Gas Furnace Brands to Avoid and Top Reasons Why

Furnace brands to avoid are:

  • York and other Johnson Controls brands
  • Maytag and other Nortek Global brands
  • Entry-level Lennox Merit Series
  • DIY brands like Airquest and Goodman

There are other brands, too, all listed and explained below.

The general rule is to stay away from Johnson Control brands (York, Luxaire, Coleman & Champion), Nortek brands (Maytag, Frigidaire, Gibson & Broan) and anything sold online or at Home Depot as a DIY option.

As for Lennox, avoid its cheapest units – and a couple of its most complex furnaces because they are prone to mechanical failure. And the more complex the furnace, the higher the repair bill when it breaks down.

What is on this page about furnace brands to avoid? This page has a list of the worst brands and furnace types and why you should not buy them. Reasons are explained, so you can decide for yourself.

Poor quality and/or installation: It’s more than just furnace quality, though that’s at least half of the equation. The rest of it surrounds installation – which is a huge factor in how durable a furnace will be.

Furnace Brands to Avoid Because of Bad Quality

Some HVAC manufacturers make inferior furnaces. It doesn’t matter if the “Furnace Technician of the Year” installs them, they won’t have the durability of a Trane or a Carrier. There are two families of brands that make the worst gas furnaces.

Avoid Maytag, Broan, Frigidaire and Gibson Furnaces

These are four identical brands manufactured by Nortek Global. Never heard of the company. It was Nordyne until the name change in 2015, if that name rings a bell.

This company also made Tappan and Westinghouse furnaces, but those brands have been retired.

Top Reasons to Avoid These Furnaces

  • Poor quality parts plus design issues in these furnaces leads to them breaking down early and often compared to quality furnace brands.
  • Parts that failed at an unacceptably high rate, along with pro repair cost, include:
  • Draft inducer motors ($390-$800)
  • Control boards ($275 – $600)
  • Gas valve assemblies ($300 – $500)
  • Heat exchangers ($1,500+ or a new furnace)
  • Cheaper parts with a higher-than-average failure rate include various sensors ($125 – $225) and igniters ($100 – $175).
  • One pro installer gives insight into what might be causing most of these issues. Keep in mind that moisture is a byproduct of natural gas combustion.
  • The technician, Jason F, said, “There is entirely too much moisture building up inside these units and they are shorting out the motors and the control board.”
  • That shoe seems to fit the major complaints from homeowners who are frustrated with these brands. The technician says that the “fix” for one of the issues is to “put the control board in a plastic bag…” OK then. That’s not going to solve the issue.
  • The installer goes on to criticize in graphic language the cheapness of Nortek – in this case Maytag – parts and sheet metal. Anecdotal, yes, but not isolated. This is what we’re hearing from pros around the country.

*What about MrCool gas furnaces? Did you know MrCool makes furnaces? Well, they don’t. MrCool-branded furnaces are Nortek Global furnaces, identical to Maytag models. Perhaps that is all that needs to be said.

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Payne Gas Furnace Reviews: Cost, Pros & Cons, Buying Guide

Payne gas furnaces are considered among the most reliable in the industry. Details below.

Did you know? Payne gas furnaces are identical to Carrier furnaces – Payne is a Carrier company. And Carrier quality is excellent too, which accounts for Payne’s proven reliability.

*But… Payne doesn’t offer as many models as Carrier. However, there is an identical Carrier counterpart to every Payne model. Make sense?

What’s missing? Payne does not offer a variable capacity furnace and has fewer single stage and two stage units too.

Apart from two low-NOx units sold only in California, you have five models to consider. Here are Payne furnace reviews for each model.

Payne furnace FAQs are sprinkled throughout this guide.

Cost of Payne Furnaces

Right off the bat, furnace size is a major cost factor when considering the range of possible prices.

Furnace replacement often costs less than installation in new construction. This is because when replacing a furnace, it is usually possible to use an existing gas line, electrical circuit and wiring plus the exhaust vent.

Model Efficiency Fully Installed Cost
96 PG96VTA 2-stage 96% $5,800 – $9,150
95 PG95ESA 1-stage 96% $5,375 – $8,625
92 PG92ESA 1-stage 92.10% $4,650 – $7,500
80 PG80VTL 2-stage 80% $4,850 – $7,725
80 PG80ESA 1-stage 80% $4,385 – $6,925
Ultra-low NOx
95 PG95ESUA 1-stage 95% $5,750 – $9,100
80 PG80ESUA 1-stage 80% $4,785 – $7,495

Installation includes:

  • Removal of old equipment (optional)
  • Installation of gas line, wiring and circuit, ventilation (new construction)
  • Setting the furnace, and attaching it to ductwork and the return and supply connections
  • New ductwork transitions (optional)
  • New thermostat (optional)
  • Adjusting the blower speed to fine-tune the system for your specific application.
  • Placement and connection of a new or existing AC coil (coil not included)
  • Starting and testing the furnace

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10 Best Gas Furnaces: Costs by Unit Installed – Full Reviews

The quality gas furnaces are reliable, first and foremost. And they deliver superior comfort at a minimum of 80% efficiency or 90% and higher efficiency.

Here are the 10 best gas furnaces along with installation prices for each model. Identical brands, like Trane and American Standard, are noted.

See complete reviews and the price range to install each model below.

  1. Trane S9X2
  2. Rheem Classic Series Plus R96T
  3. Carrier Infinity 98
  4. Payne PG95ESA
  5. Lennox EL296V
  6. Carrier 58SC Comfort 80
  7. Trane S8X2
  8. Payne PG80ESA 80
  9. Rheem R802V
  10. Lennox SLP280V

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