Comparing the top 6 RV air conditioners: Rooftop, under bench and portable models

Choosing the best RV air conditioner for all your on-the-go travel needs requires careful consideration of both reputed options and a personalized assessment of how well they meet your specific needs and affordability.

As you plan your summer road trip adventures, considering the acquisition of the finest air conditioning system for your RV is essential.

Opting for the best air conditioner ensures utmost satisfaction, effectively addressing all your cooling requirements during your travels.

A top-notch RV air conditioner operates at peak performance, allowing you to focus solely on the trip ahead and destinations that await.

While several RV air conditioner brands are recognized as top performers, simply opting for the widely acknowledged best brand might not be sufficient.

It is equally important to consider how well a particular brand aligns with your specific requirements and budget constraints.

RV cooling choices: Rooftop, under bench and portable AC solutions

RV air conditioners come in various types, catering to different needs and preferences.


Rooftop air conditioners are installed on the roof of the RV, saving interior space. They are available in different cooling capacities to suit various RV sizes.

Rooftop units can be either ducted, distributing air through a network of ducts, or non-ducted, or ductless, releasing air directly into the RV.

Ducted systems are suited for large RVs, as they push the cool air to all corners of the RV, while non-ducted units are suitable for smaller RVs and cost less.

Effective cooling, compact design, and a relatively straightforward installation process are notable advantages of rooftop air conditioners.

Please remember to consider the potential for increased height due to the rooftop installation. This could impact clearance in certain areas, such as bridges or low-hanging obstacles.

While this is generally a minor concern for most RVers, it’s crucial to be mindful of the overall height of your RV, especially when planning routes or navigating areas with height restrictions.

Under Bench

Under bench air conditioners are designed to fit in compact spaces under a bench or inside a cabinet.

So while it does take up valuable storage space inside your RV, it’s a perfect option for RVs with limited roof space or for those who want to maintain a sleek exterior profile. It also allows you to keep your windows free and unaffected by ductwork.

While generally not as powerful as rooftop units, under bench air conditioners provide adequate cooling for smaller RVs or specific zones within a larger RV.

Portable AC Unit

Portable air conditioners are stand-alone units that can be moved within the RV or even used outside.

However, they may take up floor space, and since they usually come with an exhaust hose to vent hot air outside, the need for an external vent can limit placement options.

Since they do not require permanent installation, they are suitable for different RV models. Portable AC units often need a power source and may be less powerful than rooftop units.

Also read: Navigating the road to comfort: A comprehensive guide to RV air conditioning

The Ideal RV Air Conditioner: Top brands in the market

Determining the “best” RV air conditioner is highly subjective, given that its performance can be influenced by various factors, including the square footage of your camper, the interior layout, wall insulation, parking location, coverage and sealing of doors and windows, as well as regular maintenance of your AC unit, among other considerations.

Here are some well-known brands in the RV air conditioner market:


For quite some time, Dometic has stood out as one of the most favored names in RV air conditioning, often imitated, but never surpassed.

They offer roof, split, and under-bench air conditioning units along with a diverse range of accessories suitable for different RV sizes.

Dometic Brisk II rooftop air conditioner

The Dometic Brisk II rooftop air conditioner is a product of two years of meticulous redesigning and reengineering.

This RV air conditioner, renowned for its popularity and often imitated by others, has undergone significant enhancements to emerge as a stronger, quieter, lighter, smaller, and more environmentally friendly option.

With a nominal capacity of 15,000 BTU, the Brisk II is a notable 19% lighter than its predecessors, facilitating effortless installation and maintenance. It seamlessly fits into standard 14 in x 14 in / 35 cm roof vent openings.

NOTE: For ducted applications, it requires a Return Air Grille, control kit, and Capacitive Touch thermostat. Alternatively, for non-ducted applications, an Air Distribution Box is necessary.

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Furrion Chill presents a diverse range of robust 120V rooftop RV air conditioners, renowned for their industry-leading energy efficiency and cooling capacity ratings.

Engineered to endure the most challenging road conditions, their camper air conditioners are available with manual, single-zone, and multizone controls to cater to various RV comfort requirements.

Furrion Chill HE RV roof air conditioner

The Furrion Chill HE RV roof air conditioner, equipped with two fans for efficient airflow, offers superior performance with a cooling power of 15,000 BTUs, making it an ideal choice for RVs, campers, and trailers.

Featuring high capacity and efficiency, this RV air conditioner surpasses industry standards with 50% more cooling capacity, 40% greater energy efficiency, and is 50% quieter than single-fan models.

With incorporated Vibrationsmart and Climatesmart technologies, its durable design ensures resilience to tough road conditions, while a thermal-insulated shroud safeguards internal components from water, heat, UV rays, and debris.

The Furrion Chill is lightweight and aerodynamic, reducing drag and wind resistance for improved overall RV performance, mileage, and driving conditions.

Installing the Chill HE RV roof AC unit is a straightforward process with its simple bolt-on installation, and a clear step-by-step guide is provided for added convenience.

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RecPro stands as a leading supplier of aftermarket RV parts, furniture, appliances, and more, striving to serve as a one-stop shop for all RV requirements.

RecPro RV air conditioner 15K non-ducted 

Crafted from durable, high-quality plastic, this AC unit is designed to withstand various challenges and is resistant to melting in warmer climates, ensuring longevity through numerous adventures.

The included remote, along with its wall carrier, provides convenient temperature and setting control from the comfort of your couch, while the digital display on the inner plenum unit allows manual control if the remote is misplaced.

Beyond cooling, this air conditioning unit features a dehumidifying function to help regulate humidity inside your RV.

Equipped with a temperature monitoring system, the unit adjusts to maintain your desired temperature, ensuring comfort day and night.

With a low amp draw, this energy-efficient model not only minimizes power consumption but also allows for the simultaneous use of other appliances on the same circuit.

This unit’s noise level produces 59.1 decibels on high, akin to a gentle rain, allowing for a peaceful RV experience without the distraction of a loud AC unit.

NOTE: It is recommended to use a 3000-watt generator (minimum 2500-watt, since using a lower-rated generator may cause difficulty when starting the AC unit) with a dedicated 30-amp service for this unit.

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Parker Davis HVAC

For over 23 years, Parker Davis HVAC has stood as a prominent supplier of ductless mini-split and multi-split systems, distributing top-quality PIONEER brand equipment globally.

With a well-stocked inventory, they ensure swift shipping, often on the same or next day.

Using various online sales channels, the company offers direct factory-level pricing, prioritizing accessibility and affordability for customers in North America and US territories.

PIONEER under-bench RV heat pump air conditioner

You can embark on your open-road adventures with PIONEER RV heat pump air conditioner, a versatile single-package unit designed for both heating and cooling designed for under-the-bench installations.

This compact, low-profile package system combines durability with functionality, ensuring a cozy temperature in your motor vehicle throughout the year.

You can connect up to three ducts to serve different areas of your RV, with flexible options to link to the front or side of the system.

Equipped with both a wall-fixed thermostat and a convenient handheld remote controller, this robust plug-in system has a ultra-quiet performance (39 dB), sleek design, and low power requirements.

Featuring a cooling capacity of 9,000 BTUh with an 8.5 EER efficiency, this system operates at a voltage of 110~120V, 60Hz, 1Ph.

Pre-charged with R410a refrigerant and ready to install, it is perfect for a variety of mobile living spaces, including RVs, skoolies, tiny homes, camper vans, or any home on wheels.

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EcoFlow’s vision is “to power a new world.” They strive to fulfill this vision by delivering smart and eco-friendly energy solutions, serving as a reliable and trusted energy partner for individuals, families, and society at large worldwide.

EcoFlow WAVE 2

The ECOFLOW Wave 2 portable air conditioning unit with heat is capable of reducing the temperature by 18℉ (10℃) within 5 minutes in cooling mode (5,100BTU) and increasing the temperature by 18℉ (10℃) within 5 minutes in heating mode (6,100BTU).

It features a quiet Sleep Mode (44 dB) and up to 8 hours of use in Eco Mode.

EcoFlow Wave 2 is an ideal air conditioner for compact spaces for both cooling and heating, extremely simple to use and requires no installation or drainage.

NOTE: While drainage is not required in cooling mode when humidity is below 70%, it remains necessary in heating mode.

It features four charging options—AC, solar, car, and power stations—making it a versatile air cooler and heater for tents, RVs, or camping, with a swappable battery for on-the-go convenience.

A 5th option is available as well – an add-on battery. You can enhance your EcoFlow AC unit’s portability with a 1159Wh add-on battery.

Attach either this DELTA 2 extra battery or this DELTA Max extra battery to extend run times to an impressive 7-14 hours, a remarkable 28% increase in efficiency compared to other power stations.

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One can easily say that Black+Decker crafts products for every corner of your home, ensuring you have more time to relish your indoor and outdoor spaces.

BLACK+DECKER 10,000 BTU portable air conditioner

BLACK+DECKER’s 10,000 BTU portable air conditioner, suitable for rooms up to 450 sq. ft., serves as a 3-in-1 device: an air conditioner, dehumidifier, and fan.

This portable air conditioner features a remote control, top-mounted control panel with an LED display, slide-out washable filter, auto water evaporation, and a 24-hour timer that prevents waste and saves money.

Featuring casters and side handles, this unit ensures convenient mobility, while its operation is fueled by the eco-friendly R410a refrigerant.

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Choosing the right air conditioner size for your rig

RVs and air conditioners are both available in a variety of types and sizes, catering to the diverse needs and preferences of different customers.

If your RV doesn’t come equipped with an AC unit, it’s crucial to invest in one for a truly enjoyable recreational experience.

When shopping for a new RV air conditioner, take into account the size of your vehicle to ensure that the unit’s capacity aligns with the dimensions of your RV.

Installing a small rooftop AC unit in a large travel trailer may result in inefficient cooling, while an excessively large unit in a small camper van can be both wasteful and power-demanding.

Common sizes for RV air conditioners include 13,500 BTUs and 15,000 BTUs, although options both smaller and larger are also available.

Longer RVs, exceeding 32 feet, might require two AC units to effectively combat summer heat, and larger RVs like toy haulers may even need a third AC unit for adequate cooling.

Here are some of the most common RV types and the corresponding air conditioner options that best complement each other:

Type Size (BTU) Notes
Class A 15,000
  • Over 30 ft
  • At least 2 AC units
Class B 13,500
Class C 13,500 – 15,000
  • Small Class C motorhome – one 13,500 BTU AC unit
  • Super C motorhome – multiple 15,000 BTU AC units
Travel Trailer 13,500 – 15,000
  • If the insulation is bad or there are more people – add a secondary unit, or upgrade to a 15,000 BTU unit
Fifth Wheel 15,000
  • 2 units
Read more: Comparing Travel Trailers and Motorhomes

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