Reviews

Best RV Air Conditioners: Efficient And Affordable Cooling Solutions For Your Camper

Cool your RV and make camping a comfortable adventure with these top RV air conditioners.

With decades of combined experience covering the latest news, reviewing the greatest gear, and advising you on your next car purchase, The Drive is the leading authority on all things automotive.

The Drive on YouTube The Drive on Facebook The Drive on Instagram

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.

BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON November 8, 2021

If you love spending time in your RV, whether it’s parked at your favorite national park, or driving all over the country exploring, one thing is certain: hot, humid nights create unhappy campers. Investing in a quality RV air conditioner can be a game-changer when it comes to creating a comfortable, climate-controlled environment that’s perfect for sleeping. Today’s RV air conditioners are efficient and powerful units that will cool your space quickly and help cut down on mold-causing humidity, keeping your RV cleaner and healthier. They come in a variety of sizes, installation configurations, and vary greatly in price. To help aid you in the decision-making process, we’ve come up with a list of some of the best and most reliable RV air conditioners on the market.

Best Overall
ASA Electronics ACM135 Advent Air RV Air Conditioner
LEARN MORE
Summary
Summary

This 13,500 BTU AC unit is manufactured to be extra durable and effectively withstand harsh weather and temperatures while still running reliably.

Pros
Pros
  • Compatible with most RV makes and models
  • Reasonably priced
  • Features an optional plug-in heat strip
Cons
Cons
  • Concern over long-term reliability
  • Control knobs tend to come off easily
Best Overall
ASA Electronics ACM135 Advent Air RV Air Conditioner
Best Value
Dometic Brisk II Rooftop Air Conditioner
LEARN MORE
Summary
Summary

This RV AC unit is our best value pick because of its great performance and affordable price point. It features a 15 percent increase in air flow over its predecessor, cooling your space quickly.

Pros
Pros
  • Tough design withstands shocks and vibrations
  • Compact structure works in any RV
  • Limited power consumption
Cons
Cons
  • Noisier operation than some other options
  • Base pan is less durable than rest of AC unit
Best Value
Dometic Brisk II Rooftop Air Conditioner
Honorable Mention
RecPro RV Air Conditioner 15K
LEARN MORE
Summary
Summary

This 15,000 BTU RV air conditioner functions as a heater in addition to an air conditioner, allowing you to kill two birds with one stone and save valuable RV space in the process.

Pros
Pros
  • Rugged, streamlined design
  • Compact height works well with almost any RV model
  • Improved efficiency over previous models
Cons
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Installation manual can be confusing
  • Heavier than some other units on the market
Honorable Mention
RecPro RV Air Conditioner 15K
RV Air Conditioner isolated on light green background
Amazon

Why Trust Us


Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more

Best RV Air Conditioners Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall
ASA Electronics ACM135 Advent Air RV Air Conditioner

When it comes to our top pick for the best overall RV air conditioner, it’s got to be the ASA Electronics ACM135 Advent Air RV Air Conditioner. It’s a 13,500 BTU unit capable of effectively and quickly cooling even large RVs. Manufactured to be durable, this rooftop air conditioner is designed to withstand some of the harshest elements, from direct sunlight to driving rain and wind. It also features a rigid, all-metal construction base pan.


We also like that this air conditioner comes with everything you need to get up and running quickly — and you can also get an optional plug-in heat strip for added customization. A high-quality, thick, watertight vent opening gasket features six foam pads that ensure no water gets through, even in the most driving rain. 


This unit also fits ideally with most standard 14.25 x 14.25-inch vent openings, making it a versatile choice for a wide range of RVs. There have been a few customer complaints about the overall cooling capability, but these issues have been limited to just a selection of units. Our advice would be to try it out immediately upon arrival so you can troubleshoot any issues early on.

Specs:

  • Brand: ASA Electronics
  • Model: Advent 13.5
  • Weight: 50 pounds

Pros:

  • Relatively affordable
  • Fits most RV makes and models
  • Can add an optional plug-in heat strip

Cons:

  • Some concern over long-term cooling power
  • Doesn’t include inside ceiling kit with purchase
  • Control knobs fall off easily
Best Value
Dometic Brisk II Rooftop Air Conditioner

The Dometic Brisk II Rooftop Air Conditioner sets itself apart from the competition with a bunch of features that you’ll normally find on pricier models. This RV air conditioner packs a respectable 13,500 BTUs of power that can cool recreational vehicles of all sizes. You don’t need to worry about the power consumption, as this model offers a 15 percent increase in airflow from its previous version, while still drawing the same amount of power. As a result, the Brisk II is now compatible with standard air vents. You get better cooling capacity since the distribution box uses central air delivery. 


Moreover, the unit is made from quality materials for better durability, absorbing shocks and vibrations, as well as all types of weather, with its stable and strong frame. One thing to watch out for with this model is the base pan. It’s less durable than the rest of the unit and customers have reported that it’s also a bit noisier during operation than some other models. The packaging is another issue that needs to be addressed since the box doesn’t protect the unit from major damage during shipping. Finally, the starting electrical load is too high for small generators.

Specs:

  • Brand: Dometic
  • Model: ‎B59516.XX1J0
  • Weight: 74 pounds

Pros:

  • Rugged, streamlined design
  • Compact height works well with almost any RV model
  • Improved efficiency over previous models

Cons:

  • Base pan is not very durable
  • Noisier than some other options
  • Control unit is sold separately, adding to the overall cost
Best Premium
RecPro RV Air Conditioner 15K

The RecPro RV Air Conditioner 15K gets high marks for being one of the only units on our list that’s both an air conditioning and a heating unit, letting you extend your RV season to the max. It’s a non-ducted setup that’s quick and easy to install. Like most other air conditioners on the market, it’s available in black or white and runs off 115 volts of power. This unit features a quiet operating noise level of less than 60 decibels and draws just 12 amps for heating and 14 amps for cooling, which is less than many other models available. That translates into less electricity use for you which can amount to significant savings over time. 


This unit also comes with a straightforward and easy-to-read wireless remote control for added convenience. While it is on the high end of the price range, this air conditioner does come with everything you need for installation and since it doubles as a heater, it’s actually a great value for your investment.

Specs:

  • Brand: RecPro
  • Model: RP-AC3800
  • Weight: 80.3 pounds

Pros:

  • Can be used as an AC unit and also as a heating unit
  • Sleek and modern looking
  • Comes with everything you need for complete installation

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Installation manual can be confusing
  • Heavier than some other units on the market
Best Dual-Motor
Furrion Chill 15,500 BTU RV Rooftop AC

The Furrion Chill 15,500 BTU RV Rooftop AC features a sleek and modern design that fits almost any RV. It has a powerful output of 15,500 BTU, which is ideal for cooling medium to large RVs quickly, and it’s equipped with dual-fan technology and features a lightweight insulated heat exchanger housing and an isolated plastic base. 


This unit features 50 percent greater cooling capacity and 40 percent better energy efficiency when compared to many other models we looked at, too. We also like that this RV air conditioner is built with the brand’s ClimateSmart and VibrationSmart technologies that help improve its overall durability and longevity. 


The Chill also has a UV-resistant cover with thermal insulation to protect components from damage due to heat, rain, sun, and debris. One thing many users note is that installation of this unit can be somewhat difficult compared to other models and that the instruction manual is not as clear or understandable as it should be if you’re doing a self-install.

Specs:
  • Brand: Furrion
  • Model: FACR15SA-PS-AM
  • Weight: 84 pounds

Pros:

  • Powerful enough to cool larger RVs
  • Uses eco-friendly coolant
  • Boasts the highest energy efficiency rating on the market 

Cons:

  • Instruction manual needs to be easier to understand
  • Heavy
  • Doesn’t come with everything you need to do a complete installation
Most Versatile
Coleman 48204C866 Mach 15+ A/C Unit

If you want the ultimate in functionality, versatility, and aerodynamic design, check out the Coleman 48204C866 Mach 15+ A/C Unit. This unit is one of the most powerful RV air conditioners you can buy. It features a 1/3 HP fan motor, which is the largest available in an RV air conditioning unit and it can move air at an impressive 320 CFM. 


It fits perfectly in most existing 14 x 14-inch rooftop vent openings, making it a great choice for almost any RV make and model. It’s charged with eco-friendly R-410A refrigerant, which is better for the environment than typical freon. And with 15,000 BTUs of power, you can be sure your RV will be cooled to your liking in no time. 


It has a streamlined design that helps enhance airflow over the top of the unit and allows for improved cooling efficiency. Gas-flux brazed joints and all-copper tubing are durable construction elements that you won’t find in all RV air conditioner models. This unit is also set up to accept an optional heater assembly that’s capable of pumping out up to 5,600 BTUs of heat. It is, however, one of the pricier units on our list and it doesn’t come with an included thermostat.

Specs:
  • Brand: Coleman
  • Model: 08-0080
  • Weight: 90 pounds

Pros:

  • Can be modified to be a heater as well as an air conditioner
  • Compatible with almost all RV makes and models
  • Features the largest and most powerful fan motor on the market

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • One of the heaviest units on our list
  • Doesn’t come with an included thermostat

How We Selected the Products

Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. While we haven’t conducted real-world testing yet on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.

In order to be sure we chose the best available and most reliable RV air conditioners, we weeded through countless dozens of options available. When it comes to RV air conditioners, there is a surprising number of choices, so we narrowed it down by relying on our own personal expertise, as well as the experiences of thousands of satisfied, and unsatisfied, customers. 

In the end, we also wanted to provide you with options that were suitable for a wide variety of RV makes and models, and not specialized to one specific RV type, because let’s face it, there are a ton of different RV styles and sizes out there. We further eliminated options that were manufactured by companies that didn’t already have a stellar reputation and a long-standing track record of producing high-performance, durable products. The result is the list you see above.

Buying Guide/What to Look For 

When it comes to selecting the ideal RV air conditioner to suit your needs, there are several key factors that, if addressed appropriately, will ensure you get a great product that will last you a long time. After all, RV air conditioners aren’t cheap, so you want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your investment won’t be left sweating and miserable on those 100-degree days.

Benefits of RV Air Conditioners

  • Customizable comfort level. When the temperature outside becomes unbearable, you’ll appreciate the cool air inside your RV. Whether you’re camping or on the road, an efficient RV air conditioner is a necessity. It makes the difference between a comfortable experience and one you’d rather forget. 
  • Clean indoor air. The air quality inside the RV gets better with an AC unit installed. No more dust or allergies; fresh and moving air is less likely to breed germs or impact the health of those living on board.

Types of RV Air Conditioners

Rooftop 

Rooftop air conditioner units are popular since they save you space inside the RV. Their ideal place on top of the vehicle means the brisk air outside cools the RV AC unit, and low-profile units consume less energy and have a lower risk of damage when passing under bridges. Rooftop AC systems come in two options: ducted and non-ducted. Ducted systems are suited for large RVs, as they push the cool air to all corners of the RV. Non-ducted units are suitable for smaller RVs and cost less.  

Under Bench

The under-bench RV air conditioner, as you might expect, is located inside your vehicle. It’s stored under a seating bench or inside a cabinet. So while it does take up valuable storage space inside your RV, it’s a perfect option if you have an RV with a curved or already overcrowded roof. It does allow you to keep your windows free and unaffected by ductwork.

Portable

Portable units have a smaller size and a better design, as you can move them around, and they don’t require installation. They take up space inside the RV and need extra care for handling. The units are energy efficient but require a hose to avoid water leakage. Instead of the usual refrigeration process, the unit evaporates the air and releases a cold air stream to cool the area. 

Top Brands

Dometic

A Swedish company opening its doors in 2001, it manufactures a wide range of products, designed for recreational vehicles. With a global distribution network dealing in over 100 countries. Its product line continues to evolve, including everything from camping gear to power systems for RVs and boats. Among its top climate control systems for RVs is the Dometic B59516.XX1J0 Brisk, favored for its powerful cooling effects. 

Atwood

This brand falls under the Dometic manufacturing umbrella, but it’s still worth noting. It was successfully bought out due to its high-grade products spanning from heating systems to windows and doors. Focusing on the recreational vehicle industry, you’re likely to find an Atwood product in just about every modern RV. An Illinois-based company, it dates back to 1909, continuing to innovate tech in the RV industry. One of its helpful products when setting up an RV air conditioner is the Atwood Ducted Ceiling Assembly

Furrion

Furrion is a company that’s dedicated to melding modern luxury with sustainability. The founding partners met as engineers on a megayacht crew, so they understand what luxury mobile living means on a personal level. 

Coleman

Founded in Kingfisher, Okla. in 1900 by William Coffin Coleman, this company has been manufacturing and delivering reliable and trusted camping and outdoor equipment for more than 120 years. From tents and sleeping bags, to camp stoves, gas-powered generators, and RV air conditioners like the Coleman 48204C869 RV Air Conditioner, there’s almost nothing you can’t get to make your camping or RV experience as comfortable as possible.

Key Features

BTU Power

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit and it’s a technical specification that can help you decide which AC suits your RV based on its size and average local weather conditions. The average AC unit has 13,500 BTU power. This is enough power to cool down a large RV. Humid weather conditions demand more BTU power in your AC. If you visit areas with high humidity or extreme temperatures, you’ll need to invest in a unit with more BTU power. 

Power Consumption

Air conditioning units consume a lot of energy, so choosing a unit that consumes less power saves you money in the long run. 

Air Purifier

Air with poor quality is a health hazard, especially for people prone to allergies or respiratory issues. Not all RV air conditioners have built-in air purifying systems. Those that have them, however, do a good job of removing odors. The air purifier improves the quality of the air inside the RV and keeps it fresh and clean, regardless of the conditions outside.

Size

Not all RV air conditioners are manufactured to the same size specifications. Be sure to measure your existing unit or the hole for the AC unit prior to purchasing. This is true for rooftop units, under-bench models, and window units. Most rooftop openings measure 14 x 14 inches, but some can be smaller or larger, depending on the manufacturer.

FAQs

Q: Can I heat my RV with the air conditioning unit as well?

You cannot use the unit to heat the RV in cold weather unless it comes with a heat pump. If your AC doesn’t have a heat pump, you can buy heat strips or a heater assembly kit. 

Q: How often should I maintain my RV air conditioner?

Every two months. Check for cracks in the plastic. Clean the filters and air vents and check for wear and tear marks on the unit.

Q: Can I run my RV air conditioner on battery power?

While you technically can run your RV air conditioner using battery power, it’s not recommended. RV air conditioners are power draws that can quickly drain your batteries down to an unusable state, even with plentiful solar panels to help recharge them. It’s usually best to run your AC only when the engine is running, plugged into pedestal power, or by using an appropriately sized gas-powered generator. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know what to look for in a top-quality, high-performance RV air conditioner, it’s probably easy to see why we chose the ASA Electronics ACM135 Advent Air RV Air Conditioner as our top pick. It’s a reasonably priced unit that’s compatible with most RV makes and models. It also comes with an optional plug-in heat strip, making it an even better value. 

For a more budget-friendly option, we like the Dometic Brisk II Rooftop Air Conditioner. It’s a well-built RV air conditioner that comes with a lot of features you will only find in pricier models. This newly revamped version also offers a 15 percent increase in airflow from its previous version, giving you a bigger bang for your buck.