How Many Amps Does A 5,000-15,000 Btu Air Conditioner Use?

The most common 5,000 to 15,000 BTU ACs use around 5 amps to 13 amps.

AC size plays a role, of course, but type makes a difference too. For example, an RV AC uses more than a portable or window AC of roughly the same size.

AC Amps Calculator

As always, PickHVAC makes it simple for you to get the answer you’re looking for. This calculator is easy to use.

How many amps does a 14,000 AC use if it has an EER rating of 11?

Enter 14,000 in the top box, 11 in the second box, and 115 for the volts. And there’s your answer – 11.07 amps.

We walk you through the steps below.

How Many Amps Does an Air Conditioner Use?

And the Tables that follow the AC Amps Calculator fill in a lot of the details for you.

Step 1: Type in Air Conditioner Capacity in BTUs.

The BTU capacity should be found on the metal label or tag on your AC. It’s likely on the outside unit of a mini split system. Sometimes the BTU is given away in the model name or serial number. The Koldfront WAC8001W, for example, is an 8,000 BTU model while the Koldfront WAC12001W is the 12,000 BTU size.

Step 2: Efficiency in EER

Most window and portable ACs are about 10 EER in efficiency. If you don’t know this information, go with the default of 10 EER. The more efficient the AC is, the fewer amps it uses for the same size unit.

If you want to be exact, search the model number online, and you should find its EER rating. A search of the 12,000 Koldfront model led to an Amazon page where the EER is listed as 10.9, about average.


What is the volt rating of the outlet you’re using?

The AC Outlet and Plug Types chart below might help you determine air conditioner voltage. Or you might find it on the information you discover on the unit or when you search it.


When you enter the data, your result will automatically show – the amp draw for your AC.

Give it a try.

For example, how many amps does a 12,000 BTU mini split use?

Type in the information, or you can use the Up/Down arrows on the side of the boxes. When you input 12,000, 230-volt data with 10 EER, the answer is 5.22 amps.

It will be useful to know the EER rating, because efficiency varies quite a lot in mini splits and many are higher than the default 10.

How Many Amps Does a 5000 – 15000 Btu Air Conditioner Use?

Air Conditioner Amperage Chart

Air Conditioner Capacity (BTU) Amps
5,000 BTU 4.35 Amp
6,000 BTU 5.22 Amp
8,000 BTU 6.96 Amp
10,000 BTU 8.70 Amp
12,000 BTU 10.43 Amp
14,000 BTU 12.17 Amp
15,000 BTU 13.04 Amp

* Based on 115v and 10 eer.   Amps = BTU / (EER x Volt)

This table is already complete for the most common AC sizes.

Example 1: How many amps does a 5000 btu air conditioner draw?

Most 5000 BTU ACs draw about 4.35 amps. Some high-efficiency ACs with 11-14 EER rating draw only 3-4 amps.

Example 2: How many amps does a 15000 btu air conditioner draw?

13.04 amps. A few energy-efficient window air conditioners with inverter compressor only draw 11-12 amps.

Air Conditioner Amperage Draw Chart

This table shows that there can be differences in current based on the type of air conditioner you’re discussing.

Air Conditioner Amperage Draw Chart

Air Conditioner Type BTU Range Amperage Draws
RV Air Conditioner 11,000 – 15,000 13-16 Amps
Window Air Conditioner 5,000 – 24,000 5-10 Amps
Portable Air Conditioner 8,000 – 14,000 7-13.5 Amps
Mini Split 6,000 – 48,000 4.5-17 Amps

How many amps does my portable AC use? Use the chart to see that this AC type uses 7 to 13.5 amps depending on its capacity.

For larger ACs it also depends on the wiring – whether it is 115 or 230 volts. When the voltage doubles, the number of amps drawn drops by around half.

Starting Amps Vs Running Amps of AC Units

AC Unit Size Running Amps Starting Amps
5,000 BTU 4.35 Amp 7-9 Amps
6,000 BTU 5.22 Amp 8-11 Amps
8,000 BTU 6.96 Amp 11-13 Amps
10,000 BTU 8.70 Amp 13-16 Amps
12,000 BTU 10.43 Amp 15-18 Amps
14,000 BTU 12.17 Amp 17-21 Amps
15,000 BTU 13.04 Amp 18-22 Amps

Please note if you want to run your air conditioner by a generator or portable power station, you should also pay attention to starting amps besides running amps. Most generators list their surge amperage or wattage in numbers on the side of the generator. 

Typically, the startup amperage of a smallest 5000 btu ac unit will surge to 6 amps to 9 amps for a few seconds. So make sure the starting amps is at least 9 amps or starting watts is at least 1200 watts.

How many starting amps can a circuit breaker handle?

Most breakers in your electrical panel are thermal-magnetic breakers which follow a thermal overload curve. For a 15 amps circuit breaker, it can allow a current of 16 amps for several minutes, 20 amps for a minute and 25 amps for a few sections. The starting up of the compressor only lasts for a few sections so it should be ok unless you have a old magnetic-only breaker


How many amps is an 8000 BTU window AC?

Most are 6-9 amps depending on the efficiency of the air conditioner. For example, an older 8 EER AC draws almost 9 amps. An 11 EER model uses just 6.3 amps.

How many amps is a small AC unit?

When you’re talking in the 5000 to 8000 BTU range, then the current is around 4-8 for most.

Can I run a 15 amp AC?

If the circuit you’re going to plug into is at least 15 amps, and there’s nothing else on it, then you might be able to run the AC on a 15 amp breaker. You can always check the circuit breaker in the electrical panel. It should be marked with the amperage.

How do I know AC wattage?

To determine consumption of energy, you’ll need to know the number of watts the unit is. And then you can figure it out by how long you typically run your AC.

Our BTU to Watts Calculator might come in handy if you know the BTU and other data. You can get the watts from the calculator.

Is there a difference in starting amps to running amps?

Yes. It takes more amps to start an AC compressor than to keep it going. However, it varies greatly, and the calculator above simply takes into account the amps needed to run the air conditioner.

When should a plug adapter be used?

A plug adapter is used when the AC plug blade and prong configuration don’t match up to your outlet. Just make sure that the outlet has the right amps for the unit you’re plugging into it. 

Air Conditioner Outlet and Plug Types

AC Types Outlet and Plug Types Outlet VoltOutlet Amp

5,000-15,000 BTU Window AC, Portable AC, Mini Split

115V 15 Amp
18,000-24,000 BTU Window AC, Portable AC, Mini Split 230V 15 Amp
8,000-24,000 BTU Window AC with Heat, Mini Split Heat Pump 230V 20 Amp
18,000-24,000 BTU Window AC with Heat, Mini Split Heat Pump 230V 30 Amp

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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