mini split system package

Mini Split System Cost Guide (Updated for 2021)

With the rise in popularity of mini split systems, especially in the United States, there are a lot of people who are seeking information on these ductless systems. And, one of the most sought after topics is the cost of these mini split systems. This is understandable. Who doesn’t want to know how much something that they have an interest in costs?

So, how much do they cost?

The national price range for a new mini split system, including installation, can range from $1,500 up to $15,000. Why the large price gap? Well, there are numerous factors at play when it comes to pricing a mini split system. These factors include the cost of the mini split system itself and the installation costs.

Mini Split System Cost Factors

When it comes to the system itself, there are factors such as the brand of the system, the size of the system (measured in BTUs), and the number of zones included that are going to affect the price. A cheaper brand is going to cost less than a higher end brand, obviously. A simple 12,000 BTU system is going to cost less than a multi-zoned 60,000 BTU system with numerous indoor units (zones).

With all that said, the average cost for a ductless system minus installation can range from $700 up to around $12,300. The lower priced system of $700 is a more value-based brand with a 12,000 BTU system that includes 1 outdoor unit, 1 indoor unit (single-zone), and 1 remote. The higher priced $12,300 system is a higher end brand with a 60,000 BTU system that includes a double outdoor unit, 5 indoor units (multi-zone), and 5 remotes.

Let’s break down the main factors that determine a ductless systems cost in more detail below.

Brand of the System

From our research, we have found that some of the higher end brands when it comes to mini split systems are Fujitsu, Carrier, and Mitsubishi. But, Carrier can be considered lower priced when compared to Mitsubishi and Fujitsu in most cases. Some of the more value-based brands include LG, GE, and MrCool.

white mitsubishi mini split outdoor condenser unit
Mitsubishi outdoor condenser unit
Mitsubishi indoor evaporator unit

Brand

Fujitsu

Mitsubishi

Carrier

LG

GE

MrCool

Price Range

$1,169 – $6,369

$1,101 – $8,112

$907 – $6,585

$795 – $6,180

$820 – $4,816

$699 – $6,180


Size of the System in BTUs

As we stated earlier, the size of the system, measured in BTUs, is going to be a factor when it comes to the cost involved. Below you will find the average price ranges for the standard categories of BTUs listed below.

NOTE: 1 ton is equivalent to about 12,000 BTUs. If you are curious what size system you might need, you can read our blog post that can help you determine what size ac unit you need.

BTUs

12,000

24,000

36,000

48,000

60,000

Price Range

$767 – $3,693

$1,041 – $6,018

$1,580 – $8,652

$3,450 – $10,545

$4,497 – $12,398


Single Zone or Multi-Zone

A “zone” refers to the number of indoor units that will be used to disperse cool or warm hair throughout the home or business. A single zone system would only have 1 indoor unit. 2 or more zones equates to a multi-zone system. A perfect example for a multi-zone system is to have an indoor unit in the living room of a home, along with an indoor unit in each bedroom as well. This allows each room or area to be cooled and heated at different desired temperatures.

As you can see, the price that you will pay for a mini split system will vary significantly depending on the number of indoor units you need. Below you will find the price ranges for the different available zone setups.

Zones

Single

2-3

4-5

6-8

Price Range

$715 – $9,273

$1,714 – $9,234

$2,912 – $12,398

$5,370 – $9.905


How Much Does It Cost to Install?

Now that we’ve covered the costs for the ductless system itself, let’s go over installation costs. After all, you are probably going to want to have a professional handle the installation.

The national average for mini split installation costs ranges from $300 up to over $2,500. Installation costs can be broken down into two main categories: labor costs and cost of materials.

Labor Costs

The cost of labor is what a HVAC company charges in order to carry out the installation job. This is typically calculated by the number of hours it takes to complete the job. The degree of difficulty and hazardous situations can also affect the cost of labor. Labor costs can run from $300 up to $1,500 or more depending on the specifics of the installation job.

Cost of Materials

The cost of materials includes extra materials that are needed to install the mini split system. These are materials that are not included with the purchase of the system itself. Examples of extra materials would be extra conduit, wiring, and refrigerant lines for systems that have large gaps of distance between the outdoor unit(s) and the indoor unit(s).

There can also be custom modifications that need to be performed to carry out the installation job correctly. The custom mods will likely involve materials that aren’t in the general scope of work.

Cost of materials can range from $0 up to $1,000 or more.

TIP: Because installation costs vary depending on the installer, it’s important to get numerous estimates from different HVAC companies in your local area. Most companies will provide you with a free estimate, so there’s no risk or cost on your part. And, remember, most installers are going to give you an estimate that includes the system itself along with the installation costs as one complete estimate.

Some Specific Numbers

Since we are a HVAC company who actually installs mini splits, we want to share some specific numbers with you. Our most common installation is a 24,000 BTU or 36,000 BTU system. Our average price range to purchase and install a 24,000 BTU mini split system is around $2,500 – $3,000. Our average price range to purchase and install a 36,000 BTU system is anywhere from $3,000 – $3,600. These averages include everything from purchasing the system to installing it.

How a Mini Split System Works

Now that we’ve gone over the details of how much a mini split system costs, let’s walk through a quick break-down of how these systems work. This will help give you a better idea of how the pricing works along with helping you understand what you need for your particular setup.

Ductless mini split systems are very simple. First of all, they are ductless so they don’t require any ductwork. This is what helps make them more efficient than traditional central heating and air systems. The 3 main components in a mini split system are the outdoor condenser units, the indoor evaporator units, and the refrigerant lines that connect the two. There is also electrical wiring, but that goes without saying.

On a mini split air conditioner or heat pump, the indoor unit(s), usually referred to as the evaporator or air handler, extracts warm air from inside the home or business and runs it over the evaporator coils within. The cold refrigerant in these evaporator coils absorbs the heat from the warm air and transfers that heat to the outdoor condenser(s) unit through the refrigerant lines. During this process the indoor unit is delivering the remaining cool air into the area being cooled. The heat that was transferred out of the area to be cooled is then removed to the outside air via the outdoor condenser unit(s). This process is repeated over and over again. That’s how air conditioning works in its simplest form.

For heating, the process above is reversed. The outdoor condenser unit pulls in warm air from the outside air and transfers it through the refrigerant lines to the evaporator unit inside. The evaporator unit then disperses the warm air throughout the home or business.

Conclusion

Mini split systems are becoming more and more popular because of their efficiency and their ease of installation. When it comes to the cost of a mini split system, including installation, the national price range is $1,500 up to $15,000, which is a large price gap. But, now you know why this gap exists. The varying factors that affect the cost of mini split systems are many. These factors include the brand of the system, the size of the system, the number of zones needed, and the cost of installation.

Now that you have an idea of the associated costs, along with an understanding of how mini splits work, you should be better equipped when it comes to purchasing your own ductless system. Remember, if you don’t already have an HVAC company that you trust, get at least 2 estimates from local HVAC companies prior to pulling the trigger. This will help you get a fair, cost-effective deal.

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