The 9 Best 12 Volt TVs for RVs: Review & Buying Guide

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In this generation of advanced technology and gadget usage, many people consider camping as one of the best ways to take a break from the typical gadget-driven, modern lifestyle. For people who want to go camping in style, there is no better way than taking an RV Trip vacation.

With an RV vacation, you can see places, sleep in camps or just spend some quality time with nature. The best part about this is you will not have to sacrifice some of the luxuries of life like sleeping on a bed or watching TV. Yes, you can bring a television in your RV so you can still keep yourself updated with all the news and current affairs as well as enjoy your favorite shows.

Table of Contents

BEST TVs FOR RVs COMPARISON TABLE

IMAGE

PRODUCT

DETAILS

SHOP

Clear Pictures

Jensen JTV1917DVDC 19' Inch RV LCD LED TV...
Jensen JTV1917DVDC 19" Inch RV LCD LED TV...
  • Available in large screen sizes
  • Specifically designed for RVs

Affordable

SuperSonic SC-2411 LED Widescreen HDTV 24'...
SuperSonic SC-2411 LED Widescreen HDTV 24"...
  • Comes with a “cigarette” adapter (12-volt)
  • Available in several screen sizes

Built-In DVD Player

Supersonic SC-2211 22-Inch 1080p LED...
Supersonic SC-2211 22-Inch 1080p LED...
  • Available in several screen sizes
  • Comes with a “cigarette” adapter (12-volt)

Thin and Lightweight

AXESS TV1701-24 24-Inch 1080p LED HDTV,...
AXESS TV1701-24 24-Inch 1080p LED HDTV,...
  • Has access to local channels anywhere
  • Has different input sources

Low Power Consumption

AXESS TVD1805-24 24-Inch LED HDTV, Features...
AXESS TVD1805-24 24-Inch LED HDTV, Features...
  • Accepts micro SD card for trail picture and video viewing
  • Great for traveling

Easy Mounting

Free Signal TV Transit 32' 12 Volt DC Powered...
Free Signal TV Transit 32" 12 Volt DC Powered...
  • Has an excellent sound and picture quality
  • Has minimal power consumption

Easy to Set Up

Proscan PLEDV2488A-E 24-Inch 720p 60Hz LED...
Proscan PLEDV2488A-E 24-Inch 720p 60Hz LED...
  • Has HDMI that works with a Roku Box
  • Has an antenna that can receive broadcast station

Program Cable and TV

Sceptre E246BD-F 24' 1080p 60Hz Class LED...
Sceptre E246BD-F 24" 1080p 60Hz Class LED...
  • Has a DVD player with memory
  • Has good color and picture quality

Wall Mount

Sceptre E246BD-SMQK 24.0' 720p TV DVD...
Sceptre E246BD-SMQK 24.0" 720p TV DVD...
  • Has an easy to use built-in DVD player
  • It is lightweight

TVS FOR RV

You might be thinking that you can just install your classic household TV in your RV. Yes, you can actually get any TV but sadly, it might not work in your RV. You need to consider a few things in choosing a TV for your RV such as, if it can handle the jostle and bumps of a moving vehicle or if it will be running off your batteries or offshore power.

This guide will tell you what you need to know about RV TVs and we have thrown a few information about our top choices of RV TV.

RV TV: WHAT IS IT?

Different TVs would have various features but they have one specific function, which is to show programs. An RV TV would typically be just like any other ordinary TV that has special features designed to fit the conditions of an RV.

Compared to household TVs, RV TVs can withstand the vibrations and jostle of a moving vehicle. If your TV is not RV ready it would possibly break from all the movement. RV TVs also has the ability to handle changes in temperature and humidity as you travel to different locations that most likely have varying weather.

An RV TV’s screen is also anti-glare. This feature ensures that you can watch your favorite TV shows outdoors even in broad daylight. Some TVs that pairs well with an RV antenna allows you to watch many different channels even at a remote location. If you love watching movies, there are also RV TVs available that comes with a built-in DVD player.

RV TV BENEFITS

TV for RV

You might be asking yourself, “Why would I need a TV when my purpose for this trip is to get away from it all?” Well, we are here to give you a few good reasons for having a TV for your RV.

Technology nowadays is becoming better and better in forecasting weather, but it remains an uncontrollable force of nature. It can be hard to enjoy your nature wandering and camping under the stars when it is raining. This is where having a television in your RV comes in handy. Even if you are stuck in a campground due to the rain, you can still entertain yourself by watching TV.

Even if the weather is perfect, there are lazy evenings where you just want to curl up in bed. Watching TV can be the best source of entertainment without leaving your bed.

Of course, for those living in their RVs, just like any other household, you want to have a television so you can enjoy watching TV shows.

An RV TV is not just for watching television shows. You can play your favorite music on it or use it for viewing photos. If your RV TV has a built-in DVD and you do not want to watch any of the local TV shows, then you can definitely watch movies. It is best to have a TV-DVD combo for your RV, with this combo you would not have any problems with the reception, cable, satellite or service.

A TV is not just a source of entertainment especially if you are traveling. It will keep you updated about what is happening around you even if you are in the middle of nowhere. If you are going somewhere, you can still know that place’s condition and weather by watching the news on TV. Even if you have been away for so long from your home, you can still keep track of the current situation in your area.

Your RV TV also allows you to watch videos. All you need to do is save the video in a flash drive, plug it in your TV and you can start enjoying your videos. This is a great benefit if you are traveling with a big group who wants to watch the video.

Some RV TVs are also smart TVs. Meaning you get more benefits. You can now order food using your smart TV’s voice integration services. You can even play games.

Overall, it is beneficial to have a TV on your RV. It does not only keep you entertained during those boring nights or days but it also helps keep you informed. You can even bring it outdoors if you want to watch shows under the stars. However, as much as this is a great RV accessory to have, there is no one stopping you if you really do not want to have a TV in your RV.

RV TV ANTENNA

An RV TV is great but keep in mind that you cannot fully enjoy its benefits without an RV antenna. You need the antenna to pick up signals so you can watch shows on your TV. Here are a few tips on how to choose the right antenna for your RV TV.

Choose an HD antenna if you want an outdoor type of antenna – TV stations usually put out high definition signals so if you want all your channels to be HD, get a high definition RV outdoor antenna.

View all local channels with an RV TV antenna – Major networks such as CBS, NBC, etc. put out HD signals and your TV antenna can easily pick up on those. You can choose from either an outdoor or indoor antenna models. Just bear in mind that although the outdoor type can pick up many channels due to its outside location, you will need to remove it from your roof and lower it before leaving. It is made of aluminum and plastic that will break easily if left outside. The indoor type is more convenient and easily controlled but it has a limited range compared to the outdoor so you will probably have fewer channels.

DirecTV needs a special antenna – You need a Dome Antenna if you like watching satellite TV. Dome antennas pick up their signals from satellites so the reception is better but you might need to pay extra for the monthly subscription.

The downside to satellite TV is that since it has many channels you might find yourself staying in front of your TV rather than enjoy your camping trip. If you think you can manage it including the cost then there is no reason for you not to enjoy your satellite TV. It is important to note though that most RV campsites have free cable services which can actually help you save on the expense of purchasing a Dome antenna and paying for a monthly subscription.

Get a TV antenna booster to pick up more channels – Consider buying a TV antenna booster if you want to get more channels with your RV TV antenna. You simply have to snap it together with your TV antenna and it will give you access to additional free channels.

Get an RV FM antenna to capture radio signals – Even with all those modern music-playing apps, a lot of people still love listening to the local radio due to the regional feeling that it gives off. You can also get good information about the local area from the radio stations. If you want that classic radio feel, consider getting an RV FM antenna so you can get radio reception on your RV. The only thing we do not like about this antenna is the fact that you have to drill holes for the wires to install this.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN REGULAR TV AND AN RV TV

As mentioned above, manufacturers designed their RV TVs to keep up with all the bumps, vibrations and jostle of a moving vehicle. TVs designed for RVs are also lighter and convenient so they can easily fit the size and lifestyle of an RV. As these TVs are for trailers, they have DC and AC plugins compatible with an RV.

Regular TVs, on the other hand, are a little heavier since they should be stationary.

Jensen is one of the well-known RV TV Brand made by ASA Electronics. Jensen started in 1915 during the invention of the very first loudspeaker by Peter L. Jensen. The brand then continued to grow and developed more product lines such as the Jensen home electronics. Currently, they are the leading electronics manufacturer of marine and RV applications.

According to Jensen, the RV TV differs in several ways from a regular TV:

Jensen TVs underwent testing to ensure they can endure the actual conditions of an RV such as extreme fluctuations in temperature, water sprays, humidity, UV exposure, and high vibrations.

Jensen designed their RV TVs from the ground up and validated that they tested the designs in their on-site labs.

Jensen RV TV used tough internal electronics as well as conformal-coated circuit boards for added product durability.

Jensen RV TVs have strengthened internal chassis. The internal chassis is the part that attaches the wall-mount brackets to the TV substructure. With this strengthened part, it ensures mount stability so your TV will not fall even if there is a major impact caused by bumpy roads or potholes.

Jensen also made sure that their RV TVs could hold up to extreme changes in humidity and temperatures that you would normally encounter from summer to winter. RV TVs should be able to stand 90% maximum of relative humidity, Storage Temperature Range of -22°F to 158°F or -30°C to 70°C and Operating Temperature Range of -4°F to 149°F or -20°C to 65°C.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT MOUNTING OPTION AND SIZE FOR AN RV TV?

To get the right mounting choice and size, consider the following:

  • Expenses in getting the TV and mounting it
  • Do you want a mount with an arm or without an arm
  • Do you want a stationary mount or a swiveling mount
  • TV specifications

HOW DO YOU GET AN RV SATELLITE TV?

  • As discussed above, Dome Antennas pick up signals from satellites. You would need one if you want to have a satellite TV.

CAN YOU USE A “REGULAR” TV FOR YOUR RV?

  • Due to its features specifically designed for RV travels, an RV TV is the ideal choice if you want to install a television in your RV. However, many RVers have been using regular TVs in their RVs for years. So far, they testified that they did not encounter any trouble in using it. In fact, we have not encountered anyone who reported that his or her TV fell or broke off from the mount in his or her RVs. There are also no reports of regular TVs in RVs that froze or did not work during the winter. Neither are there reports of too much condensation in regular TVs in RVs.

Although there are no reports of any negative incidents in using a regular TV in RVs, we cannot clearly say that this has never happened. It is still up to you if you want to use a regular TV in your RV although we highly recommend of course that you choose a TV designed specifically for an RV.

HOW MUCH COLD CAN A CAMPER TV HANDLE?

  • Regardless of the brand or its features, any device would probably fail in temperatures that are already super extreme.

TV manufacturers always have temperature ratings for cold storage although they definitely vary depending on the device and brand. The usual cold ranges are -4 to -40 but it would be a little higher for the viewing temperatures. Jensen maintains that they tested their TVs in viewing temperatures of -4 up to 149 degrees.

The fact that Jensen TV can handle temperatures at that range is great but most people actually will not think of watching TV in a room with a -4 degrees temperature. You normally watch TV in a temperate environment of about 60 degrees to 85 degrees. That temperature is just perfect for you and your TV.

If your house location is at an area with very low temperatures especially during the winter, bring your TV inside your house or in your garage once the temperature drops below your TV’s rating for cold storage. Technically, as long as you are not watching TV at a freezing temperature, there is nothing to worry about killing your TV.

It is important to note though that most cars today have LCD technology and they do not seem to have any issues with it, so you might not need to worry about regular TVs.

WOULD REGULAR TVS HAVE MORE CONDENSATION ISSUES?

  • Temperature change is the most common cause of condensation. Condensation forms if you quickly warm up your cold TV and can lead to terminal failure or short circuits when plugged in at that state. Let your exposed to cold temperature TV acclimate for at least 24 hours, so you will not have to worry about condensation killing your TV, be it a regular TV or the corrosion resistant Jensen TV.

SHOULD I USE A 120-VOLT TV OR A 12-VOLT TV?

  • A 120-volt TV for your RV would need either a generator, plugged into city power or you need to run an inverter.

A 12-volt TV, on the other hand, runs off D/C power coming from the house batteries of your RV.

If you like staying at campgrounds, you would not have any problems in using a 120-volt TV. If you like going to the middle of nowhere and mostly rely on solar or your RV’s batteries, a 12-volt TV is suitable for you.

WHAT ARE THE THINGS TO CONSIDER IN CHOOSING A 12-VOLT RV TV?

  • We highly recommend that in getting a 12-volt TV for your RV, going for an RV TV DVD combo is the best. Here are a few factors that you need to look at when choosing your 12-volt RV TV.
    • TV Power – There are many 12-volt RV TVs that use standard DC or AC power. In choosing your TV, make sure that you get a power type that is compatible with the power source of your RV.
    • TV Functions – Just like any regular TV, different RV TVs have varying features. Always check the description of the product before you decide to buy especially if you are looking for a specific feature for your TV.
    • TV Option for Mounting – Get brackets that can hold your TV securely even with all the movements in a running vehicle. If you think the brackets are not enough, you can use stands or straps.
    • TV Size – Pick a TV that would fit in your RV and leaves enough room for you and your companions to move around. RV TV sizes range from 7” as the smallest to 19” as the largest.

SUPERSONIC 12V TVS VS. JENSEN 12V RV TVS

We consider the Supersonic 12-volt TVs as the best 12-volt TV brand. However, for TVs made for RVs, we consider Jensen 12-volt TV as the best.

The Supersonic 12v TVs comes in 24”, 22”, 19”, 15” and 13” sizes, while the Jensen 12v TVs comes in 40”, 32”, 28” and 19” sizes.

All sizes of the Supersonic 12v TV comes with another option that has a built-in DVD while the Jensen TV with a built-in DVD is only available in 19”.

Although you can choose to use the Supersonic 12v TV in your RV, the manufacturer did not build it for that purpose. Jensen, on the other hand, designed their Jensen TV specifically for RV use.

Both TVs have full high definition TV resolution as well as LCD screens with LCD-backlit.

Except for the 13” and 15”, the Supersonic 12” TV has great viewing angles, which is not a feature of the Jensen TV.

The Supersonic 12v TV also has a reasonable price compared to the more expensive Jensen TV.

THE BEST TVS FOR RVS

As we have already provided a quick comparison of our favorite 12-volt TVs, let us take a closer look to see why they are our top picks.

RV TV Mounts

Your RV TV experience will not be complete without the equally essential TV mounts. Your RV TV should be securely positioned since there will be a lot of movements and vibrations happening in a moving vehicle.

Most of the TVs on our list are wall-mount ready. However, you have to take into consideration that there are different types of mounts and some may not be compatible for your RV. Make sure that before you decide to buy your TV, you have already considered how, where and will it fit in the allotted space. So, the type of mount for your TV is also something you need to put some thoughts into before buying.

We added a quick review on our top picks for RV TV Wall mounts for your perusal. Before we do that though, let us go over some of the basic types of RV TV Mounts.

RV TV MOUNT TYPES

  • Flat Wall RV TV Mount – This type of TV mount fixes your TV against the wall just like a mirror or a painting. With your TV fixed on the wall, you cannot tilt or rotate it.
  • Tilt Capable RV TV Mount – As its name implies, this mount allows you to tilt your TV to find the right viewing angle. This is typically similar to the flat wall TV mount with the addition of the tilting capability.
  • Articulating RV TV Mount – These are motion enabled mounts. With this mount, you can have your TV sitting snuggly against the wall, have it extended outwards, or shift your TV to the left or the right. This is a good supplement if your TV has a poor viewing angle. Of course, this is a little pricey compared to the first two types. You might also need to restrain this while traveling as it can possibly move along with the jostling of your moving vehicle.
  • Full Motion RV TV Mount – This is the most flexible TV mount. You can tilt it, move it from side to side, even moving it at 360 degrees circle. Same with the articulating mount, it is a little pricey and you need to restrain it while your vehicle is in transit.
  • Under Cabinet RV TV Mount – Just like its name, this mount is for installing small TVs under your RV’s cabinet. They are available in a fold-up design and a stationary design. This is ideal for smaller TVs or if you do not have enough space in your RV.
  • Pull Down Motion RV TV Mount – If you mounted your TV on your RV’s overhead, this is the ideal type of mount. With this mount, you can just pull down your TV to an eye-level viewing angle then just lift it up if you would no longer use it. This is also a little pricey, might be more expensive than some of the RV TVs on our list.

WHY DO YOU NEED A WALL MOUNT?

Let’s admit it, a mounted TV looks good aesthetically. However, that is not the only reason why you should mount your TV, especially in an RV setting.

SAVES SPACE

Your RV would generally do not have a lot of space even if it is a bigger RV. If you have a bigger TV, you might need to store it at an inconveniently higher place or you would need to set it up and store it again every time you will use it.

A TV wall mount, with all its different types, gives you a permanent and convenient solution. You can place your TV at a fixed place while saving enough space as possible. You can just easily adjust your TV or swivel it when you need it. It can also avoid damaging your TV since you would no longer move it around unsecured.

SAFETY AND SECURITY

Do not forget that when you are on a trip, you are constantly on the move. Even if you drive as carefully as you can, there will always be some jostling and vibrations caused by the moving vehicle. There is a possibility that your TV might fall or becomes unsecured from its mount due to these movements.

This is where the importance of a sturdy and durable mount comes it. You might need to spend a little extra to get these mounts but it is worth the expense if it can protect and secure your TV from accidents. It pretty much also gives you peace of mind while on your trip so you can take advantage of the benefits of having a TV while enjoying your RV vacation trip.

VESA RV TV WALL MOUNT BRACKET

Just in this article, you have already encountered the word VESA several times. What is VESA? VESA stands for Video Electronics Standards Association. The VESA pattern for your TV is the pattern used to match your TV to the TV mount and to the wall.

If you are installing an RV TV on a new space, we recommend a VESA mount that has an articulating arm. This way, you can easily adjust your TV’s viewing angle. Although, of course, it is entirely up to you what type of mount you want for your RV TV.