Bergstrom provides clarity on confusing world of BTU ratings

March 26, 2013
Ratings in the no-idle marketplace currently range from a few thousand BTUs to as high as 18,000 and even 30,000 BTU.

Understanding BTU ratings is a confusing and misleading issue. Bergstrom Inc., a global leader in the design and supply of climate systems to the commercial vehicle industry, wants consumers to understand BTU ratings and how they are calculated, empowering them to make the right decision when buying a no-idle system.

Ratings in the no-idle marketplace currently range from a few thousand BTUs to as high as 18,000 and even 30,000 BTU. These discrepancies arise because there is no governing body that sets and enforces an industry standard. As a result, some manufacturers manipulate and inflate BTU numbers to entice buyers to their products.

When choosing a no-idle system, heading down the right road is critical. Some manufacturers make false claims about their cooling performance, resulting in false expectations, uncomfortable environments for drivers and frequent replacement of units.

To help bring clarity to BTU numbers, Bergstrom conducted independent no-idle tests.

"Competitors don't exhaust the same testing procedures and credentials we do at Bergstrom," said Alan Leupold, director of testing and development for Bergstrom. "The BTUs we share with our consumers accurately display how they will perform when you are on the road. Our competitor's numbers won't hold up."


No-Idle System


Claimed Performance

True Performance


10,000  Btu/hr

3,300 Btu/hr

NITE Phoenix

7,500 Btu/hr

7,500 Btu/hr

Bergstrom encourages consumers to ask manufacturers how BTU evaporators are rated. If they can't provide an answer, chances are they have manipulated the numbers in one of these methods:

  • Increasing air inlet temperature
  • Manipulating refrigerant temperature
  • Using blower manufacturer's airflow stats to measure capacity
  • Rating performance at maximum air temperature and humidity
  • Neglecting to show time unit of measurement

Bergstrom wants to create an even playing field to help consumers make intelligent decisions when comparing air conditioning systems. Read more information at:

For more information about Bergstrom Inc., contact Bill Gordon at [email protected] or go to

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