8 Best Heat Pumps For Cold Weather in 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks
Heat pumps are important projects that work in place of traditional air conditioners. The problem is that not all heat pump systems are made for cold environments. There are plenty of homes and buildings that persevere through very cold winters with below freezing or even subzero temperatures. The good news is that there are plenty of heat pump options that can withstand extremely cold temperatures.
This guide will give eight great examples of cold weather-resistant heat pumps as well as tips, tricks, and information to help you make the best choice going forward. Having a functional heat pump in the dead of winter can be a matter of both comfort and safety.
A Glance at Our Winners in 2023
|Best Overall||MAXWELL 12,000 BTU Low Ambient Ductless||
|Best for Extreme Cold||Cooper & Hunter Hyper Heat Dual Zone||
|Best Power In Cold Weather||Cooper & Hunter 18,000 BTU Dual 2 Zone Wall Mount||
|Best Small Size||MAXWELL Daikin Aurora Heat Pump System||
|Most Efficient In Cold Weather||PIONEER Air Conditioner Mini Split Heat Pump||
The 8 Best Heat Pumps for Cold Weather
1. MAXWELL 12,000 BTU Ductless Mini-Split Inverter Heat Pump System — Best Overall
|Power Supply:||230 Volts (DC)|
|Heating Power:||12,000 BTU|
|Cooling Power:||12,000 BTU|
|Lowest Air Temperature Allowed:||-13º F|
The Daikin Aurora is a fantastic miniature ductless split heat pump system. It provides a well-rounded suite of features that cover all areas. It has decent power output at 12,000 BTUs as well as a good energy efficiency rating. The unit runs off of DC power and is not too cumbersome or too small. The 12,000 BTU heating power is above-average without sacrificing efficiency or size. The unit is not too big. It does, however, only come with a 15-foot length of power installation, which is considerably shorter than the 25-foot lengths that other units come with.
The best part about this unit is that it does not sacrifice power for cold weather efficiency. This unit can run in temperatures as low as -13º F. That means you don’t have to worry about this unit in most climates. The only drawback is that it requires frequent defrosting in certain conditions. The condenser freezes up but will quickly thaw.
When it comes to power, efficiency, and cold weather durability, the Daikin Aurora 12k BTU unit is simply one of the best that money can buy.
2. Cooper & Hunter Hyper Heat Pump Air Conditioner System — Best For Extreme Cold
|Power Supply:||Corded Electric|
|Heating Power:||9000 BTU|
|Cooling Power:||9000 BTU|
|SEER Rating:||Meets the standard|
|Lowest Air Temperature Allowed:||-22º F|
This heat pump is one of the best options for cold climates because of its intense temperature resistance. This unit can withstand outdoor temperatures that drop as low as -22º F. That temperature is one of the lowest available on the market and allows you to have a reliable heat pump in the coldest environments without worrying.
The Cooper & Hunter Hyper Heat Dual Zone Mini Split Heat Pump Air Conditioner System comes ready to install and run right out of the box. It includes an ample 25ft copper wire installation kit, it comes pre-charged, so you don’t have to have someone come charge it after you install it, and it includes a seven-year warranty for peace of mind. This unit provides great cooling and heating coverage, even in the coldest weather. The downside is this unit is very heavy and has to be shipped via freight on a pallet. It is best installed with two people. All in all, this is one of the best split heat pumps you can buy for extremely cold temperatures.
3. Cooper & Hunter 18,000 BTU Wall Mount Ductless Mini Split Heating System — Best Power In Cold Weather
|Power Supply:||230V Copper Wire|
|Heating Power:||18,000 BTU|
|Cooling Power:||17,000 BTU|
|Lowest Air Temperature Allowed:||-13º F|
Many cold-weather heat pumps tend to be on the small side. That is not the case with this Cooper & Hunter unit. When you want considerable heating power in extremely cold environments, you cannot do better than this heat pump system. This system can run in temperatures as low as -13º F while still outputting 18,000 BTUs of heating power. The heat to ambient temperature low ratio is one of the best available. It is also energy efficient, with a SEER rating of 21.3, which is above average. It is also Energy Star rated, so you won’t be shelling out tons of money on electricity.
This unit also comes with a seven-year warranty as well as quiet running technology for sensitive areas. This unit is quite heavy, clocking in at 180lbs total. Be prepared to have a friend help do the installation, or you could be struggling with the bulkiness of this unit by yourself.
4. MAXWELL Daikin Aurora Mini-Split Heat Pump System — Best Small Size
|Power Supply:||230V (DC)|
|Heating Power:||9,000 BTU|
|Cooling Power:||9,000 BTU|
|Lowest Air Temperature Allowed:||-13º F|
The Daikin Aurora 12k BTU Mini Heat Pump system is the perfect small-sized heat pump. This unit is great for cabins or other small spaces that are consistently cold. It can function at temperatures as low as -13º F, meaning it will withstand all but the most extreme weather. The unit is not very large, it is easy to install, and it is not heavy. It even comes with a comprehensive 12-year warranty from the manufacturer, so you know it will last a good long while.
The biggest downside is the small stature of this unit means it can only heat 350 square feet comfortably. It will not handle large spaces very well, and straining the system leads to frequent defrosting intervals. But if you are looking for a small heat pump, you can install it yourself. This is a great option.
5. PIONEER Air Conditioner Mini Split Heat Pump — Most Efficient In Cold Weather
|Heating Power:||9,800 BTU|
|Lowest Air Temperature Allowed:||17º F|
If you are worried about energy efficiency ratings, this is a heat pump you should look into. This is the most efficient heat pump on this list. The SEER rating of 22.50 is the best by far. That means this unit will not use as much energy as other units. However, energy efficiency comes with a power tradeoff. This unit will not work well in large spaces. In fact, the maximum coverage is just 350 square feet. That means that this unit will be best for an ice fishing hut or single room rather than a more comprehensive space.
The good news is that this unit is very lightweight, quiet, and compact. That makes it perfect for certain situations where you do not need a giant, noisy heat pump to get the job done. This small unit will work in many different areas, and it won’t run up the electric bill while keeping you warm.
6. DELLA Wifi-Enabled Mini Split Heat Pump System — Best High Tech Heat Pump
|Heating Power:||18,000 BTU|
|Cooling Power:||18,000 BTU|
|Lowest Air Temperature Allowed:||12º F|
Sometimes certain types of products can feel stuck in the past. Heat pumps are one of those products. Many of them are old school. Sure, they’ve gotten more efficient, but they haven’t upgraded much. That is where DELLA comes in. They are out to rectify the problem of outmoded heat pumps.
The DELLA 18k BTU unit comes with a bevy of modern features, including remote temperature sensing, a self-cleaning mode, automatic defrosting, a quiet sleep mode, and smartphone connectivity. This unit brings heat pumps into the 21st century. If you are looking for a smart heat pump, this is the closest you are going to get. The only problem is this unit does not have as low of a temperature floor as other models. But if you are someone who likes gadgets and likes to have everything integrated, then the DELLA model will be right for you.
7. Mitsubishi Heat Pump Ductless Mini Split System — Best Large Heat Pump For Cold Weather
|Heating Power:||27,600 BTU|
|Cooling Power:||22,400 BTU|
|Lowest Air Temperature Allowed:||-4º F|
Sometimes small split system heat pumps just won’t cut it. If you need a large heat pump that can work in cold temperatures, look no further than the Mitsubishi 24k BTU Split System Heat Pump. This system can put out an impressive 27,600 BTUs of heating power in temperatures as low as -4º F. This is perfect for a basement, small home, or workspace. It is also designed to run quietly in crowded spaces. Even in the summers, this unit can still put out a good amount of cooling power with 22,400 BTUs.
The biggest drawback to this unit is that it is recommended that it is installed by an HVAC professional. Some ductless systems can be installed by the buyer but this one suggests getting a pro to do it. That will add time and money to getting this system up and running.
8. Mitsubishi Mini-Split Inverter Cool & Heat Pump System — Most Reliable
|Power Supply:||Corded Copper (DC)|
|Heating Power:||18,000 BTU|
|Cooling Power:||17,200 BTU|
|Lowest Air Temperature Allowed:||5º F|
If you are looking for a heat pump that will last and has a proven track record, then Mitsubishi should be on your list. Mitsubishi is an old company based in Japan that has provided excellent products for decades. If you are not comfortable looking at brands you do not recognize, choose one that you do.
This Mitsubishi Split Heat Pump System comes with all of Mitsubishi’s quality guarantees and provides excellent power and coverage. This unit can heat or cool a space up to 750 square feet, which is a sizable space. It can also run in temperatures as low as 5º Fahrenheit, which is very low for a unit of this size. It also features a dehumidifier to prevent your room from getting muggy as well as a quiet operation mode for nighttime or sleeping situations.
The only drawbacks are that this unit is expensive compared to some others and it can only handle low temperatures. However, the price is attached to a well-respected name brand.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Best Heat Pumps For Cold Weather
Different Types of Heat Pumps
There are three different types of heat pumps available on the market. The three types of heat pumps are air-source, split-ductless, and geothermal. Knowing the difference between these three types is crucial for making a decision about what kind of heat pump is right for you.
The most common type of heat pump is an air-source heat pump. These pumps are often installed by HVAC professionals and include an outdoor unit and an indoor air handler.
The second most common type of heat pump is the split-ductless variety. These are the types of heat pumps you can buy and install on your own because they do not require ducts to be in place to function. These pumps often only heat one room or a small space.
Lastly, there are geothermal heat pumps. These pumps use buried pipes to maintain constant ambient heat. Geothermal heat pumps are the least common because they require a lot of room and a lot of money. A typical geothermal system can cost up to $30,000 to install.
Always Check The Temperature Ratings
Heat pumps all have an official temperature rating. These numbers dictate what temperatures the system can run at while outside. Even if the temperature numbers are not readily available, they should be buried in the technical specifications. Always double-check the allowable temperature range before buying.
We tried to put as many cold weather pumps on this list as possible, but if you are looking at heat pumps on your own, check the temperature range. You will be surprised to find that some of the units on the market have ranges that hardly dip below freezing. If you buy a system with a 15º F low and have to live through a sub-zero cold snap for a week, you will be very, very cold.
What Is SEER?
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It is a metric used by the federal government to regulate the efficiency of air sources and split-ductless air systems. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the heat pump. A more efficient heat pump means less energy expended on heating and cooling the room. The minimum federal guidelines for heat pump SEER ratings is 14.
Another energy efficiency rating you might come across while shopping for heat pumps is the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). This rating is less commonly used, but it also applies to these heat pumps. A good HSPF rating is actually more important for cold weather heat pumps than SEER, but the HSPF rating is harder to find than SEER.
Consider The Noise
Heat pumps can be noisy. Some product pages offer an average noise level in decibels, but many of them don’t. Some heat pumps are known to be extremely noisy. Since many of these products require an indoor wall-mounted air handler, the noise factor can be very important. You do not want to install a brand-new heat pump system next to your bed only to find out that the noise is going to keep you up all night. These are not quiet machines. Some of these units come with low noise modes for bedrooms, but not all of them do. Do not forget to think about the placement of your new system and the noise it can produce.
Know Your Space
Most of the heat pumps that you can buy and install yourself are split-ductless heat pumps. These pumps are often made to heat one single room and offer varying amounts of coverage. Before taking the plunge on a heat pump, it is best to know the space you are going to be installing it in. Is the room drafty? How big is the space? How hot/cold does it get normally? These are important questions to ask before jumping onto a fancy new product.
One of the most common complaints that arise online is from people who installed undersized heat pumps and then complained that they do not heat and cool appropriately. It is no good to find a heat pump with great reviews only to realize it is made to heat 350 SF when you need to heat 700 SF. Even if the BTU numbers look good, if the air handler is not equipped to pump air into a larger space, it won’t heat efficiently.
Know your space before you buy. It could save you a lot of time, money, and effort.
The MAXWELL 12,000 BTU still offers the best overall value regarding price, efficiency, and reliability. However, Cooper & Hunter Hyper Heat Dual Zone is still a solid contender as the second pick and provides a significant amount of savings compared to the alternative.
With this guide, choosing your next cold weather heat pump should be a breeze. Even if you don’t select any of the choices on our list, we are confident you will have all of the information needed to make a decision that is best for you. After all, heat in cold climates is important, and getting the right product to get you through the winter is essential.
Featured Image Credit: Nimur, Shutterstock
- 1 A Glance at Our Winners in 2023
- 2 The 8 Best Heat Pumps for Cold Weather
- 2.1 1. MAXWELL 12,000 BTU Ductless Mini-Split Inverter Heat Pump System — Best Overall
- 2.2 2. Cooper & Hunter Hyper Heat Pump Air Conditioner System — Best For Extreme Cold
- 2.3 3. Cooper & Hunter 18,000 BTU Wall Mount Ductless Mini Split Heating System — Best Power In Cold Weather
- 2.4 4. MAXWELL Daikin Aurora Mini-Split Heat Pump System — Best Small Size
- 2.5 5. PIONEER Air Conditioner Mini Split Heat Pump — Most Efficient In Cold Weather
- 2.6 6. DELLA Wifi-Enabled Mini Split Heat Pump System — Best High Tech Heat Pump
- 2.7 7. Mitsubishi Heat Pump Ductless Mini Split System — Best Large Heat Pump For Cold Weather
- 2.8 8. Mitsubishi Mini-Split Inverter Cool & Heat Pump System — Most Reliable
- 3 Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Best Heat Pumps For Cold Weather
- 4 Conclusion