The Trane XL20i is Trane's top-of-the-line central air conditioner, with a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of up to 20 and a Comfort-R feature that's great for controlling humidity. However, it's unclear whether its SEER is high enough to qualify for the Energy Star tax credit. On the plus side, Trane has a strong reputation for reliability, and this unit has a better-than-average warranty.
Unclear information from manufacturer. Sites like Bestcovery.com and WebHVAC.com praise the Trane XL20i for its seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), which can reach 20, depending on conditions. This level of efficiency can save you money, according to Cecilia Harsch of Bestcovery.com. However, it's unclear whether this unit also has the energy efficiency ratio (EER) needed to be Energy Star-compliant.
After inquiring with Trane, we were told that the XL20i is Energy Star-compliant "in most cases," but the rating depends on what other equipment is connected to it. The customer service rep was unable to tell us how loud the unit is, advising us to contact a local dealer for "technical information" like decibel level. The Trane XL20i does have one feature that multiple sources praise: Comfort-R technology that runs the fan at a slower speed during startup, which controls humidity better.
Pricing is puzzling. Like most central air conditioner manufacturers, Trane doesn't disclose the exact price of its units. We found estimates for the Trane XL20i at WebHVAC.com and QualitySmith.com, based on reports from owners and contractors, but their figures differed widely. Moreover, this air conditioner may qualify for an Energy Star rating, depending on how it's installed. This means that it may not qualify for the $300 federal tax rebate on Energy Star-rated central air conditioning units that are installed through the end of 2013. To be sure, contact a local dealer to find out how much this unit will cost you and what rebates, if any, it's eligible for.
Strong reliability record. We found no details about the repair record of this specific unit, but Trane air conditioners in general have a reputation for durability. The editors of WebHVAC.com say that Trane 'leads the industry in reliability,' and Home-Tech.com reports that Trane's products 'have a reputation of lasting the longest and being built the toughest.' In a survey of more than 40,000 homeowners with central air conditioning systems, Trane had one of the lowest repair rates, with 12 percent of all units needing repair during a five-year period. The warranty on the Trane XL20i is also better than average: When registered within 60 days of purchase, the compressor is covered for 12 years, and other parts are covered for 10 years. The warranty does not cover labor costs, but users can buy an extended warranty that does.
Cecilia Harsch, a former big-box store manager, puts the Trane XL20i second 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 units have been subjected to any kind of hands-on testing. She praises the Trane's efficiency, which she says can help consumers save on electric bills, as well as its extra-long warranty.
Review: Best Air Conditioner, Cecilia Harsch, March 13, 2012
Home-Tech.com is an appliance-repair company in Southwest Florida. In this article, the Home-Tech staff presents their picks for the best central air conditioners of 2013, based on "price, performance, warranty and durability." The editors call the Trane XL20i the "F150 of the AC industry," with praise for its durability and superior humidity control. However, they do not specify exactly how they tested each unit's performance.
Review: Best of Air Conditioning – 2013 Best AC Systems, Editors of Home-Tech.com, 2013
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 Trane XL20i the eighth slot on their list of the 10 best central air conditioners, saying this brand "leads the industry in reliability." However, it's not clear how they made this selection, as there's no mention of hands-on testing or consumer surveys.
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 Trane, based on a survey of its readers. In the latest survey, more than 40,000 readers who had bought central air conditioning units between 2005 and mid-2011 reported on whether they had 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 of central air conditioners on the web. The Trane brand as a whole gets better reviews than most, with 36 percent of owners recommending it.
Review: Consumer Reviews of TRANE 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 estimates the price of a Trane XL20i at $4,000 to $5,000, depending on size, with installation adding another $1,000 to $3,000. The site also provides some information about the air conditioner's features, specs and warranty.
Review: Trane Air Conditioner Prices – Pros, Cons, and Cost, Editors of QualitySmith.com, Not dated