Furnace and AC Brand vs Brand
Which brand of furnace or AC is the best?
Frankly, none of them. While there are some brands on the market that, at least in my professional opinion, are worse than the rest, there’s no longer one or a few brands that are better than the rest. Whatever the opposite of the idiom “keeping up with the Jones’” is (“keeping down with the Jones’”?), that is what’s been happening in the residential heating and air conditioning equipment manufacturing industry for decades, with the brands that are the most well-known by the general public, the brands with the most “star power”, abandoning the practices that had set them apart from the rest in the 1980’s, and instead taking what was once a research and development budget that went towards making a better product, and instead using those funds for their marketing budget, so they can tell you repeatedly how much better their now-average product is. These days, when you buy a furnace or AC made by one of these well-known brands, you’re needlessly paying more for the name itself, a name which no longer carries the weight it once did, but continues to market as if that was the case.
It’s also worth noting that in the first half of the last century, there were 150 furnace and AC brands in the North American market, almost all of them separate companies, and now there are 25 brands coming from 8 corporations, with 7 of those 25 brands coming from one corporation. Past that, all those current brands are using the same 4 major mechanical system component manufacturers for their furnace parts, parts which are often used in entirely different brands, right down to the same part manufacturer and part number. These days, the biggest difference between the furnaces themselves from different manufacturers is the colour of paint used on the shell of the furnace, and the plastic name badge or sticker on the front of the furnace.
Given that the product itself is largely the same, brand to brand, what’s most important in my opinion, when selecting a furnace or AC brand is parts availability, which is largely driven by the number of that brand’s furnaces and ACs installed in your area. It’s just a matter of supply and demand; if there’s a lot of that brand installed locally, then there’s more parts for them stocked on the local furnace and AC repair trucks and vans. Which also means more repair parts stock on hand at that brand’s local distributor, so when a furnace or AC of that brand breaks down, the repair will be quicker and less expensive, all other things being equal. If you choose a locally uncommon brand, or worse, an uncommon model from an uncommon brand, when that machine breaks—and they all will eventually, you’ll almost inevitably be waiting longer and paying more for it to be repaired.