Quilt heat pump sports sleek design from veterans of Apple, Tesla and Nest

Heating and air conditioning is usually pretty boring stuff, performed by appliance-like boxes with uninspired designs, from sheet metal outdoor units to cheap plastic indoor mini-splits.

Not Quilt.

The heat pump startup unveiled its first products on Wednesday, and they sport the sort of sleek and intuitive designs you’d expect from veterans of Apple, Nest, Google and Tesla. Each unit is intended to heat and cool a single room, and there’s an app and a thermostat-like Dial from which customers can set temperatures throughout their home. What’s more, the appearance of the indoor mini-split can be customized. Want your unit to stand out? Spec it with an oak wood veneer. Want it to blend in? Quilt will let you paint or wallpaper the front panel to match its surroundings.

Quilt heat pump mounted in a kitchen.
Quilt’s customizable front panel can blend in with more decor than the usual white mini-split.
Image Credits: Quilt

While design is a big part of the appeal, the startup wants to make the entire heat pump experience better. It’s streamlining the purchase and installation process, with Quilt present at every step of the process, including permitting and installation. Total cost for a single zone: $6,499 before rebates.

Quilt’s outdoor unit is sleek and unobtrusive.
Image Credits: Quilt

The price is just above the median installed cost for a single-zone heat pump, according to Rewiring America. For open floor plans that can be conditioned with one unit, Quilt is a pretty good deal. But for people who want to redo their entire home with Quilt, including every bedroom, the cost will add up, pushing it above median whole-home estimates from Rewiring America.

Quilt commands a premium not only for its design, but its functionality. The outdoor unit is rated at a powerful 18,000 BTUs, and it can maintain 90% of its heating capacity down to -13 degrees F. Each indoor unit can pump out 9,000 BTUs, and two can be connected to a single outdoor unit. The refrigerant that flows through the system, R-32, has a lower global warming potential than the more widely used R-410a. The system’s efficiency and performance ratings place it at the higher end of the market.

In addition to the indoor and outdoor units that echo vintage Apple designs, the system is packed with computing power. The Dial, which has a touchscreen and a rotary control, can control multiple rooms and is compatible with both Thread and Matter smart home communication protocols. An app also allows iOS and Android users to control set points throughout the house and customize how the system will respond when rooms are unoccupied.

A man adjusts a Quilt Dial to set the temperature.
The Quilt Dial can adjust temperatures in any zone.
Image Credits: Quilt

The Sense module, which hangs below the mini-split, handles the computing needs for a single zone, including the millimeter-wave occupancy sensor that promises to be more accurate than passive infrared sensors, which can create false vacancy signals if people aren’t moving about. That means Quilt should be better at keeping a room warm or cool while watching TV or sleeping.

Quilt’s indoor units are also remarkably short, allowing them to be installed above windows and doors, places that customers often request but other mini-splits can’t accommodate. In a fun touch, they also come with color-customizable accent lighting.

Quilt heat pump serves as a nightlight.
Quilt’s indoor unit can also serve as an accent light or nightlight.
Image Credits: Quilt

The company is taking preorders starting Wednesday, and installations will start in the San Francisco Bay Area this summer. Los Angeles residents will follow in the fall, and Quilt will expand to subsequent regions depending on reservation demand. Last month, Quilt raised a $33 million Series A to help bring its heat pumps to market. The goal was to transform the company from an “R&D organization” into a “real company,” co-founder and CEO Paul Lambert said at the time.


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