We’ve selected the 10 best air heat pumps in three performance categories to give you the information needed to make your buying decision.
This air source heat pump buying guide includes costs for each model, features, pros and cons, and the use that gives the best return on investment for each.
Air Heat Pump Options
Size and efficiency vary significantly, producing a wide cost range as a result.
Size or capacity to move heat: 1.5 tons to 5.0 tons, or 18,000 to 60,000 BTUs per hour.
Efficiency: 13 SEER cooling efficiency and 8.0 HSPF heating efficiency to 24 SEER and 13 HSPF. The higher the rating, the more efficient the unit.
Installed cost range: $4,500 to $13,500
Average cost: A 3-ton, 17 SEER two-stage central heat pump is right about average, and the installed cost is $7,500 to $10,500 based on brand and installation complexities. Expect to pay about $9,000 for a complete system with the capability, especially if you choose one of the top heat pumps available.
There are cheaper brands like Goodman and Payne, but you might not get the long-term quality and performance you’re here to find.
Cost factors are explored below. They’ll allow you to narrow down your potential heat pump installation cost based on the units you’re considering.
What is an Air Source Heat Pump?
Simply put, an air heat pump, or air source heat exchange pump moves heat from one place to another. It does not create heat. A heat pump collects heat from the outside air when heating your home. It dumps heat from your house into outside air when air conditioning your home. That seems obvious – but the contrast is to a ground source heat pump, also called a geothermal heat pump.
Ground source heat pumps collect and dump heat underground, or sometimes in a body of water, where year-round temperatures are consistent. This makes geothermal heat pumps more efficient – it is easier to collect heat for warming your home in ground that is 55 to 60 degrees than from air that is much colder.
Likewise, dumping heat into ground or water in that temperature range is easier than dispersing it into air that is 80 to 100+ degrees. However, geothermal heat pumps cost much more and might not be a cost-effective choice for your situation.
When to Choose an Air Source Heat Pump
They are an excellent fit for most climates, though they make less sense for locations where winters are very cold.
When winter temperatures drop into the 30s or lower, auxiliary electric heat strips in the air handler assist with heating.
However, electric heat is the most expensive type, so overall efficiency is lost, and energy costs rise when the heat strips are used a lot. For this reason, heat pumps are not best sellers in the colder, northern regions of North America.
Dual fuel systems with a heat pump and gas furnace are an option in very cold climates. They’re explained in the Top Air Source Heat Pump Reviews below.
Top 10 Air Heat Pumps
We’ve selected 3 single-stage, 4 two-stage and 3 variable capacity heat pumps for the list. They’re sorted accordingly below where you will find full heat pump reviews for these top 10 models including cost, pros and cons, ROI based on your climate and more details.
- Trane XL16i Heat Pump
- Carrier 25HCC5 Performance 15 Heat Pump
- Ducane 4HP15L Heat Pump
- Lennox XP21 Heat Pump
- Armstrong 4SHP16LS Heat Pump
- Carrier 25HNB6 Infinity 16 Heat Pump
- Rheem Classic Series RP16 Heat Pump
- Carrier 25VNA4 Infinity 24 Heat Pump
- Lennox XP25 Heat Pump
- Trane XV20i Variable Speed Heat Pump