These top rated 2014 heat pumps have been chosen based on efficiency, performance and the quality of the units. In recent years, modulated heating and cooling has made its way into the heat pump market, and several of the heat pumps on this list use modulated, or variable-capacity, compressors.
Modulated or Variable-Capacity Heating and AC
Modulation means that the compressor operates at a capacity between 40% and 100%, changing in increments as little as 1% or less. This is different than two-stage compressors that operate on either low (roughly 65% capacity) or high (100%).
A modulated compressor is sent a signal to adjust its output according to the precise needs of the home for heating or air conditioning. These compressors run at fairly low capacity most of the time, though they’ll run at full capacity when a significant change in temperature is required. This performance has several benefits when compared with single-stage or two-stage heat pumps.
- Quieter operation
- More energy efficiency
- Greater temperature balance
- Increased dehumidification during AC cycles
The best performance of a modulating heat pump is always achieved when used with a variable-speed air handler or dual fuel variable-speed gas furnace.
You’ll find more details on most of the units below in our heat pump HVAC Reviews. The reviews contain average pricing for the equipment only. If you want estimates for your specific job, we can put you in touch with a qualified contractor in your area who has been pre-screened for quality assurance.
1. Dave Lennox Signature XP25 Heat Pump
The Lennox brand has made an industry-leading effort to create energy-efficient HVAC equipment, and the XP25 is a fantastic example. A SEER rating of 23.5 and HSPF of 10.2 are among the best in the industry. SEER is the seasonal energy efficiency ratio and HSPF is the heat seasonal performance factor.
Both are like gas mileage. The higher the number, the less energy is required produce the needed AC or heating.
The modulating Precise Comfort Technology delivers very consistent heating and cooling, virtually eliminating temperature imbalance. This is especially true when paired with a variable-speed blower.
The commitment to energy efficiency is also seen in the Lennox SunSource Solar-Ready option. This furnace is wired to work with Lennox solar modules that can be used in sunny climates to produce enough energy to run the entire HVAC system. This is one reason that the Lennox XP25 was on Energy Star’s 2013 list of most efficient heat pumps.
Finally, this is a dual fuel heat pump. It can be installed with a compatible gas furnace. The heat pump will do most of the heating to maximize efficiency. If the temperature outside dips below freezing, the furnace will automatically take over heating since heat pumps are ineffective in very cold weather. A dual fuel heat pump system is the most energy-efficient type of split, air-based HVAC system. They are ideal for cold climates.
2. Maytag PSH4BI iQ Drive 22 Seer Heat Pump
This exact model also goes by the brand names Broan FS4BI, Westinghouse and Tappan. Since Maytag has the widest distribution, this is the model we’ve chosen.
The PSH4BI iQ Drive is also a modulating heat pump, and it offers 22 SEER and 10 HSPF for outstanding reduction in energy use and cost. The iQ Drive technology offers dehumidification mode for significantly reduced humidity in warm months.
The system continuously moves air over the cold coil where moisture condenses out of the air and is drained away. You feel comfortable at higher temperatures when the humidity is low, so you might be able to set your temperature at 76 or 78 in the summer instead of 70 or 72. All top heat pump split systems offer similar technology.
3. Carrier 25VNAO Infinity 20 Greenspeed Heat Pump
Carrier introduced the first variable-capacity heat pump to the market, the 25VNAO, which is still outstanding. It offers 20.5 SEER cooling and an industry-best 13 HSPF heating. The modulating performance is known as “Greenspeed” because it helps reduce energy use for HVAC that is more ecofriendly. Running on low capacity most of the time, sound levels can be as low as 58db with this model.
4. Bryant 280A Evolution Extreme Heat Pump
This model is nearly identical to the Carrier Infinity heat pump above. Carrier and Bryant are sister companies with shared technology. This model is a “Consumers Digest” Best Buy due to its price and the potential savings from reduced energy bills. See our full review for more details including heat pump prices.
5. Trane XV20i Variable Speed Heat Pump
Trane makes the grade with a variable-capacity heat pump that is one of the top rated 2014 heat pumps for reliability. The efficiency is good too – 19.75 SEER and 10 HSPF. The compressor blanket and other sound-controlling materials produce operating levels as low as 54db. This unit is one of those that offer continuous low operation to better control humidity in the summer. Trane makes several air filtration and ventilation devices for use with the Trane XV20i that can improve indoor air quality.
6. American Standard Platinum ZM Heat Pump
American Standard’s top heat pump is a two-stage model that provides very good efficiency: 19 SEER and 10 HSPF. Like most of these heat pumps, this one has communicating technology that reduces the compressor risks and extends the unit’s life. The compressor is backed by a 12-year warranty; all other functional parts include a 10-year warranty. This warranty package is slightly better than the industry average.
7. Heil DXT+ 19 SEER Two-Stage Observer Heat Pump
Heil has made significant strides in the last several years in terms of energy efficiency. It also offers very good warranties. The Heil DXT+19 is a two-stage heat pump that runs on low most of the time. While not as comfortable as a modulating model, most of the time you won’t notice temperature fluctuations from room to room unless you have ductwork issues. Used with a variable-speed air handler, it will make most homes quite comfortable. The Observer Technology is Heil’s communicating system for maximum protection and indoor comfort.
Heil backs this unit with a 10-year heat pump replacement warranty on the compressor and outdoor coil. If either fail in the first decade, Heil will replace the entire heat pump condensing unit, which is the outside unit.
8. Armstrong 4SHP18LS Heat Pump
Armstrong is another manufacturer that has made significant strides in energy efficiency. The Armstrong 4SHP18LS achieves 18 SEER AC and 9.2 HSPF heating with the use of a two-stage compressor. The Copeland Scroll compressor is widely rated as one of the very best in the industry.
9. Goodman DSZC18 Heat Pump
Goodman has made a name for itself in the industry by making good (if not great) equipment at competitive prices and backing its products with excellent warranties. The DSZC18 is an 18 SEER, 9.5 HSPF heat pump with communicating technology available as an option. The unit has a lifetime compressor warranty and a 10-year replacement warranty. If the compressor fails in the first decade, Goodman will replace the entire condensing unit.
The Amana ASZC18 heat pump is virtually the same unit, made by Goodman’s sister company.
10. Rheem Prestige Series RPRL-JEC 2-stage Heat Pump
Rheem continues to make many of the top HVAC units in the industry. The efficiencies aren’t cutting edge, but they’re good enough for most climates, and the quality is excellent. The Rheem Prestige RPRL-JEC is the brand’s top model, a two-stage heat pump that achieves 17 SEER heating and 9.8 HSPF heating.
See all our heat pump HVAC reviews to compare models head to head in greater detail.