Best Small Air Conditioner for RV: Top 6 Picks

Getting a small air conditioner for RV is one of the most essential to make your rig serve as a second home.

To help you, we picked all best small air conditioners in most common needs of customers, such as low-profile, budget-friendly, high CFM, and so on. Keep reading!

Here are the best small air conditioners for RV you can buy in 2019:

  • Rooftop - Best Overall: Dometic Polar White B57915.XX1C0
  • Rooftop - Low Profile Option: Dometic 640315C
  • Rooftop - High CFM: AIRXCEL 08-0080
  • Rooftop - Budget-Friendly: ASA Electronics ACM135
  • Portable - Best Overall: Honeywell HL14CESWB
  • Portable - Budget-Friendly: BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT

Best Overall: Dometic Polar White B57915.XX1C0

Rooftop
Top Pick
Dometic Polar White B57915.XX1C0
Dometic Polar White B57915.XX1C0
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Feature the strongest motor for improved cooling capacity

  • Easy to install and maintain

  • Quiet operating

Cons
  • The control unit is sold separately

Out of multitudinous RV air conditioners with small capacity, the Dometic B57915.XX1C0 gets my highest scores due to its ultra-quiet operation, energy-saving features, and top technologies.

It features one of the strongest motors for 15% starting increased airflow 15% while keeping the lightest and most compact silhouette. The straightforward design also offers an easier installation that beginners with little to no experience can handle like a breeze.

My most favorite is the new base pan and more structure which makes this Dometic very reliable for recreational vehicle owners.

The heavy-duty components are another big bonus to help it keep up with harsh conditions, like shocks or regular vibrations while driving.

Dometic Polar White B57915.XX1C0 Specifications

Installation type

ducted or non-ducted

Cooling capacity

13,500 BTU/hour

Electrical rating

115V AC, 60 Hz

Fan Motor

1/3 HP fan motor

Airflow

350 CFM

Dimensions

29.2 x 27.2 x 12.7 inches

Highlight Features

High-performance motor and fan
Easy installation and maintenance
Smart design, tighter specification allowances, and improved materials

Verdict

While working so quietly, the improved cooling capacity with powerful motors are the most persuasive features for you to give the Dometic B57915.XX1C0 a try.

Low Profile Option: Dometic 640315C

Rooftop
Dometic 640315C
Dometic 640315C
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Eco-friendly, higher efficiency and better heat releasing

  • Stop dragging to offer extra miles from your gas

  • Ideal for both ducted and non-ducted applications

Cons
  • Not include control kit

  • A bit tricky to set up

What draws me to the Dometic 640315C in the first place is its R410A refrigerant – the latest technologies in air conditioning with an emphasis on higher efficiency and better heat releasing. For that reason, it’s also eco-friendly.

The ultra-low profile is another highlight in this model (with under 10” height). It allows significant minimizing drag while on the move, hence, giving you extra miles from your gas.

Additionally, the RV air conditioner features a high-quality fan that offers an impressive and powerful cooling performance – 13,500 BTU – suited to any types of RVs, especially for medium to small space.

Dometic 640315C Specifications

Installation type

ducted or non ducted

Cooling capacity

13,500 BTUs/hour

Electrical rating

115 V

Fan Motor

1/3 HP fan motor

Airflow

Dimensions

29 x 40 x 9.5 inches

Highlight Features

Aerodynamic low profile, saves fuel, quiet power
Easy-to-reach, easy-to-use controls
3-speed blower, manual, electronic and wall thermostat controls

Verdict

With under 10” height while featuring the top technology of R410 refrigerant, Dometic 640315C is a perfect choice for both non-ducted and ducted applications.

High CFM: AIRXCEL 08-0080

Rooftop
AIRXCEL 08-0080
AIRXCEL 08-0080
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Higher BTU rating and more powerful airflow for decent performance

  • Can offer extra heat up to 5,600 BTU

  • Good performance and protection in terms of heat dissipation

Cons
  • Heavy & expensive

  • Run noisily

The ducted AIRXCEL 08-0080 RV air conditioner comes with numerous features that I adore. With 15,000 BTU – higher rating than the other two, it’s ideal for larger vehicle spaces while the HP fan motor delivers 320 CFM for faster air spreading than any other models on the market.

While covering every base that an RV owner might need, the unit also comes with some extra features.

Such as the condenser coils with large evaporation and raised LANCE fins to deliver decent performance in heat dissipation. Or, the optional heater assembly that can provide heat up to 5,600 BTU.

I also appreciate the all-copper tubing and gas-flux brazed joints. They leverage the durability of the AC itself, giving a few more years to last.

AIRXCEL 08-0080 Specifications

Installation type

Ducted

Cooling capacity

15,000 BTUs/hour

Electrical rating

115 VAC, 60Hz,

Fan Motor

1/3 HP fan motor

Airflow

320 CFM

Dimensions

42 x 28 x 16 in

Highlight Features

Streamlined shape, all-copper tubing, and gas-flux brazed joints
Large evaporator and condenser coils with raised LANCE fins

Verdict

Overall, the 320 CFM airflow and 1/3 HP fan motor are two impressive features that make the AIRXCEL 08-0080 a top-rated choice in this list.

Budget-Friendly: ASA Electronics ACM135

Rooftop
ASA Electronics ACM135
ASA Electronics ACM135
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Plug-in heat strip for heating capabilities in cold weathers

  • Include a foam gasket kit that you don’t need to buy separately

  • Can adjust the airflow

Cons
  • The customer service provided by ASA isn’t good

I bet many year-round RV-ers also want a versatile AC that also features some heating capabilities to survive in punishing cold weathers, right? With a plug-in heat strip, the ASA Electronics ACM135 meets nicely that need with full satisfaction.

I’m also intrigued by the three-speed fan setting as it allows me and my partner to adjust the airflow in certain conditions.

Plus, there’s a foam gasket kit already included that you don’t need to spend time to research and buy it separately.

ASA Electronics ACM135 Specifications

Installation type

non-ducted

Cooling capacity

13,500 BTUs

Electrical rating

115 Volt AC,

Fan Motor

2 amps fan motor

Airflow

Dimensions

33.5 x 25.6 x 15 inches

Highlight Features

The rigid, metal constructed base pan
Premium, thick, watertight vent opening gasket with six dense foam support pads
3 fan speeds

Verdict

ASA Electronics ACM135 is a low-price rooftop air conditioner for RV that doesn’t compromise its quality, durability, and performance.

Best Overall: Honeywell HL14CESWB

Portable
Honeywell HL14CESWB
Honeywell HL14CESWB
9Outstanding
Pros
  • A dual filter can prevent dirt and hair efficiently while requiring low maintenance

  • Easy to install

  • User-friendly for beginners

Cons
  • It makes whirring noise once the compressor is on

  • Heavy

What attracts me the most to this portable AC is a pre-assembled installation kit right out of the box that a person who doesn’t be good at setting up things like me can put it together easily.

Featuring 14,000 BTU, its power is perfect for 550-700 square feet of RV space and there’s also thermal overload protection to keep you rest assured with added safety.

Fans of Honeywell HL14CESWB also commented for the powerful fan. It features automatic vertical wind motion and a three-speed setting that can cool down a 400-sq. ft. room by 15 degrees in 30 minutes.

And if you suddenly want to adjust it at night, it’s when the remote control comes into place. While working so quietly, especially when adding the sleep mode, I also appreciate that the unit provides a 24-hour energy-saving timer.

Honeywell HL14CESWB Specifications

Cooling Capacity

14,000 BTU

Dehumidification Capacity Per Day

111 pints/24 hours

Energy-Saving Timer & Sleep Mode

24-hour energy saving timer & sleep mode

Exhaust Hose Length

10.6″ to 59″

Dimensions

18.9 x 20.5 x 18.2 inches

Highlight Features

Thermal overload protection, dual filters, 3 fan speeds
Sleep mode, digital controls
24-hour energy saving timer & remote control with digital display included

Verdict

Any beginners who are looking for a user-friendly, energy-saving, powerful and quiet RV air conditioner, look no further than the Honeywell HL14CESWB.

Budget-Friendly: BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT

Portable
BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT
BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Multifunction (dehumidification, cools, and air circulation)

  • No crank windows

  • Four attached wheels for easier mobility

  • Responsive remote control

Cons
  • Too wide window vents

  • The instruction isn’t helpful

The BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT is the most multifunctional unit under $280 that I’ve found.

While taking the majority of cooling down 100-150 square feet, it can circulate air to help you stand up the punishing hot temp and importantly, dehumidify your living space pretty well. Many customers found this unit was like a lifesaver for their narrow RV space.

It’s more budget-friendly and portable than the Honeywell. While operating, the noise is measured at 59 dB while other brands at this field usually over 68 dB, which means it’s fairly quiet.

The remote control works well with all options respond immediately. It can pick up strong signals even when you don’t face to the air conditioner.

BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT Specifications

Cooling Capacity

8,000 BTU

Dehumidification Capacity Per Day

Energy-Saving Timer & Sleep Mode

24-hour energy saving timer & sleep mode

Exhaust Hose Length

5 feet

Dimensions

16.5 x 11.5 x 26 inches

Highlight Features

Works in double-hung or sliding windows only
Easy mobility, large area cooling

Verdict

BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT is a good choice under $300 to cool down a small RV space. If that’s also what you’re looking for, give it a try.

How To Choose A Good Small Air Conditioner For RV?

Frequency of RV use

  • First off, ask yourself this question: “Are you going to use your RV all-season or only for winter/summer?” The more frequency of RV use, the more versatile the AC.

  • For example, if you’re a year-round RV owner, you need an air conditioner that not only cools down the hot temp during summer but also helps you survive during winter nights. That’s when an AC with a heat pump/heat strip should come into places.

Your RV space and BTU ratings

  • While an RV air conditioner featuring a lower BTU makes you waste energy as it has to run longer to reach your cooling need, the one with a higher BTU will not only waste energy but also your money.

  • To find out the exact number of BTUs that your RV needs, determine these elements:

    • The area that needs cooling
    • Number of regular people inside
    • Ceiling height
    • Insulation condition
    • Climate
    • Sun exposure
  • You can consult the results from some online BTU calculator websites and besides, I’ll give you a hint. The most common cooling capacity of RV ACs on the market nowadays is 13,500 BTUs and under good insulation condition, hot temp, and average sun exposure, it’s good for 450-650 square feet of spaces.

Types

  • For RV use, two common types of air conditioners are:
    • Rooftop: They are usually placed over an RV roof’s window. You should choose a lightweight and compact model to avoid causing bulk and height to the vehicle.

    • Portable: This type is usually for an RV with a weak ceiling. They are usually equipped with an adjustable frame placed beneath the window to keep its hose in place and mostly, you should vent it through a window. For easier mobility, consider attached wheels and built-in handles.

  • If you’re not brilliant at installing things, find a model with pre-assembled installation kit.

Which Brands Make The Best Small Air Conditioner For RV?

Dometic

  • You’ll find Dometic as a top-picked in many collected review articles about small air conditioners for RV and that’s not surprising because this is a 100-year company that great Albert Einstein is impressed. Their products are reliable for a great warranty, quality, and performance.

AIRXCEL

  • Unlike Dometic, AIRXCEL is a holding company of quality brands. Their products are mainly in house appliances and recently, expanded to RV furniture. Thanks to the applications of creativity and innovation, their RV ACs are commented for phenomenal performance and durability.

ASA Electronics

  • Founded in 1977, ASA Electronics is another well-known brand with a long-standing history. Their products are the most favorite option of worldwide customers with a tight budget when it comes to rooftop ACs for their RV due to the top-notch quality.

Honeywell

  • I bet that everyone has heard at least once about this brand, right? While being a trustful brand in many industries, such as buildings & cities, chemicals & materials, they also earn great success in RV air conditioners.

BLACK+DECKER

  • The last Mr. Giant in this list is BLACK+DECKER – a renowned brand for innovative tools for builders, protectors, makers, and explorers since 1843. In terms of small ACs for RV, their products highlight the multifunction and durability while keeping a competitive price range that anyone can buy.

FAQs

Can I run my RV AC on 110?

If your RV AC is 13,500 BTUs, that will be okay. For added safety, use a voltage meter to plug into an AC outlet, if it’s green, you can run your RV AC finely.

How much power does an RV AC use?

To know the peaking wattages and running wattages of your RV AC, this table below is really useful:

Power Capacity of an AC

(BTU)

Starting wattages

(W)

Running wattages

(W)

5,000

1,100 – 1,300

300 – 450

7,000

1,600 – 1,800

500 – 650

10,000

1,900 – 2,050

600 – 750

13,500

2,700 – 2,900

1,000 – 1,300

15,000

3,200 – 3,500

1,200 – 1,700

Can I run an air conditioner with solar power?

After converting the DC energy of solar panels into the AC power, it’s possible to run an RV AC with solar power.

The thing you should consider is how many panels are enough to run it, which depends on:

  • Energy consumption of your AC

  • Power loss during the conversion

  • Power capacity of each solar panel

For example, if a solar panel produces 250W, to run a 1500W AC, it will need 6 units.

Conclusion

There’s nothing more terrible than getting stuck in a confined box of unrelenting heat for hours traveling, right? That’s why you should spend time and effort to consider a suitable small air conditioner for RV.

Hope this article help you find your best one. Thanks for reading!

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