- 1 Top 7 Best RV Air Conditioners Compared
- 1.1 #1 Dometic Air Conditioners H541816AXX1J0 – Top Pick
- 1.2 #2 Zero Breeze Z19-B Portable Air Conditioner – Best Honorable Mention
- 1.3 #3 Airxcel 08-0080 – Best for Traveling All Year-Round
- 1.4 #4 PIONEER Air Conditioner – Best for Sleeping
- 1.5 #5 ASA Electronics Air Conditioner – Best for Durability
- 1.6 #6 Coleman Mach 3 – Best for Regular Use
- 1.7 #7 HOmeLabs Portable Air Conditioner – Best for Budget
- 1.8 How We Decided
- 2 Buyer’s Guide to RV Air Conditioners
When you’re traveling in your RV, comfort is a top priority, and that includes traveling and sleeping in the perfect temperature. If you go on vacation in the summer, it’s time to invest in a best rv air conditioner to keep cool.
We’ve scoured the Internet for the best RV air conditioner you can buy. We eliminated any air conditioners that take too long to cool down your RV, specifically lower than 12,000 BTU/H – unless it’s a portable AC unit. Of our selection of 7 AC units, we chose the Domestic brand as our top pick as it cools air at 15,000 BTU/H so you don’t have to wait a long time to feel cool and comfortable. It’s sleek and aerodynamic to keep your gas mileage low during travel, and it isn’t noisy when in use.
Top 7 Best RV Air Conditioners Compared
#1 Dometic Air Conditioners H541816AXX1J0 – Top PickWHY WE LIKE IT: This Domestic air conditioner produces 15,000 BTU/H which is one of the highest on the list and can quickly cool an RV thanks to the 350 CFM blower.
This air conditioner remains quiet in operation, thanks to heavy sheet metal that minimizes vibrations during use, so you can continue watching TV while remaining cool without the air conditioning unit disturbing you. It’s also fitted with expanded polypropylene to reduce the unit’s weight and prevent any condensation from building up.
Despite its main use for hot climates, this air conditioner doesn’t rattle as you drive the RV, which helps to prevent any additional noise. Designed to be durable and long-lasting with an aerodynamic shape, it can survive strong winds and rain without blowing off of your RV’s roof. Unlike some air conditioners, this air conditioning unit by Domestic provides you with a choice of duct and non-ducted, so you can direct the airflow to one space or evenly distribute the air throughout the entire RV. You need the best small portable air conditioner in an RV and this is a great choice.
#2 Zero Breeze Z19-B Portable Air Conditioner – Best Honorable MentionWHY WE LIKE IT: This Zero Breeze air conditioner only weighs 12.8 lbs, is waterproof, can charge USB devices, has a built-in bluetooth speakers, and measures 1/5th the weight of other air conditioners on this list and be powered by wall outlet, propane or a 12V car battery. These features make sure the unit ideal for cooling one area so you don’t waste energy.
This small, portable unit is ideal to quickly cool down 50 square feet. The unit is highly versatile and doubles-up as a charging port, so you can charge two devices at the same time. It’s also fitted with an LED light, so you can use the unit outdoors for additional lighting, or play your favorite songs through the integrated Bluetooth speakers, which is an add-on feature. Truly a best portable air conditioner for the RV.
Alternatively, use solely as an air conditioner and the unit offers five hours’ usage. It also weighs only 12.8lbs, making it highly portable Although the air conditioner doesn’t feature a high-power airflow it’s equipped with three fan speeds and three cooling settings, including: instant breeze, regular fan airflow, and instant breeze.
#3 Airxcel 08-0080 – Best for Traveling All Year-RoundWHY WE LIKE IT: Thir Airxcel RV air conditioner boasts 15,000 BTU/H of cool air, and you can switch to a heated setting (optional installation and extra cost) for up to 5,600 BTU/H in heating. This extensive versatility makes the unit ideal for traveling in cold and warm climates throughout the year.
This air conditioner delivers cool air to 320 CFM, and within a few minutes, you’ll feel the cool air. It’s designed to cool a vehicle quickly and effectively in 15,000 BTU/H, but it’s also more economical than most units with this figure. The average RV air conditioner produces over 2,000 watts, but Airxcel designed their unit to produce 1,800 watts. This low figure makes the unit ideal for small engines to help preserve energy while traveling.
It’s easy to switch the RV AC unit to the heated setting to use in the winter and save room from not purchasing an additional heater, though you’ll need to purchase an electric heat kit for this feature. When the RV air conditioning unit is switched on, it won’t disturb you, thanks to its minimal sound and vibration. And with numerous panels for the air to flow, you’ll feel a cool breeze from all angles of the air conditioner, and not just from standing underneath it. Also check out the best window air conditioner.
#4 PIONEER Air Conditioner – Best for SleepingWHY WE LIKE IT: The Pioneer air conditioner has a capacity of up to 36,000 BTU/H, making it the quickest unit on this list to cool an RV. It also features an inverter system with a variable speed compressor to provide powerful airflow. The unit automatically adjusts the room’s temperature and can connect to WiFi for smartphone users.
This unit offers a range of cooling and heating capacity from 9,000 to 36,000 BTU/H, so you can adjust the setting to suit your temperature. It’s also more advanced than the other units on this list, as it can connect to your Wi-Fi. This allows you to adjust the temperature while you’re not in the vehicle so you return to your RV with a comfortable temperature. This is great to have the temperature pre-set just before bedtime.
This air conditioner comes with a wireless controller, so you can see all the current temperature and air flow on the LCD display. The screen is also fitted with a backlight, so you can see essential information when it’s dark. Since the air conditioner isn’t a traditional RV unit, it comes with a full installation kit and a support hotline to assist any difficulties. You can also go smarter with the best WiFi smart air conditioner.
#5 ASA Electronics Air Conditioner – Best for DurabilityWHY WE LIKE IT: This ASA Electronics air conditioner comes with an overload protector and blows out powerful air measuring 13,500 BTU/H with a powerful 320 CFM blower. This makes the unit incredibly durable, so you don’t have to remove it when putting your RV in storage.
To keep your RV cool quickly, this air conditioner is bursting with more copper tubing than other units on this list to cool the unit’s surface area. This prevents the unit from overheating due to an electrical issue. It also rates at 13,500 BTU/H, which requires a generator with at least 3,000 watts, making it suitable for smaller RVs. With a total of three airflow speeds, you can gradually cool your RV, or drop the temperature in a couple of minutes.
When in operation, this air conditioner is quiet and doesn’t create any loud vibrations, thanks to the foam and metal parts that help to reduce any noise. It’s also constructed from metal and as a result is offers a durable chassis to make this unit long-lasting and prevent any damage from harsh weather during the winter. For your next camping trip, also take a look at the best RV mattress.
#6 Coleman Mach 3 – Best for Regular UseWHY WE LIKE IT: This Coleman Mach air conditioner is fitted with all-copper tubing to ensure durability and a long lifespan, plus it features a ⅓ HP motor so you feel cool, quickly. As such, it’s great for regular use and using for regular intervals on vacations.
This air conditioner is long-lasting and designed with a plastic drain pan that reduces any corrosion, and the stainless steel screws keep the unit securely mounted to your RV. It offers 13,500 BTU/H and up to 320 CFM airflow, which is the industry’s standard for keeping an average-sized RV cool in the summer. Unlike any other units on this list, you also get a choice of color to perfectly match your vehicle’s aesthetics. Although this isn’t essential to its function, it’s great to color-code your vehicle.
Although this air conditioner is larger than most, its large surface area enhances the transfer of cool air through the coils. So, once it’s switched on, the unit becomes cool quickly. This air conditioner is powerful and comes with multiple air panels so you can feel the cool air from all angles of it.
#7 HOmeLabs Portable Air Conditioner – Best for BudgetWHY WE LIKE IT: This HOmeLabs portable air conditioner doesn’t require any installation, and features wheels to easily move it around inside the RV. It also delivers powerful air measuring 14,000 BTU/H for rooms up to 650 feet. This is great to keep a single person cool if others aren’t feeling as warm.
This air conditioner is designed to easily move around different spots in your RV, if you want to keep one area cooler than the rest of the vehicle. To get started, attach the window hose, and plug it into a power source or supply, and it’ll be working in less than 10 minutes. Your purchase also includes a remote control and digital display, so you can set your desired temperature from the other side of the RV.
If you’re looking for an air conditioner for your RV that’s half the price of traditional RV models, a portable unit is a great solution. This unit also cools at a whopping 14,000 BTU/H, which is more than some products on this list. You can also use this unit to keep your RV free of moisture as it’s fitted with a dehumidification feature to prevent mildew from growing.
How We Decided
RV air conditioners have a specific cooling capacity that indicates the speed the conditioner it cools the air. Each RV air conditioner is measured in British Thermal Units per hour (BTU/H). The higher the figure, the quicker the temperature drop, so you feel cooler in less time. Therefore, we opted for units measuring an average of 13,000 BTU/H – with the exception of two portable design – as this measurement will quickly cool down your RV. Anything above 13,000 BTU/H is ideal for traveling in warm climates and larger RVs (recreational vehicles).
When purchasing an air conditioner for your RV, you want it to take up minimal space. Therefore, apart from two portable units, we only focused on rooftop units (with 1 exception), so you don’t have to pak your air conditioner on the floor. This design also helps to evenly distribute the airflow in your RV, compared to a unit pointing at a piece of furniture. Rooftop units also use brisk air from outside to cool the unit, thus saving energy in the long run.
Finally, we also researched air conditioners with various blower speeds, so you can adjust the unit for more or less power consumption. We found it important that the air conditioners have a minimum of two speeds for variety when you need more cool air.
Other models that just missed our list include the AIRXCEL Mach 15 AC, the Dometic Brisk II Rooftop Air Conditioner, and the DOMETIC PENGUIN II. The Mach 15 is equipped with a 1/3 hp fan motor, the largest used in an RV air conditioner, delivering cool air at an incredible 325 CFM. The Domestic Brisk II AC Unit comes in two different colors: Polar White (B59516.XX1C0) and Black (B59516.XX1J0). Both Brisk II models feature large air vents that promote superior airflow and cooling capacity. Finally, the Domestic Penguin II is a low profile, stylish model that boasts 13,000 BTU. The Penguin II features a high-performance motor and fan that deliver superb cool performance.
Buyer’s Guide to RV Air Conditioners
Important Factors to Consider Throughout Your Search
- Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM)
You should purchase an air conditioner based on the size of your RV. An average RV air conditioner will cool 300 cubic feet per minute, so you should consider the area of your vehicle in comparison to the unit. Your RV’s size will also determine the best BTU/H. Generally speaking, a size of around 200-300 feet will require 5,500-7,000 BTU/H. For 350-500 feet, look for a unit measuring 8,000-12,000 BTU/H to keep your RV cool quickly.
- Heating Capacity
If you tend to travel in both cold and warm climates, opt for a unit that also comes with a heat pump to keep you warm when temperatures drop. This saves room by not having to purchase an air conditioner and heater. Research the BTU/H of the heating facility. Some units have as much power with heat as they do with cool air.
Finally, research the air conditioner’s wattage, as this determines the energy the unit uses in operation. The higher the BTU/H, the bigger the wattage you’ll need. For example, a 7,000 BTU/H requires 1,700 watts to start up, and around 600 watts during use. Most people want the most powerful air conditioner to get cooler quickly, but if your RV’s battery isn’t big or powerful enough to operate the machine, the air conditioner won’t reach its maximum potential.
Consider your knowledge of installing air conditioners. Ideally, the unit will be quick and easy to set up by connecting to your RV’s roof. The air conditioner’s weight and size will also play a role in installation, since a heavier unit will require more manpower and tools to attach to your RV.
RV Air Conditioner FAQs
How often should you clean your filters?
All RV air conditioners are fitted with air filters, which we suggest need cleaning every two weeks. For most people, this is after each trip in the RV. Consider cleaning your air conditioner’s filter more often if you own pets, where the pet hair can cause airflow blockages. The cleaner the filter, the cleaner the air, so don’t forget to replace them if they become worn, too.
Which is best for air flow, non-ducted or duct?
During your search, you’ll come across non-ducted and duct air conditioner units. Non-ducted units blow out air from the bottom of the unit via one panel. This is perfect for cooling one area of the RV. However, if you’re looking to evenly distribute air flow on a larger surface area, opt for a duct air conditioner, which is designed with multiple panels.
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