the 10 best central air conditioners, saying it's very efficient and "has one of the best service records in the industry." However, they don't seem to have engaged in any hands-on testing or looked at consumer surveys to reach this conclusion.
Review: Top Rated Central Air Conditioners 2013, Editors of WebHVAC.com, As of June 2013
ConsumerReports.org does not test central air conditioners, but it does evaluate the reliability of different brands, including Carrier, based on a survey of its readers. In the latest survey, more than 40,000 readers who bought central air units between 2005 and mid-2011 reported on whether they needed repairs. Of the 10 brands listed, most have repair frequencies between 11 and 13 percent. However, three brands perform significantly worse, with repair frequencies of 17 percent or higher.
Review: Central Air Conditioning Reliability, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, May 2012
FurnaceCompare.com has the largest collection of owner reviews for central air conditioners on the web. The Carrier brand as a whole gets middling reviews, with about 30 percent of owners recommending it. Most of the negative reviews focus on durability, and some also complain about customer service. However, the positive reviews praise performance and point out that problems are often a result of poor installation.
Review: Consumer Reviews of CARRIER Central Air Conditioners, Contributors to FurnaceCompare.com, As of June 2013
QualitySmith.com is a site that helps connect homeowners with reliable contractors. While the site does not review or evaluate air conditioners, it does provide information about pricing. However, the site's editors caution that the prices it lists do not come from the manufacturers; they're only estimates based on what contractors have recently reported paying. QualitySmith.com calls the Carrier Infinity line the "ultimate in air conditioning luxury," but they note that it is also among "[the] priciest air conditioners on the market": between $2,750 for a 2-ton unit and $3,750 for a 5-ton unit.
Review: Carrier Air Conditioner Prices: Pros, Cons, and Quotes, Editors of QualitySmith.com, Not dated