New Efficiency Ratings for ACs & Heat Pumps 2023: SEER2, EER2, & HSPF2

In January 2023, the US Department of Energy introduced a new testing procedure to determine the efficiency ratings of air conditioners and heat pumps:

  • Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)
  • Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)
  • Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)

The new M1 testing procedure exposes AC and heat pump units to operating conditions that are more demanding. In other words, if you carry out the old and new test for the same heat pump model, you can now expect slightly lower efficiency ratings.

HVAC manufacturers have added the number “2” to identify efficiency ratings determined with the new test. This means you will find the terms SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 on their equipment specifications. The original nomenclature (SEER, EER and HSPF) is still being used for air conditioners and heat pumps that were manufactured before the new requirements took effect.

The US Department of Energy also increased the minimum efficiency requirements for air conditioners and heat pumps sold through the country. The updated efficiency requirements have been specified with both the new and old ratings, since there is still plenty of equipment with the previous nomenclature in the market (SEER, EER and HSPF).

Did you know? The US also introduced new federal tax credits for energy efficient HVAC equipment in 2023, covering up to 30% of their cost. As you might guess, the efficiency requirements for these tax credits are higher than the minimum nationwide requirements.

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10 Best Heat Pumps: Costs, Pros & Cons of Each Unit – Buying Guide

Here are the best heat pumps available. These are standard split system heat pumps from Carrier, Lennox, Rheem, etc.


Brand/Unit reviews are followed by a Buying Guide with information about equipment needed and configurations/costs plus common FAQs like, “Do I need an air handler?”

Top 10 Heat Pumps, Prices & Reviews

Variety: We chose the 10 best heat pumps in a range of categories, since every homeowner’s heating and AC preferences are different.

Note on Cost: Inflation woes have hit the heating and air conditioning industry harder than most, and prices are ridiculously high. And we don’t see that changing – no cost correction is coming. So, if you’re in the market for a new heat pump, waiting won’t make it better. And if inflation continues to rise, your dollars will buy less next year.

Two prices are given for each heat pump in the table below:

Heat Pump Only – Installed Cost: These are prices for the outside condensing unit, the indoor evaporator coil, refrigerant lines, and charge plus installation supplies. A new thermostat is often part of the package.

Full System Cost with Air Handler: These prices include the air handler too – the indoor unit with a blower that circulates air through the ductwork. There are times an existing air handler can be used, which saves on cost.

Heat Pump Model Installed Cost Heat Pump Only Installed Cost with Air Handler
Trane XL18i $8,300 – $13,000 $11,700 – $16,900
Armstrong Air 4SHP20LX $7,900 – $12,800 $11,600 – $16,400
Carrier Infinity 24 $8,800 – $13,400 $12,200 – $17,300
Ducane 4HP18V $7,700 – $11,900 $11,000 – $15,500
Carrier Performance 16 $7,500 – $11,600 $10,900 – $15,000
Lennox XP21 $8,500 – $13,200 $12,200 – $17,000
Payne 16 $6,600 – $10,400 $9,500 – $14,300
Trane XR14 $5,700 – $9,000 $8,300 – $12,400
Lennox EL16XP1 $6,200 – $9,100 $8,500 – $12,600
Rheem Classic RP15 $5,500 – $8,600 $7,800 – $11,900

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New Heat Pump Cost: Central Heat Pump Installation Pricing

This buying guide will help you decide whether an air exchange heat pump is the right heating and cooling option for your home. Let’s start with the bottom line: heat pump unit prices and the cost of installation.

Trane 14 SEER Package Heat Pump Installed by American Cooling And Heating


If you are only replacing a heat pump but not the air handler, then your total cost can range between $6,500 and $12,500 for the new unit and its professional installation

Did you know? Air source heat pump split system includes a heat pump and an air handler or a gas furnace and an evaporator coil. Here are the potential equipment and installation costs to expect:

The national average cost to install a new air-source heat exchange pump and a new air handler can range between $10,500 and $18,500, depending on the size of your home, heat pump brand, type, and efficiency level, overall project complexity, and your home’s location.

  • 1 outdoor heat pump: $3,000 to $5,000
  • 4 indoor air handlers: $3,000 to $4,000
  • Professional installation: $3,000 to $5,000

Heat pump unit costs: Here are the three cost tiers based on efficiency and performance, factors explored in detail below:

  • Basic heat pumps: $1,750-$3,000
  • Better heat pumps: $2,000-$3,500
  • Best heat pumps: $3,250-$6,000

Air handler unit costs: Split system heat pumps are usually paired with an air handler, but many work with a gas furnace, too. Here are the current air handler costs in two basic grades:

  • Basic air handlers and coil: $750-$1,500
  • Better air handlers and coil: $1,000-$2,250

Professional Installation Costs:

Your total cost installed will depend on the size of the unit, since the larger it is, the more refrigerant is needed. The overall complexity of the installation and whether an air handler is also being installed will significantly impact the total cost.

  • Heat pump installation, no air handler: $1,500-$2,500
  • Heat pump and air handler installation: $2,500-$4,500

Pro Tip: Make sure your contractor gets a building permit from the local building department to install your new heat pump. The permit includes a mechanical inspection to ensure the unit is properly installed.

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