These are the best HVAC split systems for 2014. If you’re in the market for a complete new HVAC system, then you’ll find it helpful to know which ones are highly rated for quality, performance and efficiency.
Within each of these systems, you’ve got options. For example, in the Lennox Signature Collection, there are two furnaces (98% and 80%), three heat pumps and three heat pumps.
Let’s take a look at the best split HVAC systems for 2014 and what makes them the elite.
1. Lennox Signature Collection HVAC Systems
Lennox has made a committed effort to create the most energy-efficient line of HVAC products on the market. The Lennox Signature SLP98V offers 98.2% efficiency to go with the outstanding comfort of a modulating gas valve and a variable-speed fan.
The top heat pump, the Lennox Signature XP25 also offers modulating performance – also known as variable-capacity performance. The efficiency is a remarkable 23.5 SEER cooling and 10.2 HSPF heating.
Similarly, the Lennox Signature XC25 air conditioner delivers variable-capacity comfort and a full 25 SEER air conditioning, the best currently on the market.
Two other qualities are worth noting. First, most Lennox Signature Series models are dual fuel compatible. This means that they can be installed in systems with both a heat pump and a gas furnace. This arrangement, while costing more upfront than a split system with either a gas furnace and AC or a heat pump and air handler, will reduce energy costs in the long-run.
Secondly, Lennox has developed SunSource Solar-Ready technology. Most Signature Collection models are wired to use this technology which uses solar modules to reduce energy use. In sunny climates, enough solar energy can be accumulated to run the entire HVAC system.
Finally, Lennox Signature Collection HVAC models rate high in customer satisfaction and reliability to round the reasons for putting them at the top of our 2014 HVAC system ratings.
2. Carrier Infinity Series HVAC Systems
The Carrier Infinity Series continues to be the gold standard in many respects. The quality is unsurpassed and the efficiency is excellent. You’ve also got more options than you’ll find with most other series on this list.
For example, there are three gas furnaces, five heat pumps and four central air conditioners. The various models, all Energy Star rated, give you options from good to outstanding efficiency.
In terms of efficiency and performance, the modulating Carrier Infinity 98 59MN7 gas furnace offers outstanding climate control and 98.5% AFUE efficiency. The Infinity 25VNAO Greenspeed heat pump delivers modulated heating and cooling to go with 20.5 SEER cooling and an industry-best 13.0 HSPF.
3. Bryant Evolution System HVAC Systems
Carrier and Bryant are sister companies, and the product lineup is nearly unique. Bryant doesn’t have quite the number of models Carrier offers, but there are few gaps in it. The top gas furnace is a 98% model with variable-capacity heating and variable-speed blower. The top AC, the 180B, delivers 20 SEER cooling and the best heat pump, the Evolution Extreme, gets the same 20.5 SEER/13 HSPF as the Carrier 25VNAO Greenspeed heat pump.
4. Heil Observer HVAC Systems
Heil has made outstanding strides the last few years with its HVAC components with Observer Technology. This technology is Heil’s version of communicating technology, and is similar to that used by other brands like Carrier, Trane and American Standard. The purpose of the technology is to allow HVAC components to share information during operation in order to synchronize performance. When this happens, efficiency and indoor comfort are both maximized.
In terms of performance and efficiency, Heil does very well. The QuietComfort EC97 variable-speed, modulating gas furnace delivers 97% efficiency to go with a very good warranty. Two-stage heat pumps and central air conditioners both offer SEER ratings of 19, well above Energy Star minimums and among the most efficient in the industry.
Heil offers unit replacement warranties on its top models. If, for example, the compressor or outdoor coil on the DXT+19 heat pump fails in the first ten years, Heil will replace the entire heat pump.
5. Maytag iQ Series HVAC Systems
The Maytag iQ Series is also sold under the nameplates Broan, Tappan and Westinghouse. The iQ Series is among the most efficient, best performing in the industry. It doesn’t rank higher on our list because the models are limited in terms of number.
The Maytag PSA4BI iQ Drive M1200 AC has been tweaked again, and it now delivers an extraordinary 25.5 SEER air conditioning rating. The PHH4BI iQ Drive heat pump is equally impressive with 22 SEER air conditioning and 10 HSPF heating. These are modulating models, offering precise performance that may eliminate temperature fluctuations in your home.
Maytag offers very good warranties on top models – 12-year compressor and parts warranties along with 12-year labor warranties on some installations.
Maytag’s best furnace, the PGC2MQ iQ Drive M1200, delivers modulating heat and 97% efficiency. It has a variable-speed blower to maximize indoor comfort.
6. Trane XL and XV Series HVAC Systems
Trane was a bit stagnant in terms of new product development in the last few years, but has picked up the pace again with the introduction of the Trane XV20i variable-capacity heat pump. This quiet-running model (54db) offer precise climate control and 19.75 SEER to go with 10 HSPF heating. The XL series offers two-stage heating and air conditioning in quality gas furnaces, heat pumps and ACs.
7. Rheem Prestige HVAC Systems
Rheem has made very solid heating and air conditioning systems, and it continues to do so. For the most part, it has stayed out of the “cutting edge” race that many of the top brands are in, but if you need reliability and good efficiency, the Rheem Prestige Series will deliver.
Two-stage heating and air conditioning is the standard for most models in this series. All are Energy Star rated too, though you won’t find modulating models.
8. Goodman Communicating System HVAC Systems
Goodman makes the list as the value leader and a brand that offers some of the best warranties in the industry. Top units are wired for the Goodman ComfortNet Technology which coordinates heating and air conditioning to maximize comfort and efficiency.
Models like the Goodman 96% GMVM96 gas furnace offer modulating heat for precise climate control. The heat exchanger comes with a lifetime guarantee, standard among top-shelf furnaces. What’s unique is that if the heat exchanger fails in the first ten years, Goodman will replace the entire furnace. Similar warranties are available on top heat pumps like the Goodman 18 SEER DSZC18 heat pump with a lifetime compressor warranty including a 10-year unit replacement warranty and the Goodman DSXC18 air conditioner with the same warranty.
For more specific information on many of these models, see our HVAC reviews. When it comes time to buy, we can help you find the right qualified contractor for the job. Our service provides you with three written estimates from pre-screened HVAC companies in your area who compete for the work. There is no cost of obligation for using the service.