Which heat pump is best?
Ready to upgrade your home’s HVAC system? Heat pumps are the all-in-one way to heat and cool your home year-round. Heat pumps handle two jobs: they keep you cool in warmer months and toasty during the chilly ones. If climate control is a top priority in your living space, you’ll also want to consider premium features for dehumidification, remote controls, and unique timers or modes.
To learn more, keep reading our buying guide, which has all the details on how to choose the best one for your needs. Our favorite unit is the Pioneer Ductless Wall-Mount Multi-Split System Air Conditioner and Heat Pump, which is a quality investment for the homeowner ready to go all in to upgrade their heating and cooling system.
What to know before you buy a heat pump
There are several types of residential heat pumps:
Whole house units are best characterized as systems in which there’s an outdoor unit, ductwork, piping, and vents. Whole house units are generally more powerful and effective at heating and cooling. They also come with a broad range of customization features, which is ideal for people who need the right temperature at all times. However, they’re at the top of the price range, especially considering it will also cost you for installation and maintenance.
Window and wall units are generally dedicated to heating and cooling individual rooms. These are affordable options that can be installed by the average person. Assuming they’re well-maintained, these units can last several years. However, finding compatible units for windows and walls can be challenging sometimes. Since they only control one room, you might shell out a lot of money to install them in multiple rooms.
Portable or freestanding units require ventilation to operate and only require a window for hook up. They’re ideal to heat and cool rooms and small spaces, and in some cases, are more affordable than window or wall units. They occasionally have wheels for easy portability, and installation generally takes less than 15 minutes. If your room is small, though, be prepared to lose even more space, as portable units are about the size of a side table. If your window hookup isn’t properly sealed, you may also end up with critters inside your home.
What to look for in a quality heat pump
BTU refers to British thermal units, which measure the performance of heat pumps as well as air conditioners and furnaces. The higher the BTUs, the more powerful the unit is. For the most part, when comparing BTUs, make sure you know the room or area dimensions to choose the most effective heat pump.
Heat pumps have electronic controls. Depending on the model, they can be adjusted manually, with a remote or through a smartphone. They control everything from timers and modes to speeds and vent angles.
To promote the circulation of clean air, heat pumps are equipped with filters. Some units have more than one for more thorough cleaning of the air. In premium heat pumps, there’s an alert or sensor that is triggered when the filter is clogged and requires cleaning.
Certain heat pumps also have dehumidifier capabilities. With this feature, moisture is removed from the atmosphere and drains into a tank. Condensation generally collects around the tank, and if there’s too much of it, your unit could lose optimal functionality.
How much you can expect to spend on a heat pump
Heat pumps priced below $500 are simple wall or window units ideal for smaller rooms. Mid-range heat pumps up to $1,000 are often portable units with more features and better BTU ratings. High-end heat pumps cost $1,500 and up and include deluxe units or whole-house systems.
Heat pumps FAQ
Do I need a professional to install my heat pump?
A. Wall and window units are pretty straightforward if you’re replacing an existing unit. For split units or whole-house systems, it’s important to hire an HVAC professional, as the installation is more involved for these heat pumps.
My computer room is always significantly hotter than the rest of my house. Will a heat pump alleviate my problem?
A. Yes. Installing a heat pump dedicated to the room will help control the temperature. Keep in mind that air disperses, so when your heat pump is on, close the door to your room to make sure the space remains climate-controlled.
What heat pumps are best to buy?
Top heat pump
Our take: Ductless, multi-zone heating and cooling system. The range of features and efficiency make it a top choice.
What we like: Four-zone system with up to 38,500 BTU heating and cooling capability. Bonus points for WiFi remote access for ductless units.
What we dislike: Considerable investment since it costs 10 times as much as some wall units.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
Top heat pump for the money
Our take: Well-rounded, affordable unit from a reputable brand. Easy installation.
What we like: Offers 8,000 BTU of heating and cooling capability. The practical choice is effective at making you comfortable in a modest-size room.
What we dislike: Mixed reviews on compressors. Measure your space, as these units aren’t universal.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
Worth checking out
Our take: Ideal if you want a split unit but are on a budget. Popular for WiFi access and special nighttime mode.
What we like: Has 12,000 BTU of heating and cooling capability. Quiet operation and comes with a remote.
What we dislike: Installation is involved, so you’ll need to pay a pro to do it.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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