Carrier Infinity vs Performance Series Air Conditioners – Which Should I Choose?

We are often asked about our favorite air conditioning brands, most recently about the Carrier Infinity vs Performance series of air conditioners.  Which should you choose?  First, the shameless disclaimer that this is all based on our personal experience.  We are fully qualified to service and install Carrier products, but rest assured that we are NOT a dealer, which means that you will get an honest, objective comparison.  Second, ASM is a small, U.S. Veteran-Owned air conditioning company in Southern California, and we pride ourselves on honesty and don’t sugar-coat things, so what you read below about the Carrier Infinity vs Performance series AC’s is the raw, nitty-gritty of the matter from our experience and we won’t be holding back.  Finally, and most importantly, if you forget everything else that you read in this post then remember that which brand you choose, whether you are deciding between Trane and Goodman, or you are trying to narrow it down between Carrier’s Infinity and Performance series ACs, is not as important as who you have install it.

How your air conditioner is installed, and who you choose to install it is the most important part of the decision you are about to make.  So do some research on your local HVAC contractors and don’t just go with the cheapest.  Believe me when I tell you that you will pay more in the long run.  If you are not in Santa Clarita or the Southern California area, here is an article that can help you choose a competent HVAC contractor:

How to choose an HVAC contractor

Carrier Infinity vs Performance Series ACs and Noise

For our comparison, we used the Carrier Infinity 21 and the Carrier Performance 17 models.

First, lets take a look at how noisy each of these HVAC units are (What does the word “HVAC” stand for?).  Before we dive too deep into the Carrier Infinity vs Performance reviews, let’s first ask ourselves a couple of important questions:

First, where is your AC located in your home?  If it is near a bedroom or a commonly used area then this section may be more important to you than it is for someone with an air conditioner on the roof over the garage.

Second, how insulated is your house?  If your home is well insulated, then again this section might be less important to you.  However, we often get asked about the noise factor of the newer model air conditioners.  In short, both the Carrier Infinity and the Carrier Performance series ACs are far more quiet than the model you are likely replacing.  But let’s take a closer look:

Carrier Infinity – The Carrier Infinity model rates at around 65 decibels.  What is a decibel?  For reference, 65 decibels rates at about the same noise level as a normal conversation – unless you’re talking to my wife (zing!…I’ll be in trouble for this I’m sure).

Performance Series – The Carrier Performance series rates in at around 72 decibels, which is about as loud as the dial tone on your home phone when you pick it up.

Like I said, the noise these systems make might not be that big of a deal but take the two questions that I asked you and keep them in the back of your mind – you will have to decide how important this is to you.

ASM’s opinion is that the difference in sound between the Infinity and Performance series units is negligible.  Remember again that a properly installed air conditioner can make all the difference.  So a properly installed Carrier Performance may be quieter than an improperly installed Carrier Infinity unit.  Just food for thought.

For information on how you can make your current air conditioner more quiet, try our article Why is my air conditioner so loud?

How Efficient is the Carrier Infinity vs Performance Series?

The efficiency of an air conditioner is measured by its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER.  You’re probably wondering, what the hell is a SEER?  Simply put SEER is just a ratio – it’s the ratio of the cooling provided to the energy consumed (In other words, how much cooling was performed / energy consumed = SEER rating).  The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the air conditioner is.  So, let’s take a look at our SEER ratings for each:

The Carrier Infinity energy efficiency rating came in at a SEER value of around 21.

Carrier Performance came in at around 17 which is about 20% less efficient.

So again, your decision on whether the Carrier Infinity or Performance series is best for you all depends on your priorities.  If you live in Texas where energy is a lot more reasonably priced, then this might not be that important to you.  However, if you live in our service area of Southern California, then efficiency becomes a priority.  In my opinion, efficiency is ALWAYS important.

ASM’s opinion is that it depends on your region and energy prices, but we’d recommend you go with the Carrier Infinity in the efficiency category.  20% is a big difference, but how much do you have to pay for this added efficiency?

How Much Does the Carrier Infinity vs Performance Cost?

The final thing to look at when making your decision between the Carrier Infinity vs Performance series is the cost.  Now, I’m about to clue you in to some of our trade secrets, but I have never been of the opinion that your contractor needs to keep the real prices from you to make a profit (in fact, we actually used to list the exact prices on our site, but unfortunately some people found this confusing when we told them that ducting and installation were extra – we have to make a living!)

Regardless, the Carrier Infinity 3-ton (the average size used in U.S. homes) has a contractor wholesale price of only around $350 more than the Carrier Performance series (ballpark – could be more at times due to fluctuations in the industry).

ASM’s opinion on price is to pay the extra money to get the added SEER rating of the Infinity.  The difference in price is negligible when compared to the energy saved over ten years of use.

ASM’s Final Verdict on the Carrier Infinity vs Performance Series.

The final though I’d ask you to keep in mind regarding the Carrier Infinity vs Performance question is to ask yourself how long you plan on keeping your home.  If you are flipping a home for instance, then I’d recommend you buy neither of these products as Carrier is on the high end of the HVAC spectrum.  Or if you are planning on selling your home in the next few years, then again I’d ask you to think this through.  However, if you plan on being in your house for a while or are undecided, I would recommend buying the Carrier Infinity over the Carrier Performance.  Here’s why:

For only a few hundred extra for the Carrier Infinity, you get:

  • A 20% higher SEER rating – the energy saved over 10 years of use will more than pay for this.
  • A quieter system.
  • The Carrier Infinity also has a higher degree of control over your temperature when used in conjunction with the Infinity Controler.
  • We have heard some (not many) complaints about the noise from the Carrier Performance series.  We haven’t heard anything bad about the Carrier Infinity.

In the end, the choice is yours but like I said, at ASM we believe in efficiency and no nonsense.  Our opinion is to go with the Infinity but rest assured that both are high quality air conditioners so you can’t go wrong.  Again, I am going to beat the dead horse – spend time doing research on your HVAC contractors because they are not all the same.  Doing your research may mean the difference between a comfortable, well installed unit and an annoying, unpleasant experience rampant with follow up maintenance calls.  At ASM, we offer free 24-hour emergency service on all of our installations.  Wherever you live, expect that most reputable contractors will offer the same type of guarantee or something comparable.  For more information on the Carrier Infinity vs Performance series of ACs, visit the Carrier website.

If you liked this article, ASM has more articles on how to lower your electricity bill and other subjects at the ASM blog.

If you live in Santa Clarita or the Greater Los Angeles area, give us a call at ASM.  Or if you live elsewhere, and something your contractor is telling you doesn’t seem quite right, consider using our online air conditioning consultation service.  I hope this article helped, and if you have any further questions on the Carrier Infinity vs Performance series air conditioners, remember that you can always give us a call.

Final thought: If you do decide to go with the Carrier Infinity series, then I’d also recommend buying the Infinity Controller to go with it.  Again, it can be pricy but will make your life a whole lot easier.  It allows you to not only set your temperature, but to program your desired humidity (good for reducing asthma symptoms) and set a temperature schedule.  Below is a quick video explaining its features and how to program it.  If you live in Santa Clarita, Los Angeles or the San Diego area.

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