Mini split systems are smaller than traditional home HVAC units and work well in many scenarios from heating and cooling a home addition to a garage.
They have become very popular with the Do-It-Yourself crowd as kits can be installed by a homeowner saving on cost.
There are many mini split units available that can be ordered and installed by a Do-It-Yourself type person.
Which Mini Split Units Heat and Cool?
Mini split Heat Pump units can heat during the winter and cool in the summer.
Notice the words Heat Pump.
Any unit that is a heat pump has a reversing valve that can change from heating to cooling.
The process of how the unit works is the same only pumping away heat or cold air depending on the mode the unit is set on.
When looking for a mini split that can heat or cool be sure it is listed as a Heat Pump unit.
How Hard is a DIY Mini Split to Install?
Installing a Do-It-Yourself mini split requires drilling holes in walls, running copper lines, electrical, and using HVAC tools.
Previous experience with basic construction skills using saws and drills will be needed along with electrical knowledge.
There is many YouTube videos showing the steps for an install (see bottom of page) along with online post.
Refrigeration lines called a line-set carries refrigerant from the inside evaporator unit outside to the condenser. The condenser and evaporator work together but separately in a mini split system.
Before installing a DIY mini split be sure to watch some of the install videos and other online resources to see if doing an install yourself is right for you.
So What is the Best DIY Mini Split Heat Pump?
Opinions will vary as to what is the best Mini Split with many DIY kits available.
I have installed many of these units and have written post along with YouTube videos of installing them.
Below is my picks of the best units for 2021 along with links for how we installed them.
As always be sure to read the reviews on Amazon, forums, here, or elsewhere to be sure a unit is a good fit for you.
*This post contains affiliate links.
Our Picks for Best DIY Mini Split Heat Pump that Cools and Heats 2021
- Pioneer DIY Mini Split Kit
- MRCOOL DIY Kit
- Mitsubishi Hyper Heat
Pioneer makes several good units from 9000 BTU to 36000 BTU along with both 120 volt and 220 volt systems.
Installing a unit is not hard but does require some skill so be sure to call a professional if needed.
I installed a 12000 BTU unit and it has been working very well. I installed it for a friend in a home addition that had no A/C and made a video along with a post of how I install a Pioneer mini split here.
Like any DIY Mini Split kit, the refrigerant comes locked in the unit that is released after installation.
The setup requires the inside unit be placed on a wall and the outside evaporator placed on a solid surface.
Laying a small concert pad is an option or buying a pad is also an option for placing the outdoor unit.
Pioneer mini splits are a popular option with DIY’ers since the units are low-cost and the kits come with everything needed (except wiring) to do an install.
So far Pioneer units have worked very well with each install I have done along with the ability to install it without the need for an HVAC company.
Senville is another popular brand that has an entire mini split kit that comes with everything needed to install the system, except for electrical wiring.
It comes in different sizes ranging from 9000 BTU – 24,000 BTU.
I installed a 9000 BTU unit and made a video along with a post showing how I install a Senville unit which is here.
Mini splits come pre-charged with refrigerant that is released after the line set is vacuumed out.
Even though an HVAC company can be hired to install it this is also perfect for the home Do-it-Yourselfer.
Tools will be needed if you do it yourself such as a vacuum pump and HVAC gauges but these can be picked up cheap compared to the cost of hiring an HVAC tech.
A handy person combined with all the YouTube videos out there most likely can install a mini split in a day or two.
Of course, someone can be hired to install the system and this may be the best option for anyone not handy.
If you do decide to install a mini split yourself the most difficult thing will possibly be the wiring.
The electrical is not difficult if you have done it before, such as wiring a dryer or ceiling fan.
Of course, the electrical can simply be outsourced to an electrician who will wire it in quickly if needed.
The MRCOOL DIY Series of Heat pump mini split units are marketed for the DIY individuals.
Everything comes with the kit except the electrical including the line-set and pre-charged unit.
The MRCOOL mini split units do cost more compared to Pioneer or Senville but are popular and used by many.
One of the things that makes MRCOOL units different from other mini split kits is there is no need to vacuum down the lines.
MRCOOL line-sets are already in a vacuum, called quick-connects, and have a seal that is broken when bolted onto the outside condenser.
This makes them the easiest to install with no need to worry about vacuum pumps and gauges.
I recently installed a MRCOOL Mini Split on a garage which turned out very well and was much simpler compared to other kits.
The unit I installed used 120 volt 20 AMP breaker the same as most home outlets.
MRCOOL also has 230 volts units as well as different sizes from small to large to get the best size for the room they will be installed in.
Daikin is a top HVAC manufacturer that builds heat pump units that will cool in the summer and heat in the winter.
They have differently sized units from 9,000 BTU – 24,000 BTU and bigger along with good SEER Ratings.
I have installed many Daikin units over the years and once worked for an HVAC owner who only would install Daikin units.
They are very reliable with reasonably priced making them good heating and cooling packages.
Like most DIY mini split installs there some skills needed such as running the copper line-set and using a vacuum pump to pump down the system.
Daikin is a good manufacturer with a good warranty and works very well with good kits for the DIY individual.
Mitsubishi is one of the top brands available with very good units which unfortunately also cost the most.
They also are not as DIY friendly as many other companies many of which have dedicated DIY kits.
With that said they are very good units with very good SEER ratings and warranties.
The Hyper Heat model is one such good unit that is specially designed for colder climates.
All mini split heat pumps work very well when cooling in the summer but can struggle in the winter with very cold temperatures.
If you live in a climate with mild winters such as the American Southwest most any heat pump will work very well in the winter.
If you live in a colder climate a Mitsubishi Hyper Heat can heat much better compared to other units.
It also has a 26 SEER rating which makes it one of the most efficient units available.
While great units they do cost more and are not very DIY friendly with it best for an HVAC tech to do an install.
They can be installed by a more advanced homeowner with previous HVAC skills but not so much for a first install.
For example, most units will not include a copper line-set while most all dedicated DIY kits will.
This unit from Innovair is a highly efficient unit with a high SEER rating.
While most all mini split units have good SEER rating most are 19-23 SEER.
This makes the Innovair one of the better units with very low power usage.
Innovair also makes many other mini split units with a lower SEER rating so be sure to check the SEER on a listing.
The package comes in a kit with the indoor wall unit, outside condenser, and copper line set.
Since the system is a heat pump it can cool in the summer and heat in the winter making it good to have all-year-around.
The one downside is it cost more compared to other units.
Best DIY Mini Split Heat Pump Comparison Chart
|Name||Line-Set Included||Voltages||Sizes||DIY Kit|
|Senville||Yes||120V-220V||9000– 24,000 BTU||Yes|
|MRCOOL||Yes||120V-220V||9000– 24,000 BTU||Yes|
|Daikin||Yes||120V-220V||9000– 24,000 BTU||Yes|
|Mitsubishi||No||220V||9000– 36,000 BTU||No|
Installing a mini split with a DIY kit is a good way to save on cost and have a working heat pump in your house.
Of course, care will have to be taken as there is potential dangers when installing a unit.
The main danger is the electrical as most know can be dangerous if handled or installed wrong.
This will depend on your prior experience or possible friends or family that work in a trade.
If you have experience with electrical along with drilling holes and other construction skills installing a DIY unit may be for you.
If you have limited construction experience calling an HVAC company for an install is likely the better option.
There are many YouTube videos, and online post, showing the steps involved for an install to see if a DIY kit is right for you.
If in doubt installing a window heat pump unit is more straight to the point and easier to install.
Window units are less desirable than mini splits since they are nosier and can block a window from use, but are also popular since they don’t require any skill to install.
The only real downside to a mini split is they don’t use ducts to transfer air around a home and only blow air from one location.
This means that they don’t transfer heat or cold air well past walls or other obstruction. Setup strategically along with ceiling fans they do work well sometimes cooling more than one room and surrounding areas.
It comes down to how well it is placed and how well the air can travel. Often a home will have more than one mini split to cool an entire home.