The 5 Best Mini-Split Heat Pumps For Hot & Cold Weather in Canada

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Mini split heat pumps have grown in popularity in Canada in recent years, as they’re an energy-efficient way to add a boost of heat or cool air to your home. In fact, a study by the IESO found that mini split heat pumps can reduce your heating costs by up to 60%.

Compared to central air conditioning, mini split systems are more affordable to purchase and easier to install in your home. This is because the don’t require extensive ductwork installation, which significantly reduces labour and costs.

Mini split systems are also convenient since they can function as both a heater in the winter and an air conditioner in the summer. This means you don’t have to install separate systems in your home. They’re also quite easy to scale up, since you can essentially add as many to your home as necessary. 

Keep reading to learn more about mini split systems and how to choose the best mini split heat pump for your home.  

The 4 Best Heat Pumps in Canada in 2024

Based on a rigorous analysis of the top-selling mini-split heat pumps in Canada, we’ve compiled a list of the top heat pumps for Canadian weather. Here they are:

Senville SENL-18CD Mini Split Heat Pump

Senville’s SENL-18CD wall-mounted heat pump is one of the most popular heat pumps on the market in Canada. With 18,000 BTUs, the system is capable of cooling or heating spaces up to 900 square feet. Whats particularly unique about the SENL-18CD is that it’s a 4-in-1 mini split system. In addition to heating and cooling, it also functions as a fan and a dehumidifier.

With a minimum temperature of 8 °C, you won’t have to worry about the SENL-18CD making your space uncomfortably cold. The system is Wifi-enabled and works with Alexa, so you can conveniently control its settings using voice commands or the Alexa mobile app. This means you can also control it remotely.

What’s also great about the SENL-18CD is its energy efficiency. With a SEER rating of 19, this mini split is highly energy efficienct. Not to mention, its quiet operation of just 30 dB make it an excellent choice for installing in bedrooms or offices where noise disturbances are not idea;.

What we like

  • Excellent value with 4-in-1 functionality
  • Convenient silent mode for bedrooms
  • Efficient for large spaces (18,000 BTUs)
  • Energy efficient with a SEER rating of 19

What we like less

  • Requires between 208 and 230V voltage
  • Not suitable for colder than -15 °C temperatures

COSTWAY 208-230V Mini Split Heat Pump

If you’re interested in a mini-split heat pump and don’t want to break the bank, COSTWAY mini-split system is worth considering. It’s equipped with 12,000 BTUs, making it suitable for small to medium-sized spaces up to 750 square feet. With a SEER rating of 17, it’s not as energy efficient as other systems on this list, but it’s still an energy efficient option. 

As a 4-in-1 mini split system, the Costway functions as a heater, air conditioner, fan, and dehumidifier. Its dehumidifier has a large capacity of 36 pints a day. On its lowest setting, it operates quietly at a dB of 41. The outdoor installation is louder, however, with a dB of 53.

A common complaint with air conditioners is when the compressor turns on and off periodically, causing noise disturbances. The Costway solves this problem with the use of inverter technology. Instead of the compressor turning on and off, the power supply frequency changes, which creates a more constant noise level and reduces energy consumption. 

The only downside worth mentioning is that the Costway is not Wi-Fi enabled. This means it doesn’t come with the same perks as other mini-split systems on this list. For example, it cannot be controlled remotely via a mobile app or by voice commands using Alexa. 

What we like

  • Budget-friendly
  • Excellent value with 4-in-1 functionality
  • Comes with an 8-year warranty 
  • Energy efficient with a SEER rating of 17
  • Operates quietly at 41 dB

What we like less

  • Not Wi-Fi enabled
  • Not suitable for large spaces

Senville SENL-18CD Mini Split Heat Pump

Senville’s SENL-18CD wall-mounted heat pump is one of the most popular heat pumps on the market in Canada. With 18,000 BTUs, the system is capable of cooling or heating spaces up to 900 square feet. Whats particularly unique about the  SENL-18CD is that it’s a 4-in-1 mini split system. In addition to heating and cooling, it also functions as a fan and a dehumidifier.

With a minimum temperature of 8 °C, you won’t have to worry about the SENL-18CD making your home too cold. The system is Alexa-enabled, so you can easily control its settings using simple voice commands or the Alexa mobile app. This means you can also control it remotely.

With its slience mode feature, the SENL-18CD is useful for heating or cooling bedrooms. While it’s not completely silent, the system operates at a very low noise level in this setting. It also has a convenient ECO mode that will help you save electricity while you’re sleeping. 

The seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER) is 19, the SENL-18CD is energy-efficient.

What we like

  • Excellent value with 4-in-1 functionality
  • Convenient silent mode for bedrooms
  • Efficient for large spaces (18,000 BTUs)
  • Energy efficient with a SEER rating of 19

What we like less

  • Requires between 208 and 230V voltage
  • Not suitable for colder than -15 °C temperatures

Senville AURA Series Mini Split Heat Pump

The AURA Series is another excellent mini split heat pump by Senville.  With between 9,000 and 24,000 BTUs, the system is ideal for heating or cooling large spaces up to 1,250 square feet. This makes it an excellent mini split system for living rooms, large office spaces, or even basements.

Despite its high BTU rating, the AURA has an excellent SEER rating of 20.5, making it a highly energy efficient mini-split system for your home. It’s also Energy Star certified, with a star rating of 3.

Similar to the SENL-18CD above, the AURA is Alexa-enabled so you can control it via voice commands or the Alexa app.

The AURA is an excellent choice if you live in parts of Canada that reach lows of -30 °C. It can efficiently extract heat from extremely cold temperatures.

What we like

  • Operates quietly
  • Efficient for even larger spaces (24,000 BTU)
  • Suitable for -30 °C temperatures
  • Energy Star certified

What we like less

  • The outdoor unit is reportedly quite noisy

Pioneer Ductless Mini Split AC 12,000 BTU

Pioneer is a relatively new player in the air conditioning systems industry but their several mini-split systems do not disappoint. The Diamante Series 12,000 BTU Wall-Mounted Mini-Split system is one of our favourites for heating or cooling smaller spaces between 200 and 450 square feet.

In terms of energy efficiency, the Pioneer Diamante has a decent SEER rating of 20. If you’re looking for a more energy-efficient mini split system, their latest WYS Series Mini Split boasts an even better SEER rating of 23.5

The Pioneer remote control is fancier than most, with a backlit LED screen and a child lock feature. The kit comes with everything you need to install the system, except the wiring. You’ll need some experience with wiring in order to install the Pioneer. 

What we like

  • Great for small spaces
  • Child lock feature on remote
  • Energy-effiient with a SEER rating of 20

What we like less

  • Not suitable for colder than -15° C temperatures
  • Not suitable for large spaces

Senville SENA-36HF/T Tri Zone Mini Split Heat Pump

If you’re looking to install a mini-split system in three separate rooms, the Senville Tri Zone Mini Split System is for you. With a cooling power of 36,000 BTU, it’s highly efficient and powerful enough to heat or cool three rooms at the same time. In addition to heating and cooling, the SENA-36HF also functions as a dehumidifier. 

Not all mini split systems can handle Canada’s extremely cold winter temperatures, but the SENA-36HF has you covered down to -30° C. Despite its power, it  has an excellent SEER rating of 22.5, making it more energy efficient than some of the lower BTU models on this list. 

Like most Senville mini splits, the SENA-36HF can be controlled from anywhere via Wi-Fi and is Alexa-enabled. It comes with three user-friendly remotes with LED backlights to control each of the three units in your home.

What we like

  • Can heat or cool up to three rooms at a time
  • Suitable for -30 °C winters
  • Energy-effiient with a SEER rating of 22.5
  • Also functions as a dehumidifier

What we like less

  • More complex to install

What Is a Mini-Split Heat Pump?

A mini-split heat pump, also known as a ductless heat pump, is both a heating and cooling system that allows you to control the temperature of a room in your home. Some heat pumps also have fan and dehumidifier functions. 

A mini split heat pump typically consists of two main components: an outdoor unit containing a compressor and condenser, and one or more indoor units that distribute the conditioned air throughout your home.

The system works by transferring heat between the indoor and outdoor environments. For example, in the winter it extracts heat from the outside air and moves it indoors to heat the space. In the summer, the process is reversed, expelling indoor heat to the outside to cool the indoor environment.

How to Choose The Best Mini Split For Canadian Weather

Choosing the best mini-split heat pump for Canadian weather requires consideration of specific factors to ensure optimal performance in varying climate conditions. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a mini-split heat pump for your home in Canada:

Heating Capacity

Canadian winters can be harsh, especially in regions with extremely low temperatures like Manitoba or Quebec. Look for a mini-split heat pump specifically designed for cold climates. Models with high Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) ratings are generally better equipped to operate efficiently in colder weather. Opt for a unit that can maintain its heating capacity even in sub-zero temperatures.

Cold-Climate Features

Opt for a mini split system equipped with features tailored for cold climates. For example, look for models with low-ambient temperature operation capabilities, which allow the heat pump to function efficiently even when temperatures drop significantly. Some models have built-in defrost functions to prevent ice buildup on the outdoor unit, ensuring consistent performance in freezing conditions.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is crucial for cost savings and environmental sustainability. Consider units with high SEER ratings (over 15) for cooling and HSPF ratings for heating (over 8). Additionally, look for inverter-driven compressors, which adjust their speed based on the heating or cooling needs, enhancing energy-efficiency efficiency.

Skip to Section: How to Know if a Mini-Split Heat Pump is Energy Efficient

Proper Sizing & Insulation

Selecting the right-sized mini-split system is crucial for optimal performance. Capacity, measured in square footage and BTUs, provides a starting point, but factors like insulation quality, room specifics, and the number of windows and doors are equally significant in determining the system’s effectiveness.

Oversized units can lead to short cycling and inefficiencies, while undersized ones struggle to maintain desired temperatures, increasing energy consumption. Considering insulation quality is vital—well-insulated spaces allow the heat pump to operate more efficiently by reducing heat loss.

Skip to Section: What Size Mini-Split Do I Need? 

How Does a Mini Split Heat Pump Work?

Mini-split heat pumps, also known as air source heat pumps, work by transferring heat between the inside of your home and the outside. In terms of how they work, their functionality depends on whether they are heating or cooling your home.

When warming your home, heat pumps work by absorbing heat energy from outside and transferring it into your home. While it’s difficult to imagine, heat pumps manage to absorb heat energy from the outside air even when it’s cold outside. This is quite different from a standard heater that instead generates heat.

When cooling your home, heat pumps work in the same way as an air conditioner. They absorb the heat from inside your home and then release it into the outside air. This, in turn, cools your home.

Mini Split Sizing: How Many BTU Do I Need?

When trying to decide which mini-split system to get for your home, BTU is a key metric to look into. BTU is the unit of measure used to calculate the energy output of the heat pump. The higher the BTU rating of a heat pump, the greater the heating and cooling power.

As a rule of thumb, you need about 20 BTU per square foot for efficient cooling. This means that if your living room is 300 square feet, you’ll need a heat pump with a BTU of about 6000 to efficiently cool or heat that space. 

However, if you have very tall ceilings, multiple windows, high sun exposure, poor insulation, or live in a region with extreme temperatures, you may require a much higher BTU. According to Senville, a leader in split mini systems, if your ceilings are taller than 8 feet, your required BTU increases by 20%. A poorly insulated home requires a 30% higher BTU. Homes situated in regions with extremely hot or cold temperatures also require a 30% higher BTU. 

For these situations, you’re best getting a professional consultation to determine the ideal BTU required to efficiently heat or cool your home. A system with an incorrect BTU rating could end up using more power than necessary or lack the power to sufficiently heat or cool your space. 

How to Know if a Mini Split Heat Pump is Energy-Efficient?

When assessing the energy efficiency of a mini-split heat pump, there are a few key indicators to consider. Firstly, look for the unit’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (a.k.a SEER rating) and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor ratings (a.k.a HSPF rating), as higher values in these ratings typically denote greater efficiency.

It’s also a good idea to check for ENERGY STAR certification on a mini split heat pumps, which signifies that the unit complies with strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Click here for a list of mini-split systems that are Energy Star certified.

When choosing a mini-split system, consider a model that uses inverter technology, such as the Costway Mini Split Heat Pump. This allows the heat pump to adjust its speed and energy usage according to the specific heating or cooling needs, enhancing overall efficiency.

Finally, it’s very important to examine the design and insulation of the space where you’ll be installing the heat pump. Make sure that the model you choose is sized accordingly and that insulation levels match the heat pump’s capacity, as incorrect sizing can greatly impact its efficiency and effectiveness in maintaining comfortable temperatures while minimizing energy consumption.

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