This work was aimed at evaluating the characteristics of activated carbons derived from rubber seed shell through physical activation using CO2 for phenol removal. Two activated carbons were obtained at different retention times of 30 min (AC1) and 90 min (AC2) at fixed temperature of 900 °C. Activated carbons were characterized for specific surface area, surface functional groups and morphology. The values of specific surface area were recorded as 852 m2/g and 606 m2/g for AC2 and AC1. AC2 shows a higher phenol removal capacity of 302 mg/g than AC1 (112 mg/g) that is directly related to the specific surface area of activated carbons. The equilibrium data fitted well to the Langmuir isotherm, suggesting monolayer coverage of phenol molecules on the homogeneous surface of activated carbons. The kinetics data obeyed pseudo-first-order model, indicating the external diffusion as the rate-limiting step in adsorption.