The information on this page provides all you need to know if you are considering a ceiling mount ductless mini split AC/heat pump system.
Equipment cost, labor cost for installation, as well as other cost factors to consider when calculating your total cost estimate.
Also included is research on the best brands, FAQ, and more.
Terminology Tip: Ceiling mount mini splits are available in two indoor configurations: ceiling cassettes, which are mounted in ceiling, and suspended units, which are mounted on the ceiling.
Both types come with a wide variety of features, including oscillating fans, auto temperature and humidity control, sleep timers, motion sensors and more. Most can be used in either single or multi-zone applications, depending on the size and type of outdoor unit to which they are connected.
Ceiling Mount Mini Split Price
How much does a ceiling mounted mini split cost?
Ceiling mount mini split heat pump system prices range from $1,000 to $10,700 for the basic equipment only. Labor will add $700 to $5,000 to the total cost. These costs will be based on the number of zones as well as many other installation cost factors that will be discussed below.
Stated another way, you can expect to pay between $1,000 for a single zone 9,000 BTU system and over $10,700 for the 60,000 BTU multizone mini split equipment. In some cases, there may be additional hardware that is not included in the base price.
Ceiling Mount Mini Split Cost
|Single Zone Size||Equipment Cost||Labor||Total Cost|
|9,000 BTU||$1,000 – $2,500||$500 – $1,400||$1,700 – $3,900|
|12,000 BTU||$1,400 – $2,850||$500 – $1,400||$1,900 – $4,250|
|15,000 BTU||$2,205 – $3,450||$800 – $1,500||$3,025 – $4,950|
|18,000 BTU||$2,250 – $4,750||$800 – $1,500||$3,050 – $6,250|
|24,000 BTU||$2,475 – $5,700||$800 – $1,500||$3,275 – $7,200|
|Zone||Sizes||Equipment Cost||Labor||Total Cost|
|Dual Zone Sizes||18,000-36,000 BTU||$2,575 – $6,700||$1,500 – $2,500||$4,075 – $8,200|
|3 Zone||24,000-36,000 BTU||$3,675 – $8,050||$2,000 – $3,000||$5,600 – $11,050|
|4 Zone||30,000-48,000 BTU||$4,400 – $9,100||$3,400 – $4,500||$7,800 – $13,575|
|5 Zone||36,000-60,000 BTU||$5,500 – $10,700||$4,000 – $5,000||$9,500 – $15,700|
Typical equipment and labor costs. The table above shows ceiling mount mini split cost for common system sizes and configurations. There are many more ways you can configure your system by the size of the outdoor unit, the number of zones and their individual sizes. Obviously, the size of the outdoor unit and the number and size of the indoor units will affect the total cost.
Note: This list contains both AC-only and heat pump systems. On average, a heat pump will cost between $300 and $500 more than an AC-only mini split of the same brand, series and size. See the Cost Factors for additional information in this regar
What equipment makes up a ceiling mount mini split system?
- Outdoor Unit: This is also called the condenser unit. Sizes range from 9,000 to 60,000 BTU. This is the same as .75 to 5 tons of AC or heat pump capacity.
- Indoor Unit: This is the evaporator unit. Most systems listed include 1 to 5 ceiling mounted indoor units, but some of the larger mini splits can handle more. They may be either cassettes or suspended units.
- Remote: A remote is standard with many equipment packages. Some are equipped with a built-in thermostat that senses the temperature wherever the remote is.
- Wall Control/Thermostat: This may come standard or as an option on some of these mini split AC and heat and cooling heat pump packages.
- Refrigerant Line Set: Also called a lineset, these are two copper lines which carry the refrigerant back and forth from the outdoor unit to the indoor unit(s). As with all AC/heat pump operations, the refrigerant carries heat out of the house when in the cooling mode and into the house when in the heating mode (in the case of heat pumps).
- Wiring Bundle: These connect the outdoor and indoor unit to provide both power and control to the system.
- Drain: During the air conditioning cycle, humidity is removed from inside the building. The drain line will carry this condensed moisture out of the house.
You can buy a complete package from many online sellers. It includes the essentials plus a list of options like line sets in various lengths and mounting brackets or pads for the outside unit.
When you work with a local HVAC company that will also install the system, you’ll have a “menu” of outdoor units to match with indoor units you prefer. The system is more tailored to your needs.
How much does a ceiling mount mini split cost to install?
Mini split ceiling cassette installation tip: The ceiling cassettes of most brands are sized to fit between ceiling joists that are on 24 inch centers or in suspended ceilings with 24 inch panels. If your building has ceiling joists that are on 16 inch centers, the installation costs will increase significantly. Be aware of the dimensions involved in your particular situation when choosing a mini split with ceiling cassettes.
Total installation cost may be as low as $700 or more than $5,000 depending on the number of indoor units and the difficulty of the installation. Ceiling cassette indoor units typically require much more labor than wall or floor mounted units, for example.
Mini split ceiling cassette installation breakdown:
Installation cost has been separated from equipment cost in the above chart, but be aware that local labor costs may vary considerably.
When a contractor is hired to install your mini split system, the average cost estimates broken down by the components are as follows:
- Outdoor Unit / Condensing Unit Installation: $400 – $800.
- First Indoor Unit: $700 – $1,200. This is to cut the hole in the exterior wall, install the indoor unit in the ceiling, run wiring, refrigerant lines and drain hose, charge (especially for multiple zones), connect and run test the system.
- Each Additional Indoor Unit: Approximately $600 – $1,000 per unit.
What are the ceiling mount mini split price and installation cost factors?
The total cost of any mini split heat pump or AC system is determined by these individual aspects of the total job. They are a combination of both equipment and installation costs.
- Total Capacity of the system: Higher capacity systems cost more. A 24,000 BTU single-zone system will cost more than a 12,000 BTU system of the same brand and series. A 48,000 4-zone system will cost more than a 36,000 BTU quad zone of the same brand and series, etc.
- Number of indoor zones: Ductless mini split systems can be extensive, with 2/3/4/5/6 zones or more! This factor can add to the cost significantly. Each time you add a zone, there is not only the cost of the indoor unit, but the refrigerant lines, electrical wires and drain hose, and also the labor to install the unit inside the building.
- Refrigerant line set length: The options range from 10 feet to 50 feet with most brands, while the cost can range from about $175 to more than $400 for the line set.
- Efficiency: AC cooling efficiency is called SEER, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Mini splits today range from about 16 SEER to 38 SEER. Why some are much more efficient than others is a result of product quality and is a main reason why costs also have a wide range.
- Brand: As with many products, mini splits are produced by several manufacturers and represent various levels of quality. Fujitsu and Mitsubishi, for example, will cost more than Senville and Cooper & Hunter.
- Installation difficulty: To install ceiling cassettes, especially in multi-zone systems, there will be a significant amount of labor involved, and will correspondingly affect installation estimates.
Why Choose a Ceiling Mount Mini Split?
The common options for the indoor unit of a mini split system are wall mount, floor mount, concealed duct and ceiling mount. Each type has its pros and cons and best uses.
Wall mount indoor units: This is the most popular type. Standard wall mounted indoor units are also the most affordable when comparing mini split ceiling cassette vs wall mount, costing even less than floor mount indoor units. Many people also choose the wall mounted indoor unit when floor space is limited and when they will run AC more than heating mode. With the unit mounted up high on the wall, the cool air will naturally tend to sink and require less circulation to provide coverage for the entire space.
Floor mount indoor units: These units are next in price, but still less than units mounted on the ceiling or inside ducts. Since heat rises, they are more efficient when the heating mode is used more than cooling.
Ceiling mount indoor units: Ceiling mounted mini splits offer a wide range of benefits. They are less noticeable than most other mini split options because they’re located above eye level and the majority of the unit is hidden above the ceiling. Only the grille is visible, and it has a clean, stylish look.
Because ceiling mounted mini splits are installed on the ceiling rather than the floor, they maximize your living space by not taking up any space on the floor or walls of your room.
Ceiling cassette mini-split systems also blow air out in more directions – all four – than other types of indoor units. These outlets can be opened or closed, some will oscillate, and some will automatically adjust the air flow depending on people in the room using motion sensors. Of all the different styles, ceiling cassettes offer the most options for controlling air flow in a room.
Did you know? An additional option with a ceiling cassette is to install a branch duct. A cassette with branch duct will allow some of the conditioned air to flow to an adjacent room so you can cool both places with one indoor unit.
Suspended ceiling units are usually fairly large, weighing up to 100 pounds and covering over 10 square feet of ceiling space. They are best suited to light commercial applications where their profile will be lost in the height of the ceiling as well as other lighting and/or HVAC equipment.
Tip for climate comfort and energy efficiency: Whatever heating system type you choose, if your ceilings are 10 feet or higher, you should use ceiling fans. When fans are moving the air down during the cooling season and up during the heating season, they will keep the most comfortable air where you live – in the lower 6-8 feet of the room.
Best Brands – Ceiling Mount Mini Split AC and Heat Pumps
Here are the top brands that offer ceiling mounted indoor units for mini splits.
When it comes to ratings, the Fujitsu brand is always near the top of the best mini splits available. Quality, efficiency, and dependability are what makes them stand out. Their Halcyon and Halcyon XLTH (XLTH = Extra Low Temperature Heating to -15F) mini split systems are premium options for both AC and heating. Outdoor units are made in 18,000 BTU to 48,000 BTU capacities.
Fujitsu’s ceiling mounted indoor units are available in their RGLX Cassettes from 18,000 BTU to 42,000 BTU. They also offer an RSLX model which is suspended from the ceiling. This comes in the 36,000 BTU size and supports additional ductwork to bring air from outside into your system.
Daikin is recognized as one of the world leaders in the manufacture of HVAC equipment and refrigerants. Their Aurora series outdoor units offer superior performance in many sizes and efficiency up to about 20 SEER and 11.7 HSPF.
Their ceiling cassettes come in 2 different models ranging from 5,800 BTU to 48,000 BTU options. Larger-profile suspended models are available in 18K, 24K, 30K and 36K sizes.
Mitsubishi offers both AC-only and heat pump options for ceiling mounted indoor units.
Installation Tip: Mitsubishi is currently the only manufacturer producing a ceiling cassette that will fit between 16” ceiling joists. This MLZ indoor unit is available with the smallest size 9,000 BTU, but also in 12,000 and 18,000 BTU models.
Mitsubishi also offers a larger model (24,000 to 42,000 BTU) designed to be suspended from the ceiling. These are ideal for larger retail stores, commercial kitchens, classrooms, and office spaces. Their standard 22” ceiling cassettes are among the best in the industry, offering efficiency ratings up to 27 SEER and 12.8 HSPF.
Are there other top brands?
In addition to Fujitsu, Daikin and Mitsubishi, other brands to consider include Cooper & Hunter, Senville and Pioneer.
What about DIY brands?
There are no ceiling mount mini split DIY systems.
There are a few brands that advertise as DIY, including MrCool (aka Mr Cool) and Klimaire. Some are 120v, simplifying the electrical connections, but they are only produced with wall mounted indoor units, which are the easiest to install.
Why is Cassette AC expensive?
As you compare ceiling mount vs wall mount vs floor mount mini split systems, you’ll notice that ceiling cassettes are the most expensive. This is for two reasons.
First, the cassette unit is more sophisticated than the other types, so costs are higher. Secondly, installation is more invasive – it takes more time – so labor costs are higher too.
What’s the difference between a ceiling cassette and a suspended ceiling mount unit?
A ceiling cassette is mounted up inside the ceiling with only the grill with the air louvers visible – nearly flush with the ceiling. A suspended ceiling mount unit is mounted below the ceiling; usually a white, acrylic case with louvers on one side to direct air flow toward the center of the room.
Will I save money buying online?
Buying a system online and hiring a local HVAC company to install it is one option.
This probably will not save you money. Why?
When a local contractor sells equipment plus installation, they make a little money on both. When you already have the equipment – when you buy it online – the installer will likely charge a little more, or a lot more, for installation.
They do this to ensure that their total revenue for a job is what they need in order to pay technicians, cover overhead costs like trucks, tools and insurance and still make a little profit.
Plus, when you hire an HVAC company for the work, you’ll get a mini split system customized to your home’s heating and AC needs rather than a prepackaged system that is a “generic” fit.