A great value gas furnace must be above average in quality and reliability, while also being priced competitively to make our list.
Low-quality, cheap gas furnaces don’t offer the best value because they don’t last long enough to justify the installation expense in the first place. Low quality furnaces are also more prone to breaking down in the middle of a nasty stretch of cold weather.
Value = good quality + reasonable cost
Your climate suitability for a particular model and the quality of the installation job also play an important role in the overall value you get.
Top 10 Gas Furnaces that Deliver the Best Value for the Money
- Day & Night G96VTN QuietComfort 96
- Trane S9X1
- Goodman GMVC96
- Payne 95 PG95ESA
- Armstrong Air A951E
- Goodman GMSS92
- Carrier Comfort 92 59SC2
- Day & Night N80ESN Performance 80
- Rheem Classic Series R801C/R801S
- Trane S8X1
That’s our list – and each model is reviewed below including cost, efficiency, performance, warranty and why it makes our list.
Before those reviews, we cover information about what makes for a good value gas furnace, installation costs, the cost of ductwork, if you need it, and other relevant information.
If you’d rather jump to the furnaces, select the Day & Night furnace that heads the list, and you’ll be taken directly to the reviews.
Gas Furnace Installation Cost – Warrantied Professional Installation/Labor
The professional installation part of your bill will be about $2,600 on average, if your installation is of average difficulty.
The range is from about $1,500 for a very simple installation (not including the furnace) in new construction (not including the cost of duct-work) to about $4,000 (not including the furnace) for more involved jobs where the gas line needs replacing and/or other variables come into play, requiring more materials and warrantied professional labor. A high-end, touchscreen, WiFi thermostat can also boost the cost of the overall job with a price tag of $500 or more.
Here’s a gas furnace installation cost breakdown showing where your money typically goes:
The plenum connects the furnace to the hot air ducts. The return connects the furnace to the cold air return ducts.
No other ductwork is included in the above breakdown of costs. If your home or addition is new construction, then you’ll obviously need new ductwork installed, if you choose a forced air HVAC system.
In rare old furnace replacement cases, the existing ducts may be incorrectly sized, requiring new ducts to be installed
A typical ductwork cost installed is about $9.50 to $14.00 per linear foot.
A major cost factor is the type of ductwork used. Coil-type insulated ducts cost the least, but don’t last as long as sheet metal ductwork.
Wrapping and insulating metal ducts increases costs, but is essential when the ducts run in unheated space like the attic, garage, or a cold basement.
A 2,500 square foot home typically has about 200 linear feet of combined hot air and cold air ductwork. Total cost of ducts averages between $1,900 and $2,800.
Zoned systems require electronically controlled dampers at about $250 per zone.
Best Value Gas Furnaces – What to Look For:
There are four traits of a great value gas furnace: Quality, fair cost, the right efficiency for your climate, and expert quality installation.
Miss on any of the above, and you might end up with a cheap furnace that won’t last or, on the other end of the spectrum, you might end up paying way too much for your needs, and hence not getting the best value.
- Good Quality
The furnaces on our list are produced by brands with good track records for reliability. We do our own research and check in with proven independent testers. The brands we chose are top-tier and mid-tier furnaces.
What brands and furnaces did we avoid?
Poor quality brands: York, Coleman, Luxaire are all Johnson Controls brands. Frigidaire and Maytag are Nortek brands. We recommend avoiding all of them!
Overpriced brands: All Lennox furnaces and the most expensive options from Trane, American Standard, Carrier and Bryant.
Variable capacity furnaces: Most leading brands make super-efficient furnaces known as variable capacity, variable speed and modulating furnaces. These furnaces aren’t good value because of their high equipment cost and the higher-than-average cost to repair when they break down.
Pro Tip: A warranty of less than 10 years is a giveaway that the manufacturer doesn’t think much of its own furnace. We recommend considering furnaces with at least a 10-year general parts warranty and a 20-year heat exchanger warranty.
- Fair Price
There are plenty of cheap gas furnaces available, so remember that the unit cost alone can’t be the only metric for value.
If the furnace is manufactured by a quality brand that backs it with a good warranty, then that should be considered when evaluating the price. Here are three brands that provide the best value across their product lineup:
Goodman has the most affordable lineup of gas furnaces and related HVAC equipment. For decades, the quality of Goodman products was questionable, at best. In 2012, Daikin bought Goodman and Amana. Daikin is a world leader in quality and immediately went to work on improving the quality of Goodman furnaces and related equipment.
Payne is a Carrier brand that uses many of the same parts are Carrier furnaces. But Carrier purposely prices Payne furnaces lower in order to attract homeowners looking for a budget furnace – in other words, they wouldn’t buy a Carrier due to the higher cost.
IPC Brands – International Comfort Products was a subsidiary of Carrier until early 2020 when Carrier split from United Technologies. Long story short, ICP makes brands that are identical to Carrier furnaces but prices them much more competitively. ICP brands include Day & Night, Heil, Tempstar and Comfortmaker.
Inside Scoop: Goodman is the only decent brand sold online. The sites selling them are easy to find with a search, and you can see furnace prices.
Most brands keep pricing very close to the vest. Why? They want to get a salesperson into your home and sell you hard on their furnaces at “today only” pricing or some such nonsense.
In this regard, Trane deserves recognition. Trane lists expected installed prices for each of its furnaces, saying “Price reflects the most common average installation cost in your area…” No other brand offers that level of transparency.
Note that we have no relationship with Trane or any other manufacturer. Our goal is to give you the most complete and accurate information available.
We highly recommend getting written estimates from at least 3 local furnace companies. Tell each that you are getting estimates from their competitors, too. This is a proven method for getting fair estimates. More on this in the Installation section.
- The Right Efficiency for your Climate
Equipment cost and operating costs must both be factored in when determining the efficiency of the furnace that’s right for your home.
An 80% efficient furnace is one that transfers 80% of the heat it makes into your home. The other 20% is lost out the exhaust vent.
Most furnaces of 90% and higher efficiency have a second heat exchanger that transfers up to 98% of the heat, losing 2% (or less in a couple of the most efficient furnaces).
The 80% furnace costs 25% to 40% less, but it wastes fuel, so operating costs are significantly higher.
Did you know? In a warm climate like Florida or Arizona, an 80% efficiency furnace makes sense because the furnace doesn’t run much. However, in a cold climate like Minnesota or Maine, an 80% furnace would produce sky-high utility costs.
Here’s a chart that shows efficiency levels and the payback period – the number of years it takes to recoup the difference in cost between an 80% furnace and a more efficient furnace.
Pro Tip: We’re not recommending variable capacity furnaces, but they are in the list to show you why they aren’t a good value for most homeowners.
Bottom Line: As you can see, upgrading to a more efficient furnace might make sense in a cold climate, especially if you want the added comfort control that an efficient two-stage furnace gives you compared with an affordable single-stage furnace.
But in a warm climate, there’s really no reason to consider a high-efficiency gas furnace.
- Quality Installation
Good furnace technicians get a lot of calls to fix botched installations done by others, as seen in this video.
A poor quality installation job can turn a premium furnace into junk. To avoid that issue, try following these tips:
- Request estimates from several installers.
- Check online reviews at Google, Yelp, and the BBB for each contractor.
- Ask about the experience of the crew that will install your furnace. How long have they been with the company? NATE certification is desirable, but not absolutely essential if the techs are highly skilled and experienced.
- Ask about contractor’s insurance and worker’s comp for the installers.
- Ask for references from other homeowners in the area.
- Avoid cut-rate pricing – the company probably takes shortcuts that will negatively impact the furnace’s efficiency and performance.
- Choose a furnace installation company with a good reputation and a fair price – usually the price is in the middle or a little higher than average.
Reviews of the 10 Best Value Gas Furnaces
We’ve defined value as good quality at a fair price for a furnace right for your climate, and properly installed.
The following cheap (aka reasonably-priced) gas furnaces – we use the term in the best sense of the word – offer very good value. They meet all the criteria.
We have divided them by climate – 3 units for cold climates, 4 units for moderate climates, and 3 units for warm climates – to expedite your search.
Hot Climates: Zones 1-3
Moderate climates: 4 & 5
Cold Climates: 6 & 7
This overview chart gives details of the best cheap gas furnaces, i.e., good value furnaces. And then we launch into the best value gas furnaces by climate.
Need a Central AC, too? We’ve completed a guide to the Top 10 Best Value Central ACs here: https://www.remodelingimage.com/top-10-central-air-conditioners-costs-best-value/
Best Value Furnaces for Cold Climate
These are the most efficient gas furnaces on the list.
They are ideal for zones 6 and 7, and they make sense in zones 4 and 5 if you really like the idea of spending a little more on the furnace to enjoy lower heating bills for the life of the furnace. Just keep payback in mind.
Up to? The efficiency of the furnaces in our list are rated as “up to” an AFUE rating, from 80% to 96%. Manufacturers use the phrase “up to” because not all sizes of a given model are as efficient. Typically, furnace models are available in capacities/sizes from about 40K to 140K BTU. In most cases, the smaller sizes are the most efficient. In any given model, efficiency varies by 1 to 2 percent.
Day & Night gives you Carrier quality at significant savings. That alone makes this brand – and other ICP brands – worth considering. Carrier gets Consumer Reports’ highest rating for a large brand, along with Trane.
Installed Cost: $3,150 – $6,000
Efficiency: Up to 96% AFUE
Performance: 2-stage heating and a variable speed ECM blower means this furnace will create better climate control/indoor comfort in your home.
Warranty: Lifetime heat exchanger warranty; 10-year parts warranty; 5-year No Hassle warranty that means the entire furnace will be replaced if the heat exchanger fails in the first 5 years (a rare event).
Why the unit is on the list: There’s a lot to like including the 96% efficiency and an outstanding warranty. Plus, this Energy Star certified furnace will make your home more comfortable than a single-stage/1-stage furnace. It gives you Carrier quality for a lot less money.
Reminder: If you want this kind of value but don’t have a Day & Night dealer (or you do, and it gets poor reviews), this unit is also available from identical brands including Heil, Arcoaire, Tempstar, Keeprite and Comfortmaker. Contact a local company selling one of those brands.
Trane is one of the highest rated brands for reliability and customer satisfaction. Sure, Trane advertises heavily, but homeowners who own a Trane furnace back up those claims. These are good furnaces.
Installed Cost: $3,910 to $6,800
Efficiency: Up to 96% – Energy Star certified
Performance: Single-stage / 1-stage heating that delivers a lower cost but might cause slight temperature swings.
Warranty: Lifetime heat exchanger warranty and a 10-year parts warranty.
Why the unit is on the list: Trane offers superior quality, even if the cost is a little higher. If you’re willing to pay more for peace-of-mind reliability, consider this model.
Goodman has been known since the 1980s for low cost furnaces with outstanding warranties. That’s a tough sell, but Goodman did it, and the company got a huge payday when Daikin bought it in 2012. Plus, quality has improved.
Installed Cost: $2,885 – $5,500
Efficiency: Up to 96%
Performance: 2-stage gas valve, ECM energy-saving blower motor.
Warranty: Lifetime heat exchanger warranty; 10-year parts warranty. Plus, if the heat exchanger fails in the first decade, Goodman will replace the entire furnace, not just the part.
Why the unit is on the list: Goodman remains the top brand for the combination of good quality and low cost. Add in some of the best warranties available, and Goodman is a brand worth considering. Plus, this is an efficient furnace that will make your home very comfortable.
Best Value Furnaces for Moderate Climate
These units are ideal for zones 4 & 5, but you might consider them in the northern/cooler parts of Zone 3.
Carrier makes Payne furnaces using the same parts. They are mostly identical gas furnaces and boast outstanding quality.
Installed Cost: $2,400 – $5,000
Efficiency: Up to 96% AFUE, Energy Star certified
Performance: 1-stage / single-stage with a 5-speed blower for improved indoor comfort. The blower starts slowly and ramps up as the furnace heats up to deliver a steady supply of warmed air without cool blasts at the beginning and end of the heating cycle.
Warranty: 20-year heat exchanger and 10-year parts warranties.
Why the unit is on the list: It gives you Carrier quality ($$$) at Payne prices ($$). Plus, sizes range from very small 26,000 BTUs to 140,000 BTUs, so there is a size right for your home.
While not a household name, Armstrong Air makes quality furnaces with very good performance.
Installed Cost: $2,575 – $5,200
Efficiency: Up to 95% efficiency.
Performance: 1-stage heating.
Warranty: Lifetime heat exchanger and 10-year parts warranties.
Why the unit is on the list: This unit fits our definition well – it gives you very good quality at a fair cost.
This is another Goodman gas furnace that offers excellent value.
Installed Cost: $2,250 – $4,800
Efficiency: Up to 92% AFUE
Performance: Single-stage heating
Warranty: Lifetime heat exchanger warranty; 10-year parts warranty and a 2-year Unit Replacement warranty if the heat exchanger fails.
Why the unit is on the list: It meets the standard of good quality at a price that is among the most competitive of any brand.
This is a gas furnace from Carrier’s value line, the Comfort Series. However, it is built with many of the same parts as the top Carrier Infinity line and has the same warranty. That’s a good value.
Installed Cost: $2,775 – $5,500
Efficiency: Up to 92.1% efficient.
Performance: Single-stage heating with a multi speed blower.
Warranty: 20-year heat exchanger warranty and a 10-year parts warranty.
Why the unit is on the list: Carrier is one of the highest rated brands in homeowner ratings and reviews. Consumer Reports rates it below only Payne – and Payne is a Carrier brand using basically the same parts and design.
Best Value Furnaces for a Warm Climate / Part-time Locations
The furnaces in this section are all 80% furnaces. They are designed for southern climates and for part-time locations like a guest house, vacation home/cabin or a workshop you use a few days per week max.
This is another brand that gives you Carrier quality for less. Day & Night gets high marks for quality from Consumer Reports and furnace technicians with many years of experience.
Installed Cost: $1,950 – $4,000
Efficiency: Up to 80%
Performance: Single-stage with a multi-speed blower fan.
Warranty: 20-year heat exchanger and 10-year parts warranties.
Why the unit is on the list: As an ICP brand, it delivers quality that is better than average at a cost that is below average.
The R801C is an upflow/horizontal furnace. The R801S is the identical furnace in a downflow version.
Installed Cost: $2,125 – $4,200
Efficiency: Up to 80% AFUE.
Performance: Single-stage with an ECM high-efficiency blower motor that reduces electricity use and cost.
Warranty: 20 years on the heat exchanger; 10 years on all other parts.
Why the unit is on the list: Rheem has boosted quality in the last decade and makes very reliable, high value gas furnaces.
Many furnace pros consider Trane the best brand in the industry, and we wouldn’t disagree. This is a quality furnace at a value price. It should give you 15-20 years of heating with good maintenance.
Installed Cost: $2,200 to $4,500
Efficiency: Up to 80% AFUE
Performance: Single-stage / 1-stage heating using an ECM efficient motor
Warranty: 20-year heat exchanger and 10-year pars warranties.
Why the unit is on the list: Trane makes a proven product, and this furnace is very dependable.
Protect Furnace Value
Any furnace needs regular cleaning and maintenance to continue to deliver the expected efficiency and performance.
In fact, yearly maintenance is likely required by the manufacturer, or the warranty can be voided. Does that seem extreme? It is actually common in the industry. Read your warranty or discuss this issue with the installer. Knowing how often you are required to have your furnace maintained – and following the guidelines – will protect the sizable investment you make in a good value gas furnace.