With our hvac ratings, you can basically take a pro shopping with you. With the help of an insider, you can avoid all the sales gimmicks and find value. You get to see what an actual heating and air conditioning professional would choose for their own home. You can be sure of an unbiased opinion because we do not sell any hvac equipment or receive any payment from any manufacturers.
We have researched the data about each brand and organized the different types of units into groups. Then we utilized our experience in the field to rate the different models. We are constantly updating our hvac ratings to keep up with the latest advancements in technology.
We have given the brands a rating of from 1 to 5 stars in each group. A 5* rating indicates the brand that we would choose (if it was available) for our own home.
When more than one brand is available with a 5* rating, we would choose the least expensive model.
We have also included our comments concerning the advantages/disadvantages of each brand.
For traditional whole house air conditioning systems, our air conditioner ratings page is where you will find our reviews of ducted central air systems. These systems produce cool air at a central location in the home and distribute it to other parts of the home through a duct system.
For situations where you do not have a duct system but would still like to have a permanent air conditioning system, our ductless ratings page offers reviews of brands from all over the world.
If you do not own your home but would still like to be comfortable in the summer, we give you several options. Our window ac ratings give you reviews of units that can be easily installed into any type of window and simply removed and taken with you when you move to a new home. Our portable ac ratings show you the options for units that can be easily moved from room to room.
For a less expensive option to your cooling needs, we have reviewed the brands of ducted evaporative coolers as well as whole house fans. Both of these options provide cooling for the home without the high cost of a mechanical cooling system and are also less expensive to operate. For more temporary options, we have rated the brands of window mounted evaporative coolers as well as portable evaporative coolers. These are less expensive and are a very good option when you do not own the home.
For your heating system options, we start with ducted warm air furnaces that are designed to be installed in traditionally framed homes. (Our mobile home/manufactured housing page gives reviews of furnaces that are designed for those applications.) On our furnace ratings page, we have ranked gas fired furnaces in three categories and price ranges. For furnaces that burn gas but are not connected to a duct system, our wall furnace ratings cover that type. Our garage heater and tube heater pages will help you in selecting the right heater for your workshop/garage.
For reviews of furnaces that burn other types of fuels, you can check out our electric, oil, wood, or biomass furnace rating pages. On the biomass furnace rating page, you will find reviews of corn furnaces as well as wood pellet burning units.
On our hydronic air handler page, you can compare units that use water coils to transfer the heat from an external source such as a water heater, heat pump, or boiler to the air in the duct system.
For heating without a duct system, you can get reviews of stoves that burn logs. For units that burn wood pellets and/or corn or other grains, you can check out our pellet stove ratings page. You can also find reviews of electric fireplaces and units that burn either gas, bioethanol, or wood. We have also reviewed gas logs and gas, pellet, or wood inserts to upgrade an existing masonry fireplace. If you are searching for a heating solution that looks like a traditional wood burning fireplace but you do not have the traditional chimney or want the mess of dealing with logs, you can check out our gas stove ratings.
On our boiler ratings page, you will find our ratings for traditional systems such as gas fired boilers. On our oil fired boiler page you will find comparisons of units that burn fuel oil. You will find ratings for basic models as well as high efficiency condensing models.
For units that burn more environmentally friendly fuels, you can check out our biomass boiler ratings page. There you will find reviews of units that burn wood pellets and/or corn or other grains. For units that burn whole logs, you can check out our wood boiler ratings. Though they are less common, we have also reviewed the brands of electric boilers.
Our combi boiler reviews cover units that provide the domestic hot water (showers, etc.) for the home as well as hot water for heating.
On our thermostove rating page, we present our reviews of heating stoves that can be connected to the home's central hydronic heating system. These units are a combination of traditional stoves with traditional boilers.
Got steam heating? If so, our steam boiler ratings will help you to select the right brand for you home.
For a greener solution, you can check out our reviews of solar air heaters. These systems provide virtually free heating from the sun.
For traditional electric water heating where a tank of water is kept hot until it is needed, you can check out our water heater ratings page. There, we have reviewed units that store 30 gallons or more of water. We also review water heaters that burn gas or fuel oil. While those water heaters are designed to provide water to the whole house, our mini tank reviews are for smaller units that are designed to provide hot water for a specific room such as a bathroom or kitchen.
For hot water storage tanks that use an external source for heating domestic water, you can check out our indirect water heater ratings page.
If you are looking for environmentally friendly options, you can check out our active or passive solar, or heat pump water heater ratings pages. These solutions will cost a little more initially but will more than make up for the cost over their lifetime.
For systems that provide both heating and cooling in a common duct system, you will find solutions on our heat pump ratings page. There, you will get our reviews of units that use the outside air to heat/cool the home. On our air source heat pump ratings page, you can compare units that use the outside air to heat & cool water for conditioning the air in the home.
For traditional systems that use the ground and a forced air system in the home, you can check out our geothermal ratings page. To compare geothermal systems that use water to distribute the heating and/or cooling throughout the home, our hydronic heat pump ratings will help you. For geothermal systems that are designed to be added onto existing forced air systems, you can check out our split system reviews. For the most efficient ground source systems, compare the brands of DX systems.
There are many options available to control your hvac system. On our thermostat ratings page, you will find comparisons of controls for every situation. For low voltage (24 volt) systems which are common in North America, we have ranked the brands in four categories. The basic category is for digital non-programmable units which are typically the least expensive models. The premium models are typically programmable thermostats and usually cost a little more than the basic units. The ultimate category consists of controls that not only control the homes' temperature but also manage the humidity and fresh air systems. These thermostats are typically the most expensive but can provide a more comfortable home. The last category of low voltage units is wireless controls. These units allow you to change your systems and controls without running new control wires.
You will also find our brand rankings for line voltage thermostats. These units are normally used in baseboard electric heating systems. They are also more widely used for central heating systems in Europe.
With our zone system ratings you can find the best system to save energy by opening and closing dampers in your duct system. We look at both traditional wired systems as well as the state of the art wireless systems for DIY installation.
Our hvac ratings also cover products to maintain the proper humidity level in your home. On our dehumidifier ratings page, you will find our recommendations for units that are connected to an air duct system to remove moisture from the whole home. We have also reviewed portable units.
For older homes that are leaky, you may need a humidifier during the winter months. On our portable humidifier ratings page, you will find solutions for individual rooms. We have separated them into the different types such as ultrasonic, warm mist, cool mist, and evaporative units and compared the brands to each other.
If your hvac system is a ducted system, you can add a whole house humidifier to your existing heating and cooling system. Then, you will be able to maintain the proper humidity level in all of your rooms at the same time. We have covered all of your options from powered humidifiers to steam units and you can compare the brands on our humidifier ratings page.
For ratings on systems to bring in fresh outdoor air to your hvac system, you can check out our heat recovery ventilator or our energy recovery ventilator ratings page. Here you will find our reviews of systems that introduce that fresh air efficiently. For less humid climates, you may want to consider a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) while in most areas you will want to consider an energy recovery ventilator (ERV).
For fans that remove the excess moisture from the bath during and after that nice hot shower, our bath fan ratings page will help you to make an informed decision.
To compare fans that provide proper ventilation to the attic space, you can check out our solar attic fan ratings page.