7 Worst Furnace Brands To Avoid and 5 Most Reliable Brands

Having a central heating system like a furnace comes handy during harsh winters or in locations where it is cold year-round. If you are in these places, you need a reliable furnace to keep you, your family and friends warm from the frost and dampness. But again, just like all other appliances and essentials in the home, not all furnace brands are built the same.

If you are looking for furnace brands to consider buying in time for winter, you must know first which brands to avoid. In this post, we will roundup the NOs in your list and their better alternatives. A comprehensive buying guide and FAQs are also featured to help you narrow down your choice. So, if you are into furnace shopping nowadays, read on. 

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What red flags help you identify furnace brands to avoid?

It is one thing to deal with furnace cleaning and another thing to deal with bad furnace brands entirely so it is imperative that you could identify the furnace brands to avoid early on. In this case, you must know the red flags that point to a lemon, unreliable furnace brand. 

  • Cheap materials: You can easily notice a bad furnace construction with the components or materials that it comes with. Inferior brands would have materials that easily break down after several maintenance checks and cleaning. They are also most likely to be under costly repairs in just a few years. 
  • Indoor climate control: A furnace brand is a lemon that just has single speed fans and single stage burners. They don’t really do a great job at what they are expected to do, period. 
  • Short warranties: Usually, bad furnace brands know their product’s performance and longevity and they will back that up with short and limited warranties. Note that a 5-year warranty is a red flag. It should be at least 12 years and up. 
  • Abnormal sounds: When your furnace is noisy, it could be an indication of defective circuit boards and again, overworked single fans. 
  • Costly repairs: If at three years or less you have experienced costly repairs with your furnace, chances are, that is a really, really bad brand. 

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7 worst furnace brands to avoid

To be fair, they say that any furnace that is $600 and below is a bad furnace, whatever the brand. But to give you a more elaborate view of what to avoid when it comes to furnaces, here is a list of brands from which you should not buy from.

This list was based on overall satisfaction rating of customers, surveys, brand reports, and anecdotal evidence from major review platforms. 

1. Lennox

This one is a shocker because it is a popular home furnace brand, but its short and limited warranties have been tarnishing their reputation in customer reviews and brand surveys. Customers specifically point to premature damages that they had to shoulder because the unit was shortly on warranty. 

Performance-wise, some say that newer models have become mediocre. They do not heat fast, and the heat distribution is not even. Aside from that, their units are very expensive plus their customer service is poor

2. Buderus

This one must be one of the cheapest furnace brands you will find out there, but its thrift side does not really live up to its performance. Its brand rating of 2.8 out of 5 in brand surveys and an overall customer satisfaction rating of 43% in 2020 is mainly due to their products’ high failure rate. 

Customers claim that your first experience of costly repair with this brand would just be in a span of three years. Some note that the unit has stopped working in just five years too. The quality is not durable and the performance of the furnace in heating the home is below average

3. Ducane

A significant percentage of customers of Ducane would say that this brand is better than most cheap brands, but it does not fall short of negative feedback and that is why it is on this list. The major complaints regarding the brand are its short warranty, performance, quality of components (they easily break), and overall performance. 

Specifically, customers noted abnormal noises when the furnace runs. Of course, a noisy indoor furnace is never fun. These truly justify why they only have a 38% customer satisfaction rating

4. Frigidaire

It is a reputable brand for other appliances like refrigerators, but this brand does not meet expectations when it comes to furnaces. The main issue with their models would be their heat quality. It does not give an even heating and fails during very low temperatures

Aside from this, their customer service is also rated low. Overall performance of furnaces from this brand is just 3.4 out of 5 which is a bad rap for a popular appliance brand like this one. Customers also had a mixed review regarding its energy efficiency so overall, it is not living up to the hype. 

5. York

When it comes to the brand with the highest failure rate, it must be this brand. Customers especially point out premature repairs in just a year after purchasing the furnace. Heating is not good and small parts break down in just a short span of time

With just a 2.8 out of 5 performance rating from brand surveys, you would not want to take a chance on it. On top of it, their customer service is not very commendable, and their 10-year warranty proves to be questionable. 

6. Burnham

It is a fast-rising brand, but their furnaces are in the cheap range, so customers say that you get what you pay for. They have 1.8 out of 5 rating and much of the complaints revolve around energy efficiency, reliability, and poor customer service. Specifically, burner problems have been consistently noted. 

The costly repairs in a span of five years are also not appreciated. And with their bad customer service, it has easily gotten the branding of ‘avoid at all costs.’

7. ArcoAire

The primary complaint with this brand is overall reliability. Like Burnham, it is a cheap brand, and it has gotten all the popularity for all the wrong reasons because anecdotal evidence points to costly repairs in just a span of three years. Heating wise, it is not commendable. It has a noisy running, sometimes even causing panic as customers point out. 

In terms of energy efficiency, this brand is also failing. It is also hard to install, and contractors would not usually recommend this brand so that talks about something. Rating wise, it just has a 2 out of 3 so do not even think about it. 

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5 most reliable furnace brands 

It also pays to know that you have better alternatives when it comes to furnace brands. And if you are looking for a ‘to consider’ list, it would be good to first checkout these five most reliable furnace brands. In the same way, these brands were objectively listed based on reliability rating, performance, brand surveys and customer reviews. 

1. Rheem (Classic Plus Series)

This brand is just commendable that you would not find any solid complaints about their furnaces and for this it deserves the top spot on this list. All of their furnace models are well-rated and reliable. They also have lots of anecdotal evidence to back these ratings up. 

The Classic Plus Series particularly has the lowest emission furnace of all their models. It also has a 25-year warranty and a rebate system. This model is rated 4.6 out of 5 in overall customer satisfaction rating. It is sturdy and ensures no premature repairs in between. 

2. American Standard (Platinum 80)

As a leading home improvement brand, you would expect their furnaces to be delivered when it comes to performance. Upfront, one could say that it is a practical purchase because the installation cost is low and its AFUE is within the energy efficient range. 

This is true for the American Standard Platinum 80. The average installation cost for this brand and model would be $2500. It offers a warranty of 25 years (limited parts and heat exchanger), and a low maintenance but efficient and durable performance. It has an AFUE rating of 80% which is very energy efficient

3. Carrier (Infinity Series)

When it comes to appliances, Carrier has been around for a long while because of their durability and good reputation as a brand. When it comes to furnace performance, it is an 8 out 10 rated brand. It is also rated A by the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Affairs. 

The Infinity Series is a serious choice for furnaces. Reviewed as overall most efficient in 2019 and 2020, it has upscale features that you would not want to miss. Some of the most commendable features of this model would be its modulating gas valve, automatic humidity adjustment, humidity reduction during hotter seasons, smart thermostat, and adjustable speed button. 

4. Goodman (Bronze Comfort System Series)

This brand also has a good reputation when it comes to furnaces. Aside from their known good performance, they are also well-loved for their substantive warranty and being an energy efficient brand. Plus, their customer service is great so overall, it is a solid furnace brand. 

The Goodman Comfort System Series (Bronze) is one of its most cost and energy efficient models with an AFUE of 90%. It has a touch screen display, among others, low installation cost, and minimal repairs in a 10-year run according to Consumer Reports. Other than these, replacement parts are readily available and have a warranty of 12 years

5. KeepRite (ProComfort G9MX)

This brand gets a thumbs up for its energy star certified models and for being one of the most competitive brands when it comes to reliability. It offers high-end furnace features in a medium range upfront and installation cost. 

The ProComfort G9MX model to be specific is one of its top models when it comes to energy efficiency at 96% AFUE. You also get a WiFi enabled model out of this and a lifetime warranty for the heat exchanger. Performance wise, it is rated 4.5 out of 5 in brand and model surveys and there is a wide range of anecdotal evidence to back that up. 

Related: Maintaining your Property in Winter: 6 Things to Remember

What should I look for when buying a furnace?

No matter how long we have been around furnaces, we still need a comprehensive checklist of what to look for in buying one. Here are some of the pointers that you need to master in shopping for the right furnace for your home. 

#1. Size

The performance level of a furnace largely depends on picking the right size for your home. If it is too small for your home’s coverage, expect that it would not deliver its job evenly in all spaces.

If it is too large for the space, you would have a high installation charge and energy inefficiency. Ask your trusted contractor to assess the right size for your home. 

#2. Air filtration

All good furnace brands would have a pre-installed air filtration system. This comes in handy especially for people with respiratory problems like asthma. The air filter functions to collect dust particles circulated through the heating system. 

#3. Speed blowers

A good home furnace would have various speed blowers. It helps you in regulating the temperature in the home. High heat is not always needed so a seven-speed blower is still way better than two to three speed blowers. 

#4. Heat output

This is a commendable feature to have because not all brands would have this. This one works like a heat sensor which automatically adjusts the temperature when the room has already reached the right heat level to make you feel comfortable. This feature typically comes with multi-speed blowers. 

#5. Heat exchanger

This is a component that draws the heat from the burned gas. Good furnace brands usually come with a secondary heat exchanger for more heat to be drawn. Having a secondary heat exchanger also upscales the energy efficiency of the furnace system. 

#6. Zoned heating

This one is a high-end feature because it functions to channel various amounts of cooling and heating levels to various rooms in the home. However, this feature is only useful for larger spaces or larger homes. 

#7. AFUE rating

AFUE stands for Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency which basically has something to do with the energy efficiency of the furnace unit because it measures how efficient the furnace converts gas into heat. Choose furnaces with AFUE ratings of 80-85%. Anything below and under this tier is not cost efficient. 

#8. Warranty

Premium furnaces have a warranty period of 10 years and above. It is also important to have a brand with commendable customer service to implement the clauses and perks of having a warranty for your choice of furnace. 

Related: 5 Worst Heat Pump Brands To Avoid and 7 Most Reliable Brands (Buying Guide)

How much is a brand-new furnace?

The average range of a premium range brand-new furnace would be at $2000-6000. With installation and labor costs, plus depending on the size, brand and type of furnace that you get, expect a $3700-30,000 range for a full furnace system. 

FAQs

There might be some brands that you are particularly considering but were not a part of the list and there might be other essential information that we were not able to cover. To make things more comprehensive and informational, here are some FAQs about furnace brands that you should know about. 

Is Rheem a good furnace brand?

Definitely. They have a consistent good reputation through the years not just because of the overall performance of their furnace models but also because of their good, long time warranties. They give different furnace models at different price points, but each does not fall short of commendable features. This has been their selling point over the years. 

Is York a good furnace brand? 

Unfortunately, there have been mixed reviews when it comes to York. Some models have issues on reliability with consumers stating that they are not well built and are prone to premature and costly repairs in just a short span of time. On the other end, it is also commended for their AFUE rating and efficiency so there is also that to consider when it comes to this brand. 

Is Amana a good furnace brand? 

Having been around since 1954, this furnace brand is one that customers consider as a premium quality brand with a mid-range price. Compared to high value furnaces like say Goodman or Carrier, Amana scored a better efficiency and reliability rating than these two brands. The warranty coverage that they offer to their models is also a good selling point. Overall, yes, Amana is a good furnace brand. 

Is Daikin furnace a good brand? 

Yes. If you are looking for a reliable brand without costly repairs in between for up to ten years, this is one of the most recommended brands out there when it comes to furnaces. Their models are well-built and are specifically constructed for bigger space coverage.

They offer entry level to mid-range prices which is good economically speaking. It is comparable to Trane and Carrier when it comes to efficiency and reliability of furnace performance. 

Is Payne a good furnace brand?

Like York, Payne has been flooded with mix reviews as a furnace brand. Compared to highly rated brands when it comes to efficiency, it is behind by 2-4% according to Consumer Reports. But since it is rated B by Better Business Bureau, offers a reasonable price range and is rated well by customers, then, yes, we can consider Payne as a good furnace brand. 

What brand of furnace is the best quality?

For well-rated brands that are on the forefront when it comes to quality, you have to check out the following furnace brand: 

  • Bryant
  • Carrier
  • Daikin 
  • Goodman
  • HEIL
  • Maytag
  • Rheem
  • Trane

What furnace brand and model is the quietest?

No doubt, it would still be the Carrier Infinity 98 model. Aside from being listed as the quietest brand and model for the longest time, it is also a frontrunner when it comes to energy efficiency and overall reliability. 

How long do furnace warranties typically last?

Per rule of thumb, premium brands would have a warranty clause of 10 years for limited parts and 20-year warranty for the heat exchanger. Remember that the heat exchanger is the heart and soul of the furnace, and it pays to have a dependable manufacturer that would give you that maximum warranty for the heat exchanger. 

Is it cheaper to replace the furnace and AC together?

Well, logically, newer pieces would lead to lesser repairs in the long run. But the upfront cost of replacement is not cheap. And contractors would tell you that it is not necessary to replace them at the same time. Have someone professionally assess it before making the move. 

How long should a furnace system run daily?

If you are hot in an extreme temperature condition or your home has good insulation, the average time for a furnace to run would be 10-15mins per cycle. The overall number of cycles that your home needs in a day is relative to the size of the area and temperature so if you need exact figures for this, consult your product manual or consult an expert about this. 

What should not be stored in a furnace room? 

Ultimately, any fire hazard like paper, cardboard and chemicals should not be stored anywhere near the furnace room. It is also recommended that you buy a smoke or carbon monoxide detector for safety reasons. 

Conclusion

It is essential to have a dependable furnace system for the home that would last for more than 10 years. Note that this investment is for the comfort of the family and for good air circulation, all day, year-round. Most of all, it is the star during harsh winters, and it needs to step up with all those upscale features that offer comfort but at the same time, cost, and energy efficiency. 

With everything that we have covered so far when it comes to furnace brands, you need to understand that you have to be a smart shopper. Just master some pointers, be logical, cross-check, and you are good to go.

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