Most homes have some sort of forced air heating system, like a furnace or a heat pump. These systems keep us comfortable and clean the air we breathe year round.
HVAC, (or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems can circulate fresh air, keep us warm, and cool us off in the summer, but only if we have the correct HVAC system for the home. HVAC systems are available from many companies, each with a slightly different approach.
A savvy homeowner tends to do their HVAC research based on brands, and which companies offer the best solutions. Most of us aren’t HVAC experts, so we rely on brand names we know and trust for guidance. However, an HVAC system should be selected for how well it will perform in your home, not someone else’s, so it is important to know what is available.
Today we will compare the main features of two popular HVAC brands, Bryant and Carrier, the primary differences between them, and what they might mean for you.
Bryant HVAC Products Overview
The Bryant brand has been in the HVAC business for over a century, and currently offers everything from furnaces to air conditioners. USNews.com ranked Bryant the number two HVAC brand in the US in 2022. Bryant is very popular with home builders due to its quality construction, parts, and price.
Bryant HVAC systems are known for:
- Good Quality
- Cost Effectiveness
- Modern features like scroll compressors and wireless thermostats
- Energy Efficiency
Bryant HVAC products are mostly made by the Carrier Global Corporation, the parent company of Carrier. Bryant HVAC products essentially use almost all of the same features and parts as the Carrier brand, making serviceability excellent.
Bryant HVAC products are primarily marketed to builders and cost conscious buyers that still want all of the quality they can afford. Bryant is generally marketed as a second tier brand and competes with brands like Amana and Goodman.
Carrier HVAC Products Overview
Carrier is the largest HVAC company in the US. Carrier, along with a half dozen other companies including Trane, Rheem, and Lennox, account for approximately 90% of all HVAC systems sold in the US. Carrier is a subsidiary of Carrier Global, which also owns Bryant.
Carrier HVAC systems are known for:
- High Quality
- High Cost
- Strong Manufacturing Capability
- Modern Features
Carrier HVAC products are known in the industry as one of the best HVAC systems you can buy, but Carrier is also one of the most expensive. Carrier is very popular in the commercial construction industry because Carrier products are infinitely serviceable and reliable.
However, Carrier HVAC products are not generally recommended for the cost-conscious shopper. Generally, Carrier competes with top tier HVAC brands such as Trane, Rheem, and Lennox and is priced similarly. Carrier’s huge manufacturing capability means parts are plentiful, which is one reason why they are popular in the commercial sector.
Bryant vs Carrier: Value Comparison
With a few exceptions, Bryant and Carrier HVAC products will use the same parts and manufacturing processes. Internal components, like the compressor and design, will often be interchangeable between Bryant and Carrier. However, new features will almost always debut first in the Carrier brand, as it is marketed as a leader in innovation.
In most markets, Bryant will be considered the best value for the money when compared to Carrier, if low cost and reliability are important. Many builders of medium sized spec homes use Bryant HVAC products, because although Bryant is a high quality product, the warranty is usually shorter than a comparable Carrier model, making it less expensive.
Builders aren’t usually too concerned about extra long warranties unless the project is custom. Most spec builders are looking for a balance of quality, marketability, and cost. This often equates to a well built product with a recognizable name, and a good value. Few HVAC brands offer these qualities in abundance like Bryant HVAC products.
Conversely, Carrier brand HVAC products are known for their high quality, durability, and serviceability. As mentioned previously, the Carrier Company has enormous manufacturing capability, so replacement parts and qualified service personnel are plentiful. For this reason, Carrier is also one of the largest suppliers of HVAC products to the commercial construction industry.
However, Carrier HVAC products are also some of the most expensive to purchase. Carrier HVAC products are very durable, reliable, and long lasting, but when they require service, expect to pay a premium. If you would complain about the cost of servicing your Mercedes, you may want to research other HVAC brands for your project.
Bryant vs. Carrier: Durability Comparison
Both Bryant and Carrier have an excellent reputation for durability and high quality. Because both brands are usually manufactured in the same facilities, there is very little difference in the manufacturing quality. In fact, if there were differences it might indicate inconsistent production quality, which any manufacturer will try to avoid.
If Bryant and Carrier Are the Same, Why Would I Buy Carrier?
The primary differences between Carrier and Bryant HVAC products are the badge on the outside and the warranty. To be clear, Bryant and Carrier are not the same products, but they are made from the same parts in the same factories.
In the marketing world, the perception is that this gives consumers more choices. From a marketing view, it might be a negative to claim the quality of one product you build is inferior to another. Manufacturers solve this issue by offering less elaborate models at lower prices, but under a different brand name.
Of course, the products can’t be identical or different in name only. Each product is marketed to support that there is no association between them, yet they are owned by the same company. As mentioned earlier, Carrier products will usually have the latest technology they offer, while the Bryant brand will likely not see the feature until future models.
Bryant vs Carrier: Compressor Comparison
As with most other components in a Bryant and Carrier branded HVAC system, the compressors are usually the same between the brands. Of course, there are exceptions in the Carrier branded products as a way to differentiate the brands. Generally however, both Bryant and Carrier will have interchangeable compressors.
Both Bryant and Carrier HVAC systems also use Carrier’s non-ozone depleting refrigerant. Known as Puron, this refrigerant is safer for the environment and is a sales advantage both of these brands have. Both Bryant and Carrier branded HVAC systems will offer single stage, dual stage, or variable speed compressors.
Compressors are responsible for controlling the refrigerants necessary for the proper heat exchange that conditions the air. Variable speed compressors, also known as scroll compressors, are an upgrade that more efficiently circulates the refrigerant. Scroll compressors ramp up and down gradually, which reduces the overall energy consumption of the system.
Bryant vs Carrier: Warranty Comparison
Both Bryant and Carrier are well built products and carry a good warranty. Generally, Carrier will carry a longer factory warranty, although in many cases, a comparable Bryant will be the same in all but name. Here are the general warranties offered by each company, although some components, like the compressor, may have a different warranty:
Bryant HVAC Products Warranty
Bryant HVAC products generally carry a ten (10) year limited warranty, or a five year limited warranty depending on the component.
Carrier HVAC Products Warranty
Carrier HVAC products typically come with a ten (10) year limited warranty, but some components may have a twenty (20) year, or even a lifetime warranty.
Bryant vs Carrier: Cost Comparison
In most home designs, a Bryant HVAC system will cost less than a comparable Carrier HVAC system. By design, these two brands try to avoid direct competition and rather compliment each other’s product offerings. Here are the typical costs to install each brand:
Average Price For a Bryant HVAC System Installed: $5,500 – $7,500
Bryant HVAC systems typically offer a shorter warranty and slightly fewer features, but the quality of a Bryant system is equal to that of a Carrier HVAC system.
Average Price For a Carrier HVAC System Installed: $6,000 – 8,250
Bryant vs Carrier: What Features Do They Offer?
Both Bryant and Carrier will have options in various submodels that may only appear in the more expensive versions. For example, Carrier may offer a model in the Performance line that is essentially the same as a model in the Bryant Preferred line. But, the Performance model may have a wireless thermostat or a scroll compressor that the Preferred model does not.
- Evolution (Comparable to Carrier Infinity)
- Preferred (Comparable to Carrier Performance)
- Legacy (Comparable to Carrier Comfort)
- Infinity (Comparable to Bryant Evolution)
- Performance (Comparable to Bryant Preferred)
- Comfort (Comparable to Bryant Legacy)
Which Is Better: Bryant Or Carrier?
By now, you’ve probably got a good idea of the main differences (and similarities) between Bryant and Carrier HVAC products. Every consumer will have features and considerations that they consider the most important for their enjoyment of the system. Some consumers will want the most elaborate system they can find, while others may look for better energy efficiency.
Essentially, if you need to be budget conscious and can do without the latest and greatest, Bryant will do a great job. If you plan to live in the home for many years and will enjoy the latest comforts and low energy bills over time, Carrier will certainly be a great choice. You can’t go wrong either way.