Being in the business longer may not mean much, but in the case of furnaces it's difficult to a newcomer to offer the same know-how or the same guarantees of long-established manufacturers. All the more that furnaces are supposed to last two decades or more.
So, prefer a top manufacturer, offering long warranties. Namely, one that is backing the most expensive parts of their equipment for many years: the heat exchanger.
A number of companies are offering 20 years (or more) for their heat exchangers.
Beyond the brand, the manufacturer or the AFUE
Consider carefully the installation of your furnace, including proper sizing and ductwork. Remember that a central furnace is only as good as its installer. Furnaces with high AFUEs but poorly installed can be outperformed by units with a lower rating.
Popular gas Furnace Manufacturers
American Standard and Trane furnaces are very popular in the North American market, and they have very high-efficient models.
Currently the highest rated furnaces list (by the TopTenUSA organization, affiliated with the Energy Star program) comprises the following manufacturers and units:
Carrier Ltd. 59MN7A060V2120;
American Standard AUHMB060ACV3VB and AUH2B060A9V3VB;
Armstrong Air A97DSMV070B12S
Choosing A Good Oil Furnace Manufacturer
If gas isn't available in your region, Thermo Pride and Carrier/Bryant are among the top rated manufacturers in most consumer reports and expert reviews for high-efficient oil furnaces.
Furnace manufacturers selection criteria
Do not forget the estimated running costs of the furnace; do not overvalue the purchase price.
Even the most energy efficient furnaces can cost you 3 to 10 times their purchase price in energy use, over their lifetime. According to TopTenUSA estimates (2014), the top gas furnaces considered in their analysis consume about $9,350 - $9,450 in energy over a lifetime of 20 years, while the purchase price ranges from $1,298 to $4,810.
In other words: you should consider the brand or its popularity, the capacity of the equipment and the purchase price, but also the AFUE of the equipment (the energy efficiency coefficient) and the energy costs over a lifetime of at least 20 years.
The energy costs are a critical issue, closely related with the AFUE and the carbon footprint of the equipment: according to the TopTenUSA if all the furnaces were high efficient, that would eliminate 1,9 millions tons of CO2 over their lifetime, just in the USA.
For a large list of Energy Star furnace manufacturers, see: Energy Star List. It includes the top manufacturers listed below.
Boilers Brands and Manufacturers