This list includes the best gas furnaces for 2014 base on efficiency, performance and quality. Most of the top gas furnace manufacturers are now making modulated furnaces that increase efficiency and comfort while lowering energy bills.
How a Modulating Gas Valve Works
A modulating furnace has a gas valve that runs at variable capacity. Until the development of these valves a few years ago, top furnaces were two-stage models. They ran on low to maintain heating comfort and on high to boost heating when needed.
Modulating valves run at capacities from about 40% to 100% depending on the precise heating needs of the moment. They produce longer, quieter and gentler cycles. Positive benefits include very balanced temperatures and indoor comfort achieved with the help of a variable-speed fan in addition to higher efficiency.
Top 2014 Gas Furnaces
In our gas furnace reviews, you’ll find reviews of most of these models. Take a look at our HVAC reviews for more information including pricing.
1. Carrier 59MN7 Infinity 98 Greenspeed Gas Furnace
The Carrier Infinity Series is the top HVAC line in the industry in terms of customer ratings. The Carrier 59MN7 Infinity 98 modulating gas furnace is a great example of why this is true.
The Carrier Infinity 98 features cutting edge technology that produces 98.5% AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency). This means that just 1.5% of the heat created is wasted out of the vent. All high-efficiency gas furnaces have a secondary heat exchanger that captures much of the heat not transferred through the primary heat exchanger.
The modulating gas valve runs at a capacity needed to maintain evenly balanced temperatures while running as quietly as possible.
This furnace, as most of these are, is a model with a variable-speed blower. It modulates speed during the cycle, starting gently, reaching full speed at the height of the cycle, and ramping down slowly. This, among other things, prevents cold blasts at the beginning and ending of the cycle, and helps to balance temperatures exactly.
2. Dave Lennox Signature Collection SLP98V Gas Furnace
Lennox refers to this modulating furnace as a “variable-capacity” model, which means the same thing. The amount of heat being created by the gas valve and burner varies based on the heating needs of your home as determined by the thermostat and sensors. Our review has all the details including average pricing for the furnace.
The AFUE of this quality furnace is a very good 98.2%, and it was one of Energy Star’s top 2013 gas furnaces.
3. Heil QuietComfort EC 97 Observer Gas Furnace
The EC97 is Heil’s variable-capacity gas furnace, and it offers a very good efficiency level of 97%. Its variable-speed blower virtually eliminates temperature imbalance to produce a very comfortable home. Heil also makes the list because of the outstanding warranties the brand offers. This QuietComfort EC97 furnace is backed by a lifetime heat exchanger warranty that provides for a replacement furnace if the heat exchanger fails.
4. Armstrong A97MV Gas Furnace
This unit also made the Energy Star list last year, and it should be on the list again this year. The Armstrong A97MV is a modulating furnace with a variable-speed blower to maximize comfort. It is part of a new generation of Armstrong HVAC models that emphasize efficiency and quality. It also features the Armstrong EHX Technology that reduces hotspots in the heat exchanger, improving furnace longevity.
5. Bryant 987M Evolution System Plus 98M Gas Furnace
Bryant is a sister company of Carrier, and while the product lineup is not exactly the same, there are similarities in performance and quality. The Bryant 987M Evolution furnace is a hard-working 98% AFUE model with a modulating gas valve and a variable-speed blower to enhance comfort and keep energy use at costs very low. A stainless steel secondary heat exchanger resists corrosion and cracking for maximum durability. Bryant offers a lifetime heat exchanger warranty – all of these models come with that – and a 10-year parts warranty.
6. American Standard Platinum ZV Gas Furnace
American Standard is annually one of the top-rated furnace brands for reliability and performance. This is American Standard’s top model. It is a modulating gas furnace with a variable-speed blower, though its efficiency is 95%, not among the most efficient variable-capacity furnaces. Capacity ranges from 40% for maintaining indoor comfort to 100% for quickly boosting heating. You’ll occasionally find literature for this furnace calling it the American Standard Freedom 95 furnace.
7. Amana AMVM96 Gas Furnace
This modulating gas furnace delivers very good 96%efficiency and performance to go with one of the best warranties in the industry. The lifetime heat exchanger warranty includes lifetime furnace replacement coverage, something few brands offer. ComfortNet Communications, also offered on comparable Goodman furnaces, allows the AMVM96 to maximize comfort during each cycle. Goodman and Amana are sister brands, and Goodman offers a very comparable furnace to this one.
8. Dave Lennox Signature Collection SL280V Gas Furnace
This is the first of two 80% gas furnaces on our top 10 gas furnaces 2014 list. This one makes it due to its quality and comfort. It is one of the few 80% furnaces delivering two-stage, variable-speed comfort. This is a dual fuel furnace too. That means it works in a system that also contains a heat pump. The heat pump works when outside temperatures are above freezing; when they drop, the gas furnace automatically takes over the heating .
9. Coleman Echelon Series CP9C
This is a modulating, variable-speed gas furnace that achieves AFUE up to 98%, dramatically reducing energy use in any home. Coleman’s best was one of the 2013 Energy Star Most Efficient models.
10. Carrier 58CVA Infinity 80 Gas Furnace
Carrier puts a second furnace on the list, the 80% AFUE gas furnace known as the Infinity 80. This unit has a two-stage variable-speed fan that will reduce noise and improve indoor comfort. It’s backed by a lifetime heat exchanger warranty and a 10-year parts warranty.
Considerations of Gas Furnace Efficiency
We’ve chosen mostly modulating models that deliver outstanding indoor comfort while maximizing efficiency. Most of the units on this list are best suited for very cold climates. Super-efficient furnaces are also popular with homeowners who want to reduce energy use as part of a lifestyle that is greener.
If your climate is milder, an expensive modulating furnace with 97%+ AFUE may not be cost-effective for you. If you’d like to peruse less efficient gas furnaces, see our HVAC reviews for these same brands. We review a wide range of models including 80% furnaces and those in the AFUE range of 90% to 95%. When you narrow your choices of gas furnaces, we recommend talking to more than one qualified contractor in order to find the right combination of low prices and a quality installer.