Air Flow Gurus

Stay Cool on the Road: The Best Small Air Conditioners for RVs

Best Small Air Conditioners for Recreational Vehicles: Stay Cool on the RoadVenturing on a road trip in the comfort of your recreational vehicle (RV) is an exciting and liberating experience. However, as temperatures rise outside, the inside of your RV can quickly become unbearably hot.

That’s where a reliable and efficient air conditioner comes in to save the day. In this article, we will explore the best small air conditioners for RVs, ensuring you can keep your cool even on the hottest summer days.

Best Small Air Conditioners for Recreational Vehicles

When it comes to finding the best small air conditioners for recreational vehicles, there are a few key factors to consider. First and foremost is the unit’s size and cooling capacity.

You want an air conditioner that is compact enough to fit comfortably on your RV’s rooftop while also providing sufficient cooling power to keep the temperature inside under control. Some of the top options on the market include the Dometic Penguin II, RecPro AC3400, and the Whynter Elite.

1. Dometic Penguin II: This rooftop air conditioner is a popular choice among RV owners due to its exceptional cooling capabilities.

With a cooling capacity of up to 15,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units), it can easily cool down even the largest RVs. The Penguin II is also known for its quiet operation, ensuring a peaceful and comfortable environment inside your home on wheels. 2.

RecPro AC3400: If you’re looking for a compact and low-profile air conditioner, the RecPro AC3400 is a fantastic option to consider. With a height of only 8.25 inches, it fits seamlessly onto your RV’s rooftop without compromising on cooling power.

Its 13,500 BTUs guarantee efficient cooling, even on scorching summer days. 3.

Whynter Elite: The Whynter Elite is a great choice for RV owners who prioritize energy efficiency. This air conditioner boasts a cooling capacity of 12,000 BTUs, making it suitable for mid-sized RVs. Its advanced features, such as a digital display and remote control, provide added convenience, while its low power consumption helps extend your RV’s battery life.

Additional Small RV Air Conditioner Options

While the aforementioned models are highly recommended, it’s always helpful to explore other options to find the right fit for your RV. Let’s take a look at two more small RV air conditioners worth considering.

1. SereneLife SLPAC8: Although primarily designed for home use, the SereneLife SLPAC8 can also be a reliable cooling option for smaller RVs. This portable air conditioner can be easily moved around, allowing you to cool specific areas inside your RV as needed.

With a cooling capacity of 8,000 BTUs, it is ideal for compact RVs and camper vans. 2.

MIDEA MAW05M1BWT: If you have a small RV or you’re on a budget, the MIDEA MAW05M1BWT is an excellent choice. It’s a window air conditioner that offers 5,000 BTUs of cooling power.

Despite its compact size, it can quickly cool down your RV and maintain a comfortable temperature. Its simplicity and affordability make it a popular option for RVers.

Dometic Penguin II High Output Air Conditioner

One standout option when it comes to small rooftop RV air conditioners is the Dometic Penguin II High Output model. This rooftop air conditioner is designed to provide superior cooling capabilities for larger RVs, ensuring you can stay comfortable even in the harshest climates.

With a cooling capacity of up to 15,000 BTUs, it is a powerhouse that can handle the most demanding cooling needs. The

Dometic Penguin II High Output Air Conditioner features a durable construction, making it suitable for long-term use on the road.

Its aerodynamic design minimizes wind resistance, reducing noise and improving fuel efficiency. It also boasts a sleek and modern appearance that enhances the overall aesthetics of your RV.

With its solid reputation for reliability, the

Dometic Penguin II High Output Air Conditioner is a top choice for RVers seeking high-performance cooling solutions.

RecPro Low Profile Air Conditioner AC3400

For RV owners looking for a low-profile air conditioner that won’t compromise their vehicle’s aesthetics, the

RecPro Low Profile Air Conditioner AC3400 is an excellent option. With its 13,500 BTUs of cooling power, it can efficiently cool down small and mid-sized RVs without taking up too much space on the rooftop.

The RecPro low-profile air conditioner stands out for its streamlined design, measuring only 8.25 inches in height. This feature not only adds to the RV’s overall appeal but also allows for easier clearance through tight spaces, such as low hanging branches or garage doors.

Its compact size doesn’t sacrifice cooling performance, ensuring you can stay comfortable in your RV while on the road.


Choosing the right small air conditioner for your RV is essential for maintaining a comfortable and enjoyable living environment on the road. The Dometic Penguin II, RecPro AC3400, and Whynter Elite are all outstanding choices in terms of cooling capacity, energy efficiency, and reliability.

Additionally, the SereneLife SLPAC8 and MIDEA MAW05M1BWT provide alternative options for those with smaller RVs or different budget constraints. Ultimately, the best small air conditioner for your RV will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Stay cool and enjoy your road trips comfortably with the perfect air conditioner for your recreational vehicle.

Whynter Elite Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner

When it comes to portable air conditioners for large RVs, the

Whynter Elite Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner is a top contender. Designed to provide efficient cooling for spacious interiors, this portable AC unit offers a cooling capacity of 14,000 BTUs, making it suitable for larger recreational vehicles.


Whynter Elite Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner stands out for its innovative dual hose design. Unlike single hose portable AC units, which use a single hose for both intake and exhaust, the Whynter Elite utilizes separate hoses for each function.

This dual hose system improves cooling efficiency by effectively pulling in fresh air from outside while simultaneously removing warm air from the RV. The result is faster and more effective cooling, even in hot and humid conditions.

This portable air conditioner features three operational modes: air conditioner, fan, and dehumidifier. The air conditioner mode cools the ambient air, while the fan mode circulates air within the RV, providing a gentle breeze on mild days.

The dehumidifier mode helps to reduce excess moisture in the air, maintaining a comfortable humidity level inside your RV. With a built-in digital display and remote control, the Whynter Elite offers convenient operation from anywhere in your RV.

Its programmable timer allows you to set specific cooling schedules to match your preferences and save energy. Additionally, its washable pre-filter helps to trap larger dust particles, ensuring clean and fresh air circulation.

The portability of the Whynter Elite enables you to move it around your RV as needed. Its four caster wheels and sturdy handles make it easy to transport from one area to another.

This flexibility is particularly useful if you have multiple living spaces in your RV, or if you want to cool specific areas while conserving energy.

SereneLife Portable Air Conditioner SLPAC8

For those with smaller RVs or those on a budget, the

SereneLife Portable Air Conditioner SLPAC8 offers a reliable solution. Despite its compact size, this portable AC unit is equipped with 8,000 BTUs of cooling power, making it perfect for small RVs, camper vans, and even tents.


SereneLife Portable Air Conditioner SLPAC8 is designed for ease of use and convenience. Installation is straightforward, requiring minimal technical know-how.

Its compact and lightweight design allows for easy transportation and storage, ensuring it won’t take up valuable space in your RV when not in use. This portable air conditioner features an adjustable cooling mode with three fan speeds.

It also has a dehumidifier function that helps to remove excess moisture from the air, making your RV more comfortable and reducing the risk of mold and mildew growth. The included window mounting kit ensures a secure fit, preventing hot air from seeping in and compromising cooling efficiency.

One of the standout features of the

SereneLife Portable Air Conditioner SLPAC8 is its energy efficiency. With its low power consumption, this unit is perfect for RVers who are conscious of their energy usage.

It helps to optimize your RV’s battery life, allowing you to enjoy extended periods off the grid without sacrificing comfort.

MIDEA Window Air Conditioner MAW05M1BWT

Window air conditioners are a popular choice for RVs and trailers, as they can be easily installed in existing window openings. The

MIDEA Window Air Conditioner MAW05M1BWT is a small and efficient option that provides reliable cooling for compact RVs and trailers.

With a cooling capacity of 5,000 BTUs, the

MIDEA Window Air Conditioner MAW05M1BWT is designed for smaller living spaces. Its compact size allows it to fit seamlessly into most standard RV windows, providing efficient cooling without obstructing your view or taking up floor space.

This window air conditioner features multiple cooling and fan modes, allowing you to customize your RV’s comfort level. The adjustable thermostat helps you maintain a consistent temperature, while the sleep mode reduces noise and conserves energy during the night.

The included remote control provides convenience, allowing you to make adjustments from the comfort of your bed or seating area. The

MIDEA Window Air Conditioner MAW05M1BWT is known for its quiet operation, ensuring minimal disruption as you enjoy your time in your RV.

Its washable and reusable filter helps to trap dust and allergens, improving air quality inside your RV. Additionally, the unit’s energy efficiency helps to reduce electricity consumption, making it a cost-effective choice for RV owners.

Types of Recreational Vehicles and Air Conditioners

When it comes to recreational vehicles, there are various types to choose from, each with its own unique features and requirements. Motorhomes, fifth wheel campers, travel trailers, and campers are among the most common types, and they differ in size, amenities, and cooling needs.

Motorhomes: Motorhomes are self-contained RVs that include both living and driving sections. They range in size from compact Class B motorhomes to luxurious Class A motorhomes.

Due to their larger interior space, motorhomes often require more powerful air conditioning units, such as rooftop models like the Dometic Penguin II or portable units like the Whynter Elite. Fifth Wheel Campers: Fifth wheel campers are towable RVs that require a specialized hitch attached to a truck bed for transportation.

These campers often offer more space and amenities than travel trailers. In terms of air conditioning, larger fifth wheel campers may benefit from rooftop air conditioners or portable units like the Whynter Elite, while smaller models may be adequately cooled with compact window units like the MIDEA MAW05M1BWT.

Travel Trailers and Campers: Travel trailers and campers are towable RVs that range in size from tiny teardrop trailers to spacious models with multiple slide-outs. The cooling needs of these RVs vary depending on their size and insulation.

Smaller travel trailers can often be cooled effectively with compact window air conditioners, while larger models may require either rooftop AC units or portable options like the SereneLife SLPAC8. It’s important to consider the size and specific cooling requirements of your RV when choosing the best air conditioner.

Understanding the different options available for each type of recreational vehicle allows you to make an informed decision and ensure optimal comfort during your adventures on the road.


BTU Ratings and Types of RV Air Conditioners

When choosing the right air conditioner for your RV, understanding BTU ratings and the types of air conditioners available is crucial. BTU, which stands for British Thermal Units, measures the cooling capacity of an air conditioner.

Different types of RV air conditioners have varying BTU ratings, and choosing the appropriate BTU rating is essential for ensuring effective cooling in your RV. Rooftop RV Air Conditioners: Rooftop air conditioners are the most common type of AC unit for RVs. These units are installed on the roof of the RV and often have higher BTU ratings compared to portable or window-based units.

The Dometic Penguin II and the Whynter Elite, mentioned earlier, are examples of popular rooftop RV air conditioners. These models typically have cooling capacities ranging from 12,000 to 15,000 BTUs, making them suitable for larger RVs and motorhomes.

Portable RV Air Conditioners: Portable air conditioners offer flexibility as they can be moved from one area of your RV to another. They usually have lower BTU ratings compared to rooftop air conditioners but are beneficial for smaller RVs, campers, and camping tents.


Whynter Elite Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner and the

SereneLife Portable Air Conditioner SLPAC8, mentioned earlier, both fall into this category. Portable air conditioners typically range from 8,000 to 14,000 BTUs, providing efficient cooling for smaller spaces.

Window-Based AC Units: Window-based air conditioners, such as the

MIDEA Window Air Conditioner MAW05M1BWT, are another option for cooling RVs. These units are installed in existing window openings or specially designed openings in the RV’s sidewall. Window-based AC units for RVs usually have lower BTU ratings compared to rooftop or portable units, typically ranging from 5,000 to 8,000 BTUs. They are ideal for compact RVs and trailers where a rooftop installation or portability is not necessary.

When selecting the right BTU rating for your RV air conditioner, it’s important to consider the size of your RV, insulation, and expected usage. Larger RVs with insufficient insulation may require higher BTU ratings for optimal cooling, while smaller RVs with good insulation may be adequately cooled with lower BTU ratings.

Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations and consult with professionals if unsure. Warranties, Replacement Parts, and Extended Warranty Options

When investing in an RV air conditioner, it’s essential to consider warranties and access to replacement parts.

Air conditioners are complex systems that may require maintenance and occasional repairs. Ensuring that your chosen AC unit includes a warranty and has accessible replacement parts can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run.

AC Unit Warranty: Most reputable manufacturers provide warranties for their air conditioning units, covering specific parts and labor. Warranty coverage periods can vary, ranging from one year to several years.

When purchasing an RV air conditioner, be sure to read and understand the warranty details, including what is covered, any limitations, and steps for filing a warranty claim. This way, if any issues arise during the warranty period, you can receive necessary repairs or replacements at no additional cost.

Replacement Parts for Air Conditioners: Over time, certain components of an air conditioner may wear out or require replacement. Before choosing an air conditioner, research the availability of replacement parts.

It’s beneficial to select a brand that offers easily accessible replacement parts through authorized dealers or online sources. This ensures that if a part needs replacement, you can quickly obtain it, minimizing downtime and potential discomfort in your RV.

Extended Warranty Options: Some manufacturers and third-party providers offer extended warranty options for RV air conditioners. These extended warranties can cover additional years and provide enhanced coverage beyond the standard warranty.

If you prefer added peace of mind, consider investing in an extended warranty when purchasing an RV air conditioner. This can provide protection against unexpected expenses related to repairs or replacements outside the standard warranty period.

Before selecting an extended warranty, carefully review the terms and conditions to understand what is covered, any deductibles or service fees, and the process for filing claims. Additionally, consider the reputation and customer service of the warranty provider to ensure reliable support in the event of any issues.

Choosing the Right RV Air Conditioner: Installation Considerations

When choosing the right RV air conditioner, it’s important to consider installation requirements and compatibility with your RV’s existing setup. Here are a few installation considerations to keep in mind:

Power Supply: Different RV air conditioners require specific power supply configurations.

Rooftop air conditioners are typically wired into the RV’s electrical system, while portable units typically require their own power source, such as a generator or a dedicated electrical outlet. Before purchasing an air conditioner, ensure that your RV has the necessary power supply or, if needed, consult with a professional to determine the best power solution for your chosen unit.

Space and Weight: Both rooftop and portable air conditioners require adequate space and weight-bearing capacity. Rooftop air conditioners need to be securely fastened to the RV’s roof and should not exceed the weight limitations specified by the manufacturer.

Portable air conditioners require floor space and proper venting to discharge hot air outside the RV. Consider the available space and weight capacity in your RV before choosing the right air conditioner.

Compatibility: Consider your RV’s existing ventilation and ducting system when selecting an air conditioner. Rooftop air conditioners often require connections to the RV’s ducting system, ensuring even distribution of cooled air throughout the interior.

Portable units may require exhaust hoses or venting options to remove hot air. Understanding your RV’s ventilation system and ensuring compatibility with the chosen air conditioner will help maximize cooling efficiency.

Noise Levels: Some RV air conditioners can generate noise while in operation, which may affect your comfort during sleep or quiet moments in the RV. If noise is a concern, consider models with features like sleep mode, variable fan speed, or specialized noise reduction technologies.

Additionally, read customer reviews or consult with RV air conditioning experts to gain insights into the noise levels of specific models. Maintenance of RV Air Conditioners, Cost Considerations, Durability, and Longevity

To ensure optimal performance and longevity of your RV air conditioner, regular maintenance is crucial.

Here are some maintenance tips to keep in mind:

Cleaning: Regularly clean or replace air filters in your air conditioner to maintain proper airflow and cooling efficiency. This will help prevent dust, pollen, and other debris from clogging the unit and affecting its performance.

Clean the condenser coils and fins as well to remove any accumulated dirt or debris. Ventilation: Ensure that the vents and ducts in your RV are clean and unobstructed.

Clear any debris, such as leaves or insects, from the exterior vent openings to ensure proper airflow. Professional Servicing: Consider professional servicing of your RV air conditioner on an annual or biennial basis.

HVAC professionals can perform comprehensive inspections, identify potential issues, and clean and lubricate internal components as necessary. Cost Considerations: When budgeting for an RV air conditioner, consider not only the upfront cost of the unit but also the energy consumption and operating costs.

Look for energy-efficient models with favorable Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) ratings, as they can help save on electricity costs in the long run. Durability and Longevity: Research the reputation and reviews of the air conditioner brand and model you are considering.

High-quality units typically have a longer lifespan and are built to withstand the rigors of RV travel. Look for models with robust construction, corrosion-resistant materials, and proven reliability.

Proper maintenance, sensible usage, and choosing a durable and reliable air conditioner can help ensure longevity and optimal performance. Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific maintenance recommendations and warranty requirements.


Choosing the right air conditioner for your RV is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable camping experience. Considering factors such as BTU ratings, type of air conditioner, warranties, and replacement parts availability are crucial in making an informed decision.

Installation considerations, maintenance, cost-efficiency, and durability are equally important factors to consider. By carefully evaluating these aspects, you can select the perfect RV air conditioner that suits your needs and keeps you cool during your adventures on the road.

Popular Posts