Who Makes the Best Heat Pump System and Why?

We compare several highly rated heat pump systems to find the best one. Heat pump systems are a significant part of your home. They are vital in the winter and useful in the summer. Depending on the features you are looking for, the perfect match may vary. 

While there is no “one size fits all” heat pump system, several brands stand above the rest. Top-rated heat pump systems include:

  • Goodman
  • Lennox
  • Trane
  • Carrier 

To find the right heat pump system for you, we have compiled a list of top heat pump brands based on consumer data, reviews, and quality of materials used. 

The Best Heat Pump Systems in Each Top Brand

Within each of these unique brands, based on customer reviews and efficiency data as well as consumer reports and industry standards, there seems to be one outstanding contender. They are as follows:

Goodman GSCZ18 Heat Pump System

  • This heat pump system boasts a rating of 19 for SEER and 10 for HSPF, making it Energy Star approved on both ratings. This is a highly efficient system for the price.
  • This system costs around $1,900-$2,500 per unit before installation, a lower end pricing with many warranty options.
  • Goodman provides lifetime warranties on their heat pump systems, while most other systems only provide several months or up to a few years.

Lennox XP21 Heat Pump System

  • This heat pump system has a SEER rating of up to 19.2 and an HSPF of 9.7. It is Energy Star qualified. 
  • This system is slightly more expensive at $3,500-$5,000 per unit before installation. 
  • Lennox provides a 10-year limited warranty on this product.
  • Lennox also claims that this is the quietest heat pump system on the market today.

Trane XR15 Heat Pump System

  • This heat pump system maintains a SEER rating of up to 16 and an HSPF rating of 9.7.
  • This system provides evidence of an average 50% savings in energy costs compared to a gas furnace system. This system is also Energy Star qualified.
  • This system ranges from $4,800-$6,800 before installation.
  • Trane offers a clean air system for advanced air filtration within your home.

Carrier Infinity Heat Pump System

  • This heat pump system holds a 15-20 SEER rating and HSPF of 8.5-11, a highly efficient model. 
  • There are several Carrier Heat Pump Systems to choose from (including the Infinity, chosen here) dependent on budget and needs. These are:
    • Comfort Series: The most budget friendly option, with 15 SEER and 8.5 HSPF.
    • Performance Series: An increase in both price and efficiency, with 17.5 SEER and 9.5 HSPF.
    • Infinity Series: The most expensive model with 15-20 SEER and 8.5-11 HSPF. The infinity series also includes:
      • Sound compressor blanket
      • Precise humidity and temperature control
      • Low profile
      • Exceedingly low noise ratings
  • This system provides advanced technology for reduced noise with their Silencer System.
  • Contractors report that Carrier parts are easy to find, reducing maintenance cost.
  • Units range in price from $2,300-$3,800, a middle-of-the-road price range.

Choosing the Best Heat Pump System for You

Before settling on a specific heat pump system, it is best to do some research into which features and specifications you prefer for your space.

With the wide array of heat pump systems available, knowing what you want first will help you choose the right fit.

Within these systems, various features are important to consider. These features include:

  • Air Source Systems
  • Ground Source Systems 
  • Energy Efficiency
  • System Cost
  • System Size
  • Noise Level

Air Source Heat Pump Systems

Air source systems are the most common type of heat pumps used. These pumps take air from outside and bring it into the home, where it is heated or cooled.

These systems must work a little harder in colder climates, where there is not as much natural heat found in the outside air. They are an optimal choice for a moderate to warm climate. 

Ground Source Heat Pump Systems

Ground source systems are less common than air source but are still worth considering. These systems utilize heat found in the ground or water and shift it inside the home, a practice in place since the mid-1900s.

Ground source systems are better for cold climates, as the consistency of the heat source deep underground remains fairly constant despite the outside air temperature. 

Energy Efficiency Within Heat Pump Systems

Efficiency is of the utmost importance when choosing the best heat pump system. Consumers want to pay the least amount of money for the best possible result. 

Overall, heat pump systems are more efficient than air conditioners or furnaces. Air source systems can reduce energy cost by nearly 50%, while ground source systems can vary in energy reduction of 30-60%.

There are two main efficiency ratings for each heat pump system. These are:

  • Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)
  • Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating/Ratio (SEER)

What are HSPF Ratings?

HSPF ratings are provided for air source heat pump systems. Optimal HSPF ratings are between 8 and 10. The higher the number, the more energy efficient your system is. A score of 8.2 or higher will earn an Energy Star label through the EPA.

What are SEER Ratings?

SEER ratings range from 13-21 and measure the cooling efficiency of the units. Again, here, higher number means higher efficiency. Energy Star labels are awarded to systems with SEER ratings of 14.5 or higher.

It’s important to note that currently, all heat pump systems sold in the USA must meet a minimum SEER rating of 13, other older models installed previously may have a SEER rating as low as 6.

The Various Costs within Heat Pump Systems

The cost of a heat pump system is generally the most important factor for families considering this type of heating system.

Cost can vary widely by unit type and size. Another important factor to consider is routine maintenance and the cost to repair.

There are a few costs to be aware of, including:

  • System cost
  • System installation
  • System maintenance and repair

The average heat pump system alone will run you around $2,000-$4,000. Including installation, these systems generally cost $5,000- $8,000.

Higher end and larger systems may easily break the $10,000 mark.

The cost of buying and installing a heat pump can be recuperated quickly, as is it estimated that energy cost can be reduced by 50% each year (compared to the cost of utilizing a gas furnace).

Average parts and repair for heat pump systems range from $200-$600 a year. Routine maintenance and professional cleanings are important to maintain a high level of efficiency within your chosen system.

There are various incentives to choose a heat pump system over other standard heating and cooling systems. These include:

  • Tax rebates exist for certain Energy Star labeled appliances
  • Energy Star rebates are available for purchase and installation
  • The yearly cost of upkeep and maintenance for both furnaces (heat) and air conditioning units (cooling) is combined into one efficient system that can do both

The Size of Heat Pump Systems

Heat pump systems vary widely in size. Depending on the square footage you are heating and cooling, the size of the system will increase with the building dimensions.

A rough estimate is a 1-ton capacity system for every 2,000 square feet of space. A 6,000 square foot space would require a 3-ton system, etc. 

Warehouses may require a large heat pump system; these average around 450 pounds and are in the vicinity of 60 x 45 x 40 inches.

A residential building may require a small to moderate sized system. These average 22 x 32 x 12 inches and weigh 150-200 lbs.

The “tonnage” labels of these systems seems misleading. A 1-ton system does not weigh 2,000 pounds. One “ton” of cooling capacity is equivalent to 12,000 BTU/hour of cooling capacity. 

Heat Pump System Noise Level

The everyday noise resulting from a heat pump is an important factor to consider when choosing your system. Nobody wants an efficient, low-cost, low-maintenance system that creates an unbearable amount of noise in exchange for a good deal.

Luckily, noise reduction options are at the forefront of many heat pump systems. Your heat pump system may make the following noises:

  • Gurgling
  • Buzzing
  • Popping
  • Screeching
  • Rattling

Often, these sounds are a notification that something inside the system needs to be cleaned or replaced. Throughout the winter, these sounds may become more common or slightly louder due to the cold temperatures.

There are various covers and wraps available to reduce the noise of an older model. 

For the quietest experience, it is recommended to get your heat pump system checked yearly by a licensed professional. 

The Importance of Choosing the Right Heat Pump System

A heat pump system is an expensive and important appliance for every home. It is useful in all seasons and is not a cheap or easy system to choose. 

We hope this article sheds some light on available options and will help you choose the best heat pump system possible.