Rheem is a well-respected heat pump supplier, and its 14 SEER-rated heat pumps are some of the most popular on the market today. However, price differences can leave you scratching your head. What accounts for the cost discrepancies between split systems and packaged units? Consider the following cost comparisons for 14 SEER-rated Rheem heat pumps with different cooling capacities:*

2 Ton Rheem Heat Pump:

Split System: $1,925numbers-money-calculating-calculation

Packaged Unit: $2,775

2.5 Ton Rheem Heat Pump:

Split System: $1,983

Packaged Unit: $2,804

3 Ton Rheem Heat Pump:

Split System: $2,130

Packaged Unit: $3,087

3.5 Ton Rheem Heat Pump:

Split System: $2,248

Packaged Unit: $3,532

4 Ton Rheem Heat Pump:

Split System: $2,449

Packaged Unit: $3,762

5 Ton Rheem Heat Pump:

Split System: $2,669

Packaged Unit: $3,892

*Figures approximated for clarity.

At each cooling capacity level, the price for the packaged unit is considerably higher. Why does the packaged unit cost more from the same brand? Is the packaged version better, and is it worth paying more? To answer these questions, it is necessary to consider some of the aspects of packaged units and split system heat pumps.

Installation Costs

One of the benefits of a packaged unit is that it isn’t hard to install. Because the condenser, compressor and evaporator are all encompassed into a compact cabinet, it doesn’t take much to find an adequate location — usually near the foundation of a building or on the roof — and install the unit. As a result, installation costs are low.

In contrast, a split system heat pump requires expert installation, and it is much more time-consuming and labor-intensive. That’s because the different parts of the unit must be laid out and configured in a way that maximizes energy efficiency. If the installation is performed poorly, your system will operate much less efficiently than a compact unit with the same 14 SEER efficiency rating. Therefore, despite the lower upfront cost of split systems, the installation costs are higher than for packaged units.


Because they are located outside, packaged units must be able to stand up to the perils of the great outdoors. For instance, the cabinet exterior must be durable enough to protect the water-sensitive components of the heat pump from rain and snow. The best packaged units also make it difficult for animals to get into the unit and build nests in the warm environment or chew through the wires. When you account for the added costs of fortifying a heat pump against the elements, it makes sense that it costs more.

In contrast, a split system heat pump is comprised of two cabinets: an outdoor cabinet, which contains the condenser, and an indoor cabinet, which contains some of the electrical components that are more sensitive to water damage and animal abuse. Because the indoor cabinet can be placed in a basement or attic, it won’t be vulnerable to the same harsh conditions as a packaged unit, so it doesn’t need as much external protection.

When comparing Rheem’s packaged unit and split system heat pumps that have the same 14-SEER ratings and cooling capacities, cost discrepancies can be explained by the different ways in which these systems work. Ultimately, the best choice depends on your budget and the needs of your building. For more help figuring out which is best for you, and to find the lowest-priced Rheem products on the market, contact National Air Warehouse today.


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