11 Best Mini Splits for Heating (Cold Climate Models)


Mini splits are efficient but many people are concerned about their ability to provide adequate heating, especially in cold climates. Many mini splits claim to be good at heating. But, which mini splits are actually best for heating?

When the main objective is heating, a good mini split must retain sufficient heating capacity as the ambient temperature drops to provide adequate heating. In addition, it is even better if the mini split can stay efficient when heating at low ambient temperatures.

To find the best mini split, it is essential to understand the aspects of a good mini split when it comes to heating. So, let’s start with it.

What Makes a Mini Split Good for Heating?

Most mini splits are not meant for heating. They are very efficient at cooling but when it comes to heating, their efficiency drops significantly, not to mention stop working entirely.

1. Operating Temperature Range

Operating temperature range is the first thing to check when buying a mini split for heating. A standard mini split has an operating range as follow:

  • Cooling: 14°F to 115°F (-10°C to 46°C)
  • Heating: 5°F to 75°F (-15°C to 24°C)

As you can see, the lowest temperature at which a standard mini split can operate on heat mode is 5°F (-15°C) only. If you’re living in a very cold place where winter nights can plummet to below 0°F (-18°C), such a mini split is not going to provide adequate heating for your house.

Instead, you should be looking for a mini split with a lower operating temperature range for heating. Generally, the operating temperature range of mini splits can be divided into three tiers as follow:

Tier LevelLowest Operating Temperature
Tier 10°F and 5°F (-18°C and -5°C)
Tier 2-4°F and -5°F (-20°C and -21°C)
Tier 3-13°F and -22°F (-25°C and -30°C)

Based on where you live, you need to select the suitable mini splits according to their lowest operating temperature in order for them to keep heating your house while the ambient temperature drops, especially at night.

If the ambient temperature exceeds the operating temperature limit, mini splits will simply stop working entirely and that’s one of the common reasons why some people find their mini splits not working for them.

2. Heating Capacity

Heating capacity is the second parameter you must look into when buying a mini split for heating. Specifically, the maximum heating capacity at a low ambient temperature to which you need the mini split to operate.

As a matter of fact, mini splits lose their heating capacity as the ambient temperature drops. The amount of drop in the heating capacity varies based on brands and models. Some mini splits can retain their heating capacity better than others, especially those that are made specifically for low ambient heating.

For example, a mini split with 11000 BTU of rated heating capacity can retain 100% of its heating capacity at 5°F (-15°C). However, when the ambient temperature drops to -15°F (-26°C), its heating capacity drops to only 25% of its rated heating capacity, leaving you with only 2750 BTU.

With such a mini split, you’ll end up with insufficient heating capacity during the harshest few hours or days in the winter.

To prevent such an incident from happening, you must pay attention to the heating capacity at the lowest operating temperature of the mini split. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers show such data on their mini split brochures. Usually, you need to look for either the submittal datasheet or service manual which are normally used by professionals.

3. Heating Efficiency

There are plenty of mini splits that have a wide operating temperature range. Then, a handful of them is great at retaining their heating capacity. However, not all of them have the same energy efficiency when operating under the harshest condition.

Normally, the energy efficiency of mini splits is stated in terms of SEER for cooling and HSPF for heating. So, for heating, HSPF is the one you should be prioritizing.

However, HSPF is measured at two specific ambient temperatures; 47°F (8°C) and 17°F (-8°C), so as the rated heating capacity. In other words, the heating capacity and HSPF you see on brochures are true only when the mini split is operating at 47°F (8°C) and 17°F (-8°C) in accordance with the AHRI rated condition.

Mini splits that are certified by AHRI undergo the same test condition in order for consumers to have apple-to-apple comparison. The specification of non-AHRI certified mini splits is questionable. Fortunately, most mini splits that I’ve seen are AHRI certified. However, I believe there are some non-AHRI certified mini splits floating around the market.

So, HSPF is a general measure of the energy efficiency of mini splits for heating. If a mini split is expected to be working below 17°F (-8°C) for most of the time (if not all of the time), HSPF is no longer an accurate measurement for its energy efficiency.

Instead, COP (coefficient of performance) is the value that you can use to compare the energy efficiency between mini splits. Furthermore, COP varies based on the operating temperature. Hence, you should be comparing the COP of mini splits at the same operating temperature.

Fortunately, most mini splits have roughly the same COP when operating under low ambient temperatures like -5°F (-21°C), -13°F (-25°C) and -22°F (-30°C). However, based on the data that I gathered, the lower limit of COP is around 1.5 while the upper limit is around 3.0 and that means one mini split can be twice as efficient as another mini split when operating under the same ambient temperature.

If your mini split is going to be working under very low ambient temperatures for a prolonged period of time, such a COP difference can result in a significant difference in the energy cost.

4. Brand Reputation and Service Availability

A mini split can have impressive performance on paper. But, a reliable mini split can last up to 10 years or more. The last thing you want is your mini splits breakdown after a year or two and thus, brand reputation is a reliable measure of quality.

Mini splits in general have a few brands that are well-known. Furthermore, there are a few specific mini split brands that are better known for heating applications.

Sometimes, brand reputable is hard for anyone to suggest but if you ask around, there are a few brands that keep showing up and that’s a good indicator.

Next, mini splits are mechanical systems that possess a chance of failure regardless of the build quality. So, service availability is equally important to ensure that your mini splits go back to working as soon as possible when you need them the most.

Best Mini Splits for Heating

Now that you know what makes a mini split good for heating. So, I use the same way to research and compare more than 350 mini splits that are commonly available on the market to come out with a few that I think are worth considering.

1. Mitsubishi MSZ-FS

Nomination: Best Mini Split for Heating

ManufacturerMitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating
BrandMitsubishi Electric
TypeWall Mounted Heat Pump (Ductless)
Model NameMSZ-FS Model
Model No. (Indoor / Outdoor)MSZ-FS06NA / MUZ-FS06NA
Rated Capacity (Cooling / Heating)6,000 BTU / 8,700 BTU
Rated EfficiencySEER 33.1; HSPF 13.5
Maximum Heating Capacity7,200 BTU @ -13°F (-25°C)
Heating EfficiencyCOP 1.73 @ 7,200 BTU
Model Variant6k, 9k, 12, 15k & 18k

Mitsubishi is one of my top 3 favourite brands of air conditioners. It has a reputation for making “unbreakable” air conditioners as referred to by many contractors that I know.

As far as ductless mini splits go, Mitsubishi is a super popular brand. Hence, you can easily find a competent contractor that is familiar with Mitsubishi mini splits. Furthermore, this MSZ-FS model is a popular model. So, you also don’t have to worry about spare parts.

Apart from that, this MSZ-FS model has excellent performance. The energy efficiency of this series is among the best for heating as well as cooling. The flagship feature of this MSZ-FS series is its ability to maintain 100% heating capacity at -5°F (-15°C).

A mini split that can retain most of its heating capacity when the ambient temperature drops meaning you don’t have to spend more money on a higher-capacity model.

This MSZ-FS series has a rare 6000 BTU model which is perfect if you have a small room.

2. Fujitsu LZAH1

Nomination: Second Best Mini Split for Heating

ManufacturerFujitsu General America, Inc.
BrandFujitsu
TypeWall Mounted Heat Pump (Ductless)
Model NameLZAH1 (High Heat)
Model No. (Indoor / Outdoor)ASUG09LZAS / AOUG09LZAH1
Rated Capacity (Cooling / Heating)9,000 BTU / 12,000 BTU
Rated EfficiencySEER 33.1; HSPF 14
Maximum Heating Capacity11,070 BTU @ -15°F (-26°C)
Heating EfficiencyCOP 1.45 @ 11,070 BTU
Model Variant9k, 12 & 15k

Fujitsu is another popular brand for ductless mini splits. This LZAH1 model has better performance than the Mitsubishi MSZ-FS but I personally have more confidence in Mitsubishi, that’s why I pick Mitsubishi over Fujitsu. If it is just an on-paper comparison, this LZAH1 model will beat the MSZ-FS.

The Fujitsu LZAH1 series can operate at an even lower temperature while retaining most of its heating capacity. If you install a 9000 BTU model, you’ll actually get 9000 BTU of heating capacity instead of like 4500 BTU which by the way, many mini splits do drop that much.

3. LG Art Cool Premier

Nomination: Efficient Mini Split for Prolonged Low Ambient Heating

ManufacturerLG Electronics, Inc.
BrandLG
TypeWall Mounted Heat Pump (Ductless)
Model NameArt Cool Premier
Model No. (Indoor / Outdoor)LAN090HYV3 / LAU090HYV3
Rated Capacity (Cooling / Heating)9,000 BTU / 11,000 BTU
Rated EfficiencySEER 27.5; HSPF 13.5
Maximum Heating Capacity8,030 BTU @ -12°F (-24.5°C)
Heating EfficiencyCOP 2.56 @ 8,030 BTU
Model Variant9k, 12, 15k, 18k & 24k

LG to me is a home appliances brand. They make a lot of home appliances like TVs and refrigerators. When it comes to ductless mini splits, this LG Art Cool Premier does offer superb performance.

What’s different about this mini split and others is its energy efficiency at low ambient heating. At rated conditions which are 47°F (8°C) and 17°F (-8°C), its efficiency is on par with many mini splits listed here. However, when operating at low ambient temperatures, this LG model runs at considerably high efficiency.

While most mini splits run at about COP 1.7 at -12°F (-24.5°C), this LG Art Cool Premier series can keep its energy efficiency at around COP 2.5 which is equivalent to more than 40% cost savings. So, for prolonged low ambient heating, this mini split is great.

4. Panasonic ClimaPure XE

Nomination: Efficient Mini Split for Standard Heating

ManufacturerPanasonic Corporation of North America
BrandPanasonic
TypeWall Mounted Heat Pump (Ductless)
Model NameClimaPure XE
Model No. (Indoor / Outdoor)CS-XE9WKUAW / CU-XE9WKUA
Rated Capacity (Cooling / Heating)8,700 BTU / 10,900 BTU
Rated EfficiencySEER 28.2; HSPF 14.5
Maximum Heating Capacity2,704 BTU @ -15°F (-26°C)
Heating EfficiencyCOP 2.43 @ 2,704 BTU
Model Variant9k, 12, 15k, 18k & 24k

Panasonic is another top air conditioner brand choice of mine. They make high-quality air conditioners that perform very well. I personally quite like the look of their indoor unit.

This ClimaPure XE is the flagship model of Panasonic mini splits. It is designed for cold climates. However, the problem that I find with this model is it loses too much heating capacity as the ambient temperature drops.

As you can see, a 10900 BTU model becomes 2704 BTU at -15°F (-26°C). If you don’t know that and you size it based on 10900 BTU, you’ll have insufficient heating capacity during winter nights.

However, this model has the highest-rated heating efficiency (HSPF) which means that it is the best one for standard heating where the ambient temperature rarely falls below 5°F (-15°C). At 5°F (-15°C), this model keeps 100% of its heating capacity.

5. Daikin Atmosphera

Nomination: Great Mini Split with R32 Refrigerant

ManufacturerDaikin AC (Americas), Inc.
BrandDaikin
TypeWall Mounted Heat Pump (Ductless)
Model NameAtmosphera
Model No. (Indoor / Outdoor)FTVM09VVJU / RXM09VVJU
Rated Capacity (Cooling / Heating)9,000 BTU / 11,000 BTU
Rated EfficiencySEER 27.4; HSPF 13.8
Maximum Heating Capacity10,000 BTU @ -13°F (-25°C)
Heating EfficiencyCOP 1.83 @ 10,000 BTU
Model Variant9k, 12, 15k, 18k & 24k

Daikin is the third brand of my choice for mini splits. They are one of the largest air conditioner manufacturers in the world. This Atmosphera series is their latest model that uses R32 refrigerant.

R32 refrigerant is better for the environment compared to R410A. Furthermore, it is more energy-efficient and that’s why you can see the numbers offered by this series are among the best.

As R410A is rapidly being phased out, I recommend you use R32 air conditioners whenever they fit.

6. Gree Sapphire

Nomination: Mini Split for Heating Down to -22°F (-30°C)

ManufacturerGree Electric Appliances, Inc. of Zhuhai
BrandGree
TypeWall Mounted Heat Pump (Ductless)
Model NameSapphire
Model No. (Indoor / Outdoor)SAP09HP230V1AH / SAP09HP230V1AO
Rated Capacity (Cooling / Heating)9,000 BTU / 9,000 BTU
Rated EfficiencySEER 38; HSPF 15
Maximum Heating Capacity7,506 BTU @ -22°F (-30°C)
Model Variant9k, 12, 18k & 24k

Gree is also one of the largest air conditioner manufacturers, especially in China where most air conditioners originated from. This Sapphire series though is their premium model.

The reason to buy this model is when you need extremely low ambient heating. Most mini splits topped at -15°F (-26°C) but this Gree Sapphire series can go beyond that while keeping most of its heating capacity.

However, as I mentioned earlier, it is a premium model. So, this series is more expensive. But, if you need it, you’ll need it.

7. Gree Vireo+ Ultra

Nomination: Mini Split for Heating Down to -31°F (-35°C)

ManufacturerGree Electric Appliances, Inc. of Zhuhai
BrandGree
TypeWall Mounted Heat Pump (Ductless)
Model NameVireo+ Ultra
Model No. (Indoor / Outdoor)VIRU30HP230V1AH / VIRU30HP230V1AO
Rated Capacity (Cooling / Heating)28,000 BTU / 28,700 BTU
Rated EfficiencySEER 23; HSPF 10.5
Maximum Heating Capacity17,651 BTU @ -31°F (-35°C)
Model Variant30k & 36k

This model is for people who want to test out the limit of a mini split heat pump. Gree Vireo+ Ultra is a series that goes beyond everyone else. For standard heating, it is not that great but it is the only good option if you live in a really cold place.

8. Gree Vireo+

Nomination: Good Mini Split for Heating Powered by 115V

ManufacturerGree Electric Appliances, Inc. of Zhuhai
BrandGree
TypeWall Mounted Heat Pump (Ductless)
Model NameVireo+
Model No. (Indoor / Outdoor)VIR09HP115V1BH / VIR09HP115V1BO
Rated Capacity (Cooling / Heating)9,000 BTU / 9,900 BTU
Rated EfficiencySEER 23; HSPF 10.5
Maximum Heating Capacity5,194 BTU @ -4°F (-20°C)
Model Variant9k & 12k

This model runs on 115V alongside other mini splits but this I personally think is better. It has good efficiency, able to operate at low ambient temperatures and retains its heating capacity sort of okay. Naturally, 115V mini splits are not powerful. But, you may find it convenient for your house or perhaps, your RV.

9. Mitsubishi SLZ-KF

Nomination: Good Mini Split for Heating with Ceiling Cassette Indoor Unit

ManufacturerMitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating
BrandMitsubishi
TypeCeiling Cassette Heat Pump (Ductless)
Model NameSLZ-KF Model
Model No. (Indoor / Outdoor)SLZ-KF09NA / SUZ-KA09NA2
Rated Capacity (Cooling / Heating)9,000 BTU / 11,000 BTU
Rated EfficiencySEER 22.4; HSPF 12.2
Maximum Heating Capacity4,100 BTU @ -4°F (-20°C)
Model Variant9k, 12k, 15k & 18k

If you’re thinking of getting a mini split that comes with a ceiling cassette indoor unit, this model is the best one for heating. Still, ceiling cassette mini splits don’t get as much attention as wall-mounted mini splits and therefore, they don’t have superb performance.

10. Mitsubishi MFZ-KJ

Nomination: Good Mini Split for Heating with Floor Mounted Indoor Unit

ManufacturerMitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating
BrandMitsubishi
TypeFloor Mounted Heat Pump (Ductless)
Model NameMFZ-KJ Model
Model No. (Indoor / Outdoor)MFZ-KJ09NA / MUFZ-KJ09NAHZ
Rated Capacity (Cooling / Heating)9,000 BTU / 11,000 BTU
Rated EfficiencySEER 28.2; HSPF 13
Maximum Heating Capacity7,260 BTU @ -13°F (-25°C)
Model Variant9k, 12k, 15k & 18k

In case you need a floor-mounted mini split, this model is the best for heating. It has almost the same performance as the MSZ-FS wall-mounted type; high efficiency and great heating capacity at low ambient temperatures.

11. Daikin Aurora

Nomination: Good Mini Split for Heating with Ceiling Ducted Indoor Unit

ManufacturerDaikin AC (Americas), Inc.
BrandDaikin
TypeCeiling Ducted Heat Pump (Ducted)
Model NameAurora
Model No. (Indoor / Outdoor)FDMQ12RVJU / RXL12QMVJU9
Rated Capacity (Cooling / Heating)10,800 BTU / 13,600 BTU
Rated EfficiencySEER 18; HSPF 10.8
Maximum Heating Capacity7,260 BTU @ -13°F (-25°C)
Model Variant12k, 18k & 24k

If you want to use a mini split but don’t want to see a head unit inside your wall, you can use a ceiling ducted type which this model is the best for heating. Daikin Aurora is designed for low ambient heating. So, if you need one, this model is a great choice.

Summary

In my opinion, the best mini split for heating is the Mitsubishi MSZ-FS series wall-mounted heat pump. It is a quality and energy-efficient mini split with plenty of heating capacity at low ambient temperatures.

Now, let’s recall all of the mini splits listed in this post:

  1. Mitsubishi MSZ-FS: Best Mini Split for Heating
  2. Fujitsu LZAH1: Second Best Mini Split for Heating
  3. LG Art Cool Premier: Efficient Mini Split for Prolonged Low Ambient Heating
  4. Panasonic ClimaPure XE: Efficient Mini Split for Standard Heating
  5. Daikin Atmosphera: Great Mini Split with R32 Refrigerant
  6. Gree Sapphire: Mini Split for Heating Down to -22°F (-30°C)
  7. Gree Vireo+ Ultra: Mini Split for Heating Down to -31°F (-35°C)
  8. Gree Vireo+: Good Mini Split for Heating Powered by 115V
  9. Mitsubishi SLZ-KF: Good Mini Split for Heating with Ceiling Cassette Indoor Unit
  10. Mitsubishi MFZ-KJ: Good Mini Split for Heating with Floor Mounted Indoor Unit
  11. Daikin Aurora: Good Mini Split for Heating with Ceiling Ducted Indoor Unit

There are a lot of different mini splits out there. If you want to find the exact mini split listed above, enter the respective model no. on Google Search to locate it.

For more about mini splits, check out my Mini Split Archive.


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I enjoy working on air conditioners and ventilation fans because Malaysia is a very hot country.

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