What is the Best Mini Split Heat Pump for a Tiny House?

By | April 14, 2023

What is the Best Mini Split Heat Pump for a Tiny House
Tiny homes have become very popular for many reasons, from low-cost and affordability to less impact on the environment.

Heating and cooling a tiny home can be done in a variety of ways, with perhaps the best option to use a Ductless Mini Split Heat Pump.

Using a ductless mini split heat pump on a tiny home is ideal as they are cheap to buy, install, and operate.

What is a Mini Split Heat Pump?

A Mini split is a scaled-down smaller HVAC system often used in big homes.
Best Mini Split Heat Pump for a Tiny House
They work basically the same as a large unit, only smaller and cheaper to buy and run.

They are also perfect for a small home and are often installed on home add-ons, garages, work sheds, and more.

What is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump is an HVAC system that both heats and cools.

Heat pump have a reversing valve that goes into air conditioner mode or heat mode depending in the setting.

Air conditioner-only units pumps out heat from a living space, while a heat pump unit has a reversing valve to pump heat in either direction.

This makes them ideal for heating and cooling.

The one downside to a heat pump is if the temperature drops too low during the winter, it will have problems pulling heat.

Most new units can heat well down to 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit, but if the temperate drops much more, they will start to struggle.

If you live in a location that has very cold winters, it will be best to have an extra heat source for very cold nights.

How Much Does a Mini Split Cost?

Units can be bought from $700-$3000 dollars depending on the brand and size of the unit.

Installation costs will also need to be considered.

There are many DIY kits for the handy type of person who has no problems using power tools, along with basic wiring and construction skills.

Of course, an HVAC company can also be called for a bid to install a unit.

Bids to install a mini split can vary greatly with pricing for an install in the $1000-$3000 range.

What Size Unit Does a Tiny House Need?

Sizing a mini split is done by measuring the square feet a home has.

Measuring length and width and multiplying the two numbers will give the square feet of a room.
What Size Mini Split Do You Need
This should be done in each room including closets and all added together for total square footage.

After the square footage is known, next use a mini split sizing chart for the right size for your home.

BTU Sizing Chart for Mini Split

Area Size Sq FtBTU's Needed
150 to 250 Sq Ft6,000 BTUs
250 to 300 Sq Ft7,000 BTUs
300 to 3508,000 BTUs
350 to 400 Sq Ft9,000 BTUs
400 to 450 Sq Ft10,000 BTUs
450 to 550 Sq Ft12,000 BTUs
550 to 700 Sq Ft14,000 BTUs
700 to 1,000 Sq Ft18,000 BTUs
1,000 to 1,200 Sq Ft21,000 BTUs
1,200 to 1,400 Sq Ft23,000 BTUs
1,500 Sq Ft24,000 BTUs

What is a SEER Rating?

The more efficient a unit is, the better the SEER rating is. This means lower electricity costs to operate.

There are two different SEER ratings for any heat pump, one for cooling and one for heating.

The higher the number, the better. For example, 19 SEER is better than 17 SEER.

The lowest SEER Rating to consider is 16 SEER for cooling and 9 SEER for Heating but the higher, the better.

There are many good units available, with some of our favorite picks below.

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 site contains affiliate paid links for which a commission earned.

Our Picks for Best Mini Split Heat Pump for a Tiny House

  1. Pioneer
  2. Best Mini Split Heat Pump for a Tiny House Pioneer
    Available Here on Amazon

    Available Here on eBay

    Pioneer units are very popular with the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) crowd since they come with everything needed to install it except the electrical wiring.

    The outside condenser comes pre-charged with refrigerant that is released into the system after installing it.

    I installed a Pioneer 230-volt model on a small home two years ago, and it works very well.

    Pioneer sizes range from 9000 BTU to 3600 BTU and have both 110 volt and 230 volt systems.

    Read Here for How I installed a Pioneer Mini Split

  3. Senville
  4. Best Mini Split Heat Pump for a Tiny House Senville
    Available Here on Amazon

    Available Here on eBay

    Senville is another popular DIY Mini split system that comes in different sizes and voltages.

    Like most DIY mini split kits, it has everything needed except the electrical wiring.

    The SEER rating on the new models ranges from 20-25, which makes them very efficient units with some of the highest SEER ratings available.

    I installed a 220-volt 22.5 SEER unit on a small room add-on, and it works very well heating and cooling.

    Read Here for How I installed a Senville Mini Split

  6. Best Mini Split Heat Pump for a Tiny House MRCOOL
    Available Here on Amazon

    Available Here on eBay

    MRCOOL makes the easiest units to install since they have no need to be vacuumed down with an HVAC pump and gauges.

    Using a vacuum pump and gauges to vacuum down a mini split is not hard, and I have made some videos of how it is done.

    The reason for the vacuum is the two copper lines called a line-set that runs between the inside unit and outside unit.

    Before the refrigerant is released, the line-set needs to be in a vacuum.

    MRCOOL comes with the lines already sealed in a vacuum that is broken when bolted onto the outside unit.

    It also runs from 115 volts AC which is the standard wall outlet power everyone is familiar with.

    I installed a unit on a garage, and it is working very nicely with no problems so far.

    Read Here for How I installed a Mr Cool Mini Split

Using a ductless mini split on a tiny home is very popular since the cost is much lower compared to a standard large packaged HVAC system.

There are many DIY kits, or an HVAC company can be hired to install the unit.

Installing a split system is not difficult if you have some basic construction experience.

Be sure to read tutorials and watch YouTube videos to see if installing one yourself is possible.

If in doubt, be sure to call an HVAC professional installer.

Have you installed a mini split in a tiny home? Let us know your experience below in the comments.

Category: Mini split heating and cooling air conditioner heat pump systems

About Aaron H. Benetti

Aaron H. Benetti an HVAC technician who has worked in the field since 1991. He began his career as an HVAC installer and later began doing troubleshooting and repairs. Around 2010, he began to write books on HVAC topics, mainly tutorials and how-to information. Currently, Aaron works as an HVAC tech and also writes many articles and posts for websites as well as books and videos on HVAC topics.

8 thoughts on “What is the Best Mini Split Heat Pump for a Tiny House?

  1. Ben Pfeiffer

    Hello, thanks for the very helpful and detailed article! I have heard/read from some sources that it isn’t the best idea to install a mini split on a tiny house on wheels that will be moved more than a few times – do you have any thoughts/opinions on this? I would really like to get a mini split for my tiny house build, but don’t want to end up damaging the system if they are more so designed to be stationary and not necessarily handle being moved around too often.

  2. Camilla Augustine

    The shed that will be my year-round art studio is only 10 x 12 feet with 10 foot ceiling at highest point.
    Windows are all insulated. Shed is located under a large oak tree, so is always in shade, but This is Florida and temperatures range from 20 – 90 degrees. I’m interested in a mini split hear pump air conditioner as some of the units I’ve seen are VERY noisy and are continuously stopping and starting.
    Please advise as to the best 6000 BTU unit that could be used. What are the electrical requirements? The household panel apparently has some “room”, but I’d like to tell the electrician what you report.

    1. Don

      Mini split units can have different requirements for voltage 120/220, Amps, wire size, and breaker needed. The manual will have the types needed. Most 6000 BTU units will use a 20 amp breaker with 12 gauge wire but be sure to check the manual for the specifications.

  3. Dave

    Why are so many ‘articles’ available referencing ductless ac systems for small rooms? This is utter nonsense. The vast majority of these systems are dramatically over-powered for bedrooms or ‘tiny homes.’ Sure, there are units that can scale down but tbat’s inefficient.

    Get a good window or wall ac and install it correctly in a proprly insulated room.

    1. Meee

      Window units are loud, inefficient, and last 4-5 yeas on average. Most Windows units have bad SEER ratings costing 2-3 times more to operate and are loud noisy packages. Mini split units are highly efficient, very quite, and built to last many years. There is no comparisons of the two.

  4. Adriele

    We have a small guest house around 700 square feet. The layout is pretty much one big room for kitchen/living room in one side of the house and the other side it is sort of two bedrooms and a small bathroom. My question is should we get one of these units with two zones? One for each “side of the house?
    It is for ny cold weather…
    Thank you so much for your input! Love your article! A great resource. My husband and I do a lot of remodeling in our rentals, but this will be the first attempt in installing a mini split system.
    Thank you

  5. Roderick Bedingfield

    I would really like to benefit from your response to Camilla
    This is not a reply to her question some questions that may fit in with your answer
    I am building a shed 120sq ft – 8 ft ceiling
    It is air sealed and well insulated
    Sacramento Valley – Climate Zone 3 – dry – no ice or snow
    Looking for something that generally works more efficiently at the level where it is maintaining a small amount of cooling ie the temperature drop is small to maintain and the incoming heat is lower than usual houses and the southern facing wall has another wall between it and the sun deflecting much of the heat
    The unit would not be running full tilt except on a hot day when the air conditioning has been left off and the room needs to cool down over an hour or two)
    Some units I have seen are cool only – is there any advantage to those? (using a small and separate heater)
    Are there any that would be better for using with a solar generator?
    Thank you for any expertise in advance.

    1. Don

      The higher the SEER rating the more efficient the unit runs using less electricity, Heat pump units both heat and cool and are highly efficient compared to a space heater.


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