3 Ton Vs. 4 Ton AC (In-Depth Comparison)

By - Ron Singh

Updated -

Your choice of air conditioning unit depends on your preference and the size you would want to be getting.

A pro tip you would need is that “bigger is not always better,” With that in mind, should you be getting a 3-ton or 4-ton AC unit?

The significant visible difference between the 3-ton AC unit and the 4-ton AC unit is the amount of energy capacity it can carry. Most homeowners consider the size of their homes and their budget before they make a choice. 

3 Ton Vs. 4 Ton AC

3 Ton Vs. 4 Ton AC

The significant difference between the 3-ton and 4-ton AC is the amount of capacity heat the air conditioner can remove from the house per hour.

Of course, all these depend on the size of the room you would place in it and certain other features we will discuss soon. 

Three-ton and four-ton air conditioning units differ because, with a 3-ton air conditioning unit, your AC would get rid of the heat in the room slower than a 4-ton unit would.

In other terms, one ton means the rate of heat that it would have to give to freeze a ton of water in 24 hours. In typical cases, one ton is equal to 12,000 Btu/hr.

So, when you hear that your air conditioning unit is three tons, it doesn’t mean your unit weighs three tons; it means that the average capacity of that air conditioning unit is 36,000 BTU/hr. 

#1. Differences Between a 3 Ton And 4 Ton Unit 

Starting from their costs, the cost of the air installation is from $3,900 to $12,900, with its average being about $7,100.

Instead of estimating your cost, I would advise you to get the exact cost of the air conditioning units and work on them.

The cost of getting a 3-ton central air conditioning unit is about $6,200, while for a 4-ton ac, it is around $7,100. 

This price is not standard because the prices differ depending on the brand of refrigerator you want to be getting.

Some refrigerator brands and their cost-plus cost of installation include; 

AC BrandsPrices Installed Costs 
Trane 3-ton AC unit $3,900 -$7,000$5,400 -$8,600
Lenox 3-ton AC unit $4,000 -$7,150 $5,550 -$9,900
Rehem 3-ton AC unit $3,640 -$6,450 $5,200 -$8,400
Carrier 3-ton AC unit $3,975 -$7,050$5,325 -$8-750
Bryant 3-ton AC unit $3,900 -$6,950 $5,300 -$8,625
Encon 3-ton AC unit $3,000 -$5,100$4,900 -$6,800 
Godman 3-ton AC unit $3,800 -$6,650 $4 975 -$8,400 

You will also provide the cost of installing these units if you need to install the refrigerant line set, refrigerant charge, pad if needed, outdoor condensing unit, and the coil installed in the air handler.

The cost of each brand differs because some brands are better than others or their popularity. 

If you want to go for cheaper ones like the evcon or goodman, you should have about $4000 for them to get installed, and if you can afford more quality like the Trane or carrier, you should have around $6000 or even more.

So these 3 tons units are suitable for houses that are not small but are not too big either, more like for a family of about five people. 

#2. 4 Ton AC Units 

These 4-ton units are more suitable for bigger houses located in areas with warm climates. Many brands produce these 4 tons ACs, but only some are top-leading.

Below is a list of some of the leading brands and their prices. 

AC Brands Prices 
Trane 4-ton AC units $6,600 -$11,100
Lennox 4-ton AC unit $6,420 -$11,300
Carrier 4-ton AC unit $6,370 -$10,970 
Bryant 4-ton AC unit $6,300 -$10, 775 
Coleman 4-ton AC unit $5,870 -$9,950 
Amana 4-ton AC unit $6,370 -$10,550
Ruud 4-ton AC unit $5,900 -$10,250 

Goodman and Amana brands are identical; they use the same assembly parts and parts, but their logo is the only significant difference. 

Although the goodman is preferable to Bryant and Lenox brands by just a little, it performs very well for its price.

In addition,  it is considered one of the best. In the 1990s, goodman bought the Amana brand of refrigerator, and then in 2012, Daikin, a global leader, bought the goodman brand, hence Amana, 

It might seem weird that Daikin went ahead to buy three similar air conditioning lines, but the reason for this is very sensible; the purpose of what he did was the attract buyers with varying budget levels. 

#3. Tips You Would Be Needing Before Installing Your 3 Ton Or 4 Ton Air Conditioning Units 

  • The first thing you should remember is that you shouldn’t sacrifice installation quality for a lower price. It may seem like you’ve won at first, but later, you might have to pay more for fixes and spend more. 
  • You should ask for at least 3 bids before you make your decision; you can get this done by a local contractor. 

How Do I Know If I Need a 3 Ton Or 4 Ton AC Unit?

Before settling on getting either a 3-ton or 4-ton AC unit, there are certain factors you should be putting into consideration so you wouldn’t be settling for less.

I’ll be providing you with some factors that can help you determine the tonnage your AC should have below;

  • The size of your home; You can achieve this by correctly measuring the square footage of the interior of your house; if you can’t do this alone, you can call on a housing expert for help. 
  • The number of stories your home has is quite similar to the square feet of your home, except that, in this case, you can not do it all by yourself; it is more complicated. 
  • The number of windows and doors and your home’s insulation level are important factors.
  • The number of appliances that generate heat like the heater, gas cookers, ad ovens
  • The number of people living in your home, the fewer people, the lower the amount of heat generated and vice versa. 
  • The amount of direct sunlight that gets to your house. 
  • The region your house is in, whether in places with more winter or summer. 
  • The number of external additional heat sources close to your house, like the fireplace and chimneys. 

In summary, if the amount of heat and heat-causing materials around your home is abundant, you would need a 4-ton AC unit from a good brand. Sometimes, you might even need up to 5 or 6 tones. 

What Size of House Will a 4-Ton Air Conditioner Cool?

The 4-ton AC would cool a house with a 2,500-3,300. Getting the proper air conditioner for your home is much more than just getting the right brand.

You have to know the size of your home, the warranty of the brand you would want to get, and the tonnage of the air conditioning unit you would be getting. 

The central question you should ask yourself is, “ what is the size of my home?” so you would be able to determine the right tonnage. 

You must know the right size of your home, so you avoid cases like; 

  • The air conditioner is too small and cannot go around the whole house.
  • The air conditioner is too large and would have to turn off more frequently, which increases the chances of wear and tear. 

Tip; Before getting an air conditioner, check its ratings so you do not eventually settle for less. 

What Size of House Will a 3 to Air Conditioner Cool?

A 3-ton air conditioner would be able to cool a home that is 1,500 square feet. This conditioning unit can also work for a home with insulation and 2,000 sq/ft size.

The 3-ton AC unit is used in most homes as it is the most commonly used tonnage size. I will be laying out instances to give you an idea if a 3-ton AC unit is enough.

These instances will be for homes with insulation. If your home is not insulated, the cooling capacity could double. 

For an 1800 sq/ft home with a garage, the total area that requires cooling would be 1080 ft only because you should exclude the outer external factors like the garage. 

For a 2000 sq/ft home with an oversized garage and auto of rooms, the total area that would require cooling might be 1650 sq/ft only, excluding the garage. 

For a 2400 double-storied farmhouse, the total areas requiring cooling could be 1660 sq/ft, excluding the farmhouse and sheds. 


You need to know the heat factors affecting your home before sizing it with a suitable ton of ac.

With this guide, hopefully, you would be able to know what AC to get and also not settle for less with the list of air conditioning brands listed.

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