- 2020 Best Central Heat Pump Brands
- What Top 2020 Heat Pump Brands Have in Common
- Top Central Heat Pump Brands for 2020
- Best Heat Pump Brand Reviews
- Why Installation Matters
- Making a Good Hiring Decision
- #1 How long does a heat pump last?
- #2 What are the disadvantages of a heat pump?
- #3 When should I buy a dual fuel heat pump?
- #4 Is installation more important than brand name?
- #5 What temperature is a heat pump not effective?
- #6 Do you really save money with a heat pump?
- #7 Does a heat pump cool as well as an air conditioner?
- #8 When should I install Electric Heat Strips to my heat pump?
What are the top heat pump brands to consider?
This guide gets to the bottom of that question, and some of the information given here will be surprising to some readers.
2020 Best Central Heat Pump Brands
- Tempstar / IPC brands
- Maytag / Nortek Global Brands
- York / Johnson Controls Brands
- American Standard / Trane
- Carrier / Bryant
- Armstrong Air
Before we review each brand, there’s an important question to ask: What makes a heat pump brand better than others?
What Top 2020 Heat Pump Brands Have in Common
These six characteristics determine whether your heat pump will give you the years of reliable, efficient service it should.
1). Quality Parts: A heat pump is the sum total of the components used to build it. As with any product, there are basic, better and best parts. The heat pump brands in our list use parts with proven reliability.
Do they make their own parts? That’s a common question.
Most major brands use some proprietary parts, especially their compressors. Among the brands using their own compressors are Trane & American Standard, Daikin (select models), Johnson Controls brands including York and Lennox.
All brands use at least some universal parts from component manufacturers like Emerson, Carlyle, Honeywell and Copeland.
2). Good Warranties: When companies believe in their heat pumps, they offer better warranties. In the last five years, warranties have gotten better.
This is also a sign of brand competition.
All the 2019 best heat pumps have general parts warranties of 10 years or longer. A few have enhanced warranties that provide for replacement of the entire outdoor unit, aka the condensing unit or heat pump.
3). Good Value for the Price: Value is a combination of quality and a fair price.
4). Quality Installation: This is an important reminder to carefully choose your installer. See below for why this is so important.
Top Central Heat Pump Brands for 2020
We’ve rated each of these brands on the first 4 criteria above and totaled up the scores.
|Tempstar||Excellent||Excellent||Excellent||9||Up to 19 SEER|
|Goodman||Very Good||Excellent||Excellent||8||Up to 19 SEER|
|Daikin||Very Good||Excellent||Very Good||7||Up to 23 SEER|
|Maytag||Very Good||Very Good||Very Good||6||Up to 20 SEER|
|York||Very Good||Very Good||Very Good||6||Up to 20 SEER|
|American Standard/Trane||Excellent||Good||Good||5||Up to 22 SEER|
|Carrier/Bryant||Excellent||Good||Good||5||Up to 21 SEER|
|Armstrong Air||Very Good||Good||Very Good||5||Up to 21 SEER|
- Excellent = 3 points
- Very good = 2 points
- Good = 1 point
- Poor = 0 points (No “Poor” scores among the top)
Brands built with Excellent components should last 17-20 years with only minor repairs when properly maintained.
Those using Very Good parts usually last 15-18 years when maintained.
Best Heat Pump Brand Reviews
Get to know these brands better – what they’re made of, warranties and heat pump efficiency and performance options.
Tempstar Heat Pumps
Tempstar heat pumps cover all the bases, so are the top rated heat pump brand. What puts them over the top is that they are very much like Carrier and Bryant models but at a more affordable price.
Official Website of Tempstar heat pump.
Components: Tempstar uses the best compressor brand available – Copeland. It’s coils and other internal parts are top of the line, especially in the mid-tier and premium models. When repairs are needed, parts are easy to get.
Warranty: The general parts warranty is 10 years, average for the industry – so just a Good rating.
What changes the rating to Very Good is the Tempstar No Hassle unit replacement warranty available on many models. It’s 10 years on top models, 5 on others. What it means is that if the compressor or coil fail during that time, Tempstar will replace the entire heat pump rather than put a new part in an aging heat pump.
Model Options: There are 11 models that range in efficiency from 14-19 SEER and 13.5 EER. The top heating efficiency is an impressive 11 HSPF.
Single-stage, two-stage and a 5-stage variable capacity models are available. Efficiency rises with performance.
Notes: International Comfort Products is owned by United Technologies Corporation, the parent company of Carrier/Bryant. ICP makes Tempstar, Heil, Comfortmaker, Day & Night, Arcoaire and Keeprite – all identical and nearly identical to Carrier and Bryant models.
ICP brands are priced significantly lower – and that makes them a good value. The strategy is to make products available for consumers whether they’re looking for “premium” equipment like Carrier or want something more affordable, like Tempstar etc. ICP offers better value.
See our Tempstar/Heil Heat Pump Buying Guide for comprehensive details on models, reviews, warranties and prices.
Goodman Heat Pumps
Goodman is still overcoming its well-earned reputation as cheap HVAC equipment at a low cost.
The brand along with Amana was bought by global HVAC giant Daikin in 2012 and significant upgrades to quality have been made. Daikin has continued to sell Goodman as a budget brand, so it’s still the best value of any heat pump brand.
Components: Goodman uses Copeland compressors including the highly rated UltraTech scroll compressor. Goodman/Daikin makes its own coils, and their rating is Good, so the overall quality rating on parts is Very Good.
Warranty: Goodman backs the compressors in top heat pump models like the GSZC18 and GSZC16 with lifetime warranties. If the compressor fails in the first decade, Goodman will replace the entire heat pump. The general parts warranty is 10 years.
Official Website of Goodman Heat Pump.
Model Options: The brand has reduced its lineup to just 4 models, but they cover the range from 15 to 19 SEER with heating efficiency up to 10 HSPF. Single-stage and two-stage models are available. If you want higher efficiency with variable-speed performance, see Daikin.
Notes: Amana models are identical to Goodman but cost a bit more. Goodman is the better value.
Daikin Heat Pumps
Components: In addition to Copeland compressors in most models, the top heat pump – the Daikin DZ20VC uses a Daikin inverter-driven compressor, the type used in Daikin mini split (ductless) systems. Proprietary coils and universal parts make up the rest.
Warranty: It’s not as good as the Goodman warranty. It backs all parts for 12 years, so that is better than the industry 10-year average.
Model Options: 7 models offer efficiency from 15 to 21 SEER with the top heating rating of 10 HSPF. There are models in all three performance levels from single-stage to variable capacity.
Notes: Originally it simply slapped a Daikin label on Goodman products, but quickly began upgrading the lineup. Daikin models cost more than Goodman, so aren’t as good a value.
Maytag Heat Pumps
Some consumers are surprised to learn that Maytag makes heat pumps and other HVAC equipment.
Overshadowed by the appliances, Maytag heat pumps are quite good and backed with solid warranties. It has sister brands too, discussed in Notes below.
We’ve prepared a Maytag Heat Pump Buying Guide loaded with details on models, features and prices.
Components: The parts are universal and of premium quality. They are durable and readily available if a replacement is needed.
Warranty: The 12-year parts warranty is better than most. If the compressor fails while under warranty, Maytag will replace the entire heat pump. The jacket is stainless steel with rounded corners – an attractive heat pump that won’t quickly rust.
Model Options: Maytag makes 6 split system heat pumps with efficiency from 15 SEER/8.5 HSPF to 19 SEER/10 HSPF. The top model is the M1200 PSH1BG iQ Drive with a modulating/variable-capacity compressor.
Notes: Nortek Global, formerly called Nordyne, is the parent company of Maytag and identical brands Broan, NuTone and Frigidaire. Nortek retired Westinghouse and Tappan brands that were also identical.
York Heat Pumps
It seems to have fixed issues with leaking microchannel coils. The brand and its identical sister brands offer very good quality, efficiency and value.
Components: York still makes its own coils. Most other parts are universal and easy to obtain if needed.
Warranty: The best line, York Affinity, backs the heat pumps with a lifetime compressor warranty and 10-year general parts warranty. When all models are considered, warranties are Very Good.
Model Options: There are 4 heat pumps: 1 single-stage, 1 two-stage and 2 variable-capacity models. Efficiency ranges from 14 SEER to 21 SEER and 10 HSPF.
Notes: Johnson Controls makes York and identical brands Luxaire, Coleman and Champion.
See our York Heat Pump Buying Guide for more details.
American Standard & Trane Heat Pumps
These are premium brands by any standard. Quality is outstanding, but the price is high and the warranties are so-so. That’s why Trane and American Standard heat pumps aren’t higher on the list.
Components: The most unique component is the patented spine fin coil that looks like an aluminum bottle brush. These proprietary coils do a great job dispersing/collecting heat, but they are notoriously difficult to clean.
Trane and American Standard also make their own compressors. They have a proven history of durability.
Most other parts are universal and of excellent quality.
Warranty: The 12-year compressor warranty and 10-year general parts warranty is only slightly better than the industry average of 10/10.
Model Options: These brands make 10 models – one of the largest product lineups. This includes an inverter-driven variable speed model with 19.5 SEER and outstanding 12 HSPF heating.
The total range of efficiencies is 14 to 20 SEER.
Check out Trane Heat Pumps from its official website.
Notes: These brands are identical and priced about the same. They are owned by Ingersoll-Rand.
Carrier & Bryant Heat Pumps
Carrier is the premier name in the residential HVAC market. Bryant models are identical in most models.
With Bryant and Carrier, you get excellent quality but with average warranties and higher prices than most brands.
Components: Copeland compressors are at the heart of mode Carrier and Bryant heat pumps. Other parts are universal and top quality.
Warranty: 10 years on the compressor and other parts. That’s just average. The good part of the warranty is that all models are covered, even the entry-level heat pumps.
Model Options: Carrier was the first to offer variable-capacity heat pumps. The 21.5 SEER, 13 HSPF Greenspeed model has the highest HSPF rating of any. In all, 10 models starting at 14 SEER are available. This includes compact models.
Notes: Carrier and Bryant are United Technologies Corporation brands. They’re very similar but not always identical to the Tempstar and other ICP brands discussed above.
Our Bryant Heat Pump Reviews and Buying Guide has complete details about models, features, performance and price.
Armstrong Air Heat Pumps
Components: For the most part, quality universal components such as compressors and coils are used to build Armstrong Air heat pumps. Some Lennox parts are used, and this occasionally leads to delays in getting repair parts.
Warranty: 10 years on all parts.
Model Options: Four models are made with a range from 15 to 20 SEER with a top heating efficiency of 10 HSPF. Single-stage (2 models), two-stage (1) and variable-capacity (1) heat pumps are available.
Notes: Armstrong Air, Ducane and AirEase are identical brands. Ducane doesn’t offer the variable-capacity model.
The brands are produced by Allied Air, which is owned by Lennox International. However, the brands are substantially different than Lennox heat pumps.
Brands Not on the List
Lennox and Rheem/Ruud are the top names that did not make our list of the top heat pumps for 2019.
Lennox makes the most efficient heat pumps available. The Lennox XP25 offers 23.5 SEER.
Where Lennox falls short is in components and reliability. The brand makes most of its own parts, and they don’t measure up to the reliability of top brands. They can be difficult to get and expensive.
Rheem and Ruud are identical brands. Their lineup is currently undergoing an upgrade in quality and efficiency, so the jury is out. The brands have been rated lower than most in reliability. But again, that might change.
Why Installation Matters
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is an independent agency with no allegiance to any brand.
In a major recent study, the NIST found widespread installation failures including, “refrigerant undercharge, oversized heat pumps, low indoor airflow due to undersized ductwork, and refrigerant overcharge.”
NIST reported that improperly installed equipment wastes up to 30% of the energy used. The study also concluded that, “each one of these issues has the potential to cause significant performance degradation…and can lead to expensive, but necessary, repairs.”
How can you avoid those kind of nightmares?
Hire a heat pump contractor that:
Is licensed, insured and certified: Many installers are trained at manufacturer factories and/or have certification from the National Association of Technician Excellence (N.A.T.E.).
Is experienced: Ask about the experience of the crew that will be installing your heat pump. Don’t let “rookies” do it.
Will properly size your heat pump: It takes skill and the use of a load test like the Manual J to get size right. NIST reported that wrongly sized heat pumps are a major source of energy waste and mechanical failure.
Ask the contractors you interview how they will get the size factor correct.
Comprehensive information about sizing a heat pump, efficiency and feature options and additional brand reviews is available in our 2019 Heat Pump Guide.
Making a Good Hiring Decision
We suggest getting estimates from several contractors in your area that meet the qualifications.
Expedite the process: The fastest way to get estimates from top installers is to use our Free Local Quote service – either filling out the form or calling the number on this page.
After you provide brief information about the heat pump replacement project, you’ll receive written estimates from companies that are licensed and insured.
There’s no obligation to use any of the estimates.
Get your questions answered by a pro: The process gives you the opportunity to discuss your heating and air conditioning needs, get questions answered and advice about the best equipment.
Compare costs: The contractors know you are getting several estimates, so costs are competitive.
Check reviews: Then, if you wish, you can check out the companies’ Google or Better Business Bureau ratings.
Make your choice: This kind of due diligence is the best way to ensure you hiring a qualified contractor and getting a fair cost.
(Updated on Feb 16th, 2020)
Here are common questions from readers answered by our pro HVAC consultants.
#1 How long does a heat pump last?
Heat pumps last from 15 to 22 years, with 17 years being the average age at heat pump replacement.
How long will your heat pump last? It depends on:
- Initial quality. Our Heat Pump Reviews and Guide lists Budget, Standard and Premium brands.
- How well it is installed. The most important day of a heat pump is installation day. When it’s not installed correctly, it won’t run efficiently and will be prone to mechanical failure.
- How well it is maintained. Your heat pump warranty probably requires you to have the unit serviced every year or two, so be sure to follow the schedule. If you don’t, the manufacture might deny a warranty claim. See more in our Warranty Guide. Regardless, it is a good idea to keep your heat pump cleaned and tuned to maximize efficiency and durability.
- How heavily it is used. Heat pumps, which are air conditioners too, last longer in moderate climates. They’re replaced more often in very hot climates.
#2 What are the disadvantages of a heat pump?
There are a couple to consider before buying a heat pump.
- They cost more than a gas furnace of the same heating capacity. Depending on brand, features and efficiency, heat pumps cost 20% to 40% more for the equipment.
- Most aren’t effective in very cold temperatures. This means a gas furnace is better in cold, northern climates.
#3 When should I buy a dual fuel heat pump?
Dual fuel heat pump systems consist of a heat pump and gas furnace. Standard split systems are a heat pump and air handler. The only major difference between an air handler and furnace is that the furnace creates heat. Otherwise, they both contain a blower motor and fan and the indoor/evaporator coil for the heat pump.
These heat pumps are designed for use in climates where freezing weather is possible. Where it doesn’t freeze, a standard heat pump is a better choice.
Yes, we just said that heat pumps aren’t effective in very cold weather. But, they are more efficient than a gas furnace in cool weather.
Shared Heating: A dual fuel system uses a heat pump for heating when temperatures are above freezing. It uses a gas furnace to heat your home in freezing weather.
The equipment cost of a dual fuel system is higher than for an AC and gas furnace. But you’ll use less energy and have lower heating bills.
Just keep in mind that it will take 5-12 years to make up the higher equipment cost through lower bills.
#4 Is installation more important than brand name?
Installation is at least as important as brand quality.
While there are some quality differences between brands, most are quite similar.
This makes the quality of the installation that much more important. Bad installation leads to inefficient performance and potential early mechanical issues.
You’ll be better off with a cheap Goodman heat pump properly installed than a top-of-the-line Trane badly installed.
To do what you can to ensure proper installation, get estimates from at least 3 licensed heat pump contractors. Learn about the experience and certification of the crew that will install the unit. Our Free Local Quote option allows you to get estimates from local HVAC companies that are pre-screened for quality and experience. There is no cost or obligation.
#5 What temperature is a heat pump not effective?
Most split system heat pumps lose effectiveness and efficiency as outside temperature drops.
Once the temperature drops into the mid-30s Fahrenheit and below, a standard heat pump won’t adequately heat your home. You might have heat strips in the air handler that turn on if the heat pump isn’t able to create enough heat to get your home warm.
However, heat strips are just space heaters. Electric resistance heat like that is the most expensive type. If you have a heat pump and have high electric bills, it is likely because the heat strips are needed a lot. It could be that the heat pump is undersized or that you’d be better off with a dual fuel system with a gas furnace or just a gas furnace as your source of heat.
If winters are cold where you live and you want a heat pump, consider the new generation of cold climate heat pumps. Most of them are ductless, aka, mini split heat pumps.
For example, the Gree Sapphire ductless heat pump produces a good amount of heat in temperatures down to -22F.
If winters are brutal where you live, check out a ductless unit or go with a reliable gas furnace brand.
#6 Do you really save money with a heat pump?
You definitely can.
First, there’s no doubt that a heat pump with 15 SEER or better efficiency will produce lower energy bills than a 95% efficient gas furnace. This is because heat pumps use a small amount of electricity to circulate refrigerant that moves heat into (in winter) and out of (in summer) your home. Heat pumps pump heat, not create it.
Here is the key: The amount of fuel used at the power plant to create the electricity needed to run a heat pump is 30% to 50% less than the fuel an efficient furnace burns.
Get a heat pump with the right efficiency for your climate. This will save you the most money.
The warmer your climate is, especially if it is humid too, the higher SEER the heat pump should be. If you get a 14 SEER model in Biloxi, Mississippi, you might save $1,000 on the heat pump. But you’ll lose thousands more in higher cooling costs over the years compared to an 18 SEER heat pump.
In a moderate climate like San Diego or San Francisco, paying more for a two-stage 18 SEER or variable capacity 20 SEER heat pump rather than a single-stage heat pump with 15 or 16 SEER efficiency doesn’t make sense financially. It will take years of slightly lower energy costs to make up the higher equipment cost.
#7 Does a heat pump cool as well as an air conditioner?
Yes it does. A heat pump is an air conditioner that also heats.
An AC uses refrigerant to capture heat indoors and carry it outdoors where it is dispersed.
A heat pump has one difference – a reversing valve. It’s an air conditioner in summer. In winter, the reversing valve is switched. The refrigerant then captures heat outside, carries it inside and disperses it through your ducts and air grates.
#8 When should I install Electric Heat Strips to my heat pump?
Heat strips are designed for emergency heating. This means that if your heat pump stops working for any reason, the heat strips in the air handler will turn on to provide a small amount of heat.
They should be installed if you experience these scenarios:
Cool winter temperatures: Let’s say the outdoor temperature is chilly, perhaps in the mid-40s to mid-60s, and your heat pump breaks down. The heat strips will make your home more comfortable while you await repairs. In this scenario, the heat strips are a convenience.
Very cold winter temperatures: When the temperature outside is freezing, the heat strips are much more important. They might produce enough heat to make your home “livable” while waiting for heat pump repair or replacement, preventing the need to move to a hotel.
Additionally, in freezing weather, the heat supplied by the strips might produce enough heat to keep your home above freezing and prevent frozen and burst pipes.
If winter temps rarely drop into the 40s or lower where you live, then having a couple space heaters to use when your heat pump is on the blink is a much cheaper option.
Learn more here: What are Electric Heat Strips? Should I Install it for My Heat Pump