Cooling Capacity Calculator: How to Find the Right BTU for You

Not sure which portable air conditioner model is right for your needs? We are here to help. You’ll find below a pretty handy chart that will help you pinpoint the right model. You’ll notice that room size and heat load are the two variables within this chart. Step one is simply figure out the room size in square feet of the room in need of cooling. Next, figure out the amount of heat or "heat load" that the room receives. For example, if the room has a lot of windows or is next to a kitchen, that room would probably have a high heat load.

Based on those two parameters, you should be able to figure out what kind of BTU range works for you. For reference, BTU is simply a designation of cooling power – the higher the BTU the more powerful the cooling. Simply click on one of the four "BTU areas" and it will lead you to a page with portable air conditioner models that will suit your room size and heat load needs.

Calculate BTU Cooling Power

Use the dropdowns below to help you estimate what size portable air conditioner is best for your space. The cooling power of portable air conditioners is based on BTU’s. We’ve rated and measured our units against a number of different room/home conditions that can effect the cooling power required. Calculate the BTU cooling power that fits your needs.

Cooling Capacity Calculator

Calculate what size air conditioner you need this summer

Area you want to cool in square feet:

How many people are usually in the room?

Is the room in a very sunny region of the house?
Yes No

Is the room heavily shaded?
Yes No

Is the unit in a kitchen?
Yes No

Total Btu/hour needed

Kara Zorn

About Author

Kara Zorn is a wife and working mom who loves life hacks that help her schedule allow for as much quality family time as possible. She enjoys cooking with locally sourced food and produce and recently took up brewing Kombucha.


  1. Ralphie says

    Thank you. This information was actually pretty insightful. I live alone in a somewhat big house and there are many times I simply want to cool one or two rooms, especially my bedroom. And it doesn’t make sense to cool the entire house, just so I can sleep comfortably. I hate throwing money at the power company for rooms I’m not using.


  2. steve says

    Have slider windows what a/c unit will work for me window opening is 58 1/2 × 21 600 Sq ft sun room.

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