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There are many appliances that are a must-have in RVs, and an air conditioner is just one among all the other devices that you should have in an RV.
However, for some people, not every AC is going to work – you may have very specific needs like quiet operation.
And if you are looking for the quietest RV air conditioner, we may have something interesting for you.
Best Quiet RV Air Conditions quick picks:
Dometic Polar White 15,000 BTU Conditioners...
- 2 power options available.
- Can be installed either ducted or non-ducted.
Dometic 640315C Penguin II 410 Amp Low...
- 2 power options available.
- Comes with a pre-installed heat strip.
Airxcel 08-0080 Mach 15 15.0 Arctic Wht Upper
- Not too heavy.
- Designed for ducted systems specifically.
Atwood 15026 Non-Ducted A/C Unit
- Suitable for local applications.
- Cooling capacity of 15,000BTU.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN RV AIR CONDITIONERS
Now that we know what each of the AC units on our review has to offer, it’s time to make a final choice. But to be able to make it, you need to understand what all those numbers and terms mean. So let’s overview the key features and specs that you should consider when choosing an RV AC.
ROOFTOP VS UNDER-BENCH AC
First of all, let’s understand the differences between the two main types of RV air conditioners – rooftop and under-bench conditioners. As you could have guessed, all the AC units on our list are rooftop models. However, the fact that we chose only rooftop ACs doesn’t mean that they are always better.
When it comes to rooftop ACs, the biggest advantage is that you aren’t dedicating any indoor storage space inside your RV. If you really need every inch available in your RV, a rooftop unit is a better option.
In addition, rooftop ACs may be installed either ducted or non-ducted, while under-bench units can be only installed ducted.
On the other hand, there are several downsides characteristic of rooftop units, including:
- Rooftop units may obstruct rooftop windows.
- Rooftop units add to your vehicle height and worsen its aerodynamics.
- Rooftop units aren’t the best for heating due to the natural tendency of heat to rise.
As for under-bench AC units, their pros and cons mirror those of rooftop units. That is, they occupy some indoor storage space, do not add to the height of the RV, don’t obstruct any rooftop windows, and work well as heaters.
Cooling capacity is key in AC units since cooling is the thing that people buy them for.
Cooling capacity is usually measured with British thermal units per hour (BTU/hour or simply BTU). The proper amount of BTU will depend on the square footage of your RV.
This chart made by Energy Star should give you an idea of the required number of BTU to have:
|Area to be cooled||Required BTUs|
Finding out the indoor area in your RV is very easy – you just multiply its interior length by its width to get the area in square feet. If you plan to install the RV in a specific room, calculate only its area.
Energy Star also gives a couple of tips on choosing BTU, which may be useful for you:
- Reduce BTUs by 10% if the room is heavily shaded.
- Increase BTUs by 10% if the room is very sunny.
- If the room is regularly occupied by more than two people, add 600 BTUs for each additional person.
- If you’ll be placing the AC in the kitchen area, add 4,000 BTUs.
Needless to say, you need to provide the AC unit with the necessary number of watts and amperes. Thus, before making a final choice, make sure that your RV’s electrical system satisfies the desired AC’s power needs.
In particular, pay attention to the starting & running wattage, plus the number of amperes that the AC unit requires. Plus, if you think that you will add a heater to your AC in the future, make sure to consider its power needs as well.
DUCTED VS NON-DUCTED
It’s also important to consider whether the desired AC unit requires ducted or non-ducted installation.
In the case of ducted installation, an AC is connected to the RV’s indoor ducting system in order to distribute cool air evenly throughout the RV. With non-ducted installation, an AC unit just blows air in whatever direction its output nozzles are facing.
If you want to cool your entire RV, go for a ducted AC. And for a specific room, go for a non-ducted unit.
WEIGHT & SIZE
Needless to say, you need to have both the cargo capacity and the space for an AC unit. And if an air conditioner needs more room than your RV can provide, things just won’t work. Thus, make sure that the desired AC unit doesn’t exceed your RV’s carrying capacity, as well as isn’t excessively big for it.
Height is important in rooftop air conditioners. We’ve already touched upon one of the reasons for this – aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. As you remember, an increase in height negatively impacts RV’s aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.
The height clearance is another thing to be mindful of. If your RV is tall, it may have a problem passing under certain bridges or tunnel roof with a rooftop AC on. So make sure not to make your RV so tall that it scratches tunnel roofs or whatnot.
Some AC models also allow you to install heat strips, heat pumps, and other heating elements that essentially add a heater functionality to an air conditioner. If you need some specific heating extension, make sure that the desired AC has it.
That’s it for our review of the best quietest RV air conditioners, as well as for our buyer’s guide. Hopefully, you’ve been able to find whatever information you’ve been looking for. And if you think that one of the showcased AC units is the right one, consider getting it, but do in-depth research before making a decision.