© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. There are growing demands for condition-based monitoring of gearboxes, and therefore new methods to improve the reliability, effectiveness, accuracy of the gear fault detection ought to be evaluated. Feature selection is still an important aspect in machine learning-based diagnosis in order to reach good performance of the diagnostic models. On the other hand, random forest classifiers are suitable models in industrial environments where large data-samples are not usually available for training such diagnostic models. The main aim of this research is to build up a robust system for the multi-class fault diagnosis in spur gears, by selecting the best set of condition parameters on time, frequency and time-frequency domains, which are extracted from vibration signals. The diagnostic system is performed by using genetic algorithms and a classifier based on random forest, in a supervised environment. The original set of condition parameters is reduced around 66% regarding the initial size by using genetic algorithms, and still get an acceptable classification precision over 97%. The approach is tested on real vibration signals by considering several fault classes, one of them being an incipient fault, under different running conditions of load and velocity.