RV owners have a lot to think about when it comes to their vehicles, but one of the most important considerations comes when they purchase a new RV AC unit. They not only have to consider the look of the unit or the reliability of the company that manufactures it, but they also have to think about the unit’s shape, how easy it is to install, and the amount of BTUs the unit produces—among other considerations. To help our consumers choose the one that’s likely to work well for them, we’ve decided to review some of the best RV air conditioners currently available. Models that perform well, aren’t too difficult to install and have an aerodynamic shape.
Quick Summary of Rv Air Conditioners
Airxcel 08-0080 Mach 15
Anyone who might have been familiar with the previous version of this RV air conditioner might want to take a few minutes out of their busy day and look at it again. That’s because they’ve updated the Airxcel Mach 15 and are now charging them with R-410A. In our opinion, it also appears that they’ve made a few other updates that make this model quite the performer. Although it might look like other RV AC units, this model does stand out on its own merits. It’s a model that has a strong output of cold air and is one of the largest RV AC units a person could buy. Let’s take a closer look at this model and see what features it offers the consumer.
As we said earlier, this model produces 15,000 BTUs of cold air and is equipped with a 1/3-HP fan motor for delivering that air. The fan delivers the air so well, the RV owner can expect up to 320 cubic feet of airflow per minute. It’s capable of delivering this level of airflow because it has a shape that’s been streamlined over the years. Another thing that they did was to equip this product with large evaporator and condenser coils. These larger coils help the system dissipate heat faster than other RV units can do. With the ability to dissipate heat more quickly, the consumer can expect the air blown out of it to get cooler quicker.
This RV air conditioner is also built to exacting standards that allow it to not only outperform other air conditioners but also outlast them. It’s made with all-copper tubing and brazed joints that ensure that this model is going to last a very long time. It also comes with an AC shroud that helps to provide condenser coil protection. All of which makes the unit as durable as it is reliable.
- This is a product that’s easy to install.
- It delivers 15,000 BTUs of cooling.
- This model is equipped with a 1/3-HP fan.
Dometic Brisk II Rooftop AC Unit
Another RV air conditioner that we thought delivered great performance was this one from Dometic. The Brisk II is an AC unit that does cost more than many of the other units that we’ve reviewed but is also very reliable and capable of providing a good amount of cold air. This is a model that is also smaller and more environmentally friendly most of the other air conditioners in its price range. And because it’s lighter than most other models, it’s also a lot easier to install. It can be installed for both ducted and non-ducted applications.
It’s also worth mentioning that this model uses R-410A refrigerant—a refrigerant that absorbs heat and releases heat more quickly. Because it’s capable of pulling heat from the air and venting it to the outside, it can deliver cool air faster. That makes it the perfect air conditioner for a person to install with their RV.
When compared against the Dometic Brisk I, this model provides a 15% increased airflow and is almost 20% lighter. It’s a product that’s easy to install and is even easier for the consumer to maintain. And since it’s backed by a 2-year warranty, the consumer can rest assured that this air conditioner isn’t going to clunk out at an inconvenient time.
Taking all of this model’s features into consideration, it should be easy for people to see why this unit made our list. It’s an extremely durable model, it’s engineered using high-tech materials, and has been fitted with a newly designed base pan. It seems like Dometic put everything together when they created this high-quality unit. The only thing that keeps it from our number one spot is its increased price. Otherwise, it would’ve jumped to the front of our reviews. It’s a well-built product that we believe does a good job of cooling the air inside the RV and isn’t noisy about it.
- This AC unit is easy to install.
- This unit delivers 15,000 BTUs.
- It comes with a 2-year warranty.
- This model costs more than some comparable models.
Dometic Brisk II 13,500 BTU Rooftop AC Unit
Although this product is on our number three spot, it’s really just a less powerful version of the RV air conditioner that can be found in our number two position. This is a quality air conditioner that’s less expensive than the previous model we’ve reviewed, but also has less power than that model. While our number two air conditioner could produce 15,000 BTUs of cooling, this model is only capable of producing 13,500 BTUs of cooling. Fortunately, its reduced price-tag and its lower profile might allow people to overlook this model’s lower performance and might make it a more attractive model.
This model is approximately 29-5/8-inches by 13-7/8-inches by 27-5/8-inches and weighs a little bit under 80-pounds. It’s a model that can be used for ducted or ductless installations and is equipped with dampening brackets that help to reduce the unit’s vibration and therefore its noise level. This is a model that provides great airflow and has a fan that’s quiet.
We’d also like to state that we loved the design of this model. Its sleek, low-profile design allows it to do its job well and do it while maintaining aerodynamic performance. This is a product made from some of the best materials available and is equipped with a newly designed base pan. It’s also a model that’s backed by a two-year warranty that should give consumers some peace of mind.
Keeping all of these features in mind, we have no qualms about recommending this high-quality RV unit. It might not have made it to our number one spot, but it is an inexpensive model that we feel many consumers are going to enjoy installing in their RV. And we do think consumers are going to enjoy installing this model considering how easy it is to install.
- It has dampening brackets that reduce vibration and noise.
- This product is easy to install and maintain.
- This model is an inexpensive unit.
- Not as powerful as other units we’ve reviewed.
A Buying Guide To RV Air Conditioners
When it comes to buying their first RV air conditioner, many people freeze up. We don’t mean that literally, we just mean that they begin to think about all of their options and then become confused at which features work best for their needs. To help our readers combat this problem, we’ve decided to write this guide on this subject. It’s our hope that this guide will help our readers narrow down their choices and choose the model that will work best for their needs.
Choosing A Type Of RV Air Conditioner
Even though most RV air conditioner buying guides begin by discussing BTUs, we’re going to deviate from the norm and talk about the different types of RV AC units. These units can be divided into one of four different categories: Rooftop models, vent-free models, window models, and portable models. Let’s examine each of these and look over their pros and cons.
Rooftop AC Units
These units are designed to save the consumer some space by sitting on top of the roof. The lowest powered models are approximately 5,000 BTUs and the highest-powered models are in the range of 15,000 BTUs. These models are sometimes ducted and sometimes are non-ducted. However, the installation of these models can be difficult—particularly since many of them weigh over 80-pounds.
Vent-Free Portable AC Units
These units are easier to install than rooftop units and don’t require ventilation. They’re small and can usually be easily placed in a corner of the RV. They go by a variety of different names but the most common name used for them are swamp coolers. Although these models are easy to use and perform well, for the most part, they don’t work so well in humid conditions.
Window AC Units
These are very much like the units that many people employ in their homes, except a little smaller. They do a good job of cooling and don’t eat up floor space, but they can be a bit noisy. Fortunately, they’re easy to install, so they’re a good option for people who don’t want to mess with the installation of a rooftop air conditioner.
Portable Air Conditioners
The last category of air conditioners we’d like to discuss are portable AC units. These models come with adjustable frames with hoses that connect to the main unit. Unfortunately, these units aren’t very energy efficient and can be a big pain to install.
Okay, now we can talk about the BTUs of the air conditioners. The BTUs, or British Thermal Units, tell the consumer how well the air conditioner is going to cool down the area. Below are some recommended BTUs for certain size areas. Once the consumer takes a look at them they can determine how many BTUs they need according to the space they have available.
- A 200 Square-Foot Area Needs 8,000 BTUs
- A 300 Square-Foot Area Needs 10,000 BTUs
- A 400 Square-Foot Area Needs 12,000 BTUs
- A 600 Square-Foot Area Needs 14,000 BTUs
- Over 600 Square-Feet Needs 15,000+ BTUs
Ducted Or Non-Ducted Air Conditioners
Consumers also get confused about whether or not they ducted or non-ducted air conditioners. However, it really isn’t all that difficult. Ducted units integrate with the airflow system in the RV. While this makes it a more expensive option, it also makes it more efficient and quieter. Non-ducted units are cheaper but noisier and less efficient.
The consumer should keep in mind that it can be expensive and difficult to replace a non-ducted air conditioner in an RV with a ducted air conditioner. Therefore, the consumer should give it serious thought before doing so.
Additional Features To Consider
The above features are enough to give consumers a road map that will enable them to buy the best RV air conditioner for their needs. However, there are one or two other features that the consumer might want to consider to make sure that the model they choose is one that is as convenient to use as it is powerful. With that said, below are a few optional features that the consumer might want to consider.
- Whether it has a low-profile design
- Whether it has a well-designed base pan
- Whether it has an optional heat pump or not
- Dampening brackets to reduce vibrations and noise levels.
- The size and power of the unit’s blower fan.
- Whether the unit comes with detailed instructions or not.
- Whether ducting comes with the unit.
- The number of people it takes to install the unit.
- The amount of airflow the unit provides.