Best Gas Furnaces
The best time to shop for a gas furnace is before cold weather hits so that you’re not forced to make a quick decision. While those who live in mild climates may have the luxury of shopping around, even in the winter, people in the coldest areas will want their furnaces in place well before any cold spell. Gas furnaces are a considerable monetary investment and must also be installed, so it’s important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the furnace models you are considering.
The following gas furnaces are not central units, instead being suited for more localized heating. We've selected furnaces that are relatively simple to install, although local codes and regulations may create their own challenges and not everyone will be comfortable doing the installation themselves. These furnaces range in price, from around $500 to well over $1000 plus the cost of installation. Nearly all of the following gas furnaces can be converted to use either natural gas or propane, expanding your options. When ordering a gas furnace, you should always check with the vendor to find how it will be shipped, as these units are very heavy and easily damaged.
Rinnai ES38-N Direct Vent Wall Furnace, Natural Gas
Rinnai ES38-P Direct Vent Wall Furnace, Propane
Rinnai EX11CP Direct Vent Furnace LP gas
Mr. Heater Natural Gas Unit Heater 80,000 BTU Hr. - MHU80NG
Williams 3509622 Monterey Top-Vent Natural Gas Furnace - 35,000 BTU
The Rinnai ES38-N Direct Vent Wall Furnace runs on natural gas and although it’s not inexpensive, offers good value for your money. This clean running, energy-efficient wall furnace does a good job of heating all the areas of the house, not just the wide-open areas while the heat output is consistent. Many homeowners who thought they'd have to use additional supplemental sources of heat were pleasantly surprised by how warm their homes stayed all winter, using only this unit. The one downside of this furnace is the noise when it’s first heating up, but once it reaches a constant temperature, it’s very quiet. The unit must be vented through an outside wall, and a contractor can help with this if necessary.
This unit is similar to the top pick, but the ES38-P runs on propane instead of natural gas. The BTUs are slightly lower with the propane model, but the AFUE rating is slightly higher. This unit is extremely easy to install if homeowners have any experience installing propane supply lines. Others find it too confusing and choose to hire a contractor or even a handyman.
This unit is quiet and keeps the house warm, which is the single most important factor with any gas furnace. The unit is reasonably attractive, with simple controls and a very accurate thermostat. The furnace features permanent air filters, which can be cleaned easily, and a built-in humidifier for the driest months.
It will come as no surprise to anyone who has spent time researching gas furnaces that the top three furnaces on this list are all from Rinnai. These furnaces excel at heating areas that most furnaces don't reach very effectively. In addition, the unit is quiet once it reaches its ideal temperature, and the unit itself remains cool to the touch to prevent burns.
You may need a professional to install the unit, although some homeowners are able to do so on their own. However, It’s more compact than the other Rinnai models on the list, so there are more flexible installation options. Additionally, it’s priced lower than the others, so it may be better for homeowners on a budget.
Despite a name that doesn't immediately suggest high-quality, the Mr. Heater Big Maxx 80,000 BTU furnace is an effective option to safely and reliably heat a barn, garage, basement, or other warehouse-type environment. This garage furnace is rated to heat a space up to 1,000 square feet in size. Although local codes and regulations will determine your individual set up, this unit is generally very simple to install.
A built-in electric fan pulls cool air into the unit, where it is heated up and then directed back outward. The powered exhaust allows for both vertical and horizontal venting, while along with the low-profile design adds to installation flexibility. Although the Mr Heater Big Maxx 80,000 BTU garage heater uses natural gas, it comes with an included liquid propane conversion kit. Simple design and an affordable price tag make this gas furnace a solid choice.
This top-vent natural gas furnace requires no electricity at all, so it can function even if the electricity goes out. Installation is simple and the matchless pilot light makes it easy to begin. It is not the most efficient option, as it’s primarily designed to heat one room at a time unless the optional blower is also installed. While most consumers are very happy with this furnace, some people report that the unit itself gets too hot and doesn't seem safe. The price is much lower than many other gas furnaces, so this unit is ideal for someone on a budget who is not looking to heat a large area. Those who are energy-conscious may also like this unit because it is made to only heat rooms being used, not wasting fuel in unoccupied spaces.