How to Convert Ton to BTU: Formula and Chart

This article has a detailed approach to how to convert Ton to BTU easily. You will learn how to read a BTU to Ton chart and a Ton to BTU chart for easy conversions.
Rodney Nestor
Rodney Nestor
Research Writer
Rodney holds a Master’s degree in Arts and apart from working as a freelance writer, is a rather successful author of science fiction stories published in several literary read more
Last updated: August 13, 2023
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You cannot convert Ton to BTU if you don’t know what either term means and how they are used in the world of heating and cooling devices. Ton, also known as a ton of refrigeration, ice per day, or one short ton, is the unit of power needed to melt or freeze 2000 pounds. BTU, British Thermal Unit, is the amount of power needed to raise the temperature of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Converting BTU to Ton is super-easy if you know how many BTUs are in a Ton, but what about converting Ton to BTU?

What Is BTU?

How to Convert Ton to BTU: Formula and Chart
It is the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of liquid water by 1 degree Fahrenheit at the temperature at that water has its greatest density.

BTU is an abbreviation for British Thermal Unit. It has many definitions, but according to the  US Energy Information Administration, Trusted Source British thermal units Btu U.S. Energy Information Administration EIA Definition of the British thermal unit Btu and how Btu is used to compare different energy sources. it is a unit of measurement for the heat content of fuels or energy sources. In essence, BTU is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. It is a customary unit of heat in the United States, with heat being a type of energy transfer from a colder to a warmer substance.

BTU is important because it is used to rate the energy transfer for devices like furnaces, generators, and heat pumps. Are you looking for a generator for your home or business premises and are feeling overwhelmed with all the options in the market? Check out our articles on the best Yamaha generatorsbest powerhouse generators, and best pulsar generators. The articles have detailed buying guides that will help you make the best-informed choice and product lists with the best-rated, durable and powerful generator models.

BTU will help you get a suitable heating or cooling device for your space. For instance, you can get an air conditioner with the right BTUs for your home to manage your energy costs. An AC with suitable BTU for your space will also last longer because it will initiate its on/off cycle normally.

You should go through a house square footage BTUs chart before choosing a device to get what suits your home.

What is a Ton

How to Convert Ton to BTU: Formula and Chart
It is referred to as a metric ton to distinguish it from the non-metric units of the short and long ton.

The News Trusted Source Understanding What a Cooling Ton Means 20210304 ACHR News Variables will also affect the capacity of a refrigeration system. defines a ton as the rate of heat transfer and not an amount of heat. It is the power required to melt or freeze 2000 pounds of ice at 32 degrees Fahrenheit in 24 hours. Before the invention of electric Air conditioners, people used large blocks of ice to cool their homes. The ice warmed up and slowly melted as it absorbed heat. From this came the idea of using tons to measure cooling capacity.

A ton of refrigeration is commonly used in America within the context of refrigeration and air conditioning devices. You will always find tons of refrigeration displayed alongside BTU/h specifications on a device.

How Many BTU in a Ton: Converter

You may need to buy a device that only has BTU ratings when you need to know the Tons rating. In such a case, you would have to convert BTU to Tons. One Ton equals 12,000 BTU. You can use a BTU to Ton chart to convert BTU to Tons easily. If you want to calculate the number of BTUs in a certain Ton rating, you can use this equation;

12,000 BTUs= 1 Ton

BTUs = Tons x 12,000

Tons = BTUs/ 12,000

For example, an Air conditioner with 48,000 BTUs has 48,000/12,000 = 4 Tons. You can also use an instant converter for quick results. You would only need to enter the device’s tons, and its BTU rating will be calculated automatically.

BTU to Ton: Chart

Here is a chart you can quickly refer to for a BTU to Ton conversion.

5,000 BTU 0.42 Ton
6,000 BTU 0.5 Ton
8,000 BTU 0.65 Ton
9,000 BTU 0.75 Ton
10,000 BTU 0.83 Ton
12,000 BTU 1 Ton
14,000 BTU 1.15 Ton
15,000 BTU 1.25 Ton
18,000 BTU 1.5 Ton
24,000 BTU 2 Ton
28,000 BTU 2.33 Ton
30,000 BTU 2.5 Ton
34,000 BTU 2.83 Ton
36,000 BTU 3 Ton
42,000 BTU 3.5 Ton
48,000 BTU 4 Ton
54,000 BTU 4.5 Ton
60,000 BTU 5 Ton
80,000 BTU 6.65 Ton
100,000 BTU 8.33 Ton
120,000 BTU 10 Ton

How to Convert Ton to BTU

Converting Ton to BTU is very straightforward. Since 1 Ton = 12,000 BTUs, you would only need to multiply the Tons by 12,000.

Example; What is a heat pump’s BTU rating if it has a 3.5 tons rating?

1 ton = 12,000 BTUs

3.5 Tons =  ?

3.5 x 12,000/1 = 42,000 BTUs.

Ton to BTU: Chart

Here is a Ton to BTU conversion chart for the most common residential size equipment;

1 Ton 12,000 BTU
1.5 Ton 18,000 BTU
2 Ton 24,000 BTU
2.5 Ton 30,000 BTU
3 Ton 36,000 BTU
3.5 Ton 42,000 BTU
4 Ton 48,000 BTU
4.5 Ton 54,000 BTU
5 Ton 60,000 BTU


Why is it important to know the BTU rating of a device before purchasing it?

BTU ratings show the heating and cooling capacity of a device. For instance, an air conditioner with a low BTU rating is okay for a small home because the small space has less air to heat and cool. Getting an AC with higher BTU ratings will cause an unnecessary rise in energy costs. Similarly, getting an AC with lower BTU ratings for a large home would be ineffective. Ensure you know the square footage of your home to get the right BTU ratings.

How do I estimate my AC tonnage requirements?

To get the correct AC tonnage for your home, multiply your space’s square footage by 25 to get the total BTUs that can adequately cool your space. Divide the BTUs by 12,000 to get the right tonnage capability. For instance, if your home is 1000 sq. ft, the correct AC tonnage estimation should be;

1000 x 25 = 25,000 BTUs

Tons = 25,000/12,000 = 2.08

For your 1000sq.ft home, an AC with 2.08 tons would be adequate. Other factors to consider when estimating AC tonnage include; your home’s current insulation, its landscape, and architecture. You would need lower ton ratings for a well-insulated, ranch-style home with lots of trees and wide open spaces. A flat on the sixth floor would require a higher ton rating.

The popular Whynter ARC-14S AC remains the most acclaimed AC portable AC. It is powerful and quiet, with a whopping 14,000 BTU suitable for cooling large spaces. The AC is famous because of its multi-functional, energy-saving design with advanced self-evaporation.

A close second is the Frigidaire FFRA051WAE Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner. It has a conveniently adjustable design that can fit anywhere in your home. Its primary selling points are its effortless restart, temperature control, and easy-to-clean washable filters.

Final Thoughts

Ton and BTU are the most crucial metrics to consider when purchasing any cooling or heating device. Both units of power measure how much energy it takes to add or remove heat. In the US, BTU and Ton are commonly used within the context of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. Although most manufacturers display the BTU and Ton specifications alongside each other on the device, some only come with either of the metrics, forcing you to convert one to another.

We have provided straightforward Ton to BTU and BTU to Ton conversion charts for reference. If the device you need has BTU or Ton ratings that are not on the chart, you can easily use the equations we provided to calculate. An online instant converter or calculator is also a great option if you hate calculations.


British thermal units Btu U.S. Energy Information Administration EIA
Understanding What a Cooling Ton Means 20210304 ACHR News
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