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PIONEER brand minisplits – any experience?

4gvnsnr | Posted in Mechanicals on

They are incredibly cheap but I have no personal experience with them. Anyone know how they compare to other “budget” brands like Gree, Mr Cool, Daikin etc? 

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  1. 4gvnsnr | | #1

    Specifically looking at the 24k btu 17 SEER (WYS024GMFI19RL-16) for $1168.

  2. Expert Member
    Akos | | #2

    I've used a couple of 9k units for AC only. Cheap and works, nothing special. Both indoor and outdoor units are pretty quiet, but so are most inverter units.

    Not the best heat pump as output quickly falls off in colder weather and has no pan heater.

  3. 4gvnsnr | | #3

    I’m wondering if any of the cheaper units come with pan heaters.

    If I’m reading the literature correctly the Pioneer heats down to 4 degrees. The other two I am strongly considering as well (Gree Livo/vireo) both heat to -5 degrees.

  4. bfw577 | | #4

    I have a 12k unit at a lake house thats been running flawlessly for 2 years. They are like every other off brand and just rebadged Mideas with Toshiba compressors. I would spend a little more and get a Midea Premier series that has full heat output to 5. Gree also has some better units.

    You can get more information at the below link. The higher 22 seer pioneer units do have basepan heaters and better cold weather performance. I attached the performance charts for both. The 17 seer is almost worthless for any heating capability in cold weather and has no basepan heater.

  5. 4gvnsnr | | #5

    That is super useful information! I am definitely needing decent heat output at low temperature so based off that I’d say the lower end pioneers would not be a good choice. I’ll try to find those charts on the Grees I was looking at.

    I haven’t seen much of the Mideas, I don’t think the websites I’ve been looking at really carry them but I will certainly look into them.

    1. bfw577 | | #6

      Midea pretty much makes the majority of mini splits out there. They are the largest refrigeration compant in the world. If you dig into the service manuals, installation manuals, and cross reference stuff its all made by Midea and they have GMCC Toshiba compressors. My Midea came in a Carrier North America box with Midea stickers that you put on yourself.

      I bought my Midea Premier floor console hyper heat from minisplit warehouse. I cross referenced my floor console unit and it is identical to Daikin, Gree, Carrier, Blueridge, etc. The literature is all exactly the same with just a different brand on it. It appears Midea is pretty much making them or they are all using the exact same design.

  6. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #7

    >"... other “budget” brands like Gree, Mr Cool, Daikin "

    It's weird to find Daikin on that list. Daikin is a first-tier Japanese manufacturer with a great reputation and a reasonably good support network in North America.

    >"Midea pretty much makes the majority of mini splits out there."

    A dubious assertion, despite having become the world's largest air conditioning manufacturer. Gree is also huge (at one time the largest AC manufacturer in China), and OEMs their equipment to a number of different labels. Over the past decade there have also been a lot of Fujitsu components inside a lot of other mini-split brands.

    >"If you dig into the service manuals, installation manuals, and cross reference stuff its all made by Midea and they have GMCC Toshiba compressors. My Midea came in a Carrier North America box with Midea stickers that you put on yourself."

    Midea got into bed with Toshiba a couple of decades ago in a joint venture with Toshiba building a large refrigeration compressor factory in China. United Technologies/Carrier only got into bed with Midea/Toshiba about a decade ago. Unfortunately Carrier doesn't import/support the full complement of Midea mini-split equipment in the US market. Midea USA distributes some of the non-Carrier equipment via internet sales, but local support for Midea-branded mini-splits seems spotty at best.

    Either way, Midea is clearly a first-tier Chinese manufacturer of this kind of equipment, but far from the ONLY first tier Chinese manufacturer of heat pump equipment, unless Gree has turned into a Midea-only show. I understand that starting several years ago Korea's Samsung minisplits became OEMed Midea units, but not LG.

    Midea is far more than a refrigeration equipment company- it's a major conglomerate with a wide range of consumer & household goods from dishwashers to blenders and a wide range of small appliances. Even Midea USA has some of the home appliance/small appliance equipment listed on their website:

    >"I bought my Midea Premier floor console hyper heat from minisplit warehouse. "

    The Premier series cold climate equipment looks very good on paper, and should live up to those specs. With proper installation it's reasonable to expect them to have comparable longevity to the large Japanese manufacturers' mini-splits. The only thing you're giving up for the lower internet price point is the support network.

    1. bfw577 | | #8

      So what are your thoughts Dana on why every manufacturer seems to be using pretty much the same equipment? Outside of Mitsubishi if you google the 12k floor console units for example they are all literally the same exact unit? Is one factory making them all?

      Why is the Daikin unit exactly the same as the Midea? Here is the Midea and Daikin floor units. They are identical.

      If you spend some time most of the wall units are all the same as well right down to the remotes.

  7. alan72 | | #9

    Is there a list of these kinds of relationships (which units are rebranded units from other companies, etc) and their respective level of quality?

    We have Fujitsu ducted mini splits specified for our house build - I spoke with an HVAC contractor to get a quote yesterday and he was really impressed with Mitsubishi yet he was willing to price out the Fujitsu units... makes trying to make decisions about the units difficult - or at least it feels like we don't have all the information needed for the decision...

    Sorry to highjack the post -


    1. bfw577 | | #11

      There is no list that I know of. You more or less have to do the research yourself. Start by comparing the submittal sheets, installation instructions, service manuals, etc.

  8. 4gvnsnr | | #10

    I only included Daikin because they have some lower priced units that seem to compete with the upper bottom tier level. I actually deleted it the first time I wrote it and then added it back in lol.

    After digging into the literature and specs a bit more I’m not sure ANY of the “budget” machines will perform well enough in cold weather for my needs. I can deal with a lower Seer rating no problem, but it needs to work and work reasonably well in zero degree weather.

    I see plenty of 2 ton units in the 1k-1500 range, but not much that heats well at anything under 5 degrees or so. Seems like to get that type of performance you need to step up to the 2k units.

    1. bfw577 | | #12

      I was pretty much in your exact postion and wanted a decent priced cold climate unit. I went with a Gree Sapphire and Midea Premier after spending hours researching. If you sort mini splits in the AHRI directory by efficiency Midea and Gree actually dominate the top of the list ahead of most of the big names.

      I assume you are self installing? These things are actually quite simple to install. The downfall is limited warranty and support but the savings are massive. When I did the math I could buy 3 Midea Premiers compared to the cost of a professional Mitsubishi install. So even if this one fails I can still buy another 2 before I break even compared to a professional install.

      I would look at the Midea Premier dlcsrah24aak. It looks to be around $1500 shipped. Its rated 100 percent heat at 5 and 79 percent at -22. I have the 12k unit and its has been a solid cold weather performer.

  9. 4gvnsnr | | #13

    I am seriously considering the Gree Sapphires even tho I really didn’t want to spend that much. They specs are just awesome on those. Would prefer to be in the 1500 range as opposed to 2000.

    Where did you buy your Midea Premier from? For such a dominate brand I sure am having trouble locating online retailers that carry them.

  10. bfw577 | | #14

    I bought the Gree at ecomfort and the Midea at minisplit warehouse.

    The 24k Midea is $1599 and the 24k Gree is $2061. Both prices include shipping.

    I have been more impressed with the Gree so I would definitely spend the extra 400 on it.

  11. nickdefabrizio | | #15

    This thread highlights several things but one thing seems likely, mini splits will not catch on here in sufficient numbers to become a significant factor in reducing U. S. carbon emissions unless and until they become cheap ubiquitous appliances that can be acquired for under $1,000 and installed by any reasonably handy homeowner just like any window unit. Just like in Asia. $5,000 single head installs and $10,000+ multi head installs limit the retrofit applicability dramatically, particularly since the long term ( i.e, more than ten years) reliability of these units is somewhat questionable even when installed by a pro.

    1. gusfhb | | #16

      First thing you have to understand is that the generic AC contractor hears the question " I want you to put AC in my house, and the answer is
      no matter what you choose. Until they start viewing minisplit installs as cost plus, they will not be popular.

      We know the name brands last over 10 years without fault, so valid assumptions about tier two units can be made.

  12. _jt | | #17

    I have two of the 17 SEER units installed and I've been happy with them. But my 99% temperature point is 15 degrees so I'm not really worrying about 0 degree performance.

    A couple notes:

    On installation: You really do need a HVAC tech to do the vacuum and re-fill. The pre-filled lines tend to be a little off, so if you don't check them your performance will be off.

    Cooling: Very good cooling performance. My bill dropped by 4-5x vs the previously installed ducted air handler.

    Heating: 30-50 degrees - works really well. COP appears to be in excess of 3.

    Heating 10-30 degrees - works well enough. Lack of basepain heater means that I do have to keep an eye on ice build up.

    I probably would have purchased the 22 SEER unit for better heating capacity if I did it again - but I purchased it originally for cooling.

    Controls: The apps and the remote aren't that intuitive - but it integrates well with Alexa so that's how we typically control it, adjust temperatures etc.

    Question: Has anyone retrofitted a base pan heater onto an existing unit? I suspect something as simple as a pipe heating wire could provide the same effect as a base pan heater in not so extreme cold.

  13. BuildersPrideCons | | #18

    I have experience with Pioneer Mini splits and they are EXCELLENT.Parent Company is Parker Davis HVAC . These units I believe are manufactured by Midea I have had zero problems every time Ive had one installed. I did have a Daikin installed once and it had a bad circuit board out of the box, so I started using Pioneer. I will use pioneer from now on I use and buy them direct and they come with Line sets and power cord. I also own one personally and it’s been running for 5 years straight and works like a champ.

  14. drumsnbeads | | #19

    I have a daikin 36k btu system & I hate it. the installer didn't size it right. It uses alot of energy in the winter. It has leaked out all the coolant, didn't have a base pan heater, & daikin won't stand behind their product.
    Since it didn't keep my large main room warm, I had a single 18k pioneer system installed which works great and is trouble free.
    Both units are rated for minus 13.

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