RV living is all the rage these days. You pack up your things and hit the road in the most comfortable ride that becomes your second home. With the idea of small living spaces becoming popular, RVs are similarly getting in the game. However, if you are going to turn it into a livable area, you will need proper cooling.
Most importantly, you will need a cooling system even if you are going to be using it for travel and not living. Therefore, you can find many air conditioners specially made to fulfill the needs of an RV. So, here we will look at the best RV Air Conditioners here and discuss all you need to know about them before buying.
- Comparison Table
- Best RV Air Conditioners Reviews
- 1 Airxcel 08-0080 Mach 15 15.0 Arctic Wht Upper
- 2 Airxcel 08-0079 Mach 3 13.5 Arctic Wht Upper
- 3 Dometic Black B59516.XX1JO Brisk Air li Blk Upper
- 4 Dometic Brisk Air II 15,000BTU
- 5 Dometic 640315C Penguin II Low Profile Rooftop Air Conditioner
- 6 Frigidaire FFRA0511R1E
- 7 Honeywell 9000BTU Portable Air Conditioner HL09CESWK
- 8 White Domestic Brisk II RV Air Conditioner Cover
- 9 ADCO 3026 White RV Air Conditioner Cover
- Best RV Air Conditioners Buying Guide
Enabled (5,600 BTU)
|(4.6 / 5)|
Enabled (5,600 BTU)
|(4.4 / 5)|
|(4.1 / 5)|
Dometic Brisk Air II 15,000BTU
Enabled (5,600 BTU)
|(5 / 5)|
|(3.9 / 5)|
|(4 / 5)|
|(4.1 / 5)|
27” L, 29” W, 14” H
|(4.1 / 5)|
37” L, 26” W, 13“ H
Jersey backed vinyl
|(4.5 / 5)|
Best RV Air Conditioners Reviews
1 Airxcel 08-0080 Mach 15 15.0 Arctic Wht Upper
Firstly, Airxcel is a known brand in the RV world so they make many different products that can be installed in RVs. But this unit is our first pick because it is one of their most efficient air conditioning units with 15,000 BTU power.
As a result of the large cooling capacity, it can be used with a ducted system for multiple rooms. In addition to that, it has a large 1/3 HP fan motor, which is as big as you can go in an RV unit. HP here means horsepower, and 1 equals 746 watts.
320 cubic feet per minute airflow is measured. And it can be doubled as a heater as well.
Also, Its large coils with raised fins improve the heat dissipation ability of the system. Moreover, the outer shroud protects the condenser coil as well. And if you want to use it as a heater, then a heater assembly can be added with a capacity of 5,600 BTU.
It is made durable and sturdy by using copper with gas-flux brazed joints. It also has a streamlined design that can fit easily in the roof and not be too much of a nuisance when parking in low-roof areas. Lastly, for an RV of any size, this is the most efficient unit you can buy.
- Cooling capacity of 15,000 BTU.
- It is a cooler and heater combo.
- Large evaporator and condenser coils for better heat dissipation.
- Compact and streamlined design.
- It is very loud.
2 Airxcel 08-0079 Mach 3 13.5 Arctic Wht Upper
This unit comes in the more common 13,500 BTU capacity. Therefore it is more suitable for non-ducted systems. Most importantly it still uses the same high-quality design and materials as the 15,000 BTU unit but is for a smaller RV.
The refrigerant is the newer R410A, which is considered to be more ‘green.’ And given the price, it is a high quality and durable product. On the other hand, it can be converted to a heating unit with an electric heating element that has a capacity of 5,600 BTU just like the first one.
Its electric rating is 115 Volts and does not take more than 13.5 amps so you can use other electric appliances together. You can buy it in both white and black, depending on your liking.
It is the same product and design as before but on a lower scale. You have to keep in mind every user and their different needs, so Airxcel makes units of all sizes. But the 13,500 BTU unit is the most used in RVs.
- Uses eco-friendly R-410A refrigerant.
- Includes a heating option.
- Has condenser coil protection.
- Durable product with all copper tubing.
- It’s a bit heavy and not easy to install.
3 Dometic Black B59516.XX1JO Brisk Air li Blk Upper
This unit is a little pricy, but it is quiet and light. This is a newer model from Dometic, and they claim to have improved the airflow by about 15% and have made the unit 19% lighter. Consequently, it weighs about 74 pounds.
It has a capacity of 15,000 BTUs, which makes it suitable for ducted systems as well as non-ducted. This unit is designed to be more compact and is highly dependable. Because it’s compact the installation is not too difficult, and if you have used a rooftop unit before, then it will fit easily in the same hole.
It does not take a lot of amps (13.5 amp), so you can run other appliances as well like a kettle. Likewise, the shroud is designed to reduce drafts and keep the unit at the highest efficiency at all times. In addition to that, the blower has three speeds so you can adjust it according to requirements and reduce the noise level.
It will fit in any standard 14 x 14 inches opening. You can also use analog thermometers with this unit to monitor the temperature. and also to add to durability the coils have a hydrophilic coating to prevent corrosion and improve the life of the unit.
- High 15,000 BTU capacity.
- Both ducted and non-ducted systems are compatible.
- Lightweight and minimum maintenance required.
- Has 2-year protection plus warranty.
- You will have to buy control unit separately.
4 Dometic Brisk Air II 15,000BTU
This is another Dometic 15,000 BTU unit, but the great thing about this is that it comes with the inside control unit. This unit has large openings that allow for more airflow and hence more cooling.
It is made from EPP foam, which is much lighter than other materials, so its installation should not be too difficult. Despite being light the base is made from carbon steel, which can handle the vibrations that come with a moving vehicle.
The fan motor has brackets attached to them that absorb noise and vibrations, which is often an issue in these units. In addition, the shroud is laminated to be UV protected since it is going to encounter a lot of sunlight as a rooftop unit.
Dometic is a brand that has made air conditioning units for NASA so you can rest assured that they are dependable.
- It is both a cooler and a heater unit.
- Made from high-impact polystyrene.
- Has reusable filters that you can easily clean.
- Has a slim inside unit.
- Expensive unit.
5 Dometic 640315C Penguin II Low Profile Rooftop Air Conditioner
This is a smaller more streamlined unit from Dometic compared to the previous one, which is often preferred by RV users because they don’t want the unit to be scratched or damaged when entering low-height areas. It also has reduced wind drag and saves vehicle fuel.
Its cooling capacity is 13,500 BTU. Therefore, it’s a non-ducted unit for smaller RVs. At the maximum fan speed, the airflow is rated at 320 CFM. Moreover, the penguin units all have pre-installed heat strips that make installation easier.
You can also control the temperature manually through controls on the inner unit and through wall thermostats as well. It has rib-reinforced base pan for strength.
The refrigerant it uses is eco-friendly if you are looking for such a unit. Lastly, the sleek design other than its operational benefits also looks aesthetically great.
- Low profile outer unit.
- Sleek design improves mileage.
- Has manual, electronic, and thermostat controls.
- Blower has three different speed settings.
- Only supports the non-ducted installation.
6 Frigidaire FFRA0511R1E
This is a mini and compact unit with 5,000 BTU cooling capacity, but it is very cheap and not too different when you look at other window units in the market. It has manual controls in the unit which you can use to control the fan speed, cooling, and change the air direction as you will.
The motor doesn’t produce too much noise when starting or in operation, which is good for small areas. It also dehumidifies up to 1.1 pints per hour. Given its capacity, the recommended cooling area for this unit is 150 square feet.
It uses an antibacterial mesh filter that can be easily removed for cleaning and maintenance. You need good filters because clean air keep the air cool, and the unit runs at maximum efficiency with minimum noise.
It comes with a long 6.5 feet power cord to make installation more convenient but the window needs to be about 13 inches tall and 23 inches wide, at least for this unit to fit.
- It includes a window mounting installation kit.
- Two fan and cooling speeds.
- It does not produce a lot of noise.
- Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 11.1.
- Only 5,000 BTU power, but that is normal for window units.
7 Honeywell 9000BTU Portable Air Conditioner HL09CESWK
The unit has a thermal overload relay that cuts off the power when it has been overused for a long time for the protection of the unit and the RV. In addition to that to add life to the unit and better filtration, it uses dual filters that better clean the air and extend the unit’s life.
Portable air conditioners are very easy to install, and this one is no exception. This is because you can move them to any location you want, install the window kit, and plug them in. They will work with both vertical and horizontal installations. Also, everything you need to install is included in the package.
It uses a dual motor to reduce noise and increase speed. Because of that, the highest noise level is 52 decibels, which is the same as a normal conversation, so it should not be too disturbing. The LCD digital controls on the unit and the remote with re-equipped batteries make controlling the temperature much easier.
It also includes a sleep mode to reduce energy consumption over time when you are sleeping. Its capacity is up to 80 pints per minute as a dehumidifier. The recommended cooling size is about 700 square feet and is suitable not just for RVs but bedrooms as well.
- Thermal overload protection feature.
- Dual filters for extended product life.
- Installations are both vertical and horizontal.
- 24-hour energy-saving timer.
- Motor produces a lot of noise.
8 White Domestic Brisk II RV Air Conditioner Cover
This cover will fit many different RV air conditioning units, including Coleman Mach I, II, III, Mach 3 Plus, Mach 8, Mach 15, Roucneck, TSR, Duo-Therm Briskair, Quick Cool, Carrier Air V, Dometic Brisk II, Atwood 135, and Atwood 150.
This covers a lot of units and can be used on other units as well because these are given as just reference points by the manufacturers.
It has a three-year limited warranty and uses high-quality, rugged material that is easy to clean and maintain. The material is soft and water and mildew resistant nylon. It also has a non-scratch backing for tires. Coatings on the material protect against UV rays.
There are drawstrings at the bottom to secure the cover tightly in place for smaller units but the dimensions are about 27 x 29 x 14 inches.
- Fits many different manufacturer’s models.
- Has a wipe-clean material that is easy to maintain.
- It has UV protection.
- It’s a very affordable product.
- The drawstring needs help to tighten.
9 ADCO 3026 White RV Air Conditioner Cover
This cover is for sleek, low-profile units. Because of its dimensions, it fits Coleman super Mach, Mini Mach, and TSR. Dometic SL series, low profile, and Brisk air. And it fits the Duo Therm Penguin.
It is made from heavy-duty jersey backed white vinyl to add protection to the AC unit by providing UV protection and insulation. It is on our list because it has a complete weather protection design to protect from dirt, rain, leaves, and any other thing that might come in its way.
In addition to that, all the seams are sealed to make it durable and tear-resistant and for added security, the drawstrings are included for a better fit for different models. The overall size is 37-inch long x 26-inch wide x 13.5-inch tall.
- Heavy-duty jersey backed vinyl material.
- Protected from UV and other contaminates.
- Uses a parachute style drawcord for securing.
- Reasonably priced product.
- Only fits the low profile and mini units.
Best RV Air Conditioners Buying Guide
Just like buying an AC unit for your home, you need to do research about these units for RVs as well. There are many things you need to keep in mind, like the availability of space and electricity. Discussed below are all the important factors.
Ducted or Non-Ducted
Ducted air conditioners are not much different than ducted cooling systems of your home. The pipes are installed in the roof and walls of the RV, and they deliver the cool air through ducts similar to the home duct systems.
These expensive units are only recommended if you have multiple rooms in your RV. In that case, a ducted air conditioner will let you cool all areas with a single unit, and you can control the temperatures of the rooms individually.
If your RV is smaller in size like a camper, then you don’t need to spend so much money on the ducted system. A non-ducted unit will do the job just fine in that case.
The full form of BTU is the British Thermal Unit. They determine the efficiency of things like ACs and heaters. This number tells us how much energy the unit will consume per hour. Therefore, the higher the number, the faster it will cool or warm up the place.
High BTUs are efficient but they have a high price range as well. On the other hand, in the long run, they will be better as you won’t need to keep them turned on for long.
Generally, BTUs for RV air conditioners are at 13,500 points. The exact number depends on the square footage you want to cool. Manufacturers will also give a number with the units for you to choose the right one for your RV.
The size of things is an important consideration when putting them in an RV. You only need to put the most essential things in and make sure it does not feel too cluttered. In other words, it can sometimes become difficult to walk around and find things in such small spaces.
So, you have to save space wherever you can. So, the most common size for these units is 14 x 14 inches. They are space-saving and unobtrusive units. However, you should measure your area and then choose accordingly. Moreover, It will help with BTUs.
Considering the fact that they are not well insulated and cannot retain heat or cool air for long, RVs need the most efficient units. But what about heating?
Not a lot of emphasis is put on heaters for RVs because they are mostly used in the summer. But if you are planning on going on a road trip in winter, many units come with an option for a heat pump.
Heat pumps will cost extra money, and if you don’t really use the RV in such weather, then don’t waste your resources.
However, if you do use it in winter or all year round, then you cannot survive without a heat pump, and it would be a worthy investment.
RVs are small spaces, even the big ones, and you cannot escape any noise made inside. Since AC units are generally loud, and there is no getting around that. The motors will generate some sort of sound, but you can reduce the effects is you want.
For instance, some suggest putting a rubber boundary around the unit to absorb the noise. In addition, you can do some research before buying and choose the unit with the least amount of noise.
Therefore, the manufacturer will give the measurements in decibels so you can choose the right unit.
Our pick from all these products is the Dometic Brisk Air II with 15,000 BTU Capacity.
We have picked this because Dometic is the most dependable and high-quality manufacturer. There are other Dometic products on our list, but this unit has the highest capacity and can be used with both ducted and non-ducted systems. And unlike the other units, it has a heat strip for heating.
RV living seems fun and exciting at first, but it can be difficult in the long term. For this reason, you need the best equipment installed in it to provide you comfort and convenience away from home.
So, you need to choose the best of the cooling units for your comfort, especially if you plan on traveling in summer. Reading reviews and user experiences are the best ways to decide which product is best suited for your particular setup.