What is Ton in AC? Why is Air Conditioner Capacity Measured in Tons?

As summers seem closer, the diring need of purchasing an air conditioner increases and the complex terminology associated with it makes the job even tougher. You must have heard words like 1 ton ac cooling capacity and phrases like 1 ton inverter ac power consumption that driven you to the edge for trying to figure out if it should be a factor affecting your purchase.

So, to make your job easier and to ensure you get the kind of ac you want, we’ve discussed two of the most complex things that you need to understand before going on the shopping hunt. You don’t need a lot to understand the meaning of ton in ac and how it will affect its performance and your monthly expenses.

What is the meaning of Ton in AC

What Is Ton In AC

Understanding and exploring the reasons behind things is probably the best thing, and under this heading, we’re going deeper into the reasons why ac capacity is measured in tons and what do you mean by what is ton in ac? The ac tonnage meaning is one of the most confusing terms in the HVAC industry. Air Conditioning Tonnage is used to rate air conditioners, and it shows how many tons the ac can handle in a given time.

The meaning of ton in ac can also be a reflection of the performance of that air conditioning unit. The power consumption of 1 ton ac is approximately 1 kWh or 1 unit. But this may vary depending on the conditions of the room as a cooler room will require less work by ac and thus it will draw less power, but on the other hand, a hot room will require more work and ac will draw power equivalent of its power rating to cool the room in one hour.

Why is Air Conditioner Capacity Measured In Tons?

When we truly describe what is 1 ton ac then you should know that ton has nothing to do with its weight. One ac ton is the measurement of how much hot air ac will remove from the room, and it is measured in British thermal units. A 1 ton ac removes 12,000 BTUs of air per hour, and for better understanding, a four-ton ac will remove 48, 000 BTUs.

The higher is ac tonnage; the higher will be the cooling effect caused by it.

Every house has its own unique needs determined by ceiling type, height between ceiling and ground, weather conditions etc. Most of the houses require a ton of air conditioning for as low as 400 square metres, and the requirement increases as the area goes on increasing. But higher tonnage will also get you higher electricity bills because 1 ton inverter ac power consumption per hour will increase to lower the room temperature.

An inverter type air conditioner is greatly advantageous in adjusting the speed of the compressor to control the refrigerant (gas) flow rate. So, we can ensure that only less amount of current and power is consumed. The major peculiarity of Inverter AC is its precise temperature control. Inverter Technology can be found in both configurations; Window AC and Split AC.

1 Ton AC Power Consumption

AC Power Consumption

Coming back to the question of 1 ton ac power consumption per hour so to understand this, we’ve to discuss some technical terms and adopt a mathematical way to derive the final value. As we already know that 1 ton ac cooling capacity and power consumption depends on the conditions of the home and some other factors as well. Hence the value we will further derive won’t be the fixed or definite value of power consumption, but instead, it will be a rough idea of what your power consumption will look like.

Firstly, we should assume that the power consumed in one hour will be equal to 1 kWh and then establish the fact that X kW is the power rating allotted to that air conditioner. Now assume that the power consumption of 1-ton ac is 1 kW even though it depends on the model, brand, star rating etc. Generally, the power rating of one-ton ac is around 1.05 KW, but the actual power consumption of ac entirely depends on its build and design.

If the room is hot, then the air conditioner will draw power equal to its power rating to lower the temperature of the room, but if it’s cool, then the power consumption will significantly be reduced. Therefore, now you can conclude that the 1-ton inverter ac power consumption will be equal to 1kWh, which in other terms is equal to 1 Unit.

And last but not least, you should know that air conditioner capacity of cooling a room in a given time is directly proportional to the tonnage and power rating. So next time you’re planning to buy an air conditioner home check its power rating and cooling capacity.



We believe we’ve done our part in helping you figure out about what is the meaning of ton in ac and how it significantly affects your experience with your air conditioner purchase. The ac tonnage meaning, in a nutshell, is a determining factor of the cooling capacity of your ac, so higher tonnage shows better-performing ability.

Hence, we tried to make the job of understanding ac ton meanings as easy as we could, and we hope that next time someone asks you what is the meaning of ton in ac, you can help them with this information. It will overall take away the hardship of purchasing an air conditioner from their shoulders as well.  

Samarth is a Mechanical engineer from IIT Bombay with deep understanding of machines and the overall market. Samarth has been building machine from over 8 years so all his reviews on November Culture are first hand expert review. He co founded November Culture along with few other industry experts to provide reviews of daily products.