Central Air Conditioner Dimensions (Air Handlers and Condensing Units)

Residential air conditioners have an indoor unit called an air handler and an outdoor unit called a condensing unit.

Dimensions for all common sizes of both are given on this page. Plus the information lets you know how much room you need for the equipment.

What are Air Handler Dimensions?

air handler and conden dimensions

Smallest: 18 inches wide, 19 inches deep and 43.5 inches high

Largest: 27 inches wide, 23 inches deep and 54.5 inches high

Air handlers are about the size of a furnace.

Air Handler Dimensions:

CapacityAverage WidthAverage DepthAverage Height
1.5 Ton18 Inches19 Inches43.5 Inches
2 Ton18.5 Inches20.5 Inches45 Inches
2.5 Ton20 Inches21 Inches45.5 Inches
3 Ton22 Inches22 Inches49 Inches
3.5 Ton23.5 Inches22.5 Inches53 Inches
4 Ton24.5 Inches22.5 Inches56 Inches
5 Ton27 Inches23 Inches54.5 Inches

*The dimensions are taken from models made by Carrier, Goodman, Trane, American Standard, Lennox, Payne and Ruud. 

Air Handler Closet Dimensions

Many air handlers are installed in utility closets when the home has no basement or the space is used as living space.

What size closet does an air handler need?

The closet should be large enough to allow at least 6” to 10” of clearance around the air handler’s sides, top and front. This prevents the air handler blower from overheating in a space that is too confined to get any fresh, cool air.

Air Handler Closet Dimensions Recommend

CapacityAverage WidthAverage DepthAverage Height
1.5 Ton30 – 34 Inches32 – 40 Inches49.5 – 51.5 Inches
2 Ton30.5 – 34.5 Inches33.5 – 41.5 Inches51 – 53 Inches
2.5 Ton32 – 36 Inches34 – 42 Inches51.5 – 53.5 Inches
3 Ton34 – 38 Inches35 – 43 Inches55 – 57 Inches
3.5 Ton35.5 – 39.5 Inches35.5 – 43.5 Inches59 – 61 Inches
4 Ton36.5 – 40.5 Inches35.5 – 43.5 Inches62 – 64 Inches
5 Ton39 – 43 Inches36 – 44 Inches60.5 – 62.5 Inches

Tips on air handler closet dimensions:

Behind the air handler, just a few inches is required, since most are enclosed in the back. There’s no airflow needed there.

Closet door width: The closet door should be at least 4” wider than the air handler. This gives you room to remove the air handler if it needs to be replaced.

Manufactured homes sometimes don’t have return air ductwork. As a result, the air handler pulls directly from the air around it. In such cases, it is better to remove the door of the air handler closet to allow for better air circulation.

What does the manufacturer say? Always check the air handler’s installation manual for recommendations about the air space around the unit. If you install it in a closet smaller than recommended, the air handler might not work effectively – and the warranty might be voided or warranty claims could be denied.

What are Outside Unit Dimensions?

In other words, how big are AC condensing units?

Here are average condensing unit dimensions.

Outside Unit Dimensions:

CapacityAverage WidthAverage DepthAverage Height
1.5 Ton31 Inches28.5 Inches30.8 Inches
2 Ton32 Inches29.5 Inches35 Inches
2.5 Ton32.5 Inches29.8 Inches35.5 Inches
3 Ton35.5 Inches32.6 Inches38.2 Inches
3.5 Ton36.5 Inches33.5 Inches39 Inches
4 Ton37 Inches33.8 Inches40.9 Inches
5 Ton37.9 Inches34.2 Inches43.7 Inches

These are standard AC outside unit dimensions.

Compact Low Profile Outdoor Unit Dimensions

Most manufacturers also make low-profile or compact outside units like this one from Carrier.

Performance™ 14 Compact Central Air Conditioner

This Carrier compact outside unit dimensions for sizes from 1.5 to 5.0 tons are:

31” to 43.2” high, 37” to 44.5” wide and 15” to 17.1” deep. That’s approximately half as deep as a standard AC condensing unit.

A compact AC outside unit is ideal for yards where space is limited, like in adjoining apartments or townhouses. They need a minimum of 6” to 8” on both the fan side (front) and the coil side (back).


What is the standard size of an air conditioner?

1.5 ton (smallest): 31” wide, 28.5” deep and about 31” high.

5.0 ton (largest): About 38” wide, 34” deep and 44” high.

Note – These are full size split system air conditioners. Window air conditioners are smaller.

What size is my condensing unit?

In terms of dimensions, they might be listed in the manual. Otherwise, use a tape measure to determine the dimensions – width (side to side), depth (front to back) and height (bottom to top of the fan cage).

Does an air handler need a vented door?

No. A vented door is not required when the air handler is connected to both supply air and return air ductwork.

When there is no return air ductwork, the closet shouldn’t have any door at all.

Note – Always check the air handler installation manual (you can find it online by searching the model number) to be sure.

Can an air handler be placed in a bedroom closet?

Yes. The only drawback might be that the noise of the blower could disrupt sleep.

How much space do you need around an outside AC unit?

6” to 24” of clearance depending on the side of the unit:

24” minimum on the service side – the side where the refrigerant lines connect to it.

6” minimum clearance on all other sides of the unit.

Here is an example from Carrier.

outside ac unit space

Written by

Rene has worked 10 years in the HVAC field and now is the Senior Comfort Specialist for PICKHVAC. He holds an HVAC associate degree and EPA & R-410A Certifications.

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