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Many people are turning to heat pumps to replace their oil and gas boilers. Ground source heat pumps (or GSHP) offer several advantages over traditional heating systems. They can help you reduce your carbon emissions, tend to require less maintenance, and are generally cheaper to run. And because these pumps can provide cooling during the warmer months, they can work as air conditioners in the summer.

The way ground source heat pumps function is relatively simple: Heat-pumps harness the ground temperature and use it to deliver renewable hot water and heating for your home. The process is similar to that of a fridge – but reversed.

Heat pumps are not a silver bullet for reducing all your bills, and they are not for everybody. However, they constitute a great renewable energy solution that should be considered, especially if you are renovating your home or building a new house. If you choose to try this technology, it’s essential to find a heat pump that precisely matches your home’s heating demands.

One way to measure the suitability of a ground source heat pump is the output rating, which we gauge in kilowatts (kW). Other vital factors to consider before making a choice are energy efficiency (measured as a Coefficient of Performance or COP, which reveals how efficient a pump is compared to the electricity it consumes), maximum flow temperature, sound power, weight, guarantee options, and price.

To help you find the perfect ground source heat pump for your home, we have conducted hundreds of hours of in-depth research. We’ve reviewed more than 20 ground source heat pumps, analysed over 300 customer reviews from third-parties like Trustpilot, Which? and Tooltalk, and have gathered nearly 1,000 data points to help us identify the top ground source heat pumps on the market today. You can discover our findings below.

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What are the best ground source heat pumps?

  • Best overall: Worcester-Bosch Vitocal 222-G
  • Most flexible: Vaillant flexoTHERM and geoTHERM
  • Most affordable: Kensa Shoebox
  • Most innovative: Ecoforest ecoGEO
  • Most powerful: Viessmann Vitocal 350 Pro
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Worcester-Bosch Vitocal 222-G: Best overall

Worcester-Bosch Vitocal-222 installed in a kitchen

Image credit: Worcester-Bosch

  • Guarantee options: Standard guarantee: 2 years (7 years with Alto Energy’s MCS umbrella scheme)
  • Price range: £8,000 to £12,000
  • Efficiency: A+ (55°C) A++ (35°C)
  • Max power: 10.2 kW (Greenstore LECP System 11)

Worcester-Bosch offers eight complete heating and hot water solution products that can be cascaded for large properties. They all have control options and are Quiet Mark-certified, which measures the noise reduction performance of a product to improve wellbeing and health. Four of them are also solar compatible, making them an excellent option for greener systems.

The Worcester-Bosch Greenstore LECP range includes the Greenstore 6 Combi, the Greenstore 7 Combi, the Greenstore 9 Combi, and the Greenstore 11 Combi. These pumps offer up to 400% efficiencies, are very quiet in operation, and include a room temperature controller for ease of use. The Greenstore LECP system has also been designed for installation alongside the Greenstore solar-ready cylinder.

Cost

A ground source heat pump from Worcester-Bosch costs between £8,000 and £12,000.

Heat Pump

Output

Price

Worcester Bosch Greenstore LECP Combi Ground Source Heat Pump

5.1 – 10.2 kW

£6,495 – £8,800

Worcester Bosch Greenstore LECP System Ground Source Heat Pump

5.4 – 10.2 kW

£6,350 – £7,780

Our recommendation

Worcester-Bosch’s source heat pumps are suitable for all home sizes and can be installed easily in urban areas. These pumps don’t require any pipework in the ground and are low maintenance and futureproof.

The ground source heat pumps follow Worcester-Bosch’s renowned build quality and design standards. The brand is a household name and a consistently top-rated company. With over 30,000 reviews, Worcester-Bosch has been rated “Excellent” on Trustpilot. Customers praise their service and products and the ease of use for the operation interface (the pumps have, for example, an illuminated text display menu).

If you’re thinking of installing a ground source heat pump in your home, you can’t go wrong with Worcester-Bosch systems. The Vitocal 222-G is a great option as it’s fitted with a 220-litre integral hot water cylinder and can provide domestic hot water in addition to heating. However, with excellent SCoP ratings (the average COP during a heating season), all of Worcester-Bosch heat pumps are incredibly efficient, easy to use, and offer good value for money.

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Vaillant flexoTHERM and geoTHERM pumps: Most flexible

Vaillant flexoTHERM installed in a home

Credit: Vaillant UK

  • Guarantee options: Standard: 5 year parts and labour guarantee (up to 7 years when installed by one of their renewable partners)
  • Price range: £8,000 to £11,000
  • Efficiency: A+++ (when installed using VRC 700 controls)
  • Max power: 19 kW

Vaillant ground source heat pumps require minimal maintenance and no fuel deliveries, making them ideal for houses far from the mains grid. These heat pumps are efficient and economical, making them a great choice for those looking to reduce the carbon emissions of their home and who want to have more interactive ways of handling their systems.

Vaillant heat pumps are easy to install and come with WiFi connectivity and intelligent weather compensating controls, which means that the systems can be operated remotely.

Vaillant UK has been rated “Excellent” in Trustpilot (the company has over 16,000 reviews). Customers are satisfied with the Vaillant’s workmanship, the value for money it represents, and the quality of its ground source heat pumps.

The Vaillant range of flexoTHERM includes five models covering 5, 8, 11, 15 and 19 kW heating outputs. All of these heat pumps have received a Quiet Mark award, making them some of the quietest of their type in the market. The range is also certified by the nationally recognised quality assurance scheme Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). The company also offers a MCS-accredited mini ground source heat pump that is 230V and suitable for new build developments.

Vaillant geoTHERM heater pumps are fitted with weather compensation controls and a clear digital display showing how much heat is being absorbed from the ground. The flexoTHERM range is suitable for ground collectors and vertical boreholes and can be combined for large properties and commercial buildings (you can actually install seven of them together).

Cost

A ground source heat pump from Vaillant costs between £8,000 and £11,000.

Heat Pump

Output

Price

Vailliant geoTHERM VWS 220/3

21.5 kW

£8,000 – £8,200

Vailliant geoTHERM VWS 300/3

30.9 kW

£8,400 – £8,500

Vailliant geoTHERM VWS 380/3

37.7 kW

£8,900 – £9,000

Vailliant geoTHERM VWS 460/3

45.5 kW

£10,000 – £11,000

Vailliant flexoTHERM 5kW 230V

5.3 kW

£5,650 – £5,750

Vailliant flexoTHERM 8kW 230V

8.9 kW

£5,700 – £5,800

Vailliant flexoTHERM 11kW 230V

11.2 kW

£6,000 – £6,100

Our recommendation

Vaillant UK offers two great ground source heat pump options: The flexoTHERM and geoTHERM mini.

The geoTHERM mini is the UK’s first wall-hung ground source heat pump. This compact system is specifically designed for social, new-build housing and low energy homes. It can utilise existing plant rooms, making it an excellent choice for retrofit projects that want to transition to renewable technology. This mini pump uses energy from borehole systems and ground arrays, as well as rivers, lakes, and streams.

The flexoTHERM multi-source heat pumps are all smart and flexible systems that come in different sizes of heat output (5, 8, 11, 15, and 19 kW) and use different renewable sources from the ground, water, or air.

Another significant advantage of all Vaillant heat pumps is their cascading features. You can combine up to seven flexoTHERM heat pumps for commercial buildings and large properties. The company can also provide a complete heat-loss calculation before installing your heat pump so you can know which system suits your home best.

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Kensa Shoebox: Most affordable

kensa shoebox product photo

Image credit: Kensa

  • Guarantee options: Standard: 5 years
  • Price range: £3,686 to £6,156
  • Efficiency: A+ (Shoebox series)
  • Max power:15kW

Kensa is an award-winner ground source heat pump designer and specialist. The company manufactures and instals reliable British-made heating and cooling alternatives to deliver low-carbon and sustainable comfort.

Kensa offers three heat pump series that are perfect for buildings of all sizes and shapes. The Evo Ground Source Heat Pump is a highly efficient and quiet system, ideal for medium to large homes. The Shoebox Ground Source Heat Pump is a silent and tiny heat pump that revolutionises district heating. Kensa also has a commercial range for the highest of heat demands. This option is ideal for cascaded systems with fluctuating demands. These pumps can be integrated with new or existing radiators, underfloor heating, and fan coils.

All Kensa ground source heat pumps are MCS-accredited. For installations below 45 kW, installers can use the MCS Umbrella scheme.

Cost

A ground source heat pump from Kensa costs between £3,686 and £6,156 for its popular Evo and Shoebox heat pump series. The Commercial Range can be built according to needs and has a variable cost depending on the final size.

Heat Pump

Output

Price

Kensa Evo Ground Source Heat Pump

7kW, 9kW, 13kW, 15kW

From £6,156

Kensa Shoebox Ground Source Heat Pump

3kW, 6kW

From £3,686

Kensa Commercial Ground Source Heat Pump

21.3kW

Depends on components

Our recommendation

Kensa offers a good range of small ground source heat pumps that are more affordable than the similar average heat pump system. Their technical support helps new users plan and install their range of products in real-time. If you buy a heat pump, you also get access to the support system for life.

The Shoebox heat pump, in particular, can help you enhance living conditions by reducing dampness and improving air quality. The pump costs only £3,686, making this an excellent choice for smaller homes; for example, terraced houses. Another reliable ground source heat pump model is the Evo heat pump, ideal for existing and new homes that aspire to have optimal energy efficiency performance. The Evo is rated A+++ in ErP performance and comes in 5 models (7, 9, 13, 15, and 17 kW).

However, Kensa has been rated “Average” in Trustpilot, with only a handful of reviews giving the company 3.5 stars. Customers have deemed the phone support knowledgeable and patient and the pumps effective.

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Ecoforest ecoGEO: Most innovative

Ecoforest ecoGEO product photo

Image credit: Ecoforest

  • Guarantee options: Standard: 2 years
  • Price range: £8,000 to £28,000
  • Efficiency: A+++ and A++
  • Max power: 1kW – 20kW (up to 600kW cascading)

Ecoforest offers high-performance geothermal heat pumps that use wells to extract heat from the ground. By consuming 1kW of electricity, the pumps can generate 4kW to 5kW of thermal energy.

Ecoforest’s heat pumps use Inverter technology, variable speed compressors, and ecoGEO+ controls – making these heat pumps some of the most intelligent and innovative available. Thanks to these features, the pumps can produce heat and cold simultaneously. On average, Ecoforest geothermal pumps have an efficiency of up to 500%.

One difference between Ecoforest pumps and their competitors is that they can adapt the heat pump to the installation and not the installation to the heat pump. So, in addition to savings up to 80% in energy consumption, customers can save in the installation process as well.

All Ecoforest heat pumps can be controlled using the company’s ecoSMART easynet through the internet. The heat pumps are also compatible with energy managers and e-system.

Cost

A ground source heat pump from Ecoforest costs between £8,000 and £28,000.

Heat Pump

Output

Price

ecoGEO+ 1-6 PRO

1kW – 6kW

£8,020

ecoGEO+ 1-9

1kW – 9kW

£8,340

ecoGEO+ 3-12

3kW – 12kW

£9,300

ecoGEO+ 5-22

5kW – 22kW

£10,520

ecoGEO+ HP

12-40kW / 15-70kW / 25-100kW

£17,910 to £28,100

Our recommendation

Ecoforest offers a good range of products that harness the latest technologies to provide customers with heat and hot water. This company is the only Spanish provider of ground source heat pumps and the most specialised in inverter technology.

The Ecoforest ecoGEO is perfect for properties with high heat loads, as it can reach an output of 22 kW. Customers can also combine different Ecoforest heat pumps to get a cascading capacity of up to 600kW. This makes Ecoforest’s systems some of the most flexible and powerful in the market.

Ecoforest doesn’t have enough ratings on Trustpilot yet. Still, customers agree that this company’s variable compressor can lead to significant savings (because the output of the heat pump varies on demand, between 10 and 100% on average). One thing to keep in mind is that Ecoforest ground heat pumps need their antifreeze changed every two to three years.

These pumps are an excellent option for people with large properties or higher heat loads. In fact, the ecoGEO+ output of 22kW is considered one of the best ground heat pump products for residential.

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Viessmann Vitocal 350 Pro: Most powerful

Viessmann Vitocal 350 Pro product photo

Image credit: Viessmann

  • Guarantee options: Standard: 2 years (can be extended if installed by a registered Viessman installer)
  • Price range: £7,590 to £22,330
  • Efficiency: A++
  • Max power: 5.6 kW to  42.3 kW.

Viessmann is a popular ground heat pump brand with a long tradition of manufacturing boilers. Since they expanded their business to cover a broader range of needs, customers have provided consistent positive reviews of their heat pumps.

One of Viessmann’s advantages is that these heat pumps can gather heat even when it’s as low as -20℃ outside, something that makes it ideal for UK weather. The company also sends an expert to visit your property and determine how much heat gets lost. They can then size the heat pump installation to ensure your needs are met – even on the coldest days.

All Viessmann ground heat pumps are MCS-accredited. The company offers five main products: The Vitocal 200-G (a cutting-edge geothermal heating system that is efficient and quiet, ideal for semi-detached houses), the Vitocal 222-G (better for detached homes due to its cylinder capacity of 170 litres), the Vitocal 300-G (better suited for detached and larger residential homes), the Vitocal 350-G (a great option for modernisation projects) and the Vitocal 350-G Pro (a larger heat pump that can achieve up to 70℃ and can use photovoltaic power). All the equipment boasts low-noise and low-vibration designs.

Cost

A ground source heat pump from Viessmann costs between £7,590 to £22,330.

Heat Pump

Output

Price

Vitocal 200-G

5.6 – 9.7 kW

£7,590 – £8,380

Vitocal 222-G

5.8 – 10.4 kW

£8,600 – £9,790

Vitocal 300-G

5.7 – 17.2 kW

£9,270 – £12,075

Vitocal 350 Pro

20.5 – 42.3 kW

£17,810 – £22,330

Our recommendation

Viessmann offers an excellent range of powerful ground source heat pumps to generate heat at lower costs. A popular choice is the Vitocal 222-G, a compact unit with a 170 litre cylinder and a heating output of 5.9 to 10 kW. The Vitocal 350 Pro, another of their most popular products, can deliver flow temperatures of up to 73℃. Another advantage of these pumps is that they are extremely easy to control through the internet, using their ViCare app. The interface is very intuitive and works with a range of other existing household appliances.

The company is rated “Excellent” (4.4 out of 5) on Trustpilot. Customers are generally very pleased with Viessmann heat pumps and their competitive prices. If you are not sure which heat pump is best for you, their team can help you with a free product consultation and a personalised quote.

Viessmann has over 100 years of experience in the home heating industry. Their products are also considered some of the quietest ground source heat pumps in the market. The pumps are designed ready for use with solar power and photovoltaic systems, making them a perfect solution for fully detached homes and houses with external-facing walls.

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How to find the best ground source heat pump

Ground source heat pumps can significantly reduce your home’s carbon footprint and bring your fuel bill prices down.

It can be hard to choose a brand, so our researchers have compared all their main features (plus guarantee options and installation costs) to present you with the best heat pump brands in the UK – and what makes them a good choice for your home.

Installation and heat pump cost

An important factor when choosing the best ground source heat pump is its installation cost. Running costs for heat pumps tend to be much lower compared to combustion boilers, so all models tend to be more convenient in terms of efficiency.

If you’re looking for a reliable option, Worcester-Bosch is a great option that fits many needs – although the price of a heat pump starts at around £8,000. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, Kensa offers a small, efficient heat pump (the Shoebox) for just £3,686.

Cascading capacity

Many customers, for example, commercial and large enterprises, require powerful types of equipment that can cascade heat generation capacity. Ecoforest is a good option for them because their heat pumps can generate up to 600kW. Worcester-Bosch and Vaillant also offer excellent cascading capabilities for their heat pumps.

Working in tandem with solar panels

Ground source heat pumps can be combined with solar panels to reduce running costs. Not all heat pumps support this integration ‘out of the box’. A good option if you’re considering this feature is Worcester-Bosch systems. Viessmann’s ground source heat pumps also come ready to use with photovoltaic systems, helping your home become more self-sustainable by depending less on fossil fuels.

Size

The size of the heat pump is an important factor for many homes considering upgrading their heat system. If you’re looking for a small system, Vaillant offers the UK’s first wall-hung ground source heat pump, a compact model suitable for low energy homes and new build housing that can provide an efficient solution for decentralised heating and hot water.

Heat and cold generation

Many ground source heat pumps can also generate cold. For example, Ecoforest uses unique inverter technology and variable speed compressors to produce cold and heat simultaneously and using the same equipment. Kensa heat pumps also have excellent cooling capabilities.

Heat pump funding

The UK government has shown a commitment to decarbonising heat by implementing a renewable heat incentive policy that promotes the use of ground source heat pumps. Popular options include the ECO (Energy Company Obligation, for retrofitting ground source heat pumps into social housing), the GHNF (Green Heat Network Fund, for helping heat networks move to low and zero-carbon technologies), and the PSDS (Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, a £1 billion fund for projects in non-domestic public sector buildings across England) among others.

If you’re thinking of investing in or upgrading your ground source heat pump, you may be eligible for one or more of these programs.

Weather considerations

It’s worth considering the impact of the UK’s weather on ground source heat pumps. Luckily, even in a climate like this, the ground stays at a constant warmer temperature around the whole year. That’s why all heat pumps produce more energy than they consume, so the amount of heat generated is always a surplus. Viessmann is one of the companies with pumps that can gather heat even when it’s as low as -20°C outside.


Why should you install a ground source heat pump?

Efficiency

When it comes to cooling and heating needs, heat pumps are the most efficient alternative to oil, fuel, and electrical systems. Heat pumps also support a larger capacity than them, with efficiency rates going as high as 500%.

Cost and maintenance

Although installing a ground source heat pump can be expensive (between £7,000 and £18,000 depending on your household size), their running cost is much lower than other systems. Heat pumps also require less maintenance than combustion heating alternatives.

Safety

Heat pumps are safer than alternative systems. They don’t need to burn fuel to generate the heat, so there are fewer safety concerns when it comes to operating and running them.

Reduced emissions

Ground source heat pumps can reduce your carbon emissions considerably, as they have much better energy to heat conversion rates than combustion heating systems. Many heat pumps are also eligible for the RHI scheme (Renewable Heat Incentive) which assists customers in installing renewable heat systems.


Conclusion

Installing a ground source heat pump can offer customers countless advantages. While setting up the systems can be pricey, they are a smart investment in the long run as they have much lower running costs; you are moving heat from one space to another rather than producing it.

Each heat pump brand comes with its own diverse functions and mechanisms. However, they all have one goal: to help you make savings on your energy bills while reducing your carbon emissions.

If you’re looking for an affordable heat pump, the best option is Kensa (in particular, its Shoebox pump is both effective and tiny). Worcester-Bosch is also an excellent choice if you want an established company that has long proven the quality of its products.

Viessmann is another company with a proven trajectory and powerful heat pumps that are particularly good for detached houses. Now, if you’re looking for innovation, Ecoforest has excellent heat pumps that can produce heat and cold simultaneously and can be controlled using the ecoSMART Easynet. Lastly, for flexible systems with excellent guarantee options and A+++ efficiency, Vaillant pumps are easy to install and come with intelligent weather compensating controls.


Frequently asked questions

How does a heat pump work?

The source of the heat a ground pump uses can be outside air or a water mix, either blown or pumped over a heat exchange surface that is placed outside the heat pump. When the heat is warm enough, it causes the refrigerant liquid to evaporate, turning into a gas that is then put through a compressor. The pressure on the gas causes the temperature to rise, making it ready to be passed over an internal heat exchange surface and transferred to the home’s central heating or hot water system.

How much does a heat pump cost?

Heat pumps can be pricey to install but are cheaper to run. The usual price range for a complete installation can be between £7,000 and £17,000. On the other hand, you could save up to £500 per year shorting from electricity depending on your household’s insulation and size.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a ground source heat pump?

The main advantages are lower costs, in particular when compared to oil and gas boilers, less maintenance, reduced carbon emissions, and better conversion rates for turning energy to heat. The disadvantages are higher start-up costs, the difficulty of installation, and the special planning permissions that are required in Wales and Northern Ireland.

What’s the difference between an air source heat pump and a ground source heat pump?

They are different heat pump systems. An air source heat pump absorbs heat from the air. A ground source heat pump absorbs heat from the ground. They are both excellent sustainability options for producing high temperatures.

What is the Coefficient of Performance (COP)?

The COP measures the efficiency of ground source heat pumps, or the amount of energy needed to input in order to get a set amount out. For example, if a heat pump has a COP of 4, it means that for every kW of electrical energy used by the pump, you would get about 4kW out.

How do you install a heat pump?

Heat pumps are relatively difficult to install because the technician needs to understand the local geology and movement of heat. There can also be significant disruption to your house or garden while the pump is installed. The process, however, is similar for all installations: A qualified and well-experienced contractor first evaluates your requirements and existing systems and assesses your home. Then, they perform an excavation of horizontal or vertical loop fields and bury the pipes in the soil. Lastly, the installer connected the heat pump to the ductwork, the ground loop, and the heating system.


Methodology

We conducted in-depth research searching for the best ground source heat pumps in the UK. We looked into several brands and products and read all customer reviews to compare heat pump power output, efficiency, flow temperature, weight, guarantee, years of experience, reputation, additional benefits, and price. Our analysis helped us identify the top ground source heat pumps you can get today.