Our Picks for BEST DIY Mini Split Heat Pumps that Cools and Heats 2020

By | March 25, 2020

Our Picks for BEST DIY Mini Split Heat Pump that Cools and Heats 2020
Heat pumps are one of the best ways to heat and cool a space, and when combined in a kit they make for the perfect Do-It-yourself option.

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.
Best DIY Mini Split Heat Pump that Cools and Heats
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.
BEST DIY Mini Split Heat Pump that Cools and Heats 2020
There is many YouTube videos showing the steps for an install (see bottom of page) along with online post.

Installing a unit is not hard if you have some prior experience in HVAC or construction.
How Hard is a DIY Mini Split to Install
A unit will have to be wired into its own breaker and disconnect along with the refrigeration lines run.

Refrigeration lines called a line-set carries refrigerant from the inside evaporator unit outside to the condenser. The condenser and evaporate work together but separately in a mini split system.
How Hard is a DIY Mini Split to Install 07
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.

We have installed many of these units and have written post along with YouTube videos of installing them.

Below is our picks of the best units for 2020 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 2020

  1. Pioneer DIY Mini Split Kits
  2. PIONEER Air Conditioner Pioneer Mini Split Heat Pump Minisplit Heatpump 12000 BTU-208/230 V

    Pioneer makes several good units from 9000 BTU to 36000 BTU along with both 120 volt and 220 volt systems.

    They have become very popular since they send a whole kit which is perfect for Home DIYers.
    Our Picks for the Best Mini Split Air Conditioner 2018
    A pad to set the unit on and electrical to the pole is not included and will need to be bought separately.

    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.
    Best Mini Split Heating and Cooling Units 2018 Summaer
    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 place on a solid surface.
    Best DIY Mini Split Heat Pump 2016
    Laying a small concert pad is an option or buying a pad is also an option for placing the outdoor unit.

    Electrical will need to be run from a breaker. Adding a quick disconnect is also a good idea.
    Best Mini Split Heat Pump 2016

    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 each install I have done along with the ability to install it without the need for an HVAC company.

    Read Here For How How I Installed the Unit
     

  3. Senville
  4. Senville 9000 BTU SENA-09HF/Z Energy Star Mini Split Air Conditioner Heat Pump, White

    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.
    How To Install Senville 9000 BTU 230 Volts Ductless Mini Split inside
    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.
    How To Install Senville 9000 BTU 230 Volts Ductless Mini Split Outside
    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.

    Read Here for the Tools Needed to do a DIY Mini Split Install.

    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.

    Read Here For How How I Installed a Senville Unit
     

  5. MRCOOL Simple DIY Kits
  6. MRCOOL Comfort Made Simple DIY 12,000 BTU Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner and Heat Pump System with Wireless-Enabled Smart Controller; Works with Alexa, Google or App; 115V AC

    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.
    Our Picks for the Best Mini Split Air Conditioner 2018 Mr Cool
    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.

    Read Here For How How I Installed a MRCOOL Mini Split Unit
     

  7. Daikin
  8. Daikin 12,000 BTU 17 SEER Wall-Mounted Ductless Mini-Split Inverter Air Conditioner Heat Pump System 15 Ft. Installation Kit & Wall Bracket (230 Volt), 12, 000 BTU

    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.

    Read Here for Daikin Mini Split Unit Review and Installation
     

  9. Mitsubishi Hyper Heat
  10. Mitsubishi MZ-FH12NA MSZ-FH12NA MUZ-FH12NAH Ductless Split System AC SEER 26.1 Cool & Hyper Heat 12,000 Btu Energy Star

    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.

    Read Here for Mitsubishi Hyper Heat Unit Review and Installation

 
Summary
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.




 




 

9 thoughts on “Our Picks for BEST DIY Mini Split Heat Pumps that Cools and Heats 2020

  1. Robin

    I installed myself a Pioneer split in my shop just this weekend. Works great very nice.

    Reply
  2. Wayne

    I’m building a small camper that is about 90 sq ft. I have 3 of the 115v Pioneer 9000 btu 23.5 seer units cooling my house. I love them, die to the current savings. The intention is to install one in my camper. I need something that draws the lease amount of amperage. I will be running it from shore power or from a champion 3500w digital hybrid generator and every once and awhile when on short hunting trips i would like to use my 3500v pure swine wave inverter powered by 510 amps of battery power (255 amps usable power). Would only use the inverter for 3 hours hopefully. Just to keep my wige cool while i do long range ground hog hunting from the top of the camper. Do you know if the mini split will work properally in a 90 sq foot camper? If it short cycles, would leaving a window open stop the cycling? Do you know of any units that would be better, drawing the lease amps? Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Jay

    The Mrcool DIY mini split has precharged linesets and they only need to be connect with open wrenches. I know this because i installed mine.

    Hope this helps it sure helped me get a lot cooler.

    Jay

    Reply
  4. Jay

    Our Mrcool DIY was precharged just connect the lines no charging was required, we also have used for heating no issues.

    Reply
  5. Michael

    What is the efficiency of the Pioneer and MR cool compared to a Mitsubishi or Daiken?
    Will they all use the same amount of power if they are all similar BTU versions.

    Reply
    1. Hawkwind212

      The SEER number is what give the efficiency of a unit. The higher the SEER the more effect the unit.

      Reply
  6. Neil

    Thanks for this article on choosing a good DIY mini split. Would you please answer a few questions for me, as I am looking for a mini split for winter heating (not concerned with summer cooling as we use low-cost evaporative cooling) and want a system which I can install entirely myself. Am I correct that there are these three basic types available: (1) Those like Mr. Cool that claim to be completely DIY and not require evacuation, (2) Those like Pioneer(?) that are DIY and are precharged with refrigerant, but do require evacuation, and (3) others that are DIY for installation only and require both evacuation and the installation of refrigerant? Does this sound right? Can you recommend a Mr. Cool product that claims to not require evacuation, or is this wishful thinking? Thanks so much for your help and advice.

    Reply
    1. Aaron Benetti Post author

      Mr Cool Mini Split units come with the line-set in a vacuum that is broken when bolted to the outside condensing unit. The other kits will need to be vacuumed down with a pump and gauges.

      The copper lines that carry the refrigerant into and out of the home is what needs evacuated after being setup. This also is a good way to be sure it is all sealed up properly since it will lose it vacuum if there is a leak. Let us know how it goes.

      Reply
  7. Gerard Navarrete

    Thanks for the information, I used simple heater in my home.

    Reply

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