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Does your RV smell like previously cooked food? Does it feel hot and stuffy in there? There might not be enough air flowing in your RV. Even if you have an A/C, you still cannot use it if the campsite has no shore power and you do not have a generator.
This is why you need a good vent system in your RV. The best vent fans will ensure the inward and outward airflow in the RV to keep it cool and comfortable even in the hot summer.
Given the number of different roof vents available in the market, just finding the vent fan that perfectly suits your type of RV can be somewhat overwhelming. So, we made an analysis of our top picks for RV roof vent fans and covers as well as a buying guide to help you make a decision later.
What is an RV Vent Fan?
A roof vent fan is a specialized appliance for your RV. Technically, it is similar to an ordinary fan that blows air inward and outward. It works like your ventilation fan at home that keeps odors and smokes out. Some models come with a ceiling fan mode to keep your RV cool during the hot days where your A/C is not feasible.
These fans usually have a manual crank for swinging from inside the RV but some of the newer models now open automatically. To protect the fans from the elements and insect or animal entry, they usually come with a screen cover.
RV vent covers protect your RV vents from outside elements like rains and hail. The vents are typically openings in your RV’s rooftop that allows air movement in your RV. Thus, when opened, they expose your RV to the external environmental factors. The vent covers offer good benefits that help the vent fans function at their best.
Types of RV Vent Fans
There are two types of RV roof vent fans: The electric and non-electric. Both usually are at a standard size of 14×14 inches.
Electric Vent Fans:
The electric vent fans come with multiple settings for speed adjustment. It can push air in and out of your RV’s rig. Some have built-in thermostats so you can easily control the temperature and some have sensors and covers for rain protection.
The downside to this type of fan is that it only runs off a 12-volt motor system and an additional extra battery. They are also noisy yet they cost more.
Non-Electric Vent Fans:
Since non-electric vent fans do need power to operate, they are economical. In addition, they are affordable. Their quiet operation works to remove the unpleasant cooking smells and heat from your RV naturally, by letting outdoor air in. Just do not expect multiple speed adjustments as some of these vents do not even have a fan.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what vent fans and covers are, let us check out our favorites in detail.
Benefits of RV Vent Fans & Covers
If you are in doubt about whether or not you need a ventilation fan in your RV, imagine this: You just enjoyed a quick and refreshing walk in the wood. You enjoyed the fresh scent of nature and cool earth. When you stepped inside your RV, the smell of whatever you have previously cooked assaulted your nose. It is not a pleasant experience, right?
This is why it is important that you ventilate your RV. Here are the benefits you can get from installing vent fans in your RV:
If your trailer, camper or RV has no proper ventilation, the air quality drops as steam and dust invade the walls. If there are several people who share the same space, it also affects the quality of the air. Even the steam from the shower, smoke from cooking, air fresheners or even perfume contributes to the decrease in the air quality. Before long, you will start feeling that the air is stuffy and smelly. Installing a trailer roof fan will ensure that you have enough ventilation. The fan will remove the stuffy air and bring in fresh air so you no longer have to worry about breathing in low-quality air.
Different areas have different weather and temperature. Some areas are more humid and hotter than others. When you go on road trips, you may have to pass by through some areas with higher humidity and temperature. This is not something you have to worry about if the campground has shore power or if you have a generator since you can use the A/C.
The heat and humidity become torture when you cannot use you’re A/C. But, if you have a vent, especially one with ceiling fan mode, it reduces the hotness since it blows the warm air out and brings in cool air. This not only saves you money on the electricity bill but also prevents moisture build up.
The steam from the shower also creates moisture, which breeds molds. Molds can trigger allergies or asthma attacks and other respiratory diseases. The vent fan prevents moisture so you do not have to worry about molds. Even if you dry your clothes in the bathroom, the fan would reduce the humidity. It will ensure that the RV has a good supply of fresh air.
Trailer roof fans ensure that the air in your RV circulates properly. It moves out the stale air that carries unpleasant smells and pushes in the fresh air. With good airflow and circulation, no smell would linger in your vehicle.
What You Should Consider When Buying a Ventilation Fan for RVs
The best ventilation fans for RVs should be able to meet your demands and needs and different models would have different features. Therefore, you should consider several factors before making a decision. Here are the things you should look at when shopping around for your next roof ventilation fan for recreational vehicles.
Consider how frequently you plan to use your RV or camper when buying your vent fans for the RV. If you are frequently on an RV trip, you should invest in highly durable and more convenient vent fans. They should be able to maintain effectiveness even with frequent use and the harsh elements.
Part-time RVers, on the other hand, can look at less expensive vent fans. You will not use those fans as much compared to those full-timers. As a logical consumer, we do not suggest spending on something you will use only about a couple of times in a year. However, if you have money to spend and really want a high-quality fan with many extra features, by all means, no one is stopping you from buying one.
With so many models of vent fans coming out these days, they all come with so many different extra features. The good thing about it is that these features give you numerous benefits.
Most fans now come with multiple speed settings. Some even have as many as thirteen-speed settings. This is very helpful in control the energy your fan uses. Fans with thermostat or rain sensors also offer convenience with its user-friendly features.
Of course, these additional features will not come at no extra cost. The better the features are, the higher its price will be. Make sure to look for features that you will use so you get your money’s worth even if you ended up spending more. Those features might look fancy but if you do not really use it, they would just be an extra cost.
Take into consideration as well, how often and how long you will use your RV. Those extra features would not be of any use when you do not go on trips. You do not need extra features for decoration. If you go camping full time though, you may want to think about all those additional functionalities as those may come in handy.
Lid Opening – Manual or Automatic
You have options on how to open the roof vents of your RV. You can choose to do it manually or you can do it automatically. Most manufacturers offer their vent fan models in any of those types.
For manual fans, it usually comes with a crank that you use to open the vent manually. It may sound inconvenient but in reality, it is easy to use. The automatic option is really more of a luxury. Some people find this luxury very appealing though. If you are one of them, just be ready to shell out extra money. After all, there is always a price for luxury.
If you spend time searching, you might find some RV ventilation fans with an automatic opening at a bargain price. If that feature is a necessity for you, you just need a bit of extra effort to look for it. However, if this extra feature destroys your budget too much it actually would not hurt look at manual options. There are so many good quality manual vent fans out there at low prices.
You also need to consider your RV’s ceiling height when deciding if you want a manual or automatic vent fan. Can you easily reach it? Getting on a stool every time you need to open or close the vent fan is not just a hassle, but can also pose safety issues. If the trailer fan in your RV’s ceiling is not within your easy reach, an automatic one might be a better idea.
We have seen amperage draw as part of the features, but what really is it? Amperage draw shows the amount or volume of energy the electronic use regularly in order to work. Knowing the amperage draw will help you know how much it will cost to run your ventilation fan. Take note that higher amperage means higher cost on your electric bill.
With that consideration in mind, check your camping circumstance to see how much power you really need. If your RV is bigger, you would need more power to cover the bigger space. You would not need as much power with a smaller camper or RV, thus a vent fan with a lower amp draw should suffice. It can efficiently cover your entire rig while not having to spend extra on fans that are more expensive.
It all depends on your situation. So make decisions accordingly while making sure that you get the features that meet your needs exactly. Sometimes, a little more is good but why spend more if you can get what you need with less. They key is just finding the right one for you.
CFM stands for cubic feet of air moved per minute. The CFM rating for each vent fan’s shows the amount of air it can move in a minute. The higher the rating, the fan moves the air. This means the moisture, stale air, and heat move out faster so the temperature level changes quickly. This is why you have to consider this functionality when choosing your product.
It is important to note, however, that vent fans with higher CFM ratings also tend to have higher prices. So do not just go for higher CFM ratings, rather, find the balance between price, CFM and other features. The standard CFM is around 900 so having that should already be good enough even for a bigger RVs. If you have a smaller vehicle or trailer, even a lower CFM should do since there are less space and area. It will also help you save on the cost.
How much noise your trailer fan makes while operating is another factor you should look at in choosing RV fans.
People usually go camping to get away from the noise of the city and enjoy some quiet time. Keep in mind that silence magnifies every little sound. So, if your trailer fan proves to be a nuisance, you may not even get some peaceful sleep.
If you have a low tolerance for noise, find a trailer roof fan with as low noise as possible.
Roof Vent Size
Most vent fans come in the standard size of 14 x 14 inches. They should easily fit most RV vents. However, as you have seen from our product reviews there are several vent fans that have fitting issues. Always measure your RV vent and the vent fan before making a purchase. Otherwise, you may need to cut out a larger hole in your RV’s ceiling or a too small fan for the space.
Disclaimer for Pet Owners
If you are a fur parent, for sure, you would want to bring your fur baby with you on these camping trips. Please keep in mind that you have to consider your pet when choosing a roof vent fan for the RV. It is crucial that you get a fan with the ability to run stationary even when you are out. You would not want to leave your beloved pet inside a closed vehicle without any open window or airflow. That is just inhumane.
If your fur baby will travel with you, make sure that you choose a trailer fan that runs stationary. Regardless of what pet you have they are living beings and need ventilation, most especially during the summer season and in warmer areas. Make sure that the fan is on before you leave and that they have enough water to keep them hydrated.
If you plan on getting a vent fan with a rain sensor to protect your RV when it rains, that is a bad idea when you have pets with you. Remember, the vent automatically closes when it gets wet and opens when it dries. Some spots take longer to dry even when the sun is out and that could mean trouble for your pet if the vent remains closed. If you worry about rain, find a vent fan suitable for pets. The Maxxair 0007000K MaxxFan Deluxe Fan is a good choice as it comes with a built-in rain cover to protect your RV from the rain without any overheating threat your furry friend.
RV Vent Fan FAQ
By now, you probably have a good idea on what you want in your vent fan. You might even already have picked your favorite. If you still have any unanswered questions in mind, you had better check these questions frequently asked by most users or buyers.
What are the good brands for roof vent or trailer fans for RVs?
There are so many great manufacturers of ventilation system for RVs, mobile home, travel trailers, and campers. Some of the most popular ones are Camco, Heng’s, Fan-Tastic and Maxxair. They offer reasonably priced products for your RV needs.
Camco – Camco is a known brand for producing quality RV products and accessories, not just ventilation systems.
Heng’s – Heng’s is a recognized brand that is popular in the RV industry. They started in 2008 in Elkhart, Indiana. They are a premier manufacturer and supplier of high quality but affordable recreational vehicle products.
Fan-Tastic – Fan-Tastic has been part of Dometic since 2017. Regardless of the company change though, you still cannot deny the fact that Fan-Tastic is one of the most experienced manufacturers when it comes to RV ventilation. They started creating ventilation system for RVs since 1984. They now offer a wide array of RV products but you can trust that their ventilation system products provide high performance that perfectly suits your needs.
Maxxair – Maxxair is one of the leading brands in terms of RV ventilation products. They have been producing different types of ventilation fan models since 1988. They have a reputation for creating superior quality, high performance, and innovative vent fans and vent covers. Their products have a unique feature that allows you to install it without drilling holes on your RV’s roof.
Do all vent fans come with the installation trim ring?
Whether or not your vent fan comes with a trim ring depends on the brand and model of your product. Check and compare products not just for price and features but also for free accessories that come with the product you purchase.
Can you use a vent fan in any types of weather conditions?
Yes, you can. Since vent fans are on the roof of your RV, most manufacturers make them weather resistant to withstand even the harsh weather conditions. Some even have UV resistant materials in their construction.
This is a good feature to check when buying a vent fan as this can help prolong your fan’s lifespan. Take note that during trips, you can never predict the weather so you have to make sure that your fan can deal with those conditions.
How do I replace the cover for RV vents?
Replacing the vent cover for your RV is easy and just involves 5 steps. Just bear in mind that if you do not feel comfortable doing it on your own, get professional help. If you are ready to do it on your own, here are the steps:
Prepare the new replacement-covering unit
Of course, you need to have a new cover as a replacement for the old one. Measure the opening on the vent first before you go and buy the new cover to ensure their sizes match. It would be so much waste of time, money and effort if you end up not able to use the new cover or have to do more adjustments.
The standard cover usually measures 14” deep and 14” long. For some reason though, some standard sized covers do not match with the standard size of your RV’s vent opening. It is best to always measure, better be safe than sorry.
Find a nice spot to park your RV
Now that you have your perfectly sized cover, find a nice and safe spot to park so you can start your vent cover replacement process. If you are at home, your driveway should be the perfect spot. Let the engine cool down first before you move to the next step.
Put your ladder into position
Put your ladder on the RV’s side. For safety reasons, make sure that it is at a good angle and securely settled on the ground. Some ladders come with spikes that you can drive into the soil to make it secure. You can also ask someone to secure the ladder while you climb up.
Remove the previous covering unit
Climb to the roof of your RV to reach the vent’s cover. Check the hinge for the pins and slowly remove those. After you remove the pins, straighten the tabs so it goes straight right into the RV’s vent. You can now remove the lid or cover.
Install the replacement cover
After you remove the old vent cover, line the new cover with the tabs that you straightened. Insert the slots on the cover into the tabs. Once you have inserted all the slots, you can now close those tabs and return the pins onto the hinge. Make sure to tighten those pins. Voila! You just successfully replaced your vent fan’s cover for your RV.
How do you install a vent fan for an RV?
Although most vent fans say they are easy to install, each vent fan’s installation process depends on its type and model. It would be best if you check the instructions manual that comes with the product and follow the step-by-step instructions provided therein.
You can also watch how-to videos online, there are several instructional videos specific for the type and model of vent fan you have. If you really cannot figure it out, you can reach out to a professional for assistance. That way, you will not have to worry about doing any of the installation steps wrong.
Do I need to buy a vent insulator for my RV?
A vent insulator is optional but it will help you a lot in making sure everyone in the RV is comfortable. A vent insulator keeps your recreational vehicle cool during the hot summer days and keeps it warm during the cool winter days.
If you plan to get one, we recommend the Camco Skylight Reflective Insulator. It is from a good and trusted Camco brand. It will definitely make your RV trips comfortable.
A quick review of the Camco Skylight Reflective Insulator
- Fits standard 14" RV vents
- Full 2.75" of foam to help stop heat transfer
- Product Details
- Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Dimension: 15 x 3 x 15 inches
The Camco Skylight Reflective Insulator is a good addition to the vent fan in your RV as it would really help in keeping the heat out during the summer. You will have a cooler RV even during the hot days of the summer. It is also double purpose since it can keep the heat in during the cold days of winter.
This insulator comes with a nice lining made of fleece and has a sunshield reflective surface. It has3-inch thick foam inside that you can easily remove since the lining has a zipper. This insulator snugly fits into a standard 14 x 14 vent with just a simple push. With its sunshield reflector, if effectively blocks the sun’s damaging rays while keeping the heat out.
We also like the fact that it can block the noise if any, of your vent fan. This is a good accessory and solution if your trailer fan produces an unpleasant sound that keeps you up at night. It also comes with a one-year warranty, which is just great.
Installation and removal are easy, you do not even need professional help. In installing, just push it inside the vent with the reflective side first, and it is ready to go. To remove, just grab the sides and slide it out of the vent, easy as that.
Due to its reflective sunshield surface though, you cannot wash it in the washer but it is very easy to clean, you can just vacuum it off. Camco also offers another version of this insulator without the reflector. We recommend going with this one though as it can provide more protection from the harsh UV rays.
- Saves money on heating/cooling
- Blocks noise
- Keeps the heat out during the summer
- Keeps heat in during the winter
- Not machine washable
Why would I need a vent fan for my RV?
There are several reasons why an RV owner would need a vent fan for his/her RV. The three primary benefits are:
Make Hot Days Bearable
Having vent fans in your RV would make sure that it does not become too hot. The vent fans push the hot air out through the opening in the roof and pull in the new fresh air. There will be a new air current in your rig making it cool even during the hot days.
Dries Wet Surfaces
Steam from a warm shower, wet clothes or a wet bathroom can cause humidity to rise and lead to a humid and muggy room. A good vent fan would get rid of the humidity and wetness in no time. It can even help dry your clothes faster as while it sends the hot air it, it creates a breeze that helps in drying your clothes.
Prevents Stale Air
Entering a room or an RV with old and smelly stale air is downright unpleasant. This is why installing an RV fan is important for RVers. This is to ensure that no unpleasant smell or very warm air will greet you when you enter your RV living quarters. Rather, you always come back to a cool and pleasant RV, thanks to your trailer roof fans.
How does a roof vent trailer fan works?
The primary function of vent fans is to ventilate your recreational vehicle. They are usually in a hatch that swings upward when opened on top of your RV’s roof. If you have a manual fan, you have to open it manually while the latest models now open automatically or remotely controlled. This is one feature you should look at before making your choice.
The vent has a screen material cover that protects it from insects or some small animals that can crawl in from the outside. There is a roof vent fan inside the vent. It is like a small electric fan that will keep the air flowing in and out of your RV. It is similar to ventilation fans in your home or office bathrooms.
The vent fan will push out that old, stale and unpleasant smell and bring in fresh air from outside. Thereby making sure there is no lingering smell or too much heat in your RV.
How do I clean the vent fan for my RV?
If you took a long trip, your vent fan would most likely have accumulated dust and grime. You need an upholstery brush and a vacuum hose to clean the screen. If your fan unit has a detachable screen, remove it so you can easily clean the screen as well as access the blades. Clean each of the blades with a damp cloth.
If there is a lot of dust and grime build up, you need to disassemble your vent so you can completely clean it. Use a cleaning agent and spray it on the screen, then wipe it with kitchen towels. Spray some cleaning agent as well on the fan and use a brush with small bristles to get to those hard to reach areas of the blades.
Where can I buy a ventilation fan for my RV?
There are different RV ventilation system supplies available in RV supplies stores so you can easily find what you need there as well as any RV gears or accessories. You can also try online as they offer more choices and you can get more deals from manufacturers.
What is the difference between an A/C and vent fan?
A vent fan will not condition the air. It simply removes old air from the room and blows in fresh air from outside. It will not cool the air. An A/C on the other hand conditions the air inside the room making it colder.
If you have noticed the pros and cons section of our product review, you will realize that there is no perfect vent fan or vent cover for your RV. The key to making a perfect choice is to know the features of each and matching it with what you need based on your circumstance.
With the information we provided, we are sure that you know what you need and what to look for. Perhaps, you already have a choice in mind. Keep these tips in mind and you can make a good decision for your situation.
Go ahead and purchase your favorite vent fan and/or vent fan cover and start enjoying your RV travels.