7 Best Mini Split Heat Pumps for Cold Weather

Josh Mitchell

Written By

Josh Mitchell

Expert Reviewed By

Holly Curell

Last Updated On

“If you make a purchase using our provided links, we may receive a commission. Learn more here.

Battling indoor temperature swings during the winter chill? Been there!

My conventional heating system was waving the white flag in the dead of winter, so I dove into the world of mini-split heat pumps.

I've sifted through the options, focusing on the most compact (super easy to mount) ones so you don't waste money on an inefficient pump.

These mini split heat pumps gave my energy bills a much-needed break and brought a breath of fresh (and warm) air.

Quick Glance - My Recommendations

Pioneer Air Conditioner WYS012G-20 Wall Mount...

Pioneer WYS012-19

Best Overall

Senville AURA Series Mini Split Air...

Senville AURA Series

Powerful with Smart Function
Friedrich Air Premier FRHW123A

Friedrich Air Premier FRHW123A

Most Energy Efficient Model

Mini-split heat pumps aren't just winter warriors; they're cool in the summer, too.[1]

Thanks to their innovative inverted heat pump technology, staying cozy was a breeze, all while fine-tuning my overall energy consumption.[2]

Before my top-notch mini-split, I'd sweat buckets and freeze like a popsicle.

Cold climate heaters are reliable, each tackling frosty temperatures.

Before installing the best mini-split heat pump, I compared energy use, cooling power, Energy Star ratings, and inverter tech.

My metrics were versatile comfort that beats the heat and conquers the chill.

7 Highly Rated Mini Split Heat Pumps

1. Pioneer WYS012-19

4.8

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.5

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Cooling Ability

5.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Value for Money

5.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Who should buy the Pioneer WYS mini split heat pump?

The Pioneer WYS012-19 is my best pick due to its top quality, pricing, reliability, and performance.

Pros
  • Conserves energy
  • Dehumidifies the air
  • Easy to install
  • Whisper-quiet operation
CONS
  • Pricier than other models
  • Not as powerful

At the core of central air conditioning, its high-spec air handler is robust enough to function effectively as an outdoor unit.[3]

The Pioneer WYS012-19 boasts an impressive 17.5 SEER rating, indicating significant energy efficiency.

Pioneer mini splits excel as single-room additions, with a cooling capacity comparable to Daikin heat pumps.

This split heat pump seamlessly transitions from heating in cold weather to cooling in the summer, operating quietly like a Silent Guardian. Now, let's delve into its power.

With a cooling power of 12,000 BTU and heating power of also 12,000 BTU, this caped crusader conquers rooms up to 500 sq. ft.

As a light sleeper, I can attest that this Batman of air conditioners operates quietly, registering just 23 decibelsquieter than a whisper.

Other convenient features include an easy-to-use remote controller and washable air filters, which makes this model low maintenance.

The heat pump's automatic switchover mode takes care of the decision-making, seamlessly switching among the four operating modes: cooling, heating, dehumidification, and ventilation.

In the event of a temporary failure, I was amazed that the model's auto-restart function remembers all my settings, and the night mode adjusts settings to match my body's natural temperature.

This model comes with DIY installation accessories, much like the MRCOOL mini split heat pump, providing all the necessary tools from indoor and outdoor units to a 16ft copper piping kit.

I experienced optimal energy savings and efficiency levels thanks to its variable-speed compressor. To add the final touch, a 3-year compressor warranty was included.

Feature

Details

BTU Rating

12,000 BTU

Heating Coverage Area

500 sq. ft.

Voltage

230

SEER / HSPF

20.5 / 10.5

Warranty

3 Years Compressor


2. Senville AURA Series

4.8

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

5.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Cooling Ability

5.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Value for Money

4.5

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Who is the Senville AURA Series best for?

The Senville AURA Series is great for those looking to control the temperature using smart technology.

Pros
  • Works with Alexa
  • Long warranty
  • Energy Star Certified
  • All-in-one system
  • High heating capacity
CONS
  • Requires professional installation

After a hands-on showdown with the Senville AURA Series, I dubbed it the LeBron James of temperature control.

The cold climate heat pump features smart functions, eliminating the need to lift a finger.

I reside in a colder climate and its ability to heat or cool down to -22°F was an asset.

The model's 24,000 BTUs engulfed my living space like a heatwave on steroids. During a gathering of guests, the Senville AURA efficiently cooled the room in no time.

Adjusting the volume on the TV wasn't necessary, as the mini split works diligently in silence.

The Senville AURA Series boasts rapid cooling, cozy heating, and precise humidity control.

Additionally, its SEER rating and ultra-inverter technology potentially enable homeowners to save up to 40% on energy costs.[4]

"Alexa, Make it Breezy." I can command the Senville AURA Series like my personal butler. Controlling it with my voice means I don't have to lift a finger.

The model comes with a 16ft. line set and communication, eliminating the need to scramble for parts during setup.

I was sure Senville kept the quality at par with industry standards since the mini split is Energy Star Certified, UL Listed, and AHRI Certified.

It’s also backed by a 10-year warranty on parts and a 5-year warranty on the compressor.

This warranty surpasses that of its counterpart, the Pioneer WYS012-19. Given that this wasn't my typical weekend DIY project,

I recommend leaving the installation to the experts.

"A Mini Split for All."

I attempted to cool down various rooms in my home, and the Senville AURA Series rose to the occasion.

The mini split is as cool as a cucumber, as reliable as a Swiss watch, and as user-friendly as a toaster.

Feature

Details

BTU Rating

24,000 BTU

Heating Coverage Area

1500 sq. ft.

Voltage

230

SEER / HSPF

28.1 / 11.5

Warranty

5 Years Compressor


3. Friedrich FRHW123A

Most Energy Efficient

4.6

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

5.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Cooling Ability

5.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Value for Money

4.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Who is the Friedrich Air Premier for?

If energy consumption is the core feature you seek, then the Friedrich Air Premier model is your choice.

Pros
  • Auto-restart feature
  • Optimal efficiency
  • Wi-Fi enabled
  • Compact design
  • Ductless heat pump system
CONS
  • Pricier than other models

With a capacity of 12,000 BTUs, I labeled it the powerhouse of energy efficiency compared to other models in this review.

In addition to cooling and heating, I utilized the Friedrich Air Premier to eliminate excess moisture.

I was also impressed that the mini-split heat pump was optimal in temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit.

In contrast to the Pioneer WYS012-19, I found this model suitable for medium-sized spaces of up to 550 sq. ft.

Like the Senville AURA, it offers multiple operating modes, including cool, heat, dry, and fan-only modes.

Its Dry Mode, for instance, effectively eliminated excess moisture in my living space at 2.5 pints per hour.[5] My home no longer felt like a tropical rainforest.

The Fan-Only Mode is the ally of comfort as it circulates air like a gentle breeze on a summer day.

Using the FriedrichGo App, I managed this mini-genius with my smartphone. The app integrates seamlessly with Alexa and Google Home.

Feature

Details

BTU Rating

12,000 BTU

Heating Coverage Area

550 sq. ft.

Voltage

230

SEER / HSPF

24 / 12

Warranty

7 Years Compressor


4. Cooper & Hunter Hyper Heat

4.5

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.5

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Cooling Ability

4.5

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Value for Money

4.5

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Who should consider purchasing the Cooper 7 Hunter heat pump?

Opt for this Cooper 7 Hunter model if you desire all the tech functionalities of an advanced AC unit.

Pros
  • Ductless heating
  • Energy saving mode
  • Suits freezing climates
CONS
  • DIY setup voids the warranty

The Cooper & Hunter Hyper Heat Pump performed its job without much fuss.

Its features read like a cheat code for comfort: 9,000 BTUs, 25 SEER, and a -22°F Heat Pump.

The subtle heating capacity enhances its energy efficiency. The Whisper Technology was a delight, as the Hyper Heat series ensures library-level quiet operation.

Similar to most other advanced heat pumps, this one comes equipped with an infrared sensor and a thermostat.

Both features automatically warm the air when there's human movement in a room, which I love.

Similar to the Friedrich Air Premier, this ductless mini-split AC is suitable for heating and cooling spaces up to 550 square feet.[6]

It's not solely about temperature control—this cold climate heat pump also effectively dehumidified my space.

I tested its low ambient cooling, which scales to 0°F, ensuring year-round comfort.

Buyers get a 7-year compressor warranty and a 5-year parts warranty for peace of mind.

To maintain the validity of the warranty terms, I enlisted a professional for installation.

However, I found the setup documentation could have been improved and the placement of the remote control inconvenient.

The extras for installation include a 16-foot copper line set, drainage extension, and communication.

While it's pricier than some models on this list, it comes with various installation accessories that justify the cost.

Feature

Details

BTU Rating

12,000 BTU

Heating Coverage Area

550 sq. ft.

Voltage

230

SEER / HSPF

21 / 11

Warranty

7 Years Compressor


5. Senville SENA-18HF/IF

4.5

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.5

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Cooling Ability

5.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Value for Money

4.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

What is the Senville SENA-18HF/IF best for?

This Senville model is hands down the best mini-split heat pump for cold weather in terms of mounting options.

Pros
  • Self-cleaning feature
  • Efficient performance
  • Ultra-inverter technology
  • Superb warranty
CONS
  • Pricier than similar models

The Senville SENA isn't just built for comfort but for the long haul.

From its sleek design to its unbeatable inverted heat pump technology and performance, this cold-climate heat pump truly surpassed my expectations.

As with other notable cold-climate heat pumps, this model also uses DC Inverter Technology. And that justifies its energy efficiency and whisper-quiet operation.

I can choose to install it as a floor or ceiling mount. This model was mounted high but still made my home comfortable.

Whether it's moderate temperatures or extreme heating needs for those chilly winter days, this heat source doesn't pick sides.

The cold-climate heat pump is UL-listed and AHRI Certified, so I wasn't worried about its safety or quality standards.[7]

No-Hassle Setup: Like the Cooper & Hunter series, hiring a professional was necessary. Most cold-climate heat pumps include all accessories for a complete installation.

And that was a plus since I didn't spend more.

The Senville 18,000 BTU Floor Console Mini-Split AC is among the best heat pump brands that are Energy Star certified.

In contrast to traditional heating systems, I saved up to 40% on my energy costs.

Feature

Details

BTU Rating

18,000 BTU

Heating Coverage Area

-

Voltage

230

SEER / HSPF

-

Warranty

10 Years Compressor


6. MRCOOL

4.4

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.25

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Cooling Ability

4.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Value for Money

5.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Who should buy the MRCOOL mini-split heat pump?

This MRCool model is best for homeowners like me who want to avoid installation costs.

Pros
  • Easier setup
  • Sleek and stylish design
  • UL Listed and AHRI Certified
CONS
  • Average heating capacity

It's an excellent choice for a DIYer.

The mini-split had a pre-charged lineset, so I didn't need any special tools or training.

And it packs some smart control wizardry for tweaking indoor temperature fluctuations. I tried MRCOOL’s SmartHVAC app via Wi-Fi and didn't experience a glitch.

Important Note:

While this unit is marketed towards DIY enthusiasts with easy to follow instructions, for your safety, you should always consult an HVAC professional.

This personal climate genie is also compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa. With a SEER of 16, I knew the energy efficiency and cost savings were significant.

Whispering Comfort: The mini-split doesn’t just offer an easier setup.

Its variable-speed DC inverter compressor technology felt like a soothing symphony, ensuring no noisy disruptions.

MRCOOL is a 12,000 BTU unit. Such cooling or heating capacity suits a room of about 150 sq. ft.

It surpasses the Cooper & Hunter series in heating capacity. Plus, its subtle capacity means this could be a tenable backup heat source.

When buying the best heat pump for cold weather, I would pick one whose performance pulls through winter.

And a Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) of 8.90 seems efficient enough.

This ductless mini-split heat pump stunned me with its leakage detection alarm. That’s peace-of-mind protection.

Feature

Details

BTU Rating

36,000 BTU

Heating Coverage Area

1500 sq. ft.

Voltage

230

SEER / HSPF

16 / 8.9

Warranty

-


7. Daikin Atmosphera

A Comfort Powerhouse

4.4

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.5

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Cooling Ability

4.5

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Value for Money

4.25

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Who is the Product Name best for?

The Daikin Atmosphera  is best for those who want multiple operating modes for finding the best comfort settings.

Pros
  • Versatile operating modes
  • Smart comfort features
  • 3D airflow
  • Easy maintenance
CONS
  • Only iOS app available

After navigating the nuances of Daikin mini-splits, the Atmosphera series felt like a comfort powerhouse.

The multiple operating modes felt like a symphony of comfort.

Its Comfort mode for even airflow and Powerful mode to boost the output capacity were unique selling points.

The model includes a Daikin Comfort Control App and a remote control for convenience. Daikin heat pumps are ductless, making them best for heating individual rooms.

Heat pumps are also cooling systems, and here’s where Daikin Atmosphera excels the most.

It packs the R32 refrigerant, making the heater eco-friendly and lenient on carbon emissions.[8] Its energy efficiency and 24,000 BTU capacity make it quite dependable.

With an SEER of 22 and an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 12.5, this model gives the likes of Senville SENA a run for their money.

This model has meager noise levels of up to 51dB at the highest speed, making it one of the quietest systems.

Feature

Details

BTU Rating

24,000 BTU

Heating Coverage Area

1500 sq. ft.

Voltage

230

SEER / HSPF

22 / -

Warranty

12 Years Limited Parts Warranty


Comparing Mini Split Heat Pump Models for Cold Climates

Preview

Name

Rating

Best For

Price

Pioneer Air Conditioner WYS012G-20 Wall Mount...

Pioneer WYS012-19

4.8

Best Overall

Senville AURA Series Mini Split Air...

Senville AURA Series

4.8

Best Runners-Up

Friedrich Air Premier FRHW123A

Friedrich Air Premier FRHW123A

4.6

Best Energy Efficiency

Cooper & Hunter Hyper Heat 12,000 BTU 21 SEER...

Cooper & Hunter Hyper Heat

4.5

Best Tech Features

Senville 18,000 BTU Floor Console Mini Split...

Senville SENA-18HF/IF

4.5

Best Mounting Options

MRCOOL - DIY-36-HP-230B25 DIY 36k BTU 16 SEER...

MRCOOL

4.4

Best DIY Installation

Daikin Atmosphera

Daikin Atmosphera

4.4

Best for Comfort


How to Choose The Perfect Mini Split Heat Pump For Colder Climates

1. Know the Size of Your Home

I compared various heat pumps for cold weather to determine which fit the provisions for my existing heating system.

This review's mini-split heat pumps are compact enough to fit a small square-foot room. Some don't even require strenuous ductwork.

Measure the square footage, consider the layout, and account for insulation or any potential leaks.

2. Figure Out the Heating Capacity Needed (BTUs)

The best mini-split system should offer optimal temperatures in your home while being cost-effective.

First, check the British thermal units.[9] The MRCOOL, for instance, has fewer BTUs than the Senville SENA series.

Besides my home's insulation, I factored in the local climate and the number of windows. This way, I knew the ideal heating capacity for comparing the mini-splits.

TL;DR: First figure out the size of the coverage area that needs heating or cooling. Then try to get a unit that matches it in terms of BTU. 

3. Assess Cold Climate Performance

Some heat pumps are cheaper but can't brave the coldest days. So, I reviewed each heat pump for cold weather based on its efficiency in frigid climates.

The best mini-split heat pump should be optimal in sub-zero temperatures.

The Senville AURA Series, for instance, doesn't have to work hard in a very cold climate due to its high heating capacity.

TL;DR: Make sure the heat pump is suitable for your climate.

4. Explore Energy Efficiency Ratings

Energy efficiency is crucial in colder climates, where heating demands are higher. I dread hefty energy bills, especially in winter.

Besides the British thermal units of a heat pump, SEER and HSPF are worth considering.

The higher the SEER and HSPF rating, the more money I save on energy bills.

I'd pick the Cooper & Hunter Series among all other mini-splits due to its high SEER rating. It saves money while reducing my environmental footprint.

TL;DR: It is always best to choose units with highest energy efficiency rating as possible. However, the more efficient a model is, the more expensive is its upfront cost.

5. Consider Zoning Options

A multi-zone mini-split system is suitable for rooms with varying heating needs.

It's like having a thermostat for each room. These ductless mini-splits allow for precise temperature control in each zone.

Ductless mini-splits, such as the Senville SENA or Cooper & Hunter Series, come with zoning features. They make personalized climate control a breeze.

TL;DR: Multi-zoning setup allows you to control temperature in each room.

6. Check Noise Levels and Installation Requirements

I didn't want my mini-split to sound like a jet engine taking off. Noise levels and setup requirements were my top-tier considerations.

Indoor units like the MRCOOL come with all the bells and whistles for easy DIY installation.

The Senville AURA series, however, requires professional installation. Going the DIY route with this model may void the warranty.

ductless mini split air condioning layout

7. Review Warranty and Support

Mini-splits with subpar warranties are money pits. And if beneficial warranty conditions were my biggest concern, I'd buy a Senville SENA model.

It's among the few heat pump brands with tenable warranty terms.

Once installed, the Pioneer WYS012-19 and Cooper & Hunter Hyper Heat are the easiest to operate.

They have the latest tech features and a manual guide for quick and easy setup.

TL;DR: Warranties, noise level and ease of installation are all important considerations when choosing the right mini split heat pump.


How We Review & Rank Our Product List

At Air Conditioner Lab, our team follows a similar process when evaluating all products reviews before formulating our final lists for readers.

We begin by gathering data sources directly from brands, e-commerce platforms, online retailers and press releases.

These are then added to a master file we use to compare features specifications from all humidifier models. You can access this Heat Pump Sheet Here.

Next, we narrow down all the products on the market by evaluating user reviews, ratings and feedback from a wide variety of online and in-person sources.

Our team then discusses and co-ordinates our first hand experiences using these products, as well as gather independent opinions and feedback through Youtube and customer reviews.

Very Cold Climate Considerations

I live in frigid climates, which can be stretching during those chilly winter days. The best mini split heat pump for cold weather should have a high BTU rating.

Most heat pumps for very cold climates come with dual-fuel capability, anti-icing technology, and variable-speed compression, among other advanced controls.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Assess Defrosting Capability:
    A heat pump with defrosting capabilities is effective in addressing ice buildup. I opted for one with an intelligent defrost cycle, so I don’t have to get up from my lazy chair.

    Plus, initiating the defrost cycle only when necessary keeps my electricity bills in check even in the coldest conditions.
  • Confirm Compliance with Very Cold Climate Setup Guidelines:
    Each brand I reviewed has specific guidelines for installing and operating their heat pumps in very cold climates. For instance, proper insulation and location of the outdoor unit are crucial for optimal performance.

    Some manufacturers insist on hiring a professional to ensure the configurations are accurate and withstand harsh conditions.
  • Verify Low-Temperature Operation:
    I checked each heat pump’s specifications to understand its temperature limitations. This way, it was easier to verify whether its capacity met the demands of my local climate during the coldest days.

    Each mini split has its low-temperature operating range. The Cooper and Hunter series I tested operated optimally even in sub-zero temperatures.
  • Consider a Dual-Fuel System:
    I prefer heat pumps with dual-fuel systems as they offer a seamless transition to an alternative heating source, such as a furnace. [10]

    It’s especially useful when outdoor temperatures drop to levels where the heat pump becomes inefficient. I also get to choose the most cost-effective heating source based on the prevailing weather conditions.
  • Check the Insulation and Cold-Weather Features:
    Inspect the mini split’s construction for robust insulation to keep the critical components from exposure to the elements. Heat pump systems also need protection from frosting and freezing to maintain consistent performance.

    Some cold-weather features I’d also consider include weather-resistant coatings and anti-corrosion treatments, as they contribute to the heat pump’s longevity.

TL;DR: With very cold climates, you have to be extra careful before purchase and verify that it is compliant in such conditions.


Commonly Asked Questions

Do Mini-Splits Use a Lot of Electricity?

Mini-splits use an average of 500 to 1500 watts per hour. Mini splits save money on energy use in contrast to electric baseboards. They are far more energy efficient, and their proper sizing suits small spaces.

How Long Do Mini Split Heat Pumps Last?

While the lifespan may vary, a heat pump should last between 15 to 20 years with proper maintenance and care. Regular maintenance, professional installation, and adherence to manufacturer guidelines contribute to a mini-split’s longevity.

Can I Leave My Mini-Split On All The Time?

Mini-split systems are built to operate continuously and can be left on for extended periods. Leaving your mini-split on all the time also depends on your energy efficiency goals.

Do Mini Splits Turn Off When the Temperature is Reached?

Mini split heat pumps come with a thermostat that regulates the indoor temperature. The system cycles off to maintain the set temperature. A thermostat ensures your heat pump functions efficiently and only as needed.

How Often Should You Clean Your Mini Split?

Cleaning your mini split at least once per month during periods of heavy use, such as summer or winter, should suffice. A more thorough cleaning by a professional at least once a year should help remove dust, debris, and potential mold growth.

So, Which is Best For You?

The best mini split heat pump for cold weather should tackle indoor temperature fluctuations while being energy efficient.

Getting a mini split heat pump that activates energy-saving mode helps cut on heating bills.

While the goal is to save energy, other features like anti-frosting, BTU, energy efficiency ratings, and dual-fuel capacity, among others, are worth considering. Overall,

I recommend the Pioneer WYS012-19 as the best mini split heat pump for its efficiency and reliability.

My #1 Recommendation
Pioneer WYS012-19

  • Conserves energy
  • Dehumidifies the air
  • Easy to install
  • Whisper-quiet operation

References: 

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214157X22005962
  2. https://www.daikin.co.nz/blogs/buyers-guide/what-is-an-inverter-heat-pump-and-why-do-i-need-one
  3. https://www.csemag.com/articles/back-to-basics-introduction-to-dedicated-outdoor-air-systems/
  4. https://williamscomfortair.com/knowledge-center/what-is-a-good-seer-rating/
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2352710216301449
  6. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/ductless-mini-split-heat-pumps
  7. https://www.amca.org/assets/resources/public/assets/uploads/FINAL-_AMCA___AHRI-MENA_Webinar-_deck_2__Dec_13__2021.pdf
  8. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/284902079_Study_of_R32_refrigerant_for_residential_air_conditioning_applications
  9. https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/units-and-calculators/british-thermal-units.php
  10. https://www.goettl.com/expert-center/air-conditioning/what-is-a-dual-fuel-ac-system/
Was This Article Helpful?
YesNo

Josh Mitchell

Founder

Josh Mitchell
My name is Josh and I am obsessed with home appliances. From portable AC units to heaters and air purifiers, I enjoy testing, learning and using these devices to improve the air quality inside my family home.

My Favorite Home Appliance?

Midea U Shaped Window Air Conditioner

See Our Editorial Processes

Meet Our Team

Share Feedback