Best Air Source Heat Pumps

Typical Cost To Install Central AC Average: $4,070 - $5,930
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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.

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

In this guide we are going to review some of the best air source heat pumps available, their costs, and the most important features to pay attention to.

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Cost to Install Central HEAT PUMP AC
$7,195 - $9,833
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Best Air Source Heat Pump

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

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
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Central Air Heat Pump Energy Efficiency

Two different units measure the heating and cooling efficiencies of the air source heat pump. 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 central 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.

Heat Pump 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.

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

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Central Heat Pump Defrost Control

Even though central air 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.

Choosing The Right Air Source Heat Pump For Your Home

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.

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 Leo B

Leo has been a contractor since 2003, specializing in: roofing, siding, general contracting (GC) and residential remodeling. Leo is also a Certified HVAC, Oil & Gas Heating Technician/Installer. In addition to roofing and remodeling, Leo is passionate about Solar, green building and energy conservation, so a lot of my time and energy goes to installing energy efficient heating and cooling systems.


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6 comments on “Best Air Source Heat Pumps

  1. Jany

    We have an old 5-ton oil burner that never seemed to heat sufficiently, and the A/C died in August. A load calc reveals that we need 9 tons of heating. We live in the Northeast in a ranch-style contemporary with cathedral ceiling and tons and tons of windows and glass-paned doors (we even added some). We have solar (sized for 58% of our usage). Are Bosch IDS 2.0 (4 ton + 5 ton systems) a good choice? Do all the windows mean heat pumps may not be ideal for our home? We don’t want to be have high electricity bills. Or …. would supplementing the 5-ton old oil burner with a 2-ton mini-split on both far ends of the house be better?

    Reply
    1. Leo B Post author

      Hi Jany

      So, 1st – I assume you meant Oil Boiler (not burner) … 2nd all heating equipment is measured in BTUs, not tons. But since Tons can be “inter-usable” with BTUs, 5 tons is equivalent of 60K BTUs.

      I don’t know of a single Oil Boiler that is so small, and yes, 60K BTU (5 Ton) heating system seems too small for New England winters. Most of the boilers start at 90K BTUs, and go way up… You can find a 300,000 BTUs residential boiler.

      Now back to your house – how big is it? How well insulated is it? How many windows?

      I also live in North East and have a lot of large windows. I replaced old single pane glass with 3-glaze Alside windows. 3-glaze windows made a huge difference.

      I also have solar (covering about 75% of my electric needs), including Ductless Heat Pump heating – more here: https://www.remodelingcalculator.org/free-heating-cooling-solar-heat-pump/

      Bosch IDS 2 system specs do not mention LOW TEMPERATURE HEATING, so it is safe to assume that it is NOT capable of providing heat at below 36F outside. This means it is not a true heat pump, and when it gets cold, you will be without heat. Read this guide for more details on Heat Pumps and heating efficiency: https://www.remodelingcalculator.org/heat-pump-efficiency/

      Last thing I want to say – 99% of Central (ducted) Heat Pumps will not be able to heat your home – they will cut out at 36-40F and switch to alternative fuel (usually Gas) for heating. Beware of these “heat pumps”

      Leo

      Reply
  2. CloverRayner

    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.

    Reply
    1. Leo B Post author

      I live in MA, where winters are cold, and summers are hot, and I’m converting my whole house to Fujitsu Heat Pumps (ductless). And I will not have auxiliary heat, because heat pumps go down to -15F.

      I do have a backup heat, in case power goes down – my 30 year old furnace, that can run off two 5kWh LiFePo4 (lithium iron phosphate) batteries and a 3KW solar inverter/charge controller. I also have a gas fireplace insert which does not need electricity to run, as second backup. But as far ax auxiliary – I don’t need it. Plenty of heat from those heat pumps.

      However, central heat pumps are not powerful enough for extreme cold weather heating, and those DO need auxiliary heat.

      Reply
  3. CloverRayner

    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.

    Reply
    1. Leo B Post author

      CloverRayner,

      I worked on a Goodman 5-ton, and … uhmm … they are not terrible … however the new ones I’m not impressed as far as servicing them. Weird locations for high and low lines at compressor.

      Also a couple of weeks ago I was working an a 3.5ton goodman that was supposed to be 16 seer (based on model number and what customer had ordered), but on the unit, label said 14 seer, and then the evap coil was ALUMINUM – really??? they can’t do copper? And it is a 410A unit … so no, goodman is not that good 🙂

      Reply