Finally, a Heat Pump That Isn't Ugly

We love heat pumps at CNET. That's because they are more efficient than other HVAC technology and are a critical part of the clean energy transition. But they've never been the prettiest appliances to look at.

As heat pump adoption spreads and more options become available, some companies are now considering aesthetics without sacrificing function. A new heat pump system from Quilt, a California-based climate control company, promises top-of-the-line efficiency and indoor units that can be painted or wallpapered to match your interior decorating. 

"Designing the Quilt system has been an opportunity for us to bring thoughtfully designed products into homes that accelerate the adoption of our electric future," the cofounders of the firm behind Quilt's design said in a statement accompanying the heat pump's release.

As the climate warms, cooling our homes without burning fossil fuels is increasingly important. Heat pumps -- machines that work like air conditioners but can both cool and heat a space -- will be key tools in achieving both goals as they replace both older, less efficient air conditioners and furnaces that burn natural gas, which is primarily made of the climate-warming fossil fuel methane. In order to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, heat pump adoption needs to triple by 2030 to cover 20% of global heating needs, the International Energy Agency said last year.

Often, heat pumps can work with a home's existing duct system. In those cases, replacing an old AC or furnace won't change the look of your home. In other cases, mini split systems feature wall-mounted boxes which, if not ugly, likely wouldn't be your first choice for interior decoration.

Two people sit on a bed under a heat pump painted blue to match the wall.

Quilt's heat pump can be painted or wallpapered to match your decor.


While it's not the first heat pump to try to solve the problem of ugly mini splits (take, for example, LG's Art Cool Gallery that looks like a picture frame), it's definitely a step ahead of many available today.

Heat pumps are highly efficient machines, and Quilt's is no different. It heats and cools as efficiently as many of the heat pumps on Energy Star's list of most efficient heat pumps at both warm and cold temperatures. (Heat pumps get less efficient as the temperature drops.)

Quilt's heat pump is designated as Tier 2 by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency. This means its efficiency ratings for heating, cooling and overall performance are well above what's required to qualify for the heat pump tax credit made available through the Inflation Reduction Act.

Heat pumps can save homeowners money because they're more efficient than the furnaces and air conditioners they replace, though they need to be sized correctly for efficiency and comfort.

Quilt's heat pump also comes with a slick looking thermostat and app that lets you control temperature room by room.

A persons hand adjusting a wall-mounted smart thermostat.

The Quilt Dial, the system's smart thermostat.


If you want a Quilt heat pump system, you might have to wait. They'll be available for installation in the Bay Area this summer and Los Angeles later this year. If you don't live there, you can join a waitlist.

Quilt's heat pump will cost $6,499 per room before federal incentives.

If you're looking for other ways to make your home more energy efficient, check out these tips for lowering your cooling bill and how your window dressings can help.

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