5 Best Air Source Heat Pump Systems in the UK (2022)

Renewable Energy
Air heat pumps beside house
KangeStudio / Getty Images

With more home heating brands entering the renewable energy market, choosing the best air source heat pump for your home isn’t as straightforward as it once was. But this is actually a good thing for consumers. More choice means better prices and more opportunity to get a unit best-suited to your needs.

Air source heat pumps are growing in popularity. Compared to the best ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps are more affordable and much cheaper and easier to install.

For those new to renewable heating systems, an air source heat pump extracts heat from the outside air — even in temperatures as low as -20 to -25 degrees C — and converts it into energy that can power your home heating and hot water. The system includes a fan that is installed on your property. The fan passes air over an exchanger coil that contains refrigerant fluid. This fluid boils and turns into vapour, which is then compressed at a high temperature to power your heating and hot water.

Air source heat pumps come as air-to-air or air-to-water. An air-to-air unit will heat (or cool) your home using a system of fans, while an air-to-water pump will heat water that can be used to circulate to radiators and store in a hot water storage cylinder.

Best Air Source Heat Pump Systems

  1. Best Overall: Samsung EHS Monobloc
  2. Most Efficient: Hitachi Yutaki
  3. Most Powerful: Vaillant flexoTHERM 400V + aroCOLLECT
  4. Best for Cold Climates: Daikin Altherma
  5. Best for Small Homes: Nibe F2040

1. Best Overall: Samsung EHS Monobloc

  • Price: From £3,500 to £7,500
  • Efficiency: A++
  • Warranty: 7 years
  • Max Power: Up to 16 kW
  • Min Temperature: – 25 degrees C

Samsung is one of the most well-known brands in the world, making everything from phones to TVs to, yes, air source heat pumps for your home. Samsung invested heavily in the research and development of renewable energy technology and has made one of the most efficient, powerful and competitively priced air source heat pumps in the form of the EHS Monobloc. It’s the perfect all-rounder.

What we love about the EHS Monobloc is that, along with its efficiency and 16-kW output, it’s also one of the smallest units you can buy, about 40% lighter and more compact than the average competitor. By investing in a Samsung air source heat pump, you can rest assured that the company will be around for the life of your heat pump and that it has excellent customer support.

Samsung EHS Monobloc Pros and Cons

Here are the major benefits and disadvantages of purchasing a Samsung EHS Monobloc air source heat pump:

Pros:

  • Operates at temperatures as low as -25 degrees C
  • Very energy efficient
  • Slimline design
  • One of the more affordable options

Cons:

  • Can be hard to find sometimes due to popularity

Samsung EHS Monobloc Technical Specs

The Samsung 16-kW EHS Monobloc air source heat pump is composed of an inverter compressor that operates according to the external temperature. The outdoor unit is light and compact, which not only makes installation easier and cheaper, but it’s also more discreet on your property. The slimline design also helps reduce sound. As a result, the EHS Monobloc is extremely quiet, producing a sound power of 66 dBA.

The top-of-the-range EHS Monobloc has a heating output of 16 kW and 14 kW for cooling in the summer. Hot water can be heated up to 65 C, which is suitable for just about any use. The unit can also operate in temperatures as low as -25 C and as hot as 35 C, making it perfectly suitable for anywhere you might live in the UK.

Here’s are the major Samsung EHS Monobloc specs:

ModelSamsung EHS Monobloc
Output5 kW up to 16 kW
Energy GradeA++
Heating Capacity16 kW
Cooling Capacity14 kW
Sound Power66 dBA
Lowest Operating Temperature-25 degrees C
Dimensions940 x 1420 x 330 mm
Weight108 kg

Samsung EHS Monobloc Add-Ons

There aren’t many add-ons for air source heat pump systems; however, Samsung offers a pre-plumbed cylinder unit that you can purchase as an additional extra with the EHS Monobloc. This add-on can reduce your installation time, which cuts down on the overall cost.

Our Opinion of the Samsung EHS Monobloc

The Samsung EHS Mono is perhaps the best all-rounder out there. They generally get great reviews, and the company’s seven-year warranty is one of the more generous offerings on the market. While an EHS Mono will serve anyone well, it’s particularly best suited to people for whom space is a primary concern. If you live in a small terrace property or have a small garden, this is one of the best heat pumps in the UK for you.

2. Most Efficient: Hitachi Yutaki S80

Price: From £4,000 to £7,000

Efficiency: A+++

Warranty: 5 years

Max Power: 11 kW (14 kW and 16 kW options available with lower efficiency rating)

Min Temperature: -20 degrees C

Hitachi has long been a stalwart of the consumer electronics market and, like other popular heat-pump manufacturers, it moved into the home renewable energy systems market some time ago. Its Yutaki range of air source heat pumps, which includes the S80, the S and the M ranges, are some of the most energy-efficient air source heat pumps in the UK.

All Hitachi Yutaki pumps deliver an A+++ energy rating, and with an efficiency of 500%, you not only stand to reduce your running costs but save thousands over the life of your heat pump. The Yutaki S80 effectively converts every kilowatt of electricity into 5 kW of heating energy. Compared to traditional boilers, it will reduce your electricity bills by up to 60% and CO2 emissions by 50%.

Hitachi Yutaki S80 Pros and Cons

Here are the major benefits and disadvantages of purchasing a Hitachi Yutaki S80 air source heat pump:

Pros:

  • Extremely energy-efficient
  • Offers potential for large cost savings over its lifetime
  • Very quiet operation

Cons:

  • Low maximum output compared to other models

Hitachi Yutaki S80 Technical Specs

Like the Samsung EHS Monobloc, the Hitachi Yutaki units are compact and highly efficient. And designed by a brand like Hitachi, with a legacy in the electronics market, you can imagine that they come loaded with some intuitive features. A wireless remote control enables you to adjust room temperatures from wherever you may be, while a One-Touch button lets you put the system into holiday mode for when you go away.

Hitachi eschews the standard electrical element in the Yutaki S80 heat pump. Instead, it employs a Cascade R134a Heat Pump Circuit, which helps the system obtain its high efficiency rating. The unit can produce hot water at temperatures up to a staggering 80 C. Other features include a weather compensation control.

Here’s are the major Hitachi Yutaki S80 specs:

ModelYutaki S80
Output11 kW (14 kW and 16 kW options available at lower energy grade)
Energy GradeA+++
Heating Capacity11 kW
Sound Power63 to 65 dBA
Lowest Operating Temperature-20 degrees C
Dimensions1380 x 950 x 370 mm
Weight116 kg

Hitachi Yutaki S80 Add-Ons

The Yutaki S80 system comes with a controller and a pack of anti-vibration feet to help further reduce sound. You can also buy an optional 185- or 250-litre cylinder tank, temperature sensors and a three-way motorised valve for domestic hot water heating, as well as space heating.

Our Opinion of Hitachi

Efficiency should be one of your key priorities when switching to a renewable energy system, and the Hitachi Yutaki S80 is one of the most efficient you’ll find. Because it can generate five times as much energy as it uses, you’re not only lowering your carbon footprint, but also making huge savings on your energy bill over time. With its handy app and timer and holiday mode, you can fine-tune your operation to make even more efficiencies. If you are moving into a new build or if you need to replace your boiler and live in a medium-size home, this is likely the best air source heat pump for you.

3. Most Powerful: Vaillant flexoTHERM 400V + aroCOLLECT

  • Price: From £7,000 to £10,000
  • Efficiency: A+++
  • Warranty: 7 years
  • Max Power: 19 kW
  • Min Temperature: -10 degrees C

The flexoTHERM range of Vaillant heat pumps is unique in that the units can utilise three different heat sources: ground, water and air. When connected with Vaillant’s aroCOLLECT brine air system, they become some of the most powerful air source heat pumps you can buy.

Vaillant, of course, is one of the major brands in home heating and has won awards for its designs. The flexoTHERM heat pump models are available in two categories: 230V in 5-, 8- and 11-kW options, and 400V in 15- and 19-kW outputs. It’s the 400V range that really brings the power, aided by Vaillant’s state-of-the-art EVI compressor technology that balances maximum efficiency with high outputs.

Vaillant Pros and Cons

Here are the major benefits and disadvantages of purchasing a Vaillant flexoTHERM air source heat pump:

Pros:

  • Future-proof, with options for ground, air or water source heating
  • One of the quietest heat pumps you can buy
  • Powerful and efficient

Cons:

  • Lowest operating temperature is just -10 C
  • Costly, with multiple units required

Vaillant flexoTHERM 400V Technical Specs

The flexoTHERM 400V works in conjunction with Vaillant’s aroCOLLECT air source brine collector module as a three-phase air source heat pump. The aroCOLLECT module utilises the ambient air temperature to warm the brine fluid just like a ground source system would, ensuring minimal heat loss.

As well as being A+++ rated for efficiency, the unit’s modulating ventilators restrict sound, making it one of the quietest air source heat pumps on the market. Meanwhile, its integrated EVI super compressor helps give this Vaillant heat pump its incredible power.

Here’s are the major Vaillant flexoTHERM 400V specs: 

ModelVaillant flexoTHERM 400V
Output15 kW and 19 kW
Energy GradeA+++
Heating CapacityUp to 19 kW
Sound Power39.8 dBA
Lowest Operating Temperature-10 degrees C
Dimensions1183 x 595 x 600 mm
Weight200 kg

Vaillant flexoTHERM 400V Add-Ons

Vaillant manufactures a range of uniSTOR hot water cylinders for use with Vaillant heat pumps. Capacities range from 150 up to 300 litres, and the cylinders are made of 100% recyclable stainless steel. The units also come with a 25-year guarantee. 

Our Opinion of Vaillant

Vaillant is one of the biggest and most trustworthy names in home heating and has wonderful customer support. The multi-source flexoTHERM range of Vaillant heat pumps is incredibly versatile and is best suited for large properties or even commercial buildings given its large power output, as well as cost. For large heating needs, you can even install up to seven flexoTHERM Vaillant heat pumps together, which, paired with the aroCOLLECT unit, will provide maximum efficiency and reliability. 

4. Best for Cold Climates: Daikin Altherma

  • Price: From £6,000 to £10,000
  • Efficiency: A++ to A+++ depending on model
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Max Power: Up to 16 kW depending on model
  • Min Temperature: -20 degrees C

Many may not realise, but Daikin has a 90-year history in the home heating market and has built a reputation for developing innovative technology. Daikin’s Altherma range of air source heat pumps has an option for most types of properties and is designed to work in tandem with your existing radiators to keep costs at a minimum.

What’s also great about the Altherma air source heat pumps is that they can operate in extremely low temperatures. In fact, all the heat pumps in Daikin’s Altherma range can operate in conditions as low as -20 C. At the same time, Altherma heat pumps can produce hot water at temperatures from 55 C to 80 C depending on the unit you buy.

Daikin Pros and Cons

Here are the major benefits and disadvantages of purchasing a Vaillant flexoTHERM air source heat pump:

Pros:

  • Can operate efficiently in extreme cold
  • Slim design
  • Works with existing radiators to save installation costs

Cons:

  • Expensive

Daikin Altherma Technical Specs

Daikin’s Altherma range is quite varied and is comprised of the Altherma Monobloc Low Temperature, Split System Low Temperature, High Temperature Split, Altherma 3 with Bluevolution R32 and the Altherma Hybrid. Within these models, there are also a range of output options extending up to 16 kW in the Low Temperature and High Temperature models, and 8 kW in the Altherma 3 and Hybrid.

The Low Temperature and High Temperature models are the most affordable and popular with consumers. The High Temperature model can produce maximum hot water temperatures of 80 C, but this comes at the expense of energy efficiency, with a rating of just A+. The Low Temperature models are rated A+++.

The Low Temperature models offer a couple of options. The Monobloc version houses all of the components within the single unit. This is installed outside on your property, and only a single wire delivers the energy to your home. The Split System Low Temperature model has an indoor and an outdoor unit (with the option to wall-mount the indoor unit). The outdoor unit can be installed up to 50 metres away, giving you more flexibility. Because of its versatility, we’ve focused on the Split System Low Temperature model in the table below.

Here’s are the major Daikin Altherma specs: 

ModelAltherma Split System Low Temperature
OutputUp to 16 kW depending on the model
Energy GradeA++ to A+++
Heating CapacityUp to 15.6 kW
Sound Power56 dBA
Lowest Operating Temperature-25 degrees C
Dimensions1440 x 1160 x 380 mm
Weight143 kg

Daikin Add-Ons

Daikin doesn’t offer a wide range of add-ons, but with some models in its Altherma range, you can add optional storage. The Altherma Monobloc, for instance, offers the option to include a hot-water storage tank to increase your hot water capacity, while the Split System Low Temperature model gives you the choice between an optional hot water tank or a floor-standing indoor unit that contains a hot water tank inside.

Our Opinion of Daikin

Daikin’s Altherma range of air source heat pumps is ideal for those who are doing home renovations or replacing their old boilers. The Altherma range’s compact design reduces the complexity of installation (and cost) and means you can more easily slot the system into your existing piping network and radiators.

It doesn’t often get down to -25 C in the UK (save for parts of Scotland), but having an air source heat pump system that can operate at temperatures that low and still produce hot water and heating in an energy-efficient manner gives one a lot of peace of mind throughout the winter months.

5. Best for Small Homes: Nibe F2040 

  • Price: From £6,000 to £9,000
  • Efficiency: A++
  • Warranty: 7 years
  • Max Power: 16 kW
  • Min Temperature: -20 degrees C

Nibe is a Swedish company that has been developing home heating systems for more than 60 years. As you might expect from a Scandinavian firm, due to its emphasis on practical design, Nibe air source heat pumps are among the easiest and most cost-effective heat pumps to install.

The F2040 range of air-to-water heat pumps is one of the company’s more popular products, owing not only to its easy installation but also to its low operating temperature, generous output and the company’s great customer service.

Nibe Pros and Cons

Here are the major benefits and disadvantages of purchasing a Nibe F2040 air source heat pump:

Pros:

  • Quiet operation
  • Compact
  • Easy installation

Cons:

  • Some Trustpilot reviews suggest long callout times for engineers

Nibe F2040 Technical Specs

Here’s are the major Nibe F2040 specs:

ModelF2040-6, -8, -12, -16 models
Output6 kW to 16 kW
Energy GradeA++
Heating CapacityUp to 14.5 kW
Sound Power50 to 61 dBA
Lowest Operating Temperature-20 degrees C
Dimensions900 x 1025 x 420 mm to 955 x 1145 x 450 mm
Weight66 to 135 kg

Nibe Add-Ons

Nibe offers quite a wide range of accessories for use with its F2040 models (F2040-6, -8, -12 and -16). These range from control modules to better integrate your climate system at home to wall-mounting brackets and heat recovery ventilation units. Nibe also makes optional stainless-steel hot water cylinders. 

Our Opinion of Nibe

The Nibe F2040 range is so popular because it’s really the best air source heat pump for small- to medium-size properties. The units themselves are very compact, reducing the amount of space they consume on your property. They can also be wall-mounted to free up floor space. What’s more, the F2040 models only need 150 mm of clearance space from any wall next to which you may install it, and 1 metre of open space in front of the unit. This gives you a lot of flexibility in a small space.

People also love the attention to detail in the design. Fan blades are designed to move air with little noise, while anti-vibration connections also help make the F2040 one of the quietest air source heat pumps you can buy. And with options ranging from 8.7 to 15.8 kW, it should output plenty of heat, even in cold temperatures, to warm the average UK terrace home.

Air Source Heat Pumps Verdict and Recommendation

When choosing the best air source heat pumps in the UK, we looked at a variety of factors, from output and efficiency to warranty life, price and design. While air source heat pumps are less intrusive to install than ground source heat pumps, they do require installing a large unit on — and in — your property. A compact design is an important consideration, as well as a unit’s output capability and energy efficiency.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, Samsung tops our list. The South Korean firm may not have the legacy in this market that firms like Daikin or Vaillant have, but it has brought its design creativity and technological prowess to an increasingly crowded market and created a unit that offers the best of all worlds. Its EHS Monobloc system is powerful, energy-efficient, compact and backed with a seven-year warranty. And with an aggressive pricing structure that makes it affordable to most consumers, the Samsung EHS Monobloc stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. 

Of course, other homeowners have more specific needs. This is why we’ve scoured the whole of the market to find the best air source heat pumps for those who may need something more powerful or more efficient. Or maybe you live someplace where it’s cold all year long and you want the most efficient heat pump for your climate. This list answers those questions.

How Much Does an Air Source Heat Pump Cost?

Like any heating system, whether traditional or renewable, the cost really depends on a number of factors, such as the size and location of your home, and your overall heating needs. You can expect most units will fall within the £5,000 to £8,000 price range, and installation in an average UK home probably starts at around £5,000.

While this may seem like a huge amount of money — and it is — remember that you will make this initial investment back over time through reduced energy bills and payments from the UK government via the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. Given that the average air source heat pump should last 20 to 25 years, your system should easily pay for itself by the end of its life.

FAQ: Best Air Source Heat Pumps in the UK

Does an air source heat pump work during winter?

Air source heat pumps work in any season, even during the winter. You might think that an air source heat pump will only work during the summer months, but it can actually extract heat from the air during the winter. What’s more, they can also act as air conditioning units, helping to cool your home during the hot months of summer.

What are the advantages of an air source heat pump?

Air source heat pumps use four times less energy than a traditional gas boiler in order to supply the same amount of heat to your home. This means you might save up to £300 or more per year on your energy bills while cutting your carbon footprint at the same time. What’s more, unlike ground source heat pumps or even solar panels, air source heat pumps installation is much more straightforward — and cheaper.

What are the problems with air source heat pumps?

While they can still operate in cold weather, air source heat pumps become less energy efficient in the cold because they have to work harder to extract heat. So while you reap huge energy savings in the warmer months of summer, when offsetting air conditioner costs, it’s balanced out by more modest efficiency in the winter.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter