Planning to go on a vacation to scented meadows that are strewed with fresh flowers with your friends or happen to stumble across a conversation that has resulted in a colleague’s trip to craggy mountains?
If the answer is yes, you would have to arrange for an RV or pop-up camper definitely.
Not only they’re inexpensive in the long run but also facilitate you with the provision of basic necessities like a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping space.
But that’s not it, a camper van must be properly air-conditioned or heated depending on the situation and air conditioners are your way to achieve it.
Among the three types of air conditioners namely rooftop, window ACs, and Portable AC units. We have discussed all types in our article of best RV air conditioners but here, in this article, we are only focusing on rooftop air conditioners for campers or RV vans. Before jumping directly to the top models, here are some common questions regarding ac units for campers.
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Questions You Must Ask To Yourself before Buying AC For Campers
1. What is your requirement, an AC or a Heater Combo?
Many air conditioners are fitted with the double capability of being a heater so that the same unit can be employed for winters and summers. It doesn’t necessarily mean however that a single AC would cost less than a Combo Unit.
2. Can you install the unit by yourself?
Many companies have come up with models in recent times that are equipped with easy installation features which only require a person to be literate enough to understand the manual. But there are others that need a professional electrician or fitter to install the air conditioners. In such cases, you have to keep in mind that this would result in extra spending of $50-100 so you have to look deeply too but the product which is cheaper by this amount so you don’t get overpriced.
3. Which type of AC’s do you need?
There are three types of commonly used AC units amongst which many other types also exist. This includes window ACs that are positioned in the window of a camper or an RV and are powered through the main power supply of the camper trailer. Portable AC units for RV are moveable and can be run through the batteries whereas rooftop Air Conditioners are permanently fastened to the roof and are powered through the RV’s internal wiring. Amongst these types, there are other sub-categories like Ducted, non-ducted, vertically moving fins or horizontally moving and e.t.c.
Best Rooftop Air Conditioners For RV
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1. AIRXCEL 08-0080 (Best 15000 BTU Rooftop AC Unit For Campers)
No matter how large your camper or trailer is, this model will be able to cool up space really nicely with its 15000 Btu rating. Due to its 1/3 HP rater motor, it is able to provide an extended flow rate of 320 CFM which is probably the highest among the AC units in this price and size range. Such an intensity ensures that space is evenly cooled and within very little time; what else one would want from a rooftop air conditioner but it provides other features as well.
Owing to its copper tubing and gas-flux brazed joints, it is pretty high in durability and the efficiency of heat emission is enhanced by specifically designed condenser fins and a large evaporator. Both these considerations allow the heat to be emitted out of the camper or popup camper quickly.
The 115V model can easily be transformed into a heating unit that can provide heat worth 5600 Btu, hence the same unit can be used in summers and winters with equal effect. Not only this, an easy installation adds up to the overall utility of the product; it is as simple as screwing some bolts and channelizing the drain and exhaust pipes. Even customers with no prior experience of installing something similar were able to execute it without difficulty although we recommend the presence of two persons during the installation because it is 90 pounds in weight.
2. Dometic Polar White XX1C0 (Best 13500 Btu Rooftop AC For Pop Up Camper)
Lighter in weight, sleeker and aerodynamic in design, this white masterpiece is a treat for adventure lovers who travel to differing destinations frequently. After all, if you have invested enough to buy a camper trailer, you deserve a fitting AC unit as well and we assure you, Domestic Polar White stands at elevated standards.
Rated at 13500 Btu which is lower than the first model but the quality of cooling air capability it provides is nearly unparalleled. It isn’t a surprise since it comes from a manufacturing company that is in the RV business for long enough now. The Brisk Air II uses a desirable combination of improved materials and better design to increase the flow rate by 15% and reducing the weight by 19%: an understood improvement keeping in view a time span of 2 years being spent on its reengineering.
It is versatile enough to be used as a ducted or non-ducted unit. We prefer a non-ducted version because it doesn’t incur the risk of hot and cold air mixing. Equipped with a rigid base and a strong outer covering, it is highly stable, provided a camper is usually struck with ever-changing adverse weather conditions. Moreover, it is furnished with a digital thermostat for ergonomic user engagement.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a heater transformability likewise the first model but a healthy 2-year warranty and a non-hectic installation procedure seem to have covered this shortcoming. In fact, you would need a professional to fix it for you however we advise you to hire someone apt. The input voltage is 115VAs a whole, it one of the most reliable and widely used AC units for travelers.
3. Dometic Penguin II (Best Low Profile Rooftop AC Unit For RV)
Penguin II is the second model that in this list that comes from Domestic which depicts the high standards of this company. Characterized by a low profile design, this 13500 Btu model will reduce the air friction being encountered by the moving RV. This capability becomes particularly significant in improving the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.
A standard refrigerant used in the worldwide calculations of Thermodynamic courses is R410A because of its balanced physical properties over a wide range of temperatures and this product uses the aforementioned refrigerant; being one of the most innovative air conditioning considerations as it is able to emit heat very effectively.
As it is a non-ducted version, the air distribution and control kit have to be purchased separately but this is one universal demerit these sorts of models carry. This AC unit provides both manual and electronic controls so as to suit the needs of all sorts of people. The fan can be adjusted along with three levels of speed depending on the weather conditions and the time of year you have planned your trip in.
Moving towards the exterior, it is designed to be compatible with normal roof opening of 14×14 inches and can be easily and steadily installed because of a rigid shroud; this limits the number of vibrations across non-leveled terrains which also contributes towards a quieter machine operation.
4. Coleman Airxcel Mach III (Best Energy Saving Rooftop AC For Camper Van)
Regarded as a great option for a power saving machine, this model delivers just the suitable amount of cool air at a good price. It is rated equal to the power of the previous version and has been remarked by the customers to be really effective.
What’s specifically likable about this AC unit is the fact that it is furnished with a power-saving feature. The designers managed to put together their engineering knowledge to implement a combination of power-cutting solutions that included a high-efficiency motor and compressor and large coils to decrease the amperage but not compensating on the cooling power at the same time. This makes sure that your camper’s or RV’s breaker never trips and you have a comfortable indoor ambiance.
Alongside, the 1/3 HP motor is connected to the bulkhead which minimizes the irregularity of the angle of the blower’s wheel and consequently, results in an unobstructed turning movement. The coils of the condenser are characterized by large fins that facilitate high and effectual heat dissipation while the gas-flux brazed joints give high strength to the unit.
A flow rate as high as 320 CFM speaks of the superior cooling capability this model is laden with but that’s not it; buy a separate heater assembly and fit it with Coleman Mach III to have 5600 Btu of hot air/ hour in chilly winter nights.
Now, for the negative points of this model, it has two-speed options and the high fan speed incurs a loud noise which has to be reduced with a noise isolator.
5. Domestic Black XX1J0 (Top Rated 15000 Btu RV Rooftop Air Conditioner)
One of the highest rated rooftop AC unit on Amazon, this particular product has gained high popularity among customers because of its reliability, usability, long warranty, and energy saving quality: together, it accounts for a product which suits the needs of all people.
Rated at 15000 Btu, it is bedecked with wide cooling fins which contribute towards 15% extra airflow than the previous model that cools the room in less time. Its portable design and drag-reduction surfacing give the added advantage of fuel conservation for the travelers owing to the fact that lower the encountered air friction, lesser the power exerted by the engine to achieve the same level of speed.
Likewise the Polar White model, it can also be installed as ducted on non-ducted, is compatible with Air Distribution Box, and returns air grid and its replacement parts including the nuts, shroud, and fins are easily available in the local market.
We studied the product reviews and came to the conclusion that it is a bit loud but only because it wasn’t fitted rigidly enough with the roof of the camper. Had it been screwed properly and the base positioned parallel to the roof level, it would have incurred less traveling vibrations and less noise as a result. Also, the base of this model is not very durable.
Talking more about the advantages it offers, it is backed up by a 2-year warranty during which the company compensates for many of your issues. Also, it is always good to feel safe on part of a healthy warranty when investing something above $500.
6. Maxxair TuffMaxx (Cheap Rooftop Air Conditioner For Camper)
If you are okay with a clumsy built, here is the model for you. Cheaply priced to an extent that can easily be called an outlier when compared to the other models but carrying a cooling capacity till 15000 Btu and weighing only 18 pounds, this is one unique product.
We will start with the weight of this AC unit. Unlike other models which are at least 70 pounds and above, it is a mere 18 pounds only. This makes its installation a piece of cake; only a single person can attach it to the roof and manage the pipes/ducts.
The second thing is the price. It is under $200 provided you chose the suggested channel of purchase which is way below all the other models listed here. Maxx Air is a recognized company but what has drastically reduced this price tag is its nondurable construction. Simply made out of plastic, it won’t last a fall and pieces might start to fall as a result of violent vibrations. The manufacturers have however have tried to cover it up with a rear fin guard which provides some strength to it. The description might suggest it is made of UV protected and strong plastic but only the first part of that description holds credibility.
Available in 11000, 13500 and 15000 Btu rating, it is best suited for small campers and RVs. Customers have largely raved about the satisfactory cooling of this AC unit. Its curved front brushes the branches away while the camper is traveling through dense areas containing trees.
What is the Best Rooftop AC Unit For RV?
We won’t be taking much more of your time and jump straight towards the concluding considerations. The final decision of yours would largely depend on two factors: the price and the nature of the need. If you are okay with a clumsy unit provided it is priced very cheaply, the last model is the pick for you but if you want an overall, heater combo AC unit, we would recommend AIRXCELL 08-0800 because not only is it reasonably priced but it has one of the highest CFM ratings. If you are in need of an AC simply with no heater transformability, our pick would be Domestic Polar White as it has been ranked on top on almost all of the lists we went through, is raved largely by the customers that have used it, and is technically very sound. May you make the best decision and improve the comfort of your vacations.
Our Selection Procedure For Best Rooftop AC
You would come across many articles concerning this topic but our content is unique depending on the procedures we executed to draft this essay.
As we write reviews of the product available on Amazon, therefore customer ratings play a vital role in our selection of desired models. We don’t arrange the models according to their rating, therefore, you mustn’t expect the first few models to be the best ones but you need to go through all of them to have an insight into which models suit you the best. We went through customer reviews to have an idea about the real working issues faced by them and deduced whether their rating can be rendered reliable or not.
We go through similar articles and gather data as to which models are enlisted repeatedly in them and which ones are only uniquely mentioned in one of them. This helps us in establishing credibility for the related models.
After selecting the products, we scan their technical reviews which tell about the practical working of the product. They discuss the points which are usually not covered like their mechanical internal construction and their statistical ratings like amperage, power, running cost, and details of used materials.
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