Rooftop air conditioners are pretty much the most popular types of ACs used in RVs. This is because they come in a variety of styles, are affordable and easy to self-install. These ACs as the name suggests are installed on the roof of the RV and are usually the self-contained types of units.
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||Dometic Low Profile Rooftop Air Conditioner||9.1|
||Dometic Brisk Air II Complete ND System W/Heat||9.9|
||Dometic Conditioners Penguin II Air Heat Pump||9.9|
||Dometic Polar White Conditioners Upper Unit||9.6|
||Airxcel Mach 15 15.0 Arctic Upper||9.7|
||Coleman Airxcel Mach III Ps 13.5 Arctic White||9.7|
|Coleman Mach 3 Plus Ez 13.5k BTU Air Conditioner||9.6|
||Furrion Chill White FACR14SA-PS RV Air Conditioner||9.5|
||Advent ACM150 Rooftop Air Conditioner||9.6|
||Atwood 15027 Ducted AC Unit||9.8|
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An AC for a camper unit can either be a cooler, a heater or function as both a heater and a cooler, interchangeably of course. The multi-function ACs are most ideal for campers who are on the road all year round. If you only use your RV during the summer, a cooler will work just fine. Rooftop ACs are easy to install and would not necessarily require an HVAC guy to help fix unless you just want. Most come with an installation kit that has everything you need to do the installation. However, you may need a second set of hands to help you lift the unit to the roof of your RV as most weigh a couple of pounds. There are two main types of rooftop ACs: ducted and non-ducted. We will discuss this later in the post. Let’s look at the benefits of installing a rooftop AC over other types of RV air conditioners. Keep reading…
- What are the benefits of installing a rooftop AC on your RV?
- Buying guide
- Best and Quietest RV Rooftop Air Conditioners 2023
- Dometic Penguin II Low Profile Rooftop Air Conditioner – AC with Heat Pump and Multi-Zone CCC II Control Board – Portable White Air Conditioner for RVs, Trailers, and Campers White (Automotive)
- Dometic Brisk II – 15K BTU Air Conditioner- White
- DOMETIC Air Conditioners 651816CXX1J0 Penguin II Air Heat Pump 15 , Black (Automotive)
- Dometic Brisk II Rooftop RV Air Conditioners (13.5K BTU, Polar White) (Automotive)
- Coleman 48204C866 Mach 15+ A/C Unit (Automotive)
- Coleman-Mach 08-0056 Mach III Power Saver 48208 Series Air Conditioner Upper Unit 48208C966-13,500, Arctic White (Automotive)
- Furrion FACR14SA-PS RV Air Conditioner, Rooftop, 14.5 BTU- White (Automotive)
- Advent ACM150 Rooftop Air Conditioner, White, 15000 BTUs, 115 Volt AC Power, Three Fan Speeds Installs; Premium, Thick, Watertight Vent Opening Gasket with Six Dense Foam Support Pads
- Atwood 15027 Ducted A/C Unit (Automotive)
What are the benefits of installing a rooftop AC on your RV?
Well, the most obvious would be a rooftop AC provides better cooling than any other type of RV AC. The other is the fact that a rooftop AC is not exposed to as much dirt as the other ACs since it is placed on the rooftop away from constant dirt and debris. The space in an RV is quite limited, as such knocking things over is very normal when you have kids. Having your AC on the rooftop prevents it from contact damage. Your unit is also secure at the rooftop as no one can quickly access it when they break into your RV. This is quite common in RV parks.
Lastly, rooftop AC units for campers will save you a great deal of space. Every little space in an RV count and if you can maximize on it, why not.
Ducted or non-ducted. What is the difference?
As mentioned earlier, a ceiling air conditioner for RV can either be ducted or non-ducted. What do these terms mean and how does each work? Simple.
A ducted AC means that a single unit can cool multiple rooms. What happens is that a duct, usually made from thin metal tubing runs through the walls of the RV to deliver the cooled air to the vents in each room. So with just one AC unit, every “room” in your RV is cooled.
Non-ducted, on the other hand, doesn’t have any ducts and hence a single unit only cools one room. If you have a number of rooms in your RV, this means you will have to buy multiple units.
If you have a bigger RV, then you would want to consider a ducted Ac since it allows you to control the temperatures in all rooms. But if your RV is smaller, a ductless AC should work just fine.
Can I install it myself?
Well, this pretty much depends on how handy you are. Some people are just not an ounce DIY type. But to answer your question, you can self-install your unit so long as you have all the necessary tools and an instructional manual. But even without a manual and a bit of wiring experience, this whole process shouldn’t take much of your time.
A few tips though:
- Place a few thick clothes on the installation point you wish to install your unit to prevent any scratching, denting or any sort of damage.
- Get someone to help you lift up the unit to the roof to avoid any accidental falls.
- Always make sure the roof of your RV can handle your weight lest you come down with a thud and damage your RV.
- Place a piece of plywood on the surface you will be stepping on to make it comfortable for you to step and walk on.
- Follow all instructions given carefully
If you are new to RVing, it is understandable that you won’t know much about RV air conditioners for rooftops. The first place to start with is to confirm if the unit you wish to buy is for replacement or a new installation. The difference is in the parts that come with either. A new installation unit will come with all the parts and accessories necessary for installation whereas a replacement one will only come as a unit minus the attachments. Here we take you through other key things you will need to consider when searching for the best and quietest RV rooftop air conditioner.
Size of your RV
First and foremost you must consider the size of your RV. Most standard RVs range within the sizes of 200-400 ft, however, there are those that are out of this range, so it’s better to confirm first. The size matters because it determines the power output of the AC that is needed to cater to the entire RV.
Size of the roof opening
If the size of the RV is okay, confirm the size of the roof opening. Most RVs will have a standard roof opening of 14 by 14 inches and any standard AC unit should fit, however, do not make any assumptions. Confirm the size so that you are sure your new AC unit will fit well to provide you the cooling that you need.
A low profile design in a rooftop AC helps to reduce the resistance and drag as your RV moves especially at high speeds. Alongside a low profile design, is the shape and contour of the AC, the two must also be designed to minimize resistance. With a low profile design, you won’t have to worry about your RV being slowed down or your fuel usage being high as is the case with a high profile.
BTU, British thermal unit, is the unit used to measure the cooling capacity of an air conditioner per hour. With a rooftop RV, you want to go for a unit whose BTU ranges between 13,500 (standard BTU) and 15,000 being a significantly high enough BTU. If going to a very hot place then anything above 13,500 BTU is fine otherwise stick to the standard unless you have the budget to spend more. One thing you must note though is that a high BTU unit will cost you more to buy and maintain, however, it will serve you better and for longer. Will it use more energy to cool the air? Of course yes, but isn’t cool air what you want in the first place? There are models with high BTU but are energy saving so you may want to go for such if you are conscious about the energy expended.
If you are a fulltime RVer or planning to also RV during the winter then you may want to consider an AC with a heater attachment. This will save you the cost of buying a heater separately. Not all ACs will have this option so its good to find out if it does.
Best and Quietest RV Rooftop Air Conditioners 2023
1. Dometic Low Profile Rooftop Air Conditioner
Our first product on the list is the Dometic Penguin II 410 Amp Low Profile RV Rooftop Air Conditioner, which is also one of the most highly ranked AC for camper vans. And it’s easy to see why everything about it is fantastic. For a start, it is built for durability and endures all the weather elements. The shroud, especially, is made of premium material to beat the elements and serve you for long. Its a normal capacity unit of 13,500 BTU meaning your small to medium RV will never at one point feel hot no matter how hot it gets out there. It is also low profile, at under 10 inches-high, it may actually be lowest in the market. With a low profile, two things are achieved – minimal drag and fuel efficiency.
Being a rooftop unit, its appearance may not be much to worry about but still, Dometic went ahead and ensured that it looks appealing. And you get to choose the color you prefer also from the two choices available, black and polar white. You could also choose for it to work on the ducted or non-ducted system. Lastly, their customer service is worth commending. They go over and beyond to make sure you are satisfied and to top it up, they offer a 2 years warranty on the unit. Well, its safe to say it’s among the best air conditioner for RV. We say among because the price is a little on the high but if you truly believe in quality then you won’t even mind the cost in exchange for the best RV air conditioner.
- Available in two power capacities
- Available in black and polar white
- Can work as a ducted or non-ducted
- Two-year warranty
- Excellent customer service
- Aerodynamic low profile to save on fuel consumption
- Cools using the R410A refrigerant which is heat efficient
- Cost may be a bit on the high side
2. Dometic Brisk Air II Complete ND System W/Heat
Dometic Brisk Air II may not be the largest unit in the market currently but it is most certainly powerful and lighter than most models we have come across. Most high capacity units, 15,000 BTU, are larger in size but Brisk Air II only measures 29.2 x 27.2 x 12.7 inches and weighs 74 pounds making it very lightweight and portable. Dometic units are known for being versatile and that is not any different for Brisk Air II too, it can function as both ducted and non-ducted making it ideal for RVs of different sizes.
We are all about environmentally friendly products and so this one caught our attention for its environmentally friendly R-410A refrigerant. The refrigerant has been proven to be an ozone layer friendly. It operates at 15,000 BTU per hour. Don’t be alarmed though, it is powered by 115 V so it won’t eat up on your electricity bill as much. To help push out cool air as fast as possible, the unit has a fan installed. The speed of the fan can be adjusted to suit your preference. If you want very cold air, you adjust it to high speed and similarly to low speed if you want cool air. This is a self-Installation unit, you don’t need to get a professional. The unit comes with everything you need to install it as well as a gasket to position your unit.
- Has a heat strip included
- Lightweight compared to most other units
- Easy to install and comes with a complete installation ceiling kit
- Comes with a 2 years warranty
- Most people find it to be quite pricey
3. Dometic Conditioners Penguin II Air Heat Pump
Looking for the best air conditioner for a year-round adventure? This right here is your best bet. It has both a cooler and a heat pump to keep you warm during winter. And with powerful capacity of 15,000 BTU, both function to give you the very best of temperatures. It is simple both in looks and operation but one of the best AC for campers. It is pretty effective, not noisy and easy to install as well. Sadly though, this unit is quite heavy adding more weight to your RV. You will most certainly want to get help when installing it. Also, a lot of folks found it to be a little pricey
- Functions under very minimal noise
- High power capacity
- Comes with a heat pump to chase the cold during winter
- Works on both ducted and ductless systems
- Weighs over 100 pounds which is quite heavy.
4. Dometic Polar White Conditioners Upper Unit
Our other selection from Dometic, the Brisk Air is a unit with quite a number of features albeit its standard power capacity. If you have a standard size camper then this capacity is perfect for you. However, you might want to consider the 15,000 BTU unit if you have a larger camper or heading towards very hot places like Texas and Louisiana. Just like the previous models we have reviewed from Dometic, Brisk Air works as both a ducted and ductless AC. So whichever system your RV is best suited for, this unit will still work.
It can be very tricky purchasing ACs for a first timer as you wouldn’t know whether or not a unit has some defects. But just in case it does, their two-year warranty should be able to cover for the faults. Just ring them up or write to them immediately and they will sort you. Their customer service agents are responsive.
- Two-year warranty
- Can work as a ducted or non-ducted system
- Easy to install
- Small and lightweight, one person can comfortably lift it to the rooftop
- We didn’t find any con for this AC
5. Airxcel Mach 15 15.0 Arctic Upper
The one thing that makes the Airxcel Mach 15+ RV air conditioner unit such a powerful AC is the ⅓ horsepower fan motor. With this, it is able to produce up to 320 cubic feet per minute of cool air. Isn’t that powerful? Imagine having such strong cool air in the middle of the summer heat on your way to Arizona. Bliss. And even better is that the airflow is super efficient thanks to its aerodynamic shape.
This unit is built for strength and can withstand all harsh weather elements. The shaft of the motor is sealed, no water can get into the unit. The shroud is made of stainless steel so it is resistant to corrosion no matter how many times it is exposed. This a non-ducted installation system so if you want a ducted installation or to install a heat pump you would have a ceiling installation kit that is sold separately.
- Works for both ducted and non-ducted systems
- Heat strip can be installed separately
- Two-year warranty
- Large evaporator
- Unfortunately, it does not come with a thermostat
6. Coleman Airxcel Mach III Ps 13.5 Arctic White
Weighing 90 pounds, you may need a second pair of hands to get this Coleman Airxcel 08-0056 Mach III to the roof of your RV but that’s the only help you will need. Installing is super easy and straightforward just as is its maintenance. With this unit, you have the ability to choose whether to go for a ducted or a non-ducted unit. Both are available for your choosing.
This 13,500 BTU unit starts pretty fast thanks to the one third horsepower fan motor. With such a standard capacity, you are certain of not needing to use so much energy to power your unit. You only need a power rating of 120 V to keep it running.
- Made of all copper tubing
- Plastic drain pan to prevent corrosion and rusting
- Energy efficient
- Works as both ducted and non-ducted
- Easy to self-install
- Easy to replace, clean and maintain
- Two-year parts warranty
- Some people find it to be relatively noisy
7. Coleman Mach 3 Plus Ez 13.5k BTU Air Conditioner
Any AC unit from Coleman is pretty much high-quality, high-performing and durable. This specific model’s tubing is made of copper material which will all know is long-lasting. The gas-flux brazed joints are similarly made of copper, durable material as well. The other striking feature about the Coleman Mach 3 Plus is that it has the biggest fan (1/3-hp fan motor) motor in the market. Being a rooftop AC, it is obviously exposed to so many elements as such the shaft built into the unit is sealed to protect it from these elements. It also has a plastic drain pan to prevent the unit from being corroded due to constant exposure to moisture. And the fact that it has a larger heat evaporator and condenser coils with raised lance fins enables it to dissipate heat better.
Installation of this unit should be a walk in the park, however, should you experience any difficulties, there are a number of instructional videos and articles to take you through the installation process step-by-step. And if you opt to get an HVAC guy to fix it, your local AC repair guy can handle it with no issues. With a standard cooling capacity of 13,500 BTU, this unit is among the highly rated rooftop ACs for all the above reasons as well as its two-year parts and labor warranty.
- Has a dual-speed fan for better control of airflow
- A standard sized roof vent opening
- Two-year warranty on parts and labor
- Easy installation
- Eco-friendly R-410A refrigerant
- Comes with a heat strip installed
- Makes a bit of noise
8. Furrion Chill White FACR14SA-PS RV Air Conditioner
If you are cost-conscious and you prefer to have an energy-efficient unit then the Furrion Chill is your best pick. The R410A refrigerant used is not only energy efficient but also environmentally-friendly. Still, on cost-saving, it is also very affordable compared to most units in the market. But just because it costs less, doesn’t mean it is inferior in quality. If anything it performs exceptionally well than most expensive units. It is made of high-quality materials to guarantee its durability. The top cover is UV resistant and is what prevents the unit from fading. To enhance its performance even further, the unit features a Vibrationsmart technology. This latest technology gives it the ability to withstand the vibrations caused by the moving RV as well as the shocks from bumps.
Another impressive technology featured in this unit is the Climatesmart technology which protects the unit when in extreme temperatures be it very high or very low. The unit runs considerably quiet at 61 dB. Well, this is less noisy compared to so many units out there that would have your eardrums nearly busting with the constantly annoying noise. With a power capacity of 14,500 BTUs, this lightweight unit does a very good job of cooling your RV even in the hottest of temperatures. The dual fans work efficiently to cool the air very fast.
This aerodynamically shaped unit is designed to function both as a ducted and ductless cooling system. It is pretty easy to install as long as you have everything you need for the job. Replacing is equally easy. What we really liked about this unit and is something we haven’t seen in many units, is the accessibility of the filters. This makes it very easy to clean the unit as well as replace it when need be. Other features worth mentioning include an easy to read digital LCD display, auto fan operation, sleep mode, and auto restart.
- Detachable filter for easy cleaning
- UV resistant cover to prevent fading
- Easy to clean, maintain and replace
- Is energy efficient
- Aerodynamically shaped
- Comes with a two-year warranty
- There have been complaints of the unit arriving damaged because of improper packaging when shipping
9. Advent ACM150 Rooftop Air Conditioner
The way this unit is constructed is so that it can withstand the impact and shocks that come with a bumpy road. It is also built to minimize resistance and drag that comes with high speed. You will easily notice that it is made of a rigid metal. This can only assure you one thing- durability. The unit also comes with a plug-in heat strip which is however optional. If you are a full-time RVer or intend to RV all year round, then you will need to chase the winter cold.
Its power capacity is high, 15,000 BTU. If your camper is between medium to large in size, well, this capacity may just be what you need. We wouldn’t advise going for such high capacity if you own a small camper. That extra cost is really not necessary. The best part about this unit is that you get to choose the amount of cooling that you require by selecting one of the three adjustable fan speeds.
- Resistant to all weather elements
- Three fan speeds to suit different preferences
- Watertight vent opening
- Optional heat strip available
- Unit not for ducted RVs
10. Atwood 15027 Ducted AC Unit
Atwood has been in the AC industry since 1909 and has done a pretty impressive job producing high-quality units. And even though, the company has been bought by Dometic, they have products under their own brand. Atwood 15027 Ducted A/C Unit being one of them. The first noticeable thing about the Atwood 15027 is its compact and solid design. This makes it very ideal for RV rooftops as it easily complements the rooftop design. Also, it is one of the quietest units we have reviewed. Actually, it is two times quieter than most popular models in the market currently.
Aside from its look and quietness, it is also a high performer. It has accurate temperature control that you can clearly see from its digital readout. And it comes with a wireless remote that allows you to adjust the temperature settings to your feel. On top of that, it has a sleep timer. How cool, right?
With a cooling power of 13,500 BTU, you should sit comfortably in your RV without worrying about heat exhaustion. Well, unless you are heading to a dessert or extremely hot places. You can self-install the unit without so much fuss. It comes with an installation manual and the whole process is straight forward. However, if you are not a strong DIY person, you can look into getting a professional to install it for you. Let me add that it is lightweight, weighs only 6 pounds. If you’ve ever owned a heavy unit then you know how much of a burden a heavier AC is. It adds more weight to your rig which in turn eats up on your fuel consumption. With a lightweight unit, you can rest easy knowing that your fuel consumption is under check. Sadly, this unit is not suitable for larger campers. It is best suited for small to medium-sized RVs.
- Compact and lightweight
- A cooling capacity of 13,500 BTU
- Twice quieter than most models
- Installation is easy and fast
- Its power capacity is lower for very large RVs or very hot places
There are hundreds of rooftop air conditioners and finding the best unit for your camper can be confusing, to say the least. This is why we took our time to come up with such a long but informative guide to help you with your purchasing. From our review list, you are certain to find what matches your needs and your budget. The products are all high-performing, durable and high-quality. Remember to consider the size of your camper when deciding on a unit as well as the temperature of the places you plan to visit.