Informational Guide

How Many Amps Does a 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 Ton AC Use?

Knowing the electricity consumption is important when choosing an AC. We go over how many amps ACs in the 1 to 5 ton range use.

by Josh M

Summers’ searing heat is coming, and as the mercury creeps up in thermometers, it’s time to get air conditioners.

But first, gather information about them. Do your research. Ask questions like, ‘how many amps does a 3-ton air conditioner use’ to know what’s best.

After all, electricity consumption is an essential determinant. Fortunately, this guide will help you make the right choice.

Before we explore how many amps different kinds of air conditioners use, we must first understand tonnage.

Air conditioning tonnage has nothing to do with its weight. In HVAC terms, a ton describes the amount of heat your AC unit can remove from your space in an hour. Measured in BTUs (British Thermal Unit), a single-ton air conditioner can remove approximately 12,000 BTUs of air in an hour. Following this logic, a 4-tonner can move 48,000 BTUs. Thus, the higher your AC tonnage, the more air it will cool.

So how do amps relate to tonnage? Well, your air conditioner amps rating tells you the amount of current it draws.

It is essential to know the amp rating because it allows you to see energy consumption and estimated electricity costs. Check the user manual or packaging to know how many amps your air conditioner uses.

With all that said, let us look at the amps used by air conditioners of various tonnage.

Related ArticleHow Many BTUs Are In A Ton?

Central AC Condenser in Backyard Wooden Walls

1 Ton Air Conditioner

Power consumption will differ based on the type of system, usage hours, energy efficiency, and AC unit’s star rating. Usually, a 1-ton air conditioning system with 230v and 16 SEER uses around 3.73 amps, whereas a 1-ton inverter uses about 3 amps.

1.5 Ton Air Conditioner

Various factors determine amps usage, including volts and seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). Typically, a 1.5-ton air conditioner with 16 SEER and 230v employs 5.59 amps, while 1.5-ton inverters use 4.5 amps.

2 Ton Air Conditioner

A 2-ton air conditioner with a 230v and 16 SEER rating will use 7.45 amps. Conversely, a 2-ton inverter will need around 7 amps.

2.5 Ton Air Conditioner

A 2.5-ton air conditioner usually operates 30,000 BTU, with a SEER rating of 16 at 230v. Furthermore, it uses around 9.32 amps. Inverter air conditioning units do not rise above 2-ton.

3 Ton Air Conditioner

A 3-ton air conditioning unit runs at 36,000 BTU. So, ideally, at 16 SEER rating and 230v, your unit will consume 11.18 amps provided similar conditions are met. Of course, it might differ if the SEER rating decreases or the voltage fluctuates.

3.5 Ton Air Conditioner

These units operate at 42,000 BTU, using 13.04 amps at a SEER rating of 16 and 230v. Though, in some instances, the usage may vary depending on the voltage.

4 Ton Air Conditioner

Wondering how many amps does a 4-ton air conditioner use? It typically employs 14.91 amps while running at a SEER rating of 16, 230v, and 48,000 BTU.

5 Ton Air Conditioner

The answer to how many amps does a 5-ton air conditioner use is around 18.63 amps. They are considered ideal for heavy-duty usage in commercial spaces, running at 60,000 BTU, 16 SEER rating, and 230v.

AC Tonnage & Amps Quick Comparison

AC Capacity (Tonnes) AC Size (BTU) AMPERE
1 Ton 12,000 BTU 3.73 amps
1.5 Ton 18,000 BTU 5.59 amps
2 Ton 24,000 BTU 7.45 amps
2.5 Ton 30,000 BTU 9.32 amps
3 Ton 36,000 BTU 11.18 amps
3.5 Ton 42,000 BTU 13.04 amps
4 Ton 48,000 BTU 14.91 amps
5 Ton 60,000 BTU 18.63 amps

How To Determine The Amps Per Ton For An AC?

The HVAC industry uses tonnage to calculate air conditioners’ cooling capacities. One ton in HVAC is equal to 12,000 BTU/hr. However, to convert your AC tonnage to amps, you must convert tons to BTU/hr. Then, adjust that value to watts. Once done, you can use the given formula to calculate the amps:

amps = watts/volts


To understand how this formula works, let us calculate the amps for a 2-ton air conditioner. First, we multiply the tonnage by 12,000 (BTU for 1 ton), which will give us the value of 24,000 BTU/hr.

To convert BTU/hr to watts, you must multiply it by 0.293.

Watts = 24000 × 0.293
Watts = 7032

Now, to calculate amps, we will apply the formula:

amps = watts/volts
amps = 7032/120
amps = 58.6 amps

Central AC Outdoor Condenser Unit on Roof Top

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Frequently asked questions regarding amps & ACs.

What size breaker do I need for a 1 ton to 5 ton AC unit?

For a standard 1-ton AC, you only need a breaker of 15 amps. However, units with 5-tons and more require a breaker of up to 65 amps.

What size fuses for a 60 amp disconnect?

Ideally, if you have a 60 amp disconnect in your home, you must use a 40 amp or greater fuse. However, a 30 amp fuse also works in some cases, but it requires a reducer.

Can I use a 60 amp disconnect on a 40 amp breaker?

Yes, you can easily employ a 60 amp disconnect and feed it via a 40 amp circuit breaker.

What other key metrics should homeowners consider for central AC units?

Before installing a central AC unit, assess the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) and Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). Also, assess the unit’s ductwork efficiency and the energy required before getting a central AC unit for your house.


Before getting a new air conditioner for your house, you must know some key performance indicators. One of these indicators includes the amps required for a specific tonnage of air conditioning unit. Hopefully, this guide will help you understand various amps and their importance when it comes to the capacity of your AC unit.

Last Updated on May 26, 2022

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.