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.
Installation: 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.
- 2019 Best Furnace Brands
- What Top 2019 Gas Furnace Brands Have in Common
- Top Gas Furnace Brands
- The Importance of Installing it Correctly
2019 Best Furnace Brands
- Heil / ICP Brands
- Rheem / Ruud
- Trane / American Standard
- Carrier / Bryant
- Armstrong Air / AirEase
- 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 2019 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.
- 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?
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.
- 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.
- 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:
ü Homeowners that want a “premium” furnace can choose a Carrier – a very reliable furnace. Ditto for Bryant.
ü 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.
- 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.
|Heil / ICP||4||4||4||12|
|Rheem / Ruud||3||4||3||10|
|Trane / A.S.||4||2||2||8|
|Carrier / Bryant||4||2||2||8|
- Excellent = 4 points
- Very good = 3 points
- Average = 2
- Poor = 1 point (No “Poor” scores among the top)
Quality and Longevity
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.
Furnace Brand Reviews and Ratings
Here they are, starting with this year’s top rated furnace brand.
Heil Gas Furnaces / ICP Brands
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 2019. 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.
Overall Rating: 12 out of 12
Here is our in-depth Heil Gas Furnace Review and Buying Guide.
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.
Overall Rating: 11 out of 12
We’ve completed a Goodman Furnace Review, and you can see it here.
Rheem Furnaces / Ruud Furnaces
These brands didn’t make our list in 2017/2018. 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.
- 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.
Overall Rating: 10 out of 12
If you’d like to do more research on Rheem/Ruud furnaces, here is our Rheem Gas Furnace Buying Guide complete with prices and furnace specs.
Maytag Gas Furnaces
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.
Overall Rating: 7 out of 12
If you’d like to learn more, see our Maytag Gas Furnace Buying Guide.
Trane Furnaces / American Standard Furnaces
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.
Overall Rating: 8 out of 12
There is much more detail in our Trane Gas Furnace Buying Guide including model specifications and pricing.
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 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.
Overall Rating: 8 out of 12
We’ve compiled a lot more information about this leading brand in our Carrier Gas Furnace Buying Guide with furnace reviews, costs and more.
Armstrong Air Furnace / AirEase Furnaces
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.
Overall Rating: 8 out of 12
There are many more details in our Armstrong Air Gas Furnace Buying Guide.
York Furnaces / Johnson Controls Brands
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.
Overall Rating: 8 out of 12
If you’d like more details about York furnaces, we’ve prepared a Buying Guide with furnace specs and prices.
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.
Overall Rating: 7 out of 12
There is much more detail in our Lennox Gas Furnace Buying Guide with prices, reviews and more.
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.
- Get quotes from at least 3 local furnace contractors.
- Let them know you are getting several estimates. They will understand that their estimates have to be competitive.
- Find out about 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.
- Ask about the experience of the installer(s) that will be installing your furnace. 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.
- Check Reviews. 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.
- 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.
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