The difference between Payne and Carrier air conditioners is that while Carrier offers duct-free and central units, Payne provides only central air conditioners. The SEER rating of Payne units ranges from 13 to 17, whereas Carrier units have SEER ratings up to 21. Carrier air units are slightly more expensive.
Both Payne and Carrier air conditioners are highly rated in terms of product quality and service in the HVAC industry, as of 2015. Both companies use R410A refrigerant in their air conditioners, which has a minimal impact on the environment as compared to other refrigerants.
However, Payne offers only three central air conditioners with SEER ratings of 13, 16 and 17. The 17 SEER rating unit from Payne, which provides cooling in two stages and better dehumidification, has the highest energy efficiency. In comparison, Carrier has a wider range of central and duct-free units. Its Infinity series, which is the most efficient and quiet, has a SEER rating of 21. The Performance and Comfort units from Carrier have SEER ratings between 15 and 18.
The cost of a Payne air conditioner, with installation included, ranges between $1,200 and $6,500. Carrier units are slightly more expensive to buy and install, with the total cost ranging between $2,000 and $8,000, depending on the model.