7 Best Air Source Heat Pumps | Prices, Pros & Cons, Reviews

Average Costs For:
Most Homeowners Spent Between: Most People Spent: $4,670 - $5,930
Low End
$4,240
Average
$5,283
High End
$6,829

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code


An air source heat pump is an eco-friendly way to both heat and cool your home. And even though this type of heating system comes with an initially higher price tag, it is incredibly cost-efficient.

In this guide we cover Central Heat Pump Installation Costs, Differences between each system, energy efficiency (SEER/EER ratings), and benefits of whole-house air-source AC systems.

There are many different heat pump manufacturers on the market, and it can be a bit overwhelming deciding which one to choose.

We’re going to review some of the best air source heat pumps available & cover everything there is to know about air source heat pumps, including the most important features to pay attention to.

Buying an air source heat pump isn’t like buying a small appliance for your home. It’s a significant investment, so taking the time to do your research matters.


Cost to Install Central HEAT PUMP AC
$7,195 - $9,833
See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code


Table of contents:

Costs of a Installing Central Heat Pump AC system
7 Best Central Heat Pumps
Single-Stage vs. Two-Stage vs Variable Speed Compressor
Air Source Heat Pump Energy Efficiency (SEER) ratings
Pros and Cons of a Central Heat Pump
Return on Investment (ROI) vs traditional Central Air Conditioner
Choosing the best Central Heat Pump for YOUR needs
Daily Operation & Maintenance Tips to achieve the most comfort and lower your electric bills

How much does an air source heat pump cost?

The price for a single air source heat pump unit may vary vastly depending on the brand name, size, and SEER and HSPF range. Typical installation cost of a 3 TON system ranges between $7,776 – $9,615 but can go to around $11,300 for the highest SEER unit (such as Lennox XP25, which is our #1 choice).

Some companies only make one model, and others have more than a dozen options. The price tag for a single unit ranges from $2,500 – $6,000, depending on tonnage, efficiency, etc. The type of heat pumps will either be basic, standard, or premium, and the cooling capacity will range from 1.5-5 tons.

Depending on how big your home is, you might need more than one unit (typically for homes over 3000 sq. ft.). Also, the total sum will depend on the installation cost. The cost of labor will depend too, and it might range from $4000 to $6000!

Many homeowners install heat pumps, together with a central air system. Here you can quickly estimate the cost of installing central air.

Did you know? Most HVAC Contractors charge from $85 to $150 per hour of labor.

It’s crucial to remember that proper installation of Heat Pump HVAC equipment isn’t something many contractors are familiar with. So, while it’s okay to look for the lowest price, simply choosing cheaper isn’t always the best solution.

Schedule a free estimate for heat pump installation with a local HVAC pro

Best Air Source Heat Pumps

Here, our HVAC pros share what they find to be the best air source heat pumps that many homeowners are very happy with.

Here are the best 7 Central (whole house) HEAT PUMP AC systems

1) Lennox XP 25 Heat Pump
2) Goodman GSZC 18
3) Carrier Infinity 20
4) Bryant 280A
5) American Standard Platinum 20
6) York Affinity YZT Heat Pump
7) Comfortmaker NXH5 Heat Pump

1) Lennox XP 25 Heat Pump

Lennox XP 25 rightfully earns #1 spot in our rating, because it is the most efficient Central AC available in US in 2020! It is also one of the quietest units on the market!

This heat pump has a SEER efficiency rating of up to 23.5 and HSPF up to 10.2, making it a powerful heating unit that will perform exceptionally well in any climate. It features the Precise Comfort technology that allows the heating and cooling in very small increments to maximize your comfort.

Lennox XP25 series SEER/EER rating by tonnage:

2 Ton: up-to 23.5 SEER / 15.5 EER
3 Ton: up-to 21.5 SEER / 13.5 EER
4 Ton: up-to 20.5 SEER / 13 EER
5 Ton: up-to 19 SEER / 12.5 EER

Lennox XP25 Central Heat Pump AC

For people who can’t tolerate noise very well, this is an excellent option because it’s an incredibly quiet unit. You’d barely notice it’s there with its 58 decibels sound rating.

The pump is Solar and Refrigerant Ready, making it a great choice if you’re looking for a pump that can support a more sustainable power source option.

Pros:

• Most efficient Central Air Conditioner in US
• Provides whole house Heating in outside temps down to –4°F (see more details below)
• Environmentally responsible
• Energy Star rating
• Very quiet
• Maximum efficiency

Cons:

• Pricey!

Lennox XP25 Costs: A typical 3-TON Lennox XP25 system will cost $5,640 just for equipment, before any additional supplies (like lineset, wiring, concrete pad, refrigerant, etc).

Installed cost, without any ductwork will be around $12,300-$13,900. By comparison, a common 16 SEER Central AC of same tonnage, will cost $4,670 – $5,930 installed!

However, because XP25 can provide whole house heating, and in mild(er) climates, will not need any auxiliary or backup heating source, you also save about $3,000 on installing a hot air furnace.

Heating Limitation: XP25 has a heating capacity of 20,800 to 55,500 BTU/h which is actually lower than its cooling capacity (22,200 to 60,500 Btu/h). In colder climates, where heating BTUS should be about double that of cooling, and where XP25 will stop producing heat at or below –4°F, you WILL need another (primary) source of heating – typically a Lennox Gas Furnace that is compatible with XP25 series, would be used.

Lennox (the manufacturer) is a company that makes some of the best air source heat pumps on the market. Their XP 25 model is Energy Star qualified and comes with a 10-year Limited Warranty that includes the compressor.

Technical data on XP25 Series (PDF).

Average Costs For:
Most Homeowners Spent Between: Most People Spent: $7,776 - $9,615 (1250 - 1750 sq. ft.)
Low End
$7,272
Average
$8,186
High End
$10,423

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code


2) Goodman GSZC 18

Goodman is a well-known name in the HVAC industry, and they make high-quality air source heat pumps. Their GSZC 18 model is one of the most popular and comes with an Energy Star certification.

It’s a mid-range solution for people who don’t want to spend a fortune on their HVAC system but still care about getting a high-performing unit. It features a high-efficiency two-stage scroll compressor and two-speed fan motor.

It also comes with several factory-installed features such as filter drier, crankcase heater, muffler, and low-pressure switches. The SEER rating goes up to 19 and HSPF up to 10.

You also get a time-delay to defrost technology that allows a reliable and quiet transition when the pump goes into defrost mode. All Goodman heat pumps will require that you provide annual professional maintenance.

Pros:

• Great value
• Prevents condensation
• Operational flexibility
• Sensors for monitoring coil temperature

Cons:

• A bit noisy

3) Carrier Infinity 20

Did you know that Carrier is the company that was at the forefront of creating the first HVAC systems? When talking about Carrier, it’s crucial to point out their Greenspeed intelligence. It’s a unique pairing of adaptable-speed technology and the Infinity system.

This feature allows steady and long operational capacity, which then maximizes energy efficiency. Speaking of energy efficiency, it features up to 20.5 SEER cooling and 13 HSPF heating efficiency. The company has made sure to create a powerful yet very quiet air source pump that will make you wonder if it’s on.

The variable-speed compressor allows for the best possible comfort and temperature control. It can also control the humidity, which is especially relevant in some areas of the country. It’s constructed from heavy-gauge galvanized steel, and it also has a steel coil guard.

Pros:

• Extremely durable
• Eco-friendly
• Humidity control
• Incredibly quiet

Cons:

• Frequent technical issues

4) Bryant 280A

Bryant is a company that’s all about performance. It holds the honor of being recognized as the “Most efficient of Energy Star 2019”. All of their heat pump models have the Energy Star certification.

The SEER efficiency is up to 20.5, and HSPF is up to 13, making it an excellent choice for whatever area you live in. It also has a fantastic dehumidification property due to the Evolution Connex system.

If you have a zoned system in your home, this is probably one of the best air source heat pumps you can choose. It also uses a non-ozone depleting Puron refrigerant, which makes it an environmentally friendly option.

Sound-wise, this is a quiet heat pump with the range of sound between 58-62 decibels. The unit will also display a notification and a reminder when it’s time to have it serviced.

Pros:

• Ultimate comfort
• Variable-speed compressor
• Environmentally friendly
• Great with zoned systems

Cons:

• No multi-stage compressor

5) American Standard Platinum 20

There are many heat pump brands on the market, but the American Standard has always kept its place at the top. All of their units come with an excellent SEER efficiency, and it’s the same with the Platinum 20, which goes up to 20.

The HSPF rating is more than sufficient 10. It features the trademarked AccuComfort technology that will make sure your energy bill is never high again. This particular air source heating pump is well-known for increasing the heat capacity for up to 20%.

It also has a communication control board, which automatically allows you to adjust the heat in your home. The lower compressor modulation and the fan speed allows easier maintenance of the unit. And it makes sure that it’s never noisy.

Pros:

• Excellent SEER capacity
• Has great insulation
• Variable speed option
• Better heat capacity

Cons:

• Installation is costly

6) York Affinity YZT Heat Pump

York has created a heat pump that is mid-range in quality and price. It’s an overall excellent choice and will deliver the balance and comfort in terms of energy efficiency.

It has the Energy Star certification, which means it’s a good option for those who care about sustainability as well as cutting their energy bills.
It comes with a touch-screen thermostat, allowing you to control the temperature in your home remotely. It features up to 19 SEER and 10 HSPF and has a sound level range as low as 65 decibels.

If you have a York gas furnace at home, you can match this unit and create a dual-fuel system that can automatically switch from one to another.
This is an excellent option for people living in a colder climate and requires an auxiliary heating system. This unit is also easy to clean because you can remove the steel coil guard without the risk of any damage.

Pros:

• Two-stage heat pump
• Touch-screen thermostat
• Compatible with York gas furnace
• Easy to clean

Cons:

• Insufficient warranty

7) Comfortmaker NXH5 Heat Pump

Sometimes the best air source heat pumps are those that are budget-friendly. And that’s exactly the case with the Comfortmaker NXHP model. It has a single-stage scroll compressor, which makes this unit pretty quiet.

If you live in a stable and warmer climate, this is an amazing affordable heat pump. However, if you’re attracted to it due to the price but you live in a cold area, keep in mind that you’ll need an additional heating system to support it.

The cooling capacity is 15 SEER. And the heat pump does have the Energy Star rating, so you can rest assured that you’re investing in future lower energy bills.

The design of the heat pump is excellent because it’s durable and has corrosion-resistant properties. And while it doesn’t have dehumidifying features, it’s compatible with a humidity sensing thermostat.

Pros:

• Very affordable
• 10-year Limited Warranty
• Anti-corrosion
• Dual-fuel capability

Cons:

• Not for colder weather


Cost to Install Central AC
$3790 - $6130
See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code


Single-Stage vs. Two-Stage Compressor Type

A single-stage heat pump uses a single-stage compressor that has two functions. You can either turn it ON or OFF when it reaches its maximum capacity.
It’s usually cheaper and if you’re on a budget, it’s a great option. However, this type of pump has a shorter lifespan and often doesn’t provide any dehumidifying features.

The two-stage heat pump which has a two-stage compressor and can either work at 100% capacity or at reduced capacity when necessary, is generally a pricier option. It will use less energy overall and do much better at controlling frequent temperature swings.
Another option is a variable speed model which is the most expensive but allows the pump to function on different levels. It’s usually best at delivering consistent temperature control.

Advantages of a Single-Stage Heat Pump

• Affordable
• Inexpensive installation
• Easy to use

Disadvantages of Single-Stage Heat Pump

• Only has one mode
• Shorter life cycle
• No humidity management
• Less efficient

Advantages of a Two-Stage and Variable Speed Heat Pumps

• Better noise management
• Uses less energy
• Humidity control
• Longer lifespan
• Better temperature swing management

Disadvantages of a Two-Stage and Variable Speed Heat Pumps

• More expensive
• Higher cost of installation
• Pricey maintenance and repairs

Understanding Energy Efficiency

Two different units measure the heating and cooling efficiencies of the air source ductless-split systems. The cooling efficiency uses SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.) On the other hand, the heating efficiency uses HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor.) Most air source heat pumps have a minimum of 13 SEER and HSPF of 7.7. If you live in a warmer climate, paying attention to SEER is more relevant, but in some areas, a higher HSPF is preferred.

Heat pump sizing

When it comes to the best air source heat pumps, size does indeed matter. But a bigger unit doesn’t necessarily mean better for your home. Choosing a heat pump that’s too small or too big might mean your home won’t be heated properly and that your energy bill might even go up.

It’s best to talk to a HVAC professional who’ll help you determine the right size unit for your home. Factors like the foundations of the house, insulation, windows, and even thickness of the walls will be considered.

Noise Output

The compressors and fans inside your heat pump can often be noisy. That’s why it’s essential to check the sound rating of the heat pump you’re thinking of buying.

Did you know that a noise over 70 decibels can cause hearing damage over time? It’s best to look for a heat pump that maintains a noise level under that limit.

Defrost Control

Even though heat pumps are resilient and built to withstand all kinds of climate, frost can be particularly tricky. If it accumulates on the heat pump, it might affect efficiency. And then it will inevitably affect your comfort.

To make sure this doesn’t happen, always look for the demand-defrost control feature when buying an air source heat pump. It will ultimately increase the efficiency of the unit.

Advantages of an Air Source Heat Pump

There are many significant advantages of installing an air source heat pump in your home. If you’re an environmentally responsible individual, you’ll appreciate the fact that it has a low carbon footprint. Even though it primarily runs on electricity, you can also hook it up to a wind or solar power source.

Another great thing about it is that it has an overall longer lifespan. Did you know that there are heat pumps installed in the 80s that are still going strong today? But a more realistic expectation is somewhere around 20 years.

Finally, an air source heat pump means a simple and has relatively fast installation. You’ll need to consult an expert, but it’s usually a job that won’t take more than one or two days.

Disadvantages of an Air Source Heat Pump

No device is perfect, and that goes for the air source heat pump. Most of the disadvantages linked to the installation of the heat pump relate to it not achieving maximum performance in extremely cold weather.

In some cases, prior insulation will be necessary, and you’ll have to pay extra to have the underfloor radiant heating. Also, the fact that it runs on electricity, so it’s not entirely eco-friendly. They can also be a little too noisy, depending on the model you have.

Return on Investment

Undoubtedly, whether you’re installing a single unit or several, an air source heating pump costs a lot of money. It’s the kind of decision that no one should take lightly and that should be the right choice for you.

But it’s also a kind of an investment that offers a significant return. First, it will likely last you several decades. And within those years, your energy bill will be decreased by at least a third, and often even more.

It’s also a sustainable heating and cooling solution that’s an investment in a more environmentally-friendly future. Did you know that if you install an Energy Star heat pump by December 31, 2021, you’re eligible for a tax credit of 26%.

Choosing the Right Heat Pump for Your Home

Average Costs For:
Most Homeowners Spent Between: Most People Spent: $3,630 - $4,780
Low End
$3,250
Average
$4,130
High End
$4,940

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code


Here’s the thing – even if you buy the best air source heat pumps for your home, without proper installation, that won’t matter too much. And it’s not just about hiring the best contractor either. Even though built to last, heat pumps will require some attention and care from time to time.

That’s why it’s not about picking the single best unit, although the quality is paramount, but about an overall approach to choosing the best HVAC system for your home.

All of the seven reviewed heat pumps are great options, but not all of them will be the best for your needs. Cheaper options with low HSPF ratings are better for warmer climates. And remember to hire a high quality HVAC pro with solid experience and stellar homeowner reviews.

What is the best climate for a central air heat pump?

While modern air source heat pumps can perform exceptionally well under any climate, that doesn’t mean they’ll work the same anywhere.

Areas with moderate temperatures that don’t have frequent temperature shifts are the most efficient places for heat pumps. However, if you live in the part of the country with harsh winters where temperatures drop under 10F degrees, you may need a more powerful heat pump. Or an auxiliary heating solution.

How to Maximize the Efficiency of Your Heat Pump – Pro Tips

Like any HVAC system, air source heat pumps should be optimized and maintained correctly. Here are a few things you can do to make your pump more efficient.

Adjust Your Thermostat

Choose the temperature you’re most comfortable with and adjust it to the heat pump thermostat. It might be slightly different from the traditional thermostat, so the settings will probably be higher than what you’re used to.

Also, it’s best to avoid the “auto” mode. In the winter, have the “Heat” mode on, and in the summer, set it to “Cool”. That way, you’ll prevent the system from cooling your home on a sunny winter day or heating it on a chilly summer night.

Avoid Frequent Temperature Changes

Choosing the thermostat setting can be a struggle at home where everyone has a different temperature preference.
But avoiding frequent temperature shifts is much better for your heat pump. The steady temperature will ensure an even longer lifespan.

Clean the Dust Filters

Cleaning the dust filters in your air source heat pump will ensure that it’s always performing well. Vacuuming or rinsing them once a month is more than enough. You might notice the dirt yourself, or the indicator light might come on.

Regular Professional Maintenance

While cleaning the filters and fans is an important task you can do by yourself, other types of maintenance will require an expert.
When you should call someone, it will depend on your heat pump’s age and performance. But it’s a crucial chore that will ensure your pump always works efficiently.

Elevate the Heat Pump

If you’re living in a particularly rainy and snowy area, it’s advisable to raise your pump anywhere from 5-8” off the ground. That will allow for water drainage and keep the coils dry. Also, always make sure to remove any snow build-up from your heat pump unit.

Average Costs For:
Most Homeowners Spent Between: Most People Spent: $4,670 - $5,930
Low End
$4,240
Average
$5,283
High End
$6,829

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code



About Yelena G

Yelena G. has been working in the remodeling and construction industry for over 15 years. Her focus is on construction planning and design as well as project cost estimating. Yelena also has a personal interest in interior design, as well as in unique DIY remodeling projects. Read more about Yelena

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