7 Best Small RV Air Conditioner Reviews (2021)

small rv air conditioners
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The hottest days of the season have already arrived for much of the country. It’s at this time that many people plan to escape to different destinations, either to unwind or just travel the world. However, for RV travelers who love dry camping and boondocking; sitting too long under the sweltering sun is a challenge.

Luckily for you, an RV AC unit is one of the best ways to keep your camper interior cool day and night.

For that reason, we have created this best portable air conditioner for camper review so you can spend unforgettable vacation time in your recreational vehicle even during the hot summer season in various places.

If you’re looking for a mini-split AC heat pump system to keep comfortable all year round, see our Mini Split AC for RV guide for full details. 

7 Best Small RV Air Conditioners

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Dometic 3314851.000 Air Conditioner

Dometic Air Conditioners 3314851.000 Adb Man...
  • Easy to use, adjustable
  • Powerful air distribution
  • For non-ducted applications only

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Dometic Adb Man Control unit is easy to use and adjustable. It comes included with the installation pack, and installation is a pretty easy task for any consumer with basic knowledge about how to install air conditioning systems.

This RV air conditioner provides powerful air distribution, and Dometic is a reliable brand in the world of RV appliances, so you can rest assured that this model has been thoughtfully designed with high-quality materials.

This model doubles up as a heat pump or air conditioner, so it’s like having a mini HVAC system in your home away from home. This means that you can take long trips in your RV at any time of the year without having to worry about you or your family members being too warm or cold.

There are functional buttons on the ac unit itself. They are clear and easy to understand. You simply turn the dial knobs to adjust the temperature according to your particular needs. The design is sleek, practical, and highly functional, with vents on the front for efficient heating or cooling.

Meaning it acts both as a heat pump and AC. It is also a unit with a low profile, so it won’t stick out too much and look like an eyesore. At only ten pounds, it’s a lightweight unit. All in all, this is a solid product for anyone looking to improve the environment in their RV for upcoming trips.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Powerful air distribution

Cons:

  • For nonducted applications only

2. Dometic Brisk II Air 15,000 BTU AC Unit

Dometic Brisk II Rooftop Air Conditioner, 15,000...
  • Your purchase includes One Dometic Brisk II Rooftop Air Conditioner, 15,000 BTU - Polar White B59516.XX1C0 model, One Warranty card and One Registration card
  • Air conditioner dimensions: 30.5” W x 15” H x 29” D. Weight 85 lbs
  • Performance: 15,000 BTU/h. Input voltage (AC): 115V. Does not include Heat Pump
  • Dampening brackets reduce noise and vibration
  • The Brisk II's smart design and improved materials combine to maximize air flow and performance

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Dometic Brisk II Air Conditioner includes a warranty card and registration card with any customer purchase. It is a powerful rooftop air conditioner that can be used for both ducted and ductless applications. You will require an ADB or control kit to install this RV air conditioner.

With a power consumption of 1725 watts, its cooling capacity is very powerful, rated at 4392 watts. It is also an RV ac unit with a low profile.

CSA certified, meaning it has passed various safety and quality regulations and tests. With a weight of 77 lbs and a streamlined body, it’s safe to say that this air conditioner is not too bulky, but it is also quite heavy.

Thus, you need to make sure there is someone around who can lift it to the appropriate section of your RV for installation. If this won’t be a deal-breaker, there are a lot of features that make the Dometic Brisk II Air a great choice for your RV.

Its smart design has been upgraded and improved from previous Dometic models, so you can be confident that the manufacturer put a lot of thought into this product. Being the best-in-class of any standard RV rooftop air conditioner, you’ll definitely be getting the cream of the crop if you buy this brisk ii AC.

Pros:

  • 15,000 BTU cooling capacity
  • CSA certified
  • 2-year warranty plan
  • Can be used for both ducted and non-ducted application

Cons:

  • A heavy unit

3. Airxcel Mach 15 Air Conditioner

Coleman 48204C866 Mach 15+ A/C Unit
  • Cool/Heat Capacity: 15,000
  • Delivered BTU Heating Output: 5,600
  • Electrical Rating: 115V AC, 60HZ, 1 Phase
  • 1/3 HP fan motor
  • Exterior Shroud Dimensions: 13.8" H x 26.1" W x 38" L

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Airxcel Mach 15 unit is a product designed by Coleman Mach, who claims that it is the world’s most powerful RV air conditioner. Thus, if you’re looking for something that packs a punch, this might be the RV ac for you. It has a cooling and heating capacity of 15,000 BTU.

The product specifications are highly detailed and include details about how many watts it takes to run in different climates and settings. For example, in standard conditions it uses 1560 running watts in the desert it uses 2025 running watts. Thus, you can keep track of how much power it’s using and make sure you run it accordingly.

This model is equipped with a 1/3 hp motor, which is the largest in the RV air conditioner industry. The motor is mounted directly to the bulkhead.

This design helps to prevent the blower wheel from distorting and will ensure a free turning action. As such, the motor will always be in a fixed position to the blower for maximum effectiveness and durability.

Moreover, this RV air conditioner has the power to deliver an impressive 325 cubic feet per minute of cool air. This is very useful when you want things to cool down super fast when the temperature indoors is oppressive. It has a streamlined shape which complements the overall style and operational efficiency of the machine.

Pros:

  • 1/3 hp motor, the largest in the industry
  • 15,000 BTU cooling capacity and 320 cubic feet per minute airflow

Cons:

  • Might be overpowered for a smaller RV

4. ICON-1544 Brisk Air Dometic Duo Therm RV Air Conditioner

Sale
ICON-1544 Brisk Air Dometic Duo Therm RV Air...
  • Icon Air Conditioner Shroud for Dometic Duo Therm BriskAir New Style, Polar White
  • Not all AC shrouds are created equal
  • These aftermarket replacement air conditioner shrouds are constructed of high-impact UV resistant material, thicker and stronger than the originals
  • Buy an Icon shroud and you'll have complete peace of mind, knowing that your shroud is designed to last
  • Fits Brisk Air (New style) air conditioners

Last update on 2021-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

While the RV air conditioner shroud is designed to protect your air conditioner from external elements, such as trees, hail, twigs, and rain, not all RV Ac shrouds are created the same.

Aftermarket ICON-1544 Brisk Air Domestic Duo-Therm air conditioner shrouds are constructed from high-impact UV-resistant materials that are thicker than the originals for increased durability and your peace of mind.

It’s a 35.5-inch x 29.5-inch x 12 5/8-inch shroud that fits new model RV air conditioners. You’re advised to check your AC model number before buying the shroud to make sure that it will fit your application. Nevertheless, it should effortlessly fit modern-style 11,000 BTU, 13,000 BTU, and 15,000 BTU Brisk Air Conditioners by Domestic.

It’s a lightweight item at just 5.0 pounds and comes in an attractive polar white finish. The design makes the shroud easy to use and even easier to maintain and clean.

Pros 

  • Made from UR-Resistant materials for durability
  • Thicker than originals for extended use
  • It fits most new-style Brisk Domestic air conditioners
  • Boasts lightweight design that’s easy to maintain

Cons 

  • There’s no mention of a warranty

5. Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5, 000 BTU Window AC Unit

Frigidaire FFRA0511R1E 5, 000 BTU 115V...
  • 5,000 BTU mini-compact air conditioner for window-mounted installation uses standard 115V electrical outlet (Window mounting kit included)
  • Quickly cools a room up to 150 square feet with dehumidification up to 1.1 pints per hour
  • Mechanical rotary controls, 2 cool speeds, 2 fan speeds, and 2-way air direction.Window Width: 23 inches - 36 inches
  • Low power start-up, quiet operation and effortless restart.Exterior Dimensions Height: 12 inches. Width: 16 inches. Depth: 15-1/4 inches
  • Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER): 11.1, Measures: 16-Inches W x 15-1/4-Inches D x 12-Inches H.Motor RPM (Low): 1310

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Frigidaire FFRA0511R1E might only have a 5,000 BTU cooling capacity, but this doesn’t really matter if you have an average-sized RV as it can more than do the job. This unit can quickly cool a space up to 150 square feet, so it is more than capable of ensuring your RV is nice and cool during your upcoming road or camping trip.

There is a window mounting kit included with this RV AC unit but this probably won’t be how you choose to install it on your RV. It has mechanical rotary controls, 2 cool speeds, 2 fan speeds, and 2-way air direction.

This machine won’t drain energy as it has a low power startup. It is also a nice and quiet ac unit. This is perfect for those hot nights when you’re trying to get a peaceful night’s rest. Moreover, weighing in at 42 pounds, it is much more lightweight than some other ac unit. Thus, the installation will be a lot easier and more convenient.

This model also has a very high energy efficiency rating (EER) OF 11.1, so don’t be turned off by the smaller BTU because it really isn’t a disadvantage with regards to cooling your RV.

You can rest assured that this air conditioning unit will effectively cool the environment around you, and won’t drain power during any stage of the process; whether it’s starting up or running for long periods of time.

Pros:

  • Uses standard 115-volt electrical outlet
  • Quickly cools a space up to 150 square feet

Cons:

  • The unit isn’t as low profile or streamlined as some other models

6. Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner HL09CESWK

Honeywell HL09CESWK Portable Air Conditioner,...
  • Stylish, powerful & dependable. Thermal overload protection for added safety & peace of mind. Automatic vertical wind motion helps distribute powerful cool air evenly for fast & consistent cooling
  • Dual filters designed to protect from dust & hair to extend product life & performance. Filters clean easily under a faucet for easy maintenance. Full set window kit included for quick & easy installation for vertical and horizontal windows (max. Hose length is 4 feet)
  • Designed for comfort with 3 fan speeds, sleep mode, digital controls, 24 hour energy saving timer & remote control with digital display included
  • Stress-free auto evaporation – no bucket to empty (except in areas with high humidity). built-in dehumidifier removes up to 80 pints/24 hours with continuous drain option for long unattended operation
  • 9000 btu (ashrae-128 standard)/5000 btu (doe+ 2017 standard)
  • Included Components: Air Conditioner, Remote Control, Flexible Exhaust Hose, Window Venting Kit, Manual, Warranty
  • Voltage: 115
  • Wattage: 1050

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Honeywell Portable AC unit HL09CESWK is a stylish, portable, and dependable unit. It can cool spaces of between 300 and 400 square feet, so it is powerful enough for many different shapes and sizes of RV.

Additionally, this RV air conditioner has thermal overload protection making it safe during use. It also includes a one-year warranty, so if there are any quality issues or the machine malfunctions during this time, you can get a refund or exchange.

This is always a nice feature when buying a new appliance because there’s nothing more annoying than buying something you need only to have it stop working within a short time period.

This RV air conditioner has lots of customizable features and also includes a built-in dehumidifier. The dehumidifier can remove up to 80 pints of water for 24 hours. It also has a continuous drain option for times when the unit will be unattended for long periods of time.

This ensures your ac unit will keep running effectively without needing to remove moisture from them due to condensation. The unit is also energy efficient.

Its features are designed for comfort and convenience and include various speeds and modes so you can adjust the temperature in accordance with your own preferences.

There are three fan speeds, allowing you to select a speed that matches the weather. You can also set it to sleep mode so that you can enjoy a good night’s sleep without having to worry about the unit running.

Pros:

  • Built-in dehumidifier
  • Lots of customizable features

Cons:

  • Bulkier in design than some other models

7. Dometic Penguin II Rooftop Air Conditioner

Dometic 641816CXX1C0 Penguin II Polar White 410...
  • Cools with R410A refrigerant that releases heat more efficiently
  • Fits Standard 14" X 14" roof openings
  • Nominal Capacity, BTU/hr. High Capacity
  • Electrical Rating 120V AC, 60 HZ, 1Ph
  • Dometic's 2-Year Protection Plus warranty
  • Power consumption - Cooling mode (ISO 5151) - 1762 Watt

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Dometic Penguin II Rooftop Air Conditioner is the final installment on our review list. It cools with R410A refrigerant, a chemical substance that ensures it is a highly efficient unit.

This Penguin II model fits standard 14-inch by 14-inch roof openings, so make sure you measure your roof and compare the size before purchasing any rooftop ac as it will not work properly if it isn’t sized correctly.

This includes a manufacturer’s warranty and a 2-year protection clause, so you can rest assured that if any quality issues result in malfunction you can get an exchange or refund with relative ease.

The dimensions of this penguin ii are slim and streamlined, so it won’t sit too high on the roof. This is important for driving in areas where height restrictions apply. It is also more convenient to have a streamlined design as it will fit more snugly, and you won’t have to worry about how well attached it is.

Finally, this Penguin II model has a power consumption of 1762 watts when in cooling mode, and it uses an electrical rating of 120 volts (ac current), the equivalent of 60Hz. This means that it is very efficient and won’t drain energy during startup or general use.

Pros:

  • Includes a warranty
  • Powerful cooling capacity

Cons:

  • Very heavy, weighing in at 110 pounds

Best RV Air Conditioner Buying Guide

To choose the best unit for your recreational vehicle, you’ll need to consider several factors, including but not limited to size, power rating, and style.

This guide discusses these considerations in detail. Let’s begin with why you need an air conditioner in inside your RV;

Advantages of RV AC Unit

All recreational vehicles come equipped with an inbuilt air conditioning system. So, the only reason you should invest in a separate air conditioning unit for the RV is to supplement your vehicle’s air conditioner system.

This is especially true if you’re camping in the summer. An RV can become pretty hot on a summer night. Air conditioning may be useful in such conditions to help you sleep better.

Unfortunately, most in-built RV air conditioning systems aren’t powerful enough to bring down the temperatures to the desired level. Why? Because they mostly use battery power! Under such circumstances, an electric-powered RV AC can be brought in to boost indoor air conditions. Thus they are energy efficient.

Remember also that some RV AC unit double up as heaters because they have a heat pump. When buying an air conditioner for your RV, you can use the opportunity to invest in this type of AC, so you’re covered even during the colder months.

Best RV Air Conditioner Types

There are four main types of air conditioners for RVs, including rooftop, vent-free, portable, and window. Here’s what you need to know about each type;

Rooftop RV Air Conditioners

As the name suggests, rooftop RV ac are tucked into the roof. They are preferred over other types of RV air conditioners because they don’t take up space inside the RV.

When it comes to power, there are options from 5,000BTU to 15,000 BTU cooling capacity– the choice is yours. Ducted rooftop is one of the best RV air conditioners because it guarantee 30% energy efficiency. The air conditioners are cooled by the air outside, meaning that the weather outside the RV directly affects their operation.

Rooftop RV air conditioners aren’t easy to install. First off, the air conditioners weigh up to 100 pounds or more. So, you’ll have to plan for moving them around. Secondly, installing rooftop RV air conditioners involves connecting a lot of wires and vents (for ducted types). The installation process requires at least two people working together.

Keep in mind that, since heat rises, rooftop RV air conditioners also can’t be used for heating. Another drawback is that the air conditioners add to the height of your vehicle. Therefore, if you choose to buy one, find a sleep, low-profile model that doesn’t add too much height to your motorhome.

Vent-free Portable best RV Air Conditioners

Also known as swamp coolers because of how they handle moist air ventilation, vent-free portable RV air conditioners are smaller in size compared to other options on this list and typically come in attractive designs.

The main difference from vented options is that no refrigeration process is required to cool the air. Instead, air passing through the air conditioner is evaporated and the resulting dry air released to cool your indoors.

The lack of refrigeration makes vent-free RV air conditioners impressively energy efficient. However, these types of best RV AC units also come with a few downsides. For one, they take up space on the floor, which might be inconvenient if you need to put other appliances or use them for other things.

Additionally, vent-free air conditioners work best in climates with dry heat. In relatively humid conditions, the air conditioner won’t be very effective at its job.

Portable RV Air Conditioner

All RV air conditioners are relatively small in size. But, portable ac units are the smallest in the category and feature handles for carrying the units around. Since they are designed to be placed inside the RV, in the vicinity of your guests, they are also generally beautiful and come in all kinds of shapes and colors.

The air conditioners feature one or two hoses for ventilation, with some equipped with adjustable frames for the window. This way, you can position the air conditioner on the window from time to time.

If you choose to buy a single-hose portable RV air conditioner beware that they can be a bit inconvenient at dealing with heat. The heat removed from the air can sometimes find its way back inside your RV. For this reason, two-hose models are better.

That said, portable small RV AC units are the cheapest of the lot. Single-hose models are particularly very cheap.

Window RV Air Conditioners

Finally, you can also choose a window air conditioner for your RV. As the name suggests, window RV AC units are designed to sit on the RV window. In fact, most of them are similar to window air conditioners used at home.

Read also: window air conditioner under 100 dollars

The air conditioners offer high cooling capacity – without taking up space on the RV floor. This makes them an attractive option for regular RV campers. They come in small sizes, some as narrow as 14 inches. They are also quiet and easy to install than both vent-free and portable options.

Things To Consider When Purchasing An Air Conditioner For Your RV

Small portable air conditioner for camper

There are several things to consider when buying an air conditioner for your RV. The following should be top of your list;

1. Power/BTUs

BTUs tell you how well an air conditioner can cool your space. To keep the heat out of your entire RV, you should be looking for at least 13,500 BTU cooling capacity for a medium-sized vehicle. That’s because the RV isn’t a single room. There are several spaces to be cooled.

Additionally, the metal construction of recreational vehicles means that there’s bound to be substantial heat entering your vehicle. Only a powerful enough air conditioner can deal with such high amounts of heat.

2. Ducted vs. Non-Ducted

We mentioned this earlier when discussing types of air conditioners for RVs. A ducted air conditioner blows air from within. It has ductwork just like home air conditioning systems, and it is through these ducts that air is blown into the RV.

Non-ducted RV air conditioners don’t have ductwork. Instead, they rely on the RV’s ductwork to distribute air throughout the vehicle.

Each option has advantages and disadvantages. For ducted options, there’s the risk of hot air mixing with cool air in the “gap” between the zones. Non-ducted options, meanwhile, are difficult to install.

3. Size and Shape

Whether you’re buying a rooftop or window model, size and shape are very important. The size of the air conditioner determines how much space it takes on the floor of the RV and, for rooftop models, how much clearance you have.

As for shape, we recommend a well-contoured, low-profile aerodynamic model with a shape that can resist drag. Aerodynamic RV air conditioner not only keeps your vehicle from being slowed down but also increase fuel efficiency.

4. Ease of Installation and Maintenance

Some RV air conditioning units are easy to install. Heck, some of the best portable ac models don’t even require installation. However, some are also very difficult to install. If you’re happy with calling a professional to do the installation and maintenance, then you don’t have to worry about this point.

However, if you’re planning to do the installation and maintenance yourself, then it’s advisable to find a model that’s less complicated and whose spare parts are readily available.

5. Extras

Some of the additional features you can look for in an RV air conditioner include; heat pump, air purifiers, remote control, and all-in-one functionality. The number of air outlets is another factor you may want to keep in mind.

Also, some RV air conditioners use batteries, while others don’t. If you’d like to use your air conditioner while driving, a model that can handle the 12V vehicle battery would be ideal.

Conclusion

Before buying any large appliance, it’s always important to do some research beforehand; particularly the features and specifications you should look out for in your chosen product.

With regard to small RV AC units, there are a variety of specifications which may be a priority for you: size, shape, weight, BTU rating, and ease of installation. These are just considerations to factor in before making a final decision. You might also want a unit with lots of bonus features like timers, modes, and settings. It’s entirely up to you.

Now that you’ve considered some of the best small RV AC unit on the market, you’ll be much better equipped when the time comes to making your purchase. Now all that’s left is to get out and explore the world in your RV!