best rv air conditioner

The 12 Best RV Air Conditioners For The Money in 2022

In general, RVing is a lifestyle with quite a few benefits but it’s not free of hardships by any means. Among the things that may give today’s camper owners a hard time on the road, heat is easily one of the top causes of sorrow.

You’ve just bought your new RV and now you’re planning a lengthy trip cross country this summer. Hold it just a minute. You are forgetting something. Your RV can’t function properly and give you the comforts of home without your help. Additional accessories and upgrades might be needed in order to provide the best experience possible. Even for long time RVers, getting an upgrade for your air conditioner is a must. No one wants to break a sweat before the fun begins, am I right?

Here RVing Trends will give you all important information about RV AC so that you can pick out the best RV air conditioner for you and your family.

Quick Recommendations

If you’re in a hurry, take a look at this quick list of our top picks for the best RV air conditioner in some important criteria or continue scrolling to check on our full list with in-depth reviews.

The Basics About RV Air Conditioner

What is an RV AC?

Some of the RVs you see on the road nowadays have ACs prebuilt, especially RVs that come from luxurious brands, most likely larger sized RVs. This is rather rare; you probably won’t find any built-in systems in the majority of RVs. Most people will have to install an AC right after buying one. This is very common, since not many people can handle the harshness of the heated summer days.

RV ACs are a little different from regular air conditioners when you look at them, however, they are in fact just a compact version of your household AC set, since RVs are a lot smaller and are different in shapes. Compared to their residential counterparts, RV air conditioners tend to be very compact to match the space-constrained interior of RV.

In addition to that, owing to the nature of RVing, AC for RV have superior resistance against shocks and bumps. Last but not least, to conserve electricity for other appliances, RV-oriented air conditioners usually consume less power than household models. 

There is a lot more about RV air conditioners that we will discuss down below.

How does an RV AC work?

The RV AC actually works just like a household AC. The principle is the same, the AC unit will draw in hot air from your cabin, pump some of the heat out, and release cold air back into the room. Each type of AC abides by this principle but follows different underlying processes to keep efficiency and durability at a high level, and of course, for different price ranges.

Most of the time, an RV AC consists of 3 main components: the compressor, the condenser, and the evaporator. A simple cycle works as follows: the superheated vapor is sucked into and compressed in the compressor (which heats the vapor up even more), after that the vapor goes to the condenser, where its heat gets removed and dished outside by the inner fan, the vapor cools down to the point that it turned into liquid.

This liquid travels to the evaporator to absorb the heat from the inside air (thanks to another fan) which again evaporates the liquid, and the cycle has gone full circle, and the inside air is cooled and dehumidified. This cycle is repeated, causing the temperature to drop as time goes by. Pretty neat, right?  

Benefits of an RV air conditioner

The benefits of an AC cannot be understated. During the summer/winter seasons, it is crucial that we keep our cabins’ temperature at a minimum/maximum so that we can properly function under such circumstances. Technological advancements have opened up a lot of chances for everyone to get their hands on a variety of AC that fit their lifestyles.

  • Comfort: In layman’s terms, outdoor temperature plunges and soars throughout the day. If you put a quality AC unit on your rig, you should be able to enjoy yourself in comfort regardless of fluctuations in temperature. 
  • Freedom: If you elect to travel in months with mild temperatures, you could hit the road even if your RV lacks an AC. However, in the case that you own a good camper air conditioner, it’s possible to spend the entire year on the road. 
  • Health: For your information, excessive heat not only leads to discomfort but also causes all sorts of illnesses. Care about the well-being of yourself and your fellow RVers? Then it’s strongly recommended that you pick up the best RV air conditioner for your vehicle. 
  • Money: With the AC keeping temperature in the interior at an acceptable level, you would have an easy time protecting heat-sensitive items. As a result, you don’t dedicate a big portion of your budget toward repair, replacement, etc. 
best rv ac unit
Photo: Tomasz Zajda / Getty Images

Types Of RV Air Conditioner

At first glance, the market nowadays features quite a few air conditioners for RV but each model belong to one of the following types:

Rooftop AC

Rooftop units are what most people are familiar with. Dimensions-wise, these ACs are the biggest RV air conditioners out there. If you have a high-end RV that comes prebuilt AC, it is probably on the rooftop. You can install this type of AC by yourself, but if you aren’t very sure what to do, let the professionals do it for you.

RV rooftop air conditioners usually have high-energy performance, they are efficient, take up no space on the floor whatsoever, and lower sound pollution level is guaranteed with a rooftop unit.

Rooftop units come in two separate classes: non-ducted units and ducted units. RV roof AC units are usually for those planning to replace their own deteriorating rooftop ACs.

Note: Two variants of rooftop AC exist at the moment: non-ducted and ducted

  • Non-Ducted AC: Non-ducted AC units are a little more expensive. If your RV has no built-in airflow system and is generally small, these non-ducted units are for you. The best part is, the non-ducted version feels more like a regular AC at home, in which you can use a remote to control its temperature. It blows cold air out of the vent at the bottom of the unit. The Coleman-Mach 10 NDQ is one of the most efficient RV air conditioners you can buy. This 13,500BTU unit goes on sale at around $1,000. It is only 100lbs in weight, but you should take the extra step to call someone else to help you bring it on the roof without a scratch. Ductless units are likely to create more humid air, which can make your RV an excellent habitat for molds and germs to grow, so be sure to clean your ACs.
  • Ducted AC: Ducted units centralize the airflow system. These ones work best on larger RVs. If your RV has multiple ducts in the ceiling, then ducted units are definitely meant for you. With these ducts attached, cool air will be distributed throughout the RV. Unlike the non-ducted ACs, you won’t see a box unit hanging from the ceiling, but rather the air goes into your rooms through the air vents. You can direct more cooled air into a room by closing a vent somewhere else. The Dometic Brisk II 15,000 ducted AC will only cost you $660 and is a great choice if you are looking to replace your degraded AC unit. Definitely one of the best RV AC units.

Window AC

The benefits of window ACs are that they are cost-effective, easily replaceable, easily sufficient in cooling power. They are much cheaper in comparison to other types of units on this list. The window-mounted RV AC are also preferred by many RVers because they do not take up interior space of the camper. As the name suggests, it is one of the quietest RV air conditioners out there. If you hate noise, then this is definitely a must have RV AC.

One of the downsides of this is that you can only use the AC when you’re not on the move. So if you’re the camper who regularly travel from place to place, this type is not suitable for you.

Your AC will work just fine as long as you install it the right way. Installing the window AC is so simple you won’t find many tutorials for it. Most of the time, the window is too tall for the window AC, so you just have to use several wood pieces (or something else) and build a frame to hold the AC in place, and you are good to go.

Under Bench AC

This is another choice of air conditioning that will not add height to your RV. Like the window ACs, under bench ACs are easy to install. Besides being lightweight and efficient, installing an AC under-bench won’t take up a lot of space as it is hidden away, so that is a big plus. However, this type of AC isn’t very cheap.

A Dometic Freshwell model can cost you up to $1500. If you are planning to use your AC regularly, then installing ACs under-bench is an interesting pick.

Portable AC

Business with these portable units was booming when they first made their debut because of their affordable prices in comparison with other types of AC. It’s also quite convenient that there is no installation required to use this unit in your RV. With the wheels equipped, we can easily move the portable air condition around your camper.

However, there are also reasons for which this type of RV AC gained their bad reputation. A portable unit is quite loud, especially when the condenser (which cools the compressed refrigerant/vapor) is on since the whole unit is inside the house. Also, it takes up space, and that will become a problem if your RV is small in the first place. Thirdly, the amount of energy needed to operate this AC will skyrocket your monthly bills due to its sheer inefficiency.

With that said, buying this type of unit comes down to personal preference, but I won’t recommend it if you are living in a small camper. 

Comparison Chart of The Best RV AC Units

NoBest RV ACBTUPricesOur Reviews
1Dometic Brisk II13,500$$$*****
2Coleman Mach 15+15,000$$$$$*****
3ASA Electronics Advent Air ACM13513,500$$$****
4Advent Air ACM15015,000$$$****
5Dometic Penguin II 640315C13,500$$$$$***
6Coleman Mach 3+13,500$$$$****
7Dometic Penguin HP15,000$$$$$****
8Atwood 1502716,000$$$$***
9Coleman 48203C96913,500$$$$*****
10Black + Decker BPACT10WT 10,000$$*****
11Midea MAW05M1BWT5,000$*****
12Arctic King WWK05CM01N5,000$$****

Best Rooftop RV Air Conditioners

1. Best Overall RV AC Unit: Dometic Brisk II Rooftop Air Conditioner

Dometic Brisk II Rooftop Air Conditioner
Check prices and reviews

Specifications: 

  • Voltage: 115V AC
  • Capacity: 13,500 BTU
  • Dampening brackets
  • Optimal airflows 
  • High-performance fan

Why It’s The Best Overall:

Filled with features,  Dometic Brisk II (B57915.XX1C0) delivers a high level of comfort in various conditions which makes it the best RV air conditioner regarding all-around performance. Rated at 13,500 BTU, the cooling capacity of this AC is sufficient to modify interior temperature to my liking. Besides that, thanks to the dampening brackets, it’s capable of keeping noise to the minimum in the course of operation. That is a big plus since my sense of hearing is sensitive and I won’t be able to sleep when my AC makes a ruckus.

For voltage, Brisk II (B57915.XX1C0) is a 115V model so I could hook it to the power grid of my rig with relative ease. The power consumption of this air conditioner is not too high as well, thus, it never strains my battery bank on the road. Because of that, I don’t have to worry too much about power shortages as I operate appliances on my rigs. Also, this AC holds together well as time passes by and that saves me a couple of bucks in the long run. 

Slim and sleek, the travel trailer AC made by Dometic only occupies a bit of space on top of my rig. With an aesthetically pleasing construction, it blends in instead of standing out like a sore thumb on the rooftop. It’s worth pointing out that the aerodynamic shroud of this air conditioner creates minor drag as I move between locations. As a result, even with addition of the AC, the fuel efficiency of my RV stays more or less the same. 

In terms of airflow, the incorporation of a high-performance fan permits Dometic Brisk II (B57915.XX1C0) to move large volumes of air around the clock. Therefore, this air conditioner would keep the atmosphere inside the interior of my RV fresh all day long. By bringing it onboard, I could say goodbye to stale air while traveling. Last but not least, this AC is a breeze to maintain so keeping it in working order is child’s play. 

The installation of Brisk II (B57915.XX1C0) was a straightforward affair that involved little time and effort. The light and compact construction of this AC facilitated the process of setting it up on the rooftop. 

Makes a huge difference!

This AC unit is amazing! I think it’s the best bang for your buck you’re going to find. I have a 38’ 5th wheel with 4 pop outs that only had one ac unit. With the addition of this one the camper stays way cooler. It was a much bigger difference than I expected. The only downside is it is a little on the loud side but who cares if it keeps you nice and cool!

Shared by Amazon Customer

Pros:

  • Sturdy and stable 
  • No-nonsense maintenance 
  • Noise level is low 

Cons:

  • Quality control require improvements 
  • RVers sometimes complain about missing hardware 

2. Editor’s Choice: Coleman 48204C866 Mach 15+ A/C Unit 

Coleman 48204C866 Mach 15+ A/C Unit
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Specifications: 

  • Voltage: 115V AC
  • Capacity: 15,000 BTU (Cooling) and 5,600 BTU (Heating) 
  • 1/3 HP fan motor
  • Gas-flux brazed joints
  • All-copper tubing

Why It’s The Editor’s Choice:

Your rig is kind of big so you need an air conditioner that provides more cooling than ordinary models? Then there is a very good chance that you would come to like Coleman Mach 15+ (48204C866). Boasting a cooling capacity of 15,000 BTU, it’s capable of keeping me cool while outside temperature increases. Moreover, the 1/3 HP fan motor of this AC could move air at a rate of 320 cubic feet per minute which guarantees constant cooling in the outdoors. 

For endurance, with a combination of gas-flux brazed joints and all-copper tubing, the AC of Coleman handles everything I throw at it superbly. As a result, in my opinion, this AC is the best RV air conditioner on the market for full-time RVing. Aside from that, since it’s a low-profile RV air conditioner, this unit just increases the height of my rig slightly. That eliminates the need to keep an eye out for obtables (overpasses, low bridges, …) on the road.  

One interesting thing about Mach 15+ (48204C866) is that I may equip it with a heater assembly. At 5,600 BTU, the heating capacity of this AC is unexceptional but it helps keep me warm during the colder nights of the year. Thus, I’m pleased to report that with the heater assembly, this air conditioner adapts well to rises and drops in temperatures. The cost of heater assembly is fair for what it’s worth too so it’s a wise investment. 

About the setup process, Coleman designs Mach 15+ (48204C866) to match standard AC openings on today’s RV. That is why I didn’t have to cut open a hole on the rooftop to install this air conditioner. Similar to its contemporaries, it’s a 115V model that runs on AC so hooking it up to the electrical system of my RV is a snap. In use, it only consumes small amounts of power so I could run this AC alongside other appliances in the interior.   

Despite its ability to optimize airflows, the air conditioner from Coleman features a low noise level. That means it’s possible to sleep under the vents and still get quality shut-eye at night. 

Works great for my 37 foot Travel Trailer in the Summer AZ heat. My family of 5 volunteers at a County park the in Maricopa County AZ outside of Phoenix and this unit keeps us comfortable with 115 degree heat outside. I replaced our Dometic 13500 with this unit and I am very happy!

Shared by Jeff

Purchased this unit to supplement the basement AC in my 2000 Winnebago 35 footer. I put the unit in place of my galley fantastic fan. Installation was very easy and straight forward. The only challenging part was running a new 20amp line up to the ceiling, which is not something you’d have to do if you are just swapping out an older AC unit. Unit started right up and blows ice cold air. Yes it’s noisy on the “high cool” setting, but I expected that – 15k BTU of cooling capacity requires a lot of air movement.

Shared by Amazon Customer

Pros:

  • Dependable and reliable 
  • Excellent airflows 
  • Resilient 

Cons:

  • A number of inconsistencies exist between units 
  • Customer service is less than ideal 

3. Best Value For Money: ASA Electronics ACM135 Advent Air Roof Top AC

ASA Electronics ACM135 Advent Air 13,500 BTU Roof Top AC
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Specifications: 

  • Voltage: 115V AC
  • Capacity: 13,500 BTU 
  • Metal base pan
  • Three fan speeds 
  • Optional heat strip

Why It’s The Best Value For Money:

Versatile and flexible, ASA Electronics Advent Air (ACM135) seldom fails to keep temperature on my RV at a comfortable level. Able to maintain a steady performance as outside temperature fluctuates, this AC is a must-have for those who travel extensively like me. In addition, it’s noteworthy that this RV air conditioner is an economical model with low power consumption. Because of that, I have no trouble keeping my utility bills under control even when I leave it on all the time.

Packing a cooling capacity of 13,500 BTU, Advent Air (ACM135) is able to cool the entirety of the interior of my rig. Since it’s made with three fan speeds, I always have the option of changing the flow of cool air at a moment’s notice. As a result, heat rarely gives me trouble and that makes summer travel more enjoyable in most cases. Lastly, this AC accepts optional heat strip so it not only provides cool but also delivers heat in times of need.  

Made with a metal base pan, the ASA Electronics AC could resist physical impacts effectively and efficiently. Owing to the inclusion of watertight vent opening gaskets, this air conditioner is well-protected against outdoor elements as well. Therefore, once it comes to longevity, I personally believe that this AC offers the best value for money. It’s also accompanied by a reassuring two-year manufacturer warranty upon purchase that brings peace of mind. 

Numerous RV air conditioner reviews hold ASA Electronics Advent Air (ACM135) in high esteem for its ease of installation and I share the sentiment. It took me mere moments to transport this air conditioner to the top of my RV and place it over the AC opening. Furthermore, it features a space-saving design so height clearance is not exactly a big concern. Hence, I don’t have to be overly anxious about fuel efficiency, obstacles and so on as I travel. 

About maintenance, Advent Air (ACM135) needs minimal care from me to stay up and running. As long as I clean it every now and then, this AC should keep filling my rig with cool air. 

Bought this and the Dometic Air Conditioner Control Panel and ASA ACMHD Heat Strip. Took about 45 minutes to install all three of them after the 20 minutes to get the old one out and off the roof. It works great in the Kansas heat. I have to watch my height a little closer when going under things because this unit is about 4 inches taller than the old one but will get better mileage because it is about 150 pounds lighter.

Shared by Dragonlady64

Pros:

  • High endurance 
  • Setup process is intuitive 
  • Tip-top adaptability 

Cons:

  • Poorly-written owner’s manual 
  • Several RVers report getting damaged units 

4. Best Biggest RV AC: Advent ACM150 Rooftop Air Conditioner

Advent ACM150 Rooftop Air Conditioner 15000 BTUs
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Specifications: 

  • Voltage: 115V AC
  • Capacity: 15,000 BTU 
  • Premium materials
  • Dense foam support pads
  • All-weather 

Why It’s The Best Biggest RV AC:

Made with a higher cooling capacity than that of other models in its price range, ASA Electronics Advent Air (ACM150) meets my temperature demand well. At 15,000 BTU, this AC for RV is capable of keeping me cool on the hottest day of the summer. Moreover, sporting a variable speed fan, it allows me to regulate the airflow as I see fit which is advantageous in the outdoors. As a result, I could say without reservation that it’s the best biggest RV air conditioner available for purchase. 

One thing I like about Advent Air (ACM150) is that it stays quiet regardless of the speed of its fan. Thanks to the dense foam support pads that absorb vibration, this AC would keep the noise down in the course of operation. Thus, I have an easy time snoozing on the bed as this air conditioner blasts cool air into the interior. Aside from that, the low power consumption of this AC helps me conserve energy in the battery bank and cut down on utility expenses. 

At around 50 pounds, the air conditioner made by ASA Electronics is light enough to be moved by one man. Needless to say, while I’m no expert at installing appliances, the setup process of this AC was a piece of cake. Once it’s in place, this air conditioner is going to work till the day it breaks without requiring special attention. With it by my side, I could spend more time relaxing and less time worrying about AC maintenance. 

In spite of its portability, ASA Electronics Advent Air (ACM150) is a resilient air condition that would survive all challenges of RVing. Since its base pan is made of metal, this mattress easily weather shocks and bumps as I move from place to place. Also, the watertight vent opening gaskets excel at preventing the infiltration of outdoor elements. That is why numerous RVers including me who travel in irregular weather conditions think highly of this AC. 

For post-purchase support, ASA Electronics backs its air conditioner for travel trailer with a two-year warranty. If my AC fails due to defects within the warranty period, I could claim a replacement free of charge. 

Great product and works very well and was reasonably priced. The dealer was exceptional and even responded to me after hours. Got much more value for this AC compared to other dealers that kept tacking on additional fees as I was considering this same unit. Would recommend this dealer and AC unit.

Shared by Florida Biking

Pros:

  • Generous cooling 
  • Negligible drag 
  • Long-lasting 

Cons:

  • A few units have fitness issues 
  • Shipping still leaves something to be desired 

5. Best Low-Profile RV AC: Dometic 640315C Penguin II 410 Amp Rooftop Air Conditioner

Dometic 640315C Penguin II 410 Amp Low Profile Rooftop Air Conditioner
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Specifications: 

  • Voltage: 115V AC
  • Capacity: 13,500 BTU 
  • R410 refrigerant
  • Non-ducted
  • Fully-automated

Why It’s The Best Low-Profile RV AC:

Featuring a design that is tailored for tall vehicles, Dometic Penguin II (640315C) barely changes the height clearance of my rig following installation. At less than ten inches, this AC removes the burden of watching out for overpasses, low bridges and similar obstacles on the road. Also, since its aerodynamic construction results in trivial drag, this air conditioner guarantees optimal fuel efficiency for my RV. Because of that, it’s the best low-profile RV AC money can buy in my eyes. 

Created to be fully automated, the Dometic AC needs few inputs from me as it distributes cool air throughout the interior. All I have to do is to set the thermostat and it’s going to bring the temperature to the level I want. Additionally, this AC is good at keeping the noise down in use which permits me to rest undisturbed at the end of a long day. Owing to its presence, I’m able to revitalize my body even during the dog days of the summer. 

At 115V, the voltage rating of  Penguin II 640315C is compatible with all sorts of rigs including mine. As I could directly connect this AC unit to the power grid, setting it up was an intuitive process that lasted moments. In terms of power consumption, it needs a moderate amount of electricity: not too much, not too little. My mid-size battery bank remains capable of powering it around the clock though. 

Once it comes to heat absorption, Dometic Penguin II 640315C relies on the environmentally-friendly R410 refrigerant. Unlike many earlier refrigerants on AC for camper, R410 causes next to zero harm to nature and being an eco-conscious person, I appreciate that. Noteworthily, R410 is a widely available refrigerant that comes at a reasonable price nowadays. As a result, if this AC runs out of refrigerant at any point, I could refill it without much difficulty. 

Compared to its market competitors, the air conditioner from Dometic is cheap so I didn’t need to scale back my spendings to get it. As proof of confidence, Dometic backs Penguin II 640315C with a two-year warranty and that puts me at ease. 

I installed this in my Freedom 1620 pop-up camper. It’s plenty powerful and keeps the camper cool in any heat. Unit isn’t very quiet, but I expect that it’s as quiet as you can be for something that close to your ears 🙂 Very easy to install, just put a cable through the side wall and an outlet on the roof and it’s basically done. Simple to use with the appropriate inside control.

Shared by Marc Brooks

Pros:

  • Economical 
  • Instantaneous installation 
  • Simple to maintain 

Cons:

  • Complaints about packaging appear from time to time 
  • People notice variabilities in cooling capacity 

6. Coleman 48203C966 Mach 3+ A/C Unit

Coleman 48203C966 Mach 3+ A/C Unit
Check prices and reviews

Specifications: 

  • Voltage: 115V AC
  • Capacity: 13,500 BTU (Cooling) and 5,600 BTU (Heating) 
  • Raised lance fins
  • Condenser coil protection.
  • Cooling and heating 

Why We Love It:

Able to perform consistently in quite a few situations, Coleman 48203C966 Mach 3+ provides great values for its price. In the course of operation, with raised lance fins on the condenser coil, this travel trailer AC dissipates heat at a quick pace. Moreover, a combination of excellent cooling capacity (13,500 BTU) and fast flow rate (320 CFM) reduce the time it takes to reduce temperature. That is why I don’t have to wait too long for the temperature to reach the level I seek with this AC around. 

Designed with light construction, the air conditioner of Coleman is easy to manipulate and that speeds up installation. The compactness of this AC meant there was no need to rearrange the top of my rig to squeeze it in. Interestingly, since it integrates an aerodynamic shroud, this air conditioner for RV preserves the fuel efficiency instead of changing it. Hence, my gas expenses in travel seasons remain essentially unchanged after I finish setting up this AC which is nice. 

As for power consumption, this Coleman Mach 3+ just requires a bit of electricity to spread cool air. Consequently, the inclusion of this air conditioner only adds inconsequential strains on my battery bank. In the outdoors, I could run power-hungry appliances alongside it and the power grid of my rig still won’t overload. A lot of articles that cover RV AC deem it to be the most efficient RV air conditioner for vehicles with multiple appliances as well. 

About noise level, Coleman 48203C966 maintains a quiet operation as time passes by. Thus, while I place this AC near the bedroom of my RV, I never have trouble resting at any time. Aside from that, with straightforward maintenance demands, this AC is forgiving to work with. As long as I clean it from time to time, it should keep filling the inside of my RV with cool air. 

Like other models from the Coleman Mach series, Coleman 48203C966 could be equipped with a heat strip that packs a capacity of 5,600 BTU. I travel extensively so the heat strip lets me keep the temperature in the interior as the season changes.  

Don’t let the RV dealer trick you into charging 1 or 2 hours labor at $ 100 hr. to replace the A/C unit. Myself and son slid the new unit up on two ladders on the side of the 12’5” 5th wheel with no trouble.(in the box w/ ratchet strap around it) there are four bolts on the inside the takes 2 minutes to remove and one plug that you reach from the inside(black box with 2 wing nuts that you remove as well and let hang) that’s it . Now you are ready to remove old unit and place the new one on. I suggest you clean the roof where the seal goes, that is already on the new unit. Very simple and easy, the dealers are laughing all the way to the bank every time they charge a arm and a leg to do something so simple.

Shared by John R.

Pros:

  • Resilient 
  • Snug fit 
  • Commendable air circulation 

Cons:

  • Element resistance could use some work 
  • A couple of units show up damaged 

7. Dometic 651816 651816.CXX1C0 Penguin HP Heat Pump AC

Dometic 651816 651816.CXX1C0 Penguin HP Heat Pump 15k 15,000 BTU
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Specifications: 

  • Voltage: 120V AC
  • Capacity: 15,000 BTU (Cooling) and 15,000 BTU (Heating) 
  • Heat pump 
  • Ducted 
  • White 

Why We Love It:

Your AC breaks down all of the sudden and you need a replacement that would provide cooling as well as heating? In that case, you must spare some time to see what Dometic Penguin HP 651816.CXX1C0 could do in use. Incorporating a dedicated heat pump, this RV air conditioner is capable of changing between cooling and heating at a moment’s notice.  Because of that, with it installed on my rig, I seldom feel uncomfortable by the temperature in the interior. 

Packing a white shroud, Penguin HP 651816.CXX1C0 supplements the theme of my rig instead of creating contrasts on the exterior. As a result, I don’t have to be anxious about the appearance of my vehicle as I travel between RV campgrounds. Furthermore, since it’s made from the ground up to be a low-profile model, this AC rarely causes drag problems on the road. That means fuel efficiency of my RV sees insignificant changes after the installation of this AC. 

Regarding compatibility, the Dometic air conditioner is made for universal installation so it fits the AC opening of my rig snugly. It also features a voltage rating of 120V which is standard on all sorts of modern vehicles and mine is not an exception. Hooking it up was child’s play and I could enjoy cool air as soon as I restored power to the interior. Last but not least, thanks to low power consumption, this AC saves me a lot of money over time. 

To stay up and running, Dometic Penguin HP 651816.CXX1C0 needs periodic maintenance but that involves minimal work. Needless to say, since the day I bought it, the odds of AC maintenance messing up my schedule in the outdoors tend to be low. In addition to that, this AC is a resilient model with the ability to endure a wide range of abuses. Assuming that I don’t go out of my way to push this air conditioner to its limit, it should be a while before I have to replace it. 

Introduced at a price that typical RVers readily accept, the AC of Dometic is the best RV air conditioner for long-term travel.  In the case that troubles occur, I could count on the two-year manufacturer warranty to set things straight. 

Pros:

  • Resilient 
  • Snug fit 
  • Commendable air circulation 

Cons:

  • Element resistance could use some work 
  • A couple of units show up damaged 

8. Atwood 15027 Ducted A/C Unit

Atwood 15027 Ducted A/C Unit
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Specifications: 

  • Voltage: 115V AC
  • Capacity: 16,000 BTU (Cooling)  
  • Precise temperature control
  • Wireless remote
  • Timer 

Why We Love It:

Despite its plain appearance, Atwood 15027 is a solid RV roof AC unit with fantastic performance in the outdoors. Boasting a cooling capacity of 16,000 BTU, this air conditioner is able to keep the interior of my rig cool even under the scorching sun. It’s worth pointing out that this AC is designed to provide arctic-cool air when a need arises as well. Because of that, once it comes to bringing temperature down in a short period of time, this AC is second to none. 

To my pleasant surprise, the AC made by Atwood incorporates digital temperature readout that allows precise temperature control. Hence, I don’t have to do much to keep the interior temperature at a level that makes me feel neither too cool nor too hot. Besides that, for the ease of convenience, it also permits me to apply changes to temperature from a distance with a wireless remote. As long as I stay inside my RV, I could increase and decrease the temperature at any time which is handy. 

In terms of voltage, 15027 needs 115V power supply like my old AC so setting it up was easy. Since the cooling capacity of this air conditioner is high, it consumes a bit more electricity than the average models on the market. However, the power consumption of this AC remains well within the limit of my battery bank so keeping it running is a cakewalk. It excels at minimizing the noise level too so I don’t get bothered by its sound in use. 

Carrying a high-endurance shroud, Atwood 15027 holds together well over time and that is a big plus for extensive travelers like me. Though the profile of the shroud is not exactly low, its aerodynamic nature keeps the drag down while my rig is in motion. Hence, I only notice subtle changes in the fuel efficiency as I move from area to area. The increase in height clearance requires me to pay more attention to obstacles though. 

The maintenance of the AC of Atwood is not too complicated in my opinion. As a result, I could simultaneously keep this air conditioner in top shape and enjoy myself to the fullest. 

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly 
  • Power consumption is reasonable 
  • Fast flow rate 

Cons:

  • Certain units arrive without instructions 
  • Shipping is barely acceptable 

9. Coleman 48203C969 RV Air Conditioner

Coleman 48203C969 RV Air Conditioner
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Specifications: 

  • Voltage: 115V AC
  • Capacity: 13,500 BTU (Cooling)  and 5,600 BTU (Heating) 
  • R-410A
  • Large evaporator and condenser coils
  • Black

Why We Love It:

Made to address modern demands and built to last, Coleman 48203C969 earns a shower of praises from today’s RVers. With all-copper tubing and gas-flux brazed joints, this AC never becomes uncompromised no matter what I put it through in the outdoors. Additionally, designed with large evaporator and condenser coils, it’s capable of accelerating the dissipation heat inside my rig. Because of that, this air conditioner not only keeps my body cool but also saves me a couple of bucks on AC repair/replacement. 

In use, owing to a cooling capacity of 13,500 BTU, Mach 3+ 48203C969 could bring down temperature inside the interior of my RV with relative ease. Hence, I don’t have to worry about getting overheated as I travel in the summer. Interestingly, to make its AC more versatile, Coleman designs Coleman 48203C969 with the ability to accept an optional heater assembly. By picking up the assembly, I have no trouble staying warm in my RV as outside temperature takes a plunge. 

Packing a flow rate of 320 cubic feet of air, the AC from Coleman is superior to classic models in terms of airflow. That is why stale air is not a concern to me as long as this air conditioner is operational. With a no-nonsense maintenance process, it gives me no problem on the road which is advantageous in RVing. Finally, since its power consumption is insignificant, this AC won’t deplete my battery even if I leave it on constantly. 

After the installation of Coleman 48203C969, the height clearance of my RV experienced slight changes. Nonetheless, I still don’t need to be overly conscious of obstacles as I navigate the road between camping locations. Aside from that, with this AC on the rooftop, the drag of my RV changed little compared to before. As a result, the impact of this air conditioner on the fuel efficiency of my RV is negligible and that helps save gas. 

Introduced to the market at a bargain price, Coleman 48203C969 matches my shopping budget for an AC. To reassure customers, Coleman offers its AC alongside a two-year warranty that covers manufacturing defects. 

Pros:

  • Rapid cooling 
  • Delivery service is marvelous 
  • Enduring 

Cons:

  • Capacity changes on occasions 
  • Kind of noisy 

Best Portable RV Air Conditioner

10. Best Portable RV AC: BLACK+DECKER BPACT10WT Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control

BLACK+DECKER BPACT10WT Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control
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Specifications: 

  • Voltage: 115V AC
  • Capacity: 10K BTU
  • 3-in-1
  • Caster wheels 
  • High-performance fan

Why It’s The Best Portable RV AC:

Thanks to the caster wheels that ease relocation, Black + Decker BPACT10WT permits me to provide extra cooling to particular areas in times of need. While the coverage of this small RV air conditioner is not as wide as rooftop models, it still easily cools most rooms inside my rigs. Furthermore, with an adjustable fan, this AC makes it easy for me to regulate flows of cool air through the interior. Because of that, regardless of the heat outdoors, I have an easy time maintaining interior temperature at a comfortable level. 

To use BPACT10WT, I simply need to look for a spot near windows, set up the hose and window adapter then plug it to a power outlet. Designed for 115V voltage, this AC is readily compatible with the power system of my rig and that shortens the setup process. Since it’s a bucket-less design, I don’t have to bother with water leakage while running this AC. The noise level of this air conditioner is low as well, thus, I could sleep in peace next to it. 

Being a 3-in-1 model (air conditioning, ventilating and dehumidifying), the AC made by Black + Decker is able to do more than cooling. With it keeping air moving around the clock, I have no trouble keeping the interior free of odor. In addition, by taking advantage of this air conditioner, I don’t need to do much to regulate the level of humidity inside my rig. As a result, once it comes to preventing mold, it’s the best RV air conditioner of its type. 

Regarding ease of use, I’m impressed by the user-friendly interface of Black + Decker BPACT10WT. Thanks to the digital display, light indicators, …,  I could grasp the status of this AC with a glance and apply changes at will. Noteworthily, upon purchase, it’s accompanied by a remote control that lets me manipulate its operation from a distance. That means there is no need to approach this AC to tweak its settings in use. 

Every now and then, I must perform maintenance to keep BPACT10WT working and fortunately, the process is straightforward. Usually, I just need to clean the filter, drain water from the drain plug, level the units and so on. 

We purchased this ac to supplement the central air in our 34’ RV. We live in Texas so it is hot and humid in the summer and our RV Ac was struggling to keep up and even blowing the breaker on occasion (at the coast). The first night we received the portable ac we hooked it up in our home master bedroom. In the middle of the night we had to go to just fan mode because we were freezing (handy dandy remote, didn’t have to get out of bed). We then out the unit in the back bedroom of our RV.

My husband did insulate the window attachment pretty well with a foam insulating board. It worked like a charm. It is a bit noisy but not anymore than the RV air conditioner or a fan if you are used to sleeping with one. Didn’t seem to bother my son and granddaughter , they slept like logs. We did add an additional electrical plug so that we could utilize the auxiliary electric plug at the Rv sites without drawing on our 30 amp RV. If you have a 50 amp maybe not necessary. It only draws 9 amps. We ran it continuously all weekend with no problems. We bought the auxiliary plug outlet on Amazon and got the access panel from the home improvement store.

Shared by Cheryl Cantilli

Pros:

  • Outstanding handling 
  • Multipurpose 
  • Easy to set up

Cons:

  • Particular units appear inoperable on arrival 
  • Short hose 

Best Window Mounted RV Air Conditioner

11. Best RV Window AC: Midea 5,000 BTU EasyCool Window Air Conditioner and Fan 

MIDEA 5,000 BTU EasyCool Window Air Conditioner
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Specifications: 

  • Voltage: 115V AC
  • Capacity: 5,000 BTU
  • Mini
  • Reusable and washable mesh filter 
  • Energy-efficient 

Why It’s The Best RV Window AC:

While its cooling capacity lags behind other models, Midea MAW05M1BWT nonetheless gives a good account of itself in quite a few arrangements. Engineered to deliver two-way air direction, this AC would fill rooms with cool air at a fast pace. In addition to that, with a multitude of settings, it allows me to bring the interior temperature to the level I desire and keep it there. Because of that, I dare say its presence contributes greatly to my level of comfort on the road. 

Owing to the mini design, it took me mere minutes to get the travel trailer AC of Midea in position. It weighs little as well, thus, I didn’t need to strain my back to attach this air condition to my window. I also like the fact that I could set up this AC without modifying the window frame in the process. Naturally, the installation of this air conditioner for camper caused revival changes to the appearance of my rig. 

Made with plain and basic mechanical controls, the operation of MAW05M1BWT is a breeze to manipulate for most of the time. Through the controls, I could swiftly apply changes to temperature, mode and fan speed when a need arises. No matter what setting I use, the noise level of this AC is going to stay low. Hence, I rarely find it to be a source of disturbance as I try to get some shut-eye at the end of the day. 

To simplify maintenance, Midea creates its air conditioner with a reusable and washable mesh filter. As a result, to keep cold airs flowing, all I need to do is to clean the filter from time to time. Besides that, since the power consumption of this AC is manageable for my battery bank, I have no trouble running it all day long. If you travel with power-hungry appliances, you may want to add this AC to your shortlist. 

For post-purchase support, Midea MAW05M1BWT is backed with a one-year manufacturer warranty. Though the warranty is unexceptional in terms of length, it’s reassuring by all accounts. 

I use this in my 26 foot long RV motorhome. I got the Midea ac unit without a remote. Package arrived on time but ac unit was dented on the side where the vents are, on the top mount where window slides in and half the fins on the back were mashed. Due to the onslaught of high temperatures in my area I decided to keep it in spite of the defects because it does the job and I did not want to return it knowing that a different unit would take longer to get here. It does cool my entire RV as long as I have a fan to direct the cool air to my back bedroom. Since my windows do not go up and down I had to make some modifications to get it to fit. This unit is pretty quiet. 

Shared by Rev. Penny Dean

Pros:

  • Cheap 
  • Installation is a cinch 
  • Nice packaging 

Cons:

  • Quality control is mediocre 
  • Less than responsive customer service 

12. Arctic King WWK05CM01N Window Air Conditioner

Arctic King WWK05CM01N Window Air Conditioner
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Specifications: 

  • Voltage: 115V AC
  • Capacity: 5,000 BTU
  • Corded 
  • Mounting hardware included 
  • Mechanical controls 

Why We Love It:

Put together with attention to utility, Arctic King WWK05CM01N is able to provide constant cooling to my rig in the outdoors. Rated at 5,000 BTU, this AC for RV could bring down the temperature of its surroundings with relative ease. Moreover, thanks to the low power consumption, there is no need to worry about it straining my battery bank. As a result, I find it to be a fantastic AC for a person that needs to manage multiple appliances like me. 

Integrating seven temperature settings, two fan speeds and two-way air circulation, WWK05CM01N  adapts superbly to all sorts of situations. To adjust the operation of this air conditioner, all I have to do is to use the intuitive mechanical controls. Consisting of knobs, controls of this AC make it easy for me to tweak its settings to my liking at any time. Hence, with it in the interior of my rig, I have no trouble achieving my cooling desires while traveling. 

On arrival, the air conditioner of Arctic King showed up alongside all of its mourning hardware. Because of that, I didn’t have to spend extra money to pick up hardware prior to installation. About the setup process, this AC was easy to install to the window of my rig and I only needed a screwdriver. I must create pilot holes but beyond that, my window frame looks the same from the outside when the installation wraps up. 

Regarding clearance, Arctic King WWK05CM01N packs a compact construction so the width of my vehicle hardly increases. That is why the odds of it getting caught by road obstacles like overpasses, low bridges, … stay low during travel. The presence of this AC results in slight changes to drag as well so the fuel efficiency of my rig remains mostly unchanged over time. That is handy since I want to cut down on gasoline expenses whenever it’s possible. 

About noise level, WWK05CM01N stays quiet in the course of operation and that ensures minimal disturbance. Even though I have sensitive hearing, I could fall asleep besides this AC without much difficulty. 

Pros:

  • Space-saving 
  • Reliability is tip-top 
  • User-friendly interface 

Cons:

  • Sporadic stoppage in use 
  • Compressor acts up once in a while 

Best RV Air Conditioner Buying Guide

Preferences change from person to person so what others believe to be the best RV air conditioners may appear mediocre to you. However, if you want to get your money’s worth, it’s suggested that you keep the criteria down below in mind. 

Cooling Capacity

First thing you should take note of when buying an air conditioner for your RV is the cooling capacity, measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units) per hour. Put another way, the BTU number that goes on the AC’s box is trying to tell how much energy that it uses to cool any room.

The larger the room, the higher this number should be. The right number you are looking for typically ranges from 13,500 to 15,000 BTUs. 13,500 BTUs AC is just the right number for average sized to smaller large RVs. Low profile RV air conditioners (6,000-12,000 BTUs) work best on small RVs such as teardrop RVs.

If you happen to have a very large RV, then the figure can shoot up to 18,000 BTU RV air conditioner in order to guarantee continuous cooling of your RV. There are two separate figures listed on a portable unit, but keep in mind that only the smaller one shows the effectiveness of your AC.

Noise Level

You won’t see the noise listed on the box, since that would be weird, but you can ask someone who knows this kind of stuff, or just ask the store directly, or even look it up on the internet.

Whatever you do, be sure to know how much noise the unit will be making since it can be such a nuisance that you might end up sleepless at night.

Even when you are awake, loud machine noise can be a pain. Many AC brands offer some kind of quiet series, so you can look into that. It will definitely be worth your time.   

Power Compatibility

AC require power to run but not all air conditioners accept the same kind of power. For instance, a lot of models run on AC (Alternative Current) but several run on DC (Direct Current). Aside from that, the rating of power varies between air conditioners: 12V, 24V, 110V, 220V, etc. Thus, while assessing market AC, it’s widely advised that you take power compatibility into account. 

There are several ways you can power your RV AC: using solar panels, generators, or batteries. It doesn’t really matter whichever one you buy since they can all be very power-efficient and quiet. However, what does matter is the wattage of the device, and you might also need an AC/DC inverter. Most air conditioners nowadays use alternating current (AC), but solar panels and batteries (and some generators) typically produce direct currents (DC).

You should only use batteries when nothing else is available since the energy produced is rather limited. Buying an inverter generator is also a smart investment as it can automatically adjust their output to match that of any electrical devices. You won’t need to fill up the gas tank as often.

Power consumption

Powering something like an air conditioner will inevitably increase your monthly expenditure quite rapidly. Smaller ACs require less energy to run on, (500-750W for 6000BTUs, or 1250W-1875W for 15000BTUs) but most of the ACs today will need around 2000-4000W to start, even for those with low BTUs.

Nowadays, most RV air conditioners require 120V AC currents to run on, still there are 12-volt RV air conditioners that uses DC currents, so a 12V battery is enough to run it while having no loss in wattage whatsoever, also using a battery means much less noise compared to a generator.

However, most people won’t use it that way since the wires would need to be huge in order to handle the current draw, also we are talking about 12V batteries, so large capacity is a must if you want to run your AC overnight. Take note that inverting DC to AC means loss of energy, so you need to choose a power generator with ample wattage.

Vent Position And Number 

The air in your cabin goes into (return air vents) and the cooled air goes out of air vents on your air conditioners. However, the difference between these two types of air vents is not as clear cut for ducted air conditioners, usually rooftop units.

These air vents can be spotted randomly on each of the cabins in your RV. Most of the time, ACs provide central air conditioning, before distributing it throughout the ducts. Be sure to check these out when you install your RV AC, go online, ask a professional, whatever works best for you.    

Air Purification

The air conditioner itself does not do the job of purifying air, if we are talking about the narrow meaning of air conditioners, which is a part of the HVAC system (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). The air filter located near the return air vent will filter out dust, pollen, and other allergens.

Air filters also have a rating of quality, the MERV, where higher MERV rating means better filtering capabilities. These filters make sure the air is clean and healthy to breathe as it circulates the AC system. 

rv air conditioner reviews
You won’t want to go RV camping in Texas without an RV AC. Photo: Emily Fagan

Integrated window

The integrated window refers to your RV window that can be modified to hold a window air conditioner. If your window is just the right size, you can plug it in and use it right away. If the window is too big, just block some space firmly with wood or plastic pieces (or use cheap metal like aluminum) until you can fit the window AC so that the condenser (releases heat energy outside) sits outside, and the evaporator (takes inside air) is inside the van. Very simple.

Size And Weight

It should go without saying by now that the larger the RV you have, the more energy your RV AC will need to use to cool/heat your cabins. The amount of energy also highly correlates with the size and weight of the AC.

A bigger AC will mean louder noise, lower power efficiency, and you will probably need a sizable battery or generator to complement it.

Most of the time, it isn’t very big of a deal, you just need to find the higher quality ACs and accessories so as to lessen these issues and save your money on frequent maintenance and replacement. 

Clearance Height 

When choosing the best air conditioners for your camper, clearance height is sometimes mentioned as a potential problem, and it only applies for small RVs and obviously involves rooftop units.

A teardrop trailer might only have just enough height to stand in, some trailers are even shorter than that, where you can only sleep in at night.

If your RV falls into this category, then you can either replace the old unit (if it already has one) or try window units/portable units. With that said, not many people have had this kind of problem with rooftop units, since they don’t actually take up a lot of height on the ceiling anyways.

Insulation Strength

It is common knowledge that the quality of insulation will make the air stay cool longer in the presence of an air conditioner. This is easy to explain, actually. The insulator material when wrapped around the inside or outside of the RV will slow down heat transfer.

As you already know, heat naturally goes from the hotter side to the colder side, and insulators will slow down this process so that the air inside your RV stays cool longer, and in turn this will ease the burden on your air conditioner. Getting an insulator of excellent quality is thus a great way to extend the life of your AC.

Ease Of Installation

Let me get this straight. Installing any of the above ACs into your RV is relatively simple, compared to, say, installing AC in your home.

RV ACs only work on RVs, and as a compact, mini version of your house, problems that arise with RVs are easier to handle. However, you would be doing yourself a favor by choosing an AC wisely.

Other than that, installing RV ACs is no rocket science and requires no experience (at least, most of them don’t). The most  difficult part can be bringing AC to the roof of your RV. You may need someone to help.


FAQs About RV Air Conditioners

1. How long does an RV air conditioner last?

An RV AC’s life expectancy depends on how often it is used, how hot the weather is when it is used, how durable the unit is, how good the insulation on your RV is. If maintained in the right way, these ACs can last about 3 to 5 years.

The effective usage period can be over a decade, but this is rarely the case, unless you only use it several days a year, which is highly unlikely. ACs from high end brands like Dometic and Coleman are known for their lifespans, you can definitely expect up to 5 years of regular usage. 

2. What size RV AC unit do I need?

There are several factors that go into choosing the correct size of AC for you, to name a few: area of space in rooms, ambient temperature, number of rooms, type of windows, insulation, where you are putting the AC, etc. For a 24 ft long RV, for example, you will need a 15,000 BTU air conditioner, while a 30 ft long RV might require up to two 13,500 BTU units.

If you live in a hotter climate or have larger windows on your RV, your room will inevitably heat up faster than those that don’t have this handicap. Such RVs will require more BTUs on your units, and more BTUs mean the AC’s size grows accordingly. For non-AC RVs, the location of your new AC is a cause for concern as well.

3. How to recharge an RV air conditioner?

Ever heard of or thought of recharging an RV AC? No, of course it’s not related to electricity. What is more important than the actual current to operate the AC is the refrigerant which pretty much does all the work circulating the air inside the AC.

There is no magical service port to pump refrigerant such as Freon into the AC, but it is still possible. However, you will need to weld a charging port into the HVAC system, it is recommended that you hire an expert for this kind of work.  

When your air conditioner runs out of refrigerant, it must be recharged before resuming operation. In the beginning, stock up on refrigerant but you should refer to the owner’s manual so you don’t buy the wrong type.

Next, cut power to the AC, remove the screws around the lid then remove the lid. With the lid out of the way, unscrew the port then pour in refrigerant while keeping an eye on the refrigerant gauge. After the level of refrigerant returns to normal, put everything back and turn on the AC.

4. How to install an RV AC?

There are a myriad of videos all over Youtube that will teach you how to properly install an AC onto your RV. If there are so many people who can do it, then so can you.

Take out your toolbox, read the manual carefully to avoid any damage to the equipment and prevent electrical shock, watch some videos for visual aid, and dive right into it. It will certainly be a fun experience.

Not all AC require installation but if you intend to fix air conditioners to your rig, you need to go through the following steps:
+ Step 1: Cut off the power to the interior 
+ Step 2: Prep the AC opening on the rig
+ Step 3: Position the air conditioner 
+ Step 4: Secure the AC with screws 
+ Step 5: Add sealant, run the wires and turn on power 

5. How to quiet an RV air conditioner?

To make your RV quieter, the first thing you will want to do is to troubleshoot any kind of problems with your RV AC, look at it from the outside, take it down, meddle with the air vents, just make sure you cut out all electricity to the AC unit.

There are a few things you might want to do first: check the rubber gasket, tighten all the screws and bolts, buy an AC silencer, replace your outdated RV AC if needed.

If you have succeeded in quieting your AC unit, maybe you want to look at some of the preventative methods to stop your RV AC from making noise in the first place, since we all know it is annoying. Clean the filters, ducts, internal components monthly, or to have a professional technician come check your air conditioner.

Check out our full guideline on how to quite RV AC here!

6. How to clean an RV AC?

Cleaning an RV AC is such a chore, I know, but it plays a crucial part in ensuring your unit lives a long life. After all, better safe than sorry.

There are several parts that need cleaning more than others: coils, filters, ducts, internal components. For filters in particular, you should clean them every two weeks, you don’t want your RV to retain dust on filters for obvious reasons.

You can use a vacuum cleaner to suck up the small dust or wash them in lukewarm water. For the condenser coils you will need foaming cleaners, for evaporator coils, I recommend the coil cleaner from Nu-calgon. You will also need a light brush, water spray to rinse the condenser coils.

The cleaning of standard camper air conditioners usually consists of the steps down below:
Step 1: Disconnect AC from its power supply   
Step 2: Unscrew the shroud of the AC then move it aside 
Step 3: Cover all the wires to protect them from moisture 
Step 4: Pour clean onto the coils, let it sit for a bit and flush away the debris  
Step 5: When the coils dry, return the shroud to its spot and turn the power back on 

7. Why is my RV air conditioner not blowing cold air?

RV air conditioner not blowing cold air is one of the most common RV AC problems. Since the condenser coil’s job is to draw heat out of your cabin, one of the possible reasons for this is a clogged-up condenser/evaporator coil, or the fan in the condenser/evaporator unit may have caught some dust, or the filters might have caught some dust.

You can open it up and check it out. Another explanation for this is that the AC unit is low on refrigerant. Refer to the above answers to know how to recharge your RV AC refrigerant. A very likely scenario when your RV is low on this material is that it is leaking, and this may give rise to health issues.

8. How cold should an RV air conditioner blow?

You might not have known this, but the temperature displayed on the air conditioner is neither indicative of real temperature in your room, nor is it indicative of anything at all except the amount of work your AC is putting into the cool said room. The temperature can be lower than, equal to, or greater than the temperature of your room. That is why we need to look at another figure from professionals in order to understand.

An AC unit only takes heat out of the air in your room and blows the “cooled” air back into the room, and the ideal difference in temperature between these two air is 14 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit (7.7 to 16.7 degrees Celsius).   

9. Is it possible to run air conditioners on battery alone? 

Yes, it is certainly possible to run RV AC on compatible batteries. When all else fails, batteries are here to save the day.

However, batteries are quick to run out of power, so if you can, try to replenish that energy using solar panels. It is definitely more cost-effective to just use a generator, but if you are living off-the-grid, then there are a few choices for you:

20 to 24 12-volt 100AH flooded-cell batteries (2000lbs)
14 to 18 12-volt 100AH AGM batteries (2000lbs)
12 to 16 lithium phosphate batteries (600-800lbs)

If you don’t have solar panels, then these can only run your air conditioner for 8 hours maximum. Just buy a generator, it is cheaper and is overall best fit for heavy drawers of energy like air conditioners.

10. Can solar panels power an RV air conditioner?

In short, yes. Solar panels can definitely power your RV ACs. However, as cool as it may sound, not a single RV owner in their right minds would do this.

Solar panels can power several small electric devices but not something like an RV AC. It will take a lot of solar panels (all you can fit) installed onto your RV in order to pull this off.

Powering ACs this way is unsustainable and the least cost-effective out of all the above options. You can use solar panels in tandem with your batteries, even then, generators come on top.

11. How many watts does a camper AC use in a month?

The wattage used per month depends on the size of the RV and also the BTU of the RV AC. Class A motorhomes use 430 watts on average, in the USA, you will be charged around $0.27 per hour, as a result, you are looking at $97 per month if you run it for 12 hours.

For fifth wheels/campers, on average ACs use 350 to 400 watts, some others may use up to 500 watts, so owners are paying $0.25-0.35 additional bills in summer and winter, which adds up to around $90-126.

12. What are the best brands of AC for RVs?

For brands, I recommend the ones below:
+ RV rooftop air conditioners: Dometic, Coleman.
+ Portable air conditioners: Whynter, SereneLife, HOmeLabs.
+ Window air conditioners: Dometic, Coleman, Frigidaire.
+ Under-bench air conditioners: Dometic.
+ Small RV air conditioners: Dometic, RecPro (rooftop); Whynter, SereneLife (portable).
+ Best RV air conditioners overall: Dometic, Coleman.

Conclusion

When picking the best RV air conditioners for their RVs, owners are expected to do the research online by themselves. This is undoubtedly a hard task, same with picking anything electronics related. Instead of shopping around on manufacturers websites and getting bombarded with numbers that aren’t really making much sense, you should refer to RV air conditioner reviews for customer thoughts on your potential choices.

That’s why we’re here to help. We do the hard job so you do not have to. To save you both time and money, we’ve narrowed down the 12 best RV AC units on the market with the highest ratings.

RV air conditioners come in many shapes and sizes, so many varieties of them are there that you can definitely pinpoint one that best fits your RVs. Installing ACs is a thrilling experience, but make sure that you don’t accidentally break any accessories or forget any parts that come with it, since it is very easy to mess up.

If you reach here, I think you probably find the RV AC unit which is right for your needs. Order one now and you don’t have to ever worry about sweating buckets in summer again.

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