7 Best Mini Split Heat Pump for Cold Weather 2022

Disclosure: PickHVAC is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site. We may receive commissions at no additional costs to you.

The best mini split heat pump for cold weather must have two key qualities – the ability to gather heat in low outdoor temperatures and excellent HSPF efficiency, so it will save you money on your energy bills.

This article will help you sort through the brands and models of heat pumps to find the top rated units especially designed for cold climates. Those listed work in super-cold temperatures and have some of the best Heating Season Performance Ratio (HSPF) ratings.

HSPF refers to energy efficiency during the heating season; it is a ratio of heat energy output to electrical energy input, so it only applies to heat pumps, not AC-only systems.

Here is a link to a U.S. Department of Energy article that addresses the issue.

What are the Best Mini Split Heat Pump for Cold Weather?

The best cold climate mini split heat pumps are:

  • Daikin Aurora 12,000 BTU 20 SEER Air Conditioner Heat Pump System
  • Daikin Aurora 9,000 BTU 20 SEER Air Conditioner Heat Pump
  • PIONEER WYS009AMFI22RL 9,000 BTU Heat Pump
  • PIONEER WYS012AMFI22RL 12,000 BTU Mini Split Heat Pump
  • MRCOOL DIY 3rd Generation 24,000 BTU 20 SEER Heat Pump
  • Mitsubishi 24,000 BTU Air Conditioner Heat Pump Split
  • Cooper & Hunter Hyper Heat 2 Zone 9,000+9,000 BTU Heat Pump

Cold Weather Mini Split Overviews

Here are quick overviews that allow you to see the top rated mini split heat pumps for cold weather and make a buying choice if you desire. Full reviews with more details and a buying guide follow.

Image
Features

Daikin Aurora 12,000 BTU 20 SEER Air Conditioner Heat Pump System

  • 13,600 BTU Heating and 10,900 BTU Cooling Capacity
  • HSPF 12.5 and SEER 20
  • 100% heating capacity down to 5F
  • Heats or Cools 550 Sq. Ft.
  • Energy Star Certified
  • 12 Year Manufacturer Warranty

Best Overall

Daikin Aurora 9,000 BTU 20 SEER Air Conditioner Heat Pump

  • 10,900 BTU Heating and 9,000 BTU Cooling Capacity
  • HSPF 12.5 and SEER 20
  • Gathers heat in temps down to -13F
  • Heats or Cools 350 Sq. Ft.
  • Energy Star Certified
  • 12 Year Warranty

Top Rated Small Size

PIONEER WYS009AMFI22RL 9,000 BTU Heat Pump

  • 9,000 BTU Heating and Cooling Capacity
  • 10.5 HSPF and 22.5 SEER
  • Gathers heat in temperature down to 5F
  • 110 – 120 V Operation
  • 5 Year Warranty

Most Efficient

PIONEER WYS012AMFI22RL 12,000 BTU Mini Split Heat Pump

  • 11,800 BTU Heating and 12000 BTU Cooling Capacity
  • 11.2 HSPF and 21.5 SEER
  • Works to outdoor temperature of 5F
  • 110-120 Volt Operation
  • 5 Year Warranty

Best 12000 BTU / 1 ton

MRCOOL DIY 3rd Generation 24,000 BTU 20 SEER Heat Pump

  • 25,000 Heating and 23,000 Cooling Capacity
  • HSPF 10 and SEER 20
  • Pre-charged and easy to install
  • Efficiently Heats and Cools up to 1,000 Sq. Ft.
  • 7-year compressor and 5-year parts warranty

Best DIY

Mitsubishi 24,000 BTU Air Conditioner Heat Pump Split

  • 27,600 BTU Heating and 22,400 BTU Cooling Capacity
  • HSPF 10 and SEER 20.5
  • Best for 1000 square feet
  • 230v electrical operation
  • Energy Star Certified

Best for 1000 sq ft

Cooper & Hunter Hyper Heat 2 Zone 9,000+9,000 BTU Heat Pump

  • Total indoor capacity of 18000 BTU
  • HSPF 9.8 and SEER 21.5
  • Delivers heat in outside temperature down to -22F
  • 2 – 9,000 BTU Indoor Air Handlers
  • 7 year Compressor, 5 year Parts Warranty

Best Dual Zone

Cold Weather Mini Split Reviews

Here are full reviews of the brands that make the top rated cold weather and cold climate heat pumps. Pros and cons of each model are included.

Daikin Branded Mini Split Heat Pumps

Daikin has been a global leader in quality heating and cooling systems since 1921. Since 2004, Daikin has been selling air conditioning and heating units in North America. Daikin has more than 50 years of experience with heat pumps and now provides them to more than one million homes and businesses each year.

Daikin’s AURORA Series of Mini Split Heat Pumps offers up to 100% Heating Capacity at 5°F (-15°C) and will operate efficiently down to -13°F ambient temperature. SEER up to 20.3, HSPF to 12.5.

Note: In 2021, Daikin introduced their new ATMOSPHERA series which boasts the first single zone ductless system to use R-32 refrigerant in North America. R-32 has a lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) than R-410A. With this new technology, SEER is as high as 27.4 and HSPF up to 13.8. At this time, however, these units can only be used in WA, OR and FL because of building codes.

Daikin 12,000 BTU 20 SEER Low Ambient Ductless Mini-Split Inverter Heat Pump System

Overall Best Mini Split for Cold Weather

 Features:

  • About 1 ton of heating and air conditioning capacity
  • Washable Air Filter
  • Indoor Sound Pressure as low as 19 dB(A)
  • Economy-Mode
  • Auto-Restart after Power Failure
  • Auto-Fan Speed Control 

Pros:

  • Two-level filtration technology gets rid of smells and odors, as well as dust and bacteria.
  • Many innovative features with more on the horizon. 

Cons:

  • Installers familiar with Daikin equipment are not always easy to find.
  • Installation cost tends to run high.

Bottom Line:

 This Daikin mini split heat pump is a great option for primary living areas such as master bedrooms, remodeling, basements, attics & garages, and even winter cabins. Other sizes in this line of mini splits are the 9K, 15K, 18K and 24K. All are manufactured to Daikin’s high quality standards known around the world.

Daikin 9,000 BTU 20 SEER Low Ambient Ductless Mini-Split Inverter Heat Pump System

Best Small Ductless Heat Pump

Features:

  • Hot Start – Prevents the unit from releasing a cold draft into the room when heating starts .
  • Comfort Mode – Adjusts the flap in the indoor unit to prevent cool air from being blown directly onto the body.
  • Powerful Operation – Gives a 20 minute boost in cooling or heating power, even if it is already operating at high capacity.
  • Anti-Corrosion Heat Exchanger. 

Pros:

  • Cold Climate Optimized – 100% rated heating capacity at 5°F and confirmed continuous operation as low -13°F
  • Proven reliability 

Cons:

  • Remote is a few degrees off actual temperature 

Bottom Line:

This 9K mini split is the smallest of Daikin’s Aurora line, designed with colder climates in mind. It has the highest HSPF rating, the quietest outdoor unit, and weighs the least. This is a great option for a single zone mini split for a small space.  

Pioneer Branded Mini Split Heat Pumps 

Parker Davis is the manufacturer of the Pioneer brand. With almost a quarter century of operation, Parker Davis HVAC has been one of the largest suppliers of ductless mini-split and multi-split systems in the country. It is the parent company of Pioneer mini splits. This Ultra High Efficiency line of ductless mini split heat pumps produce very high HSPF for heating as well as SEER for cooling. Their customer service often receives high reviews, and their hotline is open 24 hours a day if you should ever have a problem.

PIONEER WYS009AMFI22RL Wall Mount Ductless Inverter+ Mini Split Heat Pump, 9,000 BTU-110/120V

Most Efficient

Features:

  • About .75 ton heating and air conditioning capacity
  • Refrigerant Leak Detection
  • Temperature Compensation
  • Anticold Air Function

Pros:

  • Auto energy-saving mode when standby
  • Very quiet operation
  • Cools a small room very efficiently
  • Most efficient heat pump on the list

Cons:

User comment: “Wish it had a way to change settings from F to C.”

Special tools are needed for DIY installation – Not DIY-friendly

Bottom Line:

 This ductless mini split system and the one below are both in the WYS 22 Inverter Series of Pioneer units. They offer models from 9K to 24K BTU. Built with latest technologies for superior efficiency, comfort and performance, both of these single zone mini splits are also offered in 230V models.

PIONEER WYS012AMFI22RL Mini Split Heat Pump, 12000 BTU-110/120 V

Best 12,000 BTU Mini Split for Cold Climates

Features:

  • Emergency start
  • Low Ambient Cooling 
  • Intelligent on-off Technology
  • 2-way Draining for ease of Installation
  • Follow Me (Remote Thermostat)

Pros:

  • Very quiet when running
  • Fairly easy installation for experienced installer
  • Heats and cools well

Cons:

DIY installation was not very easy

Be sure to register the factory warranty as soon as installed 

Bottom Line:

 This 12000 BTU ductless mini split has the highest HSPF of this Pioneer lineup, so it is the best for low temperature applications. It is also one of the most popular sizes.

Mitsubishi Branded Mini Split Heat Pumps 

From its founding in 1921, Mitsubishi Electric has been at the forefront of Japan’s electronic technology and product innovation.

In 2018, Trane Technologies and Mitsubishi Electric formed a joint venture, Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US (METUS), which provides innovative heating and cooling products. All METUS systems remain true to Mitsubishi Electric’s three-decade-long promise to deliver personalized comfort while conserving energy and promoting environmental sustainability.

Mitsubishi 24,000 BTU Heat Pump Split AC SEER 20.5 Cool & Heat

Best 24,000 BTU Mini Split for Cold Weather

Features:

  • Smart Set temperature technology
  • Economy Cool mode
  • Advanced deodorization, anti-allergen filtration system
  • 5 year parts and 7 year compressor warranty – 10 years with online registration
  • Ideal mini split for 1000 square feet

Pros:

  • Generally considered one of the top brands in the a/c industry
  • Ductless systems operate at whisper-quiet decibels
  • Dual filtration and washable air filters for cleaner air

Features:

  • Must be installed by a qualified, licensed HVAC technician
  • Premium product comes with a premium cost

Bottom Line:

 If you are looking for a top quality system with proven dependability, this Mitsubishi mini split may be what you seek. With the inclusion of the latest technology and features, you can be assured of great value for your money.

MRCOOL Branded Mini Split Heat Pumps 

MRCOOL mini split A/C and heat systems are the cutting edge of what modern, flexible fabrication can produce. These mini-split systems rely on state-of-the-art manufacturing processes and advanced design to deliver high efficiency air comfort anywhere you need it. 

MRCOOL leads the industry in true DIY ductless mini split systems, having received a patent as recently as Sept 2021 that approves them for “amateur installation”.

MRCOOL DIY 24k BTU 20 SEER Ductless Heat Pump Split System 3rd Generation – Energy Star 230v

Best DIY Mini Split for Cold Climates

Features:

  • Easy DIY Installation
  • Smartphone App Control from Anywhere
  • Leakage Detection Alarm Protects Your Investment
  • Low Ambient Cooling down to 5°F
  • Digital Assistant Ready

Pros:

  • A true DIY system that comes with pre-charged refrigerant lines.
  • User comment: “Fast delivery, installed by myself including the electrical in less than 8hrs.”
  • User comment: “My electric bill for this has been far better than I was paying with electric heat and window unit a/c.”

Cons:

  • Customer support is an issue with some buyers. 

Bottom Line:

MRCOOL receives exceptionally good overall ratings on most of its a/c heat pump systems. This unit has been given 4.7 stars out of 5 by many verified purchasers. This unit is also available in 12K, 18K and 36K. With a 7 year compressor, 5 year parts warranty, this MRCOOL is a good choice – especially if you want to do the installation yourself. 

Cooper & Hunter Branded Mini Split Heat Pumps

With more than 20 years in air conditioning and ventilation, and operating in 50 countries, C&H is firmly established in the HVAC market. Quality control meets the requirements of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). C&H receives less than 0.02% defects claims on their wide range of products.

Cooper & Hunter Hyper Heat -22F Dual Zone 9,000 + 9,000 BTU Ductless Mini Split Heat Pump System

Best Dual Zone Mini Split for Cold Weather

Features:

  • Anti-Corrosive Golden Fin condenser
  • Ultra-quiet low noise design
  • 2 Remotes for independent indoor unit control
  • 18000 BTU indoor heating capacity 

Pros:

  • Outdoor unit is designed to operate at cold temperatures down to -22F
  • Peace of mind with good warranty and high durability

Features:

  • Outdoor unit is designed to operate at cold temperatures down to -22F
  • Peace of mind with good warranty and high durability 

Bottom Line:

 This is one of the few multi zone mini split systems that is specially designed for operation in very cold climates. 9,000 BTU will normally condition the air around 350 square feet. This would be a great choice for many different applications.

Cold Weather Mini Split Buying Guide

Knowing the best mini split heat pumps for cold climates is a great first step.

Now, here are things to consider in order to make an educated purchase of the right mini split for your needs.

FAQs follow.

Some Important Points to Remember Before You Buy:

Sizing – Sizing is simply knowing the physical size of the area you want to heat or cool. Every heat pump split system has a rated output for both cooling and heating capacity. Be sure to look for a unit that will be appropriate for your room or rooms. Either too large or too small will not operate as efficiently as one that is sized correctly. Use the calculator below to help get this right.

Installation – Pro or DIY? Most mini split heat pumps require pro installation because they are not pre-charged with refrigerant. And only a licensed technician with a refrigerant certification can charge a system.

But even with DIY mini split systems, many people are not able or wanting to install a mini split system on their own, so they hire it done professionally. There are plenty of contractors in almost every area who are trained and licensed to help you. Other people like the challenge and the money savings that comes with a DIY project. If you plan to self-install a mini split system, be sure to check to see if it will void the manufacturer’s warranty. Check out the Pick HVAC Best DIY Mini Split Guide to find top rated systems that are designed especially for DIY.

Brand Recognition – There are many brand names in the HVAC market. You may have heard that others, such as LG, Samsung, Fujitsu or others are as good as those listed in this review. Some of them certainly are. See our Pick HVAC Reviews of those heat pump brands for full details and comparison. Our goal here is to help you purchase a unit that can be on its way immediately.

Our advice is to do your own research; check out the products and read what verified purchasers have said. When it comes to buying a quality mini split that will keep you warm in low temperature conditions, look for efficiency and reliability, not just brand recognition.

How to Install a Mini Split Heat Pump

First, you must choose a mini split that is pre-charged and ready for DIY installation if you intend to do it yourself.

If you’re wondering, so you can discuss the work with a mini split HVAC contractor, the basic steps are:

1). Choose a properly sized system for the space

2). Decide on the right number of zones. For example, a 24,000 BTU system can be configured for one to three zones depending on the size of the indoor units, 9000, 12,000, 18000 or 24000 BTU.

3). Install the outside unit, either on a flat slab or by using a wall-mounted bracket.

4). Cut the hole for the refrigerant lines, drain and wiring

5). Install the indoor unit – floor mounted, wall mounted, ceiling mounted, duct mounted, etc.

6). Connect the lines/wiring/drain to both the outdoor and indoor units

7). Connect wiring from the outside unit to your electrical panel – you’ll probably need a new circuit

8). Install the thermostat control

9). Power up and test the system

FAQ

What is a cold weather mini split?

It is a ductless mini split system with the ability to gather heat even when the air outside is very cold – near, at or below 0-degrees Fahrenheit.

For example, the Daikin Aurora ductless heat pumps listed in our Best Mini Splits for Cold Weather can deliver 100% of their heating capacity in temperature down to 5F. And they can collect some heat in temperatures as low as -13F.

What is the lowest temperature a heat pump will work?

Depending on the brand, 5F to as low as -22F. Here are examples from top rated mini split for cold climate brands.

  • Daikin Aurora: -13F
  • Fujitsu Halcyon XLTH (extreme low temperature heating): -15F
  • Gree: -22F

For best results, use a mini split if your temperatures remain above 0-degrees Fahrenheit most days.

Should I try DIY mini split installation?

Yes, you should at least consider it with these things in mind:

1). The unit must be designed for DIY installation – meaning that it is pre-charged, and all you have to do is to plug in the refrigerant lines.

2). You have good skills and experience using power tools.

3). You are sure you have the right size mini split, which you can do using our Mini Split Sizing Calculator

What are the best ductless heat pump brands?

The top rated brands are Daikin, Mitsubishi, Samsung, MrCool for DIY, Pioneer, Gree, Fujitsu and LG.

Should I choose a mini split or a furnace?

A mini split for cold weather is a really good choice when the space is smaller – under 1,200 square feet and you need about 2 ton capacity – or 24,000 BTUs.

This makes them ideal for home additions, parts of the house that aren’t adequately heated by the central heating system, garage use, etc.

To heat a large space in very cold temperatures – those consistently below freezing and possibly even below zero, it is hard to beat the heating power of a large gas furnace.

Written by

Rene has worked 10 years in the HVAC field and now is the Senior Comfort Specialist for PICKHVAC. He holds an HVAC associate degree from Lone Star College and EPA & R-410A Certifications.
Share Your HVAC Quote/Cost

Share Your HVAC Quote/Cost

We rely on readers like you to share your HVAC system cost or quote. It really helps other visitors to estimate the cost of a new HVAC unit.

Optional
Optional
ie: Tranx XR13, Lennox xp15
Include Ductwork Replacement? *
Sending

Leave a Comment

DMCA.com Protection Status