Best Furnace Brands – Reviewed in 2020

Top HVAC Brands

What are the best gas furnace brands to consider?

Our researchers have earned the reputation for accuracy and thorough information about the brands we review.

We’re not wowed by big marketing budgets that splash Lennox, Carrier and Trane brands on buildings and ad space. In fact, Lennox is last in our list. We explain why below.

Criteria: Instead, we dig into service records, who makes the parts used to build the furnaces and who is allowed to install them.

Why does installation matter? The same reason you choose one mechanic, doctor or roofer over another. Workmanship and training varies a lot, and we discuss the issue in detail in this guide.

Insert Styled Box

2020 Best Furnace Brands

  1. Heil / ICP Brands
  2. Rheem / Ruud
  3. Trane / American Standard
  4. Carrier / Bryant
  5. Goodman
  6. Armstrong Air / AirEase
  7. York / Johnson Controls Brands

That’s the List. Each one is reviewed and rated below on a range of factors.

Basic – Better – Best

Most brands make at least two quality levels and usually three quality levels – basic (entry level), better (most popular) and best (high-performance).

The “Basic/Entry-level” lines or series aren’t included in our ratings and reviews below. They’re OK if you’re looking for a quick furnace replacement before you sell your home – or if you plan to live where you are for just a few years. Otherwise, you’ll get better value and durability from a Better or Best line.

We spell out which lines we’re reviewing, so you’ll have that information as you discuss options with furnace contractors and get estimates for specific furnaces.

Whether you choose a Better or Best option depends on the efficiency and performance level you prefer – also explained below.

What Top 2020 Gas Furnace Brands Have in Common

At least mostly. Not all the brands on the list have all these characteristics, and we’ll let you know when they don’t.

These criteria go a long way toward determining the reliability and longevity of the furnace you buy.

1. Quality Parts

The total furnace is only as good as the parts used to build it, right? Just like an automobile or clothes washer.

Do furnace companies make their own parts?

Most don’t!

Instead, the brands use parts made by component manufacturers like Honeywell, Emerson, Carlyle and Danfoss, to name a few of the larger parts companies.

This isn’t a concern. Those parts companies are dedicated to quality and performance, and it is a very competitive market. Make bad parts, and lose business. Make good ones, and thrive.

The problem with Lennox: This well-known brand is built with the highest percentage of proprietary parts – parts unique to Lennox. And that’s an important reason Lennox gets placed where it does!

If your Trane furnace needs a part, the technician can get a “universal” part to replace it. They’re readily available.

When a Lennox furnace fails, the technician might have to get a Lennox part to repair it. Parts shortages and delays are much more common with this brand as a result. Higher parts prices are a reality too.

2. Longer Warranties

A warranty tells you whether the manufacturer has confidence in its product. A 5-year general parts warranty says, “This furnace is cheap, so don’t expect more than 12-15 years out of it.” Most of the Basic/Entry-level furnaces have 5-year parts warranties, and that’s why we exclude those series.

A parts warranty of 10 or 12 years shows greater confidence in the product’s quality.

3. Good Value

There are a few brands that are nearly or completely identical, yet pricing is different. For example:

Did you know that Carrier furnaces and Heil furnaces are nearly identical in design and the parts they use?

Did you know that you can save 25% or more with a Tempstar? Never heard of Tempstar? Or Day & Night? Heil is a little better known.

The point is that Carrier and Bryant are nearly identical to International Comfort Product (ICP) brands Heil, Day & Night, Tempstar and others.

They are all owned by United Technologies Corporation (UTC). It saves UTC a lot of cash to build each of the 8 brands using the same parts – and often on the same assembly line.

There are two reasons that Carrier and Bryant are priced higher than the ICP brands.

The price difference with Heil/ICP gives consumers choice – or maybe it is just the appearance of choice. And it helps UTC sell to customers they would otherwise lose. Consider:

  • Homeowners that want a “premium” furnace can choose a Carrier – a very reliable furnace. Ditto for Bryant.
  • Homeowners that say, “I’m not going to overpay for a furnace, and Carrier is overpriced,” can choose an ICP brand.

UTC makes money on ICP furnaces, just not as big a profit margin as on Bryant and Carrier. But if you reject an overpriced Carrier or Bryant and UTC has nothing else to offer, it doesn’t get a sale. General Motors offers Cadillac as the premium brand and Chevrolet as a more affordable brand. It’s no different.

Carrier and Bryant installers might be better trained.

Carrier and Bryant require anyone who wants to install their brands to be factory trained. This isn’t the case with ICP brands. It’s an option, not a requirement.

Often ICP brand installers are just as well trained and qualified. In fact, many furnace installers offer both brands – again, to give customers options.

If the furnace contractor you choose offers both Carrier/Bryant furnaces and an ICP brand, the choice is clear – go ICP.

Note on ICP brands: Most of them are regional, so might not be available where you live. Heil has a wide distribution, but Day & Night, Tempstar, Keeprite, Comfortmaker and Arcoaire are regional.

The brands were bought up by ICP/UTC over the years as part of the consolidation the industry went through. There are now only about 7 major furnace manufacturers, though 20+ brands.

Goodman, Daikin and Amana: A similar situation exists with these three brands, all now owned by Daikin Global. They are identical, but Goodman is positioned as the low-cost furnace brand. Amana is marketed as a solid, mid-range brand and Daikin is considered a premium brand. “Give the consumer what they want (or think they want)” is the strategy. But an educated buyer will understand how to get a good furnace for the best price.

Other identical furnace brands: Trane and American Standard, Rheem and Ruud, Armstrong Air and AirEase, the Johnson Controls brands and others are identical too. And they are priced very closely. They don’t play the “premium brand vs. low-cost alternative” game.

4. Qualified and Experienced Installer

We mentioned this in discussing Carrier vs. Day & Night brands.

The quality of the installation makes a big difference in the performance and dependability of a furnace.

Hopefully you found that information useful to you as you research furnace brands. Now it is on to the reviews and ratings.

Top Gas Furnace Brands

We rated each brand on the criteria above and compiled their scores.

Insert Video
Insert Video
Insert Video
Insert Video

Brands

Parts Quality

Warranty

Price/Value

Total Score

Heil/ICP

4

4

4

12

Goodman

3

4

4

11

Rheem/Ruud

3

4

3

10

Maytag

3

3

3

9

Trane/A.S.

4

2

2

8

Carrier/Bryant

4

2

2

8

Armstrong

3

2

3

8

York

3

2

3

8

Lennox

3

2

2

7

  • Excellent = 4 points
  • Very good = 3 points
  • Average = 2 points
  • Poor = 1 point (No “Poor” scores among the top)

Brands built with parts rating “Excellent” should last 17-20 years with minor repairs. The caveat is that they must be properly installed and maintained through the years. Some furnaces last 25+ years when treated with TLC.

Those built with parts rated “Very Good” should last 15-18 years, and possibly longer when properly installed and maintained.

Here they are, starting with this year’s top rated furnace brand.

Insert Content Template or Symbol
Add Icon
heil furnace

#1 Heil / ICP Brands

Quality

Warranty

Value

12
Total

As explained above, International Comfort Products is owned by UTC, the parent company of Carrier. The furnace brands are nearly identical in all but the name plates. The ICP brands offer better value.


We chose Heil because it has the widest national distribution.



Warranty

All Heil furnaces are covered by a 10-year general parts warranty, which is standard for the industry.

The top lines are backed with a Lifetime heat exchanger warranty.

Also, if the heat exchanger fails in the first 10 years, Heil will replace the entire furnace. Replacement warranties are becoming more common, and ICP/Heil has led the way.



Installation

Installers have to be licensed and certified, but not factory trained. An independent certification is NATE – North American Technician Excellence. If the dealer you speak to isn’t factory trained, ask if its installers have NATE certification.




Best Heil Furnaces

  • Heil Ion: This line was released in 2020. It includes one furnace with a modulating gas valve and two 2-stage furnaces. All of them have variable-speed blowers. Ion is now the top line.
  • Heil QuietComfort Deluxe: A modulating furnace and three 2-stage furnaces make up this second-best.


goodman furnace

#2 Goodman

Quality

Warranty

Value

11
Total

Goodman has been the low-price, good-quality leader since it started making furnaces in the 1980s.


Today, Goodman is owned by Daikin, a Japan-based global HVAC leader. Daikin bought Amana along with Goodman. Goodman remains a low-cost leader with good quality.


What about Daikin and Amana? Most Daikin and Amana furnaces are identical to Goodman. But costs are higher, so we’ve placed just Goodman on the list.



Warranty

The Best Goodman furnaces have a Lifetime heat exchanger warranty plus a 10-year furnace replacement warranty on the heat exchanger. Goodman will give you a new furnace if the heat exchanger fails in the first decade.

The general parts warranty is 10 years.



Installation

Any certified furnace installer can install Goodman furnaces. In fact, you can buy a Goodman furnace online and install it yourself.

This is the primary reason Goodman used to have a reputation for being poor quality. Anyone could and can install them, and often installation was wrong. Bad installation usually leads to early and costly repairs.

Because of this, it is important to find a NATE-certified installer with good local reviews if you choose Goodman.



Best Furnaces

They aren’t grouped by catchy names. The best models are the GMVM 97 modulating furnace and five GCV models with a range of efficiency and heating options.

rheem ruud furnace

#3 Rheem / Ruud

Quality

Warranty

Value

10
Total

These brands didn’t make our list in 2018. There were too many mechanical issues.


However, these identical furnace brands have upgraded quality along with efficiency. Value is good too.


Warranty

It is the best available. These brands just upgraded their warranties, something many brands are doing to be more competitive.


The heat exchanger has a Lifetime warranty with Lifetime replacement too. If the heat exchanger ever fails, Rheem/Ruud will replace not just the part but the entire furnace.  The parts warranty is 10 years.



Installation

Factory training is available but not required for installers. As we said with Heil, make sure the installer is at least certified by NATE – North American Technician Excellence.



Best Furnaces

  • Rheem Prestige and Ruud Ultra Series are the best. The series has two modulating furnaces (modulating gas valves) and three 2-stage furnaces. All the furnaces have variable-speed blowers.
  • Ruud Achiever Plus and Rheem Classic Plus are large series of furnaces with a range of performance options. These are the most popular Rheem and Ruud models.
maytag furnace

#4 Maytag

Quality

Warranty

Value

9
Total

Maytag is the best-known brand offered by Nortek Global, a worldwide HVAC company.


Identical brands are Nu-Tone, Broan and Frigidaire. Recently, Nortek Global retired Westinghouse, Nordyne and Tappan, which were also identical brands.


Warranty

The best line, the Maytag 1200 Series is backed by a 12-year parts warranty, the longest general parts warranty available.

The heat exchanger has a Lifetime warranty including a 12-year furnace replacement warranty. If the heat exchanger cracks in the first 12 years, your entire furnace will be replaced.



Installation

These furnaces are installed by a wide range of companies, so we recommend that you work with an installer with the NATE certification.

  


Best Furnaces

The M1200 furnaces are 2-stage models. Many have variable-speed blowers for added comfort.  

trane furnace

#5 Trane / American Standard

Quality

Warranty

Value

8
Total

These are identical brands owned by Ingersoll-Rand.

Trane and Americans Standard are the most reliable brands available today.


They are priced nearly the same too, and it is on the upper end of the spectrum. Both are decent values, but not outstanding values.


Warranty

The general parts warranty on top lines is 10 years with a Lifetime heat exchanger warranty.



Installation

Both brands stress using factory-trained installers. This is one reason Trane and American Standard furnaces are among the most expensive.

However, it is also a top reason they are the most reliable – You’re more likely to get proper installation, so the furnace will run as efficiently and as durably as it should.

If you speak to a Trane or American Standard dealer, ask them if they require their installers to go through factory training and authorization. For Trane, it is called being a Trane Comfort Specialist.


Best Furnaces

The American Standard Platinum Series is tops. The Gold Series is next. Both offer a range of modulating and 2-stage furnaces with variable-speed blowers. 80% and 90%-plus models are available.


Trane doesn’t group its furnaces by handy names. The best furnaces include the S9 and XC furnaces with variable-capacity (modulating) or 2-stage heating.

carrier furnace

#6 Carrier / Bryant

Quality

Warranty

Value

8
Total

These United Technologies (UTC) brands are nearly identical and cost about the same. Carrier and Bryant are right behind Trane and American Standard in dependability. The difference in their track records is statistically indistinguishable.


Warranty: 10-year parts and Lifetime heat exchanger warranties are common on all Carrier and Bryant furnaces. Of all the brands, these two show the most consistent quality from top of the line to the most affordable furnaces.


Installation: Carrier requires its dealers to be factory trained and authorized.

carrier furnace authorized installation
Insert Content Template or Symbol

Bryant does not require it, but does offer it. If you’re concerned about it, ask the Bryant dealer when you get estimates.


Best Furnaces:

  • Carrier Infinity and Bryant Evolution are the top lines. Both include one variable capacity furnace and three 2-stage furnaces. All have variable-speed blowers. Efficiency ranges from 80% to more than 98%.
  • Carrier Performance and Bryant Preferred are the second-best lines and offer a larger range of models including very efficient single-stage furnaces.
armstrong furnace

#7 Armstrong / AirEase 

Quality

Warranty

Value

8
Total

Right away, we’ll tell you two things: First, these are Allied Air brands, and Lennox owns Allied Air.


Secondly, Armstrong Air and AirEase furnaces are not identical to Lennox. They’re better.


You might hear, “Oh, those are like second-best Lennox furnaces.” It isn’t true. We encourage you to discuss the relationship with Lennox and whether the furnaces are the same if you get estimates from an Armstrong Air or AirEase dealer.


Warranty

The best furnaces have a Lifetime heat exchanger warranty and 10-year parts warranty. Nothing special, but average for the industry.



Installation

Any certified HVAC technician can install AirEase or Armstrong. Factory training is not required. As we’ve said before, make sure the installer is certified by NATE or has similar certification.



Best Furnaces

Each brand makes three variable-speed furnaces. One is a variable capacity or modulating furnace. The others are 2-stage models. We recommend the two-stage models – the 80% efficient unit for warm climates and the 96% model for cold regions.

york furnace

#8 York / Johnson Controls

Quality

Warranty

Value

8
Total

York is the best-known of several identical Johnson Controls brands. Others are Luxaire, Coleman and Champion. Each has the same lineup of gas furnaces and other HVAC equipment.


We’re not high on Johnson Controls ACs and heat pumps because of coil issues, but their furnaces are very good.


As far as furnaces go, York and its sister brands are among the brands with a noticeable upgrade in quality and warranty protection in the last five years.


Warranty

The standard 10-year parts and Lifetime heat exchanger warranties. York also offers a 1-yar labor warranty, but most dealers offer this too, even if the manufacturer does not. If your furnace needs repairs in the first year, it probably wasn’t installed correctly.



Installation

Using a York-authorized dealer is optional, not required.



Best Furnaces

For York, the Affinity Series is top of the line and the LX Series is next – and the most popular line. The other brands also have a top series and second-best series.

They all have a basic/entry-level series too, which we don’t recommend unless you’re looking for a budget furnace.

lennox furnace

#9 Lennox

Quality

Warranty

Value

7
Total

Lennox makes the most efficient furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps of any brand. But it’s Lennox quality, cost, warranties and repair delays that put this brand at the bottom of our list.


Warranty

The top lines are the Dave Lennox Signature Collection and Lennox Elite Series. The Signature Collection furnaces have Lifetime heat exchanger warranties and 10-year parts warranties.

The Elite Series warranty is just 5 years on parts and 20 years on the heat exchanger. This is the worst warranty in its class.



Installation

Lennox uses authorized dealers, but not all have been factory-trained by Lennox. We recommend that you ask about factory training before you sign a contract with a Lennox dealer.  



Best Furnaces

Dave Lennox Signature Collection furnaces are the top line – the only series with a decent warranty. The SLP98V with 98.7% efficiency is the most efficient gas furnace you can buy.

#10 Are There Any Other Major Brands?

Due to consolidation in the residential HVAC industry, the brands and brand groups we’ve listed are your major options.


There are NO other major brands than these.


Some of the brand groups make low-cost options that weren’t considered in this guide. For example, Payne is the budget brand owned by UTC (Carrier, ICP). Ducane is a low-cost Allied Air/Lennox brand. Furnace models are limited to entry-level furnaces.


Just Getting Started?

If focusing on brands is getting ahead of things in your research, perhaps you would benefit from our Gas Furnace Buying Guide, a comprehensive guide to what matters in a gas furnace – Efficiency, Quality, Heating Performance, Furnace Size and Your Climate.


Costs for furnaces, installation and extras like a thermostat and sheet metal work are all covered.  

The Importance of Installing it Correctly

There’s a saying in furnace circles that, “the most important day of a furnace’s life is the day it is installed.”

  • Proper installation will allow the furnace to run as efficiently as it should and last as long as it should with proper maintenance and minor repairs.
  • Bad installation leads to premature breakdowns. The furnace might also run less efficiently than it should. The worst-case scenario is a possible gas leak or carbon monoxide leak. They’re uncommon, but not worth the risk.

You can hire a qualified contractor by following these tips.

1

Step 1 - Get 3 Quotes From Local Contractors

Let them know you are getting several estimates. They will understand that their estimates have to be competitive.

2

Step 2 - Find Out the History of the Company

If it’s a new company, avoid it. We recommend using a company with a history in your community of a decade or so. This shows they know what they are doing and have a history of good installation and customer service.

3

Step 3 - Ask about the Experience of the Installer

It’s great if the company has been around for 50 years. Just be sure the people handling your installation have 5+ years of proven furnace installation experience.

4

Step 4 - Check Reviews & Compare Costs

Before hiring a furnace replacement company, see what others have to say about it. Good places to check reviews online are Google, the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List and Yelp.

Compare costs from installers with a good reputation and the promise that the people installing your furnace have good experience.

5

Step 5 -  Make Your Choice 

Make your choice based on installation experience, a reputation for good work and a fair price.


Sound Like a Hassle?

It certainly can be. But you can shorten the process to less than a week by using our Free Local Quotes option.

Fill out the form or make a phone call. Either way, the process is fast and easy. You’ll receive written estimates from 3 top-quality furnace contractors in your area.

The companies are pre-screened to be sure they are licensed, insured and have proven expertise.

Thank you for reading this Best Furnace Brands review. If you want to replace your air conditioner together, you can also read our Best Air Conditioner Brands.

How Much does a Gas Furnace Cost?

A reasonable new furnace cost is $1,500 to more than $6,000 with an average cost closer to $3,000. There are many cost factors, and they are discussed shortly.

Here are recent gas furnace prices submitted to PickHVAC by other readers. The whole list is found on our Guide of Furnace Reviews and Prices.

If you have a furnace installed or replaced, please consider returning to PickHVAC to share your cost for the benefit of other readers.

Cost of a Goodman gas furnace: A homeowner in Cleveland paid $3,200 for a 125,000 BTU Goodman 92% efficient furnace. This is a fair price.

Cost of a York gas furnace: A York Affinity with higher than 90% efficiency was installed in Brigantine, NJ for $4,100. It’s a huge 150,000 BTU furnace, and the Affinity is York’s best line. This is a fair price. Meanwhile, a homeowner in Little Egg Harbor, NJ paid $5,300 for a 75,000 BTU! The homeowner probably could have found a better price on the same furnace.

Cost of a Bryant gas furnace: A homeowner in Augusta, ME paid $6,500 for a Bryant Evolution 90i gas furnace. The reader didn’t include the size, but for that price, it must be 120K BTU or larger – except the house is just 2,000 square feet. We don’t know all the details, but we suspect the homeowner overpaid. Yes, the 90i is a 96.6% furnace, and Evolution is Bryant’s top line. However, $6,500 seems like too much money for a furnace needed to heat 2,000 square feet.

These examples point out what we mention frequently – The best strategy for getting a fair price on a good furnace is to get estimates from 3 or more local installers that know they are competing for the work.

Gas Furnace Cost Factors

These factors are fully discussed in our Furnace Reviews and Prices Guide.

But here is the overview.

Furnace Size: Furnaces start at 40,000 BTUs. Most homes need a furnace between 80K and 120K. The largest are 150,000 BTUs.

Furnace Brand: As you can see from our examples, Goodman continues to be the low-cost leader. There are significant differences based on cost. You can see average costs by brand here.  

Efficiency: The more efficient the furnace is, all else being equal, the more it will cost. The colder your winters, the more it makes sense to buy an efficient furnace. The extra cost will be returned in 5-10 years through lower energy costs.

Performance: Single-stage are cheapest. Two-stage are midrange in cost. Modulating or variable capacity furnaces cost the most. Most brands make basic, better and best furnaces in these performance options.

FAQs:

How long does a furnace last?

Most furnaces last 16-24 years. We find these factors play the biggest role in furnace durability.

  • How heavily it is used. No surprise there.
  • Initial quality. Again, this one makes sense. It should be balanced with the first – how much the furnace runs. A cheap furnace might last 18 years in Florida but just 12 years in Minnesota. A high-quality furnace might last 18 years in Minnesota or 30 in Florida.
  • How well it is maintained. A furnace that is cleaned and tuned regularly will run more efficiently and with fewer repair issues. Sometimes small repairs can be made that prevent major failure.

Speaking of furnace maintenance, did you know that the manufacturer might or not honor a warranty claim if you don’t have it maintained per their schedule?

Bryant’s furnace warranty reads, “Installation, use, care, and maintenance must be normal and in accordance with instructions contained in the Installation Instructions, Owner’s Manual and Company’s service information.”

Read the fine print in the operator’s manual or ask your installer what the manufacturer requires.

Should I repair or replace my old furnace?

Repair or replace is a challenging question. A few basic guidelines will help you decide which is the best course of action.

Repair is the best strategy if the furnace is under warranty. Most warranties cover basic parts for 10 years and the heat exchanger for 20 years or “lifetime.”

Just keep in mind that most warranties do not cover labor beyond the first year. The part will be covered – installation of it will be your responsibility. Our Warranty Guide has a lot more information about warranties.

The exception to this rule is if the heat exchanger fails. The furnace must be mostly disassembled for heat exchanger replacement. You’ll pay $750+ in labor charges – maybe $1,500. The money might be better spent toward a new furnace. Our Gas Furnace Repair Guide shares costs for the most common repairs.

Furnace replacement makes more sense when:

The furnace is 12+ years old and has required significant repairs already or the bill for the current repair is $500 or more.

The furnace doesn’t do a good job. It could be that doesn’t adequately heat your home. Maybe it’s a single-stage furnace that is loud or creates temperature swings. Is it inefficient, and your heating bills are high? These are all good reasons to opt for a new furnace.

Should I replace the central ac and furnace together?

Matched systems – those designed to work together – are the most efficient and deliver the best climate control.

If the units haven’t been replaced together in the past, they’ll be different ages. And if, for example, the AC is much newer than the furnace, it might be fine to leave it as long as it would be compatible with the new furnace. When both the furnace and AC are 12-15 years old or older, then we recommend replacement of both units.

As noted, the new system will likely be more energy efficient and will produce a more comfortable indoor environment. Plus, both units will be new and under warranty, reducing repair concerns for years.

An exception to this might be if you plan to move in the next few years. In that case, it isn’t cost-effective to replace the both the AC and furnace when just one of the units goes bad.

What is the best time to buy a furnace?

There are two good answers to consider.

Simply put, the best time to buy a gas furnace is before you need one. We’re fans of pre-emptive furnace replacement. First, you won’t get stuck without heat in extreme winter weather for a few days or longer.

Secondly, you can take the time to decide what you want in terms of furnace efficiency, performance and cost. A thought-through, informed decision is probably one you’ll be happy with down the road.

Thirdly, this approach gives you time to get written estimates from several local installers. You can look up reviews and take your time learning about the company’s history, experience of the installers and how well it treats customers.

In terms of time of the year, late winter/early spring is usually the best time to find deals on furnaces. The heating season is winding down at this time, and the AC repair/replace season isn’t in full swing. Heating and AC companies offer deals to attract customers. The furnace manufacturers often provide buying incentives during this period too.

What is a best efficiency rating?

The quick answer is that the colder your climate, the more efficient the furnace should be. This map helps.

furnace zone map

Image Source: basc.pnnl.gov

Zones 1-3: An 80% furnace is a good choice for zones that don’t have extreme cold. In these regions, it would take 10+ years of lower heating bills to recoup the higher cost of a high-efficiency furnace.

Zones 4 & 5: A furnace with at least 90% efficiency is a good choice here. To be most cost-effective, something like a single-stage 93% or two-stage 95% furnace makes sense.

Zones 6 & 7: Definitely consider a 90%-plus furnace here. How efficient it is and how much you’re willing to pay for premium 2-stage or variable capacity performance is a matter of budget and personal preference.

Are variable capacity furnaces worth the money?

Not in our opinion, and here’s why.

1. They are much more expensive than a two-stage furnace, but the performance boost isn’t that great.

2. They cost more – but are only 2-3% more efficient. Even single-stage models like the Goodman GMSS are 96% efficient – and this one is very affordable. That’s just one example of an efficient, affordable gas furnace.

3. They seem to fail more often – and repairs are expensive.

In communicating technology, rather than just “doing what the thermostat tells it to do,” the furnace delivers data back to the controller to produce more or less heat in small increments.

There are many reports from experienced HVAC technicians stating that the units sometimes stop communicating, and when they do, it can be impossible to repair.

Homeowners have problems too. One of our readers recently wrote to say, “I have a York system with an Affinity thermostat. I get frequent communication fault messages. The AC techs don’t have any good tools to troubleshoot communication problems and York isn’t any help.”

As a result, the communicating control (which costs $400+) is replaced with a non-communicating thermostat, and the potential value of the technology is lost.

If you’re still not convinced – or to learn more – see the comments from readers on this page.

Is a furnace maintenance agreement worth the money?

It can be. Here are reasons to consider a service / maintenance agreement.

1. Your furnace manufacturer might require annual or bi-annual service to keep the warranty active. See the Bryant example in the question above, “How long does a furnace last?”

2. A furnace that is cleaned, tuned and balanced every year or two will run more efficiently.

3. Minor issues can be caught before they become big issues or before they cause your furnace to break down during really cold weather. A common example is that hot surface igniters wear out. They can be quickly tested with a voltage meter and replaced for about $50-$75 during a service call if they are wearing out.

Shop around for a fair price and one with the perks you want. Cost ranges from about $80 to $200 per year. Those with higher cost usually have better perks. These include a 10-15% discount on parts and repairs and priority status on repairs. This means that if you need furnace service, you’ll get it before others that do not have a service contract.

What are the best furnace brands?

We’ve covered this question in this guide.

The short answer is that Trane, American Standard, Carrier, Bryant and ICP brands (Heil, Tempstar, Day & Night) tend to perform a little better than most.

The ICP brands offer good value because they are nearly identical to Carrier – they are all owned by United Technologies – but have a lower cost.

Insert Content Template or Symbol
15 comments… add one
  • Hi
    thanks for the detailed information on furnaces. I was recently pitched for Daikin 2 stage gas valve, variable speed ECM blower motor.
    where does this furnace rank?

    Reply
  • I am close to buying a Rudd R95P furnace. Is this a pretty good one?

    Reply
    • Yeah, it is a good one if installed properly.

      Reply
  • I need to replace my manufactured home’s heat pump system. I’ve had quotes on Trane, Goodman, Nordyne, Ruud and Ducane. The Trane is the most costly and Ducane is the least and are about $1000 apart in price. I’m not sure what to get. Any advice?

    Reply
    • Hi

      Did you get 5 quotes from the same contractor?

      Reply
  • I see list where Goodman is ranked budget brand and recommended as best value budget furnace. However there is disclaimers like your “Many independent, comprehensive tests in the last 15 years have demonstrated that most of the top HVAC brands are comparably matched in quality. There’s not a large quality gap between the best furnace brands listed here and the rest of the pack.” When I read this I ask myself why would I buy Carrier for example vs Goodman. Looking at there GMVM97 / GMVC96.
    Thought
    Steve

    Reply
    • Hi Steve

      My personal advice: If the seller sells both Goodman and Carrier, just choose Goodman. If the seller only sells Goodman, be careful with that. Carrier is more selective in choosing the contractor.

      Reply
  • Hi Steve, I was recently pitched a York Affinity 80% furnace. I’m seeing conflicting reviews on the reliability and functionality of York furnaces. Thoughts?

    Reply
  • Can you tell me anything about the Armstrong gas furnaces? Are they any good? And does Trane require contractors to be trained by them for repairs?
    Thank you for your time in answering these

    Reply
  • Any thoughts on Airtemp? I got what looks like a good estimate from an excellent installer for a furnace and heat pump, but can’t find reviews.

    Reply
  • I saw your note about Carrier being more selective about who their contractors are. I’m assuming that would go for Bryant as well? I’ve seen some mixed reviews about Bryant, but the Bryant contractor only installs Bryant, and seems extremely knowledgeable on installation. The other contractors offer various other brands and seem ambivalent about what they sell…

    Reply
  • How would you rate Tempstar? Is it American-made?

    Reply
  • I am looking at a new Napoleon 9600 series. Napoleon is relatively new to the furnace market and they manufacture in Barrie Ontario. Do you have any reviews for this furnace?

    Reply
  • I just installed a Heil furnace and AC system based on your recommendation. My old system was 23 years old so I am looking forward to much lower heating bills and reliable system. Based on calculations, I will pay for the furnace in about 10 years. Do your homework on contractors and follow the recommendations on the website.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

DMCA.com Protection Status