How much does a mini-split cost?

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Updated Feb 6, 2024
8 min read
A dramatically lit mini-split in a modern living room painted a striking shade of orange

Ductless mini-split heat pumps make it easy to customize a heating and cooling system to your home, without the hassle of new ductwork. That flexibility also means it’s really hard to pin down a “normal” price for an installation.

Based on quotes uploaded to the EnergySage Marketplace, the median cost of a ductless mini-split system in 2023 was $16,965 after incentives—but the range was enormous.

Some small single-zone projects actually had zero out-of-pocket costs, while a few sprawling 8+ zone setups cost more than $65,000, even after rebates. That said, the majority of projects cost between $5,908 and $37,488.

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One detail affects the cost of a mini-split system more than anything: The number of “heads,” also called zones or indoor units. These are the small air handlers that distribute the heating and cooling around your home.

Mini-split cost per head, as of Feb 2024

The rule of thumb we found is that it costs about $4,000 to $6,000 per zone. Here are some other nuances.

  • 2-zone and 3-zone systems have similar overall prices. We’re not sure why, but we have a theory: Most projects of this scale use the same outdoor unit, so the total additional equipment cost is less than $1,000 for the 3-zone setup. It takes extra labor to install that extra head, but most contractors charge by the day and not by the hour, and 2- or 3-zone setups are both doable in a single day.

  • 4-zone and 5-zone projects are the most common setups on the EnergySage Marketplace. Most homes have one head in each bedroom, and then two or three additional heads to handle all the other living areas. It’s perfectly fine to use one head for multiple rooms—the kitchen and the dining room, for example—as long as the doorways separating them aren’t too tight. Bathrooms and hallways generally don't have their own heads, but anything is possible.

  • Prices jump significantly for 7-zone and 8-zone setups and beyond. These projects need a lot of equipment. The labor sometimes spills over into three days' worth of work, too, which really drives up the project costs.

Naturally, bigger homes tend to cost more to convert to all-ductless HVAC, largely due to the labor costs. It takes a lot of time and attention to detail to connect each indoor head to the outdoor heads, and there’s very little room for error. (We cover some of the other factors that affect heat pump prices in another article.)

While the zone count has by far the biggest impact on a ductless system’s total cost, some other factors contribute, too.

Brand: Bigger names have bigger costs

We don’t have great first-hand data on the total cost of installation by brand, because the overwhelming majority of ductless projects quoted on the EnergySage Marketplace use Mitsubishi H2i Hyper Heat mini-splits. It’s an incredibly popular product in the Northeast, where most of our ductless shoppers live.

That said, we can compare the wholesale prices between high-performance, cold-climate mini-split brands. (These numbers don’t include crucial parts like lineset, line covers, snow stands, and so on, but those should be similar across brands.)

36,000 Btu Outdoor Unit
9,000 Btu High-wall Indoor Unit (each)
4 Zone System
Mr. Cool$2,149$451$3,953

Source:, January 2024

Head styles: Wall vs. ceiling vs. floor

When most people imagine a mini-split, they probably think of the rectangular boxes mounted high on a wall. That is by far the most popular style of ductless indoor unit on the EnergySage Marketplace, and probably everywhere else, too. 

Other styles of heads are also available, designed to fit into a ceiling, or closer to the ground, among a few other varieties. The cost of those alternative indoor units tends to be higher than the standard high-wall heads. Here’s how it tracks across the Mitsubishi lineup, and you can expect similar patterns from other brands, too.

Mitsubishi Ductless Head Type
6,000 Btu
9,000 Btu
12,000 Btu
15,000 Btu
18,000 Btu
High Wall$593$657$774$867$975
EZ Fit Ceiling Cassette$975$1,020$1,150$1,658
Standard Ceiling Cassette$736$876$1,080$1,264
Low Wall$1,169$1,383$1,524$1,697
Compact Ducted$946$1,026$1,199$1,329

Source:, January 2024

Head sizes: More capacity costs a little extra

No surprise, the cost also rises with the size of the indoor unit. Bigger rooms need bigger heads. The prices don’t scale in proportion to the sizes, though. It’s only a $400 difference between the largest and smallest wall units for a multi-zone system.

Outdoor units: It matters a little bit

Again, it makes sense that you’ll pay more for higher-capacity outdoor units with more ports for multi-zone systems. But it’s a smaller factor than the total number of indoor units.

Mitsubishi Outdoor Unit, Capacity
Wholesale Price
20,000 Btu$2,638
24,000 Btu$3,668
30,000 Btu$3,873
36,000 Btu$4,180
42,000 Btu$5,361
48,000 Btu$5,898

Source:, January 2024

Another interesting finding: You can split up all your indoor heads between two outdoor units, and the equipment often costs about the same as if you tried to fit all those heads onto a single outdoor unit. It’ll probably be more efficient that way, too, though there are other reasons why it might not be the most practical option.

Until a few years ago, most people thought of mini-splits for cooling. Most models could also do heating, even if most people didn't realize it.

Some ductless mini-splits are still cooling-only systems—it just doesn't make much sense to buy them unless you're sure you'll never need heat in the space where it'll be installed.

As far as we can tell, the only remaining cooling-only mini-splits are single-zone units. And the price break compared to a high-performance heat pump variant is only a few hundred dollars. The tax incentives alone for buying the heat pump variant more than offsets the higher cost, and that's before any additional savings on your energy bills.

Cooling-Only 12,000 Btu Single-Zone Ductless
Heat Pump 12,000 Btu Single-Zone Ductless

Surprised by the cost of a whole-house ductless system? The thing to keep in mind is that you’re not just installing a new heating and cooling unit. You’re also adding the infrastructure to deliver the heating and cooling, like ductwork or radiators would handle in a traditional setup. So it might help to think of the project more like a renovation rather than a new appliance.

We'll dive into how the economics of mini-splits (and heat pumps in general) versus other kinds of HVAC systems in another article. But here are a few key comparisons for mini-split shoppers:

  • All-new ductwork likely costs somewhere between $4,000 to $10,000. (It’s hard to find a consensus best estimate, but let’s assume it’s in that ballpark.) A typical ducted heat pump installation costs $15,328, based on our data. So if you add those two costs, it’s generally more expensive than installing a whole-house ductless system ($18,500). There will be some exceptions. And some people might rather pay for new ductwork than stare at ductless heads (we’ve heard them called “wall warts”).

  • Air-to-water heat pumps for radiators are a thing. Millions of homes in Europe already use them, so it’s not some kind of fringe technology. But it’s really hard to find installers in the US, and we have seen zero information on how much a typical install will cost here. The other big disadvantage is that they don’t do cooling.

  • Window ACs have gotten better since the last time you probably bought one. U-shaped and saddle-style units are much quieter than the block-shaped clunkers many of us have learned to tolerate, and have variable-speed compressors for superior comfort—just like ductless mini-splits. They start around $240, though they don’t do heating.

  • Window heat pumps have technically been around for quite some time, but they haven’t been a viable option for cold climates. Now that’s changing. Gradient is the big player here with a saddle-style, variable speed unit. It costs $5,000, but doesn’t need to be installed by an HVAC technician, so the all-in price is often less than what it costs to get a single-zone mini split.

If you’re retrofitting a heat pump into an older home, you might also need to upgrade some of your home’s infrastructure. Some of these projects can include:

  • Electrical panel upgrades: $1,000 - $10,000. If your breaker box only handles 100 amps of service, it’ll be tough to fully electrify your home. You’ll probably need some kind of upgrade.

  • Insulation and air sealing. $1,000 - $15,000. While weatherization isn’t strictly necessary to get a heat pump to work, it’s still a really good idea if your house is obviously drafty and uncomfortable.

  • Removing old equipment / capping the gas line. $300+. The cost of removing old HVAC equipment usually gets baked into the price of a new heat pump. But if you want your contractor to haul away equipment that isn’t in the way of the new heat pump—an old boiler or oil tank or radiators for example—it might cost extra. Ditto if you’re disconnecting the gas line from your home.

By installing solar panels, you can power your entire home with renewable energy—including your mini-splits! Visit the EnergySage Marketplace today to receive quotes from local solar installers (including some who install both solar and ductless heat pumps).

More questions about going solar? When you receive quotes, we'll connect you with an Energy Advisor who can answer your questions along the way, free of charge.

If you want to see how much you can save by going solar, check out our Solar Calculator for an instant estimate based on your unique property. If you're a renter or you're unable to install solar on your property, check out our Community Solar Marketplace. With community solar, you can still expect to save between 5% and 15% annually on electric bills.

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