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Canadian winters aren’t known to be mild. Many regions have extremely cold temperatures throughout the winter, including standard temperatures below zero degrees, regularly dipping down between -5 and -15 degrees Celsius. The stark landscape remains in winter’s grasp for months, requiring Canadians to invest in some sort of heating system to keep their homes toasty.

There are several ways to heat Canadian homes, each with unique merits. Heat pumps, one option on the list, offer comfort year-round with heating and cooling capabilities. But given the frigid temperatures of Canadian winters, choosing a cold climate model is often a wise idea. Not sure which one to choose or where to start? Here are our top picks for Canada’s best cold climate heat pumps for winter 2024, plus a few helpful answers to common questions.

Please note that it’s highly recommended to have the heat pump professionally installed. If you’re looking for optimal performance and safety from your unit, professional installation is a necessity before operation.

Best Cold Climate Heat Pumps for Canadians in 2024

  • Best Overall: Senville Aura Series Mini-Split
  • Best for Quiet Operation: Senville SENL-24CD
  • Best for Budgets: Costway Mini-Split
  • Best for Zoned Heating: Senville SENA-30HF/D
  • Best for Larger Homes: Goodman 3.5-ton Heat Pump

Why Did We Choose These Cold Climate Heat Pumps in Canada?

As we curated this list, we sifted through various cold-climate heat pump options in Canada. We examined all aspects of each model, including performance, efficiency, and features. After careful examination, we narrowed our list to a handful of highly-rated options to give you the best of the best.

Each model in this list surges ahead of competitors. Here’s a quick look into why these options made our list.

The Senville Aura Series Mini-Split earned its place as our best overall pick. Its features are impressive, from its superior air filtration capabilities to its strong efficiency ratings. On top of that, it performs well in temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius, making it a top contender on our list.

If zoned heating is a must-have for your home, look no further than the Senville SENA-30HF/D. This model offers various package options with numerous indoor heads to ensure you have complete isolated control of each room you install the units. This is particularly handy for homes with individuals who have drastically different temperature preferences.

Heat pumps can be expensive, so finding the perfect option can be tricky if you’re working with a budget. The Costway Mini-Split is our recommendation for budgets, as it comes at a good price without sacrificing quality features. It offers a well-rounded lineup of features, from its convenient remote control to self-cleaning abilities.

Next, we have the Senville SENL-24CD heat pump, our top pick for its quiet operation. It produces about 34 decibels while running, making it one of the quietest models available. Considering a whisper is about 30 decibels, this model is impressively quiet.

Last but not least, the Goodman 3.5-ton Heat Pump is an excellent choice for larger homes. With an output of 42,000 BTUs, this unit produces plenty of heating and cooling power to keep your home comfortable year-round.

Best Cold Climate Heat Pump in Canada: Quick Menu

Best Overall

Senville Aura Series Mini-Split

Senville Aura Series Mini Split Air Conditioner Heat Pump, 24000 BTU, Works with Alexa, Energy Star, White

It's Great For:

If you’re looking for a heat pump that combines numerous high-end features in one well-designed package, the Senville Aura Series Mini Split might be perfect for you. This unit has a laundry list of features for ultimate comfort, control, and performance, ensuring you’ll get the most out of your purchase.

Its Toshiba variable speed compressor allows the unit to work at varying capacities. This promotes quiet operation and ensures you’ll never waste money by running your system on full-tilt 24/7. Instead, the system adjusts to your home’s needs, reducing its speed to accommodate lower heating needs.

The energy efficiency ratings tack onto the savings the variable speed compressor can provide. With cooling efficiency ratings of up to 21.5 SEER and heating efficiency ratings of 10 HSPF5, this unit can help cut your energy bills by up to 40%.

The Silver Ion Technology is another key benefit of this unit. This tech offers seven stages of air filtration to ensure the air in your home remains safe and free of harmful bacteria, odours, and chemical gases. It deactivates toxic chemical gases, cuts odours, and kills airborne bacteria, eliminating up to 95% of your home’s smoke, dust, and pollen.

On top of that, this model is compatible with Alexa and Wi-Fi. You can control the system with a simple voice command via a compatible Alexa-supporting device like the Echo Dot. Or, switch up the controls with a simple tap on your smartphone in the app.

It functions well in Canadian cold climates, as it can operate in temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius.

Key Features

  • Compatible with Alexa. This unit features WiFi compatibility and works effortlessly with Alexa. You can control this unit from wherever you are in the house, making it easy to control the climate in your spaces.
  • Air filtration capabilities. Complete with Senville’s Silver Ion Technology, this unit offers seven stages of air filtration to pull up to 95% of select pollutants from your home’s air.
  • Variable speed compressor. A Toshiba variable speed compressor promotes quiet operation, ensuring the unit won’t interrupt your day.
  • Minimalistic design. With a sleek, flat white design, this model is designed to blend into your home’s decor seamlessly. It won’t stick out and become an eyesore with the rest of your decor.

Our Expert’s Take

“We were impressed by this mini-split heat pump’s well-rounded repertoire, from Alexa and Wi-Fi compatibility to exceptional air filtration and a quiet, variable speed compressor.”

Best for Zoned Heating

Senville SENA-30HF/D

Senville SENA-30HF/D Dual Zone Mini Split Air Conditioner Heat Pump, 28000 BTU, Works with Alexa, White

It's Great For:

Many Canadian households have at least one or two individuals with different temperature preferences. One might prefer to bask in balmy warmth year-round and keep the thermostat set high, while the other may choose to cocoon themselves under a pile of blankets and keep the thermostat set lower. Or, maybe one person runs warm, and the other is constantly cold.

Either way, a single thermostat can become a battleground as each person tries to adjust the setting inconspicuously. But with a zoned heating system, this problem becomes a thing of the past. You get isolated control of each indoor head, ensuring each person can remain comfortable in their own space.

On top of the zoned feature, this unit is outfitted with various additional perks. For example, a Silver Ion Filter helps keep the air in your home clean by filtering out common contaminants and pollutants. Smart technology offers a convenient way to manage each indoor head, offering effortless control with a quick voice command or tap on your smartphone screen.

The ultra-high efficiency ratings are the icing on the cake. This unit offers an impressive cooling efficiency rating of 23.8 SEER and heating efficiency ratings of 8.8 HSPF5 and 10.5 HSPF4.

This heat pump functions well in the icy temperatures of Canadian winters and can continue to work in temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius.

Key Features

  • Zoned heating. With multiple indoor heads with independent controls, you can effortlessly manage the temperature in varying rooms to accommodate individual preferences.
  • Excellent air filtration. This unit features a Silver Ion Filter to deliver anti-microbial properties and keep the air in your home nice and clean.
  • Smart technology. Outfitted with Wi-Fi capabilities and an Alexa-enabled setup, you can conveniently control this system with your voice or a quick tap.
  • Ultra-efficient. With cooling efficiencies of up to 23.8 SEER and heating efficiencies of up to 8.8 HSPF5, this unit’s ultra-efficient operation can save on your energy bills.

Our Expert’s Take

“If the thermostat is a touchy subject in your house, this unit might be a solid solution. Our researchers were impressed by the ease of control and high-efficiency ratings.”

Best for Budgets

Costway Mini-Split

COSTWAY 23000BTU Mini Split Air Conditioner& Heater, 18.5 SEER2 208-230V Wall-Mounted Ductless AC Unit Cools Rooms up to 1500 Sq. Ft., Energy Efficient Inverter AC w/Heat Pump & Installation Kit (23000BTU, 208-230V, 18.5 SEER2)

It's Great For:

If you’re looking for an economical, cost-effective heat pump, the Costway mini-split might be the perfect fit. This unit costs less than most of the other heat pumps on this list, making it an excellent option for those on a budget.

However, this model offers a solid lineup of features despite its budget-friendly cost. It has four functions: heating, cooling, fan, and dry. The heating function heats as high as 32 degrees Celsius, while the cooling process can drop the temperature to 16 degrees Celsius. The fan setting keeps the air moving, and the dry function dehumidifies your home with a capacity of 115 pints per day.

It comes with self-cleaning and auto-defrost functions, making maintenance and upkeep even easier. The self-cleaning function uses high temperatures to ensure cleanliness and the auto-defrost feature helps mitigate damage and improve energy efficiency.

The system features a removable, easily washable filter, so you can quickly pop it out for cleaning periodically.

This model comes with a smart timer ranging from half an hour to 24 hours, allowing you to set a timer and ensure you don’t forget to turn it off. For an extra layer of convenience, the remote control offers effortless adjustments from the comfort of your couch.

Unlike many mini-split heat pumps with a bold brand logo on the indoor unit, this model features a blank white design. Instead of a logo, there’s a digital display showing the current thermostat temperature, making it easy to quickly determine the temperature in the space.

This particular model functions well in cool climates but doesn’t perform as well as the previous models in this list. Because of this, it’s best suited to slightly more temperate areas where the temperature doesn’t regularly drop below -10 degrees Celsius.

Key Features

  • Budget-friendly. This model is an inexpensive option compared to other units on this list, making it an excellent choice for Canadians on a budget.
  • Self-cleaning feature. The removable filter makes upkeep and maintenance so much easier. You won’t have to call a professional or deal with a ton of maintenance throughout the year.
  • Remote control. With a convenient remote control, you can quickly adjust the temperature of your heat pump without budging from the couch.
  • Logoless design. If you hate the bold look of a brightly-coloured logo on your indoor unit, this model might be a good fit, as it features a clean white design marred only by an aesthetically pleasing digital display.

Our Expert’s Take

“Packed with various features and priced for excellent value, this model is a formidable option. This mini-split heat pump is cost-effective and cleans itself, with a useful remote control and a smart timer to help you get more out of it.”

Best for Quiet Operation

Senville SENL-24CD

Senville SENL-24CD 22000 BTU Mini Split Air Conditioner Ductless Heat Pump, White

It's Great For:

The Senville SENL-24CD is an excellent choice for Canadians seeking a quiet heating solution. The indoor unit operates at just 34 decibels, ensuring it can run quietly in the background without disturbing your day. For comparison, the average conversation is about 60 decibels, while a whisper is around 30 decibels.

In addition to its quiet functionality, this unit offers handy smart features to place the control in your hands. The system is Alexa-enabled, meaning you can control its function with a simple voice command through a compatible device, such as an Echo Dot.

It’s also Wi-Fi compatible, so you can control it remotely via an app. This is particularly convenient, as it eliminates the worry of forgetting to set your thermostat or turn off the heating before leaving home on vacation. You can even adjust the temperature before coming home after work or vacation to ensure your home is the perfect temperature when you arrive. Simply enter the app and change the settings to your liking.

It has multiple functions, with heating capabilities to keep you warm in the winter and cooling capabilities to keep you cool in the summer. It also has a built-in dehumidifier to prevent the space from feeling clammy or sticky and a fan to keep the air circulating.

This model is suitable for chillier climates, as it can function at temperatures as low as -15 degrees Celsius. However, it isn’t the best fit for areas where temperatures regularly dip below this point.

Key Features

  • Quiet operation. At just 34 decibels, this unit operates quietly enough to avoid disturbing your daily activities, whether you’re catching a quick nap or working from home.
  • Smart technology. With voice-activated Alexa compatibility and Wi-Fi controls, this unit offers ultimate comfort and convenient control.
  • Multiple functions. This unit offers 4-in-1 capabilities for air conditioning, heating, dehumidifying, and fanning. You can choose the options that work best for the climate in your home, making this device useful year-round.
  • Sleek design. Featuring a white design with slightly rounded edges, this unit slips quietly into the backdrop without disturbing your home’s decor.

Our Expert’s Take

“Our researchers enjoyed this model’s quiet, uninterrupted operation. It runs at about the noise level of a whisper, making it perfect for those with kids or who work from home.”

Best for Larger Homes

Goodman 3.5-Ton Heat Pump

Goodman 3.5 Ton 14.5 SEER Heat Pump GSZ140421, Upflow, Downflow, Horizontal Air Handler ASPT48D14

It's Great For:

If you have a larger home, a mini-split heating system might not cut it. After all, purchasing more than a handful of indoor heads to put one in each room can quickly become expensive. In this case, a central heating system might be the logical choice. Enter the Goodman 3.5-ton Heat Pump.

This central heat pump is an ideal choice for Canadians with larger homes. Since it uses ductwork, it evenly distributes conditioned air throughout your home via vents in each room. It comes with an air handler designed for R-410A systems.

This model offers an impressive output of 42,000 BTUs or 3.5 tons, making it suitable for larger homes. Like many central systems, the outdoor unit is large, but the indoor air handler is more compact. It can be installed horizontally to save space, making it a good choice for homeowners with limited storage areas.

This model comes with strong warranty coverage that extends for ten years and covers limited parts. However, it’s important to note that eligibility for this coverage may vary based on your scenario. To receive this warranty, you must have the system installed by a qualified installer and register it online with Goodman within 60 days of installation.

It’s important to note that this model doesn’t operate in as low temperatures as other models on this list, so it’s better suited to more temperate areas.

Key Features

  • Large capacity. With an output of 42,000 BTUs, this unit offers plenty of heating and cooling power to keep larger homes comfortable.
  • Included air handler. The system comes with an air handler, eliminating the need to purchase them separately. You have most everything you need for installation and use.
  • Strong warranty. With a lengthy ten-year warranty, you’ll receive plenty of coverage for your new investment. If something fails, you’ll have plenty of options for repair or replacement.
  • Consistent heating. Since this system works with ductwork, it provides uniform heating and even temperatures throughout your entire home.

Our Expert’s Take

“With 42,000 BTU capacity, this unit offers plenty of power to keep larger spaces comfortable. Our researchers enjoyed the even heating capabilities, eliminating the possibility of hot and cold spots.”

Comparing the Best Cold Climate Heat Pumps for Canadians

CategoryHeat PumpDimensionsSizeEnergy Star CertifiedWarranty
Best OverallSenville Aura Series Mini-Split10 x 40 x 113 centimetres24,000 BTUsYes10 years
Best for Zoned HeatingSenville SENA-30HF/D23.3 x 84.8 x 29.9 centimetres24,000 BTUsYes10 years
Best for BudgetsCostway Mini-Split20.3 x 79.2 x 29.2 centimetres23,000 BTUsNoLimited
Best for Quiet OperationSenville SENL-24CD12.6 x 33.3 x 27.6 centimetres24,000 BTUsNo5 years
Best for Larger HomesGoodman 3.5-Ton Heat Pump74.2 x 148.4 x 323 centimetres42,000 BTUsN/A10 years

How We Selected These Cold Climate Heat Pumps in Canada

We get it; choosing the best cold climate heat pump in Canada for your home can be overwhelming. Our team understands the difficulties accompanying the search for the best heat pump in Canada and has committed to helping consumers like you select the perfect products for their homes.

We cover nearly every base in home products, from the best kitchen appliances to the best heat pumps to keep you cozy in the winter and comfortable in the summer. Our unwavering dedication to thorough, extensive research enables us to select only the best products.

In our research to find the best cold-climate heat pumps in Canada, we examined a few key areas, including the following:

  • Sizing: Each home is different, so sizing inclusivity is essential. Smaller houses will require less heating output, whereas larger homes will need more to ensure optimal comfort. We looked for models with multiple outputs to ensure there’s something to accommodate almost any home.
  • Temperature limits: The best cold climate heat pumps in Canada can withstand the icy cold of Canadian winters. We looked for models that offered the best low-temperature ratings of around -25 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Smart features: High-tech additions, like Wi-Fi compatibility, can be beneficial additions to a heat pump system. While technically unnecessary, they can exponentially improve performance by giving you ultimate control from virtually any location.
  • Safety features: While heat pumps are generally safer than other forms of heating, such as gas or wood heat, safety features are still an essential consideration. We looked for models that integrate built-in safety features, such as leak detection systems, to promote the safety of you and your family while using these products.

Cold Climate Heat Pump Terms to Know

Cold Climate Heat Pump Terms to Know

The HVAC world, like many industries, is teeming with industry-specific terms that may only be familiar to some. As you sift through your heat pump options, you’ll probably come across a few you’re unfamiliar with, but it’s important to have a baseline understanding to ensure you select the right choice. Here’s a quick peek into common terms to help you navigate this list:

  • SEER: The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER for short, measures the cooling output ratio over a typical cooling season divided by its total energy use in watt-hours. In layman’s terms, this tells you how efficient your system is. So, the higher the number, the more efficient the unit.
  • HSPF: The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor is similar to the SEER rating but measures heating efficiency. It measures the ratio of the heating output throughout a typical heating season to the electricity consumed. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit.
  • BTUs: British Thermal Units, or BTUs for short, are a measurement that indicates the amount of energy your heat pump or system consumes to do its job effectively.

Why Choose A Cold Climate Heat Pump in Canada

Why Choose A Cold Climate Heat Pump in Canada?

Canadian winters aren’t known for their lenience. Instead, the winter months leave many Canadians reminiscing on warmer summer days as they’re trapped inside, watching a blizzard screech outside their windows. Temperatures plummet, falling rapidly into the ultra-cold negatives.

So, a cold climate model is usually best when choosing a heat pump for your Canadian home. Cold climate heat pumps, as the name implies, are designed for the cold. Most models can effortlessly withstand temperatures that dive into the negatives, far surpassing the lower limit of regular heat pumps, which tap out at around -10 degrees Celsius.

They can continue functioning at extremely low temperatures, continuing to siphon heat from the outdoor air in temperatures as cool as -30 degrees Celsius. They offer many of the same benefits as regular heat pumps, but they’re built more durable, designed to withstand the fury of Canadian winters.

Factors to Look for in a Cold Climate Heat Pump in Canada

Factors to Look for in a Cold Climate Heat Pump in Canada

Sizing

Selecting an appropriately sized heat pump is essential to ensuring you get the best fit. If your system is too small, it will have to work overtime trying to keep your home comfortable. Conversely, if it’s too large, it may cycle too frequently (applicable to central heat pumps), causing wear and tear due to frequent starts and stops.

Since neither option is ideal, selecting a model that matches your home’s size is important. When you look for a heat pump, you’ll usually see its output expressed in BTUs or tons. 12,000 BTUs is equivalent to one ton, so conversions between the two are simple.

As a general rule, you need about 30 BTUs of heating output per square foot of living space. This ensures your system’s capacity matches the size of your home and can adequately heat or cool the space.

For example, if you have 1,000 square feet of living space in your home, you’ll need about 30,000 BTUs of heating output. This is equivalent to a 2.5-ton heat pump. Or, if you have 400 feet of living space, you would need 12,000 BTUs of heating output, which is equal to a one-ton heat pump.

The sizing rule will provide a general overview of the size necessary for your home. However, various factors may affect the correct size. Elements like poor insulation, drafty windows, or leaky doors will cause your home to lose heat. You’ll likely need a slightly larger unit to compensate for heat loss through these points.

Given all the factors contributing to selecting the best system size, choosing the best fit can be complicated. Seeking assistance from an experienced HVAC technician is usually recommended, as they can account for factors specific to your home to ensure you select the right system size.

Zoning

For some folks, isolated temperature control is ideal, as it ensures multiple people with different temperature preferences can remain comfortable. For example, if you prefer a toasty home where you can wear spring and summer clothes year round, but your roommate enjoys bundling up in fluffy sweatshirts and long pants, a zoned system allows you to meet in the middle.

Dual or multi-system heat pumps feature several indoor heads connected to one or more outdoor units. Each head is placed in a separate space, allowing you to have individual control over each head and, therefore, each room’s temperature.

Aside from accommodating varying comfort preferences, these systems offer excellent savings. For example, the separate indoor heads allow you to heat or cool the space you’re in, ensuring you never waste money on heating or cooling an unused room.

Of course, they might not be the best fit for every home, especially if you have a large home or family. Central heat pumps are more suitable in these cases, as they offer consistent temperatures throughout the house, ensuring no room gets overly hot or cold.

Efficiency

You’ll see varying SEER and HSPF ratings as you browse through your options. Heat pumps have both, whereas other HVAC equipment, like air conditioners, have one or the other. They’re able to provide heating and cooling, as they can reverse their function. For cooling, they pull heat from inside and bring it outdoors; for heating, they siphon air from outside and ship it indoors.

These ratings are important to consider, as they’ll indicate how efficient your system is. Generally, you should choose a higher HSPF and SEER rating, as these show better efficiency. However, high-efficiency ratings often go hand-in-hand with cost. If you’re on a budget, we recommend opting for a model with a combination of solid efficiency rates and value.

Ensure you select a model that meets the minimum efficiency requirements in your area. You can find this information by consulting your local building authority or through your government site, such as this heat pump resource.

It’s important to note that you may see HSPF ratings with different numbers tacked on the end. These numbers refer to the climate zone, so if it says HSPF5, it’s referring to Climate Zone 5. The efficiency ratings vary in each climate zone due to factors specific to the zone. Pay attention to the minimum requirements in your area and keep them in mind as you search for a heat pump for your home.

Style

Although style might not be a pressing concern for every homeowner, it doesn’t hurt to consider this aspect. The style factor isn’t as applicable for those who choose central heat pumps, as these units are larger and often sit tucked away.

However, if you decide on a mini-split heat pump in Canada, ensure you evaluate your style preferences, as these models feature an indoor unit that often rests on the wall or ceiling. Here are a few questions you might want to consider:

  • Do you have room for a wall-mounted model?
  • Do you mind the looks of a wall-mounted indoor head?
  • Do you prefer floor-mount or ceiling-mounted, cassette-style indoor units?

Use your answers to sift through your options, removing unsuitable models from your list as you go. Of course, if this isn’t a concern for you, then skip this step altogether.

Location

Your location and local climate are a couple of the most important considerations when looking for a heating solution, as heat pumps aren’t suitable for every climate. To understand why, let’s look at how heat pumps operate.

These systems don’t produce their own heat like a furnace does. Instead, they move heat from one location to another. In the winter, they siphon heat from the outdoor air and escort it into your home. While it doesn’t seem possible to pull heat from the chilly outdoor air, most heat pumps can continue to do so until the temperatures dip below -10 degrees Celsius.

At this point, regular heat pumps stop working. However, cold-climate heat pumps are designed to withstand even colder temperatures and can continue functioning in temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius.

However, when the temperatures fall below -30, even cold-climate heat pumps cannot do their jobs. If it’s too cold, they cannot pull heat from the air, leaving your home susceptible to the biting cold.

Because of these parameters, considering the specifics of your local climate is essential. If your local area regularly experiences temperatures below -30 degrees Celsius in the winter months, a heat pump might not be the best choice for you.

In these cases, you might be better off with a different heat source that doesn’t rely on heat transfer from the outdoor air to warm your home. You may want to consider options such as an oil or gas furnace or a wood-burning stove. The best option for your home will hinge on the resources available in your area.

Of course, a heat pump might be a perfect option for your home if you live in a more temperate area or in a region of Canada where the lows aren’t constantly as low as -30 degrees Celsius.

Frequently Asked Questions

Canada features multiple climate zones, including 4, 5, 6, 7A, 7B, and 8. Each climate zone has unique features, so HSPF ratings associated with a heat pump in each zone will vary. Learn more about the six climate zones here.

Since heat pumps work by pulling heat from the outside air, you might be dubious of whether your heat pump will actually work in a Canadian winter. Contrary to popular misconceptions, heat pumps can operate in temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius. If you choose a cold climate heat pump, the temperature barrier drops to around -25 to -30 degrees Celsius.

While you might be concerned about the dropping outdoor temperatures and the efficacy, keeping your heat pump on when the temperature remains within range is best. Of course, the heat pump may be unable to do its job after a certain point. Still, you should leave the unit on when the temperature remains within the operating range, as the unit will run or cycle as necessary to maintain the temperature in your home.

Heat pumps can last well over a decade, continuing to work well for around 15 years. However, the exact lifespan of your heat pump will hinge on factors specific to your situation, including care, quality, and frequency of use. Additionally, your location may play a role, as the salty air of coastal regions leaves the exterior unit susceptible to rust and may shorten its lifespan.

Generally, it isn’t advisable to DIY a heat pump installation. While certain types of heat pumps, such as mini-splits, have relatively straightforward installation processes, others can be quite complicated.

Completing the project might be doable if you’re experienced in HVAC installations. However, if you’re unfamiliar with projects like these, we recommend seeking assistance from a licensed HVAC technician to ensure your system is installed properly and works correctly.