Homeowners planning to replace heating and cooling want to know what the best residential HVAC systems are. In this HVAC guide, we discuss the top 7 systems on the market. These are top of the line systems from the best manufacturers in the industry. They offer the highest efficiencies, the best performance and are built with quality parts and components.
They are also the most expensive. Furnaces are typically 2-stage or modulating models and have variable-speed fans. Heat pumps and air conditioners are also 2-stage models. Many of these top lines use communicating technology to coordinate system components for best performance and efficiency.
After each of these best residential HVAC systems, we also mention the second best one from that manufacturer. These are often just a short step down from the best and can offer a good value in many cases.
This is one of the highest-rated series in the industry. Signature Series furnaces are the 98% efficient Lennox SLP98V for cooler climates and the 80% efficient Lennox SL280V for warmer climates. Lennox’s top heat pumps are the Signature Series XP21 with 19 SEER and 9.5 HSPF along with Signature Series XP17 with 17.7 SEER and 9.5 HSPF. The Lennox Signature air conditioners are nearly the same as their heat pumps: Dave Lennox Signature Series XC21 (21 SEER) and Signature Series XC17 (18 SEER). The second best Lennox Line: Lennox Elite Series.
This series uses the Infinity controller which is the highest-rated in the industry. The furnaces in this series are the Infinity 95% efficient Infinity ICS and the Infinity 96 at 96.6% efficiency for cooler climates. The Infinity 80 with 80% efficiency is a good choice for milder areas. Carrier Infinity Series heat pumps include the Carrier Infinity Greenspeed 25VNA0 (20 SEER/13 HSPF), Carrier Infinity 25HNB9 ( 19 SEER /10.0 HSPF), Carrier Infinity 25HNB6 (17.2 SEER/9.6 HSPF), Carrier Infinity 25HNB5 ( 16 SEER/9.0 HSPF), and the Carrier Infinity 25HNA9 (19 SEER/9.5 HSPF). Carrier makes 4 Infinity Series central air conditioners. They are the Carrier Infinity 24ANA1 (21 SEER), Carrier Infinity 24ANB1 (21 SEER), Carrier Infinity 24ANB7 (18 SEER) and the Carrier Infinity 24ANB6 (17 SEER). Carrier’s second best line: Carrier Performance Series.
This Series does very well in consumer HVAC reviews. American Standard Platinum Series furnaces are the 95% efficient Platinum ZV and the Platinum SV which is 80% efficient. There are 2 Platinum Series heat pumps and they are very similar: American Standard Platinum ZM (19 SEER/9.0 HSPF) and American Standard Platinum XM (18 SEER/9.0 HSPF). The corresponding central air conditioners are the American Standard Platinum ZM (20 SEER) and American Standard Platinum XM (18 SEER). American Standard’s second best line: American Standard Gold Series.
Trane doesn’t give names that go with all their separate components so we list them separately. In furnaces, the Trane XC Series is tops. The Trane XC95 is 95% efficient and the XC80 is 80% efficient, giving you a choice based on your climate. Trane’s best heat pumps are the XLi series which includes the Trane XL20i (19 SEER/9.0 HSPF), Trane XL16i (18 SEER/9.2 HSPF), and Trane XL15i (16 SEER/9.0 HSPF). The corresponding top Trane air conditioners are the Trane XL20i (20 SEER) and Trane XL16i (18 SEER). Trane’s second best line: Trane XR Series.
Goodman products are backed by some of the best warranties in the industry. Communicating technology optimizes the performance of all the components in the system. The furnaces in this series are the Goodman GCVM96 with 96% efficiency and the Goodman GMVM95 (95%) furnaces which feature a modulating gas valve and the 95% efficient Goodman GMVC95 and the 80% Goodman GVCM80. The best Goodman heat pumps are the DSCZ Communicating Series that includes the Goodman DSCZ18 (18 SEER/9.5 HSPF) and Goodman DSCZ16 (16 SEER/9.5 HSPF). The Goodman DSCZ Communicating Series are the DSXC18 (18 SEER) and the DSXC16 (16 SEER). Goodman’s second best line: Goodman DualSaver furnaces and Goodman SSZ Series heat pumps and air conditioners.
There are 2 furnace models with 80% efficiency, the Prestige RGLE and the Prestige RGPE. The high-efficiency models are the Prestige RGGE, Prestige RGFG and the Prestige RGJF with up to 96% efficiency. Rheem Prestige heat pumps are the communicating Rheem RPRL-JEC with 19 SEER and 9.8 HSPF and the 2-stage Rheem RPRL-JEZ (17 SEER/9.8 HSPF). Rheem’s best air conditioners are the communicating RARL-JEC with 19.5 SEER efficiency and the 18.5 SEER RARL-JEZ. Rheem’s second best line: Rheem Classic Series.
The Bryant Evolution series is a very good alternative to the Carrier Infinity Series. Furnaces are the Evolution Plus 98 (97% efficient), the Evolution Plus 96t (96.5%), the 95s (95%), the Plus 90i (90%) and the Plus 80v (80%). The Evolution heat pump is a 19 SEER/9.5 HSPF model and the Evolution air conditioner offers 20 SEER efficiency. Bryant’s second best series: Bryant Preferred Series.
Also worth a look: Maytag M1200 Series, Amana Communicating Series, and the Coleman Echelon Series.
With these series, you’ll get outstanding quality, durability and performance. Choose the level of efficiency you need for your home. If you want to trade a small amount of performance and quality for lower prices, take a look at the second-best lines we mention. On our site, you’ll find ratings and reviews for many of the specific models we list, including information on cost for many of them. Take the time to research the models you want to consider. Our reviews and ratings can help.