An air conditioner condenser is quite heavy. It isn’t something that we think about on a weekly or even yearly basis as homeowners. We buy our homes and the air condenser unit usually has some kind of concrete slab under it from a time long ago and far away.
So what do you do if it isn’t level anymore?
Or it isn’t structurally sound?
What if you are getting a new condenser and don’t have any foundation at all? This article will discuss the in’s and out’s of purchasing an AC condenser pad and explain why you need one in the first place.
At a Glance: Our Top Picks for AC Condenser Pads
- OUR TOP PICK: Diversitech EL3636-3 E-Lite
- RUNNER-UP: Ecopad Equipment Pad for Mini Split
- BEST BUDGET OPTION: DiversiTech ACP36363 The Black Pad
Comparison Chart of the Best AC Condenser Pads
Our Top Pick
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Best Budget Option
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What to Look For in a Pre-Fab Pad
Before purchasing a pre-fab pad, it is important to buy one that will meet your location and air conditioning condenser’s specific needs. Here are some factors you should consider before purchasing an AC condenser pad:
Zoning and Size
Before installing a pre-fab pad, be sure to check your town or city’s zoning codes. Some cities require you to have a 3” pad at minimum no matter the size of your unit.
There will also be rules and regulations that pertain to where the unit can be placed in relation to the house in the yard. Placement and size of your pad may not be up to you; it may be regulated by your local zoning boards.
UV-Resistant and Waterproof
It is important to keep in mind the different weather your pad will experience year-round before purchasing a condenser pad. Your pad should be UV-resistant and waterproof. No matter where you live the pad will be exposed to the sun’s UV rays for prolonged periods of time. UV rays can cause cracking and can be very hard on a regular plastic pad without protection. Any pad that is UV-resistant will additionally be waterproof.
What makes a pad durable? Look for a pad with ribbed surfaces to distribute weight evenly and help absorb the vibrations from the unit. Pads made from recycled plastic are not only UV resistant, but also won’t crack from too much rain exposure.
Plan for Proper Installation
No matter how great the pad you purchase might be, if it is installed incorrectly its functions can become moot. It is best to hire a professional to come install the pad properly to ensure that the unit is level and secure. A professional will also be familiar with local zoning laws and make sure everything is up to code.
Reviews of the Best Air Conditioner Condenser Pads
There’s not a whole lot of variety in pads. Let’s just take a quick look at a couple so you have an idea of sizes and what they’re like.
Diversitech EL3636-3 E-Lite
The Diversitech EL3636 E-Lite is an excellent AC pad that will be able to handle anything you throw at it. It is made of some of the thickest, most heavy-duty, solid material you will be able to find – it is a full three inches thick, in case you are doubting its capabilities.
It will be able to easily hold units of up to 250 pounds, which makes this pad quite versatile. Yes, it can be used for air conditioners, but it can also easily be used for generators, pool heaters, garden composters, rain barrels, and pretty much anything you could ever need a pad for.
It also comes with lots of bracing, which is ideal for those who live in especially windy areas, or areas of the country that are prone to tornados or strong hurricanes. All in all, this pad is incredibly tough. You will not be able to go wrong with the Diversitech EL3636-3 E-Lite.
The Diversitech EL3636-3 E-Lite is a top-notch AC pad that will last you for years and years and not deteriorate, even with the heaviest air conditioning unit possible pressing down on it. The only thing to consider is that it is not the most attractive pad out there – users report it is a rather ugly pale grey color.
36 x 36 x 3"
Ecopad Equipment Pad for Mini Split
This AC condenser pad has a sturdy, lightweight design that’s ideal for industrial applications, as it can absorb loads of up to 205 lbs. It has a strong defense against bad weather and UV light, ensuring that it lasts as long as possible.
While it provides self-leveling support, it only works properly on the ground that’s as level as possible. If the soil is too soft, there’s a chance that it may shift its support. If you’re using it for a mini split, you’ll have to buy anti-vibrating shock absorbers separately.
The manufacturer has tested the product against several potential risks, such as synthetic canine urine, refrigerants, salt solution, and compressor oil. There are also ribbed sections along the pad that aid in providing optimal support.
The Ecopad Equipment Pad delivers a sturdy foundation for air conditioner condensers as long as the ground is as level and compact as possible. If the device suffers from too much vibrating, you’ll need to order the shock absorbers separately, though.
Even if you’re dealing with industrial-sized condensers, these pads will be able to take the punch. It helps that it has protection against the elements for a lengthy lifespan.
18 x 38 x 3"
Best for the Money:
DiversiTech ACP36363 The Black Pad
The DiversiTech ACP36363 The Black Pad is a versatile little AC pad that can be used for a wide variety of different uses.
Users report that this pad works great to hold different pieces of equipment, including a mini-split air conditioner, a generator, a pool heater, a pool pump, a mineral dispenser, and a washer/dryer – but also that it can be used to provide a boost to enter into a bathtub for elderly folks, or even as a dog bed that is completely resistant to chewing! And when we say completely resistant, we mean it – this pad is three inches thick and made of a specially concocted mixture of plastic and rubber.
And as a bonus, the rubber is recycled, meaning that when you purchase this pad, you are doing Mother Earth a service. But although it is thick and hefty, it is also quite easy to drill through this pad so that you can attach equipment to it or secure the pad into the ground. There is not much to dislike about the DiversiTech Black Pad!
The DiversiTech ACP36363 The Black Pad is a great AC pad that is versatile and made of recycled material. The only consideration to make is that it is actually slightly smaller than advertised.
36 x 36 x 3"
4. Diversitech EL3232-2 E-Lite
This plastic platform offers self-leveling ground support that doesn’t require inserts. It is a great valued platform for your air conditioning condenser as it is easy to install. It’s made of UV-resistant plastic. Be sure to check your local zoning laws before purchasing.
36 x 36 x 3"
5. Ideal Air 728184 2 x 16 x 36 Cement Equipment Pad
The Ideal Air 728184 2 x 16 x 36 Cement Equipment Pad is a great AC pad if you are not interested in investing in real concrete. This item is made of a styrofoam base with a concrete cover, making it much more lightweight (it only weighs about ten pounds in total) and easier to move around than some of its more solid counterparts.
For AC units, you typically will not need a pad that is sturdier or made of higher levels of concrete, so you are not missing out on anything when you order this pad. And do not think that just because it has a styrofoam base it is somehow less tough or less able to withstand any adverse weather events – this pad will definitely be able to ride out even the toughest storms.
All in all, when you are talking about bang for your buck or even the pure convenience factor of being able to easily move this pad around in case you move or need to otherwise relocate your mini-split air conditioner – you will not be able to find something that works better for you than the Ideal Air 728184 2 x 16 x 36 Cement Equipment Pad.
The Ideal Wir 728184 2 x 16 x 36 Cement Equipment Pad is an excellent AC pad that is lightweight and easily moved around but will still provide high-quality support. It may not be the most aesthetically pleasing after a while, though, as condensation will produce discoloration.
16 x 36 x 1.8"
Styrofoam with a very thin layer of composite material
The Purpose of a Condenser Pad
As the air conditioning condenser vibrates with continual use on the same surface over a period of time, it can sink into the ground or cause damage to the unit. That is why everyone needs a good AC condenser pad to help support and contain the unit over time.
This expensive piece of equipment needs to be properly supported. To help the unit survive harsh winters or summers a quality waterproof pad is essential.
Condensers also accumulate water as it does its job making them weigh even more. This can put significant strain on the lines and tubes that run underneath the unit. It is crucial that the unit stay dry as well as level to extend the equipment’s lifespan and functionality. Whether you decide to go concrete or pre-fab, having some kind of support system is necessary.
Why Not Just Pour Concrete?
Concrete is the more traditional, tried-and-true way of stabilizing an AC condenser. What is most appealing about pouring concrete is how durable and permanent it can be. However, concrete’s biggest pro can also act as its biggest con.
Over time the weight of the unit can cause the concrete to settle deeper into the soil below. This could put a strain on the copper coolant tubes and electrical lines. While the unit itself may stay dry, it can become uneven and the sunken pad can take down or pull on pipes and lines in its path.
There are pre-fab concrete pads available, but some argue it is better to pour the concrete pad on site if you are going to use concrete at all. Constructing the pad requires building a frame, base, reinforcements, and pouring the concrete, but this can be well worth the effort. The more level and custom to the soil beneath the concrete slab is made, the better it can support the unit and the less it will sink over time. Pouring can lessen the chances of cracking due to stress or exposure to the elements.
While many HVAC old-timers stand by concrete as the best option, whether it be pre-fab or poured, it can have costly consequences in the long run if it does sink. Also, it is harder to replace cracked or damaged concrete pads than a plastic one.
While plastic sounds like a cheaper, flimsier alternative to some, the material is actually much better equipped to absorb the vibrations from the unit. A pad may be made out of plastic, rubber, or recycled materials. A more pliable surface can last just as long as any concrete slab if installed properly. Newer air condenser units are becoming lighter all the time, making concrete a more obsolete choice.
AC Condenser Pad Sizes
There are various AC condenser pad sizes available on the market. They distribute the weight differently, depending on the type of support available. Generally, larger products can take heavier units, but you’ll have to see what material it consists of and any internal components.
There are a few common sizes you can expect to find online:
- 18”x 38”x 2”
- 24”x 24” x 3”
- 32”x 32”x 2”
- 36”x 36”x 3”
Remember, it’s essential to measure the appropriate size for your condenser. It’s better to buy a larger one than one that’s too small. Also, check the specifications to see what the maximum load is for that pad.
Top AC Condenser Pad Brands
Our reviews attempt to diversify across as many brands as possible. However, there are some we may mention more than others due to their reputation for reliable and durable products. Here are our top brands for AC condenser pads.
This company has been around since 1984, having specialized in dust collection and air filtration. It focuses on eliminating as many unbreathable substances as possible, with a department that looks at fume control.
When it comes to air purification and conditioning, it also produces AC condenser pads to assist with protecting your exterior devices. It’s expanded into the market with several sizes and materials, ensuring that you receive the best performance.
Andrew Bishop established Ideal-Air in 2004 and has since expanded its base in Australia. It has dipped its feet in the air conditioning industry with several household and industrial products, holding a keen focus on innovation and service delivery.
The company has a wide selection of AC condenser pads available worldwide via several distribution centers. Not willing to stand still, it continues to look for partners to help introduce its products to new areas.
Price Points of AC Condenser Pads
Have you been browsing the internet and wondering why there’s such a variety of AC condenser pad prices? It doesn’t mean that some products are inferior to others, merely that there are different specifications and applications for them. Here’s a look at some of the most common costs:
$10 - $50
The most affordable range consists of condenser pads and shock absorbers with light materials. The sizes generally range between small to medium, but you may also find some of the more affordable brands in this bracket.
$50 - $100
Larger sizes and more durable products fill this price range, providing improved stability and leveling.
Instead of absorbers being sold separately, you may find them packed with the AC condenser pads. They can also handle heavier loads.
The top brands reach for the skies with their prices, delivering optimal performance in terms of allowable load, dimensions, material, and support. You can expect a longer lifespan while being able to hold industrial condensers for massive air conditioning systems.
How to Set Up HVAC AC Condenser Pads
It’s always nice to know how to set up your HVAC AC condenser pads as it saves you money from hiring help. It’s a pretty straightforward job to do, and it is easy to learn if you pay attention. Let’s take a look at how to do it step by step.
- The very first thing to do is to measure the area for the pad and then mark the parameters of the pad on the ground roughly. This will give you an idea of where to remove the dirt from.
- Afterward, use a shovel to level the ground by digging up some of the dirt so the pad can be placed on top of it.
- Next, you need to place the pad on top of the leveled ground and make sure that it is secured in place.
- Now, before placing the condenser unit, make sure you use a measuring tape and ensure that the pad is perfectly leveled. Measure the parameters of the pad, and they should be equal.
It’s okay if you didn’t get it the first time or had difficulty understanding this description. You can go ahead and check the video below to get a better understanding of how to do it.
Whether you use concrete pre-fab, pour your own concrete, or purchase a plastic pad for your AC condenser unit, the most important thing is to keep the unit dry and level. Talk to an HVAC professional to see what pad will work best with your unit, property, and climate.
As units are manufactured to be lighter and pads are better engineered to absorb vibrations, ordering a condenser pad online becomes a more viable and affordable option for homeowners.
People Also Ask
When it comes to AC condenser pads, people often tend to have a lot of questions as it does serve a very important purpose. Thus, we took your most frequently asked questions and answered them in the hope of clearing any confusion you may have. Let’s take a look at them:
How Long Do AC Condenser Pads Last?
It depends on the fabric and internal support. Most AC condenser pads can last as long as the air conditioner, which is to say a few decades. However, the best practice is to replace them after 10 years with maintenance checks for every five years to ensure there’s no sinking or wear.
How Do You Change an Air Conditioner Pad?
Replacing your AC condenser pad can be extremely challenging, especially if it’s been in place for several years or has started sinking into the ground. You may need a specialist to come out and assist you with the work required, as it isn’t straightforward.
Basically, you might be able to lift the pad with the condenser to prepare the ground for the new one. If you have a concrete pad, more work is required to repair it or remove it for a new type. You’ll also need to take into consideration any holes drilled on the old pad.
Ensure that you ask for professional guidance before taking this task on your own.
Do AC Condenser Pads Make Your Unit Quieter?
Some pads have ribbed sections or anti-vibrating shock absorbers to reduce any rattling or noise caused by too much shaking. However, you’ll still hear some sound from the internal fans, compressor, condenser, and other components.
What is a Condenser Pad?
The major purpose of a condenser pad is to provide stability to your air conditioning unit.
It keeps your central AC unit in place securely despite all the vibrations coming from a running unit. If the condenser pad is properly placed and fitted, it can help extend the life of your AC.
How to Size an Air Conditioner Condenser Pad
The sizing of the compressor pad plays an important role. When looking for one, make sure it’s big enough so that the compressor supports are away from the parameter.
Why Strap Down a Condenser Pad?
Strapping down the condenser pad can be an additional step to ensure it remains secured in place. This is because, at times, the internal vibrations or perhaps earthquakes can set it loose. Furthermore, this is often mentioned in the instructional manuals of the products.
Does an AC Condenser Need to Be Level?
It is absolutely crucial to have a leveled condenser, and one of the most important reasons why that is the case is because if the AC condenser is not leveled, it can affect oil levels inside and lead to the compressor’s motor not being lubricated. This can ultimately lead to an overheated or inefficient unit.
Where to Set the Pad For an AC Condenser?
The pad should be located in close proximity to the house so necessary hookups can be made. This is a very important factor to consider which, if not looked into, can be rather inconvenient.
How Do You Level an AC Condenser Pad?
It is crucial to level your AC condenser pad as you can have problems with your fan blade or compressor oil if the unit is not leveled. If your unit is unlevelled, dig out a bit of dirt from underneath the unit from the side, which has sunk down. You can then use the same dirt underneath it to prop your unit up, which then makes it level. You can use a level device to check if the product is now leveled.
1 thought on “Best AC Condenser Pads: 2022 Buyer’s Guide”
I did not know AC Condenser Pads existed until I researched more about air conditioner concrete pads. I love that you take into consideration the different types of pad someone may get based on their unit, property, or climate. I love that you mention the pros and cons between the different types of pad. I would definitely want to get an HVAC professional to help me decide what would pad works best for my place.
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