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How to Compare Furnaces in 2021

Cassie Pound, owner of Quality Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric
Published by
Cassie Pound
September 21, 2021

We all know and feel how high energy prices are. But, when you throw in the lower efficiency of an older furnace, you may be paying more in utilities than you have to. If you’re considering a newer, energy-efficient solution, we’ll help you compare furnaces so you can offset high energy costs and benefit from improved comfort and efficiency.

How to Compare Furnace Brands


Characteristics to Compare

By learning the basic traits and features of all furnaces, it becomes easier to compare different brands and models. The most important characteristics include:

  • Size: Too small a furnace won’t compensate for extreme cold, and too large a system will waste energy, reduce comfort, and wear out faster. The furnace must also be properly sized for the ductwork, or the system may be noisy. Make sure your contractor uses the proper calculations to determine your exact heating needs (furnaces generally range from 40,000 to 120,000 BTU).
  • Efficiency: A furnace’s annual fuel-utilization-efficiency (AFUE) rating reveals how efficient it is at converting gas into heating energy. The higher the percentage, the more heat per unit of energy a furnace can produce, and the fewer pollutants it emits. Today’s furnaces range from 78% to 97% AFUE.
  • Reliability: The longer a furnace lasts, and the more efficient it is, the more likely you’ll recoup its cost over time. According to Consumer Reports, about one-quarter of gas furnaces break down at 10 years. However, longevity is highly variable depending on the brand.
  • Performance: Furnaces with single-stage gas valves and single-speed blowers tend to be louder and produce more temperature fluctuations. Two stage gas valves and multi-speed and variable-speed blowers are quieter and provide better temperature balance, while variable-capacity gas valves/blowers operate in small increments to provide a constant temperature.

Features to Compare

The most commonly advertised features, whether standard or included in premium models, include:

  • Variable-Speed Blowers: Deliver air quietly with minimal drafts and temperature swings.
  • Variable Heat Output: Vary the amount of heat delivered for more continuous performance.
  • Air Filtration: An electrostatic filter traps particles with an electrical charge, while a high-efficiency particulate-air (HEPA) filter can reduce dust.
  • Dual Heat Exchanger: A secondary exchanger helps draw more heat from the air and is protected from acidic condensate.
  • Ignition: Pilot lights are becoming less common; direct spark, intermittent, or hot-surface ignition helps increase efficiency.
  • Zoned Heating: Multiple thermostats and dampers help control airflow to suit different heating or cooling requirements throughout the home.
  • Warranty: Comprehensive coverage helps you save on repairs. Premium furnaces typically have a longer warranty compared to low-efficiency models.

Gas Furnace Brands

With so many brands to choose from, it can be time-consuming to compare furnaces thoroughly. Some of the leading brands on the market include:


American Standard

An 80% AFUE model costs $2,494 on average to install (in 2021), while the price can reach $4,375. Featuring a 10-year warranty, the brand is known for highly reliable systems available in single and multistage configurations. Many American Standard furnaces are advertised to meet Energy Star requirements.


You can have an Amana gas furnace for anywhere from $2,145 to $3,300. Prices vary with size and AFUE ratings, as with most other furnaces. Amana is also known for its premium HVAC units in general as well as its lifetime limited warranty.


The average cost to install a Bryant gas furnace is $2,485 to $4,368. Some models range up to 98.3% AFUE.2 In general, the brand’s furnaces can be installed quickly and easily and are known for their durability at a reasonable price. Bryant also offers hybrid heat systems with gas and electric heat pumps.


The average cost to install an 80% AFUE model is $2,882. Carrier is rated as one of the top brands by Consumer Reports. Its furnaces are long-lasting and covered by comprehensive warranties, while customer service is highly rated as well.


Lennox is one of the oldest furnace companies in the U.S. Its whole-home furnaces come in quiet options with variable speed blower motors. Three levels are available—the Merit, Elite, and Dave Lennox Signature Collection—the latter being up to 98.7% efficient. The company is also known for its warranty (20 years for the heat exchanger) and multiple price options (an 80% AFUE unit costs $2,470 on average).


A leader in heating and cooling solutions, Trane has been in business since the late 1800s and is a top choice in residential furnaces. It’s respected for quality versus price, with an 80% AFUE furnace being $2,490 on average with a 10-year warranty.


Founded in 1930, Rheem is known for furnaces, boilers, and hot water heaters. An 80% AFUE Rheem furnace has an average installation cost of $2,480 and a 20-year comprehensive lifetime warranty. The company offers lower cost units as well as furnaces rated at up to 96% AFUE.2

Contact Quality Heating Cooling Plumbing

Our professionals are trained and experienced at heater installation and finding the best gas furnace for your home. Every job is completed efficiently and properly as our team is equipped with the skills and tools needed to do so. If your furnace is beyond repair, allow us to help compare furnaces and select and install a replacement. Financing options are available. Call us at 918-268-3799 to learn more.

Cassie Pound, owner of Quality Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric
Published by
Cassie Pound

Cassie Pound is the Vice President of Quality Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric with locations in Tulsa, Glenpool, and Bartlesville, Oklahoma.