The 3 Best Small RV Air Conditioners: Brand Buying Guide
When it comes to RV comfort, an effective air conditioning unit is non-negotiable. Our Brand Buying Guide is here to narrow down The 3 Best Small RV Air Conditioners in the market.
This guide aims to provide you with comprehensive details about the top-performing brands, allowing you to make an informed decision. We consider factors like cooling capacity, power consumption, ease of installation, price, and customer feedback.
With our Brand Buying, you can select a model that suits your specific needs and enjoy a comfortable journey through varying climates and seasons.
RV living, a once frowned-upon lifestyle, has gone mainstream in the past few years.
More and more people are pooling their life savings and opting to live on the road in a trailer as opposed to living in pigeonhole-sized apartments or paying the mortgage through their noses. Soaking in the vivid colors, experiencing unique cultures and delectable culinary experiences sure sounds like a fun way to live.
But the least that you can do is stay cool and comfortable as you explore the less-traveled paths.
You need an RV air conditioner that’s powerful enough to cool your trailer. And efficient enough to run all day during the summers without guzzling an entire oil well.
Sounds like too much to ask?
Today, we decode RV air conditioners for you and present you with our personal favorite small RV air conditioner that’s perfect for small to medium-sized RVs.
The 3 Best Small RV Air Conditioners Of The Year
Without further ado, here’s our list of the best RV air conditioners.
Irrespective of whether you are looking for a rooftop AC for your large trailer or a portable one for your convertible trailer, we have you covered.
The Brisk II is an upgrade to one of Domestic’s bestselling rooftop air conditioners, the Brisk I.
It is around 20 lbs. lighter due to the new EPP foam housing and boasts a new aerodynamic design that minimizes drag.
That’s not all.
Under the hood, it has been revamped completely to minimize vibration and operational noise.
The motor, compressor, and evaporator are bracketed together. Also, the wrap-around shroud and carbon steel base keep it sturdy.
Coming to the noise, the fan does not switch off and on during operation. Only the compressor does. So, your sleep won’t get interrupted by the sudden starting noise created by the fan.
Unlike the earlier models, the Brisk II features a vertical-mounted compressor that increases the height of the unit by a few inches. That’s just a small niggle though.
The upgraded compressor and the large air vents improve the airflow by 15%. This will cool your trailer in no time. The Brisk II has three-speed settings and does a fantastic job at cooling both, large and medium-sized RVs.
It is available in two configurations, 13.5K BTU and 15K BTU, and can be installed in both ducted and non-ducted applications.
- Sleek and stylish
- Aerodynamic design
- Top-notch build quality
- Carbon steel base, copper lines, rubber bushings
- Improved airflow by 15%
- Minimal vibration and noise during operation
- Available in two BTU ratings, 13.5 and 15K
- The new vertical-mounted compressor has increased the height of the unit by around 2-inches
- You have to buy the control panel separate
The Advent ACM135 Rooftop Air Conditioner for RVs is a high-quality, robust air conditioning unit designed for optimal performance and durability. This unit boasts a powerful cooling capacity of 13,500 BTUs, ensuring comfortable indoor temperatures even in extreme outdoor conditions. The ACM135 features a rigid, metal-constructed base pan that offers excellent stability and long-lasting durability.
One of the key attributes of this product is its premium, thick, watertight vent opening gasket. This feature is specifically designed to prevent any leakage, ensuring your RV stays dry and clean. The unit also incorporates six dense foam support pads, providing additional stability and reducing vibration noise for a quiet, peaceful environment inside the RV.
The Advent ACM135 Rooftop Air Conditioner for RVs also offers three fan speeds that allow you to adjust the cooling to your preference. It installs in a standard 14.25″ x 14.25″ vent opening, making it compatible with a wide range of RV models.
In summary, the Advent ACM135 provides superior cooling performance, durability, and watertight operation, making it an ideal choice for any RV owner looking for a reliable air conditioning solution.
- Compact, attractive design
- Large LED control panel
- Rigid, metal-constructed base pan
- Premium, thick, watertight vent opening gasket
- Six dense foam support pads
- Three fan speeds are installed in a standard 14.25″ x 14.25″ vent opening
- Optional plug-in heat strip available
- The exhaust hose and the window kit seem a little flimsy compared to the main unit
We were torn apart while selecting one between the Friedrich Chill CP06 and the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1. But we eventually narrowed down on the Chill CP06 because it runs quieter and has a range of models in different capacities for RVs of all sizes.
The top model is rated at 24000 BTU.
This is the 6000 BTU unit that is perfect for rooms up to 250 sq. ft.
It is a sleek, compact window air conditioner with a stylish, white casing. Looks great and performs equally well as it cools a 250 sq. ft. room in less than 15 minutes.
It has an air circulation of 200 cubic feet per minute which is terrific for a unit this size. It is Energy Star qualified and the compressor automatically switches off when the room is cool.
You can choose from three different cooling and fan-only speeds. The swinging louvers further improve the airflow in the room.
The Chill CP06G10B also features washable antimicrobial filters that keep out particulate matter and keep the air free of pollutants, dander, and allergens. Something that should be very beneficial in the hot summer in dry and arid regions.
- Sleek design
- 6000 BTU that’s perfect for rooms up to 250 sq. ft.
- Cools in less than 15 minutes
- Three cooling and fan-only speeds
- Swinging louvers
- Washable antimicrobial filters
- Slightly loud for an AC this size
What to Look For In A Small RV Air Conditioner
People’s needs for an air conditioner are as unique as their travel itineraries.
There’s no one-size-fits-all.
Some might prefer a full-sized, ducted air conditioner that cools every corner of their trailer whereas others might like a compact, portable one that only cools their favorite corner of the living room.
To avoid shopping pig in the Poke, create a checklist of the features that you seek from the air conditioner.
The essential checklist for buying RV air conditioners
Here’s a list of some important questions that you need to ask yourself before you narrow down on an RV air conditioner.
What is the size of the RV?
What’s the size of the RV? Do you want the entire living space to be cooled? Or are you only looking for one part of it to be covered by the air conditioner, like the bedroom or the living room? The bigger the space, the more power you need. The more power you need, the larger the air conditioner (read pricier).
The BTU rating
BTU or British thermal unit is normally used as a unit of heat. However, when it comes to RV air conditioners, it is used to indicate the power or the capacity of the model. For example, the average capacity for a rooftop air conditioner is 13500 BTU.
That usually suffices to cool a 40-footer in optimum weather conditions. But again, cooling is subjective. There are people who run three air conditioners to cool a 40-foot trailer and still complain about how hot it is.
If you have a small or medium-sized trailer like a Jayco Hummingbird or a Springdale mini, then you can look for an air conditioner rated from 5000-7000 BTU. By the way, a lot of campers these days look to buy the best one that they can afford, pooh-poohing the whole BTU thing. The additional cooling capacity might just come in handy on a bad day after all.
Air conditioners, in general, are power-hungry appliances. So you’d want to factor in the cost of running the unit for extended time periods during the hot summer months. Considering that it will be powered by a portable generator (unless you have a solar grid) whenever you aren’t around a campsite, ensure that you know the exact draw or at least a ballpark figure.
You need the continuous draw rating, as well as the startup, draw to run the math. Both these numbers will be printed on the unit itself. For example, a 900W Yamaha inverter generator can power a 5000 BTU wall-mounted air conditioner for almost 8-9 hours on less than 1 gallon of gas.
A few external variables might reduce or increase that. But that’s a good ballpark figure to go by.
What type of air conditioner do you need?
There are four types of air conditioners that are commonly used in RVs.
- Rooftop models: Rooftop air conditioners are more popular than the other varieties as they save space and come in a variety of designs and configurations. You can select low-profile designs that reduce the vertical space needed for clearance while backing up into a garage or driving under a bridge. Also, rooftop models can be installed in ducted or non-ducted methods essentially providing as much coverage as you seek. While 13.5K BTU is the minimum power for these, many new manufacturers have started to offer lower power models for those who seek less power in exchange for more fuel efficiency.
- Portable units: These self-contained units have large casters and can be pushed to any part of the RV that needs to be cooled. No installation is needed. So you won’t have to make expensive modifications to the existing design. They do need a hose though for the runoff. Also, these units work by evaporating the air rather than using the conventional method of cooling. All said and done, despite being labeled ‘portable’, most portable units are bulky and will eat up valuable storage space.
- Window air conditioners: Window air conditioners are best suited for smaller trailers. These are space-saving and will be mounted into windows of varying sizes. They are also available in a variety of cooling capacities.
- Under the bench: Under the bench air conditioners are a relatively new concept, but are fast catching up with some of the other varieties. These units are discreet and tucked into the vacant space under the seats in the RV. The caveat is that designs and power configurations are limited.
Is it quiet enough?
Many a time, people get so hung up over some of the other features of an RV air conditioner that they fail to notice how noisy it runs. Always check the noise rating for any air conditioner that you select. Alternatively, take a look at our guide to quiet ac units.
Prices range from $500-$1000 for a good rooftop air conditioner from a reputed brand like Domestic or Atwood. If you aren’t looking to spend that much, then a window-mounted unit can be bought for under $500. Anything below that price would either be too small or would be a stretch to cool an RV.
Do you need an AC and a heater combo?
An AC and heater combo can be pretty useful if you travel around to cold places. It saves you the added expense of buying a heater separately.
These units have a reversing valve that converts the AC into a heating pump.
The only possible downside that we can think of is that these units usually cost in excess of $600. So, if you mostly stick to warm places, it will be an unwanted feature and an added expense that can be avoided.
Finding the perfect small RV air conditioner is a combination of knowing your specific needs, understanding the product’s specifications, and comparing brands. The 3 Best Small RV Air Conditioners: Brand Buying Guide provides a comprehensive overview, aiding in an informed buying decision. The guide focuses on three top brands that have proven to deliver superior performance, durability, and energy efficiency.
These brands have been evaluated based on factors such as cooling capacity, energy consumption, noise level, ease of installation, and price. The guide also gives detailed information about each brand’s unique features and benefits. This Brand Buying Guide is an essential tool for anyone considering adding or replacing an air conditioner in their small RV.
It simplifies the process by narrowing down the choices to the best three, making it easier for potential buyers to make an informed decision. The 3 Best Small RV Air Conditioners: Brand Buying Guide serves as a reliable source of information, ensuring that you invest in a product that offers value for money and meets your specific needs.
Thus, before making a purchase decision, it is advisable to refer to such guides to ensure you make an informed choice that guarantees comfort during your RV adventures.