This Lennox furnace buyers guide is designed to inform our readers about one of the industry’s best-selling brands. We’ve included the good and the bad of Lennox furnaces plus the best models in each class. This Lennox furnaces review can be used to compare this brand with other brands we’ve reviewed including Amana, Trane, and Goodman.
In 1895, Dave Lennox designed and manufactured the industry’s first riveted-steel furnace. In 1935, Lennox introduced forced-air heating systems. This history of innovation continued, and so did expansion as Lennox International developed a global reach. A public company since 1999, Lennox owns several other HVAC brands such as Armstrong Air and Ducane. They all have different product lineups.
Lennox Furnaces Brand Overview
The current catalog of 10 Lennox furnaces are divided into three series in basic/better/best quality:
- Best – Dave Lennox Signature Collection: 2 models;
- Better – Lennox Elite Series: 5 models;
- Basic – Lennox Merit Series: 3 models.
Another way to look at the lineup is by dividing Lennox furnace models by efficiency and performance:
- Efficiency: 80% AFUE furnaces and 90%-plus AFUE furnaces;
- Performance: 5 single-stage furnaces from the Merit and Elite Series; 3 two-stage furnaces in the Elite Series; 2 variable-capacity furnaces in the Signature Series.
Lennox Furnaces Technical Specifications
Here’s a closer look at what the various Lennox furnace models offer:
- The four Lennox 80% AFUE furnaces have single heat exchangers. So they transfer an inefficient 80% of the heat they create into your home’s ductwork;
- Lennox single-stage 80% furnaces are affordable. But they run on full capacity and might heat past the thermostat setpoint;
- Lennox mid-price and high-price two-stage models run on low capacity most of the time for more balanced heating;
- The top pick among the 80% furnaces is the Signature Collection Lennox SL280V with a two-stage gas valve;
- Lennox 90% and higher efficiency furnaces are found in all series. They have an efficiency as high as 98.7% in the top-pick Signature Collection SLP98V;
- The 90%-plus furnaces include single-stage, two-stage and the variable-capacity (with variable-speed blower) SLP98V. This one modulates in 1% increments up and down to meet the exact heating needs in the home;
- The SLP98V, EL296V, EL296E and EL195E have secondary heat exchangers. They allow these Lennox furnaces to utilize a higher percentage of the heat created for heating your home;
- Most Lennox furnace models have units in a range from about 50,000 BTU to about 140,000 BTU capacity.
Pros and Cons of Lennox Furnaces
Knowing Lennox furnace advantages and disadvantages will assist you in comparing Lennox with other leading brands as you consider options.
Lennox Furnace PROs:
- Because Lennox makes such a wide range of furnaces, you’re able to put together the right combination of efficiency and performance;
- Lennox is typically among the top 10 brands in terms of customer satisfaction and mechanical reliability;
- Lennox is a national brand. So finding a certified Lennox dealer and repair technician isn’t a problem;
- The SLP98V and Lennox SunSource solar is a great combination for homeowners who want the greenest heating possible;
- Choosing a 90%-plus Lennox furnace might cut energy use by 20% to 30% when replacing an old gas furnace;
- Furnaces are available in upflow, downflow and horizontal configurations;
- Since Lennox makes furnaces, ACs, heat pumps, whole-house dehumidifiers, ventilation products and thermostat/controls, it’s possible to install an entire HVAC system designed to work together;
- Like all brands’ Energy Star furnaces, those made by Lennox might be eligible for rebates and credits from your utility company;
- While Lennox makes thermostats, most Lennox furnaces can be controlled by other brands including White-Rodgers thermostats;
- Lennox makes dual fuel heat pumps that can be installed with a gas furnace for the most efficient split-system heating option;
- Also, Lennox makes most of its own replacement parts, so their quality is assured.
Lennox Furnace CONs
- Lennox HVAC systems including furnaces are among the most expensive on the market;
- While using proprietary replacement parts ensures quality, the parts cost significantly more than standard replacement parts. So repairs are pricier;
- A second disadvantage of the proprietary parts issue is that Lennox sometimes has supply chain problems that make parts hard to get, slowing repairs by days or weeks;
- Lennox warranties are not as good across the entire product line, especially just 5 years on parts in the Elite and Merit Series, as warranties from competitors like Amana, Heil, Maytag and Goodman.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Lennox Furnace
Are you buying based on climate or your commitment to the environment? If the former, then the colder your climate is, the more cost-effective a 90%-plus furnace is. The extra cost over an 80% furnace will recoup through lower energy bills in 3-10 years depending on your climate and the specific furnace you choose. It’s also true that the longer you plan to stay in your home, the more sense it makes to buy a highly efficient furnace. An efficient furnace is a good selling point if you do put your home on the market.
If the environment is at the top of your criteria for choosing a gas furnace, then the solution is to buy one of the Lennox furnaces with 95% or higher efficiency. The Elite Series EL195E and Merit Series ML195 are affordable single-stage, 95% AFUE models; the two-stage EL296V at 96% AFUE and the variable-capacity SLV98P at 98.7% AFUE offer better performance at a higher cost.
The three performance levels – single-stage, two-stage and variable-capacity – give you cost vs. performance options at all efficiency levels. Do you want to pay more for enhanced indoor comfort? Would you prefer to pay less and put up with minor temperature fluctuations and a bit more humidity in summer? Either way, there are Lennox furnaces to suit your style.
Is a Lennox Furnace Right for You?
If you’re willing to pay a premium for better quality and reliability, with the chance of having your furnace down for a week or more should it fail during a winter cold snap, then consider Lennox. If you want a comparable brand with quicker repairs, Amana, Trane, Carrier and Bryant are a few to look at too.
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