Vacationing in your RV means having access to the finer things in life that other campers don’t usually get to enjoy.
One of the greatest benefits is being able to turn on an air conditioner when it gets too warm, and for some, this is the ultimate benefit that sets their RV apart from the rest.
What is the best RV air conditioner, though?
A quality RV air conditioner will need to suit the vehicle and occupants and should have enough BTUs for the interior space as well as somewhere to be fastened that’s safe and practical.
There are many types of RV air conditioners with varying features so it depends on what you require to keep cool.
To help give you a push in the right direction, we’ve assembled a list of some of our favorites.
These are the best RV air conditioner reviews that span all budgets and features, so you can find the perfect for your moving home and enjoy the finer things in life when you’re on the road.
Best RV Air Conditioner – Reviews & Buying guide for 2021
Our Expert Picks for the Best RV Air Conditioner
To find the best RV air conditioner units, you need to think about your requirements for cooling and those of your RVs.
We’ve hand-picked some of the top performers to narrow down your search but still give you enough options so you can walk away with a good find, so read on to see our essential list of the best RV air conditioner units.
BEST OVERALL: Douglas Rooftop Air Conditioner
- Type: Rooftop
- Voltage: 12V
- Weight: 110lbs
When you only want the most serious and top-notch air conditioner in your RV, it has to be the Douglas Rooftop model.
With 9,800 BTUs of cooling power, you’ll never feel uncomfortable or hot and it’s built specifically for RVs and motorhomes for the best fit.
This air conditioner runs on 12V, weighs 74lbs, and measures 32.7 x 24.8 x 7.6 inches so it’s quite a big unit, but is installed on the rooftop of your RV for a professional and efficient setup.
The best feature of this air conditioner is how well it cools your RV, and how quickly it achieves it as well.
The 9,800 BTUs help it do this efficiently but so does its unique construction that ensures the entire interior of your RV is cooled and it’s rated to work best in spaces around 280 cubic feet which is more than enough for your motorhome.
Customers also loved the quality of this air conditioner, so it’s an ideal choice for people who only want to buy one unit in the next 10 or so years.
It’s got a much higher price tag but it’s a serious unit and you can rest assured it’ll last for a lot longer than others on the market.
It comes included with an instruction booklet, warranty, remote control, and control panel, and is a fully self-contained unit that requires no other parts to operate.
On the downside, it’s incredibly heavy which can make setup and installation a bit challenging.
The overall weight of the unit is 110lbs which makes it tower over the competition, and if you plan on installing it yourself, you’ll want to think again because it’s not the easiest to do.
Another negative had to do with the installation and how long the process took. Some RV owners would do better hiring a professional hand to help with installation as many customers found it frustrating and long winded.
As a rooftop mounted unit, it operates differently to window vent units, and there’s a lot of mechanical and electrical parts to consider which won’t be so easy to do for a beginner.
The Douglas Rooftop Air Conditioner is a professional-grade RV air conditioner and our favorite choice, albeit a little expensive.
If you’re after a quality air conditioner for your RV and only want the best, head to Amazon to get the best price on the Douglas.
It comes included with a 12-month warranty, which could be a little longer, but is consistently rated as one of the best choices, so you can be guaranteed it’ll stand the test of time and keep you cool while it’s at it.
Runner Up: Black and Decker Portable Air Conditioner
- Type: Floor standing
- Voltage: 115V
- Weight: 26lbs
For RV owners that want a true air-conditioning setup and need something powerful to keep them cool, there’s nothing better than the Black and Decker.
This is a portable air conditioner that can be used either freestanding or with window installation.
The unit provides 6,000 BTU of cool air to your moving home comfortably, has an adjustable fan with different settings, and is a customer favorite when it comes to RVs.
According to the happy reviews, the ease of use was one of the best things about this air conditioner.
There’s no need to do any tricky installations or assembling the unit if you want to keep it on the floor so you can just get it out of the packaging and get it going.
You’ll notice instantly cooler air in just a few minutes and it can run all night without an issue.
Another major bonus is the quiet operation, but this will only come into effect after the decompressor stops working.
After just a few minutes you’ll have a whisper-quiet operation but cool and comfortable air. You can easily sleep with this running and won’t be interrupted which is a welcome change from other models we’ve found.
There are some drawbacks worth mentioning though, and mainly to do with the installation process.
Some of the included hardware can only be used once which means having to source extra parts if you want to move this around and out of your RV.
If you plan on keeping it inside the vehicle during your travels, this won’t be as much of a bother though.
When you want to use the included window installation kit of the Black and Decker Portable Air Conditioner, you can come across a few issues, and this type of setup will require a bitof extra work.
According to customers who tried it, it was better just to leave it on the ground and send the hose out of the window, even if the airflow wasn’t as good unless you’re patient and have a lot of mechanical knowledge.
For the best portable air conditioner for RV and motorhome use, it has to be the Black and Decker.
This free-standing unit is powerful yet quiet and comes with a two-year limited warranty, proving that the appliance manufacturer still knows how to make a quality product.
Amazon currently offers the best price for this unit and free shopping as well, so if you want an easy fix to your heat woes, the Black and Decker Portable Air Conditioner is the way to go.
Alternative: Dometic Brisk II
- Type: Rooftop
- Voltage: 115V
- Weight: 74lbs
Dometic has created one of the most powerful air conditioners for an RV with its Brisk II unit.
This is a rooftop air conditioner capable of hitting 15,000 BTUs per hour and can be installed as either a ducted or non-ducted device.
Weighing a total of 74lbs and measuring 29.18 x 27.23 x 12.7 inches, it’s a sleek black unit that will blend in with the rest of your RV but deliver serious cooling power.
The best thing about this air conditioner is how well it gets the job done, and if you want something that’ll cool you down in seconds without making a fuss, the Brisk II is the best option.
You get what you pay for with this unit and it’s a good fit for RV owners who love to travel in summer or live in warmer climates, as you won’t notice a thing from outside as long as this is running.
The quality of this unit is another major selling point and it’s backed up by Dometic’s reputation as a brand, longer warranty coverage, and loads of happy customers.
It’s more serious than a standing portable air conditioner and not designed to be portable, and you can tell this right away when you inspect the unit and all of its parts.
However, the biggest drawback to this unit is the price and if you’re shopping for even a mid-range unit it’ll be out of your reach.
This is a serious air conditioner for people looking to make a big investment, and it costs almost double of the others we’ve reviewed.
Although it has a higher amount of BTUs you might not require something so powerful, so don’t assume that most expensive is always best.
Another downside of the Dometic Brisk II is the installation process and all of the parts included, so don’t get this assuming it’s a unit that you’ll be able to put up yourself in a few minutes.
Some customers reported that it took them a full day to install, and others half a day, so it depends on your capabilities and process. If you want something freestanding and easy to set up, the Brisk II will be way out of your reach.
If you’ve got a lot of money to spend and want only the most serious BTUs keeping your RV cool, you’ll want to check out the Dometic Brisk II.
Amazon has this unit online for the lowest price and with free shipping and free returns on the table as well.
Dometic covers their units with two-year protection plus warranty for peace of mind, but if reviews are anything to go by, it’s built to last a lot longer than that and is a smart first choice for the best rooftop air conditioner.
Alternative: SereneLife SLPAC Air Conditioner
- Type: Standing
- Voltage: 120V
- Weight: 53lbs
Those on the hunt for an RV air conditioner would have likely heard of SereneLife as it’s a best seller in the portable AC market and with plenty of features that show you why.
Their SLPAC operates with 8,000 BTUs of cooling power, measures 14.6 x 13.8 x 27.2 inches, and weighs 53lbs, making it a truly portable device for your RV, even if it is a little heavy for some.
When it comes to affordability and value for money, the SereneLife trumps all others and does it in a simple package.
It’s easy to use, powerful, and quiet, which ticks all of the boxes for an air conditioner for your RV, and without the hefty price tag.
If you want the best RV air conditioner with a heat pump and are happy to spend a little extra, SereneLife offers that as well, and you can spend around $200 extra to get it.
They also have options for units with higher BTUs, but most in an RV find this to be more than enough.
Another bonus is that it has everything needed without having to spend another cent. Included with the SereneLife air conditioner unit is a remote control, setup guide, and a window mount kit, in case you want to keep it off the floor.
It offers three operating modes including fan and dehumidifier so it’s far more than just a standard portable air conditioner.
The window mount kit that came with the SereneLife SLPAC was a bit of a nightmare even though it was marketed as being easy to install.
Some people gave up entirely and opted for keeping it on the floor, but because of its larger size, it seemed pretty bulky.
When you’re dealing with an already tight interior space having something this big can be a hindrance, so make sure you do some measurements before committing.
Another downside to the SereneLife SLPAC is the size and how its weight affects cleaning it. As you have to lift the entire unit to drain it out, you’ll be struggling a bit if you’re working by yourself.
Considering it’s meant to be a portable unit, the heftiness of it at over 53lbs is a little off-putting, but there are wheels on the bottom that can help with dragging it around.
The SereneLife SLPAC was voted the number one best selling portable air conditioner for a reason and if you’re looking for an easy fix for your RV, this is the way to go.
Amazon lists this air conditioner online for a very affordable price and it comes with free shipping and free returns in case there are any problems.
Unfortunately, there’s no word from SereneLife on a warranty which we’re hoping is a mistake, but it’s still a bargain option if you’re strapped for cash but need to get cool fast in your RV.
Alternative: Honeywell MN Series
- Type: Freestanding
- Voltage: 140V
- Weight: 70lbs
For a portable air conditioner that holds the features of a fixed one, you’ll want to check out the Honeywell MN Series.
This is a powerful 10,000 BTU unit that also dehumidifies and blows a fan, with three functions in one.
The system includes a window venting kit, remote control, 24-hour energy-saving timer and is the perfect fit for RVs and spaces up to 450 square feet in size.
It’s hefty at 70lbs and measures 15.2 x 18.1 x 29.4 inches so you’ll need a fair bit of space to make it worth it, but the cool results will be worth it.
The biggest benefit of this air conditioner is that it operates like a much more expensive and permanently installed model.
With 10,000 BTUs of cooling power, it towers over the competition and offers other functions like fan and dehumidification.
You don’t have to spend thousands to get a powerful air conditioner for your RV and Honeywell has proven that with their MN series.
Another cool feature of this air conditioner is the auto-evaporation system which makes it a dream come true for RV owners who want minimal fuss and low maintenance.
There’s no need to drain anything or provide a bucket for it to send water to as it does it all within the system. The Honeywell can run for hours without a sign and it’s nice and quiet for your enjoyment as well.
One of the most notable disadvantages of this unit is the setup, and mainly with the hose. You’ll need to attach the hose so that it’s blowing hot air outside, which sounds easy enough, but seemed to present a lot of problems.
The instructions were difficult to follow and some users had to buy additional parts that weren’t included, and for this price, you simply deserve better.
Another letdown was the customer support that Honeywell offered customers, especially to some of those who had issues and needed help with a warranty.
A few people mentioned waited weeks to hear anything and weren’t thrilled with the response, so if you happen to come across any problems, this is slightly worrying.
All in all, the Honeywell MN series of portable air conditioners bring a lot to the table and offer some of the best cooling power of all that we’ve reviewed.
You can buy them online at Amazon for a discounted price and benefit from free postage, and you’ll also get coverage from Honeywell with a one-year parts warranty and 18-month compressor warranty.
If you want simplicity and a whole lot of cooling power, the Honeywell MN is one of our favorite finds for an RV air conditioner.
RV Air Conditioner FAQs
Choosing the perfect air conditioner for your RV is no easy feat, especially once you start seeing how many options and features there are to select from.
To give you some background information on these appliances and what to look for, we’ve answered a few FAQS that can help you out.
What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need For My RV?
The size of the air conditioner you’ll need for an RV depends on the interior size of the vehicle, and these units are generally measured by BTU or how much output they deliver.
A standard RV air conditioner ranges in size from 11,000 BTU to 15,000 BTU so something in this range should be a good fit for most vehicles.
Can I Use A Portable Air Conditioner In My RV?
Yes, you can use a portable air conditioner in your RV if you don’t want to have one professionally installed and it will provide ample cooling for the small indoor space.
These can use a lot of electricity though, so it’s better to only have it running when you’re connected to mains power, otherwise you could drain your house battery in no time at all.
How Can I Keep My RV Cool Without AC?
If you don’t want to invest in an air conditioner for your RV, there are other methods you can try to keep temperatures cool inside.
Always stay parked in the shade, have adequate roof coverage, keep windows open to invite the breeze, and use a small fan so the air is moving around.
How Many Amps Does A RV Air Conditioner Use?
Keeping track of amps is important if you’re using battery power for an air conditioner, otherwise, it won’t matter if you’re connected to mains power.
A standard RV air conditioner uses around 12 to 16 amps of power but this can vary dramatically based on the unit, its condition, and how many BTUs it operates on.
Keeping Cool on Wheels
With the best rated RV air conditioner sitting inside of your vehicle, you’ll never have to suffer from heat and discomfort again while relaxing or trying to sleep.
This little touch of luxury can make a huge difference on your journey and will set your vehicle apart from others, no matter the weather or conditions outside.