Buyers Guide & Information

RV Air Conditioner Reviews

We have reviewed, rated and compared the best RV air conditioners. Enjoy your travel in style & comfort in summer with these top-rated brands.

Surveys from the University of Michigan found that approximately 10% of the population of over 35 years olds use a recreational vehicle once a year. With an RV being a second home for most people it’s no surprise people are opting to get air-conditioning units installed.

RV’S are usually very small compact spaces, so while you’re traveling around some hot states or countries it’s important that you feel comfortable.

Air-conditioning units can be pretty loud at times, the white noise can wreak havoc with your sleeping patterns. So it’s important to find the right AC you that can give you comfort during long hot nights.

In this article, I’m going to show you the features and specifications to look for when choosing your all-important air-conditioning unit. This will help you to make a more educated decision when it comes to purchasing your AC unit.

Best Low Profile Rooftop AC

Dometic 640315C Penguin II
Dometic Penguin II

This Dometic Penguin II is ideal for reducing drag. It is sleek in its design, cools quickly, and is easy to install.

Best Rooftop AC for RVs

Coleman Mach 15
Coleman Mach 15+

The Coleman Mach 15 is powerful, reliable and quiet. These reasons make this our #1 choice for RV owners.

Best 12V Option

ZeroBreeze Mark 2
Zero Breeze

The Zero Breeze is a great choice when traveling. It is lightweight, portable and rechargeable.

5 Important Questions For RV Owners

Owning a camper means open road, great times and fun adventures. Having a great AC unit in your RV is vital when battling the heat in summer and cold in winter. Before starting your search, consider these 5 questions as they will make the buying process much smoother.

1. What Type of AC Unit Do You Want?
  • Rooftop – Roof air-conditioners are the most common type of AC used by people with RV’s. They come in varying styles and can be installed in both ducted and non-ducted methods.
  • Small Portable – Portable air-conditioners are self-contained units that are used to cool a single room, with the advantage of being movable.
  • Window – These air-conditioners are placed in the window of your RV they are one of the simplest forms of AC.
  • Under Bench – Under bench units are stored away nicely under your seats in the RV freeing up space and keeping the AC hidden.
2. Do You Want an AC & Heater Combo?

Yes – If you plan to travel around cold places than a heater combo is just what you are looking for. It will save you having to buy an additional heater unit when the cold arrives.

No – If you spend all your time in hot weather then there would be no point spending the extra money on this unit.

3. How Big is the Area Inside the RV?

Before buying your air-conditioning unit it’s important to know the size of the RV, the bigger the RV the more power output you need. Recreational vehicles typically range from 150 sq.ft. up to 400 sq.ft. in size so its vital to consider this before installing any AC unit.

4. How Much Do You Want to Spend?

Deciding how much you can afford to spend before you start looking is a great idea, it can help make the decision for you. If you’re looking for a cheap option then you’d be looking for a portable or window AC as they tend to be the cheapest of all.

If you have the extra cash than a 15000 BTU RV air conditioner which is ducted, will set you back a little more but it will do a better job. The amount of BTUs will also affect the price of all styles of AC, the higher the number the more cash you will have to spend. Most people opt for these types as they provide sustained and reliable cooling.

5. To Self-Install or Not?

With multiple online tutorials and detailed manufacture instructions, it makes it a simple task, especially if the wiring is done already. But this does take time and a reasonable about of DIY skill.

On the flip side, you may find yourself completely helpless when it comes to DIY, in that case, you might want to pay someone to do it. This will cost you though, the work doesn’t come cheap.

Quick Guide – Top AC Units for RV Campers

Coleman Mach 15 – Best For Medium/Large Areas

Coleman Mach 15

The Coleman Mach 15 made it on to our top picks due to its amazing build quality and high-performance cooling abilities. The unit runs at 15,000 BTU can be used in either a ducted or non-ducted system making it very versatile. The Coleman Mach 15 is efficient that it can cool down your RV in desert conditions and still perform well. This machine is a complete powerhouse that never fails to amaze and deserves a place up here.

Dometic 640315C Penguin II – Best Low Profile Option

Dometic 640315C Penguin II

Don’t underestimate this AC just because it’s small, it packs a punch with 13,500 BTUs and great performance. The small design not only looks good but is very aerodynamic which in turn can save you fuel money. The Dometic Penguin 640315C can also be used as a ducted system, which will work great with the heater pump on cold days.

Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 – Best Window Mounted For Small Areas

Frigidaire FFRA0511R1

The Frigidaire AC unit works best for one single room, it starts at 5,000 BTUs but you can get higher models if needed. It has an antibacterial mesh filter that slides out and helps to remove any harmful bacteria. This AC runs very quietly which for me is great it helps to get through the night and get a good night sleep.

Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner – Best Small Portable AC Option

Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner

The Honeywell AC has great cooling capability’s it runs at 9,000 BTU and can cool your room very quickly. It has 3 in 1 technology, where the dehumidifier can remove 80.1 pints of water a day great for humid conditions. Its also one of the quieter models in our top picks running at 45 dBa, the special sleep mode is a great setting that gives you comfort throughout the night.

RV Air Conditioner Comparison Table

Model BTUs Amps Voltage Price
Coleman Mach 15 15000 14.8 115 V Check Price
Coleman Mach 3 13500 15.3 120 V Check Price
Dometic 640315C Penguin II 13500 13.2 115 V Check Price
Dometic B59516.XX1J0 Brisk II 15000 ~16 115 V Check Price
Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5000 4 115 V Check Price
Honeywell HL09CESWK 9000 8 115 V Check Price
Zero Breeze 2300 5.5 24 V Check Price

7 Best RV Air Conditioners Reviewed

1. Coleman Mach 15

Best For Medium – Large Areas
BTUs 15000
Amps 14.8
Power Source (V) 115 V
Price Guide $$$$

The Coleman Mach 15 is one of the most powerful RV roof mounted air conditioner on the market today. Running with 15,000 BTU it can quickly cool down some of the largest areas quickly and efficiently.  This unit can perform great in even the hottest of conditions, in fact, it is so good you can take this to the dessert and it will still hold out.

Popular RV website confirms the grunt of this unit, adding that it is –

considerably more powerful, ranking as one of the most souped-up cooling systems you’ll find.

Not only is the Coleman great at cooling but it has an optional heater which will allow you to generate 5,600 BTU of heat element. So you can use this model all year around without a problem.

This RV rooftop air conditioner can be used by either fitting it as a ducted unit or non-ducted so it makes it very versatile and gives you options. The AC can be installed using the standard 14×14 inch vent. If you’re opting to run it non-ducted you will have to purchase a Coleman ceiling assembly kit, you can purchase this at Amazon fairly cheaply.

The 1/3 HP fan motor provides additional force. With so much cooling ability we only recommend this AC unit for larger spaces or for those willing to spend the extra money on a high-quality unit.

Jeff bought this product and agreed that his purchase was worthwhile –

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 Demetic 13500 with this unit and I am very happy!

Overall this AC is a powerhouse it has excellent build quality and functions very well in all weather conditions, which is why it made it into our top picks.


  • Easy to install
  • Heater element
  • Works great even in hot conditions


  • Heavy
  • Louder than Dometic models

2. Coleman Mach 3

Best For Smaller Areas
BTUs 13500
Amps 15.3
Power Source (V) 120 V
Price Guide $$$$

If you are looking for a cheaper but reliable version then the Mach 3 is just what you are looking for. This model is ideal for the small to medium size RVs. The unit has 13,500 BTUs cooling power with an airflow rating of 320 CFM which is very good for a smaller unit.

If you are planning to travel to a colder area I would suggest that you add the optional 5,600 BTU heater assembly, this will provide a source of warm air. For the cheap price, it will defiantly be worth the extra time and money.

The unit is very easy to install all though it is heavy so having a spare pair of hands will help when it comes to lifting. The AC unit will fit into the standard 14×14 inch roof opening so need to start cutting the roof open. This is the same size unit as the Mach 15 so they can be replaced or swapped easily. 

For a 13,500 unit it delivers great cooling power, and with the heater element attached it will warm your RV very effectively. It is similar in specifications to the Mach 15 although there are some subtle differences. This Mach 3 plus model will pull fewer amps (slightly) than its big brother. 

The Mach 3 also comes in a PS or Power Saver option. That means the PS uses fewer amps without sacrificing cooling ability. For this extra feature, you will need to spend a little more. A good comparison discussion can be found here.

I would strongly recommend this unit to anyone with a small RV and is looking for the cheaper option.


  • Energy efficiency
  • Works well in hot conditions
  • Well made


  • Noisy
  • Heavy design

3. Dometic 640315C Penguin II

Best Low Profile Option
BTUs 13500
Amps 13.2
Power Source (V) 115 V
Price Guide $$$$

Low profile RV air conditioners are a similar yet slightly different style of AC when compared to previous models on our list.  This Penguin II unit by Dometic sits under 10 inches so if you have to park in a low roofed garage then this works perfectly. The low profile design also stops the drag, allowing you to get extra miles from your gas.

Unfortunately, this unit can’t be used as part of a ducted system, so if you’re looking to use that system I would suggest getting the high capacity version. On the plus side, this unit uses R410 refrigerant, this allows it to be very effective at cooling heat.

It holds an impressive BTU capacity of 13500 and is suited to all types of RVs. In saying that, this sized AC is best for small to medium spaces and larger recreational vehicles may require more than one air conditioner to cool the area quickly.

This AC unit fits into the standard 14×14 inch roof opening like the other units, which makes it easy to install. But even with its small size it is still very heavy so make sure you have an extra set of hands when you are installing.

RV enthusiasts over at reviewed this Dometic product in detail. They focused on many aspects of the machine including noise levels.

I can say with absolute confidence that the Dometic Penguin II runs quieter than our previous air conditioner.

Through testing, they came to the conclusion that the noise levels of between 66 & 70 decibels were more than acceptable.

This unit performs very well overall, it’s very energy efficient and has a sleek design which looks very nice. It performs well in hot conditions and has great cooling abilities if you are looking for a low profile AC this one is for you.


  • Lowest low profile unit
  • Nice design
  • Copes well in hot weather
  • Quieter than Coleman models


  • Heavy considering size
  • Fairly pricey

4. Dometic B59516.XX1J0 Brisk II

Best For Medium Sized RVs
BTUs 15000
Amps ~16
Power Source (V) 115 V
Price Guide $$$$

The final air conditioner for RV’s on our list (of regular styled products) is the Dometic Brisk II unit. It offers competition to the Coleman Mach 15, as this AC also runs at 15,000 BTUs. Brisk II by Dometic model is the highest selling RV AC unit on the market today.

This AC unit can be used in a ducted or non-ducted system and comes standard with a heater, allowing you to stay warm in all conditions. You have the option of adding a Dometic Comfort Control Centre II Thermostat which is sold separately, giving you total control with just a touch.

The unit itself fits into the normal 14×14 inch roof opening allowing for quick installation, the unit is also lighter than the previous models. Once again, this is the size of almost all roof air con units installation is relatively easy.

Overall this is a really nice unit which according to Dometic it has a “High-performance design that delivers 15 % airflow increase over previous models”. Dometic technology has developed ADB or Air Distribution Box, which is a fancy way of saying – we use quality materials and advanced design.

This is one of the best RV air conditioners on the market today and is similar in design to the Coleman Mach 15. Both models are regularly discounted so we believe its best to compare price, read reviews and decide from there.


  • Great cooling
  • Energy efficient
  • Lightweight


  • Noisy

Dometic Vs Coleman

When comparing these two brands I picked the Dometic Brisk Air 2 and the Coleman Mach 15 due to them having the same BTUs and are the biggest competitors in the market.

If you’re looking for the cheaper option the Dometic will be the one to go for, with the quality being similar. With both of them offering ducted systems it might be hard to choose but again the Dometic is the cheaper option.

Both are very well made but the Coleman unit seems to be better made so you can justify the extra price and therefore cooling performance. It also seems to perform better in hotter climates, which in turn makes it the better unit for me.

5. Frigidaire FFRA0511R1

BTU 5000
Amps 4
Noise Level (dBa) 56.5 dBa
Power Source (V) 115 V
Price Guide $

If you’re looking for an RV window air conditioner then you should consider the Frigidaire range they start at 5,000 BTUs which is great for small areas. But if you’re looking for something a little bit stronger then don’t worry these units go up to 15,000 BTUs.

The unit uses a standard 115V plug socket and has an energy efficiency ratio (EER) of 11.1 which is pretty good. It also has a very low energy startup which is ideal for RV’s. Additionally, the FFRA0511R1 performs quietly, save your eardrums and allowing for an easy nights sleep.

The unit size is 12x16x15 inches (HxWxD) and comes with a complete window mounting kit, which is ready to install as soon as it arrives. Installation can be difficult when comparing to a home. Once installed, the 5,000 BTU unit can quickly cool a room up to 150 sq ft, while dehumidifying 1.1 pints an hour. The cleaning filter helps to reduce bacteria and room odors giving you a more comfortable environment.

I would recommend this unit for someone that is looking to cool down a solo room as a cheaper option compared to a rooftop AC. It works perfectly keeping your room cool even in the higher temperatures. The heating function allows you to stay warm even in colder weather which makes it a great all-rounder.


  • Easy to install
  • Great cooling ability
  • Light


  • Only cools one room

6. Honeywell HL09CESWK

BTUs 9000
Amps 8
Noise Level (dBa) 45 dBa
Power Source (V) 115 V
Price Guide $$

Looking for a portable AC unit for your RV? We recommend the Honeywell HL09CESWK.

It has the cooling capacity of 9,000 BTU which is suitable for most sized vehicles. This gives it the ability to cool a room of 400 sq ft with a powerful airflow, and adjustable temperature.

Staying in hot and humid countries couldn’t be more comfortable with this portable AC, the dehumidifier can remove up to 80 pints a day. The continuous drain system makes it a must-have, it saves you time and effort not having to empty the tank.

This unit runs at 45 decibels making one of the quietest units we have reviewed in this article, if you’re like me this is a great selling point. Sleeping at night is not an issue with this unit.

If you want something with quick installation then I would definitely go for this one, it comes with a pre-assembled window kit. Of course, be sure to check your window size and clearance before buying.

Over 600 buyers on tend to agree with this unit averaging a 4.2 out 5- star rating.

Overall this is a very nice unit and very easier to use, the remote functions work very well and so does the digital control panel. With all the above being said it’s no wonder this our top picks.


  • Quiet
  • Quick installation
  • Easy to move
  • Good in hot weather


  • Takes up space
  • Very heavy

7. Zero Breeze – 24V Portable AC

Best For Up to 60 sq. ft.
BTUs 2300
Amps 5.5 (average)
Power Source 24V
Noise Level 52 dBa

The Zero Breeze Mark 2 is an ideal air conditioner for anyone with an RV. It’s portable and lightweight, making it perfect for homes on the move, and is battery-powered for ease. The fact that it’s a multitasking product is also fantastic for those short on space. It works to cool areas of up to 60 square feet but is best suited for quickly cooling approximately 40 sq.ft. This means it’ll slot right into your home on wheels.

The airflow is nice and strong, with this new and improved model, Zero Breeze claims it offers the highest cooling output you can buy in a truly portable AC. By using an RV specific roof AC like the models we reviewed above and supplementing it with this small, portable device, you will be cool in any situation. Running on 2300 BTU, you can only rely on the Zero Breeze to cool down a small area so do not expect large rooms to get instantly cool.

The technology behind this compact unit is fantastic – the evaporator is large, along with the condenser coils, meaning you don’t need to worry about any leaking or maintenance. On the blog is a discussion about the space within a camper and the zero breeze represents an excellent space saving & portable solution.

The 24V micro-compressor has doubled from the previous Mark 1 model and allows for various charging options. Wall outlets should be mostly used and a 24-volt DC car is for charging the ‘smart’ battery. This removable charger comes with several options including USB, 12V, etc. We highly recommend adding this as part of any purchase.

Another updated feature for Mark 2 is the Dual hose function. The dual hoses drag air into the AC unit, converting it to cold air. The unwanted, hot air escapes out from the back of the unit. This reduces condensation that some AC units can generate and discharge.

The unit itself is compact, at 20”L x 10”W x 11”H. It is also lightweight at 16.5 lbs and easy to move inside or outside at your convenience. It runs smoothly and quietly, around 52 dBa with is means it’s quieter than the previous Mark 1 model. You can leave it on in the night and although noise can be heard, it’s certainly manageable for a cool night’s sleep.

Users have had plenty of positives to say:

The Zero Breeze runs quietly so you won’t have to worry about the fans being too loud while running. This also makes it perfect to use throughout the night as it won’t disturb your sleep.

Read our full review of the Zero Breeze Mark 2 here.


    • Converts to a heater
    • Lightweight
    • Strong airflow
    • Large evaporator
    • Quiet for use in an RV


    • No control board
    • No control over airflow direction

RV Rooftop Air Conditioners Explained

What is a Rooftop AC?

Rooftop air-conditioners are installed on the roof of your RV and are a self-contained unit. It conditions 100% outdoor air only so there is never any recirculated air running through your RV.

It works when hot air flows over cold the refrigerant inside these coils absorbing the heat and making the cold liquid turn into a cooled gas state. This, in turn, pushes the cold air out through the fan giving you a nice cool RV. To do this effectively the AC has to convert the gas back to a liquid state again.

Ducted Or Non-ducted. What Is The Difference?

A ducted AC unit allows you to cool multiple rooms by using just one unit, it passes the cool air through ducts made from a thin metal tubing. These ducts run through the walls or ceiling of the RV and can deliver either cooled or warm air through little vents.

This cools all the rooms in the RV using just one AC unit. When it comes to choosing a ducted system, one of the best in the business is the Dometic Brisk II. It is one of the most popular choices worldwide. This unit also supports non-ducted system also so you have the choice in the long run.

Ductless AC works a little bit differently, it’s in the name really, you don’t have any ducts running through the walls or ceiling. Meaning that if you have a lot of rooms in the RV it will be harder to control the temperature unless you have different units to put in each room.

The Most Popular BTUs Options

The best AC roof units are usually 13,500 or 15,000 BTUs but is there much difference between the two? Does an extra 1,500 make that much difference? The answer depends on where you plan on going and how big your RV is.

If your RV is small then the 13,500 Coleman Mach 3 would work perfectly fine it won’t take a lot to cool down a small space. The problem is RVs have never been insulated that well even the better ones, this means you can gain and lose heat fairly quickly.

So the upgrade to a Coleman Mach 15, the 15,000 unit can be beneficial especially in hotter climates and if you have a large RV. Ultimately the decision is up to you it’s usually inexpensive for the upgrade to 15,000 so it will save you money if the 13,500 was the wrong choice.

Low Profile and Why It’s Popular

Low profile units have become popular due to their small sleek designs. This is their main advantage the small design allows you to park in areas with low roofs without ripping off your AC unit. If you are considering getting a low profile design you look at the Dometic Penguin II, it has the lowest design on the market.

The downside to these low profile designs is that they tend to be a lot nosier than the traditional AC units. It’s something you must take into consideration before purchasing to ensure a low profile AC is for you.

What AMPs They Draw and Why It’s Important?

When looking at what BTU option you want to proceed with you need to consider how what AMPs it draws. Most AC units will draw around 10-20 amps depending on how high the BTU is. The problem is if your RV only runs on 30 AMPs then you may find your self-short on power when you come to using your kettle. According to ohms law, the amount of current through a conductor in a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage and inversely proportional to the resistance. However, you can use ohms law calculator to calculate the current (I) in amps (A).

Noise Considerations

Looking into the decibels (measurement of sound) your AC unit makes can save you sleepless nights in the long run. Different units will admit different noise levels and over time could get worse.

An average conversation can fall between 40-60 decibels so when you comparing it to 37-82 decibels your AC unit might make, you can see why looking into how noisy it is will help. Don’t worry though there are things that you can do to help reduce the noise though. By using noise-absorbing material around the unit like rubber, you can greatly reduce the noise output.

When I was looking for the AC with the least noise output I found the Dometic brisk II  of all the rooftop AC this runs the quietest.

Are Heating Possibilities Included?

If you are planning to visit or stay in cold countries then finding out if your unit has heating possibilities can be a lifesaver. As we all know RVs can lose heat very quickly in colder months. So if you’re going to be spending a lot of time traveling in your RV it is important to find a unit with heating. You want to be comfortable or else it may ruin your camping experience.

Size of the Unit

Most AC units will fit straight into the skylight section of the camper van with very little cutting needed. The average size of an RV AC unit is 14×14 inches so it’s important to check this out before purchasing. It can save you time and stops you having to measure and cut out big chunks of your RV.

What is Included in the Purchase?

Checking what’s included when you make your purchase will help you out a lot and save you time. For example, you might find the AC unit doesn’t come with the shroud or the wiring. If this is the case once the unit arrives you will not have the right stuff to install the AC with. Another thing I would check is if the thermostat is including this helps you to control the temperature in the RV.

Portable RV Air Conditioners Explained

What Is A Portable AC

A portable AC unit is used to cool a single room the advantage is that you can move it different rooms as required. They are usually some of the cheapest options on the market and cost half the price of roof ACs.

They are also the easiest to install because they are pre-made which makes it quick and easy. Since some of them remove warm air, the most you will have to do is set-up a hose from the AC to the window. Once this is done you can simply plug it into the mains and start using it. 

The Most Popular BTU Options

When it comes to BTUs your best options range from 8,000 to 18,000 BTU making it one of the most powerful options. Depending on your price range and the size of the area you need to cool will depend on which one you get.

The 8,000 BTU will give the excellent cooling ability for a room between 300 to 350 sq ft if placed correctly you might even be able to cool two rooms.

If you have you have a large open space RV then the moving up around 18,000 BTU option may be for you, this can cool a room the size of 1,000 to 1,200 sq ft. It depends on the size and layout of the RV which one you choose.

To help you understand this I have inserted a table to show you what power output you need to look for.

BTU Calculator For Portable Air Conditioners
Room Size In Feet Area Sq. Ft. Recommended BTU’s
Full Sun

20 x 30 600 14000 15400 18000
20 x 20 400 12000 13200 16000
15 x 20 300 10000 11000 14000
10 x 20 200 8000 8000 12000


The Amps They Draw And Why It’s Important?

As always it’s important to check the AMP rating of the unit, as they’re plugged into the mains and you don’t want to damage the plug or power source. Depending on the BTU rating will depend on how many AMPs it will require. Make sure you check that your RV can handle it.  

Noise Considerations (Dba)

The decibel rating of portable air conditioners can vary around greatly. The average of 53 decibels is not always consistent with every model as you can see from our previous article. It is possible to find a nice unit if you looking for something on the quieter range. Of course, different units may admit more noise then others make sure you check this out. No one likes a sleepless night due to noise pollution.

Size Of The Unit

When you’re thinking about buying a portable AC unit you need to think about the space it’s going to take up. Due it not being a fixed unit it will take up room where you put it.

To ensure it’s not going to get in the way I would check out the dimensions of the unit and see if you have space. It will save you a lot of heartaches if it doesn’t fit or is too heavy.

Are Heating Possibilities Included?

Many portable ACs will come with heater possibilities, if you like staying warm then choosing one with this will help.

RVs are known for getting cold really quick so be sure to check yours has the ability to keep you warm. This is especially important when visiting colder areas of the country.

Pros & Cons

For me the best thing about a portable AC is that there is little to no installation required, most of the time it’s a case of plugging the unit in. They can also work out being cheap, depending on what you get. Most units come on wheels, making it very easy to move the unit to different places as required.

Some downsides are that it will only cool one room, and it takes away room from your RV especially if you have a small camper. Another thing I was not a fan of is having to empty the water output, it takes time out of your day and you consistently thinking about it.

Small Window RV Air Conditioners Explained

The Most Popular BTU Options

Window air conditioners are not always recommended for campers and travelers. This is because a hole or cutout needs to be available before installation.

When it comes to the most popular options you will usually be picking the 5,000 – 15,000 BTU models, but which one you choose depends on what your needs are.

5,000 BTU works great for a room in the range of 100-350 sq ft. So ideally it will be suitable for most RVs. Bigger options up to 15000 BTU are rarely used although some very large trailers or 5th wheelers can use a bigger machine.

To help you understand this I have inserted a table to show you what power output you need to look for.

BTU Calculator For Window Air Conditioners
Room Size In Feet Area Sq. Ft. Recommended BTU’s
Full Sun

39 x 40 1560 24500 26950 28500
25 x 40 1000 18000 19800 22000
25 x 32 800 15000 16500 19000
22 x 25 550 12000 13200 16000
18 x 25 450 10000 11000 14000
17 x 20 340 8000 8800 12000
14 x 20 280 7000 7700 11000
13 x 20 260 6000 6600 10000
10 x 15 150 5000 5500 9000


What Are Window AC’s?

window-air-conditionerAs the name suggests, these ACs are mounted into a window making them very easy to install. They are designed to cool one room only and are one of the simplest forms of air-conditioning.

These units work by taking the warm air out of the room and moving it through the cooling coil which removes the heat. On some models you can select the temperature that you desire, the thermostat will then turn the AC on or off depending on what it needs to do.

You can also set the unit onto fan only mode this will not use a lot of energy but it will not cool down the air around you.

The Amps They Draw And Why It’s Important?

As for the amps they draw, it works similar to the rooftop AC units. You need to ensure that the RV can handle it, window ACs are not wired in so you need to make sure the plug can handle it. You don’t want to burn out the socket due to it being overloaded. You might also want to check the electric supply is powerful enough, you don’t have to compromise on the equipment you can use.

Noise Considerations (DBA)

From looking into the decibel ratings of window AC units I’ve found to perform at the same level as rooftop AC units. They tend to range from 40-60 decibels, which is no louder than a two-person conversation. Check out their ratings before you make a purchase to save your hearing. We have reviewed and compared the quietest window air conditioners in a separate article here.

Size Of The Unit

Before purchasing your RV window air conditioner you should check out the dimensions of the unit. Most of the units will fit into the window nicely but, it’s best to make sure your window is big enough.

Installation is very easy with these units but is best done with two people it can be awkward and heavy, you don’t want to drop your new AC unit. Once you’ve taken the window out it is a simple case of replacing it with the AC, and attaching it to the mounting brackets and window extensions. Make sure the unit comes with all the necessary installation equipment so you don’t have to order it a later point.

More information on small window ACs can be found here.

Are Heating Possibilities Included?

Some of these units will include heating possibilities so have a look to see if it’s included. It all depends on your personal choice though. RVs can get cold quickly so it’s always a bonus to have the option. If you spend your time in the colder northern countries then I would highly recommend getting a unit with heating.

Pros & Cons

There are a few advantages to getting a window AC unit. Firstly, they are really easy to install. Secondly, these units can work out cheaper than a rooftop AC. Another reason is the energy efficiency is really good and can save you money. Lastly, with low noise output, these are great if you want something that won’t keep you up all night.

Unfortunately it not all roses it does come with its downsides due to being installed through a window it is known to rust. The other thing is these will only be able to work in one room as it doesn’t allow for ducted use. Also, the look of them isn’t very nice and takes away the view from your window. We recommend window air conditioners for small –  one-room campers as they will effectively and quietly cool these spaces.

Installing An AC In Your Camper

Remove The Vent

remove the ventRemove the old skylight using a flat head screwdriver to pry open the vent exposing the bolts.

Remove the bolts to take off the interior and exterior assembly. Once this is done take a paint scraper to clean and remove the old sealant, this prepares the area ready for installation. If your RV doesn’t come with a sunroof you will have cut a hole in the roof,

Measure a 14×14 inch opening in the desired location ready to cut out the hole.

Install The AC Unit

install the ac unitSo you’ve taken the sunroof out and cleared the area, it’s now time to install your RV AC unit.

Line the unit up with the gasket which is used to seal the unit, when everything lines up slot the AC into the opening.

Starting from the top and working to the interior you should install and tighten the bolts. Once in the interior install fan and all of the assembly.

Wire It Up

wire it upWith everything installed its time to wire your AC unit, the first thing you must do is to make sure all power sources are off.

Most units will come with a prepaid wiring loom If you’re replacing an old AC unit then simply connect the new loom to the original power source.

If the vehicle is not wired to take an AC unit then you will have to wire the AC to the power source. This can be difficult, so finding an electrician would be the safest bet.

Coleman has released an installation video below.

Heat Pump Options

Installation works just like installing a rooftop AC, so as long as you have a 14×14 inch hole installation will be very easy.

The installing a heat pump consists of two parts, the indoor air handler, and the outdoor unit or heat pump.

Heat pumps work best in moderate weather conditions, so if you’re staying in places that don’t get overly hot or cold this may be the best option for you.

It works by circulating the refrigerant around the compressor. The compressor then absorbs and releases heat depending on your needs. So when the air is cold outside it will release hot air to warm the RV, when the outside temperature is hot the unit will work in reverse.

In the right climate heat pumps can serve as a more energy efficient unit, if you are going to be using this in cold weather it will work best with a furnace. From research, I found that heat pumps are least effective at 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-3 degrees Celsius), which is why it’s better working with a furnace.

When it comes to temperature output, a day at 35 degrees you can expect it to pump out around 92 degrees air. To put that in perspective a furnace will tend to pump out anywhere between 130-140 degrees.

The prices of these units can vary greatly depending on what you are looking for. A unit that functions solely as a heat pump can be a cheaper option. The exception comes when you’re looking at getting AC and heat pump combo, this will nearly double the price of the unit.

What About Solar Powered Or 12v Air Conditioning?

If you looking for something a little more environmentally friendly then you have the option to go solar powered. This uses the sun to power your AC unit, unfortunately, this means that it is very weather and system dependent.

Bad weather can make the unit very unreliable, for optimal efficiency you have to track the sun. Which can be consuming, having to point the solar panels towards the sun whenever it moves.

From the research I have also found that you require more than one solar panel to run it effectively, all the products I’ve seen either come with one or no solar panels meaning you would have to purchase another. If you’re looking for a solar AC unit you should purchase this one it comes with everything you need to start, but it is expensive.

If you want another low powered option you could go with a 12 V air-conditioner like the MightyKool 12 V. But these seem rather pointless as it will only cool the whoever is sat directly in front of it. It can offer immediate, short term relief though.

The other problem I found is that you have to fill it with cold water for it to work if you’re in a place where cold water is hard to find then you could become stuck.


RV Air Conditioner Troubleshooting

The AC Won’t Turn On?

Check your air filter it may be clogged this can cause the AC to turn off or freeze up. To prevent this make sure you change your air filter every 3 months.

If that doesn’t help check the circuit breakers your AC may of overloaded causing it to trip, simply check all the breakers are on.

If the drain pan gets full or clogged up then the float switch will stop the unit turning back on, check sure nothing is blocked or overflowing.

The AC Compressor Is Not Coming On?

This could be from a tripped fuse check the circuit breaker is on and not broken.

If that fails it could be a loose connector on the AC unit, simply check all connections aren’t loose or damaged.

The AC Is Not Blowing Cold Air?

This could be for several reasons, the refrigerant levels may be low or empty. This is one of the most common causes without the refrigerant your AC will be unable to remove the heat.

If this is the case you will have a leak in the system somewhere, this must be found before refilling the levels. To get someone to fix it you might be looking at $200 for the problem to be solved.

My AC Keeps Freezing Up?

This could be from the coils freezing you should check the air filter, it might be blocked so make sure the air flow is not impeded.

The refrigerant might also be too low causing the coils to get too cold and freeze up, you can replace the refrigerant for around $42.

The other options included a faulty thermostat and drainage problems if this doesn’t fix the problem you are best off calling a technician.

Maintaining Your AC Unit

Maintaining your AC shouldn’t be taken lightly it will make all the difference and ensure a long life for the unit, this should be done regularly. There are things that you can do easily that are fairly inexpensive to ensure you get the best out of your AC.

  1. Clean the air filter it takes no time at all and it can stop a whole lot of problems before they start. If the filter is over 3 years old you should replace the old one it’s really cheap, for example, a Dometic AC filter only cost under $10. This cost is nothing compared to what fixing the damage could be.
  2. Making sure that your refrigerant is topped up can stop the coils from freezing or make the unit trip. It’s worth buying a bottle of coolant so you can refill as you need, the bottles cost around $40 dollars and could save you having to replace the coils.
  3. When you’re not using your RV you might want to consider getting an air-con cover to protect it from dust and dirt. When sat there for a long time it can pick up a lot of dirt which could clog the AC up. For approximately $20 dollars it’s a fairly cheap preventive.

Here are some tips for running your AC


So that’s everything you need to know about choosing the right RV AC unit for your specific needs. With all these tips and troubleshooting solutions you will know exactly what to do if anything goes wrong. I hope this helps you to make an informed choice. 

Images via:

Josh M