The significance of an AC unit if you’re traveling in the US is a no-brainer. Even if it’s just a short trip, you need to get your hands on one of those RV air conditioners.
To make your job of finding the right AC a thousand times easier, I’ve spent a long time finding the 10 best RV air conditioners that’ll last you a lifetime. Though, in all honesty, the lifetime part is somewhat hyperbolic 🙂
If you’re investing in a new RV air conditioner and also a fan of boondocking, you might want to take a closer look at your RV battery situation.
1. Dometic Brisk II Evolution
If you’re an experienced traveler, you’ll definitely know of Dometic. However, what you probably don’t know is that they make fantastic RV air conditioners.
The Brisk ll Polar White is one of Dometic’s newer AC units. It’s a roof-mounted unit that comes in two heat options. You could order one with a higher cooling rate of 15.000 BTU or go with the standard 13.500 BTU setup.
This bad boy clocks in at around 55 lb. Not the lightest aircon out there, but it’s not insanely heavy either. It’s a 110-volt 2.800-watt machine, so it does place a decent load on the generator.
It doesn’t have many compatibility issues either. The design works fine with both a duct and ductless rig. The 13.500 BTU version should suffice unless you live in an overly hot climate.
The cooling system also has dampeners for reducing noise and vibration. It’s an overall top-quality AC unit that has no notable issues. The only downside is that it does not come with a heat pump.
- Very high BTU rating
- Surprisingly quiet
- Duct and ductless compatible
- Comes in at $736
- No heat pump
- Tough to clean
2. Dometic Blizzard NXT 15K
The Dometic Blizzard is a super versatile unit for ducted RVs. It’s quite an AC beast with a 15.000 BTU rating and an effective range of 750 sq. ft.
It also offers a modest 350 cubic feet of airflow per minute. Though that is on the max setting, most people usually keep it at 250 to keep the noise to a minimum.
It’s capable of covering such a vast area due to its larger blades. You’d think the noise level would be loud with larger blades but with its noise cancelling technology you’d have to set it to max to be able to hear it operate.
The reason it doesn’t get placed higher up on the list is because of its relatively expensive price. It’s priced at $1.450 which isn’t ideal for everyone looking at new RV air conditioners. But keep in mind that this model also features a heat pump which might explain the steeper price rag.
- Features a heat pump
- Able to cover 750 sq. ft.
- Almost completely silent
- Costs a whopping $1.450
- Weighs 105 lb.
- Thermostat is outdated
3. Dometic Penguin II
Another Dometic AC? Are you serious, Jakob? Well, as previously mentioned, Dometic produces some of the best RV air conditioners on the market.
The Dometic Penguin II is no exception. It’s a less versatile cousin of the Dometic Brisk, and is a mid-sized rooftop AC unit with a 11.000 BTU rating. It’s one of the more fuel-efficient models on this list. Though, the key feature is its streamlined design.
It’s one of the flattest rooftop AC units you can get with a height of just 10 inches. As an RVer, you likely know that the flatter the better when it comes to anything that goes above the roof.
Just like its cousin, the Penguin II can also work with both duct and ductless systems. The control system for both is top-notch. The module board is designed to help you with the installation. The entire design is very beginner-friendly.
One downside to the design is the noise. Flat AC models tend to make more noise than regular ones. You win some, and you lose some, but the trade-off is worth it for people with a low garage.
- One of the flattest AC units
- Covers up to 675 sq. ft.
- Very easy to install
- Tends to make a little noise
- Only for cooling
- Pretty steep price
4. Coleman Mach 15+
The Coleman Mach 15+ is one of the strongest AC units out of all the units that made this list. The temperature control capacity is 15.000 BTU, and it has a 1/3 HP fan motor. That makes it one of the largest units too.
It has a splendid performance at the cost of eating up more space.
The unit can control the temperature of 750 sq feet of area. It has the best area coverage among most other ACs on the market. Despite weighing over 40 kilograms, it consumes a mere 15 amps of power on max settings.
This AC unit is perfect in most areas, but it lacks versatility. Unfortunately for some people, it’s a duct-only AC. It also comes in a set temperature capacity of 15.000 BTUs. So you don’t have the option to go for a lighter model.
- Very high BTU rating
- Surprisingly efficient
- Can cover a large area
- Costs a whopping $1.370
- It runs a little loud
- Comes in a crappy package
5. ASA ACM135
The ASA ACM135 is not as well-known as the other RV air conditioners on this list. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of it. But this little AC unit stands proudly with quite a few features that the other ACs don’t have.
It is surprisingly sturdy with a rigid metal frame and weather-proof covering. You can pretty much take it anywhere in any weather without damaging it.
The BTU clocks in at 13.500, and the power draw is 115V or 14A so it’s fairly energy efficient. It’s also a lot lighter than most other RV air conditioners with a total weight of just about 50 lb. (22 kg).
All in all, it’s a very decent choice for most RVers. Sadly it’s not compatible with ductless RVs so you’ll have to make sure your RV is ready for a duct-needy AC.
- Costs a mere $676
- Adjustable fan speeds
- Surprisingly lightweight
- Instructions are useless
- Quite loud
- Control knobs fall off
6. Dometic Penguin HP
The Dometic Penguin HP is one of the best RV air conditioners on the market. The Penguin HP comes with the same trusty Dometic core and a heat pump. It’s a dual-use AC that is suitable for both duct and ductless setups. Handy, right?
It’s a 15.000 BTU beast with a coverage area of 750 sq feet. The coverage and BTU level combined makes it one of the best choices for heavy-duty usage. It’s one of those RV air conditioners that can cool down even the largest RV trailer.
This unit fits every suitable AC installation location. Most RVs have 14-inch windows or holes for this sort of thing. The only downside to it is that you need to buy some extra assembly materials to fix it to the ceiling. So, it’s not entirely a standalone product 🙁
- Features a heat pump
- Fits practically anywhere
- Really powerful
- Not very efficient
- Runs very light
- Not a standalone product
7. Atwood Air Command
Duct AC units are always a better hit than ductless ones. That’s partly because duct RVs are subjectively better, and ductless RVs are going out of style. So it’s refreshing to see an AC unit catering to the new style exclusively.
It’s a 2.000-watt power-hungry monster that blasts at 15.000 BTUs. There are claims that it can go higher than that, but I haven’t seen anyone do it so far. I even tried hooking it up with a 9.000 generator, and there was no noticeable change. That being said, a BTU of 15.000 is more than enough for a mid-sized RV.
It’s surprisingly easy to install too, I’m sure more casual folks would appreciate that. The downside is its weight. It’s one of the heavier ACs on this list.
- Enormous BTU rating
- Surprisingly easy to install
- Very, very silent
- Power-hungry monster
- One of the heavier ACs
- Doesn’t look very modern
8. Coleman Mach 15
This list of RV air conditioners wouldn’t be complete without featuring a few products from Coleman. The Mach 15 is the little brother to the Mach 15+ (#4 on this list).
It’s a modest little unit with a BTU rating of 13.500 and a heat capacity of 5.600. It’s really a well-rounded unit with most of the features you want in a mini-split AC.
The airflow rate is 320 cubic feet/minute. And it has an effective area of 725 sq. ft. It’s a power saver model, so the overall power consumption is lower than the average air conditioners on the market. It has a modest weight range but feels a tad flimsy.
I found it easy to install and use. My experience with it is better than some other more complex options. However, it does make some noise and it’s not compatible with ductless RVs which is also another downside.
- Easy to install
- Cools extremely well
- Features a heat pump
- Somewhat noisy
- Not ductless compatible
- Feels a little flimsy
9. Airxcel Mach 8 Plus
Are you tired of all the bulky RV air conditioners that are everywhere on the market? It’s fairly difficult to find a smaller, more manageable alternative. The Airxcel Mach 8 Plus might just be what you’re looking for. It has the perfect combination of power and size to stand out as one of the best mini AC units on the market.
It’s a modest 13.500 BTU unit with a coverage of up to 675 sq. ft. The airflow speed can reach over 250 cubic feet/minute at MAX settings. Aside from its modest specs, it clocks in at less than 55 lb. (25 kg), making it one of the lightest units of the bunch.
The only downside of The Mach 8 Plus is the power consumption. It sucks up around 15.5A, which is considerably high for its size. But that should not be much of an issue, since it only happens on max settings.
- Extremely lightweight
- Easy to install
- Pretty cheap
- Not very efficient
- A little noisy
- Not particularly durable
10. Furrion 14.5K Chill
Furrion is one of the most underrated mini-split ACs. It’s a rooftop AC unit with a manual controller with a 14500 BTU rating. It draws around 14.5 amps or close to 1700 watts which is slightly above-average in terms of power efficiency.
The fan on this unit is a large inverter, but that doesn’t affect its energy efficiency. It can start without a hitch even with a 2500 generator. The manual controller has multiple position settings to help things along and it’s compatible with both duct and ductless systems. So, there really aren’t many user restrictions on this thing.
It also has a start capacitor to help the start-up in unfavorable conditions. That comes in handy when you need to start the AC with a low power generator. There are even dual registers for the distributor which helps maintain airflow. The only downside is the noise level which is admittedly a bit loud for my taste.
- Works practically anywhere
- Installation is easy
- Cheaper than competitors
- It’s not a silent AC
- Box was damaged upon arrival
- Poor instructions
Things can quickly get confusing when browsing through hundreds of new RV air conditioners. It’s much like naming your pet turtle. It’s tough!
Some of the things you might want to consider are:
- Duct or duct-less: Ducted systems are harder to install and usually costs more but they’re much more efficient than duct-less systems.
- Sizing: If you’re upgrading your current AC, you’ll probably want your new RV air conditioner to fit the hole of your old one.
- Positioning: You have two options on where to place the AC. The rooftop is the old-fashioned style, and the under-bench setup is the newer one.
It really comes down to personal preferences in the end but be sure to take a look at the ratings to steer clear of potential hurdles you might’ve run into.
Other than that, I wish you the best of luck finding an RV air conditioner 🙂