calculator that converts btu to kw for air conditioners

BTU To kW Air Conditioning Calculator [Quick + Easy Converter]

The US and UK produced air conditioners always have the same capacity unit: BTU.

Obviously, when it comes to measuring the power (capacity) of an air conditioner, everybody (Europeans and most of the world) use the following unit: kW.

The question here is obvious: How to convert BTU to kW?

We’ll look at what BTU and kW are and later on you can find a calculator where you just input the number of BTU and you’ll get the kW number. In the end, you’ll even find a BTU to kW converting equation you can use yourself with just a bit of math.

converter of btu units to kw units for the capacity of air conditioners
Converting BTU to kW is vital to understand how powerful of an air conditioner you’re looking at.

BTU and kW (Air Conditioner Capacity)

BTU stands for ‘British Thermal Unit‘. It denotes the amount of energy to raise 1 pound of water for 1 degree Fahrenheit. Honestly, this sentence makes sense only to the British.

BTU is a measure of energy, not power. To get power, we have to use some sort of time unit as in ‘This or that air conditioner can produce 10,000 BTU of power per hour’.

Let’s say we have an air conditioner with a capacity of 10,000 BTU. That’s a simplified description. In fact, we have an air conditioner that is capable of putting out 10,000 BTU per hour. The correct unit here is BTU/h.

kW, on the other hand, stands for kiloWatt. Watt is the basic unit of power (in metric system Europeans use) and it’s basically the amount of power we have to give to a 1 kg object start moving with an acceleration of 1 m/s2. kiloWatt is just 1000 Watts. This sentence makes sense to Europeans who know a bit of physics.

BTU To kW Converter

The key part when buying an air conditioner is to know how powerful it is. If you’re used to kW and get a BTU number, you don’t really know what the capacity is, and visa versa.

Here is the quick BTU to kW converter to help you when choosing the correct size of an air conditioner. Just input the BTU number and you’ll get the power in kW:

For everybody who wants to see some example, here’s a convenient table:

Table Of BTU Converted to kW

Here are a few standard BTU capacities converted to kW:

BTU to kW [Table]


You can see that air conditioners with 3 kW have some decent powers. Those with 10 kW can easily cool down a small house.

For people who like to have an in-depth look, here are some equations for BTU to kW conversion:

How To Calculate kW From BTU For Air Conditioners

Physicists are the ones who use the basic procedure breakdown of the BTU to kW equation. The outtakes are then used by engineers designing air conditioners and other HVAC systems. For example, it’s very useful to know how many BTUs is 1 kW when comparing the energy output of natural gas and electric garage heaters.

Here is this outtake that you can always use:

3412 BTU/h = 1 kW

This means that 1 kW is equal to 3412 BTU/h.

Here’s the rule of thumb if you’re a European looking at a US air conditioner.

Do you see that BTU number? Let’s say it’s 10,000 BTU.

To get a kW number, just divide the BTU by about 3,000. For a 10,000 BTU portable air conditioner, you’ll calculate the power to be somewhere around 3.3 kW, right? It’s 2.93 kW, to be exact, but 3.3 is quite a good estimate.

In any case, make sure that you buy a powerful-enough air conditioner to cool certain footage of your home.

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