Convert BTU To Tons: How Many BTU In A Ton?

In the world of HVAC, heating and cooling device capacity is given in either:

  • BTU (British Thermal Units) or,
  • Tons.

Converting BTU to tons is very easy if you know how many BTU in a ton.

Here’s the key thing to remember: How many BTUs in a ton?

1 ton is equal to 12,000 BTUs.

To convert BTU to tons, you can use this simple and handy calculator:

Convert BTU To Tons Calculator


With the calculator, you can convert obscure BTUs to tons. For example, how many tons is 24,500 BTU? Just input ‘24,500’ in the calculator, and you get 2.04 tons.

You can also easily answer questions like:

Here is a list of how many BTU’s different heating and cooling devices with certain tonnage have:

Tonnage BTU
1 Ton to BTU: 12,000 BTU
1.5 Ton to BTU: 18,000 BTU
2 Ton to BTU: 24,000 BTU
2.5 Ton to BTU: 30,000 BTU
3 Ton to BTU: 36,000 BTU
4 Ton to BTU: 48,000 BTU
5 Ton to BTU: 60,000 BTU
6 Ton to BTU: 72,000 BTU
7 Ton to BTU: 84,000 BTU
8 Ton to BTU: 96,000 BTU

How many BTU’s are in a ton?

Basically, 1 ton equals 12,000 BTU.

For example, 48,000 BTU equals 4 tons, and 60,000 BTU equals 5 tons. All this info you can get from the ‘Ton to BTU table’ above.

How Do You Convert BTU To Tons Yourself?

If you want to calculate the number of tons or BTU, you can use this simple equation:

1 Ton = 12,000 BTU

The case when you have a number of tons and want to convert to BTUs:

Tons x 12,000 = Number of BTUs

Example: You have a 4 tons device. Calculation: 4 x 12,000 = 48,000 BTU.

The case when you have BTUs and want to convert them to tons:

Number of BTUs / 12,000 = Tons

Example: You have a 12,000 BTU portable air conditioner. Calculation: 12,000 / 12,000 = 1 ton.

You have to convert BTU to tons in a number of situations regarding cooling and heating. Examples are numerous and they include anything from evaluating the size of the best DIY mini splits here to calculating the air conditioner wire size you need.

On top of that, when you use this calculator for how many BTU air conditioners you need, you will also have to understand what AC tonnage that is. Conversely, when you use the AC tonnage calculator here, it might be useful to convert those tons into BTU to give you a better understanding of the cooling or heating output you need.

If you find something unclear, you can ask about it in the comment section below.

13 thoughts on “Convert BTU To Tons: How Many BTU In A Ton?”

  1. “With the calculator, you can convert obscure BTUs to tons. For example, how many tons is 24,500 BTU? Just input ‘24,500’ in the calculator, and you get 2.65 tons.”

    You might want to recheck your math on that one.

  2. Hello, Which BTU is this figuring out?
    I’ve seen Nominal BTU, Heating input BTU, Cooling output BTU. I need to find out the Heating output for a 5 ton unit. Can you help me with that please?

    • Hello there, BTU (British Thermal Unit) is defined as the amount of heat/cooling you would need to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1-degree Fahrenheit. This is generally considered when we talk about BTUs; heating input BTU, cooling output BTU are the same thing. Nominal vs actual tonnage are usually quite similar; nominal is measured at specific AHRI standard conditions for air chillers.

      5 tons of heating output is equal to 60,000 BTUs. This is the standard 12,000 BTU per ton conversion. Hope this helps.

  3. I’m confused….

    If 1 btu = unit of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Celsius;
    what is this ton they are talking about because the last time I checked, 1 ton = 2200 pounds not 12000 pounds.

    Now, my question are:
    Is the definition of a BTU wrong?
    Does water have it’s own ton unit that is unrelated to the 2200 pound ton used for everything else?
    Why do A/C machines have a BTU rating if BTU is about raising temp not also lowering temp?

    • Hi there, alright, let’s clear some of these things: BTU is both for raising the temperature (heating BTU) and for lowering the temperature (cooling BTU). BTU is the energy needed to increase (and energy withdraws needed to decrease) the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. The HVAC ton is not the same as the ton we use for measuring weight. Thus 1 HVAC ton is equal to 12,000 BTU. In short, the definition of BTU is not wrong. For more insight, you can check this Wikipedia article on BTU.

      • Tyvm. Its been a long long time since school but I knew something was seriously wrong. Not sure why every definition that came up on Google only mentioned raising the temp and not lowering. I figure it had to be both because A/Cs have BTU ratings and they wouldn’t advertise the heat pumped out the exhaust. lol As for the HVAC ton, I do vaguely remember my father grumbling about something not being a ton over and over when he got the results from writing his heating and A/C or the gas fitter ticket before becoming a master plumber years later. I’ll have to ask him.
        A definition is wrong if pertinent information ls left out in my opinion. Otherwise it’s politics, law or advertising not fact.

        “materially inaccurate or incomplete: . ‘ means a submission that contains omissions or incomplete or inaccurate information” Courtesy of LawInsider

        • Hi there, that father grumbling is priceless. Whenever in doubt about HVAC, just ask your father; he will definitely have all the ins and outs from back in the day, classic dad move. 🙂


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