Here’s a look at the best HVAC systems available. Quality, efficiency and value are the factors we use to evaluate them. You’ll find HVAC reviews on our site of most of the components discussed here.
This overview of the top rated 2013 HVAC systems includes air conditioner split systems, heat pump split systems and packaged systems.
Air Conditioner Split Systems
These systems are versatile and affordable. They remain the most common type of HVAC system, though heat pump systems are catching up.
Here are the three top rated air conditioner split systems. The first is a top of the line unit. The second is the best second-tier system available and the third is the top value system on the market. Most manufacturers make three series to offer choices to consumers across the spectrum. For example, Lennox makes the top of the line Lennox Signature, the second-tier Lennox Elite and the value Lennox Merit Series. For American Standard, it is Platinum, Gold and Silver Series.
1. Dave Lennox Signature Series: Efficiency and comfort are top-notch with this system. The new air conditioner, the Lennox XC25, boasts a tremendous 25 SEER efficiency, the best on the market. Gas furnaces start with the modulating SLP98V with 98.2% AFUE efficiency and a variable-speed blower.
2. American Standard Gold Series: The best second-tier system on the market, the air conditioners offer efficiency up to 17 SEER with comfortable two-stage cooling. American Standard Gold Furnaces produce efficiency as high as 95% and variable-speed blowers.
3. Goodman Communicating System: The air conditioners, like the Goodman DSXC18, deliver 18 SEER performance while modulating furnaces are available like the 96% efficient Goodman GMVM96 with a variable-speed blower.
Heat Pump Split Systems
We approach these in the same way as above, with a good/better/best approach beginning with the best.
1. Carrier Infinity Series with Greenspeed Technology: Greenspeed technology is modulating technology that creates the most efficient and comfortable heating and cooling. The Carrier Infinity 20 Greenspeed 25VNAO heat pump offers outstanding 20.5 SEER/13.0 HSPF efficiency. The Infinity 98 Greenspeed 59MN7 gas furnace offers 98.5% efficiency with a modulating gas valve and variable-speed blower.
2. Heil DXT+ Heat Pump System: The heat pump comes in 15 SEER and 17 SEER models. Both are two-stage. The compatible furnaces if you want a dual fuel system include two-stage models with variable-speed fans and efficiency levels up to 96%.
3. Aire-Flo Heat Pump System: These systems feature single-stage heat pumps with 14 SEER efficiency and gas furnaces with efficiency up to 95% with single-stage gas valves and multispeed, but not variable-speed, blowers.
We approach packaged units a bit differently. A good/better/best tier system doesn’t exist since most brands only make a few systems. Instead, we give you the top rated gas/electric system (gas furnace and air conditioner) and the top rated heat pump package unit.
Top Gas/Electric Packaged Unit: Trane XL16c Packaged Gas/Electric System
The air conditioner offers 16.6 SEER cooling which is outstanding for a packaged unit. It features a two-stage compressor for improved indoor comfort. The gas furnace is an 80% model, about as efficient as you’ll find in packaged units. The furnace has a variable-speed blower.
Top Heat Pump Package Unit: Carrier Infinity 15 Packaged Hybrid Heat 48XT-A System
This unit is a dual fuel system that contains a 15.5 SEER heat pump and an 80% AFUE gas furnace. The heat pump is used to heat until temperatures dip into the mid-30s where heat pumps become inefficient. The furnace heats until temperatures rise and the system automatically switches back to the heat pump. Both the heat pump and gas furnace are two-stage models.
These are the top rated HVAC systems for 2013. See our HVAC reviews to get more specifics and to compare these units head to head with others you’re considering. All our reviews include prices, so you’ll have all the data you need to make an informed decision.